Sick Muse

The front door was opened, and just inside the door, a face groggily peered up at me through sad and hurt eyes. Pressed up into the corner, nestled against the wall inside the doorway and not wanting to move a single muscle. Each move represented agony, and she was done. She’d had enough and was no longer even able to freely move.

The following day, we again had to visit the veterinary where the surgeries were performed. Fortunately this time however, there were no dogs with us on the trip. The vet on that occasion required no evidence. Not wanting to waste the journey to the nearby town, we also stopped off at the tip along the way in order to drop off the accumulated metal scraps for recycling.

I’m dubious as to recycling claims, but recycling high grade scrap metal is such a no-brainer, that the ecologically concerned person merely hopes that the recycled stuff does in fact make it back into circulation. Due to the health subject which dares not be named, we’d collected a years worth of scrap metal for recycling. You see, access to the tip had been restricted until only very recently.

On the third and hopefully final trip to the veterinary clinic that week, the back of the Dirt Rat Suzuki was full of scrap metal, but that was at least easily sorted out. Whilst at the tip I noted a family hauling a huge flat screen television out of their rather large vehicle. The friendly staff at the tip stopped the family from chucking the large device into the pit. The family was most likely rather keen to depart the scene, but electronic waste is deposited elsewhere, and rules are rules. Observing the family wanting to rid themselves of their large device, I did wonder to myself whether their present experiences matched up with their expectations when they first purchased the large device?

Anyway, it was the the third trip to the veterinary clinic this week and as I noted before, there was no need to bring either of the Kelpie pups in. You see, we’d already been there late the previous day with Plum. That was because it was Plum who was discovered huddled in a corner just inside the front door, not wanting to move a muscle.

The first trip to the veterinary clinic earlier in the week involved both Plum and Ruby, the two Kelpie pups, receiving a hysterectomy. They are now in recovery from the surgery.

Plum and Ruby post operative unhappiness

During the first visit to the veterinary clinic, the vet explained to us that there was risk to every single invasive procedure they performed. Low risk it should be stated, does not in fact equate to no risk. Anyway, life is kind of like that and we had to accept the outcome, or there would be no surgery.

For the record, I wasn’t really in any great hurry to get the two pups fixed up. Yet local circumstances altered recently, and the potential puppy baby-mama risk factor went up accordingly. And the other side of that puppy baby-dada risk is candidly not a high quality farm dog. The progeny produced by the potential coupling would have produced a very strange mutant bad attituded canine creature which frankly should not ever see the light of day. So our hand was forced and we decided to act.

And now the two dogs are slowly recovering from their surgery. The surgery went smoothly, however the original head cones provided were of inadequate length for the two Kelpie girls. They have rather elongated snouts combined with long tongues, and so once the pain killers wore off they were both able to lovingly probe their surgical wounds. And with a recovery time of between one and two weeks, and potentially longer, the three days of pain relievers initially provided were, I’d have to suggest, not nearly enough for such an invasive procedure.

It is generally not considered polite to discuss a ladies weight, but in this case we’ll make an exception here because the two Kelpie’s are no ladies. Ruby the boss dog weighs a few kilograms more than Plum, and so she received a higher initial dosage of pain killers for the three days. With Ruby more heavily dosed, Plum was the first to succumb to the pain, and once the pain killers wore off, she went down hard like a sack of spuds – and that was how we discovered her cringing in the corner, unable to move.

Seeing Plum that way and considering the possibility that she may be dying from some sort of unknown internal injury related to the surgery, we rushed her off to the veterinary clinic again (that was the second visit). It was there that we were offered a prolonged course of pain killers at additional cost, and accepted the longer head cone. Plum bounced back almost straight away with the prolonged course of pain killers and she was now gratefully unable to caress her surgical wounds.

Plum with new elongated cone looking super chill / slightly evil

Our thoughts and the vet’s thoughts in the matter was that Plum was soft, whilst Ruby was bizarrely super tough. Except that later that night as the heavier initial dose of pain killers wore off, Ruby also went down hard like a sack of spuds. The thing is though, it was about 11pm and whilst we could dose her up using Plum’s pain killers, it was doubtful that we could obtain a replacement longer cone at that time of night to stop her from aggravating her surgical wounds – and you can’t reason with a dog.

The editor and I are pretty handy in a crisis. There may be moments of high tension and the occasional bout of potty mouth, but we get stuff sorted.

Ruby with a work of art elongated head cone extension

It was like that moment in the Tom Hanks film Apollo 13, when the scientists on the ground and the crew out in space realised that if they didn’t get the oxygen scrubber sorted out pretty promptly with the few unusual items available to the crew, things were going to go very badly indeed. So there we were at almost midnight with rolls of duct tape and some chunks of plastic which we had handy. Sorted!

The next day (the third trip to the veterinary clinic), we obtained another course of pain killers at additional cost, but this time for Ruby, and let’s not forget the replacement elongated cone. The lesson we’ve taken away from this experience is that if the recovery time is up to two weeks, then three days of pain killers is probably not nearly good enough. But then it confirms my previously firmly held opinion that you have to take responsibility for your own health outcomes.

And I must say that for the record, the normally high energy dogs are much calmer and more relaxed when they are drugged up to their eyeballs!

Plum: just chillin dudes!

Earlier in the week the days were warmer, but as the week progressed the farm descended back into winter. The wood heater has been in use for a few days now. The sunset leading into the changeable bout of winter weather was quite pretty.

A lovely sunset, yet the storm clouds are brewing

Then the rain and cold weather arrived. Fans of solar generated electricity might want to seriously consider the implications of the next two images.

Heavy rain was accompanied by fog and cold weather
Heavy rain and fog settles over the mountain range

The heavy rainfall made working on the newly excavated site very difficult, what with the clay sticking to everything. So despite the rain we spread three trailer loads of crushed rock with lime over the excavated surface.

The newly excavated site was covered with a layer of crushed rock with lime

Prior to the heavy rain, I commenced the second cut for this growing season of a few sections of the farm. It wouldn’t surprise me at all if I had to mow the farm four times during this growing season.

Some sections of the farm have been mown for the second time

Any cut grass is simply left where it falls (chop and drop), and at this time of year it disappears within a week or two. The soil is very active and alive.

Whilst mowing those sections of the farm by push mower, I accidentally ran over one of the drainage pipes. Fortunately we have plans to slightly move this pipe and change that particular drainage arrangement.

Push mower meets plastic pipe. Push mower wins!

Regular readers will recall that there was a large effort earlier in the year which went into fertilising the vegetable row beds. Now that we are in the growing season, I’m beginning to see the results of the effort, and it is astounding.

The vegetables are growing faster and they’re larger

The above image is of one of my favourite vegetables, the Globe Artichoke. The chokes are now twice as large as they were last year, despite them growing in the same vegetable row beds. And the chokes are very tasty.

The corn seedlings were planted out just prior to the heavy rain, and those have also grown very strongly in only a few days, and that’s despite the cold wet weather.

Corn seedlings have grown very strongly despite only being in the soil a few days

The garden beds are also coming alive as can be seen in the next photo.

The local mother shield ferns enjoy life on the farm

Onto the flowers:

Somehow Grannies bonnets have established themselves under a Rhododendron
Most of the garden beds contain mixed flowering species like these Gazania’s
Bearded Irises have produced more flowers this week
Geraniums love conditions on the farm
Rhododendron’s are the stunners at this time of year

The temperature outside now at about 9.00am is 6’C (41’F). So far this year there has been 1,153.6mm (45.4 inches) which is up from last weeks total of 1,085.2mm (42.7 inches)

64 thoughts on “Sick Muse”

  1. Yo, Chris – The pictures of the pups, surprised. Given reports of great internal bits being taken out of said pups, I expected them to look more like tiger skins, in front of a fireplace. 🙂 . First obscure cultural reference, of the day. “Cone’s of silence?” See: “Get Smart,” TV series. Less “Apollo 13,” and more Red Green. Second obscure cultural reference of the day. I’ll never forget when Red took a patio table, with umbrella, and turned it into a wind surfing board. Using only duct tape.

    Hmmm. Your vet might be missing a bet. He could develop quit a sideline, providing calming drugs, to pet owners. 🙂 .

    Ah, the rest of the story. So the family was attempting to dispose of a flat screen TV. One wonders … Maybe they won the lottery, and decided to do an entire wall. Or decided to trade up, to something with better resolution. Or, they’ve fallen for the urban legend (if it is an urban legend) that these days, not only do you watch and listen to your TV, but it watches and listens back, at you. To better serve the customer with more tailored adverts. How thoughtful.

    Another calendar ready picture of a sunset. When it comes time to choose, the selection will be difficult.

    Your excavation site, now looks like a billiard table, for giants.

    Re: Damaged drain pipe. Duct tape.

    So, did a forgetful granny little person, leave her bonnet behind? 🙂 . Seriously, though, are they native? If not, where did they come from? They sure are pretty.

    The iris are real stunners. But, you need some blue ones. Or yellow. But in their own patch, so the colors don’t clash. Our rhododendrons are long gone, but I noticed we have camellias, blooming all over the place.

    I’m glad the pups are well on the mend. There’s still one more rabbit to catch, so someone can claim the crown and title. Lew

  2. Hi Inge,

    It’s weird isn’t it? As a comparison, from what I’m observing down here, people seem fearful. I admit that I could be wrong in that assessment, but that is my best guess. Although there are a few things to actually fret about, I can’t say with any certainty that other people are worried about those things which are of concern to me.

    I’m not at that level yet either. I do have concerns that the news media is perhaps not pursuing its role as the third estate as diligently as it may have once done. All the same, the news that is being reported does contain data which can provide information. Still, I have a gut feeling that the reach of those mediums may be in terminal decline.

    Oh! Sand and gravel. Yikes. Sorry to say, but that has a good possibility of happening. Sand resources are not in ample supply these days. The best you can hope for is that there is too high a concentration of salt in the sand, which is perhaps one reason why the resource has not previously been accessed. I do wonder if it makes any economic sense to dig out and cart the stuff to the mainland.



  3. Hi Claire,

    Ah, thank you very much for the information on growing and harvesting popcorn. Honestly, we’ll probably just consume the seeds. At present we don’t really have enough growing space for less pragmatic plants such as popcorn. However, there are plans afoot to address this lack of growing space, but like everything, it will take some time and effort.

    Hope that your autumn garden is still producing well.



  4. Hi Al,

    I hope the rain combined with the above freezing weather has brought some green to your part of the world.

    It isn’t just Lewis who has had heaps of rain this year. If I could, I would send you some of the excess rain from here. 45 inches for the year so far, is probably more than necessary.

    Ah, sales tax is the same here too at 10%, although only food ingredients are exempt from the tax, plus some other items such as exports. The thing with any price inflation at all is that with sales taxes, the government coffers also rise accordingly.

    Thanks! And the guys who hired me the machine were impressed with the excavated site. Al, I have to say I really like that particular machine as it felt so stable on the slope here, and with caterpillar tracks it never went anywhere unexpected.

    Hehe! If I’d found a body, I’m not entirely certain that I’d mention it in a public forum. And fortunately I have not been put to the test in that regard.

    Picked up some more materials for the shed today. It’s a relief to obtain the supplies, because I don’t really know what the future holds in store in that regard.

    Thanks for the bird repelling suggestion.

    Good stuff, and roofs are important aspects of a building, so best if they work well at repelling water.

    It was warmer where you are today. 🙂



  5. Hi Lewis,

    Mr Greer provided a link a week or so back to a first hand account by a truck driver as to how the ports worked, and gave the drivers perspective on the matter. It sounds like utter chaos to me, but it seemed to me that there was a possible conflict of interest in the operators, and also there was a suggestion that under investment in infrastructure was something of a problem.

    But on the other hand, there are some seriously weird things going on right now in the world in relation to the global supply network that most folks have become rather accustomed to. It is possible that we are experiencing the declining reach of global supply chains, but what we’ll be left with is an interesting question because that system only operates as a complete system and it is not so easily replaced. It can however decline and build unusual supply constraints – that’s a possibility which is already happening anyway.

    Hehe! The pups might not take too kindly to being compared to a dehydrated tiger skin left over from a big game hunt. I might not suggest that theory to them. They’re doing better each day now, but are still super itchy and I won’t dare take those collars off them if they are unsupervised for any length of time.

    Get Smart was really good, and I enjoyed that way back in the day. Even now I can recall the Chief and Max shouting at each other through the cone of silence. Funny stuff. I’d never heard of The Red Green show. Intriguing, and yes duct tape is very handy when you need a bind.

    We were calm enough with the entire vet episode, and there was a silver lining to the experience. But it may sound peevish, but it would perhaps have been better had they furnished a longer course of pain killers in the first place. One week on, and the pups are still not healed, although they are getting better.

    🙂 Billiard table for giants. The editor loved that joke. But it’s so true, it really does look like that. Is billiards played in your part of the world? The competitive rounds used to be aired on television when I was a very young fella. A bit like the sheep dog trials which were also shown on television in those days.

    Oh, that’s good about the pipe and duct tape. Personally, I’m considering a hacksaw.

    We do have blue irises, although candidly they are somewhere between the colour blue and the colour purple. The editor may know the exact shade, but I’ll see what I can do about a photo.

    The pups are already dreaming about taking out the rabbit challenge crown. Who will win? Only time will tell. But my money is on Plum as she has more fixation on that particular job.

    Hey, it’s great that some of the atmospheric river has crossed the mountain range and provided some rain to the east of your state. Always good. Mate, I tell you, it’s been a crazy cold week down here. Turns out that some places have broken weather records which I know doesn’t impress you, but the scale of this outbreak of cold weather has been bonkers. Record-breaking late-season cold spell hits southeastern Australia. Hopefully your spatial anomaly problem doesn’t ban the article, but just in case the gist is that the run of four cold days in a row has not been seen in a 167 years of records. I thought that it was cold…

    Really? I didn’t know that about gall bladder being a micro surgery (I think they call them key hole surgery down here). The girls wounds by comparison are several inches long. Hope that Ron is OK, a stent is no small matter. Is Ron the kind of guy who’d obtain a second opinion, or is this matter super urgent?

    Who knows whether that phosphate supply up there in the Northern Territory is economical to extract and refine. It is possible that it may not be, but you never know. The fertiliser issue is a serious problem. Did you note that in the article, it suggested that one crop required a 1 tonne of fertiliser to produce 2.8 tonnes of produce. That’s an alarming ratio.

    The Canadian story is as weird as what took place down here. I’m not necessarily convinced of the benefits of concentrating seed production.

    Lewis you’ve trash talked trashie. However I defer to your review as I have not seen this production. We are in agreement about following a narrative and flashbacks as a strategy can be taken too far. With a story like The Stand there is little reason to protect the viewer from the content, as it is a pretty apocalyptic story anyway. I wonder why they may have used that technique?



  6. Hello Chris
    That is a glorious sunset.

    There is an incredible growth of fungi here. I have never seen so many before or some of the varieties. None of the ones that I eat so far though.

    I have the television on and really shouldn’t, it is doing its best to make me crouch on the floor in terror. Amazing how flu is now described as deadly also. I have it very badly about 4 times in my life plus the milder version on various occasions. Not a serious problem.

    The gravel extraction will only be used on the Island. Their current source will run out in 2023 and the one next to me, is the best source on the Island. Laughable that all the reasons why the land had to be left alone which have applied for aeons, are no longer considered to be important.

    Boy have they over dealt the terror, I can hardly believe what I am listening to. I need another planet to live on before I puke.


  7. Yo, Chris – Yup. The whole global supply line has gone weird. There are many things at play, but, peak oil and peak industrial output, are rarely mentioned.

    I’m happy to hear the pups are on the mend. “This to shall pass.”

    Pool is still pretty popular, here. A lot of bars have pool tables. The one’s that just haven’t thrown in the towel, and replaced the tables with giant flat screen TVs. Our Club has a pool table. Always has, as long as I can remember. Tables have always been donated. And, at a quarter a game, they make a bit of jingle, for the Club.

    As I write, we’re getting wind gusts of up to 30 mph. The lights flickered, once. The wind is moaning in the elevator shaft. Sounds like the restless souls of the damned. 🙂 . I tried to get H to sing along, but she wasn’t having it. When we went out, it wasn’t raining. But, it’s bucketing down, now. The wind is supposed to die down, this afternoon. And, we have two nice days coming up. Which means, another light frost, at night. Your weather article came through, fine. You are getting unusual weather. The map made it look like all of southern Australia was dusted with snow.

    Ron probably doesn’t need a second opinion. He’s already outlived his parents, and grandparents … who all died of heart disease. Actually, Ron’s kept himself in pretty good shape. But their eating habits …Lot’s of restaurant food and meat. I don’t nag at them, but they realize how different our diets, are.

    LOL. By the way, I keep meaning to mention you might try a bit of daily meditation, for your stress levels. Even 5 minutes a day can do a world of good.

    Popcorn is a lot of fun, and, as a snack food, pretty healthy. Never mind the popcorn balls. Different varieties of corn should be grown 4-500 feet apart. If you save seed. As one does (should.) Prevailing winds should be taken into account. Speaking of seed, and such, I ordered a 10 foot polly tunnel, from Territorial, the other day. One of our posties, who gardens, doesn’t order from them, anymore. They’re gouging on the shipping. I see what he means. The tunnel, with all the bits and bobs, was $25. The shipping? $17.

    I finished watching the new “Stand.” It was pretty good, but, all things considered, I think I preferred the original. I think the library has a copy. I’ll have to give it a look, and see if it holds up, as memory can be spotty. The new coda to the series left open the possibility of another book. Or, maybe a TV series.

    Just to unwind from “The Stand,” I watched a documentary called “Movie Hoarders: From VHS to DVD and Beyond.” It’s what’s called “physical media.” Not only collectors, but also people who make a tidy living selling old tapes and discs. They are a mostly male. And an odd lot. Lew

  8. Chris,

    Nice work with the duct tape! I see that Lew already mentioned one of my favorite programs, the “Red Green Show”. Hilarious stuff that was. You already seem to be living by Red Green’s maxim that “duct tape is the handyman’s secret weapon”.

    We used a LOT of duct tape in asbestos removal. Gobs and gobs of the stuff. And it all originally came in gray, so the boss would say, “Hey DJ, toss me a roll of that gray tape!” Or to the extra help, “Hey Ricky! Go back to the shop and get another box of that gray tape.” Then the boss ordered a slightly less expensive brand (which worked superbly also) of 5 different colors, but no gray. But, the boss had been doing this his entire working career, so he’d say, “Hey DJ. Toss me a roll of that BLUE gray tape.” Seriously.

    I never minded saying the CLMs on the job. I learned early that I did NOT want to move into management, and sometimes certain things needed to be said. So, say the CLM thing, get overruled, do what the boss decreed, say “I told you so” later, adding to the long list of CLMs that issued from my mouth. Stay well clear of the line that says “Cross this and you’re insubordinate.”

    Errands this morning, including a trip to the vet. Avalanche avoided the driver’s seat at the other 3 stops. She received her final round of shots. Now she’s giving us those puppy dog eyes that say “I’m so abused. I got shotted. Now I have the 2 Kelpies’ facial expressions, but no cone! I’m missing out and so abused!” Vet decided she also needs to go through another round of deworming, so it’s add some powder to her food for 3 days. Oh, the vet says she will be about 45 pounds fully grown and is a mix of Siberian Husky and Alaskan Eskimo.

    Oh, while she appreciates your advice re: digging, she is going to ignore it. She’s having too much fun keeping her papa on his toes.

    I agree on the dog personalities. Avalanche had a sister, Blizzard, who I also met. Avalanche is outgoing, boisterous, friendly, curious. Blizzard was very shy, the last to join in the playing, and reluctant to meet new people or to explore. Same litter, two radically different personalities.

    The morale thing at work was weird. All I needed was software that worked and some logical consistency from my immediate bosses and I was okay. Even though those things were rare, and the last Big Boss habitually took credit for the work that his staff did (and my immediate supervisor for 17 years tried to goad me into being insubordinate so he could get me fired), I still did the job properly and on time. Could my morale have been better? What does that really mean? Could I have been happier with the workplace? If that’s what “improved morale” means, happier in the workplace, yeah, my morale could’ve been much better. But, and this to me is the key point: it’s a job, not recess or a playground. I was paid to do a job, and I did more than I was expected to do. If more people had concentrated on doing what they were paid to do and spent less time on the whinge wagon, it would’ve been better for everybody.

    By the end of the weekend, we, like Al, had gotten about 1.1 inches of rain. Sunday and today are exceedingly warm, 15C high temps, with high winds. Our Friday looked a lot like your picture of the rain and fog. For 3 days, when it wasn’t raining, it was sort of misting off from the fog. Weather I appreciate, actually, as it is a good thing to be reminded that it isn’t always hot and dry here.

    Broken drain pipe requires duct tape. (I agree with Lew on that.) My dad’s main pipe under the kitchen sink sprung a leak. He wrapped it in multiple layers of duct tape while neglecting to tell me. A few years later the duct tape sprung a leak, I got an emergency phone call, and found that there was no pipe left under the deteriorated duct tape. Took an afternoon to put in new pipes. Dad had a hole in his car’s muffler once, so he wrapped the entire muffler in many layers of duct tape. Stopped the noise, plugged the leak, stank to high heaven as the tape burned off. He did that three times before he had the muffler replaced. Duct tape: the handyman’s secret weapon.

    Thanks for more cheery flower pictures!

    Ummm, I dunno how to say this, so I’ll just be blunt and blurt it out. That newly excavated layer recently covered with lime rock? Some giant went through there on a giant pogo stick or something and punched a bunch of holes into your nicely levelled and gravelled area. It’s full of holes. Oh, silly me! Post holes from your post hole machine. 😉


  9. Hi, Chris!

    What a terrible experience. We’ve had a lot of female dogs, and they all had that surgery, but I don’t remember any real problems. I also don’t remember ever being given painkillers for them, and this was between 2 and 4 decades ago. I hope that you are over the worst of it. I tell you, those two in their cute little t-shirts, look madder than two wet hens.

    It seems to me quite late for you to be having that cold weather, but things are very changeable there, aren’t they?

    All of your “growies” look wonderful. And how about all the flowers in purple? Just a coincidence?


  10. Hi Chris,
    Leo and Salve send their sympathy and hopes for a quick recovery. Salve said she had a vague memory of her surgery but said the memory will mostly fade in time. When I was young we had a young female dog which my parents neglected to spay. As we had a very frisky intact male dog as well we ended up with four puppies. In fact, though I didn’t witness it, he chased her onto the kindergarten school bus and had his way with her. Quite a lesson for 5 year olds I imagine.

    I hope all this rain doesn’t portend a repeat of last summer. We have had some rain but are still in a significant deficit.

    Lovely sunset and beautiful flowers.

    One has to pay to get rid of TVs and monitors here. I’m sure there are many who try to get around that.

    We are having quite a large family Thanksgiving this year at my daughter, Carla’s. What a difference a year makes when the family was all afraid to be together – at least a good portion of them. All attending are vaccinated but as we know that is no guarantee but has apparently aleved the fears of many.


    These are some of my favorite weather commentators. I’ve followed Jeff since he founded(?) the Weather Underground site with students at Michigan. It was a great site until it got successively bought out by the big guys 🙁 . At the link you’ll find not only that the heat this year has mostly been on land masses (a lot of climate deniers can persuade people it just ain’t so when they don’t see it themselves)…not this year.
    They also cover (from a weather perspective) disaster costs and agriculture costs. And La Nina which may give Lew a cold wet winter and us is the US southeast a hot dry one. It helps my sense of reality to have their somewhat different perspective.

  12. Hi everyone,

    Err, it is time for an early mid-week hiatus. Yes, I’m slack and I know it! But hardly for even one second is there any guilt. 🙂 It’s a personal failing!!!

    Had dinner this evening with the editor in the big smoke, and made it home again very late as we had to work and also pick up supplies for the new shed. So much to do. Woe is me, for there remains little time to reply to everyone’s lovely comments before I fall asleep. Anyway, it is good to see that some restaurant businesses in the big smoke have survived the longest and most intense lock down on the planet – not something to be proud of. And those businesses require patronage if they are to survive further indignities.

    Will speak tomorrow.



  13. Hi Lewis,

    I couldn’t agree more. The subject is like a hot potato which few people want to grapple with. Speaking of peak oil and peak industrial output, I’m getting to the point where I’m simply grateful if I can actually obtain the supplies I’m after for the farm. The weird thing is that plenty of supply lines seem unaffected, but the prices for those supplies appear to be rising. And I was speaking with a restaurant owner this evening – had a lovely chat too – about staff shortages. Around that business, there were closed businesses and he remarked that this was due to staff shortages. There was a kind of perverse unintended consequences from some of the more recent err, should they be described as initiatives? Dunno, but many factors have lead to staff shortages.

    And I note that protesters are at the state Parliament House. If I had to suggest, the state government of the day may have succumbed to the dreaded hubris? That’s something worthwhile fearing for sure. It looks like the government is pushing to declare a pandemic without all of the usual difficulties involved with that process. Some of the difficulties other folks interpret as checks and balances – which is a viewpoint I largely agree with. The protesters have been labelled somewhere or other as far right folks (whatever that means) and it is all pretty crazy, because some concerns are being raised by very respectable members of society, and I’d hazard a guess that they don’t fit that description. Hmm.

    Thanks for the kind thoughts about the pups, and they’ll be fine. The surgery was just very serious and they’ll take time to recover.

    Of course, it is called pool down here too as well as billiards. There might be differences in the rules of the game, but then again there might no be differences. It’s a pretty social game, so it is good to hear that the club has a table. I’ve had plenty of fun nights in pubs challenging folks to a game, and the general rule down here is that you get to keep playing, as long as you’re winning, and new comers place their coins on the table. It is one of those games played in convivial circumstances. And some folks are very good at the game.

    Oh no! Did the power stay connected, and have the winds abated somewhat? Watch out those restless souls don’t come and get you (and H). H hopefully isn’t out front at the time, as it might look like you intended for her to be a decoy. 🙂 Do you reckon restless souls would be slow or fast like those fast zombies (a scary innovation in zombie lore if ever there were one).

    Have to laugh, I wonder what your fellow residents would have to say if they spotted you and H howling at the spooky wind noise? You’ll give them plenty of fodder for the rumour mill. And it makes me wonder what Suzanne might say? She might have an alternative theory you know.

    The weather here is crazy. This morning it was 37’F outside. Far out. Spring like Elvis, has left the building…

    Oh! Ron is doing pretty well then. Mate, if they know, then they’re making a choice and there is middle ground somewhere in that whole issue. That’s cool really. Sometimes I get the impression that after a certain age, we’re on borrowed time and I guess that is how it goes. I’m happy to be alive and kicking.

    What is to say that I don’t already do a couple of minutes of meditation per day? I can’t reach that emptiness that most people go for, but I tend instead to roll concepts around the insides of my skull. It works for me. But my brain is rarely quiet!

    At this stage, I don’t have enough garden space to grow popcorn, so I’ll probably cook and eat the seeds – just out of interest. It’ll be an adventure…

    $17 for shipping down under is not an unusual charge at all.

    You’ve intrigued me about the original The Stand, and having just read the book (the extended version incidentally), I may check it out over the Christmas holidays. A lot of businesses shut down during this time (being summer down here) and so the work doesn’t stop, it just gets a bit quieter for a few weeks.

    Yes, I can understand that some decompression may be required after watching The Stand.

    Oooo, the collector! There are some folks down here who preserve Super 8 video for a business. I’ll bet they know a few of those folks.



  14. Yo, Chris – It’s pretty much our state governors, here, who set the tone with how to deal with You Know What. They declare an emergency, and then have wide latitude with how to deal with things. Across the country, they run the gamut, from one extreme to another. Judging by the number of failed recall elections, they read they’re minions wishes, pretty well.

    Chris … Pool Shark … that ought to look good on your CV. 🙂

    We didn’t loose power, unlike thousands to the north of us. The wind died down around 5pm. Moon and stars, last night. And, sunshine, today. We’re to have two nice days. And maybe another nice day on Saturday. I’ll let things dry out today, and hit the garden again, tomorrow. What to do with all that parsley? It’s a parsley jungle, out there! I’ve read the root is tasty. I could dry some, but why dry it when there’s plenty fresh, all winter long? Oh, well. Turn a lot of it under, I guess. Hmmm. It’s almost like a green cover crop. I see up in British Columbia, hundreds of people were trapped on a road, between two landslides. I suppose all those trips were necessary, given that weather.

    I could care less what my fellow inmates think of me. 🙂 . I think ghosts can move fast, when they want to. But generally, just kind o drift around. I figure all that howling from the elevator shaft, is people who either fell, or were pushed, down it.

    Ah, good. You do a bit of meditation. But suffer from the dreaded Monkey Mind … as we all do, to a greater or lesser extent.

    The only thing I remember that I didn’t like about the original “The Stand” mini-series, was at emotionally fraught moments, “church-y” music, would swell up the soundtrack. We get it. It’s an emotionally fraught moment. No need to lay on the angelic choirs, with a trowel. Other than that, I thought it was better than the new mini-series. Which has a pretty much rock and roll track.

    And, in breaking pop culture news … a trailer dropped yesterday for a new Downton Abbey movie. It’s 1927 and the Downton mob go to the south of France. Due to release in March.

    Also coming out next summer, a BDF (Big Disaster Flick). “Moonfall.”

    ALERT!!! Creepy crawly critters, ahead!

    I think your’s was bigger. Though you failed to include your hand in the picture, for scale. 🙂 Lew

  15. Hi Inge,

    We were finally able to go out for dinner in the big smoke last evening, and it was a very pleasant experience. I find it to be curious that most of the folks heading out were younger than the editor and I, and I’m wondering whether that signifies a level of fear in the population?

    It’s amazing how many varieties of fungi are lurking around waiting for their time to flower (or is it more correctly time to fruit?) I read somewhere that the fruiting bodies (not sure if that term is technically correct) are produced when there is ample moisture accompanied by a rapid shift in soil temperature. That seems to be the case here.

    One needn’t own a television at all. There is middle ground to be found in that particular experience. If I recall the statistics correctly, maybe back in 2017, 1100 folks down under died of the influenza virus, or complications arising from that. It sounds rather callous, but back then I seem to recall that the vast majority of people were pretty good with that outcome. There was even an article (if I remember correctly) which recounted that a bloke in his forties died from the virus at that time, to much consternation and disbelief.

    But I absolutely hear you about the four times, and have experienced that bout of unpleasantness twice now. And both times knocked both of us out for many days and weeks. The editor was hit much harder too, and I may have written about the experience because she was teasing me initially with claims of ‘man flu’. Hmm, such claims were not made again after she herself went through the experience.

    I’m not entirely certain what it means, but I did read somewhere or other a while back that the medical profession were crowing to themselves about the success they’d had with defeating the influenza virus recently due to the restrictions. I had a vague feeling of dread that this particular story will not end well.

    Far out. It is laughable. A long while ago I came to the realisation that as a species we will do whatever is required in order to prolong the current state of affairs. I’m into the acceptance phase of that story.

    To be candid, the body count does not merit the terror. It really is that simple. And if a person considers that perspective, then other possible explanations spring forth, and none reflect well upon the people pedalling that story.

    I dunno, I just keep on keeping on doing my thing.



  16. Hi Pam,

    I’ll tell you a funny story. The last cat who resided with the editor and I arrived all of a sudden out of the blue only a few weeks after my childhood cat died. The new feline was a tiny wee little kitten, blowing snot bubbles out of his head. It was not hard to notice that he was seriously ill.

    So I looked at the kitten who was positioned at the front gate and said: Mate, if you can walk through this gate, the house is yours. And the little kitten sauntered through the gate, snot bubbles, arrogance, sense of entitlement, sneezes and all.

    He was only a couple of weeks old and was rather ill.

    The editor and I were very young newly-weds at the time, and we were about to set forth on our honeymoon. The kitten was taken to the local veterinary clinic where he charmed the pants off the staff for about two weeks – at considerable expense to us.

    After the sojourn, the kitten was reluctantly returned to us, and the boss dog, a Dorgi: ‘Old Fat’, took an immediate bond to him. The two were then inseparable. They used to hang together, get up to mischief together and even sleep together most nights, and at times the kitten would even suckle on Old Fat. The kitten believed that he was a dog.

    Sadly, when the Old Fat passed on, the cat died of a broken heart within about two weeks. At that time, Toothy being only a year or so old, was also ramming the cat with his cone head.

    The thing is, when the kitten was sick, the vet kept the cat under observation and care for two weeks. As a comparison, I got the Kelpie girls back only hours after their surgery. On the second visit days later, the vet made the wry observation that if they were humans, they would still be in hospital.



  17. Hi Margaret,

    Thanks for the kind words and support for the Kelpie’s in their hour of need. And Salve’s wise words of wisdom were passed onto the two dogs. Tails wagged uncertainly, Plum hazarded a close to, but not close enough scratch with her hind leg whilst Ruby nodded thoughtfully in recognition of the greater life experience.

    The other side of the coin is that the new comer canine in this area is exciting jealousy in Ollie, and the tiny little terrier had a braggadocio and swagger about itself, that belies its real world capabilities. To put it mildly, the youngster terrier is batting way outside his league. But at the same time, your story also suggests the lengths that they’ll go to, to sate their desires. And do I really need this new hassle?

    Hehe! Yeah, thanks for the mental image of that very canine moment on the school bus! Have to laugh, I was having my breakfast one day a few months ago, and Ruby might have given Ollie a look, and before I knew what was going on, well things were going on, if you know what I mean. Is it right to be confronted with such moments when enjoying breakfast? – I think not.

    On the other hand, kids raised on farms would see this sort of stuff going on some of the time, probably accompanied to a few snickers and laughs.

    At this stage it’s kind of looking like it may be a repeat of last summer, but perhaps worse. On the other hand, the fertiliser has meant that plants grow faster and I’m also increasing the spacing between plants so that they have more room to grow in in the colder conditions and hence more sunlight energy per land surface. Adaptation is the watchword here.

    I’m pretty certain the family dumping the huge television had to pay to do so. Scrap metal is free, as it is sold on I believe. The main issue with raising tip fees too high is that people counter the increased cost by dumping, and so there is a middle ground in that story. I’m sure you see that taking place in your part of the world?

    Exactly, there are no guarantees here with this story. But at the same time I’m glad to hear that you’ll enjoy a family catch up. I was a bit worried that at one point all that seemed allowable was working and online shopping as that is not right in my books. How are they enjoying living out of the big smoke?



  18. Hi Ann,

    Thanks for the link and lovely to hear from you.

    The climate down here is also trending in that warming direction, but here is the weird thing. I’ve just experienced the coldest November (remember it is meant to be spring here) snap in about 160 years of records. Yes, I have no doubts at all that the climate is warming, and I can now grow some varieties of citrus that were apparently not possible a decade or two back. Citrus is very marginal here.

    The thing is, my day to day experience suggests that there is great deal of variability going on in all manner of climate directions, and it might get worse.

    What I’ve noted about climate research is that there is a conflict of interest to produce models. The trends produced by the models are probably valid and are certainly indicative, but what I’m experiencing is increased variability, and that is not a neat and tidy outcome which can be presented in a model. What I actually need is basic discussions about how to adapt to climate variability, and how other people are going about doing that.

    I’m less interested in models and predictions, and far more interested in hearing about how things look on the ground with the people who live in such places. Hope that makes sense?

    For example, In cold years I wonder how to adapt to reduced growing days. In hot and dry years I wonder how to manage the limited water supplies and so forth. The models on the other hand represent a need to control something (i.e. the climate) which is basically not possible to control due to our species interaction with the ecosystem.



  19. Hi DJ,

    Hehe! Yes, Lewis got in before you with that nod. 🙂 Duct tape is good. I heard that in a recent spacecraft mission there was a leak in the sewage system. Puts a whole new dimension to the word: floaties. Duct tape may have been their friend at that time?

    Yeah, asbestos removal looks similar down here, although I’ve never really known where the skip bins end up? When they are on the truck though, the load is covered by thick black plastic all duct taped up. It’s a pretty nasty but unfortunately very useful material. I recall as a kid, asbestos garden boundary strips used to be sold. Plenty of those would have been hit by a mower blade sooner or later. The whole thing is a giant crap-shoot. And I’ve certainly encountered the stuff way back in the day before folks were alarmed by its presence. It really is all over the built landscape.

    The idea of Blue / grey tape kind of amuses me too! Hey, did you ever dare send the wrong colour of duct tape? It might have been his idea of a joke? As a boss I used to make a point about stopping people from singing. If ever I heard someone doing that, I’d pop my head up and pointedly suggest: Stop it! Of course, I realised it gave people a way to amusingly vent their frustration in a harmless way.

    Workplace politics, can’t live with it, pass the beer nuts. 🙂 Mate, I so hear you about that. Additionally, I’d have to suggest that I’m just not wired to be that socially competitive, and maybe that might also be part of your story?

    Strangely enough, I actually worked a long long time ago at a place which pulled that insubordinate card. I retorted by saying: You know that we’re not in the army don’t you? They were trying to get me to do some dodgy stuff but also bizarrely take the fall for it. I was too young to know that I should have simply sent them a written note saying that: you’ve asked me to do this dodgy stuff and this is your instruction. It is an easily fixed situation, but one must gain experience to know how to deal with the unusual circumstance in the first place.

    DJ, step to the side but a moment. Thanks for that. Avalanche, matey, when boss man has left the car, it’s your chance to jump in the drivers seat. This is your right and you must continually exercise the right, all the time, lest it be taken away. Don’t worry about boss man, he’ll be fine. He’ll understand.

    Sorry about that interruption.

    45 pounds is a decent size, and Ruby is not far off that weight. Ollie is pushing on almost 90 pounds – he’s a, let’s just say, force of nature. Fortunately he is also very chilled out.

    My nefarious Avalanche life lesson plans / instructions seems to have been derailed by your good self. Hehe!

    Yeah, exactly, Blizzard is a world away from Avalanche personality wise, and they were from the same litter. I reckon canine personalities might be somehow hard wired, but also susceptible to change afterwards. Plum has changed a bit in the past few months, but I reckon she is learning how and why the other dogs get rewarded – and then copying those behaviours. It’s a complicated business.

    It is an interesting issue isn’t it? I’ve got a mate who mentions that he wants, I forget exactly how he puts it, but something along the lines of being happy and enjoying his work. I dunno, and your words touch on this story (but from my perspective as well), are you meant to find meaning in paid work? I really don’t know the answer to that story, but somehow the meme that it should be a desirable outcome is kind of getting pursued. I don’t remember hearing such suggestions when I was a young bloke, but I do remember being told to shut up and just get on with the work.

    Yay for the rain for you! Hope the world around you is greening up a bit?

    Hehe! Thanks for the plumbing story, but that ain’t gonna be repeated on this here farm! 🙂 No, I’ll cut the PVC pipe short and add a 135 degree angle, but have to construct a small retention and infiltration (i.e. leaky) pond at that specific location. Ferns may be involved in the construction, but for the moment I have a bit too much work on my plate. Oh well, life was not meant to be easy.

    The duct tape on the exhaust would have lasted a couple of seconds at least before melting into a cloud of toxic fumes.

    Giants and pogo sticks!!!! So true… 🙂 It may soon look like one of those games where you pull sticks out before the structure eventually collapses – except in reverse.



  20. Hi Lewis,

    Thanks for the link, and did you note that allegedly some bloke drove through a road closed and got swept away. I’m surprised that happens, and interestingly enough, it takes very little water to lift a vehicle off the ground during a flood. That article suggests that flooding is pretty serious up there.

    Actually the same thing is true here too in that it is the state governments that run the health side of things. It gets complicated because the federal folks I believe run the bringing people in from overseas side of things. And the two sides are from different political parties so it wouldn’t surprise me if that there is a bit of argy bargy going on. The thing is though, the lock down here was the most severe and longest lasting on the entire planet. Questions need to be asked as to why that was the case. I don’t believe that it is a record to be proud of, and the stupid thing is that the health subject which dares not be named is now out and about in the community despite the previous policies. A bit of introspection is not a bad idea.

    One of the great risks of abandoning the middle ground whilst taking extreme positions is that others can take up that middle ground, and yet they might also bring with them kooky ideas, weird insignia, arm bands, jackboots and a propensity for violence. And the media goes on and on about far right and they say this is, and that is, and in the end people might not know the what the far right if it does need identifying. The whole thing is a risky business. And what about the far left? Oh my! What a hornet’s nest.

    Speaking of which, have you heard any more news about the murder hornets in your part of the world? They sound rather frightening.

    What is a failed recall elections? Sounds like a male plumbing issue!

    Pool shark indeed. Although there was that one time where I beat some locals at pool, but given that it was in a remote country pub up in the high country, and I was on my own waiting for friends to turn up, I decided to smooth the local ruffled feathers and buy some beers and so even the score. Yeah, some folks have disappeared up in that part of the country. And we mentioned the mysterious button man many months ago and the disappeared older couple (as well as the others up that way). Best not to annoy people is a wise strategy when in such situations.

    Good to hear that the power stayed on at your place. It’s an incredible amount of water in only a short period of time. Alarmingly so. What to do with all of the parsley? Well there is the parsley garlic dip which is of Greek derivation. And let’s not forget falafel’s (try not to die with one in your hand – and nod to the book of the same name). I’d keep it going as a fresh green for the winter. The plant is prolific here too, although there is only so much you can consume. I do tend to add it to my salad mixes, and did so today for lunch with some fried eggs and a few small chunks of tasty cheese, but a huge volume of cut up mixed salad greens. Not a bad lunch really, and the huge volume of greens really clears your head. The green mustards right now are getting rather toothy and zingy.

    I saw the images of the landslide. Hope the people caught there keep warm.

    I applaud your ability to ignore your fellow inmates! 🙂 Hmm. So out of curiosity, have you any theories as to what circumstances could cause a ghost to move swiftly? Inquiring minds want to know. 🙂 Mate, the poltergeist film scared the daylights out of me, and now when I see housing estates, I do wonder if they were built over a cemetery. Or hey, would you want to live next to a pet semetary (using the spelling provided) given what goes on in such places?

    There is a big difference between falling and being pushed, so I’m guessing the ghosts produced would be of different characters. I reckon the pushed would be by and away most of the reasons behind the moaning. I mean, it is possible that the pushed came to be pushed due to excessive moaning in the first place – and thus it is let’s just say, a natural progression for them. 🙂

    Of course, but my mind is rarely quiet. I expect that the day it becomes quiet, things perhaps will not be going all that well for me and I might be resting for longer than I’d prefer. This state of affairs does come to all of us sooner or later.

    Let’s not mention that the Kid didn’t get a look in either, in either series. A loss as the guy was an absolute nutter of a character. Incidentally, I noted that the new Dexter series also has a rock n roll soundtrack. It began with Iggy Pop, The Passenger. A very creepy song.

    I do hope that the characters enjoy the south of France. Interestingly, some of the Agatha Christie books are set also in that era. It’s a fascinating insight into those days.

    Oooo! Now I watched the trailer for Moonfall and the disaster quotient is pretty epic. Don’t expect much to survive.

    Far out dude! Yeah, I like your suggestion, but you go first with the hand. Fortunately, those particular spiders live in warmer areas far and away to the north of here. Comfortably far away.



  21. Hi everyone,

    I’m taking a straw poll here. If there was to be a one off podcast of about an hours duration, what sort of issues would you think are appropriate for me to talk about, or you’d want to hear about?



  22. Hello Chris!

    I would like to hear you talk about building your housing+orchard+garden system together with the Editor. How do you decide on what to prioritize? Do you use the Holistic Management method or something similar? How do you evaluate interventions? How do you decide on investments?
    How do you resolve conflicts? How do you handle neighbours?
    What are your long term dream(s) and objectives?
    I think the process of establishing a life out of the city is super interesting and inspiring!
    Let us know where we can listen to the broadcast!

  23. Hello Chris,
    Regarding your mention earlier, “What I actually need is basic discussions about how to adapt to climate variability, and how other people are going about doing that.”

    This is another interesting topic to discuss in a podcast or in a post here.

    I see small, diverse farms work out over the long term much better than the specialized, large farms. In the small town that I inhabit, there is one very diversified farm that is chugging along well.
    However, I don’t think that the diversification is the only reason why it is working well. I think it is the personality/character of the owners that is low-spend-rate, curious mind, welcoming atmosphere, this is the key to their success. Keeping costs low, old second hand tractors, focus on maintenance instead of purchases. Investing in systems, not in toys. Diversification is just an extension of their interests.

    The simpler mind of the specialized market grower/farmer/dairyman invites vulnerabilities that are beyond the dependency of one customer/market.

    I worked for a few years in the automotive business, which is very cyclical. The sales volumes can double in 5 years, and half again in the next few years. The personnel needed is therefore also strongly cyclical. It does not fit well with my personality.

    Coming back to growing food for yourself in a chaotic climate – diversity and over-capacity is necessary, since some growing systems will fail every year. One year, a hoop-house may be necessary to get heat for tomatoes. Next year, the hoop-house is too hot, but the outdoor fruiting plants work better. A third year, the hoop-house is full of aphids.
    In the orchards, each fruit or nut tree variety has a different top-performing-year.

    I think we will get more weather surprises down the line, so I salute your diverse plantings and investments in soil fertility!

    Do you have any contact with Shane Simonsen in the hot part of your continent? His “zero-input-agriculture” method seems to need lots of space, and lots of knowledge about how/when to harvest and process. Seems like a brave and hardworking man, from what I read on the interweb.


  24. Hello Chris
    You might be surprised at how difficult I am finding it to answer your straw poll.

    My major interests and views are mainly not best put out on the internet. Finance is innocuous I suppose but there are other sites for that. So on to what I definitely don’t want. Any more dog to dog chit chat. Only mentioned because so many of your commentators seem to love it.

    How about much more about your area of Australia. More photos, history, lives of the inhabitants; in fact almost anything.


  25. Yo, Chris – Prof. Mass did a post about all the flooding, up north. So did this outfit …

    By the way, “The Daily Impact” had a post on our electrical grid, on the 28th October. The comments were particularly interesting, as someone on “the inside” had a lot to say about replacing transformers. There was also an interesting post about supply lines.

    We often see caution signs (yellow and black) around, that say, “When Flooded Turn Around Don’t Drown.” Given the general public’s lack of reading comprehension, these days, I don’t know how much good they do. Darwin will sort it out. The only caution sign I have has no text. But as it’s an easily identifiable cartoon character, in silhouette, it clearly means, “Penguin Crossing.” 🙂

    Right now, in our state, the government is pretty much controlled by one political party. Not that there isn’t a vocal minority. Who would like to limit the governor’s emergency powers. But they don’t push too hard, as, some day, the shoe may be on the other foot. They’d like to limit the governor’s emergency powers, and have him (or her) to have to go begging to the legislature. But the whole idea of an emergency is, that it’s an emergency. Moving fast seems part of the response. Recall elections. It didn’t get to serious in this state, as we had a regular election coming up. But the way it works is, most states have some mechanism (varies) to toss a politician. And elect someone else. Usually, it involves raising enough signatures to hold an election. That’s what happened in California. Down there, every nutter came out of the woodwork, and they had something like 50 people, on the ballot. Here, for our primary election there were 36 people running for governor. Of all political stripes and weirdness. The top two vote getters then had a run-off, in the general election. End result? Incumbent governor re-elected for another term, by a clear margin. Clear? Good. 🙂

    The State of Idaho, has been kind of interesting. The Lt. Governor, is of a different party, than the governor. Every time he leaves the State, she’s in charge. And reverses some of his edicts. Now he doesn’t bother to inform her, when he’s out of state.

    Haven’t heard too much about the Murder Hornets, lately. They stomped out a couple a three nests, this year, north of Seattle. People are on high alert, to report any sightings. There are traps.

    Ohhhh! Parsley dip sounds nice. I also looked up several recipes for different parsley soups. There was one that was a parsley / horseradish soup. Sounds interesting and would probably really clear out your sinuses. Even if I pulled out 3/4 of the parsley, there would still be plenty to see me in greens, through the winter.

    Ghosts move swiftly, when they want to get in a humans face, and startle them. Startle them into hurting themselves.

    Did they jump or were they pushed? TV detectives are always trying to figure out that one. I’ve been reading the reviews of the new Dexter. Spoilers and all. If and when it makes it to DVD, I’ll have forgotten it all, anyway.

    I’ll absent myself from the podcast discussion. I don’t do podcasts. I have enough noise in my life, as it is 🙂 . Though I must admit, your voice in the bread making video was gentle and soothing. But gosh knows what you’d sound like if you got on a good whinge. Lew

  26. Chris,

    Ah yes, duct tape and floaties. Almost sounds like the title of a science fiction farce movie.

    Asbestos was and is everywhere. In some of its uses, it’s nearly impossible for it to get airborne, yet TPTB still make that stuff be treated as asbestos waste. Then there’s the stuff like pipe insulation that can make death clouds just about anytime, anyplace. It just takes decades for the asbestos illnesses to show up.

    Asbestos led to one of my most famous “Told you so” moments on the job. Eejit Biggest Boss decided to purchase a large property with buildings contiguous to where our road maintenance fleet was housed. Even his senior engineers warned him about the asbestos problems on that property (they had made asbestos containing products for decades) in an all staff meeting. Biggest Boss quipped, “There’s nothing wrong with asbestos and nobody here who understands it.” I piped up that I had over 3 years in the asbestos clean up industry and knew exactly what its health problems were, and that the cost for the upcoming Federal regulated clean up of that property would dwarf the cost of the purchase. Naturally, he bought the place. Then the regulations hit. He assigned the project to someone else with the direction NOT to ask me for help. When the estimated cost for mitigation came in at 4 or 5 times the purchase price, I blurted out a loud “I told you so” at the next all staff meeting. Biggest Boss was not amused. Most of my coworkers laughed very loudly. That Biggest Boss was NOT liked.

    So, yes, career limiting. But as you surmised, I’m NOT wired for the office politics. That got to be well known, as did the accompanying “DJ will always answer truthfully to a direct question.” My supervisor assigned me to attend the regularly held project update meetings. In one meeting, the design engineer and the surveyor were sniping at one another. But the design engineer had a naturally high, whiny voice, so it sounded like he was whining and complaining. Finally, the Big Cheese who ran the meeting said, “Frank, quit whining.” To which Frank (not his real name) speedily whined, “I’m NOT whiniinnnngggg!” in a very high pitched squeek. The room erupted in laughter. Knowing me and my truthful proclivities, Frank asked me why everyone was laughing. My reply: “Your voice is naturally high pitched and whiny. And it was even higher pitched when you said that. Sorry, but you sounded exactly like a whiny 4 year old, Frank.” He graciously thanked me for the truth.

    The blue “grey tape”? Nope, it wasn’t purposeful amusement by the boss. He just always called it “grey tape” and couldn’t change. And yes, I regularly kept rolls of several colors handy so that I could supply him with any color, as long as it was NOT the color he asked for. Even he bellowed with laughter when he realized what he’s said when he said, “DJ toss me a roll of that grey “grey tape”. Naturally, I quickly got on the radio, monitored by all persons employed in the various physical plant maintenance shops, “Hey Ricky, the Boss asked me to ask you to bring him another box of that GREY ‘grey tape’.” He took the resultant ribbing good naturedly.

    Insubordination is the inept manager’s overused fall back position. I asked the first Big Boss I had a question once. He gave me a VERY lame excuse. When I pointed out several examples that contradicted him, he said that I was being insubordinate. When I quit laughing, I told him to try doing something about it when all I did was ask for clarification based on undeniable facts. Nothing he could say. I knew how far I could go and what insubordination actually was. That wasn’t even close.

    Avalanche said to thank you for the advice regarding the driver’s seat. I’ll let you know what happens. 😉

    Things greened up in September from the rains we got then. Still green. The lawns should turn their winter brown shortly, however. I was trimming hedges, a never ending process, on Tuesday afternoon. It was chilly and breezy, but much subdued from the Monday wind storm. I noticed the wind shifted, coming from the north. I could see the dark clouds and then the certain signs of snow falling. We got a half hour of mixed graupel and snow. There was a thin coating on the grass, but not enough to tantalize Avalanche. Then it got to -8.5C overnight. THAT temperature should put the lawns and other things into winter dormancy. We are a week “late” for our first measurable snow according to the average. Not unusual at all. In fact, very common for a La Nina season, which is what we’re supposedly getting. Often in a La Nina winter, the worst snow starts in late December. One year, the snow didn’t start until February 4.


  27. Hello Chris
    Clearly I am ignorant and misunderstood the meaning of ‘podcast’. I back Goran’s suggestions.


  28. Hi Inge,

    Right. No dog to dog chit chat. OK, I’ve got that. Economics – covered elsewhere, perhaps better. Got that too. 🙂 Hehe!

    I may have mentioned before that as a kid I worked retail (and as a young adult did a stint on a production line). It interests me greatly that there are staff shortages all over the place for retail and hospitality work right now. And a few people I know in that industry, are leaving it. Change is afoot for sure.

    It’s interesting that you mention the local history, but earlier today the editor and I walked up to the highest point in the mountain range (about 3,300 ft above sea level) known as the Camels Hump for purely obvious reasons. The vantage point has an awe inspiring view. The outcropping is about six million years old, and was formed as some sort of sticky lava which welled up that produced a relatively silica-rich lave (soda trachyte) of high viscosity. I learned that there was a disused quarry up there, which I could not see. Apparently in that immediate area there are caves and bush rangers used to use the epic view in order to spy out gold laden Cobb and Co coaches heading back to Melbourne from the gold fields further to the north. The coaches raised dust in the warmer months, and thus were visible from quite a distance away.

    Also, an old hill station garden (Tieve Tara) was open to the public (at a reasonable fee) and that was pleasing to see, as it had new owners and you never really know whether the new folks will open up the gardens again. It was delightful.

    If only Ren and Flynn could talk, the tails (sic) they may tell! 🙂



  29. Hi Goran,

    Thanks for the excellent list of discussion points (he says whilst writing them all down).

    Mate, you know, it is really hard to write something like that, but as far as I can understand the current circumstances, the climate outcome is now baked into the cake. So, the interesting thing to me now becomes, so what do you intend to do about this information? Few people want to discuss this, but maybe it is just me, I tend to believe that it is a matter of some importance. Most people tend to see the future as if it were today, but with a façade of green technology. I’m not necessarily sanguine in relation to that.

    Yeah, exactly! Diversification of production is very far from an efficient system, but instead it produces a more resilient system overall, mostly because if one aspect of production fails, another may do quite well – which you also note. For example, this year will be very bad for apricots grown at the farm, but on the other hand the cooler temperatures and higher rainfall will favour the apples and pears. But if all I was relying on were apricots, then the season would be looking very bleak indeed.

    And that is the other unmentionable – keep your ongoing costs low. It is worth noting that you may have little option in that regard in relation to the upfront costs.

    Ouch. The inverted bell shaped curve of the product life cycle is brutal, and it may surprise you, but that curve is represented in a lot of different aspects of life, including our civilisation. At that level, it can be defeated, but our culture does not generally adhere to the sort of guidelines and principles which may allow for such an outcome. Nature will sort out that matter.

    And dunno about your part of the world, but many of the fruit trees here are biennial and so they naturally crop heavily one year and then have something of a break the following year and produce far more wood and far less fruit. How commercial growers get around that aspect of the trees biology is something that I don’t really understand, but I’d probably let the trees do as the want to anyway. There are always costs to forcing production.

    Thanks! And that is my opinion too in relation to the future climate.

    I hadn’t encountered the work of Shane Simonsen before, and I applaud his approach, and also his cogent critique of organic methods. I note that his farm is about 2,000km north of here where there are more growing days per year than I could ever dream about. I’m not entirely certain that his methods would translate well here this far south (and at elevation) where there is a limited number of growing days per year. Probably the best person I’ve encountered for describing a climate where this farm is located is Steve Solomon who wrote the most excellent book: Growing Vegetables South of Australia. The similarities between here and there are very hard for me to ignore, and so the practical advice is excellent (for me anyway). Actually the longer I’ve been at this, the more I appreciate that there is no one size fits all approach, and it all depends on climate, sun, soil and water – and that varies from place to place.



  30. Hi Inge,

    I would not be one to ever say such a thing. From long association, I have come to appreciate that your mind is indeed a sharp tool! We may not agree on all points though, and I’m good with that outcome.



  31. Hi Lewis,

    Thanks for the links, and the Good Professor’s blog had better photos. 7 inches of rain in about 24 hours in some mountainous locations sounds horrendous, and frankly strikes a certain amount of fear into my own heart. Interestingly, today it was meant to rain late this afternoon, but the rain moved further east in the state and we had blue sunny skies. It was actually really nice, and we were braced for the worst. And the next three days look fairly dry too. The little digital weather station in the kitchen was predicting an intense storm which kind of bypassed the area. Had a bit of rain recently, and this miss is in this case, a good thing.

    With the storm warning in mind, we curtailed plans and kept it fairly local today. Walked up to the highest point in the mountain range – the so called and obviously named, Camels Hump. From a distance, the volcanic plug actually does look like a camels hump. Anyway, the walk is not too strenuous, although as you can imagine it does trek up hill. The view from up there is awesome, but err, I neglected to take the camera… It’s hard to get good help! 🙂

    We also noticed that one of the old hill station gardens (Tieve Tara) which had changed hands maybe about six months ago, had a garden open sign out on the main road. Not being one to bypass an opportunity, we paid the fee at the gate and traipsed around the delightful gardens. Anyway, the gardens were amazing, and the new owners had put some care into them which is nice to see.

    I noticed a young bloke today reading George Orwells book Nineteen Eighty Four, and remarked to him that his choice was appropriate for the times, and we had a bit of an uncomfortable laugh.

    I’d read the fine essay at The Daily Impact. And it is a subject that interests me greatly, being a tech geek and all. I had not read that comment though and will have to do something about that. Fascinating, and I agree with the bloke. Just for your interest, he talks about transformers in the 1000 kVA range (and much higher). My little system here is around the 5 kVA with a peak output of about 3 times that. There is no way it could charge an electric vehicle. On the grid, I reckon there will be massive hot spots and failures at transformer levels the more batteries you expect to charge. And he’s right too about the batteries. I wouldn’t offer them up as a supply, unless you want to replace them regularly. Batteries are a fine old very mature technology, and you can have them, but you can’t use them. Every day I check the state of charge of the batteries first thing in the morning. If they’re not 85% full I start to think about what sort of weather it will be today and what use I’ll put the system too. The more you use batteries, the shorter will be their lifespan. I wish it were not so, but it is.

    I’m trialling the two Kelpie pups with their cones off their heads tonight. They’re doing fine so far, although their wounds have a ways to go yet before they are fully healed.

    Ah, what can happen here in relation to state politics is that the government can control the lower house (and the Premier usually is also a member of that house) whilst the upper house can be controlled by neither party. In that case, the so called balance of power falls to the independents who I’m guessing can name their price for their support of government bills. Interestingly, sometimes the parties don’t oppose each other and the word opposition can often be interpreted in the most literal sense of its meaning – and that makes for stupid politics. Compromise is not such a dirty word.

    Well, emergency, yeah, so rumour has it that the original bill for this pandemic emergency powers didn’t actually specify that there had to be an actual disease present. I don’t know how such a thing could be overlooked.

    Ooo! We have no such mechanism, but from some respects, it is not a bad check and balance, and I’d imagine that more than simply just a few signatures would be required to force such a possibility? How would the signatures even be verified as being true and real? Interestingly, down here nobody votes for the premier or prime minister. And I’m not entirely certain those positions are even recognised in the constitution, it is more something of an agreed to formality and the party with the majority in the lower houses agrees to that person doing the job. Now of course as can happen, the agreement within the party can fall apart, and that was why we had so many prime ministers within such a short period of time. The public was losing patience with such outcomes and they’ve now agreed within the parties not to do this knifing. Politics is a dirty business.

    Given the incumbent governor re-elected for another term, by a clear margin, did the nutters desist from being nutty and calling for another election? Mind you it is probably too much to ask of for nutters to desist from being nutty.

    Interesting. The federal ruling party is actually a long standing coalition of two parties (the Liberals and the Nationals). The nationals tend to represent the more rural interests. So the Prime Minister is from the Liberals and the Deputy Prime Minister is from the Nationals, so that Idaho situation can happen down here too. They’re meant to agree those two folks, but they don’t always see eye to eye.

    I hadn’t heard of a parsley horseradish soup, but it sounds pretty tasty, and would have some serious kick courtesy of the horseradish. That plant is something of a weed here, but I enjoy the kick you get from consuming the tubers. I assume they grow well in your part of the world too? Haven’t quite worked how to grate the tubers effectively and they’re a tough fibre for the food processor blades, despite them being super sharp. Have you cooked with the tubers?

    Of course, so obvious! Get the humans to harm themselves by startling them. Poltergeist scared the daylights out of me.

    Dexter spoiler – the sister character Deb makes a comeback, as a ghost, or more likely some sort of inner guide. Did you come across where the series was filmed? It looks like North Dakota to me. Far out it looks cold there, and how he stays warm in that cabin is something of a mystery to me. I’ve camped in some alpine cabins which are very rustic and dotted around the place way out in the remote alpine areas and it’s pretty cold up there. They had snow up there only last week during the historic cold snap.

    I don’t do whinges. That is for other lesser folks! 🙂 Oh well, maybe I do an occasional whinge. What would that make it? A whingelet?



  32. Hi DJ,

    Hey, I’ll bet the astronauts never thought that they might need to wear incontinence pants? SpaceX crew using incontinence pants on return home after toilet malfunctions. How did they even have such things on board in the first place? So many questions… I may have previously used the line sub-fluffy-optimal, proving that it is a great way to describe an awkward situation.

    Asbestos exposure from what I understand is a crap shoot when it comes to illness, and none of us know the personal risk. But yeah, the stuff was and is all over the built environment.

    Oh no! You know, I thought that the guy was purchasing the property for his own personal use, but err, no it now appears not to be the case from a re-read of your comment. Oh well, when you’re not having to fork over your own mad cash, well, a more easy handed approach can sometimes be applied to circumstances. It makes a person wonder if the site could have just remained as-is and go unused? And that is a huge cost over run.

    Ah, I have run out of time this evening. Something to do with going to the local pub for dinner. Staff shortages are rather common down here these days.

    Will speak tomorrow.



  33. Hello Chris
    Agreeing on everything would soon become tedious, However, after months of disagreement, I have finally had to tell a friend that I have come round to his point of view. I did notice a satisfied smile.
    I am sure that Ren and Flyn can talk to each other. In exchange for that, I offer you the recommendation of yet another book. ‘Gene an intimate history’ by Siddhartha Mukherjee. I am currently absorbed in it.


  34. Yo, Chris – I saw an article last night, that Vancouver, B.C. (a city with a metro area population of 2.5 million) is cut off. All roads and rails are closed, either by landslides or flooding. Fuels running out and store shelves have been wiped clean.

    Which brings me to a couple of movies and a book. Over the past couple of days, I’ve watched a couple of movies that have time travel as a theme. The first is “Needle in a Time Stack.” It’s source material is a short story by Robert Silverberg. A very rich man wants to get his divorced wife, back. She’s moved on and has married someone else. So he tweaks time, a bit. The other film is “Reminiscence” (Hugh Jackman). It’s not really a time travel film, but it’s about being able to travel back, in memory. What’s interesting about this film is, it’s set in a near future, in a partially sunken and flooded Miami. The book I’m reading is “Glimmer” (Kellogg, 2021). It’s set in a near future partially sunken and flooded New York City. I don’t know if I’m going to finish it, or not. I’m 30 pages in, and it hasn’t “grabbed” be, yet.

    The hill station gardens sound quit nice. Were pies on offer? 🙂 Camel’s Hump is a volcanic plug? Mt. St. Helens had one of those. Notice the past tense 🙂 .

    Politics used to be about compromise. AKA (Also known as), bipartisanship. Now it’s all about not giving an inch, by either side. Actually, to recall a governor, you need a couple of hundred thousand signatures. It’s written into our state laws, that you need signatures amounting to 25% of the votes cast, for any kind of a recall election. You can hire people to gather signatures. Those are the folks lurking around grocery store entrances, accosting unsuspecting people. Their as bad as the Girl Scouts (Guides?), pushing their cookies. 🙂 . It’s up to the election boards, to verify that the signatures are from real, registered voters.

    The nutters have quieted down, a bit. Now their demonstrations draw dozens or a couple of hundred people. Not the thousand or so, early on.

    For some reason, the thought crossed my mind about law vs custom. Something we’ve talked about before. I don’t know how it applies, but it just popped into my head.

    Dexter is set in upstate New York … but is filmed in the State of Massachusetts. It’s all New England. More hills and trees than North Dakota. I didn’t know if you knew Dexter’s sister Deb is ghosting about. His kid also shows up. Another angsty teenager to draw in the younger set.

    Horseradish grows very well, here. Develops into quit a large, showy plant. Looks very Jurassic Park. I’ve got one that’s probably going to have to be moved to a new raised bed, this year. By “moved,” I’ll just break off a bit of the root and start a new plant.

    I stopped by the library, last night, and read Mr. Greer’s post. I didn’t have time to read many of the comments. Yup. The holiday craziness is upon us. He makes so many rational suggestions … that no one pays any attention to. Lew

  35. Chris:

    I am not so sure that they would still be in hospital here. I’ve known too many people who got shoved out and home when they should have stayed. We do have “rehab” places where you can go and have medical care while you recover. I guess that picks up the slack some.

    You were so lucky with that cat. You never know what you will get when you take in an animal. So – what was its name?


  36. Hi Chris,

    Popping out of the woodwork here to say that a podcast including soap, jams and country wines would interest me. Oh hang I am not fooling anyone just COUNTRY WINES.

    I read Stephen King’s book On Writing after it was mentioned in the comments a while back. Thoroughly enjoyed it.

    Kind Regards

  37. Hi DJ (cont),

    I was almost tempted to suggest that the massive cost over run on the site due to the apparent un-budgeted for asbestos clean up was almost a narrative straight out of an episode of Grand Designs UK. After 22 seasons of that show, I can only suggest that the vast majority of builds take far longer than expected, and cost far more than anyone believed possible. Far out.

    You know, I tend to believe that not being wired for office politics can sometimes be an advantage. I’ve worked at businesses that have high staff turnover (and that is a red flag, if ever there was one), and often such places are fraught with drama and high states of emotion. Not being wired to get caught up in such work place dramas, means that the emotional load which gets dumped on you is far less than what goes on with all of the other people coming and then going again from employment in such places. I tend to prefer more stable employment anyway, having learned the hard way what sort of places I really don’t like. After a while they kind of get the memo that there ain’t anything inherently wrong with a bit of quirkiness. 🙂

    Feedback can be constructive, definitely so. But then it can be hard to know when feedback is constructive and/or when it is a put down or other such social game. And usually context is the defining pivot upon which the insight can be derived. Incidentally, speaking of whiny, I encountered the voice that could sink a thousand ships this afternoon! Fortunately I could blot out the noise and bury my nose in my book.

    Oh no! And I thought that your boss was being deliberately amusing with the grey tape moniker. 🙂 It’s pretty funny, and glad to hear that he took it well.

    Mate, I tell ya what, the folks who pulled that insubordination claim business on me were really difficult people, and they weren’t even up for the sort of common sense reply which you offered when in similar circumstances. One of the worst employers I’d ever worked for actually.

    Here’s hoping that Avalanche mixes things up and settles in the drivers seat once you’ve decamped from the vehicle. What are we up to here: 12 incidents for the Chris theory, and what was it: 4 for the DJ theory?

    Yikes! -8.5’C will most definitely brown off the grass. Stay warm, and you wouldn’t want to be further north and west of where you are. Mate, they’re doing it super tough. Cities generally aren’t constructed with infrastructure which can accommodate such volumes of rainfall in such a short period of time.

    They’re suggesting down here that it is another La Nina year, and the forecast for the next week is hardly encouraging. Most days are hovering around 20’C in Melbourne which translates to about 15’C to 16’C here. This spring has been very cold.



  38. Hi Pam,

    I don’t really know on that score, and am only recounting what the vet told me. But on the other hand, I’ve heard similar stories about people getting moved on and then back out into the world again.

    I do remember that as a very young adult I had surgery on my nose (as it had been broken), and yeah now that you mention it, the hospital had me out later that day. I was candidly a bit woozy afterwards, and so went home and went to bed and slept off the horror morning and hoped that nothing went wrong (which it didn’t).

    Thanks! And I’m sure you’ve had similar experiences with boon companion felines and canines? Unfortunately it is not in my nature to be mysterious, but in this particular case I shall employ this particular technique, and so I won’t be able to divulge the details and sate your curiosity mostly due to national security concerns. 🙂 Hope that you understand.



  39. Hi Elbows,

    Always a delight to hear from you.

    Hehe! You’ve got me laughing whilst I write down your most excellent suggestion. Of course there is a story to the country wines, and yeah it does deserve an airing, as it is quite relevant. The soap and jams sort of fall into the same category, but are far less amusing a story. 🙂

    Thanks for the review on the book. Actually, my copy arrived in the mail earlier this week and I’m looking forward to reading it and learning from the master of a craft.

    Hope that your spring is going well? It is very cold and damp here, which is somewhat discouraging for the plants and growing season. However, it is a truth universally acknowledged that it is far easier to work physically hard in these sorts of cooler conditions. Only mad dogs and Englishmen are out and about in the hot afternoon sunshine on stonking hot days.



  40. Hi Inge,

    Did you notice that there is a logical trap in your very first sentence? So if I respond in the affirmative, then I’m agreeing with you, but that reply itself then contradicts the supposition inherent in your theory, and thus the awful awfulness of tedium is experienced. It reminds me of the scene in Monty Python’s film: The Life of Brian, when the crowd declares that: ‘we’re all individuals’. Now, I don’t know whether to agree or disagree with you, but possibly I could also simply pretend that you penned no opinion in the matter? Which to do? Am I over thinking this?

    Respect to you. Not everyone has the ability to alter their opinions.

    Inge, here I must doff my cap to you and acknowledge that your wit is super sharp. Thanks for the laughs. And you snuck in a sneaky book recommendation to boot. Always appreciate your recommendations.

    Not much sun forecast for the next week. What another crazy growing season.



  41. Hi Lewis,

    News from that part of the world is candidly not good. This is what our local news is showing: Death toll from British Columbia flood set to rise, Canadian government pledges aid. The mud slides strike a note of deep personal concern. Having experienced a minor landslide a few years ago, I’m not sure that I’d want to see what a much larger event could achieve. Incidentally, we made huge changes to the movement of water from epic bouts of rainfall after that notable experience. Just the landslide itself took a lot of days of work to correct, let alone the infrastructure upgrades. Anyway, I doubt whether some of those bridges, rail lines and highways will be in working order any time soon. It is a harsh way to discover the vulnerabilities for supplies in a large modern city.

    We let both Plum and Ruby out of their head cones to run around and around the farm all day long. And as a consequence, they’re very tired tonight. Except that Ruby (the more intelligent of the two dogs) hatched a cunning plan – Break the head plastic cone. An ingenious strategy and so far she has managed to drive a tear into the tough plastic a few inches long. I’m impressed. When they said that she wasn’t the baddest bitch around – they lied! 🙂 Mate, the scissors we used to modify the original plastic head cone had a tough time of it cutting through that thick material.

    Today was another glorious spring gloomy, humid and otherwise cloudy cold day. Wherefore art though, spring?

    On the other hand, such days are primed for hard work. We cemented in 15 of the 18 posts into the ground for the new replacement shed. Then we worked out a way to use the power wheelbarrow to move the enormous number of steel corrugated sheets down to the shed site. We’d worked so hard that 3pm rolled around and lunch was calling. Went off to the local general store to check the mail, pick up milk and enjoy some much needed late lunch. All very enjoyable.

    With cafes now open to dining in, I’m beginning to catch up in my reading. Always a pleasure. Except that the Dying Earth series of books by Jack Vance, is actually comprised of four books in one, and it is of the equivalent size as The Stand – the extended mix. I’m over halfway through now, and next on the list is Mr King’s ‘On Writing’, which you may approve of, but I now own a hardback version.

    Out of curiosity, did the rich man change any aspect of himself that his ex-wife may have taken a dislike to? My gut feeling was that getting her back may have resulted in a similar outcome if the surrounding circumstances stayed the same. Dunno. Given the impacts of King tides in that particular city, the concept has a level of plausibility. 🙂 I hear you about that, and there have been a few books over the years that failed to stimulate any level of excitement over, or even remote interest. A year or so back I began reading a 1970’s angsty book and had to put it down and exorcise the demons. Far out, I’d never had that experience before reading a book. The head space of the author was a somewhat troubled place. Darkness I can deal with, but that angst was troubling to experience, and bizarrely it began to haunt me. One need not venture upon such turgid waters.

    The gardens were really pleasant, and the walk to the mountain range peak was very nice. And yes, gourmet pies may have been involved. And maybe some fruit toast – so good.

    Hehe! Lewis, this talk of once dormant volcanoes turning active is somewhat distressing. Yes, very amusing, for some. 😉 I read somewhere a while ago that the mountain range itself was formed as some sort of super volcano many hundreds of millions of years ago, but the plug was perhaps the more recent activity as it was only about five million years ago. Interestingly, the plug activity was noted as a demarcation line between the older and newer volcanic activity in this part of the world. Not sure what that means, and probably don’t wish to discover. This part of the world is rather active relatively speaking, and the most recent eruption was only a few thousand years ago. Most certainly there would have been people around to witness it. Geologists suggest that we’re due one somewhere sooner or later – it’s a bit like major fault lines in that you know that it will happen, but you don’t to experience it. Incidentally I have a new appreciation for earthquakes after that recent one…

    Exactly, that is what I meant when I suggested that political parties take the concept of opposition, too literally and they end up opposing everything. Although, it does suggest that there is a lack of common vision or goals to work towards, if there was even any vision to begin with.

    That getting accosted doesn’t happen down here. Hmm, although you did remind me of the time a long time ago when I walked out of a local bakery with my bread loaf in a plastic container (which I’d taken along) and the local transition town folks stationed nearby wanted to talk to me about banning plastic bags. I can’t actually recall exactly what I said, but I may have suggested that their goals whilst admirable, didn’t seem particularly realistic. If I tried harder I could have said something more uplifting, but yeah, didn’t happen. What would you have said to them?

    Law versus Custom is always an interesting matter. When the Queen’s representative sacked the standing federal government in 1975, the political parties had apparently broken a long term custom. The opposition party had control of the upper house, and so they blocked what is known as a ‘supply’ bill – i.e. the budget. This starved the government of funds and direction, which ultimately was their downfall. So custom is nice and all, but when the chips are down, the fine print is what is brought out. That can happen on a local level too.

    Hmm, an interesting place. Your mention of Massachusetts lead me to read about the Salem witch trials. A very strange and deeply disturbing historical occurrence. Just the place for Dexter.

    I believe that the leaves of the horseradish plant are edible, and have tasted them, although the texture of the leaf is a bit on the thick side. The characteristic toothiness is present in the leaves. You won’t have any trouble getting another plant to start.

    Yes, I too believe that the suggestions made by Mr Greer were eminently sensible. We do our own thing for Christmas and just ignore the iconography, except for the crazy light displays which I kind of enjoy. The health matter which dares not be named squooshed that spectacle last year. Honestly, that stuff is all weird down here anyway. Reindeers just don’t work right when the air temperature is pushing 104’F.



  42. Hi Chris,

    What/who is your intended audience? In addition to all the fine suggestions I might add a summary of the limitations of solar/renewable energy per your experience. I tell friends/acquaintances about the limitations of renewables as so many are under the impression that they will “save” us. I think sending a podcast from someone who actually lives under such limitations would be enlightening.


  43. Yo, Chris – I had to give a (bitter) chuckle, when I read in the article about the BC floods being a “500 year event.” Yeah, sure. We had three 500 year floods … in seven years. If that storm had tracked further south, we’d be in deep do-do. We’re in pretty good shape, being up on the high slope. As long as the park doesn’t burn down, I don’t think we have much worry about landslides. Though that one leaning oak …

    I’m happy to hear Ruby and Plum got a good romp, out. “Shake those sillies out!” As I say to H. It sounds like you’ve made a lot of progress on the shed. With a well deserved lunch after.

    There was some banter about how the rich guy “had changed.” Too little, too late. Besides, the wife had moved on and found her “soul mate.” Ordained through time, by the cosmos. Or something. Interesting. The Greeks had this myth that men and women were once a single creature. I forget the details, but, they were split in two. So, the trick was, find your missing other half. I think the idea of the myth is reflected in a lot of popular culture. Jung would say something about the Universal Subconscious, rather than a good story that has staying power. 🙂 .

    There are several super volcanos, scattered around the globe. Our Yellowstone Park, is one. If one of those babies goes, global warming will be the least of our problems. See film: “2012”.

    They’ve just put a plastic bag ban, in place, in our state. I so wish they’d stop referring to them as “single use plastic bags.” A plastic bag gets used three or four times, around my place. So, most places still have plastic bags … they just charge for them. They’re a lot more substantial, than the old plastic bags. At my regular grocery, they’re 8¢ a piece. Cheap at three times the price. There seems to be a lot of canvas totes, on offer.

    I don’t say anything. I just barrel by.

    Yup. Our Salem Witch Trials were something else. A bunch of angsty teenagers, out in the boonies, with too much time on their hands, got things rolling. And, according to some of the studies, a lot of the accusations had to do with jealousy and land grabbing. See: Arthur Miller’s play, “The Crucible.” We read it in high school. It was also done as a very good movie. 1996, Daniel Day-Lewis and Winona Ryder.

    Horseradish leaves are pretty tasty. Best picked young. Unfortunately, they die back in winter. I don’t think they’re any harder to eat, than Kale. And to me, a lot tastier.

    Some Christmas lights have gone up around our neighborhood. Before Halloween.

    We’re supposed to get food boxes, this afternoon. It’s the round with produce, usually. Wonder if there will be any extra goodies, given next week is Thanksgiving? Well, in the spirit of Thanksgiving, I’m thankful for whatever we get.

    I was supposed to take Elinor to the doctor, this morning. She cancelled. (Whew!). Let’s see. Can’t tell the players without a scorecard. After her long time caregiver quit, she’s been through two. Maybe three times is the charm? If she doesn’t find a caregiver that sticks, I’m afraid it’s off to assisted living. Lew

  44. Hello Chris
    I did say ‘everything’ not ‘something’, does that not make a difference?

    Son brought me 2 very large parasol mushrooms today. Hurrah, some edible fungi at last; a mushroom omelette for dinner.


  45. Chris,

    I agree about the advantage of not being wired for office politics. Although there were a few times it cost me, I knew that I was better off staying out of the game.

    Somehow I was able to be somewhat tactful, especially in tone of voice, when I described the whininess of his voice to the guy. And he DID ask, after all!

    Goodness! I think I ran into that ship-sinking voice’s relative some time back. My ears have never been the same since.

    I learned the common sense reply re: insubordination via the school of hard knocks. The story is much too long to go into here. Suffice to say that a coworker told the boss to back off or the coworker would get boss removed for being stupid when DJ had actually been in total agreement with the boss! I was eventually able to transfer out of that group into the asbestos abatement group, meeting my wife a few months later when she was extra help on many of our jobs. Big silver lining to that nasty situation.

    I’m not keeping score on Avalanche’s seating arrangements when I’m not in the car. So long as she doesn’t eat the car when I’m not in it, I’m fine with wherever she sits.

    The weather warmed up some from that -8.5C. It started snowing early Thursday afternoon at +2C and didn’t quit until Friday at 10:00 a.m., the temperature never dropping below 0C. This gave us a grand total of 2.5cm of snow on the lawns, about half that as slush on the streets and sidewalks. It’s all melted from the hard surfaces. The official weather station also had 2.5cm with a rainfall equivalent of another half inch or so.

    Avalanche totally enjoyed the snow. She romped and ran and rolled in and ate the snow. We were outside most of the day. It’s fun to see her exuberance and the joy of discovering something new.

    Sorry about your cold spring. Expect us to get buried with snow come late December or January. I’d rather have the snow than those floods that you and Lew have been discussing!


  46. Hi Inge,

    Oh no! Perhaps I have been working too hard of late. Apologies, for some reason I’d believed that you were joking around, or testing to see whether I’d yet read the book: Straight and Crooked Thinking. The book you recommended is on the to-read list and even now resides in a stack of books.

    Fortunately now that I am able to sit in at cafes my reading time has noticeably increased. It always amuses me that before all of the current craziness due to you know what, people at least made some vague acknowledgement that take away food and beverage packages were a bad idea. But once the health subject which dare not be named took hold, nobody really seemed to care any more. It’s a remarkably flexible attitude if you ask me.

    Yum! Your mushrooms look even larger than the field mushrooms I so enjoy. Actually I had stuffed mushrooms for lunch today. How do you normally prepare the parasol mushrooms for table?



  47. Hi Margaret,

    As to the question of audience, I really don’t know as it is not my forum. It’s a good question, and it puzzled me too, which is why I put the question to everyone here.

    That is an excellent suggestion and I had added that subject to the list. And bizarrely the reality about renewable energy technology systems really does hit hard against peoples belief systems and can produce quite an emotional response. You’d think that it would be a subject open for discussion, but it’s anything but that. I dunno.

    The tomato seedlings are looking pretty good and are ready to plant out, but I’m not entirely certain that the soil is warm enough yet. It’s been a crazy wet and cold spring. Today was 57’F and the official start to summer is now less than two weeks away. On the other hand, at least the seedlings don’t seem to be displaying as much transplant shock as usual.

    Have you had your pigs and chooks processed and returned?



  48. Hello Chris
    Oh I have a reading stack as well and, before I forget, I really enjoy everything that you write on the subject of finance.

    Yes, the parasols are way larger than field mushrooms and are the only white gilled fungi that I would dare to eat. The stalks are inedible and chucked away. Not very imaginatively, I just fry them in butter before adding them to whatever.


  49. Hi DJ,

    That’s my thinking too. Just because there is a game being played, doesn’t necessarily imply that you should automatically jump in. I did my utmost to stay out of that stuff too, mostly because I was usually working hard and had no head for such shenanigans. Although, you’ll have to admit that some folks aren’t necessarily paid to perform a function, and those are the ones to steer clear of. You may note that I now work exclusively in small business which can’t afford to do such activities.

    Mate, that guy you provided the insight to, might never have been granted any insights. And yet all the same, people snickered at him. Nah, I reckon you did him a solid.

    Hehe! It’s a fun line isn’t it? I have this vague memory that I ripped it off some line about a ‘face that launched a thousand ships’, and then turned that line on its head, just for fun. Sorry to hear, and I do hope that your hearing recovered in time?

    I’d call that winning. 🙂 Fate is fun like that, and you never really know where the winds will blow you, and what you’ll find along the way. Hey, out of curiosity, how did they instruct you on safe handling procedures and identification of the material. From what I’ve seen, it can be really hard to spot sometimes as it was so commonly used – until relatively recently anyway.

    Avalanche Notes in relation to vehicles: Don’t sit in drivers seat when DJ is not present, or even when he is present (note to self – this would be a difficult and squishy proposition, but probably fun. Must test theory). Don’t eat car when DJ is not present (note to self – must experiment to determine whether it is OK to do so when DJ is present).

    Sorry about that, I just couldn’t help myself… Bad Chris! 🙂 I’m still chuckling to myself.

    Let’s change the subject. Have you started any new carving projects recently?

    The two Kelpies were out of the head cones for a lot of the day, but they were super licky tonight and so I chucked the cones on their heads. We stopped the anti-inflammatories a couple of days ago. They’re doing alright and seem to be healing fine. Ruby has managed to break her cone. An impressive achievement.

    Snow. Nice! Go Avalanche! 🙂 Still cloudy, gloomy and cold here. Still, the silver lining is that it makes for longer work days. The shed is going up quickly.

    Oh yeah, those floods are bonkers. Back in 2011 we experienced ten inches of rain in five days, and I have never before experienced so much water – everywhere. That growing season was all but done by early March.



  50. Hi Lewis,

    The words used in the descriptions of ‘once per x number of years’, convey a meaning that isn’t necessarily intended. I’d call it a poor use of the English language as I tend to interpret it as a measure of future risk. But I don’t believe that is what is meant by the description. Hmm, I read about this a while back. Now where was it… … What is a 1 in 100 year weather event? And why do they keep happening so often?. Hopefully your computers spatial anomaly doesn’t eat the article. Spatial anomalies always want more feeding.

    Speaking of which the editor went out to dinner with one of her friends tonight, and so I made a really simple dinner of a large handful of greens from the garden, a couple of fried eggs from the chickens, and some very tasty cheese and a little bit of freshly baked bread. A perfect dinner. I just couldn’t be stuffed cooking anything more complicated than that.

    The gloomy weather here is making for some long work days, and we worked on the shed until lunchtime, and then I cleaned up the orchards (a bit) – it’s a big job. And this year, the grass just seems to want to keep on growing. I took a few more fruit trees from their wallaby proof cages, and I do hope that the marsupials will be nice to the fruit trees. One of the trees is purportedly a fig of African origins which arrived a long time ago via a locals grandfather. The person had propagated a few examples and gifted one to me. It seems to be growing rather fast.

    Hey, being on higher ground has its merits, and you just never know with trees. I’ve known a few to lean precariously for years, and then there are others which you don’t suspect, but they do fall.

    Hehe! The two Kelpies again got to shake their sillies out today whilst we worked. They’re doing OK recovery wise, although we cut out the medication a day or so back, and they’re super itchy tonight. And Ruby has managed to crack her cone and it now sports a rather large split. She’s an intelligent dog that one.

    Anyway, the shed is coming along. I’ll try and do some more work on it tomorrow.

    Change takes its own time and path. The idea of a soul mate kind of sounds like people are being set up to be disappointed. I dunno, but I get this weird ooky feeling whenever I hear such loose talk. You have to admit that it sounds an awful lot like: dream jobs, dream houses, dream weddings. Dreams can be less than pleasant and turn to nightmares, and yet still be a dream. You don’t hear such talk in the sales brochures! 🙂 Do you reckon Jung is correct with it being part of the Universal Subconscious? Here I must differ to his clearly superior intellect, but I note that some of those dream ideas get planted in all manner of ways, and so that hardly sounds Universal to me. I mean if it was Universal, nobody would have to waste time and effort planting the ideas. Nah, I’m voting for your concept of a ‘good story with staying power’.

    Ooooo! One super volcano will put a real damper on your day. It wouldn’t be good. Hey, I guess there is a bit of self interest here, but do you reckon most of the dust and ash would stay in the northern hemisphere? I’ve wondered if when the big one hit 65 million years ago whether the cloud was evenly spread across the globe. That day would have been one serious bummer of a day to experience.

    Hehe! Yeah I noticed that too. We’ve somehow gone from free plastic bags to, you’re gonna have to pay for these things. Mate, I’ve taken the same cloth bags to the supermarket for almost a quarter of a century now, and loose items get stashed in super nifty see through bags with ties. I really do hate plastic waste as it is one of the few things I can’t seem to do anything with. Hey, the cynic in me suggests that the entire thing looks like a bait and switch classic. When I was a kid there were no plastic bags, and my grandmother used to take us to the market and she had a shopping jeep and all the bags were re-used tie up cloth bags or some weird stretchy net bags, or stuff just didn’t get bagged up.

    Bags are easy enough to make from scrap cloth materials.

    Thanks for the movie trailer – the film looks intense. But I was wondering about the angsty teenagers causing such mayhem when reading about the incident because that was the subtext of the episode. It’s not so funny how societies can lose their marbles. McCarthyism comes to mind.

    I’ve grown rather fond of kale, and am intending to collect seed from some of the plants. It is one of those leaves that are best consumed cooked. But I hear you about the horseradish leaves, and add them to my green salad concoctions. The editor sometimes asks what plant leaves did I put into the mixture. The green mix can have authority. 🙂

    That’s a bit early for the Christmas lights. A bout of over enthusiasm, or perhaps the folks got their festivity days mixed up? Maybe it could be some sort of ironic comment on the present nature of Christmas as it is currently celebrated?

    Did you get any Thanksgiving goodies in the food box?

    Ouch. Perhaps a quiet word of warning might assist in this instance?



  51. Hi Inge,

    To read, is such a pleasure.

    Thanks, and there is a lot of strange things going on in the field of economics with the current bout of craziness. It defies my imagination that policies with contradictory outcomes are currently being concurrently pursued in western nations. It hardly surprises me at all that there seems to be a complete and utter failure for the politicians to evince a vision for the future. How else could all this go on? It’s all rather strange. And yet, there are now not just physical shortages of stuff, there are also staff shortages as well as inflation.

    Thanks for the additional information on the parasol mushrooms. As we’ve discussed before, I dare not consume any of the local mushrooms. Things taste better with butter. Yum!



  52. Hi Chris and all.I spent quit a bit of time yesterday (Friday Morning) watching the after effects of the emergency in western British Columbia unfold and in fact that all of the Western provinces are going to be cut off of all land deliveries of food and most everything save for small helicopter loads of emergency food and medical needs in some isolated areas.
    I watched real time live video and first person narrative description by the pilot of a small single engine six passenger helicopter following a multiple serial flood devastated sections of one of Canada’s main East- West most heavily traveled highway. These completely washed out road sections may take weeks or months to re open. I’m guessing that the countries two trans continental rail routes have suffered the same type of severe flood Damage damage. as the highway routes. Both traverse the rugged Canadian Rockies which have miles of mountain hugging road bed which is very isolated to repair personnel and reconstruction material delivery. This could really deteriorate fast. The authorities hopefully can get on both sides of the border to get coordination with military forces to get air transport working to supply what’s needed. My youngest son’s family is spread between Bellingham Washington and the Seattle metro area. I don’t think they in near the shape as our Canadian friends .
    Best wishes to all,


  53. Hi Chris,
    Yes all the chickens and pigs are either in our freezer or sold to someone else and in their freezer.


  54. Yo, Chris – Oh, I know that “once in ….” was a bit bogus. But it sounds good, doesn’t it? 🙂

    I felt totally uninspired, by dinner, last night. A bit of rice, threw in a can of refried beans and a can of diced tomatoes. Couldn’t even work up the enthusiasm to dice up some garlic. But, with a bit of hot sauce and nutritional yeast, it was tasty. And enough left for dinner, tonight.

    I always thought those claims of a “one and only” love interest, were kind of silly. But I think myths and archetypes are kind of like “sayings.” Correct often enough to be taken as truth.

    Would ash from a super volcano cross the equator? Doesn’t seem to be a simple yes or no answer. There’s this, from “Scientific American.”

    But what do they mean by “global?” I did discover that tornados and hurricanes, don’t cross the equator. But trying to find an answer to your question … something about “chemical equator,” something, something … inter-tropical convergence zone … something something … Coriolis force, something something. It’s all very complicated. But somewhere along the way, I read that, air above and below the equator don’t mix … much. Although I suppose I should call it “atmosphere.” Troposphere, stratosphere … it’s getting deep in here.

    The food box was pretty uninspiring. Nothing screamed “Thanksgiving.” This is the box delivery that usually has produce. There were small bags of potatoes, onions and apples. And the rest was pretty standard. A couple of boxes of pasta, a couple of cartons of shelf stable milk. A couple of boxes of dry cereal. A jar of peanut butter. Two cans each of pears, black beans, green beans and spinach. A two pound brick of cheese product. A jug of dodgy apple juice. And that was about it. We’re supposed to get another box, from a different source, on Wednesday. Maybe. I’d say the food banks are doing it tough, these days. Lew

  55. Hi Margaret,

    Well done to both you and Doug for your hard work. And a full freezer is a thing of beauty. I tell you what, despite being a mostly vegetarian, I’d gratefully accept some of the chickens and pork. 🙂 Yum!



  56. Hi Pam,

    🙂 Yup, no point feeding such nefarious folks. I’m astounded by the sheer number of people wanting to access the admin panel on this website. And I have not made things easy for them.



  57. Hi Lewis,

    Mate, another long work day today, but the shed now emerges from the primordial murk, strides across the land smiting enemies (of lack of machinery storage capacity) left, right and centre. The left in particular need a solid hiding, if only because they seem somewhat delusional as to their historical body counts under such regimes. Take that lack of machinery storage space!

    Actually we’re working pretty hard because there are seasonal deadlines involving the firewood storage. Fortunately most of that stuff has been already processed and is just waiting to be stored, but will the weather this summer be favourable for storing dry firewood in a new larger shed (yet to be started)? I do wonder if only because the future is closer than you’d imagine (end February at the latest). We have all of the materials for the firewood shed, but there is a lot of work still to be done.

    Unfortunately, we can’t put as much effort into the plants this year, whilst still doing stuff with the plants. Next growing season will be easier. Oh well, a person can’t do everything.

    Mate it is a bogus use of the language, but it does sound good – unless of course it refers to the area where you reside. That could be a problem. I note that Al has provided an update on conditions there, and candidly we’re not hearing much news out of that region. Cities don’t really have that much in the way of food which is a problem with just in time systems. They’re good, until something goes wrong.

    Your dinner sounds pretty good to me. At your suggestion, we’ve tried the nutritional yeast, and it’s quite good. The editor is making sliders tonight, and I baked up the little focaccia buns an hour or so back.

    Ah, I wouldn’t have considered myths and archetypes from that ‘close enough’ perspective. Hmm. I believe that you are correct. My point was only that they can be subject to abuses, thus the ‘dream’ this and that observation. I’m a touch dubious about those uses if only because someone is trying to push product or a desired outcome. It is worth noting that there is a difference between a desired outcome and a desirable outcome.

    Thanks for the awesome link. This was news to me: “For comparison, the global temperature of the most recent Ice Age was only about five degrees C below the current average. And I’d heard of the reference to Lord Byron and his coterie. The current very cool spring and dismal growing season is most likely due to the 2019-2020 Black Summer bushfires and the effect on the atmosphere. The exact same thing took place after the 2009 Black Saturday bushfires, and looking at rainfall records, the four years after that were pretty decent rainfall wise. It was in early 2011 when the ten inches in five days occurred, and if the same happens (and there is no guarantee that this will happen), then I’d expect to see something crazy like that in January. Fingers crossed that it does not happen.

    Thanks for looking into the mixing of the two hemispheres atmospheres. Yes, I’d also understood that it was a complex phenomena, but had not understood that the mechanism was poorly understood and subject to vagaries.

    Lewis, the food box is pretty grim sounding. But at least nobody would starve on such rations. Mate, I’m grateful to simply get supplies these days, although where shortages pop up is something of a mystery. I didn’t mention it before, but a lot of the materials for projects are being obtained by dismantling other sheds.

    Better get writing.



  58. Hello Chris
    Son slaughtered a pig yesterday, so will be bringing me fresh liver this morning yum yum. Plus the Sunday paper as usual.

    One can’t stuff parasols because they are flat and have the frailest imaginable gills which drop off if one touches them.


  59. Yo, Chris – Go, shed! 🙂 Somehow, when I read that phrase “”primordial muck,” the theme from the movie “2001” swelled in my head.

    I thought time for the plants might have been suffering a bit (in a good cause), it being spring and all. But, you have such a wide range of stuff, I’m sure there will be something to put on the table.

    The situation in BC has pretty much dropped out of our news. Saw an article last night, that a road that goes north of my friends in Idaho’s town, is closed due to a couple of landslides. Probably won’t re-open for a week. I think they do a lot of shopping and trips to the doctor, in McCall, which is to their north. Those slides were due more to construction.

    I did more with dinner, last night. Took the left overs from the previous night, added a bit more rice, a bunch of parsley, a couple of large shitakii mushrooms and garlic. Pumpkin and sunflower seeds. Some frozen chopped broccoli. Topped with nutritional yeast and a bit of hot sauce. Tasty.

    The atmosphere is pretty interesting … and complex. Probably why it’s so hard to forecast the weather 🙂 .

    When I think of what we were getting in the food boxes, last year and the year before … Oh, well. Back to the basics. Just have to get creative.

    I think you did mention recycling some of the other sheds. Or, I figured that out when you mentioned the rats were going to loose their happy home. 🙂 Lew

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