What’s the use?

For the vast majority of my life, I’m reasonably super-chill and unflappable (edit: this is simply just not true. History is written by the victors!). Unfortunately a few evenings ago I had a mild panic attack. The ringing in my ears was accompanied by a mildly woozy feeling. There is an old saying about it being always darkest before the dawn, and its true, as at the time of the episode, I was perched upon the toilet in the dark hours of the early morning. Fortunately, the ill feeling soon passed, but it was a disturbing event to experience all the same.

It all reminds me of a somewhat alarming incident many long years ago, just prior to being let into the economics exam at University. The subject was a full year subject, and if I’d failed, the entire year would have to be re-sat and paid for. Prior to walking into the examination room I’d had the awful realisation that I might not actually know enough about the subject of economics in order to pass the exam. The tension quickly built, and I was starting to get a bit jittery, but slowly the realisation struck home: Economists probably don’t know that much about the subject either, so I was probably on safe ground if I could only but write a solid argument. It was an unpleasant experience prior to an exam, however, I passed the examination, which was all that mattered.

A week or so ago, the youth news radio program was interviewing the assistant federal energy minister on the subject of the new Federal policy of net zero emissions by 2050. It seems like a laudable goal, but is also notably three decades in the future when perhaps said politicians will be long since retired. During the interview, the politician made the astounding claim that technology which hasn’t yet been invented, or existing stuff which has yet to be proven economically viable, will be implemented to achieve the goal. And that statement of belief wasn’t challenged by the journalist. It seems like a big call to me, and no doubts might cause a few panic attacks among the folks who have to develop the yet-to-be-invented-technology. Imagine the pep talk before the inventors hit the labs: “No pressure folks, but you really have to sort this stuff out, or things will go very badly.”

Maybe memory now fails me, but wasn’t it only a few years ago that the deadline was 2030 or else (insert bad things happening here)? At least as a civilisation we’ve got another additional two decades to get our house in order. Phew! That’s a relief, I thought that we might have to do something sooner, like err, now.

It’s a sweeping generalisation, but it’s been my experience that our species isn’t really all that good with the activity of planning. There’s a lot of talk about planning, and some of it is probably going on in Glasgow right now, but as has been remarked upon elsewhere: Talk does not cook the rice.

Heck, I shouldn’t judge them, we’re not that good at planning either! The editor and I have put a huge amount of mental and physical energy this week into the issue of sheds on the farm. The sheds are beautiful constructions and very pleasing upon the eye. But for all sorts of reasons, they’re only just sort of working for us.

Ollie stands alert on the path to the secondary wood shed and chicken enclosure

In the above photo, Ollie is standing in the shade of a kiwi fruit vine which overhangs the path from the house to the secondary wood shed. Observant readers will note that the path is uphill.

All up the climb from the secondary firewood shed to the level the house sits upon is about six feet. It doesn’t sound like much of an incline until you have to push a wheelbarrow full of firewood up the steeper parts of the incline. That’s a seriously heavy load to move.

And to add insult to injury, the rats have taken up residence in the walls of the secondary firewood shed. The firewood shed is located adjacent to the chicken enclosure, and the rats smelling an easy feed, have somehow managed to raid the fortified chicken enclosure. They are enjoying as much grain and fresh water as they need. Due to the better offerings, they blithely ignore rat bait. You can smell the rats whenever you stand next to the shed. The shed has to go.

Ollie looks mildly disturbed by the plentiful rat manure on the floor of the secondary firewood shed

The health subject which dares not be named, has meant that the editor and I have spent an inordinate amount of time at home this year. And it’s been a cold and wet year too. Between those two circumstances, we’ve somehow managed to use more firewood this year, than in any previous year. The secondary firewood shed was cleared out, and the primary firewood shed was about 80% cleared out. This level of stored dry firewood supply is cutting things too close for comfort. Additional storage allowances have to be ready to hand on the off chance the editor or I are inadvertently injured or become sick.

Not much dry firewood left in the shed, and the overexposed ghost of Ollie is disappointed!

Then there is the machinery shed. It’s full of useful machinery which makes life easier around the farm, but then for some unknown reason (edit: such as lack of space) some items have been ejected from that very full shed, and they now reside under the carport.

Don’t get me wrong, plenty of things and systems work very well on the farm and have been thoroughly tested and proven over the past decade and then some. However, other things like the sheds, are probably in need of some attention and energy. Long term readers will now know that when confronted with problems, we employ a dynamic attack on destiny and abhor the general response of suppliance and passivity.

The editor and I therefore spent about half a day throwing around possible ideas as to how to resolve the many problems we faced with the sheds.

Sometimes talk does indeed cook the rice! Eventually after many hours of discussion, a decision was reached. Goals were set. Practical details were agreed upon. A very tasty pork belly Bánh mì roll was consumed. Then we went to order some materials from the local timber yard. I can assure readers that timber shortages are indeed real, and we were grateful that the local timber yard was able to supply, something. We’re not entirely sure whether we’ve ordered enough timber, if only because a flexible mindset is called for in these difficult supply circumstances. This is otherwise known as taking what you can get.

And because when goals are set here at the juggernaut that is Fernglade Farm, you don’t hear us pushing out goals and objectives for three decades time. Oh yeah, its now baby! We don’t muck around. A machine was hired.

A super nifty machine was hired to break ground for correcting the many shed issues

It took maybe about an hour or so to work out how to effectively use the machine. But once we’d understood how to use the machine, the site began to take shape.

What a mess we’ve created

After a days work moving soil with the machine, a sort of flat excavated site has emerged from the paddock. There is still more work to do, but we’ve never moved so much soil in such a short period of time before. I kind of have warm feelings towards the machine, although I note that those feelings are definitely not entirely natural!

A whole bunch of soil was moved in only a single day of work

It is worth noting that it takes considerable gumption, energy and motivation to correct infrastructure, so that it can adapt to changed circumstances. It is an open question as to whether our civilisation can manage this feat. My gut feeling though suggests that: And it is what it is ’til it ain’t.

The weather has been very pleasant for the excavation works. Sunny and warm, but not too hot so as to be uncomfortable.

Some evenings as the sun sets below the distant horizon, the skies have produced the most amazing colours.

A beautiful sunset #nofilter #don’tknowhowtouseafilter

Regular readers will by now know Ruby is the farms boss dog. Ruby has been a little bit upset recently because her sister Plum had scored more rabbit sacrifices than herself. Rabbits in Australia have a really awful ecological history, and so the role of the dogs is to basically ensure that rabbits are elsewhere, or dead. Earlier this week, Ruby the farms boss dog, nabbed a rabbit, and so has now equalised the score between the two Kelpie dogs. Two all! Game on.

Ruby nabs a rabbit

With the warmer weather this week, the European honey bees have been very active and they appear to particularly enjoy the many hedges of lavender.

European honey bees enjoy the plentiful lavender flowers

The growing season is still very early, but at this stage it looks as though we might have a bumper crop of strawberries and raspberries.

Strawberries are looking good

Onto the flowers:

Geraniums grow and flower really well in the conditions on the farm
Rhododendron flowers are plentiful in the orchards
This daisy is spectacular
Californian Poppies are rampant throughout the gardens

The temperature outside now at about 9.00am is 14’C (57’F). So far this year there has been 1,042.0mm (41.0 inches) which is up from last weeks total of 1,028.6mm (40.5 inches)

49 thoughts on “What’s the use?”

  1. Yo, Chris – Better keep an eye on your blood pressure. Stroking out is not a good look. More garlic! Can’t say I’ve ever had a panic attack. Well, maybe once. No harm done.

    So, the Minister needs an assistant? I’d ask, “Why?” Chief Flack Catcher, I’d guess. Someone to deal with those pesky reporters. Who never ask the hard questions, anyway. It’s the old, “The fewer of the great unwashed I have to deal with, the more status I have.” But who’s counting? Or, cares? But it reminds me of an interview with two tech bros, last year. Driverless cars. The reporter did ask about dodging pedestrians. Oh, the tech bros just said that the cars would detect the pad devices carried by the pedestrians. Now, if I were a reporter, my next question would be, “But what about pedestrians that don’t have pad devices?” Apparently, I’m the only person in the world whose thinking runs this way.

    Nope. Our species isn’t very good at planning. Or, maintenance. Or, expecting unexpected outcomes. You’d think all these liability lawyers running around, would think up something important, instead of the fluff they usually dream up. Speaking of which …


    Climate change. It’s too late anyway, and terrible things are already baked in the cake. Nothing significant will be done. The carbon levels won’t be falling, until civilization collapses. And, what with all the wood burning that will go on … well, it’s a done deal. Might as well stop worrying about it, and just get on with things and try and stay nimble. The milk is already spilt. No sense crying over it.

    “Rats in the corn!!!” (See: Stephen King: “The Stand.”). The picture of Ollie, in the firewood shed, makes him look like a ghost dog. Given it’s Halloween, highly appropriate. 🙂

    Looks like your digging the foundations of a mead drinking hall. Your machine rental isn’t exactly Mike Mulligan’s steam shovel, but it does the job. And, fess up. There’s probably a certain amount of “fun factor,” involved? I don’t know though, about putting the new shed in a lower part of the paddock. Ever had any flooding, down there?

    The photo of the sunset is calendar worthy. Looks like the inside of abalone shell.

    Note to self: Pick some of the lavender growing around our place, and see if drying it, yields any more scent. The red daisies always seem so odd, to me. But the California poppies. They freely seed, around here. They pull up very easy. But, I generally leave them alone, if they’re not in the way of something. They do keep the weeds down.

    I got down to 30F (-1C), here, last night. The rest of the forecast is for nights well above freezing. So, we’ve had two nights where we were barely frost kissed, and if it hadn’t been for those, our growing season would have been quit a lot longer. Boo-hoo.

    I went to the Club, this morning, and before I did, kind of fell into a Halloween costume. Well, as a matter of course and standard wardrobe rotation, I happened to be wearing my black pants and took the new (used) black flannel shirt ($1) out for a spin. I happened to have a black cowboy hat, in my closet. I don’t know where that came from. Even has silver (tin) conchos as a hat band. And, I had a black, face mask. For those more formal occasions. But I couldn’t decide if I was Black Bart (Gotta train to rob?) or Johnny (Man in Black) Cash. “Hear that train a comin’, comin’ round the bend…” As I’m not ready for karaoke, probably Black Bart. As he was a poet. 🙂 . The Ladies were quit impressed with my ensemble. But then, they don’t get out much. Lew

  2. Hello Chris,

    That looks like “the shed to rule them all”. In all farms that I know, the shed space is at least 10x living space. City dwellers usually don’t understand how much of productive capacity and storage has been outsourced to industry and chain-stores. Just a question – the new shed seems to be even further down-hill from your dwelling, but I don’t have a good overview of your lands. Will you repurpose the old machine-shed for firewood?

    Lumber and firewood shortages materialized here in Western Europe, already in October. The “natural” gas price went up and people scramble to burn something else. However, when many people want to burn wood in the same place, there are not enough trees around.

    Your observation on planning is astute. Swipe the problems under the rug, seems to be the most popular strategy. Hope that the bomb goes off on someone else’s shift. The climate conundrum is no different. A lot of “2040 bla bla” as Greta said last month: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ceIE_ehQhtc
    None of the “world leaders” talks about overshoot. So, we are heading full speed over the Seneca cliff.

    I worked for 15 years at an industrial R&D center, and was one of the guys who was expected to “think of something” to solve all problems. Nauseating is just the first name of the feeling. I couldn’t place it until I read JM Greers writing about the Religion of Progress, and Mencken’s American Credo. Our culture is putting a lot of chips on the “technology solution”. I started to collect thought-stoppers like “We put a man on the moon, so we can fix this.” and “There will be *so* many breakthroughs in the coming years” and “The stone age didn’t end because they ran out of stones” and “If you think you can make it, you can make it” etc.etc.

    I suspect that most people don’t like to think. What do you think?

    Good luck with the shed works!


  3. Hi DJ,

    Seems like Johnnie Armstrong was played at the end. Perhaps a lesson that one should not get involved in the business of Kings?

    No need to interpret, the words were fairly understandable, and the emotional content was not hard to see. For example: Whyle Johnie livd on the border-syde, Nane of them durst cum neir his hald. Clearly means that Johnnie was fairly competent at dealing with interlopers and none of which could get anywhere near to his abode, and I can respect that. However, folly was his undoing as: I haif asked grace at a graceless face, But there is nane for my men and me. Haven’t we all met such curs before? Far out. He was dealt a rough hand, and you could sort of suggest that the times were not a meritocracy by any means.

    I could understand the bloke perfectly, but was intrigued by the cursed stone revealed at the end of the video. Not good. It doesn’t surprise me that things did not go well for the King and his line after his deception.



  4. Hi Goran,

    Yes, very amusing! One shed to rule them all indeed. 🙂 But exactly, the house here is very modest and well built, but on a farm, you need even more shed space in order to conduct basic and simple production arrangements. And you are so right with your observation in relation to outsourcing. I see that reaction with the country wines which we make. People are horrified by the scale, but if you want one glass a few days per week, well that’s what it looks like. People basically hide behind industrial production and have no idea at all as to what things actually take to produce stuff. From some perspectives, it’s actually a bit frightening that the vast majority of people have become so disconnected.

    Yes. Nothing goes to waste here. Every component will be recovered and reused. Fear not! That was part of the planning discussion.

    Well, that is another shocker of a story. Things may be different in your part of the world, but the local hardwood species here cannot be burnt for fuel, green and unseasoned. With firewood you have to plan at least two years in advance prior to use. Any species that could have been burnt green, has long since become extinct at the hands of my predecessors.

    Greta’s speech was superb, but I’m personally not convinced that we can sustain the current population, possibly not even close in reality. As a civilisation, we currently consume energy, and remove any aspect of that, food production will fall. There is no working around that story, and already phosphorus has become a bigger issue than most people would be aware.

    And I watched a King Parrot consume the unripe apricot crop this afternoon.

    Goran, I had no idea, and you have my empathy for your experience working at such a place. Your collection of thought stoppers is pretty complete. Although, I have heard politicians claiming that any re-adjustment will lead us to go back to the caves. That one seemed like a rather over the top extrapolation of events, but it serves a purpose like the words you recounted.

    That’s a tough question, and I’ve been discussing the subject of free will on and off again with Mr Greer for many years now. I’d have to suggest that in order to think in the first place, that is an act of free will. However, we don’t have anywhere near as much free will as you might imagine. What do you think about that?



  5. Hi Lewis,

    Thanks for the advice regarding blood pressure, and I have accordingly acted upon your earlier suggestion, maybe a week or two back. Best to be on the safe side of things. Mate, I tell ya what though, I’ve worked hard these past couple of days, mentally and physically, so the episode hardly surprises me.

    And the excavations are now completed. It looks good, and we finished about 2pm this afternoon, which is a good thing because the weather is warming up here at 81’F today. Having been on the machine for two days I now have my sea legs and can kind of feel ghost feelings of moving around even whilst sitting at the desk here replying to you. Now of course the moving around feeling maybe some trick of gravity, or lets not hope a dreaded spatial anomaly which I get sucked into, but yeah it’s a weird feeling. Have you ever spent time on a boat and felt that?

    No. I’ve had too much garlic for one lifetime, and so no longer cook with, or grow the plant. However, years ago I was involved in a local garlic trial and grew many different varieties. It was all rather interesting, and the plants grew well. Mostly I consume chives which grow all year around, and also leeks seem to do really well here. In fact there is a patch of the farm which has a thick stand of self sown leeks, and I’ll have thin the stand out.

    I can’t recall whether we’ve ever discussed the English show ‘Yes, minister’ before? The story revolved around the tension between the politicians and the faceless bureaucrats. I didn’t even know that they had assistants, and claiming that technology will save us was not comforting to hear given diminishing returns on research, death, flies and stuff. Probably not good. And just in case the tech geeks forgot to mention it, the devices have to have battery charge (not always guaranteed) and also I assume they were going to rely on bluetooth connectivity, which I manually switch off. Nah, not good at all, and possibly resulting in pedestrians being run over.

    That lawyer guy is seriously onto something. Three new cases per week, suggests that you don’t want to run afoul of him. Real vanilla beans are expensive. We make our own vanilla bean extract, and I could probably grow the plants indoors as we’ve discussed before, but the pollination process so as to produce the beans seems kind of chancy. I gave up on that idea after you raised the story. Anyway, what’s wrong with rose hip flavouring? 🙂 Ah, everything old will probably be new again.

    I agree, it is now too late, and as a civilisation we’ll probably burn anything that we can afford to extract and burn, and even some stuff that we can’t afford to burn. Still, the world has experienced such climate shocks before, as have our own species, and we’re still here. But perhaps not quite living in the same arrangements as we do these days. We’ll be fine. In the short term, I’d probably be more concerned at the mono ammonium phosphate story, although candidly that is less of a problem in your country than it is here. Years ago I suggested to a mate that it might not be a bad idea to consider composting his own wastes, and was told that it was a step too far. Me thinks not.

    Oh! Almost forgot to mention. I’m re-reading Jack Vance’s Dying Earth complete stories. So much fun, and it has been so long since the original read, that it is almost as if I’m reading a new book.

    Hehe! Ollie, ghost dog, sends cordial tail wags during this ultra spooky time of Halloween.

    That’s funny. Steam shovel indeed. The machine was diesel fuelled and if ever you imagine that the fuel stuff doesn’t pack a solid punch, the machine used a bit over four gallons of diesel over two days to achieve all of that work. I understand that this is a rather simplified accounting of the energy involved in the equation, but still the machine is remarkably economical. Of course I required fuelling as well, and some much needed rest. About three o’clock this afternoon, I grabbed Plum and a pillow, and shut my eyes for a few minutes and woke up an hour later. Plum is good as she knows to wake me if anything needs attending too.

    Speaking of which, with the lock down in Melbourne more or less over, the rural areas were crawling with people. What surprised me was that I noted rubbish strewn from vehicles along the forest roads. It is possible that the locals don’t eat and poop in the same spot? I wouldn’t have ventured out at all due to the hordes, but had to fill up a jerry can of diesel fuel as the machine had to be returned full.

    Incidentally, I noticed that a whole bunch of stuff was going on that had not been going on for err, since before the lock downs. It interests me that the difference was that marked. Hmm.

    Nah, flooding may be an issue there, but if it is an issue there, it is an issue everywhere on the farm. The main water run, heads a bit west of that excavated shed site. The water runs underground, but interestingly as I’ve spent more effort on the soil, the water runs more often and for longer periods of time.

    Thanks! 🙂 The skies are amazing aren’t they? I’ll bet you had some interesting skies after Mt St Helens blew its stack?

    I’ve seen the process of oil extraction from lavender, and certainly drying is part of the process. Also the oil content varies with the variety. The bees are absolutely all over the lavender hedges. They leave me alone though, which I’m happy with.

    Far out, that is some cold weather. Brr. And winter is coming… Sounds ominous doesn’t it?

    Perhaps it’s me, but I was kind of thinking: Men in Black? Very amusing. But if I was forced to choose I was going to say Johnny Cash, but after reading about Black Bart, mate there is no other choice: It’s Black Bart for sure. Stagecoaches were some rich pickings.

    Very clever to co-opt the local religious holidays and then re-make them as your own. The Roman’s may have guided the way in that regard with the regards to local deities they encountered in their conquests? You’ve mentioned the film before, but then I haven’t yet watched all of the episodes of Grand Designs Season 22 yet. Time is short unfortunately. It is however a public holiday tomorrow and I have nothing as yet planned. After days and days of scheming and work, this is perhaps as things should be, don’t you reckon?

    What? What do you mean the Great Pumpkin isn’t real or has a long and distinguished history? I loved the Peanuts cartoons as a kid.

    No worries about the acronym and it was just one of those things that get lost in translation.

    Fair enough. It is possible that Elinor has to take the good with the bad in such a relationship, and you know what do they say about not letting the perfect get in the way of the merely good? I dunno, the hourly rate doesn’t sound all that great to me, but things are very expensive down here and getting more so. It is possible that such acts were intentional and just part of the relationship. Things like that happen, and I’m always very pleasant with people who are providing me with services on the basis that that is how I wish to be treated. Now of course, that rule can be ditched if the other side decides to be a real pain. Then all bets are off. Maybe Elinor has to compromise?

    Ooo! The school board stuff in your country sounds a bit kooky to me. And woke ideology is mildly bonkers.

    Thanks for mentioning Banksy who’s works I admire, and Richard Hambleton is astounding as well. There is something really eerie about his work.



  6. You didn’t come right out and say what triggered your panic, but I am guessing that it is the ongoing concern with “what more can I do, and what have I forgotten in preparing for when things get weird”?

    Events these days have me doing that mental merrygoround, anyway. With me, it is more of an ongoing sense of foreboding, with occasional spurts of action as I think of something helpful to do. This allays the feeling for a while. Then I read the news again.

    Maybe building a shed will do the same for you? And pray tell, what all will be going in the shed?

    Our pole shed is slowly filling up year by year, necessitating more creative stacking, arranging, sequencing. A “garden shed” ( 4m x 5m) has been delayed a year, but will go up for sure next summer. Lumber prices have settled down some, so that’s helped.

    As gets mentioned here, overall prospects for the global consumer economy are not good, and will be pulling down a good share of the ecosystem with it, so I just focus as much as I can on stewarding my little corner, and slowly becoming less impactful in my personal behavior. Long way to go to get to your level, so respect.

  7. @Lew

    The latte was too sweet as those fancy ones can be. As I do like pumpkin flavor I thought I’d try it but, like you, prefer my coffee plain with a bit of cream.


  8. Yo, Chris – Some cultures would throw something into the foundations, for luck, or to appease a god. Maybe a spare slave that was kicking around. Or, maybe a low denomination coin. The Egyptians slipped in a bit of thick gold foil, with inscriptions written on them. I suppose we do something similar, when we make a big hoopla about laying a cornerstone. Echoes from the past.

    I haven’t been on a boat, in years. Decades. But, there are sea legs and land legs, and between the two is a bit of staggering around.

    You can never have too much garlic 🙂 . But I must say, I’m lucky to metabolize it in a neat and tidy way. It never bothers my stomach, and, at least according to reports (or the lack there of), I don’t reek of the stuff.

    I am aware of “Yes, Minister.” Political dramas or comedies do not appeal, to me. It’s usually on offer, when I visit Elinor, in the evenings. Neither of us are much interested. We’ll even settle for a rerun of “Magnum, P.I.” rather than watch it.

    Lawyer guy seems to be on a mission to straighten up “truth in advertising.” While making a tidy profit. 🙂 .

    Oh, I suppose as a species, we’ll muddle through. At least for awhile. Individually, maybe not so much. Depends on being nimble and plain old luck.

    I made myself a big bowl of popcorn, with melted cheese and re-watched “Galaxy Quest,” last night. It holds up, well. Now I can tackle the new book, about the film. The extras on the DVD were quit interesting. It really was a collaborative effort, and everyone added a bit of something to the final product.

    Even pandemics have some silver linings. Less garbage strewn along the roads. More peace and quiet.

    I really don’t remember interesting skies, after Mt. St. Helens blew up. Just lots of ash falling out of the sky, and everything very gray.

    Winter is coming …. Seven royal houses … oh, never mind 🙂 .

    “Men in Black” was more about sharp suits. Probably Armani. Not cowboy gear. My “costume” was a hit, and people seem to think I should wear the hat, all the time. Don’t think so. Wouldn’t stand up to our usual weather. And the brim was always banging into something.

    Nothing as yet planned days, are pleasant. Recharges the old batteries. I’m kind of having one of those days. Walk the dog, three times, but otherwise, nothing hard and fast on the schedule.

    Well, Elinor has her new care giver, today. Smart woman. She gave Elinor a call yesterday, just to chat and introduce herself. I’ll probably get a full report, tonight.

    Richard Hambleton had a rather complicated and tragic life. His first “splash”, way back in the early 80s, was traveling to west coast cities, then across the country, and the east coast, leaving behind a trail of mysterious “crime scene” works. Just those chalk (but he used paint) outlines of where the police would have found a body. It was all very mysterious, as no crime had been committed. Then he shifted to the shadow figures, when he hit New York. It was a very rundown and crime ridden city, at that time. So, you had these shadow men, popping up in unexpected places. Freaked a lot of people out. Your in a dodgy part of town, and catch this figure, out of the corner of your eye…

    I hadn’t really though of it before, but you had these street / graffiti artists, working on walls. Basquiat , Haring, and Hambleton. Eventually, they moved inside and onto canvas. The art world took notice, things got very crazy, and it all didn’t end well.

    One holiday down and three to go. Will it never end? 🙂 Lew

  9. Chris,

    Back in an ancient, unnamed era when I was 13 or 14, my dad’s physics department was loaned an “energy crisis simulator” computer game. (Yes, there were such beasties in the early to mid 1970s.) There were several categories of “energy” in which to invest financial resources, and the goal was to keep humans alive with the same type of 1970s lifestyle we had in the USA. Energy categories included petroleum, natural gas, coal, nuclear fission, solar, winds, tidal energy, geothermal. Oh, and the catchall “New Technology”. There was only one way to win the game: bet the house on “New Technology”. Everything else failed. The idea that new technology would bail us out isn’t new.

    Good job on the ballad and the video! Lallans isn’t too hard to read. As you, I found the guy in the video to be very understandable. Johnnie Armstrong was a bad sort of guy, cattle raiding, thieving, bullying with his entourage, probably involved with blackmail and protection rackets, murderer perhaps, etc. BUT, when England invaded, he could be counted upon (mostly) to fight against the English.

    There’s an old story about how rough and tough the border reivers were. Sometime in the 1500s, a religious official was in the area for several days. At one gathering, he exclaimed in frustration, “Are there no Christians here?!?” He received the reply, “Nae, we’re all Elliots and Armstrongs here.”

    Anyhow, part of the border code was that, even among feuding clans, if a parley was planned, there was (usually) no mayhem at the parley. It was the code. James V broke that code when he captured and killed Johnnie and his men. That was unforgiveable, so the fact that most of the Scottish borderers either didn’t show up or actually fought for England at the Battle of Solway Moss is understandable.

    You also quoted what is often called the most famous quote from the era Borders mayhem: “I haif asked grace at a graceless face, But there is nane for my men and me.” We’ve all met graceless faces. 😉

    That’s a nice machine you were riding. I noticed the ear protection you were wearing. The Princess noted that you either own or hire all sorts of wonderful machines and “toys”, quickly adding that I can’t have them. Oh, well.

    Good on Ruby! Maybe between the 2 Kelpies the rabbits will decide to move on.

    We’ve entered that in between phase now. The vast majority of the leaves have fallen, there are no flowers blooming, and if we get a freak snow, it won’t last. So, if the sun isn’t shining, it’s gray. This means your flower photos are more enjoyable than ever. We both thought the daisies to be beyond spectacular.

    We’ve had several consecutive nights about -4C. Storm coming, so we’ll be about 8C warmer for several nights.


  10. Hi Steve,

    You guessed it. Things are a bit weird down here, and I fully expect them to get weirder. A few years ago, I would not have expected the future to look like this at all, and yet here we are all the same. Some of the recent concerns surrounds the availability of materials for the shed project. It’s a serious concern, but I’ll sort something out.

    Foreboding is the right word for it. I dunno man, I really don’t really know where the weaknesses in any of the systems are until they fall over and then something has to be done. You probably experience a similar dilemma at your place? I try not to read the news these days, and nowadays simply scan the headlines in order to see what is going on, but even so it is a fraught experience.

    Ah, machinery and materials in one larger shed, and firewood in the other larger shed. The existing arrangements have been good, but not good enough unfortunately. All of the existing materials will be recovered and repurposed right down to the screws.

    Interesting, I hadn’t heard of the term pole shed before, but basically that is the sort of construction which we’ll build, except it will be custom made on site. And yeah, there is never enough shed space. Imagine what would be required if you’d had to store all of your hay for winter and spring feed? Shed space and placement is really important. Lumber is in very short supply here and um, it is one thing to dispassionately read about the subject, it’s another thing entirely to be confronted with the predicament in your face.

    Mate, we all do what we can knowing that there is no perfect solution. What else can you do?



  11. Hi Margaret,

    Thanks for the feedback to Lewis on the pumpkin latte as I was curious as we don’t ever see pumpkin spice flavoured items down under. Not sure why that would be, but I’m guessing the pumpkin varieties grown here aren’t all that sweet. Dunno really.



  12. Hi DJ,

    Thanks for the blast from the past. 🙂 Hey, I recall the late 70’s and as a tech geek I used to drool over the Tandy TRS-80 and also hang out after school to play the Apple II machines. Yeah, well the outcome from the software represents a certain built in world-view, which may or may not be correct (but my gut feeling suggests is an error of belief). Interestingly, as a kid I came across a software simulator with such perspectives in the ground breaking game: Utopia (video game).

    Thanks, and the written word was easily understood, and from some perspectives it recalls the written word of middle English which is sort of understandable. Language’s kind of evolve over time and with use. However, here I must add that the written language is much easier to decipher than the spoken language! 🙂

    Johnnie kind of messed up as despite his successes, he sought official recognition and hence respectability. Why else would he have ventured into unfriendly territory in the first place in response to a summons – despite the parlay rules? It was an ill act which the King performed, which eventually lead to his downfall.

    You know, that’s funny, but at any time the powers that be could have legitimised Johnnie and thus reined in the worst of his excesses. They just couldn’t seem to come to such an accommodation which otherwise basically reflected the reality they lived with. Perhaps they wanted more? Dunno.

    The Battle of Solway Moss sort of suggests that superior numbers sometimes isn’t all that it is cracked up to be. And in the histories are dark hints that leadership was not all that great, and also widely ignored. Still, a curse is a curse and that house brought troubles onto its own head.

    That particular line in the poem was the most significant line of all, and the truth of the matter was that the King did not end up looking all that great. And I hear you about that, those types are around and it is hard to know in advance whom they are, until their actions declare the underlying fibre.

    Hearing protection is very important when working with loud machines. I see people doing all sorts of physical work without gloves, hearing protection or even eye protection, and I kind of wonder about the longevity of such choices. The funny thing about machines is that they can perform an amazing amount of work really quickly, but then the risk of injury increases accordingly. That machine took me an hour or so to really come to grips with for this job. It wasn’t intended to be used in this manner, but on the other hand it felt very safe on the slope, and this was more important in the end.

    Rabbits are unfortunately not so easily deterred. 🙂 The Kelpie’s have their work ahead of them, but they do seem to be applying some diligence to their activities. And rabbits are a rare sight here now.

    Spring usually is never far away. Had another 80’F day today and the gardens were humming with bird and insect life. Reptiles formerly lazing in the sun hurriedly scuttled away upon approach. Planted out the peas and beans today, but it is still too early for the tomatoes. It may be a short growing season.

    Glad to hear about the photos and I shall pass on the pleasant words to the editor. 🙂

    Brr! Stay warm, and we’re already thinking about next seasons firewood.



  13. Hi Lewis,

    I might just do that with a recently minted coin. That’ll give the future archaeologists something to think about, plus provide them with a solid date for the construction. Can you imagine them: “Ah, that was the time of the troubles. The few surviving records indicates that major changes were taking place, although we’re not entirely sure what was happening, and perhaps older ways were being abandoned.” 🙂 It’s fun to imagine what people in the future will make of our current constructions, and no doubts we’ll be seen as giants (as were the Romans). Of course, there will be plenty of artefacts and locales that they won’t thank us for leaving behind, and I do sometimes wonder how the current cities will look in another millennia’s time. Probably not good, but they may contain a lot of life – you never know. The forest critters here usually need the older trees which have hollows created by fallen branches, so a wrecked city could contain a lot of housing for unfussy critters – if they could find something to eat there.

    Oh wow! Today reached 80’F and outside the cicada’s have only just begun their summer song. Planted out the peas and beans today, and set up a chicken wire structure that they will be able to climb. I was pretty excited to note that in every hole I dug for the seedlings, worms were discovered. This is exciting because it kind of vindicates the crazy amount of work producing the batches of fertiliser I deposited onto those growing beds. It is still a bit early to plant out the tomatoes, but I’m yet to remove the winter vegetation (kale and purple sprouting broccoli) so as to create space for the corn. Anyway, I’m getting there and am working on crop rotation as I go this year.

    Tomorrow looks set to rain – a lot. Oh well. And the weather for next weekend looks wet most days, so I might not get back to the shed either.

    Many months ago I might have mentioned the over wintering ginger project. Anyway, most of the ginger tubers rotted, with the exception of one. I dug it up today, but the ginger had a mildly fermented after taste, so yeah, back to the drawing board. Maybe I’ll have to dig up the ginger prior to the winter solstice? Dunno, but some research is required in order to work out how to store the ginger tuber. Have you ever grown ginger tubers before? I replanted new ginger tubers today.

    Exactly! After two days on that machine, well, that’s sea legs mode. For a land lubber such as myself (and yourself of course) it is a disconcerting feeling, which fortunately passed today.

    I dunno about that with garlic, and will have to defer to your greater prowess. Mate, what else can I say: I’m soft… 🙂

    Fair enough about Yes, Minister. It was a touch awkward and uncomfortable to watch, and you make a strong case that Magnum PI does hold greater appeal. A lot of the comedic nature of the show was in the tension between the politicians and the bureaucrats basically trying to stop anything getting done, and from some perspectives, it’s just not that funny. Of course many English shows from that era were more uncomfortable than funny, whilst others were genuinely very amusing.

    Lawyer guy is probably onto a winner with his strategy. And another perspective suggests that he has discovered a weakness in the marketplace and is acting accordingly. That’s business.

    It’s funny you put it that way, because I have been giving much thought to the nimble and lucky concept. One aspect you can work upon, the other maybe not so much. Although I have noted that for some reason unknown to me, many folks I know seem oblivious to opportunities when presented to them. Dunno why that may be. Do you have any thoughts upon that matter?

    Hehe! Nice one! Galaxy Quest was a fun blast. Actually it was a really fun film, and I’m chuckling now at the many comments which come of the actual Star Trek actors made in relation to the film. It’s really good to watch a fun film. The other day I was discussing stoner films (as you do) and we had a good laugh at the enduring silliness.

    It’s the Melbourne Cup public holiday today, and so I’m guessing that over in the more fashionable western end of the mountain range that things were not all that quiet. Plus the weather was really nice today. We had a quiet day at home, and I just did things that needed doing at a pleasant an unhurried pace. Even did a couple of hours of paid work, just to take the stress off later in the week. I’m working on keeping things super chill – if I can actually manage that outcome right now, what with all of the excitement going on all around me in society.

    Man, is George RR Martin ever going to finish those books? Does he even need to do so? What about the fans? Segueing back to Galaxy Quest… Not good – let them write the concluding books!

    Of course, sharp suits. Not quite zoot suits hey? Oh no! Who knew that those suits would outrage people enough to riot? Anyway, those were the times, and I’ve read that such riots took place between your country’s servicemen and ours in large cities in Australia during WWII. It happened, and the times were aggressive, that’s for sure. It’s odd that I chanced upon a description of the riots in a book written by a person living through those times, and the riots were just another misadventure because the author had been inadvertently caught up in one, and that they were common. Otherwise they don’t seem to be described anywhere in histories. It wasn’t a central point of the authors story either, so the recount of the incident had the air of authenticity to it.

    How did the first day go for the new care giver?

    Don’t you reckon that Richard Hambleton pursued art from an entirely unexpected direction? And some may not forgive him for doing so, but he involved the wider public in his work. For that he deserves respect, although I noted that he had his demons.

    Yeah, exactly it didn’t end well. I note that Banksy has spoofed some of his own art works and I recall that one work was automatically shredded on conclusion of the art auction. Neat.



  14. Hi Chris,
    Rats in the shed – oh no! We’ve had plenty of mice but very few rats over the years. The cats at our old place took care of them. The cats loved our goats so they would leave the dead rat in the goats’ pen as a gift. I’m sure the goats appreciated it.

    What’s going to happen with all the dirt from your excavations? I’m sure there is a plan.

    Speaking of wood, Doug is stacking some on our front porch as I write.

    Going down to 23F tonight so any flowers left won’t withstand that but happily my kale and chard will. Next week looks to warm up again and I’m not complaining.

    We had a mostly rabbit free year so I’m expecting next year will be different. I could use Plum and Ruby. Salve occasionally catches one but she’s just not as fast as she used to be. Leo at 13 usually doesn’t have a clue.

    Looking forward to the new construction.


  15. Yo, Chris – There was some talk, here, recently about where the Vikings settled. In the 800s CE, they had two fairly large settlements in Dublin, three more along the western Irish coast, and one settlement inland. Archaeology is ongoing. They were also far ranging tourists. I think it was in a National Geographic, I saw, some Viking had carved, in runes, into a balcony railing, something like, “Olaf was here.” In the Hagia Sophia.

    Giants with no sense of preservation or maintenance. 🙂 . News from Idaho, that kind of relates. Phone service (and internet) have gotten so lousy, over there, that my friends and their daughter are going back to land lines. “Like a movie running backwards …” I figure in a millennia, our cities will mostly be piles of overgrown rubble. Looking around, I can figure out what the Institution will be like, in a lot less time, than that. Overrun with oak, walnut, ivy and blackberries. Last year, on the other side of the building, several apartments had problems with birds getting into the stove vents, and nesting.

    There’s a symmetry. Today it 56F (13.33C). I pulled out the peas and beans and took down the chicken wire. Rain for the rest of the week. It also gladdens my heart when I pull something up, or dig in, and see lots of worms. Three years ago, there wasn’t a worm to be seen, in these plots.

    Nope. Never grown ginger, before. Here it would have to be an inside plant. Or, moved in and out at different times.

    As far as opportunities go, we have an old AA saw. “Get up, show up, take the first indicated step.” As far as luck goes, well, I’ve heard a few people say about WWII, “If you turned left, you lived. If you turned right, you died.” Life is a crap shot. More so at some times, than others.

    “Galaxy Quest” was a homage, and love letter to “Star Trek.” And, science fiction, in general. And, the fans. Sure, it poked a bit of gentle fun, but it was gentle and fun. One of the things the director asked all the actors to do, was to watch the documentary on Trekers. Before they started filming “Galaxy Quest.” By the way, I watched a science fiction film, that I haven’t mentioned. “Fried Barry.” As it was sooooo bad. It’s new, and, I think, South African. It’s really too bad, as, I think there was something in the premise, that could have been made into something. So. An alien comes to earth, an earth guy is abducted. After the mandatory probing, etc. etc., the alien takes over the earth man’s body. One small problem. The earth guy is a heroin addict. A junkie. There’s lots of vomiting.

    It’s also not a holiday, here. Election Day. Or, a non-holiday. Nothing is closed. Not very much interesting in this neck of the woods. Port Commissioner, school boards. In this state, we also have a deal, where, if the legislator passes a bill, that costs voters money, without a vote, then we get to vote on if to maintain or repeal the bill. Should we spend more on mental health? With all the nutters running around, sure. Should we tax the filthy rich? Sure. Given how high the bar is set, and the low percentage of tax, they won’t miss it. Their children won’t starve. 🙂 But, some of the national elections are a bit more interesting. There’s a lot of tea leaf reading and omen parsing, trying to figure out how things will go next year.

    Even less interesting (to me) is if Martin is ever going to finish his series. I don’t care. As I wasn’t suckered into it, in the first place. 🙂 .

    As the zoot suit craze was started by, and popular among black and latin youth, the riots were more about race, than anything. The mini-series, “Penny Dreadful: City of Angels,” covers that period of LA history, rather well. While being a bit of a science fiction series. It was very good. Engrossing.

    To early to tell, but Elinor’s first day with her new caregiver, apparently went o.k.. Still in the “getting to know you” phase.

    Hambleton was seen a “difficult,” by the art world / business. Because he often used them, just as often as they used him 🙂 . I think, for him, it was all about the art. Sure, he threw himself into the splashy openings, and such, and he liked the acclaim. And, the women. But pretty much, as long as he had enough money for a space to work, materials, and enough to support his habit, he was “happy.” Hmmm. It’s kind of like my friend Bob, years ago. He had a free place to live. Uncle Larry’s, as he did the maintenance around the place. And, he worked here and there, for just enough money for his beer and smokes. He was a very happy and carefree person. Unencumbered. Lew

  16. Chris,

    A college friend had a TRS-80. It was a good machine. We could log in to the university mainframe. One night, my friend started playing around on the mainframe and got into the university payroll! And he couldn’t get out. He finally unplugged the computer from the electricity. Such was life in 1982.

    Agreed, the written language is a lot easier to decipher. Middle English, Middle Scots, closely related.

    Yup, Johnnie’s ego seemed to get him. Meeting with the king, rather than ignoring the invitation, was risky, but the Border Code, right? But showing up dressed better than the king? And offering the king all sorts of riches, thereby boasting that he was richer than the king? Not wise moves.

    I never thought about the ramifications of legitimizing Johnnie’s position. However, it might not have done much. Other Border families were given positions of responsibility by the Scottish crown, and this didn’t slow down their lawlessness. Then again, it might’ve been exactly what Johnnie needed.

    Proper protective equipment is very important while working. At my job a few years ago, the Elected Officials were trying to pump us up and “improve” our morale. They had a poster that showed the old way and the new way that they wanted, featuring 2 laborers. The new way showed a tall, muscular young man who had shiny tools, a fancy tool belt, and a big smile. The old way showed a frumpy, overweight, 60ish man whose tools were worn, a tool belt that showed signs of use. He was also wearing gloves, a hard hat, goggles and ear protection, all of which were absent from the new way chap. That was pointed out to the Electeds very clearly by many people. So the head of that campaign got a promotion.

    Today I raked up the leaves from around the cherry tree, maybe 50 square meters of area. Avalanche has been running into those leaves, losing her footing on them, then sliding and rolling. She enjoye that so would purposely slide and roll. So, as I got the leaves into piles, she would charge from the other end of the yard and “cowabunga” into the leaf piles and slide and strew leaves everywhere. I haven’t laughed that hard for a long time. It was fun watching her explore and then just run and play in the leaves so exuberantly.


  17. Hi Margaret,

    It is hard to ignore the rodent stench coming from the now empty wood shed. The pesky critters are living in the walls. Anyway, plans are afoot to put an end to that cosy living arrangement. Actually the stench was pretty bad, and all of the firewood that came from the shed was resplendent with rat urine stink. I had to wear a mask when removing the firewood. I’d call the arrangement an epic fail, but I’ll have my revenge over the next few months.

    Hehe! Thanks for the rat – cat – goat story, and yeah cats really are useful and mischievous creatures. The problem I have is that a cat would bring downsides as well to the small bird population as well as the many small reptiles which all live on the farm. Those critters consume an inordinate number of bugs which would otherwise consume the edible vegetables and fruit trees. So it is a balancing act to get it right, and I really don’t know where the sweet spot is in all these interactions. Are you entirely sure the goats enjoyed dead rats? 🙂 I tell ya what though, chickens sure would.

    Respect. Only someone who knows the true value of excavated soil would ask such a question. 🙂 Nice one. All of the excavated soil was used. There is no spare soil to talk about. How crazy is that? Interestingly a big storm hit the farm today and about an inch and half of rain fell, and the excavated site has held up very well. With a couple of warmer days, the volcanic clay will bake hard. I wouldn’t want to walk on the surface after all that rain though (at least for a few days).

    Nice to hear that your firewood is piling up and being attended to by Doug. Out of curiosity, do you have a steel or masonry wood heater? Probably long term I’m going to have to build a masonry wood heater, so it is a subject I have some serious interest in.

    Brr!!!! Stay warm in those conditions, and yeah that will be pretty much it. Although your kale leaves will become sweeter if they survive the cold snap. The plant has an interesting trick where it can convert starches to sugars in order to lower the freezing point. I’m quite a fan of kale and it survived right through the winter months here.

    Leo is in retirement, an august state for one who has earned his keep! 🙂 Go Salve! Don’t tell Plum and Ruby, but I’m going to get them fixed up next week. They won’t be happy about it, but an Australian terrier / Kelpie cross would be a very strange dog.



  18. Hi DJ,

    🙂 Things were a bit slack back then in terms of security. All you had to do was have the phone number and some form of access. And audit trails were basically unknown. Actually for 1982, that was pretty advanced. In 1995 or maybe a year later (I fail to recollect the exact details), but I recall preparing a manual hand written payroll for over a 100 employees, and that was not considered unusual at the time. On an interesting side story, it was the time of the recession that we had to have down here and I had my doubts about the liquidity and so used to grab my pay cheque (check in US parlance) and immediately head to the bank so as to be the first to deposit it. A fiscally fascinating time. 🙂

    You’ve confirmed my thoughts about the languages being quite similar. Reading the language wasn’t particularly difficult, it just took a bit more time and care to decipher the word from its spelling as well as the overall general context. There is a lot of loss inherent in that poem / song (if there is even a difference between the two art forms).

    It is a truth universally acknowledged that royalty may not appreciate their subjects having more mad cash than they do. 🙂 No disrespect to the departed, but Johnnie was foolish to boast in such a place. To act as if someone is secure when they are indeed on shaky ground is an act of foolishness. It is funny, but as you age, you kind of see where you fit into the scheme of things and you realise sometimes that it is not wise to put one’s head up, lest it gets lopped off. It took me about three years of cogitation before committing to penning this blog, and I usually stick to personal experience whilst discussing the larger issues of the day. Other folks have been known to be quite reactionary, but mostly they are unable to challenge personal experience and observation. Even still, the laws down here are rather harsh.

    Well that’s the thing isn’t it? Reading between the lines I was left with the impression (and I could well be wrong) that just acknowledging the bloke (Johnnie) would have gone a long way towards soothing savage emotions. Anyway, that is how I would have handled the situation. I mean, Johnnie went to the King, and not the other way around, so whatever else could be said about the situation, Johnnie, by his actions acknowledged the authority of the King (and that is despite the boasts) and he probably might have been a very useful tool. But no, it didn’t end up that way and on such choices does history turn.

    What? Hehe! That’s kind of funny really. For some reason you’ve brought to mind all of those motivational posters with snappy one liners and people looking as if they’re in a new age promotional video clip. Honestly, the old bloke with the protective equipment, despite the look, has survived long enough to tell the tale, so if I had to choose between the two, I’d choose him over the new bloke. 🙂 It’s like the guy I got to do a very scary tree job one day many many years ago. His card claimed ‘Champion Axeman’ and his age was not young, and the job was expensive as, but it got done perfectly. He was rough as guts too that bloke, but I acknowledge him as the boss.

    Hehe! Thanks for the laughs, and Avalanche would have had a ball. Mate, I’m really happy that you got a dog. I’ll bet Avalanche exploded into your household! 🙂



  19. Hi Lewis,

    Oh, I wasn’t aware that the Vikings had established themselves in Ireland, and on the western coast too. The Vikings navigational skills must have been astounding and somehow they must have had navigational charts or some way of communicating to other members of their society the position of distant locales? That’s astounding to have left Viking graffiti in Constantinople as a tourist. Why would the Viking head back to the far north western cold extreme climate after such travels? Although I have never resided far from the city in which I was born, although I’ve wandered far in my years. And who knew that the Latin word Sophia is translated into English to mean ‘wisdom’? I must add that the building is quite awe inspiring and has been put to many uses over the years. I’d hope that the spirits of the building accommodated themselves to the changing times? They may have actually performed subtle changes on the people using the building.

    You’ll get no argument from me about the preservation or maintenance issue. Oh yeah, it’s a problem, and after a very damp year I have noted that road surfaces have become in need of much repair. I recall reading the Camulod chronicles where one of the characters removed a sapling from one of the Roman roads and predicted their eventually decline.

    But you’re spot on, a movie running backwards. This is indeed the shape of the future that is depicted from an inverted bell shaped curve. I keep subtly banging on to people around these parts about the importance of edible plants and firewood – but do they listen? Nope. You can’t suddenly take up an interest in these technologies and expect to be able to survive utilising them without years of hard graft – and failures. Hey, the good thing about oak, walnut and blackberries is that at least there are edible components. 🙂 But yeah, I’m thinking rubble too, how could it be otherwise? Rats are equally tough, and did I mention that the other day I watched a King Parrot consume some of the yet unripe tiny apricots. I was left scratching my head and wondering if I could out produce all of the bird life. I reckon I can, it’ll just take more years. The upper limit of those bird species are the winter months and the established birds have an incentive to fight off the newer arrivals. But I could be wrong too.

    Thanks for the weather batten, and the days are warming here. Although a storm rolled in today and provided another inch and a half of rain. The excavated site held up well and the rain combined with some sun will baked the compacted clay more or less solid. It’ll just be a bit muddy for the next week…

    Hmm, maybe it was Claire who digs up the ginger tubers for the winter months? I may have to look into this matter further. Hey, the first eggplant seedlings popped up today. And the peas and beans planted yesterday are doing really well and have even grown. This soil mixture recommended by Steve Solomon (or my interpretation thereof) is working really well.

    I really like the old AA saw as it deals with the world and people as they are, and not some sort of idealised version of people. And yeah, look you’re right about luck being a crapshoot, and luck can run out. Me thinks that the future will be even more of a crapshoot than it is right now. The editor had a bit of a chuckle at the sheer number of private jets in that Scottish place right now. It’s not a good look.

    The funny thing about Galaxy Quest, was that it was the fans who knew the intricate details about how to get the ship to do things. How funny is that concept? I couldn’t imagine how an author such as say, Stephen King (and the book ‘On writing’ turned up in the mail this morning) would cope with fans who want to go into intricate details as to why characters did what they did? Or even worse, argue it out with the author as to why characters did such a thing. Can you imagine that horror?

    Actually it does sound like an interesting premise, but do I really need to feel sympathetically ill from watching all of the barfing? I never watched the Trainspotting film although I loved the Pixies song ‘Where is my mind’? A more important question than it first may seem to be.

    So did you vote on anything?

    Fair enough, I never watched the show if only because the books were so mind bendingly complicated that I failed to understand how that could translate into a short run of television episodes. Some detail must have been lost, somewhere? Although the series probably had people who could write a decent screen play given how successful the thing was. Look, I hear you though and got to the end of the books and asked myself the hard question: What the heck? Too many narrative threads for my brain to easily handle. Mind you, there was Peter Dinklage and I enjoyed the character in the book that he played – one of the more likeable characters by the way. Most of them, you wouldn’t want to be involved with.

    That was my thinking about the Zoot Suit craze and riots too.

    Hopefully Elinor’s new caregiver keeps a discreet emotional distance and comes across a bit stand offish at first. It could be a good sign for the future?

    Hambleton was free. In some ways the man represents a threat to the established order, but at the same time, they could not ignore him. It’s hard to not be drawn back into the morass. What do you do?

    The rain here looks like it will continue for many days.



  20. @ Chris & DJ – Read a book, a couple of years back. “The Debatable Land: The Lost World Between Scotland and England.” (Robb, 2018). I don’t remember much about it. So, your mileage may vary … A Gargle search for “New Books, Scottish Borderlands,” turns up some other recent titles. Of which I know not.

    Ooops! Vikings were on Ireland’s EAST coast. Must have had my map turned upside down … Lew

  21. Yo, Chris – Vikings as tourists … and traders. Baltic amber, and such. Into Russia, and up and down her rivers to the Black Sea. And then onto Constantinople. A lot of Byzantine gelt, turns up in Viking graves.

    I watched an interesting documentary, last week, about building the tunnel from Constantinople to Asia. And, the discovery of the old Roman port. With it’s many shipwrecks. A delicate balance between engineering and archaeology.


    It’s about 45 minutes long. Well worth a look. History bashing heads with progress.

    Yup. Sophia translates as wisdom. As in a well known blog site, Ecosophia. 🙂 .

    The side streets here in Cheahlis are in very bad shape. Lots of excavating and not very good patch jobs. Everything is pretty much tore up around the PUD (electric company) and court house. I don’t know what that’s all about. But, delivering my ballot to the drop box, by the courthouse, was a bit of an ordeal. Paying my electric bill, was something else. I went down at night, and had to slog through a bit of mud and dodge around some pretty big machinery, to finally access the drop slot for my bill. The streets around my neighborhood, well, that’s maybe about upgrading infrastructure for the redundant schools being turned into housing. Maybe. Next time my truck needs new shocks, I’m sending the bill to the city council 🙂

    Prof. Mass is saying dire things, about our upcoming weather. The ghost of the Columbus Day Storm, has been invoked. Maybe I shouldn’t have been so quick to pull the bowls of ice, out of my freezer? Oh, well, Easy enough to freeze up another batch.

    Yes, I think the ginger grower, was Claire. With her wonderful sun porch.

    Authors putting up with nutters and crazed fans. I guess that’s the price you pay for fame and fortune 🙂 .

    Oh, yeah. I voted on a few things and people. Some things I just left blank. Not enough data. Which might have been intended.

    I watched a thoroughly entertaining movie, last night. Back in the 1930s, Noel Coward (a genius) wrote a play called “Blithe Spirit.” It’s been turned into a movie, several times. Most recently, with Judi Dench, as the dotty psychic medium. It’s about an author, who is blocked, as his first wife (who died in an accident) 7 years earlier, was his muse. He has remarried. Inviting a spiritual medium for background material, she accidentally summons up the ghost of his dead wife. Who is not at all pleased with the many changes. Such as, a new wife. I thought it was a fun film, though I may have been influenced by the lush Art Deco, interiors. They got it right, down to the dinnerware. And the kitchen! Rows and rows of blue enamel saucepans. I’ve got two of those. I use them, from time to time. Lew

  22. Hi Chris,

    I don’t dig up the ginger tubers; they stay in a container all year. But I stop watering them in mid to late November, when the foliage starts to die back from lack of sunlight and cool conditions on the porch or inside the house. I don’t water them at all from then until I put them back on the porch to start them in April. If they are overgrowing the container, I pot them on into a larger pot just before I water them for the first time and put them on the porch to start their growth. I’ve kept them alive for several years doing this. They even flower around late September, which ginger grown in containers isn’t supposed to do. The flowers are kind of strange looking, not showy, but it’s cool that they do manage to flower.

    We finally got our first frost this morning, with a low of 31F. I harvested all the remaining tomatoes, peppers (8 pounds of them!), eggplants, and lima beans over the past few days. It may get a little colder than that the next couple of mornings before it starts to warm up again next week, when I will be planting garlic for next year.

    We have some autumn color now, more than I expected given the dry and warm weather in the first half of October. Apparently we’ve gotten enough rain and cooler weather to bring on the color change. In another few weeks we’ll be experiencing the gray and brown shades of winter.


  23. Lew,

    That book is at our local library. I read it a couple years ago, too. It was interesting.


  24. Hi Chris, looking good big fella. I fondly recall evenings spent telling stories,eating good food and a couple of beers on your deck watching the sunset. From your kiwi bro ex -Derrimut.

  25. Hi Jason,

    Man, far out! 🙂 It’s good to hear from ya bro. And of course, I can bro ya, cause I know ya!

    Fun times and thanks for the nice words. It’s a nice place to sit and think and just talk rubbish over a brew and watch that old sun set. Or set the brazier off in the courtyard on a cold night and watch the stars. The paddocks are looking super lush this year too, and every time the old brain gets around to thinking about mowing, I keep hearing the echo of your suggestion to run dairy cows. 🙂

    Hey, word on the street is that the local pub is set to reopen tomorrow night. There’s a really good new place to eat down in Gisborne too.

    Can you believe that we’re building even more shed space? You can never have too many sheds.

    Mate, you and your lady are always welcome here.



  26. Hi Claire,

    Thanks very much for the ginger over wintering instructions. Our mistake was immediately obvious, we kept the soil moist after the foliage had died back during the winter, thus the tubers rotted. All is now clear, and I’ll follow your instructions next year and keep the soil drier. I’ll keep a look out for the flowers. Interesting. I assume that you harvest some of the tuber at the end of the season and return unharvested tuber chunks to the dry soil?

    Claire, this talk of freezing conditions is perhaps proving that I’m already a bit summer soft… 81’F tomorrow and the sun has some serious bite to it.

    Your harvests are amazing and I look forward to your next tally of the seasons production. And I must again thank you for getting me to read Steve Solomon’s book about growing vegetables south of Australia (as well as the other two books), which is candidly the sort of conditions I face here. Hmm. I planted out the peas and beans a few days ago, and discovered worms in every single hole that I dug, and the plants have shown far less transplant shock than in any previous year – many are already growing after only a couple of days in the ground. That soil recipe is nothing short of astounding.

    Ah, the wheel of the seasons do turn. It’ll be spring again before you know it.

    The pesky King Parrots have decided to consume the unripe apricot crop. Oh well…



  27. Hi Lewis,

    That certainly isn’t exciting news for folks in Western Europe. Few folks have ever heard of Mono Ammonium Phosphate (MAP), or the other nitrogen based soil goodies, but that doesn’t mean that they’re not kind of seriously important. I’m not sure what is going on down here in relation to all of that, because my understanding is that the land of stuff supplied us, and we may have to look elsewhere. Although gas is not as much of a drama here as it is in Western Europe, and I believe that there is a plant in the south western part of the continent which does the gas to nitrogen based fertiliser trick. The MAP story on the other hand is not good at all.

    The funny thing about urea is that animals supply that soil stuff free of charge. All you have to do is feed them, and there in lies the predicament, because to do so you have to allow them into the paddocks which are used to produce grains and/or other edible plants. And thus outputs decrease accordingly. It’s why the big commercial farmers get a bit touchy about regenerative farming (using cattle) techniques. It works, but I’m guessing that yields are lower. And unfortunately cities are set up to send the same brew stuff out to the oceans. A bit of a shame, but eventually our civilisation will get around to doing something about that, they’ll have to, one way or another.

    It blows my mind to consider that the fearsome Vikings could also have been tourists. I’m just trying to wrap my head around how they would have passed through the areas which them and their fellows would also have raided? I also wonder how they worked around the language barrier? I guess there would have been some Vikings who were accomplished in Latin.

    Trading down here prior to the Europeans was quite extensive and some goods travelled enormous distances across the continent. Some of the local stone from a very old quarry was traded far and wide. There was also apparently huge cultural exchange as things such as stories and song were valued and distributed.

    Was that tunnel the: Eurasia Tunnel? An awesome bit of engineering. I used to work for the local water authority in my first adult job, and got to see a tunnel boring machine in action. They’re amazing machines. I might not have time to watch the video tonight, it being a Thursday and all.

    Went to dinner at a place we hadn’t been before in the nearby town. It was very good, and I went for the chicken parma (Aussie for parmigiana) with chips, gravy and salad. I’ll definitely be heading back. And word on the street is that the local pub will finally open tomorrow. Yay! Still, with them being closed for all of those long months, the risk they’ve run is that I’ve been checking out the other local food options. It is a tough job, but someone has to do it.

    Hehe! Oh my, that blog definitely went places today, but then history suggests that Mr Greer is backing a winner. It’s amazing that things have been so (mostly) quiet in that part of the world for so long now. Our former UK masters have most certainly requested that we contribute much blood and resources to those never ending strifes.

    Mate, sometimes I wonder about all of that road work. Down in the nearby town, a few years ago, the authorities installed two roundabouts for entering and exiting the freeway. To do that job took something like two years. And recently they’ve upgraded a nearby intersection (which really needed fixing because for some reason trucks now use that turn) and that job has taken an extraordinary amount of time, and required undoing some of the roundabout work. I dunno. It’s all a mystery to me. But some of the roads around here in the less fashionable country area are looking worse for wear.

    Fortunately, the good Professor suggests that the low pressure system will abate as it reaches the coast. Incidentally, I quite enjoyed his take on the old Roman god of rain (among other duties) Jupiter. Very amusing. And the folks down here are suggesting that it is likely that a La Nina is forming, which is a wetter lead up to New Years. Had an inch and a half of rain yesterday with more to come for Saturday. Tomorrow though looks like perfection and I might get out and dig some foundation holes for the new shed. There sure are a few storms reaching your part of the world soon, so the frozen water is not a bad idea at all.

    Hehe! Nutters and crazed fans, could be fun, and then sometimes on rare occasions, it could be a real nightmare. I picked up the ‘On Writing’ book this afternoon which was waiting for me at the local post office. I’ll begin reading it next.

    It was a pretty nice, but cool day here today and I worked this morning and then drove around the area scrounging materials for the new shed. Most of the places looked pretty well stocked, although there were holes and really odd and unusual things in short supply. I can’t see any pattern to it all. The really big box hardware store in a town a bit closer to the big smoke, had a security guard on the front door, as well as the greeter lady who was really I’m guessing, checking to see that nothing was getting stolen.

    All part of your civic duty. Incidentally, down here by way of contrast, we don’t get to vote on things at that level. The politicians reserve that right for themselves. The only time we get to vote on issues is where there is a referendum for a change to the constitution or there was the recent plebiscite for same sex marriage – which amusingly romped home too. Voting is of course compulsory for adults at risk of fines. Turns out that at the end of the day there was just a very small but very noisy minority voice expressing objections. Who knew?

    Noel Coward has some remarkable quotes attached to him, and also he has an astounding work ethic. I hadn’t realised that it was he and Michael Caine in the Italian Job. Ah, very amusing and witty.

    Well yeah, and this is outside of my experience, but I’ve noted elsewhere that former wives are rarely fond of their replacement. Yeah, a serious pot of trouble there but via a medium would be an amusing concept. I must out myself here as having once removed a 1960’s / 1970’s lime green with burnt orange bench tops (constructed of nothing found in nature) kitchen that was so 70’s that it hurt my eyes to look upon. It had to go, and so it did. Art Deco was a little less, in your face.



  28. Yo, Chris – It drizzled all day yesterday, and we’re getting the same, today. With wind. The local weather station says we’ve had 1.09 inches, of rain, in the last 72 hours. There’s lots of standing water, on the lawns behind the Institution. And, of course, with all the leaves coming down, there’s a bit of street flooding, here and there. Due to the leaves stopping things up. Happens every year.

    Peak fertilizer. Who knew? As far as pastures and poop, I was looking for the correct spelling of Joe Salatin’s name, and ran across this video …


    “How to Quit Your Job and Start Farming.” Joe has some no nonsense things to say, and then about 5 minutes in, they interview an accountant, who threw in the corporate towel. Hmmm. 🙂 .

    The Vikings might have had a slave or two, along, who could speak the local lingo. Sometimes, trading languages developed. Here in the northwest, it was “Chinook Jargon.” Bits and pieces of several Native American languages and English. And then there was sign language, which seemed to be pretty widespread. Here, the native people had vast trading networks, that pretty much covered all of north and south America.

    It’s the Marmaray Tunnel, under the Bosporus Straight. It wasn’t a boring operation. Vast sections were constructed, and then placed in a shallow trench, on the sea bottom. Snapped together. Part of the reason they did that, is, it’s not far from a major earthquake fault. It’s a bit more flexible than a bored tunnel.

    How great your local pub is reopening!!! Use it or loose it. Which I’m sure won’t be a problem for the Editor and you. Good tucker, coming up!

    I haven’t seen Mr. Greer, this week. I’ll catch it next time I’m in the library. Apparently, either he or I are caught in a temporal anomaly. At least, according to the computer gods, someone’s clock is ahead.

    I’m glad you received your copy of “On Writing.” I haven’t read it in awhile, but, my copy is handy, if there’s anything you want to pick over.

    My Idaho friends tell me lumber is pretty much available, but expensive. It’s the bits and bobs that are hard to source. Doors, windows, cabinets. Stuff like that. They also think it’s a shame we don’t do enough recycling, in this country.

    Well, the vote is in, and all three tax measures went down in defeat. Here, a lot of people have a knee jerk reaction, to voting down anything with “tax” in the bill title. Even the “tax the rich” bill. LOL. Some of that is, “Someday I’ll be that rich, and I won’t want to be taxed.” Hope springs eternal. Mandatory voting? That could be … un-American!!! 🙂 . The voter turnout was pretty abysmal. In our county, only 35% of the registered voters, voted. State wide, it was even worse. About 30%.

    And, I suppose you’ve heard about Doug, the New Zealand potato.


    He weighs in at 7.9 kilograms (17.4 pounds, for the metrically challenged.) Some of the photos are really funny. They’ve even built him a little cart, to haul him around. Lew

  29. Chris,

    I’ve also had jobs in which it was best to cash the paycheck rapidly. One summer job I had, the owners made us all come into the office on payday. They paid us in cash.

    You nailed it. Always go with the guy who has the proper equipment, no matter how crotchety he is. He’ll get the job done right. When having to choose between substance and style, I choose substance.

    I’m glad we got a dog, too. As you surmised, Avalanche exploded into the household. She’s doing REALLY well. Setting in as a pack member, learning commands, starting to get leash trained. She no longer needs to go outside twice per night, sleeping through until 6:00 a.m. It’s amazing how fast she’s picking things up.

    More rain today. Judging by how hard it rained for 2 solid hours, we got between 8 and 10 mm here. It is good to have a true wet season after that arid summer!


  30. Hi DJ,

    The last time in which I was paid in cold hard cash was when I delivered newspapers and/or the local chemist delivery rounds. Without divulging too many details, your story candidly brought back dark memories from many long decades ago. The mention of being paid in physical cash brought to mind one of the biggest challenges that I’d ever faced in my professional life. This was all a long time ago now, and nowadays I’d basically tell them all where to go in very ungentlemanly, but also very firm terms, and so they’d have to deal with the consequences, but back then I was so young and innocent.

    As a bit of background I was unfortunately as a very young bloke seeking to test my mettle. And tested it was. So I signed up for taking on the task of sorting out a business that was utter chaos. Every month they had tens of thousands of transactions, many of them in cash. My role was to restore order to the chaos. And through sheer force of personality and energy I did just that – although at a personal cost.

    There was this one area of the business in which the employees were bizarrely paid in physical cash on the day. Like how is that meant to work? It was a bonkers arrangement which I cracked the absolute sads about and eventually got changed despite the union protests.

    But before that time… So what I discovered was that the pays had to be calculated in advance based on a roster, which may or may not work out. The operational staff wanted the physical job done and so would happily substitute different employees. And to soothe ruffled feathers, they’d hand over someone else’s pay, and not inform the payroll people of the change. And I discovered that had been going on for years.

    I never knew about that circumstance until employees began complaining that they never earned that much, whilst other employees took advantage of the situation and undeclared their earnings. Heads rolled, and I put an end to the stupidity, but the personal cost was crazy. I’m just not wired for lengthy, protracted and highly emotive arguments about unworkable arrangements. It all got sorted out, but far out. The whole thing was so dumb.

    So yeah, I’d only pay cash when there are no possibilities of future complaints. A hard lesson to learn.

    Had to laugh. I recently read an autobiography of one of my favourite authors: Jack Vance. The book was titled: This is me, or more correctly, this is I. And he’d signed up to the navy during WWII and confirmed my worst suspicions that the grumpy and distant bloke who is slow to warm to him was often the best of the crew.

    Hehe! Avalanche sounds like a bunch of fun, and I’m really pleased that you and your lady took the plunge. Dogs by their very natures want to fit in to the pack. Who are we to argue with such excellence? 🙂

    Man, we hired a machine and drilled the post holes for the shed today. Me tired… The funny thing about machines is that they’re not no work. People forget this minor detail.



  31. Hi Lewis,

    Drizzle and more drizzle sounds like proper winter weather to me. It rains a lot, but doesn’t rain much, would be one way of describing ceaseless drizzle. On the other hand, 1.09 inches of rain is quite a lot and at least it keeps away the frosts. How’s the soil looking?

    I hear you about the blocked drains and whatnot. The same thing happens here too with the water inlets into the water tanks and causes me to run around like a crazy person in extreme rainfall just keeping the systems working. Too much organic matter, and the systems just packs it in. With the drains which redirect water over the land, I’ve sort of accommodated that sort of organic moosh (a highly technical term) by installing ever larger pipes until the systems just work. But each upgrade costs more than what it replaces.

    Anyway, floods aren’t all that bad as they serve the purpose of resupplying minerals to soils in flood prone areas. Mind you, the people living in such places might seriously crack the sads at such possibilities.

    We hired a cantilever post hole digger earlier today to help dig the post holes on the new shed site. Oh man, so the very first post hole we dug, we ended up with the auger bit stuck deep into the clay. It took quite a while to excavate out the auger bit, but we got there in the end. By the eighteenth hole the editor and I were in a routine and knew the machine fairly well. But the hot and humid day just kind of wiped us out. The machine had to be taken back to the hire place, so on the way we picked up 3pm lunch, did the grocery shopping, purchased 80+ pounds of chicken feed, arrived home and then crashed out for about an hour. We were physically exhausted. Machines can often speed up a job, but rarely are they no work at all. And rehydration solutions can bring a person back from the dead. Oh yeah… If there is one thing in the far future I’ll miss, it is those chemical concoctions on a hot and hard work day. All the same, I’m feeling it tonight.

    Thanks for the video, and I’ll watch it after replying. I mentioned it before, but I met Joel when he was down under, and he’s a really lovely bloke. It was a real pleasure to have a brief chat. And the first few minutes of the video confirmed my own world view. A good mate was pestering me a few years ago about land once and I suggested to him to just buy some and live in a yurt (which Joel also suggested). It seemed like a good idea to me, but people want what they want sorry to say. I wish it were otherwise, and maybe one day things will get harsh enough that it is an appealing option, but until then. The young bloke I know who jokingly (maybe) mentioned working on the farm for board and feed can now visit up this way. It is such a small world, and his girl is from one of the old timer families up this way.

    The corporate towel can sometimes lack appeal, and I recounted one such story in my reply to DJ. It was such a stupid arrangement, and if they’d genuinely wanted the situation to work, why did they muck around with it – and then complain… So much wrongness.

    Oh! Well, I hadn’t considered the slave option for the Vikings. Weren’t the Vikings in some danger that their slave would run off? I would do that if in that circumstance. But yeah, trading languages makes sense. I guess the English language fills that role nowadays as once Latin filled that role. In India during my travels there, most people spoke very good English and it was really easy to get around. That makes sense about the trading in your country because not everything can be produced in the local area, and so that is where trade steps in.

    Incidentally, as to Peak Fertiliser, my copy of William Catton Jr’s book Overshoot, turned up in the mail today. I’ll re-read it after Stephen King’s book, On writing.

    Yes, of course that tunnel, and the earthquake fault was an alarming err, feature, which leaped out of the text at me. You know, there have been some times when I was on a motorcycle and stuck in traffic on the massive and super tall Westgate Bridge (which disastrously fell down during construction). Anyway, feeling the bridge deck bounce up and down was an alarming experience, and I avoid the thing nowadays. Just a personal thing rather than an indictment upon the engineering, as it makes me feel rather queasy.

    One can only but do their best at the local pub to support it. But given their propensity to shut down, well I now feel that the support needs to be spread a bit around the place. It reminds me of the Rachelle story. Oh Rachelle, oh well.

    Oh no! Possibly given that Mr Greer’s subject was the future of Europe, well it may be his clock that was too advanced? 🙂 Oh no! 201 comments already. My head would be spinning exorcist style with that many comments (and I probably would ignore most, except for the lovely long term regulars anyway). Then I’d pen something really awful to send the newbies running to the hills, like a deep dive into Wagner’s Ring trilogy – and I’m still not sure whether Mr Greer was joking with that threat or not! 🙂

    That’s not too bad with the lumber in Idaho. Given diesel fuel prices, the price of lumber has to rise all other considerations to the side. My experience was slightly different in that there was little supply and it was expensive. Yikes! That makes for poor reading. I haven’t tried the bits and bobs because I’m recycling everything and have no need for those items. But I’ll keep a look out and see what the story is down here on that front.

    Isn’t wanting your day in the sun all part of the dream? Of course as you and I know, dreams can turn to nightmares. I do wonder about the strength of that dream as it has a hold down here too. Joel Salatin I’m guessing was suggesting to ignore it… A few people complain about compulsory voting, but we were so apathetic as a nation before that came to be, that something had to happen.

    How cool is the mutant spud? It’s feral! Yes, I’d heard of it, and can only but applaud the intelligence of our compatriots over the Tasman Sea for its intended use. You’d hope they clone some chunks of the mutant spud.

    I loved the cart too, and the little dump truck! Funny stuff.



  32. Hi Chris,
    You know, the cats caught very few wild birds that I could see. In the spring I’d find a few migrants that they left in the barn but they’d leave the starlings and English sparrows that nested and pooped all over the barn, alone. I think they thought like the chicks they belongs there. They never killed one of our chicks either. I had a birdfeeder hung in a tree and sometimes one or two of the cats would hang out under it looking up or sit on the branch it hung on looking down. The regular visitors would just fly off to a nearby tree until the cat left and come right back. Sometimes chickadees would flit in and out whether a cat was there or not.

    Some roads around here are in awful shape. More importantly many bridges over small and large streams are in bad shape. Gradually they’re being replaced. Of course the freezing and thawing doesn’t help.

    Regarding being paid in cash, Doug has this part time job doing work on a older, somewhat disabled man’s hobby farm. He gets paid $20/hour in cash and generally works about 8 hours a week. He’s quite happy with that situation. As this man has no building with electric the work will come to and end pretty soon for the winter.

    Doug and I had a gas powered two man (or in our case man and woman) post hole digger. We managed pretty well with it though as I’m so short it was hard for me to lift it from the hole.


  33. Yo, Chris – Well, the soil is thoroughly saturated, here. There’s an oak tree, up by the road behind the Institution. Looks to be leaning, a bit. Has it always been leaning a bit? If it came down, I don’t think it would quit reach the building.

    Be sure and throw a coin, in a post hole. Maybe, one in every corner post? Just so you’re covered. What kind of a footing are you going to use for the posts? In all that clay. And, what will you do with all the clay that comes out of the holes? Throw a few pots? 🙂 .

    Boy, that was a long day for youze guyze. But, sometimes small errands pile up.

    Yes, I read the DJ story. Sounds like a nightmare. I think I mentioned that I once worked in a bar, where my paycheck bounced. Another employee tipped me off to “leaving it with the bank”, for collection. They didn’t charge for that, back in the day. The owner always deposited money on Fridays (to cover his liquor orders), so, the money would always be there, then.

    There are many ways to control slaves. Sometimes, just the promise of later freedom. Or the threat of cutting off a foot, if someone does a runner. To make an example. Re: A lot of people speaking English, in India. Well, Empire…

    The interlibrary loan of “Peak Everything,” is waiting for me, at the library. Along with Nick Cage’s film, “Pig.” I’ll probably pick them up, tomorrow.

    Speaking of earthquakes, I re-watched Dwayne Johnson’s “San Andreas,” the other night. A very satisfying disaster flick. Something about the ground moving under one’s feet, earthquake or other reasons, that is rather disconcerting. Last night I watched “Battle: Los Angeles.” A alien invasion flick, that follows a battalion of Marines, fighting there way through an alien invasion. It was pretty good. Lots of running and shooting. Cool explosions. Trailer …


    OK. I’ll bite. Rachelle story? Who is this Rachelle?

    I thought you’d like the photo of the spud in the dump truck. Heavy machinery. Cool.

    Last night I hit the chemist. I do a big buy, about every three months, when things start running low. Usually, I expect to spend about $100. Just by chance, I hit a “buy one, get one free,” sale. On most of the things I bought. So, only $60. This morning, I hit the cheap grocery store, for the Club pantry. Found a lot of good stuff. Cheap. Two one gallon jugs of cranberry sauce for $1. Four boxes of poultry stuffing for $1. Spent $40 and ended up with a large box and two large bags of food.

    I forgot to mention, somewhere I saw a picture of my Dad in a Zoot suit. Maybe from before WWII. Don’t know what happened to that picture. Things slip away.

    I took a look at the Doulton “Centurion”, on E-Buy. There’s one for sale, at about half the price of other examples. The seller has a real good rating. But I’m not very enthused about the colors. Green tunic and purple kilt. Hmmm. I do have one shelf of green stuff…it might fit in there. The Wizard is a lot less of a problem. He comes in many colors. Black, gray, red … and several shades of blue. 🙂 Lew

  34. Hi, Chris!

    It has been extra hectic this week, so I’m kind of behind in my reading. And I’ll tell you – panic attacks are a part of my life. One needs good sleep at night to keep the nerves in shape, and I just can’t get it. I do know a supplement (vitamin) that works pretty instantly for those, but it is very hard to find in the form that works. Only one manufacturer makes it and their stock has been tied up in shipment for months. I am not sure if I should mention manufacturers here.

    Your hired machine looks like our Tractorzilla had a baby. I prefer the baby. The guys say, the bigger the better.

    Good- oh, Ruby, on the rabbit. I wish I could put you onto our groundhog. He’s about to hole up for the winter.

    Thanks for the flowers, especially the ones that will become strawberries. That is encouraging.


  35. Chris,

    Thanks for the cash story. Doesn’t sound like it was very fun.

    Oh, exactly. Often the grumpy and distant bloke has seen it all before, leans towards cynicism, and will make you prove yourself before he gets emotionally involved in the new regime. If his respect is earned, he’s the best employee. Otherwise…Oh, and I’ve been that grumpy, distant bloke.

    Just because the machine does a lot of the work doesn’t mean that you don’t do any work! Big Bertha Snowblower moves the snow and is self-propelled. I still have to walk and steer and make Big Bertha turn. Definitely not a stroll in the park. So the post hole machine digs the hole for you. You probably had to move it and set it in place and do some physical operation when it was digging. Being a machine, I bet it was heavier than a manually powered post hole digger too.

    On Vikings and slaves. The book I recently read had a lot on this topic. Somebody has calculated how many man hours it took to build a Viking ship, oars and mast, make the sails and rigging and rope and spare ropes/sails, all of the clothes for the crew, etc. Pretty much would’ve kept an entire group of allied farms/friends/relatives busy for 3 years. Plus somebody had to tend to the fields and the animals. So, having slaves meant all of this could get done. More slaves meant faster turnaround time on building and equipping boats. More boats meant more wealth from trade and plundering. Slaves were a big reason the Viking trade routes expanded so far and so rapidly. They went everywhere! https://www.thetechoutlook.com/news/crypto/elon-musk-shares-a-picture-of-vikings-on-the-moon-what-does-it-mean-floki-inu-surged-after-this/


  36. Hi Inge,

    Thanks for taking the time to drop by. I’d wondered what was occurring in your neck of the woods.

    I noted that the spectre of Guy Fawkes has returned in London. Did he ever go away?



  37. Hi Margaret,

    I really like cats and their feisty personalities, and yes they know their own feline business and conduct their lives with that knowledge in the forefront of their minds. The cats I’ve known had mercurial minds and most of the time they interspersed bouts of delightfulness with a playful sense of the feline. Hope you know what I’m talking about there? Basically, they were free and independent spirits, and longer term I’ll have to seek their assistance.

    An interesting difference though is that the sheds here aren’t really big enough to be described as barns which were big enough to house felines. This is basically the current project which we are seeking to rectify. I tell ya though, there are times when I imagine how useful cats were during historical episodes such as the Black Plague, not that anyone at the time understood that matter.

    Cats are really intelligent creatures, and you know I’m guessing that in a millennia’s time the feral domestic cats of nowadays will be much larger again. Based on chance sightings, this evolutionary process is already occurring.

    I hear you about the rural roads and their decrepitude. The roads are one thing, but the bridges are a nightmare problem. A few years ago a nearby bridge which is one of the only three access points to this part of the mountain range, was lifted and reinforced. But all the same, I’d seen it underwater during a particularly impressive and prolonged storm.

    🙂 Doug’s arrangement is not so uncommon in rural areas and it speaks well of him and his interactions within the local community. And I’d have to suggest that the flows of work also follow the seasons where some seasons have more work than at other times of the year. City folks miss that ebb and flow of things.

    Respect to you. Seriously, I’m impressed. The editor and I were both on the controls of that cantilevered post hole digger yesterday, and it was a real effort to lift the rotating auger out of the two foot deep holes. The very first hole the auger became stuck and we had to dig the thing out. I’m feeling it today in my shoulder I can tell you.

    You know, I don’t understand why a sort of learned helplessness has crept into societies expectations. It just makes no sense to us at all. Oh well.



  38. Hi Pam,

    We all have weeks like that, and I’m far behind in my reading of Mr Greer’s blog this week, which seems to have struck something of a raw nerve. I quail in fright at the thought of the sheer number of comments that Mr Greer has to read and respond too. Here on the other hand, it is a pleasure, and most days I can respond at leisure.

    Well yeah, a decent night’s sleep is a prerequisite for keeping those nerves in tip top fighting shape. You never really know what challengers they might face out of the blue. And there does seem to be rather a lot of challengers these days. Makes for an exciting existence, but truth to tell, I’d prefer less excitement.

    Probably a wise move not to mention the manufacturer. Dunno about you, but I do try to also keep regular hours and eat well, and by that I mean good food, some of which comes straight from the garden. And we prepare most meals from basic raw materials. Food sadly, is not all equal these days. And I have this horrid notion that this issue is more important than most people want to consider.

    Well, that is an opinion. However, the guys at the hire place, whom I’ve known for many years, suggested that the smaller machine which you can see in the photographs, is actually in this particular case, the better machine. They have larger machines there too. That particular machine, I’m seriously impressed with, and it felt super safe on the slope, and you can’t say that about every machine. Even when facing downhill with the bucket out front when the back end of the machine occasionally bucked up, it never once felt unsafe.

    Groundhog day! Although, that call is a touch premature and you have many weeks of waiting time. Ruby would be fascinated by groundhogs, but might want to bite them.

    🙂 Glad to share the flowers with you.



  39. Hi DJ,

    The cash story was a very unpleasant experience. But you know, when you’re young and wanting to make your mark, sometimes you can over reach and discover personal limits. Mate, before setting off on that particular employment odyssey, it basically never occurred to me that a business could ever be in that much of a mess and yet continue to operate. It was a real mystery that. As an interesting side story, I briefly met the predecessor. He was paid to leave the job, and get lost. It staggered me that he was basically paid to leave instead of being sacked, but then there were so many odd things about that place. It should have been a red flag warning. Oh well, live, experience and learn.

    DJ, grumpiness and distance aside, you’re alright by me! 🙂 Those are the folks you want to know, and they’re also the ones you want on your side if ever you’re caught in a knife fight!

    We’ve got two low centre of gravity mowers nowadays. The new big boss – which is super awesome but I’m yet to show photos of. And then there is the green one you’ve probably seen. So I decided to use the green one today, and it started fine and I loaded it up the trailer with coffee grounds to distribute around the orchard. Just as I took off, the motor cut out. This is of course why we now have a new big boss machine. Anyway, it was an electrical issue, and I had to remove a few panels so as to find the faulty blade fuse (which I have some spares). Seeing my spare blade fuses are in low supply (and I use some of them in the solar power system), I put in an order for a mixed box of them with different current ratings. How that box can be about $25 delivered is something of a mystery to me. Anyway, the panels were reinstalled and the machine is now working again. That’s a relief. I thought that it might have been the starter relay, which it wasn’t. I worked that out by hot wiring the starter relay using a spanner across the terminals, and the starter turned, but the ignition didn’t catch. Fault finding is a hard won skill – as you no doubts witnessed in your job. Sometimes you have to be across everything.

    How is the rock moving in your garden going?

    Exactly, some work, does not equate to no work. I tell ya, the loader / digger machine last week was a joy to use as all I had to do was hang on, don’t fall off, and operate the joysticks. But even still you get thrown around a bit for hours and hours for a couple of days. The cantilevered post hole digger on the other hand was very and most definitely not self propelled. We got the big boss new mower with 21hp, low range gearing and all wheel drive to pull the machine back up the hill using a dog chain. And I must add that the post hole machine could easily go down a hole, but coming back up again it took both the editor and I to lift the auger (full of clay) out of the hole. I did one or two holes by myself and then politely requested assistance. Two people did a much easier lift than old fella me. And throughout the drilling process, we continually cleared the auger of clay too. That machine is not for the weak and the motor acted like a cantilevered weight too to make things easier. I’m feeling it today, and so had a really slack day and did not much of anything.

    Who knew that Mars bloke had a sense of humour? 🙂 Actually I saw a clip of him on Saturday Night Live, and he was pretty funny.

    But eventually the Vikings raiding ceased. Something must have been the cause of that?



  40. Hi Lewis,

    It’s often unheeded advice to not have large trees within dropping distance of residences. For some reason known only to themselves, the large trees can fall over rather unexpectedly, and saturated soil and strong winds are an alarming combination to produce such an outcome. After the recent epic wind storm around these parts there was a suggestion that the trees had grown in such a way so as to accommodate the usual prevailing winds. What was interesting about that epic wind storm, was that it blew from an entirely unusual direction.

    I can’t imagine that anyone in your residence will have chainsaws ready to hand on the off chance that the large oak tree does indeed topple over? Incidentally, trees are worth noting so as to observe subtle changes over time. Down here we have a state emergency service who perform such assistance work during emergencies – such as trees fallen onto houses. I believe it operates on a volunteer basis just like the rural fire brigades. I noted recently that it appeared as if one of their emergency service vehicles had what looked like a coffee machine on it. Intriguing, but probably necessary given the hours they get called out. It surprises me that even in this rural area, there are plenty of folks unprepared to deal with the sort of regular disasters that occur. The bloke who took it upon himself to take half of the firewood rounds I’d cut up a few weeks ago – I’m not sure that he has a log splitter. I could hand split a trailer load of firewood, but you know, not everyone can, and I have my doubts about that blokes skills.

    Thanks for the good advice, and I shall do just that with the coins. He says, whilst writing a note to himself. Notes are handy things, lest my brain become over full with attempting to remember too much and then sadly tiny little chunks might begin oozing out of the err, maybe ears? Had to back off the baby aspirin too yesterday as I ended up with a blood nose after the very hard work day.

    Nah, I like how you think, but I’m not entirely sure that the volcanic clay here would be any good for making and firing pots. I’d read that the big smoke maybe short on brick clay because some of the best sources have been built over with housing. Ook. It’s as silly as building housing over prime fertile agricultural land.

    Took it easy today after the crazy work day yesterday with that cantilevered post hole digger. Far out, that machine was hard work, and it wasn’t so much the drilling that was the problem, it was lifting the auger replete with clay out of the holes. And the machine worked as a lever too, so I can’t even begin to imagine the even more basic post hole diggers. The hand powered auger I have is in some respects much easier to use, but just far slower. And a gourmet pie was consumed as well as a chunk of lemon drizzle cake. So good, so tasty. The pie incidentally was a chicken, leek and bacon pie.

    Thanks, and I’m feeling a bit sore in the shoulders tonight. But mustn’t grumble, my feelings were nicely soothed by a gourmet pie. Might set some of the posts in cement tomorrow.

    Very clever getting the bank to chase up the check. Interestingly, back in those days I recall that banks had some sort of informal arrangement whereby if you were paid by check and the amount and frequency was regular, they’d provide cash straight away. I doubt they’d do such an arrangement nowadays. Interestingly, speaking of money, I’m hearing stories that people are heavily using take now and pay later schemes which seem to be popping up like the proverbial rats on a corpse.

    Hey, I’ve heard those stories too about liquor suppliers. They generally don’t supply credit from what I’ve heard.

    Cutting off a foot reminds me of the Stephen King novel: Misery. Speaking of crazed fans, nobody wants to meet that particular form of Number One fan. The film was just as gripping as the book. There is something really scary when the actor Kathy Bates spoke the magic words: ‘dirty birdy’. Nobody wants to ever hear such words spoken to them.

    Yeah, you’re right. India was a fascinating country and I enjoyed a bit of travel by the train system there. Returning home after that travel, the inner urban area I lived in looked kind of restrained and quiet due to the sheer contrast of recent experiences.

    I’ve heard good things about the Nicholas Cage film Pig. I’ll be very curious to learn of your opinion. Incidentally the next instalment of Dexter is only days away… Have you had a chance to start reading Peak Everything? It’s not quite true for everything (he says noting that private jets don’t seem to be in short supply these days), but certainly many things are pushing up against hard limits.

    San Andreas, yeah, there’d be better places to be when that fault line decides to rock the house – as it will sooner or later. After the recent 5.9 experience here, I don’t feel quite so blasé about such matters. Battle: Los Angeles looks awesome and the aliens were pretty serious and not to be trifled with. Man, I’m trying to keep chilled out, that film would seriously raise my blood pressure. Oh yeah. It looked intense.

    Rachelle, yeah, she was really lovely. Used to cut my hair way back in the day. And we’d talk rubbish the whole time. Fun. Except that, oh well.

    The spud in the dump truck was something else. They had a really good sense of the absurd at having grown such a beast of a potato. It makes you wonder whether they’d been selecting for such a tuber over many decades?

    What a couple of scores. Actually it is not a bad thing to buy in bulk, and I tell ya, I keep much larger supplies of basics these days. The thing is, I never know in advance what I’m going to get caught out on. Like one of the low centre of gravity mowers (the older green one) decided to pack it in today, and after doing the fault finding, that was when I discovered that I was down to a single automotive blade fuse in that size. Mate, I wasn’t even aware that the thing had fuses and had to hunt through the guts of the machine to find the fuse box. Poor design for sure to make such a simple fix so difficult. I had to do the fix though as the farm machine repair dudes would have laughed at me had I taken it into them to look at – plus at this time of year they’re super busy.

    I thought that the Zoot suits looked very cool. Our species has some good and bad in it, that’s for sure. And it ain’t just you, I’d have to suggest that what details you forget, you replace with wisdom and just plain old good advice. 🙂

    Green tunic and purple kilt sounds not quite right to my mind. Of course it might be accurate, it just seems a touch confused colour wise. The wizard of many colours indeed (a nod to Tolkien!), but I reckon you’ll go for the blue one. 🙂

    I’m crashing out early tonight. Need sleep. – Eat. Sleep. Work. Repeat!



  41. Yo, Chris – Well, today’s weather, according to me, is “Rain with occasional deluge.” Our seventy-two hour total is now up to 1.48 inches.

    Stopped by the Club this morning, to drop off the food. There’s some question as to if there will be a Thanksgiving meal, or not. But it looks like it’s going to happen. The cranberries and dressing I brought, have been set aside. And, while I was there, someone showed up with a large frozen turkey!

    You might be surprised, at what some of those old ladies have stashed in their closets. A chain saw wouldn’t surprise me. Guns are expressly forbidden, in the place. But were we under siege … I bet a lot of fire power would appear 🙂 .

    Here, our PUD (Public Utility District) takes care of most downed trees. Unless power lines are not involved.

    Post holes. Hmmmm. I seem to remember a story about a bloke getting stuck upside down, in a post hole 🙂 .

    I’m sure rubbing a gourmet pie, on your shoulder, made it feel a lot better!

    I was more in a reading mood, last night, so I haven’t watched “Pig”, yet. I’m reading “Peak Everything.” And the delightfully eccentric, Cambridge classics don, Mary Beard, has a new book out. “Twelve Caesars: Images of Power from the Ancient World to the Modern.”

    “Peak Everything” is pretty interesting. Of course, it came out in 2007, so some things have changed, slightly. Some things I hadn’t thought about, or, hadn’t thought about in a particular way. Such as, when societies change, say from hunter gatherer to agriculture, or from agriculture to industrial, just about everything in the society changes. Everything from religious observations to child rearing. Think of how profound the changes in daily life were, when people began to move off the farms, and into the cities. Interesting.

    Doug the Spud seems to have had unknown origins. The folks who discovered him said, they threw bit of cow poo on the patch, and grew cucumbers. Doug seems to have been a sport of some sort, from an unknown source. I must say, even here at the Institution, potatoes seem to wander around, quit a bit. They’re always popping up in unexpected places. Do they seed?

    Thinking more about “Peak Everything.” The author didn’t mention specifics, but, recently, I’ve been reading about a lot of places, where cities were abandoned. Not in any great cataclysm, but in a slow drifting away of the population. Some Mayan cities, our North American mounds, cities in the Middle East. Angkor Wat. The cities stopped working, and people lost faith in their rulers, quasi-religious or otherwise. Often it had to do with climate, or changes in water availability. Soil loosing it’s fertility. There were war and plagues, but a lot of it was just slow decline. Sound familiar?

    Fuses. Always a surprise.

    Centurions usually wore red capes. But I wonder if that might have just been for “show” occasions. I keep thinking about him. The price is really good, and, I think he’d fit in on the “green” shelf. There’s a bit of Doulton Lambeth, on that shelf. And some of those pieces have a bit of purple in them.

    Well, now that I’ve hit the chemist, the cheap and regular grocery store this week, I did notice some gaps. The chemist surprised me, as about everything on my list was in stock. And on sale! But one gap I noticed, was foot care products. Sprays for inside your shoes, and such. Empty shelves of all brands. At the regular grocery store, I noticed tea has been in short supply, for the past few weeks. Still available, but lots of empty spaces. At the cheap food store, this week, there was very little canned veg (including beans) or fruit. The bins were pretty empty, except for the stray dented can, or two. But there was plenty of soups, of different kinds.

    The sun is now shining. Weather whiplash. Lew

  42. PPS: Another article on food shortages, in the U.S..


    No plates or utensils? Go to the nearest op-shop, and buy some re-useable ones. There are always piles, really cheap. Last Tuesday, when I went to the Club, for biscuits and gravy, there were no paper plates!!! Consternation, for about 15 seconds. There was a pile, in a cupboard, of ceramic one’s. Although there was a bit of whinging about having to wash them.

    We get our hour back, tonight. I’m sure you returned it in good shape, as, you usually do. 🙂 . Lew

  43. Hi Lewis,

    You don’t need to tell me about those options with the utensils. Most of our cutlery came from a pub clearing sale back in the maybe the early 1990’s. The stuff is amazing quality, heavy durable stainless steel, which will probably have a half life of who knows how long? None show any signs of wear and tear. And op shops as you say are full of the stuff.

    But the dirty little secret there is that the sort of institutions complaining about such transitions, is that they’re not set up for basic washing up processes at that scale. Cooking is an art form for sure, but it is also a technological process, and it requires several steps. And paper plates, and probably plastic knives and forks (at a wild guess) are cheap and disposable and save them the cost of those services and also the hassle of washing up. As a technology, humans have been washing up for a very long time, so I’m guessing they’ll manage – but will they do so at the same cost base? Labour is not cheap, and neither are the machines people use to wash up the utensils and dishes. Far out. We don’t have a dishwasher, and have no plans for one, there is a sink and a dish rack and we use our own soap which we make, and whomever cooks cleans so that there is incentive not to make too much of a mess in the first place. It’s not hard, but I’m guessing it takes a level of imagination and effort that most people don’t want to do. And then here we are today.

    Anyway, for your interest, as a contrast, schools down here don’t generally provide meals for the kids, parents have to do so.

    However, I agree, it is a preview of things to come. Years ago I spotted a middle aged lady stealing food from the local supermarket, and on my way out of the business I watched her get into an enormous SUV. Sell the car was my first thought, but the pretence is kept up until it can’t be, is what I kind of took away from that episode. Have you ever wondered at the inability to adapt to new circumstances for people and institutions?

    Oh my goodness. I accidentally closed the interweb browser window in which I’d been typing away at the reply. Imagine losing my previous rant? What a drama. Turns out that there is an option to recover the accidentally closed screen. Cool.

    It’s been that sort of day. We set out to cement in the posts for the shed and the heavens opened for most of the day. Wet and dispirited, we called it quits at lunchtime. But at least all of the materials are now ready in place to cement in the posts. It just wasn’t going to happen today. The editor came up with some genius ideas for moving the heavy materials down onto the work site which worked a treat, it was just crazy wet. Oh well.

    So did you get many deluges? Or did the rain merely continue to fall consistently for hours and hours? This week coming up looks very wet to me.

    Hehe! Yes, always wise not to go poking around in unrelated ladies drawers. You never know what you might find. Let’s hope that you don’t have to suffer the indignity of a siege. Chainsaws are good bits of equipment, as long as you know how to use them. If used incorrectly, they can be very hard on the lower back, and I see plenty of people using the machines that way what with their bending over the log techniques. There are easier ways to use the machines, but people don’t seem much interested in hearing about that sort of thing. It kind of reminds me of the damage I caused to my shoulder earlier this year. I said inadvertently to someone that I’d been an absolute nazi and rigorously stretched and strengthened the joints using a set of exercises every single day. Except that my metaphor was a poor choice of words and I’d somehow triggered them (whatever that means) and then the whole point was lost. Yeah, and the person failed to learn of the benefits of continuous rehabilitation – which as I’m getting to be an older fella, I can see the benefits of.

    Ah ha! These holes were somewhat of a lesser diameter and also substantially shallower, so upside down dramas are not a possibility. Others may experience things differently and they have to be careful not to fall into the holes.

    Out of curiosity, who cuts up the trees which fall but don’t damage the electrical poles and wires?

    Thanks for your concern and compassion, and the shoulder is indeed feeling better after the gourmet pie. A person has to keep their energy up you know.

    Caesar’s, yeah don’t worry about them, we’ve got plenty more where they came from! 🙂 Has the don, Mary Beard, discerned any patterns to the hapless leaders of Ancient Rome?

    Mate, way back in 2007 I wouldn’t have predicted the intensity with which fracking technology was utilised whether it made financial sense or not. You have to admit that it was an impressive feat? That’s true too. In reading recent histories, one aspect has always bothered me and that was that WWI and WWII hollowed out the populations of rural areas. Those areas down here never really regained their original population base, and of course industrial technology and agriculture has a lot to say about that, but still. It’s only in very recent times (i.e. health subject which dares not be named) that moving to the country has become an appealing proposition for folks. Hmm.

    Yes, potato plants do indeed produce seeds. The seeds look like little green tomatoes, a bit smaller than cherry tomatoes. They look rather toxic, but might not actually be. I’m assuming that new varieties of potatoes grow from these seeds.

    Hey, I tell ya what, the city centre of the big smoke sure doesn’t look like it only recently did when all of the international students filled the city streets with life. And apparently the apartment market in that area has taken something of a dive. When I was a very young adult, outside of a few nightclub districts in the city centre, the place was dead, dark and quiet. Soil fertility is a big problem, because cities consume so many minerals and the denizens often don’t want to return them to the soils. Yeah, not good.

    If you were a centurion, and involved in prosecuting a war, why would you make yourself highly visible in a red cape to your enemies? My gut feeling is that the red capes were for parade purposes, but look I could be wrong and the red capes gave them mojo. Go on, you know you want it! 🙂 Life is short and if the bank can support the purchase and you have space for it, then why not?

    Exactly, I can’t get my mind around what wont be on the shelves. And it interests me too that an acquaintance who works in the local food manufacturing business and has to source products from overseas, recounted to me a few months ago that the folks overseas have the products and really want to supply them. Hmm.

    Cheers and I better get writing!


  44. Regarding our political leaders’ recent promises to go “net zero by 2050”, I today found that an excellent Australian scientific journal had already published a similar story:

    On a less upbeat note, I hear that Russia AND China both are restricting exports of nitrogen fertilizer. Another good reason to farm organic!

    Russia is also throttling the gas to Europe. Winter is coming.


  45. Yo, Chris – Yup. Good old stainless steel. I bought a set back in 1967, and I’m still using it. A few pieces have gone missing. I keep meaning to get around to replacing them, off of E-Buy. They’re the “Riato” pattern, from National Stainless, if your curious. I still like them, after 50+ years. The dinnerware I bought at the same time, didn’t hold up near so well. Neither were expensive. I bought them at a middling sort of department store, no longer with us.

    Do your schools still have Tuck shops? The cafeteria seems to have been a fixture, in our schools. Still is. I think I saw an article, the other day, that someone was upset somewhere, as a student was impressed into service, wiping down tables, for his or her lunch. The horror, the horror. 🙂 .

    Inability to adapt to new circumstances, for people … It’s called population decline, and that’s on your “Limits for Growth,” chart. Birthrates are falling. So’s average life expectancy.

    Yeah, I’ve accidentally closed a browser window, a time or three. Irritating as heck. Provides a good opportunity to beat myself up. 🙂

    Yup, yesterday was a state of constant drizzle, punctuated by fits of deluge. Last night when I took H out, it wasn’t raining hard, but, to clean up what my Dad would have said a bit, the drops were as big as horse apples. I’m surprised we still don’t have flood watches or warnings, on any of our inland rivers. There are warnings for coastal flooding.

    Well, so much for you running for office. Thirty years from now, someone would drag that comment out of the mire, and your aspirations would come to naught. 🙂

    Any trees that come down, and don’t damage power lines, well, that’s the property owner’s look out. I meant to mention your timber thieving neighbor, will probably just pile up those rounds in an untidy mess. A very bad snake will take up residence. No more problem neighbor. Karma is a ….

    Doesn’t seem to be any pattern to the emperors. Oh, other than only one of them seems to have died peacefully in bed. Even the one’s who died in bed, well, there were all those rumors about pillows being deployed.

    I think the idea of the centurion’s red cape, was so the lads would have someone to rally to, in the heat of battle. Rally and defend. And the standard bearers, stuck pretty close. Gotta know where your command and control are.

    I watched “Pig,” last night. After some pretty awful performances, Mr. Cage turned in something Oscar worthy. I quit liked the film, and recommend it. Of course, some of my “like” might have to do with the fact that it’s filmed in and around Portland. You get to see our forests… similar to the film “Cow.” Pigs, cows, what’s next? 🙂
    There’s a touch of “Fight Club,” in there.

    Write on, Garth! I try and post a bit earlier on Sunday mornings, so you don’t get held up. Got our hour back. I’ll leave you good feedback. 🙂 Lew

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