Poa Grass

The Editor and I were directed to take especial note of the single specimen of the Poa Tussock grass. It was a good looking chunk of green grass. Hundreds of individual clumped leaves reached a bit above the knees. You know you’ve earned wisdom when internally you’re thinking to yourself that you’d hit that grass hard with the mower, but from your mouth you’re heard to say: “That’s lovely, you must be very proud”.

The person who owned the property was clearly proud of their single Poa Tussock grass. Being a native grass, I’m guessing that it must have been a social ‘thing’ which conveyed some sort of virtue to the owners. That ‘thing’ sure needed mowing though, as it would be a haven for snakes. And the property was adjacent to the local creek where snakes were likely to hang out.

I’m sure that a little marsupial mouse (Antechinus) would enjoy hiding out in the poa grass, except that the property was entirely fenced. Fences keep local wildlife out of a garden, except for the super nimble ones that can slither through tiny gaps or fly over such things. “Aren’t you a bit worried about snakes?” I inquired. “Yeah they’re a bit scary and we do get the occasional snake in the garden”, came the reply. I’ll bet you do.

The Poa grass pride was a mystery, but then there were other mysteries to be observed at the property. The front fence proudly displayed a ‘Land for Wildlife’ sign. The sign made me wonder why they’d fenced the property in the first place if they felt that way. Perhaps the author George Orwell was correct when he suggested in ‘Animal Farm’, that some animals are more equal than others? I’ve observed a number of those signs dotted about the rural landscape, usually attached to gates and/or fences. Fortunately the fenced out wildlife can’t read the signs, otherwise they might object to the reality! But who knows, maybe the signs may refer to land elsewhere?

Fencing is done on such a large scale right across the landscape that it must be an absolute nightmare for wildlife to navigate. It also excludes wildlife from areas where they’d otherwise be able to get a feed, and so they’re stuck having to eat the vegetation on the side of roads – with the risk that brings. And you don’t have to travel far at all to spot fenced land which is entirely over grown. Very little wildlife resides in such places. When plant life gets so thick, there is little for the critters to eat, and anyway they can’t easily move around such areas.

We do things differently. A local farmer once quipped to me that with the unfenced orchards, we’d created a supermarket for the wildlife. In warmer growing seasons we’d get a bit of produce and the wildlife would also get some. But this cold growing season, the local farmer is right, the wildlife is getting more of the produce from the orchards than us – what little produce there is. That’s OK, the Editor and I can purchase fruit grown elsewhere and the local birds etc. can’t do that trick. Anyway, with less fruit the trees get to put more energy into growing.

We’re trying to find the middle ground with incorporating all of the local wildlife into the orchards and gardens. The task involves growing plants and then observing the results. Only one crop is completely fenced off, strawberries. Everything loves strawberries, even the dogs.

The long term plan with the wildlife is to out-produce their needs. Very few species here are transitory and most live in or around the farm all year around, so the upper limit on all of their populations is set by the lean winter months. Plus the existing population tends to defend their territory against all new comers. The bird world is particularly brutal on that front, and new species have a hard time of it.

There are unexpected benefits with the wildlife. The birds will consume most insects, even the occasional locust plague gets dealt to. And the kangaroos, wombats and wallabies all happily provide plenty of manure which they spread around – for free. But really, their antics bring us a lot of joy, even when a wallaby is performing a karate chop on the limb of a favourite fruit tree.

But you know, the wildlife will eventually win so it’s probably best to learn how to live with them all. And fences take a lot of resources to construct, then further resources to maintain – and nature eventually eats all fences.

Editor says get rid of the next story: Lipstick in a time of CORVID.

For a while now I’d been meaning to write about the most horrendous thing which happened to me last year, and candidly, the Editor is sick of hearing about it. It’s been said before that a problem shared, is a problem halved, and so I shall share my awful encounter with you lovely readers. Thus sparing the long suffering Editor.

So last year in between crazy super long lock downs, I was finally able to visit a cafe and not have to purchase take away coffees. Life is a bit short for take away coffee, but when it is the only option, the discerning person must make do.

The coffee came with a glass of water which I organised. The water tasted a bit unusual, but I didn’t think much about it. Turns out that the unusual taste was bright pink lipstick on the rim of the glass. And this industrial grade waste product had clearly gone through a commercial dishwasher intact, and was now on my lips and in my guts. I felt mildly ill as I could continue to taste it, and I felt so much closer to whomever had originally worn it.

The Editor thought that it was amusing and noted that it was a good colour match for my lips. Feeling increasingly uncomfortable, I made it home without regurgitating coffee.

Turns out this stuff is super hard to wash off. Distress levels were rising throughout the day, and I may have used some rather filthy language to convey the inner turmoil of my mind. Nothing I tried washed off that revolting product. It wasn’t until the next day that the stuff had worn off. That product is not something found in nature.

Lesson learned: check glasses before using them, you never know what you might find.

Thanks for indulging me, and I feel a great sense of catharsis at having shared that experience. And the Editor will surely be pleased at the prospect of not hearing about the incident again!

The weather this week was bonkers! The tail end of Ex tropical cyclone Seth smashed into another storm front, and, crazy weather.

Say hello to the tail end of ex tropical cyclone Seth

Tall clouds like the one in the above photo can deliver half an inch of rain in a few minutes. Some parts of the state received four inches of rain in under an hour.

At least the sun was shining when I took the above photo. Three days last week – and this is the middle of summer – fog settled over the entire region. Fans of the belief that renewable solar energy will save industrial civilisation may want to take a close look at the next photo:

Three days of fog last week. You can just see the solar panels in the gap in the foliage

Despite the weather we did heaps of work on the new shed project. Four mid-sized water tanks were relocated to where they can collect water from the shed roof. In order to move the tanks they had to be emptied, otherwise they are really heavy.

Emptying out all of the remaining water

Fortunately, water tanks have very strong walls and are round – you can roll them to where you need them. And we rolled all four tanks near to their new location. They’re quite large when they’re looming over you, and you definitely don’t want to slip over when you are rolling them downhill.

Rolling, rolling, rolling tank-hide! Sung to the Rawhide tune

The insides of the tanks were given a clean with a high pressure washer, although they were mostly clean to begin with.

It wasn’t too difficult to lift the tanks into their final positions.

Four tanks are now in position with capacity for a further three tanks

Drains were installed on the shed, and PVC pipe moves the water from the drains into the tanks. The next photo shows the guttering drains and pipes on the uphill side of the shed. Those pipes travel under the shed floor.

The guttering and pipe work can be seen. The trench inside the shed for the pipe has been backfilled

Given the sheer cost of barn doors, we decided to make our own from marine grade plywood. I love that sort of detailed carpentry work and it is nice to take something as plain as a sheet of marine grade plywood, and make something interesting and aesthetic.

Barn doors under construction
The barn doors look like a Union Jack!

The barn doors have received a few coats of high quality paint, but will probably get a few more coats before they’re installed.

The barn doors received a few coats of quality paint

All of the carpentry on the shed has now been completed. And we even managed to find some time to install the two old windows at the far end of the shed.

Two windows were installed at the rear of the shed

Watching all this work done in high humidity simply exhausted Ollie. Spare a thought for the poor scamp.

Dude, all this work man, what the, I’m done in

With the daily threat of storms, we decided to take advantage of the rainfall and humidity and plant out the last of the tomato seedlings. It’s really late in the season to do so, but you never know. The garden terraces where many of the vegetables and roses are grown are looking really good.

The two highest garden terraces

There are more globe artichokes than we can eat, and some of them have become rather large.

Globe artichokes have become very large

The peas are producing heaps of very tasty pods. We planted a really random collection of heritage varieties and will save seed from the best of them.

Fresh peas from the vines are super sweet

Onto the flowers:

Many of the roses are quite colourful and many were selected for their aroma
Roses are simply stunning plants and I believe most parts are edible
Foxgloves enjoy the conditions in the fern gully

The temperature outside now at about 7.00am is 14’C (57’F). So far this year there has been 31.0mm (1.2 inches) which is up from last weeks total of 0.6mm (0.0 inches)

41 thoughts on “Poa Grass”

  1. Hi Goran,

    Thanks for the correction in relation to the supermarket apples, as during the winter months I tend to purchase from the cold store businesses in bulk. The major apple growing area in this continent is about an hours drive north of here (and thus slightly warmer). I had actually noticed that by spring, plenty of seeds within the apples seem to be sprouting and had wondered about the genetics. From what I’ve observed, the orchards do seem to be vast monocultures, but I can’t get a really good look and may well be wrong.

    I agree, it probably is unintentional and the advice can often vary depending upon circumstances. It’s funny you mention that, but I had a conversation recently with a bloke about Calcium additives to soil. We discussed builders lime which is Calcium Hydroxide – strong stuff. The bag indicated that it could be used for gardening, and I hesitated, but then when you think about it for a bit, it depends on the usage. If you were super careful with handling the stuff and applied it to brand new soil which you wanted to convert quickly into a vegetable bed, it’s probably not a bad option – but not one for the careless. Man, how many things are like that? And if you look on the interweb people say both yes and no, probably because of the difficulties handling the stuff and the ability to burn plants (and other organic matter).

    🙂 We’ve got 26 varieties of apples growing, and none are of the ornamental type. Interestingly, we’re now getting random seedling fruit trees turning up about the property. And that is the thing, some of the apples will taste better, but all apples have a use as far as I can understand things: cooking; cider; preserving or fresh eating. You do really need a variety of the trees growing.

    Thanks for the link. It might be a bit much information for my brain to take in at this moment, so I’ve bookmarked your suggested link. Kind of super busy right now on the infrastructure.

    As to the hybridising issues with stone fruit, your experience would be how I understand things to be. Perhaps those orchards are even bigger monocultures than with apples and so that belief has come to be? Dunno. Stone fruit trees like peaches and nectarines really seem to suffer from fungal diseases here, but I let the first batch of leaves die and fall, and the second batch seems far more hardy. The unfortunate thing is that the tree growth slows as a result. But it works without the fungicide sprays, even in cold and wet years like this one.

    No worries, and many thanks for the kind offer which I will take up. At a guess there is another years worth of work on the infrastructure, but it may be a little bit longer than that depending upon the future new and larger vegetable patch.

    Thanks! And we planted out the orchard years ago because the trees need so many years to establish, adapt to the local conditions and begin producing. There are ways to speed this up, but even so, each increment of production takes more energy. There are other things to do around here! 🙂

    Almost finished that shed. Yay! Worked on it today in the much warmer weather, but far out it was humid this morning.



  2. Hi Lewis,

    Hmm, dinner is a tasty pea and mushroom with linguine pasta. It’s very good, and the Editor is chucking in our last seasons chilli. The plants were meant to be mild varieties, but one wonders as the claims don’t tend to stack up and my mouth is on fire! 🙂

    Worked this morning on the shed. Another day or two and the project will be done and we can then work out where everything goes in there. And of course there are the battery and solar panels, water pumps etc to sort out. Nothing is ever simple, but all the same, it is nice to be nearing the completion of the project and then enjoy the fruits of our labours.

    It was super warm and humid here this morning, and by early afternoon we were done. Alas, life’s little administrative tasks had to be done and we picked up some supplies, groceries and a tasty late lunch.

    You’d imagine that the local government has emergency plans to follow if faced with the sort of flood you’re currently experiencing? Maybe? But you’re right, if it’s been a while between disasters, sometimes the responses can be quite dysfunctional relative to what could have been achieved. He says whilst noting that it’s been almost four decades since the last big forest fire in this here mountain range. We tend to maintain a neat and tidy ship and test systems (like the bushfire sprinklers and water tank levels) because of that risk, but I can’t say for sure what other people do. Possibly not much is the way of it. Ook!

    Good to hear that your usual cast of characters made it to the Club and that here I’m guessing, were all able to have a pleasant conversation and catch up? At least nobody died from consuming too much snack food whilst marooned by the flood waters – well that is anyone that you’ve mentioned. Sounds like one of those horrendous eating competitions which sometimes doesn’t end well.

    Sad that the news cycle moves on so fast. Was it always this way? Mate, I can’t now recall.

    Go Woodie and the twinkies! 🙂 So much fun. How did the library fare with the flood waters? Books and flood waters aren’t usually friends, and the flood waters often win that battle.

    Oh, the film sounds pretty funny, and that was the kind of vibe I was getting yesterday when I read the synopsis of the story, minus the fart jokes, of course. 🙂 Shuffling zombies gives you the possibility of survival, but fast zombies are a true innovation in that they take away that last little vestige of hope of survival. Just what you need in a proper zombie story.

    Wise to return H in good condition otherwise it is possible that fingers will be pointed.

    Hey, speaking of rain, how good was the epic cloud photo? The clouds were super tall, and wow did they deliver some serious rain to other parts of the state. I was grateful that such rain did not fall here (four inches in under an hour).

    The EMT visits may be the usual and expected background noise? Always unfortunate and unpleasant for those involved. When I was a kid you used to hear: An apple a day will keep the doctor away. Probably a marketing gimmick, but still it implies that being chucked in front of the doctor is an event to be feared.

    Hehe! That’s pretty funny about the gateway to Hell. It gives me reason to recall the Amityville Horror.

    Oh yeah, how good were the Saturday afternoon sessions at the matinee (or the flicks or whatever you want to call them)? My mum, probably wanting to get a few hours to herself, used to dump us at the cinema and we saw some great films. On Saturday afternoons they often had double sessions so you’d see two films for the price of one. And I can still recall the toffee lollies which were wrapped in waxed lined paper with short stories of the cinema. They were called Fantales – an amusing name.

    I’ll await to learn your opinion of the doors! 🙂



  3. lipstick in a time of corvid….
    not sure how crows got involved, but it brought to mind “Love in the Time of Cholera”, then, thinking of the Poa growers, came up with another possible novel title.
    “Virtue Signaling in the Time of Collapse”. eh, it would never sell.

    The balance between working with the rest of our land’s inhabitants and still getting a reasonable share for our labor is always part of our considerations. We fence our garden, but nothing else.
    ( well, I use protection for the fruit and nut trees till they get taller than the deer browsing).

  4. Hello Chris
    Fences ugh! They are increasing all the time around me. It is very sad for a lot of the wildlife.
    Actually I am saying ‘ugh’ to most things these days especially our weather which is grey, grey, grey.


  5. Yo, Chris – About the Poa grass … sometimes, discretion is the better part of valor. At least if you want to keep your friends. There’s plenty of stuff I don’t talk about, with my friends in Idaho. And Elinor. Often best to “keep one’s own counsel.” And, resting on my venerable old age, I can say, the mostly, in the long run it doesn’t make any difference, anyway.

    Re: The Lipstick Incident. Like the Editor, we will also be pleased, if we never hear about it again. By my count, that’s the second time you mentioned it (but who’s counting?). If it’s mentioned again, I’ll have to drag out the big guns: a copy of “Catcher in the Rye” … slathered with blue cheese. 🙂

    Your cloud picture is quit stunning. Calendar worthy. We occasionally get skies that look like that. We do get interesting cloud formations. When it’s not just a solid gray. Fog? Looks like what we had, yesterday morning. Is that a Triffid I see looming over your left shoulder?

    We also had a good hard frost, yesterday morning. Haven’t had one in awhile. So, I was scraping ice. And, my locks were frozen on the truck. Which reminded me of another cold weather trick. You heat up your key, with a lighter. Then try the lock. Works.

    Judging from Ollie’s condition, moving the water tanks was quit the job. Well, it’s done now. Your shed looks almost weather tight. But you forgot the smoke hole, in the roof of the mead hall! Hmmm. The windows made me wonder if the shed might provide a bit of a greenhouse? Not as good as your “real” greenhouse, but there might be some uses along that line. And, food storage. Maybe a potato bin can be squeezed in on the uphill side?

    The barn doors are really stunning. Were you tempted, at all, to not paint them, but seal them and let the grain show?

    The highest gardens are really very handsome. The roses really set them off. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a globe artichoke, flower. Looks like they have a really stunning blossom.

    The roses are … well, one runs out of superlatives. Gee, foxgloves come in so many varieties. We have a lot around, but they’re mostly pinkish purple. I thought maybe they were native, but I see they’re native to Europe. So, any foxgloves you see, are an introduction. Interesting … Lew

  6. Yo, Chris – Cont. More thoughts about the Poa grass and how you manage your place. You may remember the documentary about the farm in California. How difficult it was (and trial and error) to get the wildlife balance back in, well, balance. As long as your not trying to feed a family of twelve, or, make mad cash off the place, your way works.

    Soon, we’ll get a picture of all your various machinery, in your shed. Lined up neat and tidy. 🙂

    Our Club manager, Bill, and one of the counter stalwarts, Scott, were the only two stranded overnight, at the Club. Had plenty to eat and that d_____d big screen TV, to keep themselves entertained. I hate the thing, but (see keeping one’s own counsel, above) try not to grouse about it, too much. The Club is big enough that there are quiet areas, tucked here and there. Or I can take my cuppa, outside. There’s a protected area, but one can still people watch.

    They say the news cycles keep getting shorter and shorter. We get so much thrown at us. And one also hears about “viewer fatigue.” You can only keep up being outraged or sympathetic, for so long.

    The library seems to have rode out the flooding, OK. They’re on the same slope as The Institution. When I was there on Thursday, the water was pouring off the back slope. But, the drains seemed to have worked as they were supposed to. That slope has a lot of springs, which was a problem in the old library (which was on the same site.) So, it was engineered to take care of that problem. And, it seems someone knew what they were doing. Oh, and by the way, I checked our Master Gardeners storage room. It was fine. Bone dry.

    Funny, when I was at the Club, and there was a lot of outrage over the one-way road not being turned into a two way road, I mentioned my theory of ancestral knowledge being lost, and got agreement all way round. The old guys are retiring, and a lot of the young ones aren’t even from this county. I’m sure DJ has some thoughts on the matter.

    Apocalypse averted!!! 🙂 I said that I’d know it was the end of the world when the garbage wasn’t picked up, and the postie didn’t deliver. Well, the garbage didn’t get picked up on Friday (the transfer station floods) and I was a bit unsure about the postie. I ran into Jake, our postie, at the library. I asked him, and he said they delivered, on Friday. As the trucks couldn’t make it in, they didn’t have much to deliver, but what there was, they brought around.

    Saturday matinees at the Lombard Theatre. Of course, this is back in the 1950s. Anything they could get on the cheap, they threw up on the screen. Usually, two second (or third) run movies. And they filled in with really, really old cartoons. And even movie serials from the 1930s. I seem to remember they even ran newsreels, from decades before. There might have even been a silent film, or two. As long as they were comedies, they were OK.

    I’m watching the original “The Stand.” Now the library only has one copy of it, and it’s rather beaten up. So, there’s a few sections that I can’t watch. But most of it, I can. I still think the original was better than the re-make. Mostly due to casting. Lew

  7. Hi Inge,

    One of the great challenges society faces as it slides down the long slow dance of decline is to restore soil fertility and learn to be better neighbours with the other species who also inhabit this planet. Fences might not be part of that story. It’s not hard, it just means lower yields as some produce has to go towards supporting the wildlife, but try telling people that and they don’t understand.

    It’s not much different really than setting aside a percentage of produce so that the draught animals and other livestock can eat. Right now, I can bring in 88 pounds of feed for the chickens and the soils here and my own diet gets enriched as a result, but there is a cost to the soils where the feed was grown. Most people are in denial (a delightful place to be sure) but I’m upfront about that cost.

    The thing that I’m becoming aware of as time goes on is that you can only ever improve the fertility of a patch of land to about the average of the best that an area can reach – and no more than that. There are diminishing returns to achieving a better result, and I doubt that things are much different in your part of the world?

    Mind you, the Editor came up with a genius modification to the greenhouse, and so over the next half year or so, we’ll relocate and modify the building and design. The modification is so obvious from hindsight.

    Yeah, that’s what winter looks like unfortunately, and we had four days last week of foggy and very humid weather and it’s summer here. Fortunately the skies cleared today and the temperature in the shade reached 81’F. The plants need the heat. Those grey skies you mentioned won’t produce any plant growth.



  8. Hi Steve,

    Yeah, a revolting episode, and I’m not entirely sure that the lady in question did not take a drink and then return the glass to the clean glass area. I’ve actually observed one person doing just that, and then alerted the staff, and they were as dismayed as I was because the person had only entered the business to get a drink of water without purchasing anything. Mate, dealing with the public you have to run the full gamut of experiences…

    Oh, the magpies, ravens and currawongs here are lovely birds and my interactions with them are good (they’ll seek me out if there is trouble like say with foxes) and yes it does appear that they’re being disparaged, but I can tell you, it ain’t necessarily so. It’s my code word for the health subject which dares not be named – which you probably already knew. 😉 Things are super crazy down here and so there is no need to feed the interweb trawling robot database indexing serch (sic) engines if you get my meaning.

    Mate, the Editor would suggest that the idea is good, but it’s never gonna sell! 🙂 As you also noted. Hehe! Thanks for the laughs.

    Same here with fencing. There are gains to be had from letting the wildlife in to an orchard to do their business. May you never get to enjoy a wallaby, but they do convert plant material into manure and also keep the understory of the orchards open. And exactly, I too have to protect the very young fruit trees from their depredations.

    And yup, in your part of the world, deer (and we get Sambar deer here from time to time) fulfill that same ecological niche of keeping the understory open. Goats do a similar thing, but they can climb trees the cheeky scamps. When the deer overdo it, or take liberties, that is when Ollie gets wheeled out and so far he’s learned that job fairly well (noisily attack from the rear!). Brave Sir Ollie. 🙂

    Finished the cladding on the shed today. Me tired.



  9. Hello Chris
    Ah yes, the law of diminishing returns applies to so many things.
    I forgot to say ‘ugh’ to the lipstick. Have also encountered this in a restaurant.
    Oh so still and grey outside today.


  10. Hi Lewis,

    Hey, isn’t knowing when to shut up and not air your candid opinions all part of the getting of wisdom? It took me a while to learn that, and heck I dunno, maybe I still don’t have that one down pat. But you learn, err and live and perhaps one day we’ll get good at this thing? Beats me, I’m still learning! 🙂

    Respect for your achievement of reaching a venerable age! I can only but aspire to such an august situation, but here I must add that my beard and what hair remains now contains quite a lot of grey so that probably makes me an old fella too. Years ago I had a lovely lady who cut my hair for years and years. My but we used to talk total rubbish and enjoy lots of laughs. She moved to Queensland… Anyway, I said to her one day many years ago: Just tell it like it is, if there’s any grey, just tell me. And quick as a snake she replied: Chris, you’re not going grey, you are grey. How good is that for honesty?

    You might be right there, but doesn’t it make you feel better just that little bit that you can tell it like it is from time to time? Who cares if the message is lost – that’s their problem is how I see the situation. It’s like I tell people not to bet the farm on solar photovoltaic energy, and I get the strangest responses time and time again. Probably not worth engaging, but it does make me feel better venting my spleen!

    Lewis you are like super bad with that evil combination, I’m running for cover. 🙂 Respect. Returning the volley, I might suggest a mashup of Great Expectations and an hour forced conversation with Suzanne who always has a better idea? French is such a nicer language than English, and who can forget the delightful word: touché? 🙂

    The storm was epic and fortunately the worst of it was elsewhere. How much can a Koala bear I ask you? But far out those clouds were really tall and full of moisture. I note that the Good Professor has continued to debunk media claims – and that’s a job scientists probably need to do, but probably won’t.

    Thanks for mentioning the Triffid as I hadn’t noticed it. It was like that photo from months ago when you all pointed out the Elder face in the tree and I hadn’t noticed it. Spooky, but it was there. Hope I didn’t annoy them.

    Oh, that’s a great suggestion about heating up the key during such weather. Sometimes the rubber door seals get very sticky during extreme cold weather. Still watching the new Dexter, speaking of cold weather. Quite enjoying the story, so very wrong. Man it is cold up in that part of the world.

    Not quite weather tight. We got up at some ungodly hour of the morning this morning and just finished the cladding on either end of the new shed. Lunch was late at 3pm, but the job was done. Had a nap for about half an hour whilst a batch of muesli cooked up in the oven. The beeper on the oven woke us up – the whole household crashed out (the Editor and I plus the three dogs). It was hot today working in the midday sun. Far out.

    Had a strange incident. I’ve noticed that a lot of people selling stuff are no longer on their A-game. So a few days ago I bought a replacement network card for the Editors computer, and the box was empty. That’s a first for me. I’ll sort that out tomorrow, but who knows how it will go?

    We did discuss oiling the barn doors as it would have looked really good, but the summer sun is really harsh down under and oil finishes of any variety don’t fare so well and so we decided on the highest quality white glossy paint we could get (and have used on the house). And have put four coats on so far. I hear you about that issue and it is something that I’m considering longer term. Even the coatings on the steel sheets whilst they’re good, aren’t colour fast over many years and so that means it is an issue to consider for sure. I’m struggling to be across as many things as I am at this stage.

    Thanks, and the Globe Artichoke flowers get even more interesting and produce bright purple spikey flowers. The bees seem to love the flowers too, although how they don’t get impaled is anyone’s guess. And with all of the soil improvement works mid last year, the plants are bigger – Triffid like. I must check out that Triffid you mentioned, doesn’t pay to be too careful with those pesky plants.

    Foxgloves have been in this area for a hundred and fifty years being brought in by the Europeans (as they were in your part of the world), and they seem to be minding their own business, but love the conditions in the fern gully. A very handy plant to have ready access too.

    Yes indeed I do recall that film, and enjoyed it immensely. I tend to believe that the current conditions elsewhere can’t be maintained, so it is probably not a bad idea to get a head start on what comes next. And the Biggest Little Farm film trialled similar strategies with the wildlife. But hey, old timer farms had to deal with such issues too, and we’re all here today.

    🙂 Might not put that photo on the blog, crims and all… I’ll sort out something in that regard.

    Far out, the dastardly and distracting big screen. There is a local pub which makes great food, but every wall has a screen and I can’t concentrate when dining there, and that change was made one day out of the blue. I can’t support that. Nope, I hear you about that.

    True. The Editor asked me today for an opinion about the next book she should read, and I suggested Stephen King’s book Misery, if only because we seem to be held in thrall by the medical profession at the moment… I wish people wouldn’t take such books as ‘how-to’ manuals, it’s fiction.

    Good stuff with the new library drainage system, and a what did the old timers say about a stitch in time? They were right too, and drainage issues are always on my mind. Extreme weather sometimes requires extreme forethought. And the master gardeners storage room and stuff was also clearly well thought out. Your flood was in the extreme category. Yup.

    That annoys me actually. The local authorities have an obligation to employ folks from within the area, or at least find a balance between locals and outsiders. It was like when the state and federal governments stopped supporting the local car manufacturers and began preferring imported vehicles. I dunno, I’m not a fan.

    Well it was extreme weather, and glad that a freakin’ huge meteor wasn’t part of your experiences over the past week. And the posties, they deliver for sure. The others are a bit soft.

    Hehe! The old cartoons were fun at the cinema, but in my case it was the Warner Brothers cartoons. So much fun. And who could forget the intermission? A more gentile time when you could go to the bathroom and not miss out on the unfolding story.

    I haven’t had a chance to watch either version. Been a bit busy lately… 🙂



  11. Hi Inge,

    Exactly, diminishing returns is a very unpleasant experience to face. It’s like this crazy no-summer here climate this year. I can add all the soil minerals to the soil which the plants need to grow well, but if there is no continuous warmth from the sun and the soil stays cool – the minerals help, but the climate is what it is.

    With the experiences of this year in mind, we’ve been discussing the difficulties and chucking around ideas to adapt to these conditions. It just takes a lot of hard work. The greenhouse will get moved in about the middle of the year, and we’ve considered a sunny area near to the new shed in which we might set up a much larger vegetable garden. The thing is, we’re just not quite sure how it will look – the land is there – but how it will work has not yet come to the fore.

    I’d be interested to learn of any examples of vegetable gardening on sloping land that you (or anyone else here) knows about?

    But, really, we can’t change the climate here and so that sets the upper limit on plant production and varieties, and we just have to work out how to get the best out of the place, whilst everything else is going on in the larger society. Crazy days.

    Thanks, the lipstick incident was revolting, and sorry to hear that you have also experienced it. It made me feel ill because I could not wash the stuff off. My only hope was that the glass had been through the dishwasher. And to survive the toxic compounds those machines apparently use, is a horror story of its own.

    That’s winter for you. It’s grey with high humidity for the winter months too. Try to get outside in whatever sun is available as much as possible. What else can you do?



  12. Hi Chris,

    Hope getting the tale of the lipstick off your chest (and, yes, I too believe I’ve heard this before) you feel better and can move on. It does suggest that we check what we’re eating or drinking from more carefully.

    We only have used fences for animal pens and some gardens. One exception is the fence we have on the north side of our property put up by the former owner. It separates us from the yard of our closest neighbor. It’s been a good thing that it’s kept our dogs on our property and now with the four barking dogs of our new neighbors, theirs out of ours. The former owner put it up because the original owner of the house next door put up an ATV track and had numerous loud drunken parties with many tearing around on their ATVs. I would have lost my mind.

    Congrats with the continued work on the shed and moving of the water tanks! The doors look great too. From the looks of it Ollie must have done the brunt of the work.

    I suppose the rains will now stop as you need those tanks filled.

    Finally starting to warm up some at least for the next week.

    Pics are great as always.


  13. Yo, Chris – Well, you might have avoided the whole lipstick imbroglio (dare I say, shemozzle) by simply using a … sanitary disposable cup. Parry and thrust!!! I fear you have suffered a mortal wound, Sir! Your life blood spills across the floor! Cleanup on aisle 4! 🙂

    Well, after a few days of overcast, but dripless skies, a storm blew through, last night. Rain and wind woke me up. But all is calm, today. Yes, I see Prof. Mass is still beating the horse. Unappreciated prophet in his own land, voice crying in the wilderness, etc. etc..

    Someone also said that rubbing the door seals with hand sanitizer (which is so ubiquitous in our lives, right now), prevents the doors from sticking. It’s the alcohol. But I don’t know how true that is. Wouldn’t the alcohol evaporate?

    We’ve had the Dexter finale, here. All kinds of articles, all over the web. Just full of spoilers. I’ll wait for the actual series, and draw my own conclusions.

    Not much of an A-Game, going down, right now. I think I mentioned I’ve had a go-around over one of the food boxes. First I hadn’t sent in the paperwork (I did. Two days after I received it.) Then I got a notice that I had been de-certified “due to information I furnished.” Well, there’s one woman who manages that paperwork. Our Community Outreach Person (who IS on the ball) got ahold of the head supervisor and got it all sorted. Seems my income had been listed well above the cut off point. When it is actually, well below. She observed, “I don’t think that woman knows what she’s doing.” My response was, “Ya think?” 🙂 You see it all over. Here at the Institution, the paperwork end of things is always a mess. And there’s a lot of … behind covering. Something I intend to bring up in our next anonymous survey. Which no longer has a layer of management between us and the head honchos in Seattle.

    Finishes are always problematic. No matter if on exteriors or even furniture. The better furniture refinishing books would lay out the pluses and minuses. And there are always minuses. And then let you decide. Six of one … half a dozen of the other.

    I finished watching the original “Stand,” last night. Yup. The original was far better. I had forgotten that Mr. King has a number of small cameos in the series. He pops up, from time to time. Even speaks, a time or two. LOL. Would make a good drinking game, whatever your beverage of choice. Anytime Stephen pops up, take another slug. I don’t remember him being in the new series.

    Went down to the Club for biscuits and gravy, this morning. My mate Scott popped in. On his way to the clinic. He’s got a knee that’s been bothering him for over two months. Really hobbling around. Might mean surgery. Lew

  14. Chris,

    The last time we had a “summerless” year was 1983. Gobs of rain from May through most of July. Temperatures were cool, too, for summer. Even the few weeks of summer that arrived in August weren’t hot. Twas a weird year for the gardens.

    Ah, Nature is great! Never heard of that kind of dog retrieval aspect, but whatever works to keep the Kelpies somewhat controlled is a good thing.

    Yes, you’ve got it right…I tend to stick to the practical. Dad’s dad was a tinkerer and practical. He patented several things. Dad took that a step further due to his physics background, but never got any patents. I come by the practical naturally.

    The pictures I linked to included a river that Lewis mentioned, the Skookumchuck River. There’s a language lesson involved with that river. Back in the days, perhaps even predating the Lewis and Clark trip across the continent circa 1804, the rfegional Native Americans had a lot of intertribal trade. However, there were many language groups involved. The tribe that held the most trading power was the Chinook Nation. A polyglot of the different languages grew into a trade language based significantly on the Chinook language. Then some French words and English words got added in during the fur trade era. A handful of Hawaiin and even a stray Mandarin word entered the vocabulary! The trade jargon was spoken as far south as San Franciso and travelled as far north as the Yukon and the Alaskan interior.

    Anyhow, the language still exists somewhat today, although there are few speakers. (The jargon is the basis of the language spoken on I believe 2 Native American Reservations in Oregon.) I’ve downloaded some online dictionaries of the Chinook Jargon, as it is called and have learned several terms. So…Skookumchuck River…The Chinook Jargon word for water is “chuck”. The word for strong is “skookum”. So, Skookumchuck means “strong water”, aka “rapids”.

    I see why you didn’t just roll the water tanks downhill then “catch” them. You could’ve turned into a pancake if one of those rolled over you. From Fernglade Farm to Flat Chris Farm in one slip of the foot! No wonder Ollie was so tired; he was probably overly worried watching you with the water tanks and all of the other construction. I almost need to take a nap just thinking about the hard work! 🙂

    Nice work on the Union Jack doors. The Princess also had several complimentary comments about how the new shed is turning out. I agree with Lew: if the shed is intended to double as a mead hall, then there needs to be a hole for smoke to escape from inside the mead hall/shed. Can’t have a mead hall without proper indoor fires!

    I discovered something ickier than lipstick once on a coffee mug at a restaurant. All I can say is that I perform due diligence on all plates, glasses, mugs and eating utensils before any of the above nears my mouth! I was happy to read that the lipstick was a good color for you per the Editor. 😉

    Your peas and artichokes are evidence that your diversity of plants in the garden is a good thing. Glad you’re getting something out of the year of no summer.

    We just started what is forecast to be a 60-hour period in which the temperatures might stay above freezing, or barely drop to freezing. That should clear out a lot of the ice from the residential streets and the sidewalks. Yes, part of my sidewalk got iced over thanks to the City’s snowplowing service. They plowed the driveway in also, but it was above freezing, so that was easily taken care of. The ice on the sidewalks came from huge ice boulders that have melted a bit. The ice boulders are too big to move.

    Meanwhile, I feel your pain with the fog. We had 3 consecutive mornings with fog from about midnight until early afternoon. With low temperatures about -10C each of those days, we experienced the dread “freezing fog” so that there was a thin coat of extra icy stuff on the roads and car windows until things warmed up. It must be admitted, however, that your fog was much thicker.

    Thanks for the flower photos. Those various shades of pink are gorgeous. The color is a welcome break from the “January Grey” we’re experiencing now.


  15. Hi Margaret,

    Well a good tale bears repeating – or possibly I could be creatively bankrupt! 🙂 But in this particular case, you’ll have to forgive me for continuing to exorcise the demons of that day. Was it put through the dishwasher, or was it not, is the question that haunts me to this day. Still, they do say that what doesn’t kill you, only makes you stronger, although that does sound like a bunch of baloney upon further consideration and I can only wish that the experience wasn’t experienced – if that makes any sense whatsoever? Far out, I worked late tonight on paid work, and I am trying valiantly to have a few quiet weeks at this time of year. Due to the health subject which dare not be named, many clients are at home and possibly thinking about their accounts. Yikes! I never expected that unintended consequence of the current bout of crazy. My phone has been set to do not disturb for the past two weeks, and this is a good thing, for me at least. 😉 But even so, I have to put aside a day per week (sometimes two days) for paid work these past weeks. Holidays, what are these things? The red tape imposed on businesses is extraordinary, and I can well understand why older practitioners got out of the game. Even today I had to learn a new process for a client. It was a helpful process this time around, but do I need the continual excitement and mental stimulation?

    Clearly you have avoided such unpleasantness with the lipstick (respect), but the lesson is worth it for it takes but a moment of your time to avoid a revolting outcome.

    Oh Margaret, your story is like my nightmare neighbour scenario, but it can happen. Oh yeah, that’s a possibility and I’d have some responses lined up once the excitement had died down. Yes, wise to set boundaries in such a case.

    Yes, I have to agree with you. Spare a thought for poor Ollie, he does it super hard. 🙂 You’re just encouraging him you know! But thanks for the lovely words, and I’m really enjoying how the project is coming along. Hope to get the power system in over the next couple of days, but it looks like there’s yet another storm approaching. A crazy weather year for sure. The tomatoes are looking good though and fingers crossed we make a good harvest despite the weather. Maybe. The eggplant and chilli’s are a total write off, and this is why we might move and modify the greenhouse for the next growing season. What else do you?

    It would be nice if the weather dried up a little bit, but tomorrow’s forecast suggests otherwise…

    Thank you, and hope that your winter is not too extreme.



  16. Hi Lewis,

    Mate, that’s a great word to describe the awful awfulness of the horrific lipstick incident. What do you reckon is the origin of that word. It sounds as if its roots are in Latin, but you never know, and I see that there is an archaic definition as distinct from a modern definition.

    This talk of sanitary take away coffee cups is possibly a triggering event – whatever that means. Truth to tell, I heard the word used a while back and it seems like a very versatile word to use in order to take charge of a conversation. 😉 But yes, I have fought the good fight in the War of Waste, and you correctly surmised that my wound was mortal. In the meantime until the ultimate conclusion to this round against the champ (i.e. massive engineered pollution), I’m enjoying a delightful cheese and cauliflower baked pastry thing – it’s very good too. Just the right dash of curry in the mix. Oh, and the Editor has suggested that I read the ‘Rummage’ book we discussed a few weeks ago. Turns out that the powers that be can be quite hopeless and idealistic. Good at strategy perhaps, but very poor at tactics. As you may guess, I have a feel for strategy, but essentially am a do-er, and keep an eye on the outcomes in the real world. The strategists these days, well they ain’t so crash hot.

    Which brings me to about page 120 of Uther. There was quite the discussion on the Roman legions leaving Britain only three years beforehand, and the sheer disbelief on the part of King Ullic that it would happen. And the discussion between the King and Uther about delegation, strategy and tactics was fascinating and I would not have considered the matter from that perspective before, but the King was right in his summation. And if you extend the discussion into today’s era, it doesn’t look so crash hot as I mentioned above.

    I’m enjoying the read, and had a bit of trepidation about beginning the read as I wasn’t entirely sure that I’d enjoy the character Uther, but in some ways he’s more approachable than the Camulodians, although the majority of the story is told from third hand accounts. What are your thoughts in relation to all of this?

    Managed to read a bit of the book over lunch today, but I ended up having to work a ten hour day on paid work. Because of the continual threat of the health subject which dares not be named, more people are at home during this summer break than I’ve ever experienced before. I’m not ungrateful for the work, but I do need a break from that sort of heavy mental work. I even had to face up to learning an entirely new process today which came with horrendous consequences for misuse. The system told me to use the system in that particular circumstance. Far out, crazy stuff. The level of data that is collected these days is bonkers, and it looks to me like a giant web. But whether anyone can make sense of that data is another question. For all I know the collection of the data might be the end point of that story? Stranger things have happened.

    Actually I respect the Good Professor for sticking to his guns and pointing to the data. If more scientists did that, science wouldn’t be in the mess that it is in today. And incidentally, when the economy goes crazy sooner or later, those heads – as well as the medical experts – will possibly find themselves on the chopping block. I keep hearing politicians say that they are following advice, and that sounds like buck passing to me. Politics is a grubby playground, so best not to play in it, but the temptation was possibly too great for some. Oh well, it is a hard way to learn.

    Another day, another storm forecast for tomorrow. It takes all the fun out of one of my favourite film conclusions. The original Terminator film where the Mexican bloke suggests to the protagonist that: “there’s a storm coming”. I read about the filming of that scene, and apparently the crew just kind of ignored the permit process and tried to shmoose with the local law enforcement folks. An outstanding film done on the smell of an oily rag. I’ll bet the catering budgets nowadays are higher than the total cost of that film!

    I dunno, the alcohol in the hand sanitiser might also dry out the rubber door seals causing them to crack. It kills my skin that stuff, so I avoid it. How about you with that stuff? When I was a kid I recall that car door seals cracked and then err, rain… Possibly drainage holes were larger in those days! Hey, can you recall ever seeing water sloshing around in a vehicle headlight? You don’t see that any more.

    No spoilers, that would spoil things. And it is my perspective that to be spoilt is a bad thing, like spoilt fruit that would otherwise be ripe. Sad and an unpopular perspective.

    Hehe! Yup, A-game for many folks is not quite there at the moment, what with plenty of people losing their freaking minds. I wouldn’t have organised things this way, but perhaps it is best if I were not in charge. I’ve heard people claim that they’d love to be in charge, I decline that honour in favour of less effective folks, so this is probably a good thing. 🙂 Hey, speaking of such matters, I took the empty box back to the computer store today, and got a refund, but here is the thing, they didn’t look all that surprised. Not sure what to make of that, but it possibly was an honest mistake. I suspect that they’d used the stock to repair or make another computer and were just careless. I have no intention of dealing with them again after this. Made my joke that this is the most expensive empty box I’ve ever purchased. It amused me.

    Well did you get the information right? 🙂 I’m sure you did, mate I’ve been caught up in such a bureaucratic nightmare too, although for different reasons. And they’re an uncaring bunch, the ones behind the phones that is. I often wonder whether the ability to concentrate and pay attention to detail is not there for a lot of people nowadays? I don’t know, but there’d be some sort of root cause for such an outcome you’d imagine? Maybe I expect too much? Dunno. But it is something that I notice as well, and I try to avoid dealing with such folks, but it isn’t always easy to do so.

    Have you got any idea why the hierarchy was flattened for that survey?

    Exactly, that was my point with the finishes. Unless you can produce your own from local ingredients, you’re kind of in a complicated world. And I frankly know very little about the topic, although I can draw conclusions based on the finishes that I’ve applied to structures over the years and have some firm opinions based on the wear and tear afterwards. I’ve learned from those outcomes.

    I’m having a slow and relaxing tomorrow. Mate I haven’t done so much paid work during a break before. Must be something in the water? There are plans to repair the high quality FM tuner power board tomorrow. I can’t use the machine lest it blow up or melt down some of the other much harder to replace components. The hot 100 is next week, and it calls for a proper and well repaired FM tuner. Old habits die hard. Some tech geek is refining an algorithm to predict the winner, and he seems to be having some success. A troop of children’s entertainers – you may have heard of them – The Wiggles, are apparently set to score well for a cover they were invited to do of a far more serious musical artist. Hmm. Can millions of views on utoob be wrong? Possibly so.

    What? No way. Oh he’s good, and would have loved doing the cameo’s. Acting is not as easy to do as one would imagine. Now Mr King, we need you die. No, not like that, that’s a bit overly (here I used an -ly word!) dramatic, can you give us a little bit less theatricals, and you know just pretend you were really sick. No, that’s not right either, you need to do more than just falling over. Ooo, did you hurt yourself? Hey, is he insured or what? Maybe we’ll get the stunt guy to die horribly, but with less say oomp! 🙂 Do you reckon it went like that? Hehe! I’ll bet some sets are more fun than others. Imagine having to work with a control freak, or spare us all – a perfectionist. Far out I’m tired even thinking about it.

    I will have to watch the original series. The book was great, and the 400 additional pages added something to the story, although my mind did glaze over a bit with the meetings. Maybe it was just me, but meetings after the zombie apocalypse just did work out too well with my brain. Remember, you wouldn’t want me to be a leader in that circumstance. 🙂

    Yum! Hey, the local restaurant I mentioned does chips with gravy – so good. But on the other hand that is not good. You know from what I’ve heard, those things only last for a decade and then have to be replaced, and you only get two goes at them? You will note that I now do a regular stretching and exercise routine – every single day to avoid going back to that sort of issue. Hmm. Maybe I’m biased, but the surgeons knife should be a last resort, but that’s an unpopular point of view.



  17. Hi DJ,

    Ooo, had to work on paid work late tonight. I meant to be on a break, and have had to resort to setting my phone to do not disturb mode. It’s quite effective, but even so there are things I must do. It surprises me that the red tape has become so extraordinary over the past two decades. When I first began working in the field, things were pretty loose and easy going in relation to red tape. All these computers I’d have to suggest are not our friends, like say RoboCop or the Terminator weren’t our friends.

    Yeah, I mean we’re getting some warmth, but low 30’s for a few hours per day and combined with cool overnight temperatures does not make for a promising growing season. Did you ever hear any explanation provided for your 1983 summer weather? I’m always curious about such things. It’s cycles, and sooner or later I’ll be whingeing again about no rain over the summer. 🙂 Isn’t it always the way huh?

    Hehe! Nature does provide, and Kelpies hate bindi’s. You should see the two tough girls trying to shake the spikey seed pods off their coats. Now they just run to me and ask for help. It’s pretty funny really. Plum is in the dog house a bit tonight because she rolled in something unmentionable – and rather dead smelling. She scored a wash with serious soap, and the water coming out of the hose was warm and she looked like she was enjoying the attention. Hardly a punishment. Dogs. Avalanche I’ve heard would never dare do such a thing – and get caught that is. 🙂

    Respect for the practical folks. Idealism is one thing, getting stuff done is something else entirely. A lot of ideas folks around at the moment, yup, a whole lot.

    Trading languages are a great idea, and you’ve scratched a memory that there were other examples of trading languages in other parts of the world – although I might be wrong. If memory serves me correctly too, the Indigenous folks down here used to highly value and prize culture and that was traded across vast distances. So all that does not surprise me at all.

    Man, the thought of being crushed by a runaway water tank is not a pleasant one. It can happen, you should see one of the really big water tanks from the underside when they’re being rolled. Scared the daylights out of me, but nobody was squashed. The large tank that got away from the delivery guy was a nightmare to observe in slow motion – and you knew it was going to happen. It was so careless.

    Nap away! I could have used one myself this afternoon, but alas work was needed to be done.

    My thanks to you and your lady for your kind words. We finished cladding the shed yesterday. I’m actually looking forward to organising the internal layout and getting the power and water system up and running. Those are the more fun jobs, but first fetch water and chop wood. 🙂

    Yeah, a good point, and sooner or later I might have to set up a rock oven – like the old Roman bread ovens. So good! And so useful. We have a 45kg cylinder of LPG which lasts for most of the year and got the bill for the replacement (rental of the cylinder is an additional charge) and it worked out to about $180. Hmm, that wood stove is looking like a better idea all the time. Plus we began the process of talking to the company about the pins in the wood heater which seem to be delaminating. I mentioned that the firewood was 14% moisture content and had been seasoned for two years so that they didn’t try that approach of blaming the user. I read up about the subject of firewood after destroying the previous wood heater and now am very careful with this technology. Steel ain’t steel too, which is a problem. We could make things last better and longer, but does anyone do that nowadays? Possibly a commissioned unit might be the way to go longer term with a more durable grade of steel. It’s not like you can’t buy the stuff.

    Are we talking boogers here? That’s a possibility and certainly wins the icky prize for this week. 🙂 Ook!

    Thanks, and those plants are really tasty too. A great vegetable. And how good are the roses? And with the marginally warmer weather they’re producing even more flowers.



  18. Yo, Chris – “Shemozzle is a late 19th century Yiddish word. Means, “of no luck.” A cheese and cauliflower pastry would probably make a good poultice, to staunch the flow of blood. 🙂 I knew that one quarter of fencing I took, my first year of college, would come in handy.

    Our library doesn’t have “Rummage,” so, I may ask that they buy it. Or, I could just interlibrary loan it.

    I thought you’d like the military aspects of “Urther.” And, there are a lot. Hmmm. I’ve thought for awhile, that Urther is rather a flawed character. As was Arthur. But then, they wouldn’t be near as interesting if they weren’t flawed. Speaking of near that time period, from the wonderful world of archaeology …


    Badgers are often the archaeologists friend. I can imagine mother badger nagging father badger to “Throw out all that old Roman junk.” 🙂 .

    Data gathering. Or, disintermedition. I got an e-mail from my grocery AND insurance company today, wondering why I hadn’t used their nifty new apps. Apparently, I’m the only person in their user base, that doesn’t have one of those dumb thingies.

    I forget which old film I saw recently, and the extras mentioned how much it cost to make the thing. Less than my friends in Idaho spent on their new house. And, no, they haven’t mentioned how the inspection went. Of course, the cost of the old film wasn’t adjusted for inflation.

    Let’s see. About the only time I use hand sanitizer is at the Club and the library. Otherwise, it’s just plain old soap and water. In general, I seem to have a pretty tough hide. Not being of the ginger persuasion, also helps 🙂 .

    I had water sloshing around in one of my tail lights. Two trips to the dealership, didn’t solve the problem. Frank laid on hands, and it was fixed. I don’t know what he did, but it hasn’t been a problem, since.

    More and more lately, there’s not even an uncaring bunch, behind those phones. Just try and get to a real human being. Who knows what they’re doing.

    The hierarchy was flattened, because they got rid of that awful, middle management woman. The official story is, she retired, and they decided not to replace that position. But did she jump or was she pushed? Inquiring minds want to know. Things are getting “interesting” on the building manager front, as everything is not filtered through the deleted person. Her ineptitude is on full display.

    I’m really tempted to re-read Mr. King’s, “The Stand.” I’m about due. But, other things are pressing, and it will be awhile before I can tackle it.

    I went to The Store of Walls, last night, in search of a portable Blue Ray player. I feel so dirty. 🙂 . Zip. Nadda. All they had was something with “dual screens” for $200. And an off brand, at that. I inquired of the nice young man, why one could possibly want two screens? He didn’t even roll his eyes. Gaming, says he. I told him I don’t go there. So, next stop, The River. At least, the trip wasn’t entirely wasted. While I was down that way, I hit two of the cheap food stores, and picked up a lot of stuff for the Club food pantry. Lew

  19. Hey Chris,

    Looks like you had less rain than me for once. We got hammered and once again my extension got flooded, this time through what is technically known as a clusterfrack: several things all going wrong at the same time to create a perfect storm (pardon the pun).

    I thought I had almost gotten away with it on the Friday afternoon and was tracking what looked to be the last storm on the radar which was headed due south and was going to miss us by about 20 kilometres. Then, I kid you not, it did a 90 degree turn and came straight in from the west. It was like that scene from the end of Shawshank Redemption where the guy is standing in the rain except there was no redemption for me, just punishment (and to be honest, I deserved it). Oh well, I’ve decided to simply bite the bullet and have a patio installed. That will solve the problem once and for all.

    The shed is looking great. Will you be wiring it up for power? I guess the roof would also come in handy for more solar panels when the time is right.


  20. Chris,

    You’ve seen the light! More computers lead to more red tape. More powerful computers enhance the effect. More computers, more centralized “control”, but with less functional software. Therefore, more work is now required to do the same job, if it can even be accomplished.

    The 1983 summer? It came on the heels of a very mild winter. But I never heard any explanation for why the summer was so wet and unwarm.

    Avalanche has been rolling quite a bit, too. Nothing unmentionable and smelly, so far. There are 2 or 3 places in the snow/ice that she likes to roll on. Maybe I’ll find out why she likes those spots when the snow disappears and What’s Underneath can be seen. 😉

    Idealism is too easy a trap to fall into, at least it was that way for me once. Without having practical experience, how can anyone know whether their ideas are any good? I’ve got this great idea for how your water tanks could shed a lot of weight: get rid of the heavy outer shell and use a thin plastic mesh. Think that idea will “hold water”?

    When I lived in Las Cruces, I became friends with 2 men from Kenya. They came from different tribal groups, English and Swahili being the languages they had in common. They explained that Swahili was a trade lingo from Way Back. It is based on a language from the Bantu family with about 20% also consisting of “loan words” from Arabic. They used to argue about which of them spoke better Swahili. They both said something in Swahili to me once, then asked whose Swahili was better. I replied, “It all sounds Greek to me.” They weren’t amused, but they got over it.

    I am used to getting a nap most days. Something hit the fan today, things got hectic, and I got no nap. Mumble, grumble. Whinge, even. I imagine I’ll get over it.

    I would also enjoy wiring the shed. Fun stuff.

    The thaw is causing the ice to recede from the streets and sidewalks. I’ve noticed no big onslaught of frozen boogers, frozen snail trails, frozen slug tracks or anything similar.


  21. Hi Lewis, Simon and DJ,

    ‘Tis the dreaded mid-week hiatus. Today was my first quiet day to myself in about two and a half months and candidly my brain is rather fried. Goals had been set and achieved with the shed and in this crazy time, I’m quietly grateful just to have been able to secure the materials for the thing. It really is strange out there right now, and getting stranger. I did have doubts that that outcome was possible, but it is. Speak tomorrow!



  22. Hi Lewis,

    Hmm, can the word shemozzle be applied equally to individuals as to situations? Speaking of which, you spoke too early about the bin collections. Turns out due to you know what, some council areas bins aren’t being picked up and some of the areas are might be what you’d describe of as ritzy.

    Really about the bake? Well you learn something new everyday. I’d be inclined to save the tasty meal for less extreme uses, but that is me. And did you ever end up being poked in fencing? It looks like it would hurt.

    I’ll give the Rummage book a look after finishing Uther, but the Editor recommends it highly, although she does read it in small doses due to the loss of credibility for institutions. I had small faith in such things in the first place, but not everyone feels that way.

    Mate, had my first quiet day to myself today. It had been about two and a half months now, and I’d set a cracking pace on the new shed project. For a few hours today I pottered around the place quietly doing things that needed doing, and it was all very pleasant. Feeling a bit fatigued though from it all, but also relieved to be on the home stretch with the project. I intend to wind things back to a more normal pace from here onwards. There was no other way to get that monster project done. It happens from time to time.

    Went out to dinner and that was lovely too, although things are a bit quieter in the nearby town due to fear of you know what. The food was great and the local cider was excellent.

    Uther is definitely a flawed character and also personality wise the character is very different to Merlyn who comes across as the more studious of the two. Uther is more emotive and impulsive. Not suggesting that there is a bit of Kirk versus Spock going on, but it’s there alright. And I’m really enjoying reading about the grittier side of the withdrawal of the Roman legions. It was all a bit nicer in Camulod.

    Dare I say it, but that badger is worth its weight in gold. 🙂 What a find. And coins from London. I’ll be the owners came to an unpleasant ending. This is one of the reasons that preppers tend to look foolish in that they tend to base their sense of worth to the future on the stuff they have to hand. It ain’t necessarily so, well that’s my perspective. Have you ever spoken with a prepper? I’ve never met one. That’s funny too about the Badgers! Thanks for the laughs.

    Sure you’re the only person not to take up the super nifty app. I get hounded to join loyalty programs, and I just don’t want the advertising. Due to the ‘locals only’ policy put in place at the start of the whole craziness, I did have to join the local group for the independent supermarket we’d shopped at for years. People from the city were descending on the local business. I hear stories of shortages too in that area. It’s more than just people being sick or in isolation. The land of stuff is squeezing output, and your land that stuff goes too is hell-bent on blowing up its currency. Not a wise idea.

    Mate, have you checked out them oil prices per barrel lately? Hoo-Whee. Scary, and I recall the last time this happened. It wasn’t that long ago, maybe 2008.

    You’re lucky to have sturdy skin, and yeah – funny – you’re probably right about that. 🙂 It’s a bit of a curse and I have to be careful, but I’ve discovered recently that consuming coconut oil and home made yoghurt in my breakfast helps a lot. It wouldn’t surprise me if the sanitiser washes the good stuff off your hands as much as it washes the cooties off.

    Yes, always good to know a mechanic who knows what they are doing. Skill-full people and fault detection and correction are hard won lessons. Not everyone can do that kind of work.

    Wow, I would have thought that call centres are kind of important for big corporates. It annoys me when I have to log onto their systems, prove who I am and then fix their stuff up. It’s a genius strategy really offloading those costs onto users. Why didn’t we think of it – our fortunes could have been made!

    Jumped or pushed is always the question at the heart of such a story – and we need to call in the investigators. Or just make it up as we go along! Hey, I’m voting for pushed, as it gives a certain sort of feel good vibe to the story. But how and why – that’s the next question? Sorry, that was two questions… Ook.

    Life is short and there are so many books (and things to do). Far out, I seriously am winding back on the work front here. Me tired. (I’d accidentally typed: Me tried – but here I must profess innocence as it was not I who pushed her, I had no motive to do so, so you’ll have to look elsewhere for the culprit). Just for laughs, I’d accidentally typed ‘it was me who pushed her’. I now rest my case and admit to heading to bed for an early night.

    Dirty? You sound pretty happy to me. 🙂 Far out, dual screen – seriously, like one screen isn’t full on enough. Online is probably your best bet and I’d try that. Don’t you have local white goods stores or is the wallywallwalls folks the only game in town?

    I note that economists in your country are suggesting that the inflation figures are nothing to worry about. What is their track record like?




  23. Yo, Chris – Shemozzle. Can it be applied to individuals and situations. Got me.

    No garbage pick up in Ritzville? The poop will hit the fan. Names will be taken, heads will roll. Demands will be made that the councilors, personally pick up the garbage. Demands that may be met …

    Fencing foils have safety tips, on them. And, in full garb, one could clean out murder wasp nests. Padded canvas everything, heavy duty gloves and a helmet that would be the envy of a medieval warlord.

    I was at the library, today, and made a purchase suggestion for “Rummage.” From our “I shouldn’t have looked” department. There on the shelf was sitting a copy of King’s “The Stand.” Maybe I can knock it out, before you catch up to me on Urther. Never mind the three other books I’ve got going.

    All hail a quiet day!!! Have we hit peak quiet days? Yesterday and today, no one showed up at The Club for the 10:15am meeting. Hmmm. Things seem a bit quiet, all over. Except at the You Know What testing center. Dozens of cars in double lines. Last week we had 751 new case, in the county. Triple the week before.

    I think the Kirk vs Spock comparison is pretty spot on. I think I’ve figured out who killed Merlin’s wife. Just not the why of it.

    I haven’t seen anything about oil prices. Another empty aisle I noticed at the store is pet food. Big gaps in the shelves.

    I bit the bullet and ordered a Blue Ray player, on-line. It took an awful long time to figure out what was what. I’m not happy with the brand, but, the outfit I bought it from had really high sales numbers. And plenty of positive feedback. Also, a 30 day return policy. Believe it or not, the River didn’t have what I was looking for. But e Buy, did.

    Big corporations just want to take your money, and never hear from you again. I always laugh when I see social media boy, looking like a deer caught in the headlights. I’m sure he thought he could just build the thing, rake in the money, and it would take care of itself. More and more, he’s being called to account to be responsible for unintended consequences.

    As far as computers and software goes, as an example, there’s our library catalog. It keeps loosing one function, after another. Little things. Forget knowing how many holds are on an item, and where you are in the queue. Up until recently, the main entry had a “place hold” button. It’s vanished. Now you have to open the whole record to find that button. Number of copies, number of holds (in the catalog entry) has disappeared. Location of which branches have copies, on the shelf, has also vanished, unless you open the whole record.

    If we’d had the money, we would have called in an investigator on “that woman,” awhile ago. What little we could find out, was just so fishy. The multiple names used. (Up to 7). The lack of an internet footprint.

    And, in other news of the world … The Daily Impact has an interesting new post. Another problem with our levees is, we have an invasive rodent called the Nutria, which burrows into the levees. And, finally, I saw a review of a new “simple” Ford Ranger. Costs almost twice as much as I paid for mine. The reviewer was absolutely floored, that he had to adjust the wing mirrors, BY HAND!!! The horror, the horror … 🙂 Lew

  24. Hi Simon,

    Man, it looked like your place was hit hard again yesterday by the rain, and here was less than 1mm, although the cool change was pleasant.

    Sorry to hear about the extension flooding. Hope the carpet survived intact. Yikes. Hey what is the fall like between the rear garden and the street? I’d probably work it out using a string line and level, and if the fall is any good (i.e. gravity flow to the street) then I’d chuck in either a channel drain system next to the rear of the house or a large pit with a pipe to the road.

    If the fall is not good enough, your only other option is to send the water to the rear of your property, or install a pit with a pump. I’m always a bit dubious of operating electric pumps in storm conditions given the added potential for blackouts, and the little petrol pumps will operate valiantly and do a fine job, but you have to be able to start them, and then once they’re in place you have to run them for a couple of minutes every two months (otherwise the fuel system packs it in). And fuel ain’t what it once was and it now goes off very rapidly.

    I hear you about that pain, a few years ago, the big cutting behind the house (on the road side) concentrated water during one of those storms and we ended up with a minor landslide. Drainage during extreme storms is something that we’ve put a lot of thought into after that episode and the path up above the house is part of that system.

    A patio is a fine idea as it moves the water further away from the rear of the house. It’s a really great idea, and heck it doubles as a good place for entertaining. A couple of chairs, some good company, a few beers, and that’s what I call a good catch up!

    Yes, your pun was noted. Very droll… 🙂 Hehe!

    Absolutely, the new shed will have power. Today I installed the racking for eight large solar panels, and then took five spare solar panels (people are chucking these things away – go figure) down to the shed and added on the proper plugs to the wiring. If you want to see how this stuff works in the real world, the plan is to wire it all up very soon.

    Hope this mornings rain wasn’t too problematic?



  25. Hi DJ,

    You know, when I was a young bloke I heard the stories of the paperless office. It sounded awesome, until reality confronted the err, I dunno, reality of the proposed reality? 🙂 You can quote me on that! But yeah, laser printers ate through the paper, hard drives crashed leaving backup processes shown for what they were – rarely thought of. And mate I’m just old enough to have seen what my professional world looked like before computers intermediated themselves in the workplace. And here’s the ultimate laugh, they got me as a young bloke to computerise a few workplaces, and the volume of staff required was the same as when paper ruled – except that the computers now also had to be fed economic units. Nobody ever discussed how Marvin the Paranoid Android was powered.

    Ah, well truth to tell your mention of 1983 being a super wet and cool summer for you, came on the back of a bonkers fire year down here. The fires that year brushed through the edges of my property, and killed more folks in one day than the health subject which dare not be named. This property was the edges of the fire because the oldest trees display the damage, but they survived which indicates that the fire was not too hot here. But the weird thing is that if you cast your eye over the forest in some parts of this property you’ll immediately notice that all of the trees are of the same height and age. That part of the property was hit hard and the trees died, and what is seen today is the regrowth from that year.

    Ash Wednesday bushfires

    The lead photo on that article was taken not too far from where I am. A lot of dust and particles soared into the atmosphere courtesy of that event – probably as much or more than a volcanic eruption. At the time I was very young but can still recall the dust storm blotting out the daylight when I was in the hippy dippy high school (first year). So much dust and soil particles can do odd things to the atmosphere and climate. My gut feeling is that the no-summer business this year is due to the: 2019–20 Australian bushfire season

    Mate, the stupid thing is that the Indigenous folks down here know the way out of the trap – but nobody seems to be listening, mostly I’m guessing because the knowledge offends their sensibilities. The funny thing is that both points of view are correct, unfortunately the western point of view doesn’t take into account sources of ignition such as power lines and/or fire bugs. I’m trying to walk a middle ground here, but even so, the results offends people who have little skin in the game. Oh well, what do you do, other than what you can do in the time available to us all.

    Yes, what lies beneath will be revealed in its full glory once the snow and ice melts. Good luck! Avalanche surely knows her own business in this circumstance? And yeah, better have the strong soap handy just in case.

    Well exactly, idealism falters whenever hierarchies are flat and feedback is allowed. My gut feeling is that right now the strategists are busy with stratagems, and they have declined to learn the easy way via feedback. This means that those folks will learn the hard way – and you and I can only hope that they don’t make a total mash of things before that time. Although, I suspect those folks will. Already the purchasing power of your dollar is declining, and brakes have not been put on. I wouldn’t worry about it, what will be will be and think of mead halls and Valhalla and stuff.

    Mate, I’m always learning too. And I have put everything I had into the new shed project. Seriously, the whole project has gone super smoothly, but the personal cost for me has been higher than what I normally would expend on a project. With the job now almost done, I’m instituted a more relaxed pace as of yesterday, but between you and I, I really need to wind things back a bit. My brain genuinely was/is fried and you’ve gotten to see the upper limits of what I am capable of. And this has come on the back of two years of super crazy town with the world seeming to lose their minds. Anyway, it’s good and what is done, is now done and I’m good with that. Mate, there were times I was uncertain that I’d be able to score the materials for the project – and most people don’t understand what that means but actual builders are going broke right now due to fixed fees and escalating costs / evaporating supplies. There are times where I’ve just had to make a call and do what needs being done, without actually knowing whether that is the appropriate thing to do – and this is one of those times..

    Thanks for the water tank advice, but yeah, nah mate. 🙂

    No nap. Not good. Dare I suggest that the patterns weren’t quite right? Due to the sheer influx of tourists with nowhere else to go, my lunch took place at 3.30pm today. Moving on…

    Thanks. Yeah, the wiring of the solar stuff is the more fun part of the shed. Earlier today I installed the racking for eight large solar panels, and then added MC4 connectors to the five spare solar panels that I have. It amazes me that people are chucking this technology out. There is something very wrong about that, and if anyone cared to take a moments glance at how hard pure silicone is to make, then they might not be so wasteful.

    It is possible that the frozen slugs are now dead. Spare a thought for the frozen slugs!



  26. Hi Lewis,

    Boom! That is the sound of thunder reverberating through the frame of the house like a giant drum. There is no rain, and so I went outside to have a look at the light show which is going off like a frog in a sock, and it is awesome. What a summer this one has been. Unfortunately, the rain missed here a day or so ago and ended up at Simon’s place which is to the south. It looked pretty intense on the radar, and those sorts of storms strike fear into my heart after the landslide all those years ago. We’ve made a lot of changes to the land in relation to water drainage since those days, but still, you never really know what you’ll encounter or be tested by.

    Had another quiet and low key day today and um, installed the racking for eight solar panels on the roof of the new shed. I quite enjoy doing that work, so it was no hardship, but yeah by mid afternoon the sun was starting to let me know that enough work had been enough. By that time I’d also taken five spare large solar panels down to the shed site and fitted them out with appropriate wiring. I’m doing these jobs at a super chill pace which suits me just fine. I do need to take a day off working sooner or later.

    Went and did a grocery run and decided to picked up some food on the way. But the tourist hordes are still in the area, mostly because folks in the big smoke are struggling to head interstate, let alone overseas, and so domestic tourism is on the up. That also means a whole bunch of people, so we flipped the chores upside down and did the groceries and other stuff first and had a very late lunch at about 3.30pm. It was quiet by then though which was nice.

    Yup, no garbage pick up. Which coincidentally means that diminishing returns have not just been reached, they’ve been surpassed. And yeah, what a surprise the rules were suddenly changed to stop isolating people with no symptoms. That was a crazy rule which was driving society face first into the ground. I hear stories of all sorts of shortages including people to do like important work and stuff that keeps people fed.

    From how I understand things to be, very local politics down here seems to be more about property issues (many things here are done at a state level rather than a city level like your country). From time to time, one of those local authorities gets sacked by the state government and replaced with an administrator. I can’t even begin to imagine the sort of shenanigans which go on to cause that outcome. After a few years, the administrator is replaced with an elected body again.

    Nice, and you’d want the gear to be that tough. The face in particular would require protection and you’d have to also be able to see at the same time. Stainless steel mesh maybe would be strong enough?

    Speaking of steel, did I mention that the Editor has begun discussions with the wood heater folks about the small areas of damage inside the combustion chamber? Anyway, one of the two problems has now been resolved and we’re just waiting to hear back about the other more difficult matter. And we nabbed a few spare consumable items to boot. Best to be prepared me thinks.

    It’s just started to rain, but the light and sound show goes on.

    No! This is fate, and fate has declared that you are to re-read The Stand. 🙂 Is it the 800-ish page version? You’re in for a treat. And anyway, you have the natural ability to read several books at once. I make no such claims and stick to one book at a time.

    Ha! I heard some weird number that local cases in the state are in the 220,000-ish mark. Given that more than 90% were double vaccinated, this number is not a good look. The body count seems as low as ever, but a person could get unlucky for sure. Yes, when let run, it is an exponential growth from what I’m seeing.

    No spoilers please about Merlyn’s wife. A little though bubble popped into my head today about the Uther-Merlyn act was that once they were separated, that was when things went badly for the societies they ruled over. Clearly the two characters were more than the sum of their parts.

    Pet food gaps are not good. Turns out that we can adapt: COVID-positive Teys Australia staff told to keep working at Naracoorte abattoir, as supply chain issues start to bite.

    Mate, I was going to suggest ebuy. It’s not bad at all, and is not that different from the old classified advertisements, and the feedback score is a social indicator. I’ve heard strange tales selling stuff on other platforms without the social consequences of that score. I’ve never used such platforms as it is a bit of a wild west – and yup, that bloke sure is being called to account these days. That’s life and he needs to deal. It would be odd to expect the mad cash without the obligations, although that is a common affliction these days.

    Ooo! I’ve heard of students investigating teachers online activities, so yeah, but seven names seems a bit extreme. The first thought which pops into my head – which may or may not be applicable – is that a person with such a penchant may have nothing or much to hide.

    Thanks for the heads up and I always enjoy the Daily Impact. And Tom’s right too, if we are unable to communicate ideas effectively, how do we communicate ideas? In earlier times, violence may have provided that communication, although it is a base response.

    and mate, I’ve heard that grammar is rarely taught in schools and plenty of people don’t realise that new sentences begin with a capital letter! 🙂 It would be funny if it weren’t true – and I’m joking around too, except that I’m not joking and making a point. You do pick up grammar via osmosis, but that depends upon whether a person reads. And errors are begetting errors.



  27. Hello Chris
    Son and I are praying for a hot, dry Summer. The ground has remained sodden for a long time now and it is a few years since the water table dropped more than only just below the surface. The result is that we are drowning in reeds. They are taking over even the slightest patch of clear ground and have dangerously sharp leaves. Horrible things.


  28. Hi, Chris!

    I am going to say hello now – Hello! – as it has been a nuts week taking my parents to appointments, so I haven’t read your post yet, but I saw the Union Jack. Lovely!


  29. Yo, Chris – Sounds like you’re having a bit of spectacular weather. 🙂 That was quit a story Simon told, about a storm that looked to pass him by, only to make a 90 degree turn and head straight for him. Deer in the headlights, indeed. The major east / west highway, that goes over a pass in our county, is closed. Why, you may ask? A small landslide uncovered an enormous boulder, that is poised to fall on the highway. They don’t know how long it will be closed. They’re calling in the Rock Removal Dudes, to assess the situation. And, I see that Onslow, in Western Australia has tied for the highest temperature every recorded in the Southern Hemisphere. 123.3F, 50.7C. Must be something you could do with all that heat. Fry eggs on the sidewalk, or something.

    I plan my grocery shopping, pretty carefully. Usually, early or late. Just to avoid the hoards.

    Sometimes, administrators are appointed to oversea civic entities here. It’s rare, and usually involves bankruptcy. The largest case I can remember was Detroit. Administrators appointed by our states.

    It’s good your getting your wood stove sorted. I bet the whole tenor of the conversation changed, when the Editor was able to supply the exact amount of moisture in your firewood 🙂 .

    The copy of “The Stand” I picked up, is 1152 pages. Of very small print. There a a few black and white illustrations, scattered through. I was struck by how much background on characters, King squeezes into just a few short paragraphs. Stu’s whole background story. Speaking of exponential growth, I just finished a chapter on how Captain Trips spread from person to person, right across the country.

    I think Urther and Merlin would have come out better, if they had better communications, back in the day. Say, Zoom meetings. 🙂

    And, from the Wonderful World of Nature … I saw an article about ice fish. Down in the Weddell Sea, off Antarctica. They found a colony of them, 1/3 the size of London. They build perfectly round, rock nests, evenly spaced across the sea bottom.

    Saw an ad for a new series that takes place in New Zealand. “Under the Vines.” There’s a trailer. Seems to be about a totally unprepared couple, who inherit a vineyard. Which made me wonder. Do you have grapes? I don’t think you’ve ever mentioned growing any. Lew

  30. Chris,

    Paperless office? Bwahahaha! I was always skeptical about that one. And computers, especially networked? That simply meant that more jobs could be done in the amount of time it used to take to do one or two jobs. More paper required than before!

    When I started at the local gummint job, it was interesting to watch our 3 person tech group. There was the student, me and the boss. There was about 12 years age difference between student and me, as well as 12 years between me and the boss. The boss would ALWAYS grab paper and pencil to start a project, rarely going to the computer. The student ALWAYS started on the computer and NEVER used paper and pencil. I was the hybrid, being able to problem solve either way. However, I was much more comfortable organizing my ideas on paper first. I’m still that way.

    Marvin the Paranoid Android was powered by FM. Freaking Magic. That’s the best I can figure. That could explain why he had a pain in all the diodes down his left side.

    Thanks for the Ash Wednesday fire link. VERY interesting. The article confirmed that our 1982-1983 winter was an El Nino. The mild and wet summer made up for it??? I also remember 4 of us carpooled from Spokane to university in Cheney, WA, that year. There were 3 consecutive weeks in January during which the fog was so thick that the sun wasn’t visible. We’re on our 3rd day of that now.

    Spokane and surrounding regions had a nasty firestorm in October 1991. We were in Alaska. Apparently, in Spokane area, the weather went from warm and dry to an Arctic front blowing in. Leaves on the trees were green but dry and the Arctic front literally freeze-dried them. The overhead electric wires back then did NOT have a large area cleared between the wires and the trees. High winds, dry leaves, Presto! Instant fires from the power lines hitting the leaves then getting driven by the wind.

    Isn’t the dust blotting out the sun eerie? We’ve had a few dust storms that did that for brief stretches. The ash from Mount St. Helens blotted out the sun for nearly a week. THAT was weird.

    You may be onto something about the 2019-2020 bushfires and your current weather. Remember, the western 1/3 of North America also had hideous fires in 2020 and in 2021. Between those and your big fire year, that’s a LOT of particulates added to the atmosphere. Something’s gotta give, like maybe a summerless year.

    Of course the authorities can’t listen to the indigenous people. There aren’t mountains of paper from “scientific” studies to prove that what they know is true and correct. Multiple millennia of living in Australia and having a culture and NOT having some of these problems because their ancestors figured out how to live is meaningless without the mountains of paper. See? It’s modern industrial society that can’t go paperless. Or seem to learn important things.

    https://essentia.com/book/history/chiefseattle.htm You might enjoy that. It’s allegedly a speech made by one of the Native American leaders in the Seattle area back in the 1850s.

    The currency debasement via the printing press reminds me of how Roman emperors started cutting the precious metals out of the coinage. Debased currency has never led to good results long term. I ceased worrying about it quite some time ago. Trying to figure out practical ways to cope seems like a better strategy. And mead halls? Didn’t you just build one? 🙂

    It’s good to know that you’ve hit the limits. We’ve got so much going on with family, planning an event for later this month, and family, we’re exhausted mentally and emotionally. We just went through an Unmentionable scare with a rellie, but all has turned out okay. The past 2 years certainly adds to it. I can relate to your hitting limits.

    If I had a 3:30 pm lunch when used to having it hours earlier, I’d either be grumpy or napping or both. Nuff said.

    Your solar panels show the other side of our society, don’t they? It’s not enough to have endless mountains of paper. No sirree. We’ve gotta trash perfectly useable items, too. At least you were able to salvage them and get parts so that they can do something useful.

    Poor frozen slugs. They led good lives, albeit they were somewhat sluggardly. Ok, I’ve given them a thought. 😉


  31. Hey Chris,

    That storm missed us yesterday. And by missed, I mean I could actually hear the rain pelting on rooftops about a couple of hundred metres away but we barely got a drop at my house. Meanwhile, there was a spectacular lightning show going on. That’s how it goes with these subtropical storms. Dunno about up your way, but it’s humid as here. Very much like Sydney or even Brisbane weather at the moment and seems like it’s going to stay that way for at least another week.

    The patio will solve all problems and also give me some more rainwater catchment which is always useful. The only area that floods is just a small area, not even a metre square, in the back corner. Fortunately, as it’s happened before i just had to peel back the same carpet and cut out the same part of the underlay to let it dry. Easy job.

    Thanks for the offer about watching the wiring up. I may take you up on it but for the next week I’m knuckling down for writing. Am on the last leg of the latest novel (Tittybong 2) and, like any marathon, I’m rather looking forward to it being finished.


  32. Hi Simon,

    Yeah, the lightning show was pretty spectacular, and some of the hits seemed a bit too close for comfort. By about maybe 11pm, we got direct hit by one cluster of storm. Fortunately, the storm was small-ish and passed over in about ten minutes, unlike the one that just missed you. You got seriously lucky dodging that storm. Mate, it’s bizarre that it is still green up here at this time of year.

    On the flip side, my chilli and eggplant seedlings are going nowhere due to lack of heat. They haven’t died, but they’re smaller than what you’d find in a seedling tray at a nursery. We’ve decided to relocate the greenhouse during winter to the sunniest spot down near to the large solar panel array, extend the building and modify the design so that we can grow hot weather crops like chilli’s and eggplants inside in permanent growing beds. It’s just too marginal here otherwise. Those plants would do well at your place I reckon. My mates of the big shed fame have a 6.5m ceiling and inside the shed they have a bonkers huge avocado full of fruit. Hmm. I’ve tried those fruit trees outdoors here and they haven’t died, but neither have they grown.

    It’s been a humid summer here too. Indoors the relative humidity hit 70% this morning… The funny thing is that the combination of rain and heat, the general environment around here smells a bit jungle like due to fermenting vegetation, with a background of eucalyptus. Even Adelaide had a near 40’C day with high humidity – what a shocker.

    Good to hear that the damage from the water wasn’t too bad and even better was easy to fix. But yeah, a patio would be good.

    No worries at all and the offer is there for you any time. But selfishly, I look forward to the next instalment with your very amusing cast of characters! I can only but doff my hat to you good sir, as my upper limit is about 2,000 words. 🙂



  33. Hi DJ,

    Mate, when laser printers first hit the office environment, it was like feeding time at the zoo for the office fauna. 🙂 You can quote me!!! And it hasn’t gotten better since, although I do hear of supply shortages with such devices, but I stocked up on consumables during the early stages of the health subject which dare not be named, so I have no idea whether it is difficult or not to obtain supplies and/or replacement devices.

    Paper is a lovely medium for recording ones thoughts. But I’m much like you and can work in either format. The thing with using paper for such a process is that you have to dwell upon a subject before committing the various ideas to paper. The additional physical labour acts as a deterrent for committing clearly unworkable ideas to the more longer term medium of paper. Doesn’t it make you wonder if some of the crazy stuff going on these days is due to the sheer absurdity of just committing unworkable bonkers ideas to a computer screen via a keyboard? Just because something is an option does not then imply that the option is a valid or workable option. At the beginning of all the current bout of craziness I heard a twelve year old suggesting unpleasant and rather final things to people who suffered the health subject which dare not be named as a way of getting on top of the issue. Yes, in a free form thinking exercise that may be an option, but it is not a valid option – and heck you wouldn’t want that little terror with their finger on the button would you? Yikes. Kids sometimes have no filters.

    It is possible that Marvin had no pain at all, and was merely displaying his usual temperament – which candidly was rather depressed. Yeah, you maybe right about the FM business. 🙂

    Speaking of which, I must replace the electrolytic capacitors in the power board of the FM tuner tomorrow. No excuses any more, the job must be done! And done it shall be done. How good does that sound? Probably makes very little sense, but that’s OK. Note to self, do the refurbishment job tomorrow.

    Three months without much rain is a nightmare scenario. I’d be stressed out. Your local paper has an excellent article on the day, and yup, that is exactly what it is like. We’re going to be put to the test sooner or later, but I tell ya what, we put some serious thought and really bizarre protection systems into this house – but that’s no guarantee. When we joined the local volunteer fire brigade, that was when we learned that we were on our own due to the location.

    Having the sun blotted out at midday is an alarming experience and could shake the foundations of belief in the renewable energy will save industrial civilisation folks – they’re around.

    Yeah, the atmosphere particulate issue seems consistent too. The previous really bad fire year – 2009 Black Saturday (which was close to here but not close enough to burn, but it was a close thing that day), was followed two years later by the wettest year in recorded history. 55 inches of rain. I’d never seen so much water falling out of the sky before.

    Thank you, and I did enjoy reading the speech. Does it matter as to the authenticity of the speech? The Chief was by all accounts a great orator regardless, and the world is in sore need of such folks. The speech prophesied the future clearly whilst pointing at a different and more longer term workable cultural values. There is a vast difference between plundering, despoiling and conserving – but yeah, it’s a tough sell for people raised on the first two activities.

    Wise not to worry about economic matters. I on the other hand are astounded that things have gone on for as long as they have and you know, credit where credit is due – it is pretty amazing that it has done so. On the other hand I would not have done many of the things which have been done in the past quarter century. Fortunately for everyone, I ain’t in charge as that might be a bad thing.

    Hey, speaking of the mead hall. Just saying, done to lock up today. It’s an absolute dogs breakfast inside, but that’s only a matter of time. It’s difficult to recall that this project has gone from idea to lock up in only two and a half months. My lady and I, we don’t muck around!

    But yeah, have – hit – upper – limit! 🙂 Have to take things easier for a while now, although today was another bonkers long work day (although the air temperature barely made it past 22’C – go figure that for summer weather). That project was super crucial on a number of fronts, and it just had to be done, there was no getting around it. All the other projects from here on have a Plan B, C, D etc. fall back position. But not that one.

    Glad to hear that the rellie has recovered (or more likely stabilised). Your lady and you have had a rough few years of it on that front, and you have my sympathy.

    I’m flexible with eating routines for lunch and dinner, but will not be flexible about breakfast. One must have enough fuel to power themselves through the day and nothing does it better than home made toasted muesli, fresh in season fruit and home made yoghurt. Yum! And that stuff powers you. If I eat other breakfasts, especially from elsewhere, I tend to end up feeling depleted later in the day. Dunno why that is, but it is consistent.

    🙂 Looking forward to getting the solar panels chucked onto the roof and getting the old house batteries back into use.

    Pah! Slugabeds! 🙂



  34. Hi Lewis,

    The weather last evening was amazing. There is something quite exciting about a thunderstorm (when you can view it from the safety of good shelter). The flashes which turn night into day, and the peal of the thunder which reverberates through the house. The house was later direct hit by a small storm and we enjoyed about a fifth of an inch of rain in a matter of minutes. You can hear the heavy raindrops drumming on the steel roof (and that’s despite many layers of super thick insulation in the ceiling).

    Got up early again this morning at 6am. ‘Tes not natural. And worked until about 5.30pm this afternoon. But the weather was so cool today and at that time of the morning it was misty and drizzly. I’m getting used to such summer weather. Anyway, we installed the barn doors and also the rear door on the new shed project, plus all of the door hardware. It was a fiddly job, especially the barn doors as they have to line up exactly in order to maintain a pleasing appearance. It wouldn’t look so good if they ended up wonky… Imagine that! Yikes. The shed itself is a fairly pragmatic construction, but the barn doors I reckon lift up the overall appearance.

    We’ve installed all of the shelving and a work bench for me, but the inside contents of the shed are a mess. It’s like moving into a home and you have quite unpacked all of the boxes yet, and may not get to that job for a while. I’m sure you know the feeling.

    Yeah, Simon’s area got hit pretty hard by a storm a few days ago and it dumped a huge amount of rainfall in a short period of time. Generally at this summer time of year you appreciate some rain, but there has been rather a lot of that wet falling from the sky stuff last year. Some of the storms have bypassed this part of the mountain range, and it is beginning to dry up which means that the vegetables can grow. The corn has almost doubled in height over the past week. And the tomatoes are looking positively lush. No fruit yet, but plenty of flowers. Swarms of butterflies are hanging around the vegetable terrace gardens and they really seem to enjoy the leek flowers – as do the bees.

    Oh wow! There were photos of the boulder on your department of transport faceplant page, and it’s big, and what the heck is a specialised contractor? Like, who can afford to wait for just such a job to materialise? And the trees surrounding the boulder had lost their soil. Never a good thing.

    I saw that about the maximum temperature up in the north western corner of the continent. Dunno whether I could enjoy living in such conditions. There’s a town not too far from there called Marble Bar and I believe they once enjoyed a stretch of 160 continuous days over 99’F, although it may have been 100’F. That’s hot. But that 123.26’F record has not been recorded on this continent since 1960. So bonkers hot I do not even understand what it means.

    I try to do the same with shopping, for much the same reason. Whenever I encounter the business at a busier time I ponder the question: Who are all these people?

    Far out, I just had to put a woollen jumper on and close all of the windows as it was getting cold. What a crazy summer.

    Interesting. I’ve never heard of a local government body down here becoming bankrupt. My understanding, and I could be wrong, is that the administrators were appointed due to gross mismanagement or corruption.

    Did Detroit ever actually go bankrupt?

    Hehe! That was the plan with the wood heater folks. 🙂 And further to that, we casually dropped in the entire firewood process in order to allay any further blame. The unit has a ten year warranty although the pins are a consumable item – who knew? The funny thing is that the damage is limited to just those few minor items, which isn’t bad after five years of continuous use – and it is our only heating source during winter. There really is no other economical option. We’re going to have to do something with a Plan B arrangement for that system for the longer term. And I would actually enjoy having a wood oven again. It is such a pleasant way to cook. But at the moment the option is not on the drawing board.

    Stu is a likeable character, and out of the cast of thousands, he was the one I liked the most. And yup, exponential growth was well documented in the book. It’s a shame most people don’t seem to understand that concept. I do hope your version of the book has the unusual chapter outlining the many dumb ways that survivors of Captain Tripps died? The chapter should not have been funny, but it was dripping with dark humour and I’d imagine that Mr King had fun writing it.

    You’ve got a point there with Uther and Merlyn. 🙂 They should have kept more on top of each others faceplant update posts (whatever they are – I don’t use the medium). I read the account of Uther saving the maiden, well probably not a technically correct word in that instance, from the raiders. Uther seems alright, he’s a more Earthier character than Merlyn.

    The ice fish are fascinating, and prolific. Antarctica is a distant place.

    Under the Vines. Funny, and an amusing premise which tickles the memory as to an earlier show from your country which we once discussed. My memory is hazy on this matter, but it was a long work day. But yeah, we grow about ten grape vines and they’re about three years old now. I’ll chuck in a photo when writing begins tomorrow evening. They’re all different varieties of grapes and can be either used as a table grape or for wine making. Not all grapes are good for all purposes. There are the beginnings of some grapes this year, but it was probably too cold for them to fully form. Always next year, and each year the vines become noticeably stronger.



  35. Chris:

    I am so happy that I found time to read this today. Great stuff.

    That is so funny about the “Land For Wildlife” and the fences. We have our 8 foot fence(2 1/2m) around the fruit and veg. Our steep north slope property isn’t big enough to plant enough to be shared with the hoards of deer that live here. The good news is that the neighbor who owns the adjoining land let a bowhunting friend hunt on it this past fall and he shot six deer, so there are a few less (and their future children). Groundhogs, rabbits, squirrels, chipmunks, mice, voles, possums, raccoons – and birds – still can get in. Also toads, frogs, and snakes (most of our snakes are not venomous and are a great help). So far, bears haven’t made it in, though in our last snowstorm a whole, huge section of fence fell down flat. Right now, bears are asleep.

    To the editor: I gave up lipstick as soon as the masks appeared. And I sympathize with you having to deal with a queasy Chris.

    To Chris: I can see why you were queasy.

    Wonderful clouds!

    Those are darned impressive water tanks and SUPER impressive barn doors. Nice job!

    Oh, the roses!


  36. Yo, Chris – I do hope you remembered to put a lightening rod, on the new mead hall. 🙂 . Lightening storms are very cool. We don’t have spectacular ones, very often, but I appreciate them when they show up. I’ve got a ringside seat.

    Can’t imagine what would roust me out at 6am, these days. Well, we’re in agreement that such early hours are cruel and unusual punishment.

    Oh, the shed contents will get themselves sorted. My Idaho friends have outline their battle plan for this move. They want to get it done, but can take a bit of time. First, they’ve got stuff to do, best done before they move in.

    Specialized Contractors = Guys who know how to blow s__t up. 🙂

    Yup. Detroit declared bankruptcy around 2013. It was the biggest municipal bankruptcy in our history. In some ways, they’re back on a pretty even keel. Even issuing their own municipal bonds. On the other hand, a lot of the “little” folks, had a lot of pain. Retirement payments cut and health insurance costs, radically increased.

    Actually, I read the dumb ways survivors died, in “The Stand,” last night. I remembered the chapter and skipped ahead, to re-read it.

    You’re probably thinking of the old sit-com, “Green Acres.’ Though there are quit a few series and films that play variations on the same theme. Such as, the recent “Land.”

    We’ve had a couple of days of clear weather, but the ground is still pretty soggy. I should get out and prune the grapes. I will consult my Sunset Western Garden Guide, which has a pretty clear explination (with pictures) of how to go about pruning at the beginning of year two.

    I see “Dexter: New Blood” will be released on DVD, here, in March. Hasn’t hit the library catalog, yet. Lew

  37. Hi Inge,

    I hear you about the dry and warm summer. Due to fire risk concerns, such a season has risks for me, but I tell you truly, it is easier to produce edible plants in such conditions if you have access to water. This current season with no summer is a real worry. It seems to have warmed up today, but it will be back to the low 70’s’F tomorrow.

    And yup, if the water table is high, the soil just doesn’t have enough air in it for the sort of edible plants most people seem to want to eat. Although I note that you use garden beds of all sorts raised above the normal soil level. How are your newer neighbours coping with the high water tables?

    Yes, reeds grow here too and I use them to indicate where underground water lies. It can be surprising where water travels across the landscape.



  38. Hi Pam,

    Hope your week has slowed down a bit?

    Yeah, the signs are pretty crazy really, not that anyone seems to notice that aspect. I believe it is code word for ‘do nothing’ for the land, which in less polite terms might be described as being lazy. You never hear that word used much these days.

    Well, what you wrote was discussed early on in the week, and yes, I agree, you have to pick and choose what wildlife enjoys access to your property. Nothing wrong with that at all, and in fact it is only sensible to do so. Happy to swap some of the deadly snakes from around these parts, but you might insist upon me taking bears in kind and I’d candidly not sleep as well knowing they’re roaming around. They seem like pretty intelligent creatures and not to be trifled with.

    🙂 I shall pass on your words to the Editor.

    And thanks, it was a revolting experience, but I shall not whine and stoically face my misfortune with poor grace.

    There’s another three water tanks to go down there next to the shed. They’ll provide a source of water to a much expanded future vegetable bed arrangement. Haven’t quite gotten my head around how that will all work – being on a slop presents challenges. Have you ever come across any good vegetable bed arrangements for property on a slope (any ideas are welcome)?

    More roses tomorrow!



  39. Hi Lewis,

    But of course. The power system on the new shed has two earth rods which have already been hammered into the ground. The house has a couple and the cantina shed also has one. Best to send all electrical problems – including lightning strikes – to where it belongs – the ground. A close lightning strike once blew up the modem long ago via I’m guessing some form of induction through moist air and the cell phone antennas on the roof. That was a bit of a drama and I now keep a spare modem ready to hand. The tall trees surrounding the farm are probably more at risk of getting a direct hit than the house.

    Have you ever been close to a lightning strike? Or seen the aftermath of one? One of my neighbours once showed me a tree on their property which had been hit. Lucky it didn’t set the tree on fire, which can happen. Or the tree smoulders for weeks.

    Man, sorted out the shed today, caught up on housework that I hadn’t done, and also repaired the bonkers high quality FM tuner by replacing the failing capacitors. Not many people can do that sort of work nowadays, and despite the inherent quality of the machine, most people would throw it out – which is how it ended up here. I paid very little for the device a few years ago. Sad. For want of a fifty cent component, the machine was put on death row. Truly, the replacement component was about fifty cents. I replaced heaps of the components too. Crazy wasteful society to chuck that stuff out. I don’t get it at all.

    Exactly, 6am was never our friend! 🙂

    Hope the Idaho mates battle plan survives contact with reality? Actually are they organised folks? The shed build here went smoothly, but it took a lot of stressing out to get to that point. Stuff to do first sounds intriguing?

    Thus proving that blowing up rocks perhaps is a guy thing? 🙂 It’s always amazing that those experts can demolish buildings. My nerves wouldn’t be up for such work, a man’s gotta know his limitations. 🙂 Have you ever watched a building being demolished the fast way?

    The thing I’d wonder about with such a bankruptcy is whether the employees in the new entity enjoy above average salaries and conditions when hits are being taken by people at a further remove – such as retirees etc. It wouldn’t be a good look, but might have happened. The alternative perspective is that the entity appeared to be spending more, and had promised more, than they physically could afford. It makes you wonder if other cities are in similar troubles, and that was a test case of sorts? Dunno.

    The dumb ways to die chapter was one of my favourites from the book, and clearly the author was having a good time writing that part. The hippy who copped it was sort of just so very wrong. Not much to learn from that random act – and I guess that was the whole point.

    Yes! That was it: Green Acres. Thanks. Ah, I’d forgotten about Land, thanks for the reminder.

    I haven’t had much trouble with grape pruning – the plants seem to let you know what needs to be done. They’re growing upon a couple of stainless steel wires which are firmly anchored. Any advice for the novice? Happy to learn.

    Dexter is always good. I loved the books too, just so wrong. And the brother character made it through right to the end – he was a bad dude messed up in bad business, but also kind of cheery and less anxious than old Dex. Hmm. Surely someone who does such things wouldn’t be bothered by a conscience or worries about I dunno anything?



  40. Yo, Chris – Sorry. Usually, I get up a little earlier on Sunday morning, to post before I start my rounds. Just so I don’t hold you up from doing your weekly post. Frankly, I forgot.

    Good going with the lightening rods. Ben Franklin would approve. 🙂
    I have never been anywhere near a lightening strike. And, I hope my luck holds.

    Good going on the FM tuner. Now you can listen to that yearly countdown thing, that you listen to, every year. I am beginning to wonder what to do with my old DVD player. It will have to be disposed of. But, how?

    My Idaho friends have moved so many time … They’ve got it down to a science. Still a lot of work, but well organized work.

    From what I read, the employees of the Detroit new entity, don’t have near as good retirement, anymore. And, their health care costs are higher. Much higher with less coverage. Municipal bonds used to be a pretty sure thing, for a good return on investment. Not so much, any more. The income is also exempt from Federal taxes, and sometimes, State and local taxes. But they had a high dollar amount buy in.

    I think the hippie survived. It was the nervous spinster who managed to blow herself up with an old gun. I’m up to about page 300 of Urther. Let me know when you get that far.

    I know nothing about grape pruning. Just that you prune back hard, and each year leave a few more buds on what’s left. Books or U Tub videos are the way to go.

    It’s going to be a popcorn and cheese evening. Decisions, decisions. “Resident Evil: The Final Chapter” (zombies) or “Monster Hunter.” (well, monsters.) I’m leaning more toward “Final Chapter.” Which isn’t the final chapter, as, they’ve just come out with a prequel. Lew

Comments are closed.