C-dawg talks Oil

The following extract is provided as a Fernglade Farm guest post:

Hey kids! Gather ’round and talk with your bad uncle Chris. Call me C-dawg. Oi! You, over there, stop mucking around and get over here. That’s better. Get in a bit closer. C’mon. Yeah. Gotta talk to you kids about oil. Whaddya mean it’s a boring topic? You’ like them experts on the radio the other day mouthin’ off about oil like they knew what they were talkin’ bout. Don’ ‘no nuffin anywhoo them experts, so stop your nonsense, we got serious bidness to talk.

So we’ll do this talk right and proper, then you idiots get a chance to ask questions later. Until then, shut up. Them’s the rules cause C-dawg holds the floor. Yeah, C-dawg be in charge.

So’s the other day I hear experts talkin’ on the radio ’bout oil. The expert bloke was actin’ a bit cagey cause he’s sayin’ oil is produced. Now kids, to cut him some slack, he might be usin’ clever talk with that word ‘produced’. Sure the stuff ya see at Foodies which folks put in cars is produced from oil. Production means the oil first gotta be distilled, dumbies, before it becomes petrol (gas) or other stuff. Distillation ain’t no different a process than producing moonshine, and that’s what happens to oil before it gets trucked to Foodies. Yeah.

However, the oil gotta be extracted from the ground first. It ain’t produced. It be extracted. And the oil stuff kinda got in the ground before even dinosaurs were ’round. Kids, you ever seen a dinosaur? Whaddya mean birds are dinosaurs? Awright smarty pants. Sure birds are dinosaurs, but you ever seen a bigger dinosaur? What? Jurassic Park don’ count mate. Yeah, Nah. I don’ think so.

So oil got in da ground a long time ago. So callin’ the stuff produced is a lie. Like my mate Spud, when he showed me the new car radio the other week. I go: Mate, where’d ya get that radio Spud? Say’s he found it, he did. That’s what a lie looks like. Do you kids wanna be like Spud? Nah, no way! Good.

You kids are smart, right? Well, ya realise if you use oil stuff, then it’s gone. Done. Finito. That’s what finite is. Get it? You better get it, ’cause that’s where the problems begin.

Remember that show Breakin’ Bad? You know the one. Chemist gets bored teachin ‘no nuffin kids. Yeah, fancy that, who’d be bored teachin’ you lot? OK, OK, enough of that, time for talkin’ later. Anyways, chemist bloke needs to make some mad cash quick, so he sets up a meth lab in the desert. What’s a meth lab? Well, let’s not go into that, juz remember kids: drugs are bad, ok?

Yeah, so the show is about this chemist bloke messin’ around makin’ drugs, gettin’ heaps of mad cash, but things get slowly worse for him, not better. Now I don’ ‘no much about how he was makin’ the stuff, but in the show he had to go around and steal (remember Spud?) chemicals. That’s not sustainable. What is sustainable? That’s a good question kiddo: A plant that grows in the dirt, that’s sustainable. Stealing chemicals that ya can’t make y’self is not sustainable. Get it?

That chemist bloke had to go further and meaner to get the chemicals. Sooner or later someone else gets upset ’bout that. The stuff he’s makin’ gets more expensive , and you’re annoying people. Not good. Oil’s kinda like that, once you’ve used what ya have, you have to go to some crazy places, maybe steal some stuff, but you’re sure gonna annoy a whole bunch of other people. And it’s gonna get more expensive all the time. Like the other day I waz at Foodies:

Serious bummer: $2.05 per litre sure is expensive

Hoo Whee! $2.05 per litre (3.8 litres to the US gallon) on the board at Foodies. That sure is expensive as. Economists don’ usually ‘no nuffin’ either, but they might say that there is more demand for oil than there is supply, and that pushes up prices. They might be right ’bout that too. What did you say kid? Did you say it doesn’t matter? Heck yeah, it sure matters. You ain’t an adult, so you don’ ‘no, so I’ll tell ya: Adults only have so much mad cash, and if you spend more at Foodies on petrol, then you’ve got less mad cash to spend elsewhere. How hard is that to understand? But for a while ya could be a bit dodge, but ya gotta go into debt. Or ya gotta hock some stuff, maybe avoid Spud if ya gonna do that, he’s a bit dodgy.

But ya know, just to move you lot from one place to ‘nother, or movin’ anythin’ really, ya need oil. And lot’s of it, and all the freakin’ time. But all the time there’s less of the stuff. So you don’ have to be Einstein to knows that everything will begin to cost more. And then you’ll have even less mad cash, you’ll be annoying other people, probably in debt, hocking stuff (avoid Spud), and have less of everythin’. How hard is that to understand? Like I told ya kids: drugs are bad, ok?

What? Oh, that’s a good question kid. What to do indeed? I says to ya before, sustainable is growing plants in the dirt. And maybe there’s some other stuff, but you kids gotta find out for ya’selves and do ya own thing. There’s a lot of folks out there like Spud telling lies and stuff. Like ya hear renewable energy is as good as oil. Well it ain’t, it’s good, but it ain’t the same at all. Trust me on this.

An epic storm brought thick fog and produced little solar electricity for three days

But mostly kids, ya just gotta get used to less of everythin’.

Thanks from everyone for the informative discussion Mr C-dawg. We now resume the usual blog…

Well that was certainly err, interesting.

Just out of summer, the days are getting shorter, the nights are cooler. Cold air pools in the valley well below the farm. One morning, the sun was at the exact right angle it reflected the light off the glass used in the fire lookout tower on the nearby Mount Blackwood.

The early morning sun reflects off the windows of the fire lookout tower on Mount Blackwood

We continued the earthworks for the greenhouse expansion project. A full steel rock gabion cage was sewn up, another empty gabion cage was installed. Then that new cage was filled with rocks. It takes about a days work to relocate an existing rock gabion cage. And the humid day was also the hottest day in recent weeks.

A steel rock gabion cage was relocated. Ollie is exhausted

There’s probably another two, or maybe three days of work before the next phase of the project can be undertaken.

The line of relocated steel rock gabion cages is looking solid

Observant readers will note that in the above photo there is a smaller five foot empty gabion cage waiting to be installed at the far end of the line of rock gabions. That is the final cage to be installed on this side of the earthworks.

The following evening, an epic stormed dumped several inches of rain over the farm. The water was gratefully received, however the farm was shrouded in thick fog with drizzle for the next two dreary days. Both days produced about three quarters of an hour of peak sunlight, which is pretty dismal and not at all what you’d expect for this time of the year. Winter had suddenly arrived.

The farm was shrouded in mist, fog and drizzle for two days

Two of the four rain water tanks which collect water from off the roof of the new shed were almost filled by the storm. This was something of a minor problem as the overflow pipes have not yet been properly connected. And so in the drizzle for a few hours, I had to connect up all four water tanks together so that water moved from the almost full water tanks, into the emptier water tanks. Gravity provides the energy for this process, and now all four water tanks are at the same level, and again with spare capacity.

This summer, but also the previous summer have both been cold and damp. This makes for very challenging growing conditions, and the need for the expanded greenhouse is obvious. If growing conditions this season don’t improve soon it is very likely that the tomato crop won’t ripen. Oh well.

In our travels this week, we inadvertently passed by a recently shuttered gold mine which began operations way back in the early 1850’s and was worked into this century. It was like someone had just closed the gates one day. It’s an awesome looking decaying industrial site.

Wattle gully goldmine

Onto the flowers:

Penstemon are enjoying the cooler and damp summer
The Salvia’s grow in very well drained areas of the farm
Leucodendron’s likewise enjoy well drained soil
Soap Wort produces delightful flowers
Hydrangea produce plentiful flowers
The Editor’s succulent garden produces colourful flower displays

The temperature outside now at about 9.00am is 11’C (52’F). So far this year there has been 186.6mm (7.3 inches) which is up from last weeks total of 104.0mm (4.1 inches)

53 thoughts on “C-dawg talks Oil”

  1. @ Chris & Pam – Returning to those thrilling days of yesteryear (like last week), it’s Hi-O Silver! And, away!

    The English had been fooling around with paperbacks in the 1930s and 1940s. But they had terribly drab covers, and, I think, were mostly bought by students. Or those trying to “better themselves.”

    So, the American publishers thought they’d give it a whirl. But they didn’t want to spend too much money, unless they could figure out that it made money. Preferably, lots of it. So first off, they cast about for “classics” that were in the public domaine and out of copyright. No pesky authors to pay. So, how to lure the potential buyer into spending mad cash (but not much of it.) So, you take something like the “Iliad”, slap a racy cover on it with a tag line something like, “Their burning illicit love launched a thousand ships!” And they sold them in drugstores, candy stores and tobacco shops where magazines and comic books had already established a beachhead.

    The lurid illustrations are often referred to as GGA (Good Girl Art). Check out GGA on E – Buy and you’ll get 28,000 hits. Quit an eyeful. Lew

  2. Mr. C-Dawg – (A new addition to the fluffie collective?) Yes, yes. I agree with everything you say. Oil (and by extension) gas are becoming in short supply and the price of everything is going up. And renewable energy won’t fill anything like the gap, being created, between the way we live now and the future. As I can do as little about the oil situation, as I can about the Ukraine, I’m not getting too excised about the whole thing.

    I worry more about some political entity promising a “return to cheap gas”, something that is not possible, but futile hope springs eternal in the human chest. I just worry that said entity, will also make the trains run on time. 🙂

    But, there are plenty of people out there who are whipped into a froth about the oil/gas situation. Just Gargle search “Pain at the Pumps.” There are hundreds, if not thousands of those articles.

    Yo, Chris – Ohhhh! That sky looks threatening. See a sky like that and you know something not very pleasant is maybe coming your way. But it might be spectacular.

    The fire lookout looks like a beacon, on the horizon. Every been up there to take a look?

    That is quit a monumental wall. I’m sure it can probably be seen from outer space. The Great Wall of Fernglade Farm. Or, The Great Wall of Gabion. Gabion sounds like some kingdom in a fantasy novel. Future archaeologist (if there are such things) will puzzle over the massive stone work. The wonkier one’s will speculate that it was constructed by ancient aliens. It really is quit impressive. And eye pleasing.

    The gold mine is also impressive. Lots of good stuff to salvage out of that site.

    Soap Wort is such an un-pretty name for such a pretty flower. Nicer alternatives are Bouncing Bet and Wild Sweet William.

    From last week, you mentioned the plant Salvia. I see it’s a form of sage. Just out of curiosity, which variety do you grow? And, without making any claims or recommendations, what do you use it for? Lew

  3. @ Lew,

    Great Wall of Gabion? Brilliant. Would that make Chris, “The King of Gabion”? Or perhaps “The Gabion King”?


  4. Chris,

    Your hunch regarding stress and the immune system is spot on. There have been studies done about that. If chronic stress doesn’t create stress related illnesses, then the chronic stress might negatively impact the immune system so that some nasty infection occurs. Or both. Some stress IS necessary. However, too much stress that is mismanaged is bad. Very bad.

    Sometimes that old tech stuff works best. Like the oilskin coats. It worked. I’ve heard that waxed cotton does ok also. Wanta stay warmish when your clothes get soaked? Wool still does fine. Gets heavy when wet, but warmth remains. Some of the newer materials do okay but are so lightweight that a lot of layers are needed.

    Yup, sometimes the mind needs to relax just like the human body does. Daydreaming can be a big help with that.

    Oh, yes, Beersophia. An understudied, improperly honored philosophy. It has some grand applications and benefits.

    Sunday got very interesting on the bird front. In the morning, I heard some agitated crows. Their noise was slowly getting closer. I finally spotted two crows chasing a hawk. The hawk, while leaving the area, appeared to be unperturbed and in complete control of the situation.

    In the afternoon, a raven started making noise. The predictable reaction from dozens of crows ensued. I truly think the raven was amusing himself by agitating the crows.

    I worked hard over the weekend. A neighbor was dismantling a wall made of decorative cinder blocks. Each block has a rather large XX encased within its perimeter. Neighbor offered me as many as I wanted. So, out with the cart, load up some blocks (oi, they were heavier than they looked!), move them across the alley into my yard, stack them. Repeat. Many of the blocks had been cemented together with some rebar included. Neighbor had friends who wanted those. Neighbor was happy that the blocks were going to be repurposed by people she knows. I was happy to have nice quality free blocks that I have uses for. Now I’m tired.

    However, I achieved some enlightened conclusions whilst working this weekend. The best one has to do with Quantum Mechanics. Here’s how I described it to a friend:
    “A new sub theorem of Quantum Mechanics has been found. Recall in Quantum Physics, an underlying principle is “If you don’t observe it, it doesn’t exist.” It is now time to unveil DJ’s Dog Pooh Corollary to Quantum Physics: Just because you don’t observe the dog pooh doesn’t mean that it is not already stuck to the bottom of your shoe.
    A) DJ’s First Addition to the Dog Pooh Corollary: Most likely, the dog pooh in question has already been tracked throughout your home, smeared onto car upholstery, etc., before you notice that it exists on the bottom of your shoe.

    We’ve surpassed $4.00 per gallon for petrol. This will have some ramifications eventually in addition to the inflation that began prior to the petrol prices spiking upward. Your prices look exceedingly painful.

    C-dawg was interesting and on point. One wonders how he came upon such knowledge.

    I feel your pain with the fog. Saturday was carving club day. I have to leave the house about 7:00 a.m. to help set up the meeting hall for the group. There was dense fog. The weather service reported that officially, visibility was 1/16 of a mile. That’s 330 feet or 100meters. Visibility was about half that at my house. It had burned off by 10:30 a.m., resulting in a spectacularly sunny day.

    Winter has another gasp in store for us. Snow expected Tuesday night and Wednesday. By the middle of the month, however, the lows are forecast to remain mostly above freezing. Things will start growing soon.


  5. Hi DJ,

    It is important to note that your canine doppelganger was found: DJ the miracle flood dog found after being lost in floodwaters for three nights. That’s one lucky and clever dog.

    Hair was how I observed stress acting upon the health of the body. The stuff began falling off my head in my late 20’s / early 30’s. A super stressful job where the employers were playing games with my head – and I was too young to understand what was going on and tell them to go f!@# off. It was my first senior role. After I quit that job, my hair grew back. Yikes! What an experience that job was. Crazy. Stress is bad, OK? 🙂

    But you’re right, stress is a normal emotional state which we all endure from time to time. The thing is, that emotional state should not be overly prolonged, and um, err, the media is drip feeding that emotional state with many people for the past two years – and continues to do so. Best to just get on with what needs doing and try not to get sucked into the total perspective vortex. Yes, a very unpleasant fate – which I’m sure that you’ll agree? We’re not good ol’ Zaphod.

    The thing with the oil skin coats is that they’re heavy, but wow do they work or what? They’re like real old school bush attire. Never tried waxed cotton, but I could see that working. In the old motor cycle days I used wax the seams of the leather jacket which helped heaps in the rain. Being on a motor cycle in the rain is unpleasant, but having soaking wet gear is the whole next level. I’m trying to recall what the wax product was, and from memory it might have been called Dublin – after the city. Oh no! It was Dubbin. Memory, can’t live with it… Mate, who even knows how to polish leather boots nowadays?

    Speaking of a relaxed mind, the weather yesterday was filthy. The Editor and looked out into a wall of mist and drizzle and decided: yeah, nah. And we seriously did nothing productive around the property. A rare day. My daydreams take place when I’m working around the property – I get into the zone and my mind just wanders hither and yon. It is one of the reasons I so enjoy the physical work around here, and given what I do for mad cash, it is nice to rest the brain. Do you get into a zone when you work?

    Rumour has it that Beersophia held sway in the ancient days of the Dark Ages, when men were real men, women were real women, and real yeast produced real beer. It’s a sound philosophy with much to recommend it. Alas it has fallen on hard times with unpalatable commercial brews, and now is the preserve of the craft brewer. Surely you have encountered these stalwarts? Your Viking blood positively resonates to such fine tasting notes. 🙂

    Go the hawk! On Saturday we journeyed a short distance to a nearby town to pick up the plumbing supplies so as to connect up all the water tanks. A wedge tail eagle and companion had nabbed a sulphur crested cockatoo. The larger of the two birds stood it’s ground in the paddock whilst the cockatoos shrieked outrage and the magpies dive bombed the smaller eagle who had flown off with the cockatoo in it’s claws. The world of bird is brutal, but wow did the larger eagle just glare defiantly at all comers.

    Oh yeah, birds muck around for sure. It isn’t all life and death with them. I’ve watched parrots sitting on the whirly gig for the worm farm sewage system and just get spun around and around in the wind. They looked like they were enjoying themselves too – it must have been something of a challenge for them. I’d feel mildly ill from that experience, but then you and I aren’t birds!

    Wasn’t exactly sure what a cinder block was, but I see they’re concrete blocks which may or may not incorporate ash. Interesting and I’ve not used those blocks. I see they have a reputation for use in retaining walls. That is some hard work just hauling the blocks, oh yeah. Hopefully you woke the next day fit as a fiddle?

    Oh no! And unfortunate situation and dunno about you, but I heard that Quantum mechanics offers a potential solution to your dilemma: Look bashful and clean up the mess. Mate, I tell you, the stuff is hard to remove from car carpets, but seat upholstery would be the stuff of nightmares. Mate, you should try three dogs! Ollie regurgitated his breakfast this morning right next to the dirt mouse Suzuki, so I had to scoop it up with a trowel and turf it into a garden bed. It smelled intriguing, but I fed him some food with activated carbon which settled his guts, and he’s fine now. And he had a dry dinner this evening. Dogs.

    It looks like the stuff costs $10 more per barrel today when compared to yesterday. I agree, inflation will be a problem. Down under during the oil crisis of the 1970’s officially it reached into about the 15% mark. Yikes! Nobody owned big cars during those days, and that was why Max was Mad! You heard it here first. 😉 The film was filmed not too far from here.

    C-dawg used to write for the hippy press a long time ago, and received remuneration for writing the sort of things that I now pen here (oops slipped up and dropped the disguise!) Of course I enjoy the act of writing, so it is no hardship. But way back in maybe 2004, I read about the concept of peak oil, and eventually late one night at a Borders book store I picked up a book on the subject written by the author Paul Roberts titled “The End of Oil”. My understanding was that conventional oil peaked in about maybe 2005 which was spoken about at the time – if anyone cared to read such dismal news. And who would have predicted the impact and long ride that shale oil would have, which appears to have been funded by paper. But you know, I haven’t seen or heard anything since those days which convinces me that the early observers were wrong in anything other than the timing. It’s been so long now that I’m well and truly in the acceptance phase. I mean, what can you do other than what you’re doing? I’m sure you too have come across such not-so-secret knowledge?

    There’s no rushing around in the fog is there? 🙂 Today was panning out that way again, but by about 11am the fog burned away and the sun shone. Thank gawd, the house batteries were at 61% full this morning. I try to never take them below 50% capacity. They filled right back up again today. Always exciting and I’m working on defeating the 1% of the year (3 days) where I have to run the generator for a few hours.

    Snow! It’s exciting, well maybe not so much for you.



  6. Hi Lewis,

    Weren’t penguin paperbacks sold in unexpected places in the UK at around that time? But you’re right, the covers are pretty drab, but the publisher traded on some serious goodwill during WWII.

    That was the thing with pulp fiction covers in that they caught your eye. Some of the covers barely related to the contents – what might be called a tenuous link. Thanks for mentioning the art form, and there were heaps of examples.

    Norah Lofts sure was having fun when she penned the stories, and some of the latter ones are getting more outrageous. Over lunch, it was so wrong, but I burst out laughing over the story of Rose the unfaithful daughter in law and the instrument of her demise. There is no particular reason why the scenario in the book would be funny, but it was. Those Gilderson’s were a pragmatic bunch. And yes, I agree it is astounding to be confronted by so many different personalties created and wielded by the same author.

    As a society it is possible that we have much more to learn about the art and science of speech, and we may only be still in the early days. I’d imagine my grandfather would have had something to say about such opinions too. Generally I believe that such notions are held by a minority of the population, and unfortunately, there are those on the extreme left who provide such folks with air time for their own purposes. They’re both wrong. Mate, it isn’t just the interweb, the media also appears to want to amplify things. What I’ve learned from dog training is that the best pack leaders are calm and considered. I can’t yell at the dogs because they’ll think I’m a crazy creature. Best to reach for calm.

    Thanks, the weather was socked in yesterday and this morning looked as though it was going to be a repeat. About 11am the clouds burned away and we enjoyed a sunny and cool but humid day. It was nice, and it was also nice to get some charge back into the house batteries. They were full by late this afternoon, and now the cloud and mist has returned. Summer looks as though it’s done.

    Well yeah, I read up about Greenwich Village. Prices these days would exclude all but the very well heeled – and are such folks creative free spirits living life a bit on the edge? Mortgages tend to put a damper on such approaches to life. I watched the inner urban area were we used to reside become gentrified. The neighbour on the north got planning permission to construct a 23 foot high boundary wall which put the entire backyard garden (of a Victorian era terrace house – think narrow block) into shade for much of the year. Their new extension was well kitted out with three noisy compressors to run the air conditioning required for the new construction. We left the city at that point, and I noted that not long after all that construction was completed, the neighbour sold up. Like, who does that sort of thing? A lot of expectations moved in to the area over a decade, a whole lot. Such agglomeration of creativity requires a place to be both cheap and interesting. Yeah, it is interesting.

    That makes sense, and selecting for climate and conditions saves a whole bunch of heartache. More soil is always good – as long as it doesn’t slow the warming up process when spring kicks off in your part of the world. Hehe! Walnut seedlings… Despite observing plenty of such trees about the area, they’re really hard to get established here – and you’re pulling them out of the ground like the weeds they probably are!

    One must prioritise, and not end up getting side tracked. It’s early days in the growing season.

    Try not to injury Scott with your humour. He might suddenly recover and challenge you to a duel.

    I hear you about both of those issues, and I just do my best here and try not to worry about such things. Of course you may also have noted that people seem to be dead excited about attempting to get you and I to care about such matters. That’s why I ended (oops, C-dawg ended it) with the idea that get used to having less of everything. As your command of the English language is pretty darn good, you already probably know that the word ‘less’ differs from the word ‘none’. The word ‘none’ is hardly an enviable estate!

    Trains can be used and abused that’s for sure. It’s a chilling thought. The lying bit will happen, it already does. Dunno, it depends if they can deliver the goods for a little while and then blame someone else when things then don’t go according to plan.

    Pain at the Pumps is some sort of medical thing. Who knew? Pain at the gas Pumps instead produced 62 million gargle hits. All very dull. For the life of me I can’t understand why vehicles are so big and heavy these days. We gave away the efficiencies for that outcome. It makes no sense to me.

    Hehe! 3 inches of rain, holy carp! It sure is wet outside. It’ll be interesting to observe how far the rainfall worked into the soil the next time we dig.

    Actually, I’ve been over there to Mount Blackwood. You can walk up to check out the view, although you can’t climb the fire lookout tower, which is manned during the summer months. You can see the house here using binoculars.

    I quite like the alien explanation for the rock gabion walls. It’s neat and they’re super strong. It reminds me of a sort of fortification.

    The gold mine was fenced off and I squeezed the camera through a gap in the fence, but it wouldn’t surprise me if it was reopened at some future stage. What did surprise me was that on the other side of the gully, there were houses. Can you imagine living near to a rock crushing plant? Not to mention the I believe arsenic? Anyway, the place looks set to go with a bit of a clean up. Under the poppet head there was what looked like an original steel hand cart on rails to carry the ore to the crusher.

    Saponaria officinalis which sounds even stranger is actually used to clean delicate antique tapestries. Never tried to use the plant, and the other names do sound a whole lot more pleasing to the ear.

    Ah, Salvia officinalis is the variety. I read in one of the many herb books in my collection that it was in ancient days used on skin conditions in the mouth. I’m no expert, but I give such things a bash, and I’ve found that it seemed to work for me with the small occasional mouth ulcer, although I haven’t done a repeatable control test so it is hardly proper citizen science stuff. I’m not a fan of the taste, but it appeared to clear them up over night. Dunno.



  7. Money quote from your little imagined campfire talk:
    “But mostly kids, ya just gotta get used to less of everythin’.”

    I was trying to imagine what accent ol’ C-dawg was speaking in, but gave up. Some weird blend of cockney and inner city and some unknown oz dialect?

    Old geezers the world around try to pass on hard earned wisdom to the young whippersnappers, but when it doesn’t match the happy narrative they see in the media all around them, it can be a tough sell.

    I finally got the wiring finished for my PV to water heater scheme that shunts to an electric baseboard heater when the water is up to temp. Works good so far, and am brainstorming plans for excess power in the summer months when extra heat in the house would be dumb. This setup is independent from the grid tied house mains, and our electric bill has plummeted.

    Little steps as often as we can.

    We’ve had some wicked wind events here this winter, so we’ve changed plans for the greenhouse location. Luckily, I had only partially progressed on that front, so not too much lost work.

    I will have to drop a few trees, but they are just box elder, and will make great mushroom substrate. We’ve had very good luck with golden oyster mushrooms on box elder wood.

    Got our onion seeds going in the sunroom, and have seen sprouts already. Will start the brassicas in a couple more weeks.

    The cycle keeps rolling on.

  8. @ DJ – Well, Chris has the monumental title to go with the title 🙂

    It’s really funny to read the plot summaries on our libraries new list / science fiction and fantasy. It’s pretty easy to pick out the really, really bad fantasy novels. Lew

  9. Yo, Chris – The paperback book give-away to American GIs in WWII is an interesting tale. I read a book about it, a year ago. But I found this very interesting article.


    Toward the end of the article, they mention the GI bill. After the war, GI’s were able to take advantage of lots of programs, to reward them for their service. Housing … and education. So, a lot of GIs came out of the war with a habit of reading. And, maybe, more curiosity about the world. For a change, they did right by the ex soldiers. I think, also, the Powers That Be didn’t want a repeat of the aftermath of WWI. When the country almost fell into anarchy. See: Bonus Army.


    Over here, the right wing has a very strong media presence. Better equipped and organized, than the media on the left, I think.

    A day without sunshine is a day without power. Or, not much of it. Today ought to be pretty nice, then one day of rain, then back to nice weather, again. The forsythia is blooming, as are the daffodils. Tulips are coming up, but not blooming, yet. Overnight lows are right around 32F (-0-C).

    Inexpensive creative areas are victims of their own success. But, creative people migrate to other areas, and sometimes gather in nexus of creativity. Detroit is a hotspot, right now. And then, the process starts all over, again.

    If Scott challenges me to duel, I’ll just give him a good whack in the knee. 🙂

    Those big vehicles were all sold on advertising promises that you suddenly take it into your head to go charging off into the wilderness. That ol’ pioneer spirit. And most of them have never been off the pavement. Another selling point was the behemoths would protect your precious cargo. ie: Your kids. Your a bad parent, if you don’t do everything in your power, to protect the kiddies. Cotton wool not included.

    Your great wall is truly monumental. But then, I’ve been looking at lots of hill forts, in “UnRoman Britain.” I’ve also been watching a Great Courses / National Geographic series on the top archaeological sites. Your wall also reminds me of the walls of Troy and Jericho.

    Interesting you should mention arsenic. “The Madman’s Library” mentions that green dye, was often arsenic based, back in the day. Book covers were often dyed with arsenic. Your books could kill you. Beware old books bound in green cloth. Wallpaper was also arsenic infused. Those old fairy tales of a cloak or dress that could kill? Bet it was dyed green. And then there were the mad hatters. But that was mercury.

    You probably know that cinnamon and clove powder are also good for mouth ulcers. Wet the tip of your little finger, dip in powder, apply to ulcer. Gone, overnight. Lew

  10. Hi Chris,

    C-dawg knows whereof he speaks. Here in Missouri, where the phrase “gas tax” is a swear word, gasoline was at $3.59/gallon on the evening of March 5 as we drove home from a dulcimer club all-day jam across the Mississippi River in the state of Illinois. The gas stations we passed in Illinois were offering gasoline at $4.09/gallon. Guess why the first gas stations on the Missouri side of the river have the highest volume of gasoline purchases in the entire state? Eventually the price differential will narrow to about 20 cents/gallon, but our state legislature will make sure that it doesn’t get much less than that.

    Meanwhile, we are riding the weather roller-coaster. We set a record high of 82F on March 2; today (March 7) it’s barely above freezing, and we saw a few snow flurries in the morning. March had been dry, but yesterday we set a new daily rainfall record of 1.65 inches. This coming Thursday the high is supposed to be about 60F; then we’re supposed to get some snow on Friday; then next Monday the high will be about 60F again.

    Yesterday morning, before the rain, I planted the rest of the potato onion bed with medium-sized bulbs I held over until now, instead of planting them in November and mulching them as I did the larger bulbs. I’m hoping that the medium-sized bulbs will not rot and die as a substantial percentage of them have done under the mulch, and that they will grow to a good size even though they will only have about 90 days or so to grow before it gets too hot and they go dormant. This is one of my experiments for this year’s garden. I should put up another blog post soon (it’s mostly finished) that will talk about all the experiments for this year’s garden.

    Out on the front porch that doubles as a greenhouse, I have several flats of seeds, with some seedlings already in evidence even though I planted most of the flats less than a week ago. The first daffodil flower has bloomed as well. Cold weather isn’t finished with us, but winter’s back is broken.


  11. Chris,

    Thanks for the story about my doppelganger! That is one fortunate pooch. I bet he’s got a great story to tell the other dogs.

    “Zaphod’s just this guy, you know?” so said Gag Halfrunt, Zaphod’s therapist.

    I’ve been on a motorcycle in the rain. Unpleasant is an understatement. It got worse when it began to hail. That hurt! I started to feel like Marvin with a pain in all the diodes down my left side. Or at least where the hailstones hit me.

    I get a lot of thinking done when working. However, the thinking is “behind the scenes”. I tend to focus on what I’m doing and let my mind wander if appropriate, aka daydream. Some physical activity and letting the mind relax seem to let my subconscious do its thing uninterrupted. I guess that’s maybe getting in a zone?

    Ugh, commercial beer. What I call “swill”. I like Scotch Ale. I keep some craft brewed stuff at home. Once upon a decade, I brewed beer in the basement. Scotch ale was a favorite of mine. The stuff I buy now is very similar. I made some good stouts, also. The Princess preferred lower alcohol pale ales. I had a good recipe for pale ale and was able to reduce the potency to what she liked.

    Then there was the other brew I made. I named it Cheyenne’s Volcanic Ale, named for the Finnish Spitz. It was a pale ale. I used 3 times as much malt as in the original recipe, then added about 2.5kg of honey. The fermentation process was explosive, hence the name. It was very tasty and extremely potent. It was a great dessert ale.

    When I was driving home from Omak in late January, I took a slightly longer route that avoided the mountains. In one 15km stretch, there were 4 road killed deer off the side of the road. Feasting on the first 3 were hawks, crows, ravens. At the fourth carcass, the ravens and crows were about 10m from the deer, no hawks. A bald eagle had laid claim to the meal and was big enough to scare off the other birds.

    Ummm, after 2 days of moving those blocks, well, I was as fit as a fiddle that needed retuning. Felt okay, but was glad to be able to have a slower day. Had to run errands. Sometimes having the proper ice cream on hand is important!

    Fortunately, I never tracked dog poo into the house or onto car upholstery. I know people who have. I make it a point of checking the bottoms of my footwear if I’ve been in grass. Never know where Avalanche leaves a well camouflaged land mine.

    Acceptance of what’s happening is important. Adapting to the changing times is easier that way. It even allows for “collapse now and avoid the rush” scenarios, perhaps. And then I keep on muddling through.

    Fog means slow down. Ice and snow mean slow down. Rain means slow down somewhat. Driving after dark means slow down. Hmmm, lot of conditions require slowing down in a car.

    The weather forecast changed. Maybe a few snow flurries, but nothing to get excited about. We’ll just have a few coldish nights in the -7C range. Typical for March.


  12. Hi Lewis,

    Funnily enough the other day I was reading up on the history of Penguin books following our conversation, and it mentioned the GI program. It’s genius really, and the quotes from the servicemen displayed real affection for the act of reading. Did you notice the NYT comment? When I was a kid I had my own library card (as distinct from a family card which I would have had to ask permission for) and the time spent in the library and with the borrowed books was a real pleasure. Mate, haven’t we all been to some far away times and places, and also places that never was, via the humble book?

    I did wonder what the GI bill was about as that wasn’t explained in the article, other than a vague reference to cheap copies of books for students. Hmm, things didn’t go so well down here after WWI with returning soldiers. They were given land in many cases and set to the task of farming, but err, the drought combined with the Great Depression did a lot of damage. During the Great Depression they were provided with sustenance work. Some massive civil projects were done under that program such as the Great Ocean Road. I’ll bet the old soldiers loved blowing up the sides of sheer mountains in order to create enough flat land for that road.

    Wow, that act was disrespectful to the veterans. It was pretty heavy handed, and I guess the nation handed the leader his marching orders at the next election. At recent protests, I’ve heard similar claims made about the protesters, often they are described as ‘professional agitators’, like someone could get a job doing such things. One of the interesting things I’ve noted about people in the protests down here about you know what, is how ordinary the participants are. It would be unwise for the comfortable and the politicians to not consider the amount of economic pain out there. One thing I took away from the Rummage book is that ideology makes a lot of noise, but people will act when the pressures of the hip pocket make it such to do so.

    Here, I must politely disagree, it matters not to me whether things are extreme right or extreme left, they’re both bad apples. Years ago I read an astute observation that the national socialists – yes, them – came to power not because their extreme views held great appeal with the masses, but because that party appealed to the forgotten centre of politics. The right to annual leave sounds appealing when you’ve previously had to work 14 hour days. The mess began when the numpties in charge lost the plot. Woe to us that the numpties in charge now fail to learn from history.

    How nice is it when the bulbs begin to bloom – always the sign that warmer weather is just around the corner. 🙂

    Actually, I could see that about Detroit, and I have heard it said that the city is sited at a strategic location. You read stories about people living there on the cheap. It’s a violent city though from what I’ve heard, but then other cities are not good either.

    Jolly good shot, ol’ chap! Yes, the knee cap, why not? To quote someone else, everyone has a plan until they get a whack in the knee!

    Yeah, sadly I see a lot of those vehicles on school runs. I used to walk to school, or ride a bike, and when in high school I took public transport. Even after school camps my mother was too lazy to pick me up, so I went home on the bus – I was about the only kid that wasn’t picked up. After cadet camp was probably strange for the other people on the bus because I was dressed in full on army gear with pack heading home. But yeah enough whinging, it appears to have done me no harm, although where is that Persian cat and desire to take on the world? 🙂 Hehe! But yeah, at school time in the local town, the traffic is mental. And then after a while, nothing. I fail to understand how we have allowed the streets to become apparently so dangerous that kids get wrapped up in cotton wool. It’s bonkers.

    Please correct me if I’m wrong, but didn’t both the walls of Troy and also of Jericho fall? And let’s not forget World War Z – those things could climb walls faster than they could be built.

    I knew about the green clothes dye containing arsenic – that mineral is also present in some well water in some countries to a greater or lesser extent. Yikes! And who could ever forget the mad hatters? The substitute product only cost slightly more…

    Didn’t know that about cinnamon, but was aware of the analgesic qualities of cloves. Herbs are amazing, and years ago I went into a deep dive on the subject. Some of the green salads I consume are an intriguing collection of plants, and the Editor has gotten used to them by now, but I am under strict instructions not to feed them to guests! 🙂 I never said I was going too – sheeez… Hehe!

    I bought a cappuccino this morning and was asked to produce my proof of vaccination. That is a very rare request nowadays and given something like 96% of the population got caught it hardly seems necessary to me. Most businesses can’t afford to alienate their customers. I felt very unsettled about the incident.



  13. Hi DJ,

    That dog sure could tell some tall tails (sic)! 🙂 Imagine being stuck on what would have been akin to a raft for three days?

    Hehe! I love that line, it’s just so cool. Hey, I had not realised that Mr Adam’s wrote scripts for Doctor Who back in the day.

    Mate, I’ve never experience hail on a motorbike, even the best tyres couldn’t cope with icy ball bearings. Holy carp! The thick paint on the road, oil slicks, and steel tram lines were day to day hazards. Glad to be alive after a decade of that, yeah. I’m sure you feel much the same? I do wonder how the older brigade cope as reflexes might not be up to scratch, and nobody wants to ride if they’re having an off-day, do they?

    That’s exactly getting into the zone when working. It’s actually very mentally restful, and to be candid, my paid work is the opposite, so I look forward to the mental down time that the physical work provides, regardless of the effort involved. Just don’t overdo the physical work, hmm?

    Swill indeed, a delightful phrasing of the situation. What is Scotch Ale? Stouts and dark ales are a fave of mine, very complex, and down here there is a bit of a dessert stout thing going on too. The local pub also seems to have a knack for ordering kegs of fruit beers. Yes, they taste better than the name implies. One of the strongest dark ales I’ve had was a Canadian maple stout at 12% a few years ago now, and it err, had force. A beautiful taste too, but maybe a bit strong for me – yes, yes, weak and all that, but a 12% pint… There was some sort of mystery and story to the stout as it had inadvertently aged for a few years in the cellar and was the last of it’s batch – apparently. Yes, Cheyenne’s Volcanic Ale would have equal authority! Well done you.

    Go the eagle! It’s good to be the king – or queen.

    Did we not discuss avoiding the gentle art of over doing things only just a bit earlier? I’m sure we did? Good luck and may the speedy recovery be with you.

    Man, I try to flick all of the dogs business into the garden beds (using a trowel of course). But sometimes the parrots get to the stuff first, and um, well they make a mess. Ollie is a big dog, and he supports a population of grateful parrots. Nature is an effective clean up crew, but it would be nice if the parrots were just a bit neater. It’s not much to ask is it?

    The local council resurfaced the dirt road recently with a load of clay. After four inches of rain – it’s slippery and the dirt mouse Suzuki looks as though it’s been on a particularly muddy section of the world rally championship…

    Fingers crossed for snow flurries for you. It’s cold here as we got home late and I couldn’t be bothered lighting the wood fire so it’s 17’C inside and about 11’C outside.



  14. Hi Claire,

    That happens down here with state lines although not with fuel as that is a federal tax. One of the states introduced a glass bottle deposit refund scheme, so kids on one side of the border were taking glass bottles across the other side of the border and claiming the deposit refund. Enterprising and mercenary little scamps!

    We’ve been expecting such fuel price hikes for a long time, but isn’t it a shock when you see someone shelling out over $200 to fill up their overly large vehicle? Some of those things you call trucks in your country have made their way over here, but even the stuff sold here is way too big for peoples actual needs. But none of it is really sustainable, no matter how you look at the situation. Fortunately from an economic perspective, Sandra and I drive small and very efficient vehicles, and have mostly always followed that strategy.

    Oh Claire, that sort of weather is what we see down here. If you look at the statistics I provide every week, you will note that it has been dry for many, many weeks, and then bam, 4 inches of rain in a day or so. How did your garden and harvest cope with the deluge? I’m of the opinion that really heavy rainfall produces far more damage than an uneventful and brief drought (if you have enough water stored to get through).

    And that heat, it does seem rather early in the growing season for such a day, but would not be out of the ordinary for later September down here. Oh my, your weather is a roller coaster.

    Hmm, it depends on how much air your soil holds – at a wild guess. And unfortunately, the mulch combined with the heavy rain would if down here provide an awesome amount of feed for soil critters such as millipedes which wouldn’t hesitate to take out some of the tasty bulbs. If I dare offer the suggestion – a thin spread of Diatomaceous earth will put an end to such soil critter mischief before it begins. Or move the mulch to one side until things dry up a bit?

    I’ve never seen or grown potato onions so above is based on what I’ve learned from tuber crops here – the millipedes had fun with the beetroot crop. Oh yeah. I’m probably going to pull out half of the tomatoes over the next week. As you wisely observed (and I had not realised), the overnight low summer temperatures here reduce the overall soil temperature and thus shorten the growing season. Much appreciated your thoughts in the matter.

    Look forward to reading about your most excellent experiments.

    Yes, I saw your covered in porch arrangement and enjoyed the virtual tour. Fingers crossed that you and Mike enjoy a delightful and productive growing season.



  15. Hi Chris,

    The situation that Claire described is similar here but we here near the border of Wisconsin find gas much cheaper. Gas prices increased by $.60/gallon over just a few days.
    The weather is similar too but colder and hardly any precipitation.

    Starting some of my seeds today. We still are in a drought with very little snow here though not that far north and south the situation is better.

    Leo and Salve mostly poop along the road on our morning walk. Otherwise they head out to the un mowed area – very considerate.

    Those were really interesting flowers in the succulent garden.

    A lot of people are really going to struggle to get along with less.


  16. Hi, Chris!

    You have outdone yourself this time; I was bowled over by how cleverly you built up your points. I envisioned you with a Brooklyn (Bronx?) accent, talking out of the side of your mouth, and packin’ a rod – just in case – like the old gangster movies. Except that there was still an Australian accent behind it, which made me laugh. And, of course, I entirely agree with you.

    The long row of gabion cages is stupendous. Thank goodness you had Ollie to help.

    That gold mine is really neat. I am surprised that there is still something standing.

    At least you got something out of all that greyness – a good water supply.

    I planted carrots and beets today and – yay! – rain is expected tomorrow. It’s been awhile.

    The soapwort is lovely, as are all the other flowers. Thanks!


  17. @ Lew:

    Sometimes I do go places like ebay to look at those wonderful, old paperback covers.


  18. Yo, Chris – We had a one room branch library, in our neighborhood, when I was growing up. They had children’s cards and adult cards. I forget what the cut off age was. When I was 10 or 11 I had worked my way through everything of interest, in the kid’s section. So, one day I picked out some adult books and plopped them on the counter. The librarian said she’d have to check with my mother and a call was made, Mom said, give him whatever he wants and I was issued an adult card.

    With such a good start, I’ve often wondered what your present relation to libraries, is. I’ve never heard of you using a library. What’s the story on that? Old fine hanging over your head? 🙂

    We all biked, to and from grade school. There was an enormous line of bikes, lined up on the school grounds. The high school was quit a ways away, so, usually … hmmm? How did I get to high school? I know I walked home. When we moved out in the bush, for my last two years, there was a school bus service. But, until I was 14 or so, a bike was my “primary source of transportation.” Or a city bus, for trips downtown.

    You may remember that Randal Flagg was a “professional agitator”, before he entirely went over to the dark side. That’s what I liked about the book, “The Stand.” You got so much more background information, on the characters.

    New nexus of creativity seem to depend on cheap housing. Cheap abundant housing. And urban pioneers.

    Well, after a run of nice days, we have a day of rain. Then we’ll have three nice days and back to the rain, again, for who knows how long. I spent a couple of hours in the garden, yesterday. Did you hear me yell “timber!” and hear the crash? I cut down the mammoth sunflowers. My gosh, the bottom of the stem was a good 5″ thick. I decided to leave the roots, in the ground. Let them rot. But sawing through that stem was a job. That is tough stuff. If I had a mill, I could turn it into floor boards. Took down the rotted jute trellis, for the green beans. Dug a trench and filled it with leaves, kitchen scraps and composted chicken manure. And, a few other things. Cleared half my largest plot, and it’s ready to plant … whatever. There were worms. A good sign.

    I hit all three cheap food stores, yesterday. One in the morning, two in the evening. Jam is nowhere to be found. Prices are creeping up. And the pantry food disappears, so fast. Lew

  19. Hi Margaret,

    Ook! That’s a mighty large increase in price. Sandra spotted petrol at $2.09/litre ($7.94 per gallon) this afternoon. That’s as high as I’ve ever heard in a metropolitan city down under. I’d imagine that things are worse in Europe, and it seems weird to me that those lot have been encouraging military mischief on the border of the country which supplies them a goodly percentage of their energy. Makes no sense to me. One of our brightest ex-politicians was quoted as saying exactly that opinion recently and how to put an end to the situation: Julie Bishop recalls her run-in with Vladimir Putin. That lady would have made for one of our finest prime ministers, a shame that the party chose a prime muppet instead. Oh well.

    Sorry to hear that things have been dry in your part of the world. I took a very good hard look at the tomatoes this evening and have made the decision to yank many of them out of the soil. There is almost no chance that they will ripen. We’ve been looking at the property and have determined the sunniest spot for a new and enlarged vegetable growing enclosure, and it is near to the large solar panel installation. Hardly a surprise. Things will have to change – two years of this sort of weather in a row is a disaster.

    Do you have any idea why the areas to the north and south of your property are faring better in the current climate?

    I do hope that your climate woes aren’t aggravating your back? How are you faring?

    Leo and Salve are proper dogs who clearly enjoy good fencing and feel no need to stake out their turf! 🙂 Far out, Ollie has a few spots at the front of the house that he just likes to do his business and let all of the wildlife know is his turf. The farm runs wild with wildlife, and sometimes I’ve even heard foxes scuttling around the floor of the veranda in the middle of the night gobbling up the Bogong moths. I’m not sure how much the wildlife respects Ollie’s calling cards.

    Margaret, I’m not entirely certain that people will have all that much say in the matter. It sounds flippant, but we’re an adaptable species and when I was a young kid, expectations were far lower than they are today – and people seemed happier, and they seemed to socialise more than they do today. It will be bad on many fronts, but there are upsides to this change.



  20. Hi Pam,

    🙂 Thanks. Blush. I had so much fun writing the story too. I was mucking around with introducing a new concept, and then building upon the consequences which were repeated and expanded upon. Sometimes the court jester can say things, truth and stuff, which are otherwise ignored when said by more sensible folks.

    Now, you might not have travelled the outback of Australia and can be forgiven for the lack 🙂 , but there are all manner of slow speaking folks way outback who are as sharp as a tack. Who can forget the time I rescued Sandra from the unwanted conversation with the roo-shootin’ bloke who had some strong opinions to observe about city folks relationship to the environment. Hmm, yeah. I can hear the Bronx accent, yeah, but maybe mixed with a bit more outback. Glad you got some laughs, I was chuckling to myself the whole way through writing it. Do I write this, and the naughty little de’il on my shoulder said: Yeah, why not mate? 🙂 That essay incidentally took a lot of drafts, and the first iteration and direction had to be entirely dumped, although the ideas were saved and reused in a different format. Inspiration hit me for the overall direction about 7pm Sunday night, and the outcome is as you now see it.

    I assume that you’ve known of much of this stuff for many years? Is the current oil situation new to you?

    The rock gabion cages will retain the soil for the new expanded greenhouse, and the wall is about 32ft long now. With two cold and no-summer seasons, I really have to do something different.

    I was left with the distinct impression that it wouldn’t take too much effort to fire the gold mine up again as it had only been abandoned for a bit over a decade (I believe). That part of the world produced some of the richest deposits of gold on the planet.

    Very droll. No shortage of water here – at the moment! The floods in the two states to the north of here (hint: there are only two) are epic, and it continues to rain up there.

    Nice timing with the planting and the rainfall – I do that too. Nothing will water in new seeds or seedlings better than a decent rainfall.



  21. Hi Lewis,

    We were speaking about train enthusiasts the other day, and um, I noticed that some train enthusiasts had restored an old electric train which has been upgraded so that it can run on the current network. I’ll bet they had fun doing that, and those red rattler timber trains were the ones I used to use when I was a kid. They had a very distinctive smell to them of brake linings – I’m guessing. I’d imagine those minor issues had been sorted out in the restoration. The train looks exactly like I remember, and it is probably a machine which is easier to maintain than the more modern beasts. Heritage red rattler train welcomes back Melbourne passengers for the first time in 18-years. The trains had a certain sort of elegance to them. The street trams in use back in those days were equally charming with big leather comfy seats and windows that you could open on hot days and at least let in fresh air. Even the doors could open, although I doubt you could do that on the restored red rattler train. I always recall an incident where a couple of school aged kids were playing up and making right nuisances of themselves and some bloke just opened the train door and kicked their school bags out before they’d guess that was going to happen. The kids were quiet after that and got off at the next station.

    Your mother was a wise and thoughtful lady to have acted so on your behalf. I don’t recall there being restrictions on what I could and couldn’t borrow when I was kid, but there might have been.

    You have an observant eye because I have not joined the local library. Alas, when I first moved here the operating hours made access difficult. And things have not improved. Oh, here is a link to the library and opening hours: Goldfields Libraries – Gisborne Library . Mate, I began work a little bit after 10am this morning and finished about 7.30pm this evening. And Saturday morning I’m usually working about the property. I dunno. When I used to live not far from a large Borders store, one of the things I really liked about the business was that it was open until 11pm and I could walk there and back home again. That late finish gave me plenty of time to peruse the shelves and I never walked out of that business empty handed. I’m guessing that there is little demand to open the library later, otherwise they would probably open it later.

    Yeah, exactly, just like your experience: walk, bike or bus (or train or tram were also used at some points depending on where we moved to). I really don’t understand why people have such issues about walking and public transport. Incidentally, the roads are much quieter these days, and even in recent weeks things have become quieter. I don’t know for sure, but opening the international borders may have caused some well heeled folks to flap their wings and fly away. Dunno, but it’s been noticeable. Hope they’re keeping a sharp eye on the value of their investments and income streams… I have a hunch that things may go in the red soon.

    It’s funny isn’t that when you grow up using the public transport system, you get a feel for the nuances and quirks of it, and there’s nothing innately scary about it. People use private options because they are considered superior, but I recall one story from the Great Depression era in that the state government provided free public transport on weekends so that people could get out into the surrounding countryside and go bush walking for entertainment and exercise – it had the benefit of being cheap to do and not to mention the positive mental health benefits. I’ve often thought of that over the past few months with all the city people descending upon the rural areas once lock downs were eased. Same, same, but different!

    Ooo, you’re right Randal Flagg did in fact have that job description. I stand corrected as the bloke may have been loosely based on someone. The motivations of the characters were also explored and they weren’t evil merely for the sake of being evil like some sort of caricature. And the good guys weren’t all that great either, and many of them were rather flawed – like everyone really. 🙂 If I may add something which I didn’t quite understand, but the Boulder folks seemed far less interested in food producing activities than my personal inclinations are, a minor quibble, and perhaps I have too great an interest in that matter. Like I said we all have our flaws! 😉

    There’s certainly those two aspects, but then the urban pioneers have to be having fun too, or have some aspect of charisma or attractiveness about their endeavours regardless as to the dirt reality. Yeah, I feel that there must be some of that in the mixture. What do you reckon about that particular ingredient?

    Hehe! Timber and floor boards indeed! A very clever play on words which produced many a chuckle and smile here. 5″, might need the chainsaw for that one. The scary old wood chipper would definitely not cope with such a sized chunk of sunflower. Phooey too, the Jerusalem artichokes again failed to flower this year.

    I must say that I do like your compost trench technique. It’s a great idea that would just work well. Respect. When we first bought this property, there was no top soil to speak of and we used to bring up all the kitchen scraps, I’d dig a hole in the concrete-like clay and then mix in the clay and kitchen scraps. The wildlife would dig it all back up again and consume all of the kitchen scraps. At least the soil began to get some air and life back into it. How the old and tall trees survived those days was a bit of a mystery, but then they did look a bit stressed – they look positively luscious today. I’ve got about a dozen oak seedlings I have to get into the ground soon.

    Yikes about the prices creeping up! The Editor saw petrol at $2.09/litre this afternoon (that’s $7.94 per gallon!) Never heard of the stuff being that expensive in a city down under before.



  22. Hello Chris
    I’m still here, just busy and tired. Loved the photos of the reflected light from the lookout tower and also, the gold mine.
    Daffodils and primroses are flowering here but it is still cold. The asparagus that peeped through, is still just peeping. I think that the plant must have sent it out to reconnoitre. It is clearly not impressed with the weather at present.


  23. and again: Hello Chris
    Why does it matter that Jerusalem artichokes didn’t flower? Mine practically never flower and it isn’t any kind of problem.


  24. @ Pam – Old paperback covers were so cool. You can get them on everything from fridge magnets to coffee cups.

    Many of the artists were anonymous, but some are well known. Some artists used pseudonyms, as they didn’t want to be associated with such “low-class” work.

    I’ve seen some interesting art projects done, with the old covers. Little shadow boxes, where they cut out the titles and figures, and arrange them at different depths. 3-D, and you don’t even need the funky glasses! 🙂 Lew

  25. @Pam
    My back hasn’t been too bad but then I haven’t been doing all the usual outside work. Had a course of PT mostly to find out what to do and what not to do so it was helpful. Today I’m going back to the chiropractor I went to over the summer with my report of what’s really going on. Heard from several sources that chriopractic services will be helpful. Thanks for asking.


  26. Yo, Chris – The Red Rattler is very cool. Once the novelty wears off, The Editor and you should pack a picnic lunch, and go for a spin. There was rather sad news, in the newspaper yesterday. Our local steam train is to be mothballed.


    They can’t find liability insurance. What a shame. Also in local news, the city wants to shut down the Yard Birds Mall. Code violations.


    That’s where the Club used to be. And that’s where my mechanic, Frank, has his business. In one corner of that building. Think I’ll take a drive tomorrow afternoon, check in with Frank and see if he has a plan B.

    Wow. That’s a nice library, but the hours are restrictive. Obviously, they don’t cater to working class folk. My local branch is open til 7, most night. Sometimes, 6. Our larger urban branches are open until 8 or 9pm.

    But I digress. Back to public transport. I think the resistance to public transport, these days, is part class based. I must admit you do meet some interesting people, on public transport. Sometimes, dangerous ones.

    As an example of a more in depth look at a character, in “The Stand,” there was Ralph Bittner. In just a couple of pages, King fills in his back story. I was happy to learn more about ol’ Ralph. Well, when you think about it, we spent very little time in Boulder. Less than a year. Food was still pretty abundant, just sitting on the shelves. And more pressing problems with infrastructure and clean-up demanded attention. King could either add another 400 pages … or write a sequel. 🙂 .

    Urban pioneers create or inspire public spaces. Cafes, coffee shops and bars. Small social funky spaces where people can socialize and swap ideas. The yupped out versions of those things, come with the next wave. Gentrification.

    My nearly new garden handsaw, managed to cut through the sunflower stocks. Then I had to cut them in half, to fit the dumpster. I usually just dig a hole for my kitchen scraps, and cover it over. But the weather was so lousy, for so long, I had three bags of the stuff, on tap. I’ve never had a problem with animals digging up the scraps. Knock on wood. Maybe because there’s not much “cover” around the raised beds. Or, because there’s always people coming and going.

    I was about to use the nuclear option, on some of the areas around the beds. The weeds are running rampant. Some areas are concrete, but some had landscape cloth and wood chips. But it’s been so long that enough soil has been spilled, or blown in, to provide more than a foothold. But one of the Master Gardeners told me about a mix of vinegar, epsom salt, water and dish soap. I’ll give it a try.

    When I was at the seed / hardware store, the other day, I picked up four strawberry plants. Our communal bed doesn’t seem to have any ever bearing strawberries. I found some Quinalts. Not bad. $2 per plant. There are some gaps in the bed, so I’ll fill them in with those. Might pick up four more.

    I think another caregiver may be in Elinor’s future. No fault of hers. A pity. This one can cook and work … when she’s there. Can’t seem to stick to a schedule, and a couple of times hasn’t even shown up, or given a call. Ya just can’t get good help, these days. 🙂 Lew

  27. Hi Chris,

    Yeah gas has been going up almost daily but still is nowhere near your cost – yet.

    I don’t know why my area is so dry. I haven’t looked at the latest drought map but last summer west of the Mississippi was mostly in a pretty severe drought with just this narrow finger of severe drought east through our area. We’ve had some precipitation but not much.

    The weather doesn’t affect my back. Bending and twisting is another story. I’ve cut back some on the garden plans and just see how it goes. Decided I didn’t need to bend down to harvest zucchini off the ground since everyone seems to have some to give away and if not it’s really cheap.

    Will your new garden site be easy to water? You may recall that we have only a few sunny areas here – all far from a water source. On the other hand we have beautiful oaks and hickory trees that harbor many birds and squirrels. It’s so nice to sit on the front porch and just watch them.

    I agree with your assessment of life in years past – not that long ago.


  28. Chris,

    The dog on the raft for three days woke up my imagination. Perhaps they didn’t completely report what he looked like when found. Maybe he was wearing a pirate hat and an eye patch and a pirate sword and was growling, “Arrrr matey!” And maybe he had a lot of plunder in the form of bones and treats on his raft. Now that would be a tale for him to share with his fellow tail-waggers.

    IIRC, Mr. Adams was one of the script writers mostly when Tom Baker was the Doctor. He of the wild reddish hair, toothy grin and the strikingly looooong scarf. I still think he was the best Doctor. In one episode in which the baddies had caught him, he reached into his pocket, pulled out an apple, and said, “An apple a day keeps the…Oh no we can’t have THAT!” Only Tom Baker could’ve pulled off that line properly.

    Fortunately, the hail didn’t last long. Even riding a motorcycle in the rain was nasty, but in the hail was unbearable. I sold the machine 40 years ago. It was fun for a couple years.

    Balance. Balance mental work and mental relaxation. Balance physical work and physical relaxation. And precisely the moment one thinks balance has been achieved, one of the Fluffies will demand immediate play time, scare up a dread snake, hurl up breakfast, or otherwise upset the balance. Such is the nature of Fluffies.

    Scotch Ale is a style of ale with slightly different ingredients added. The version I made was similar to a Porter in strength and color but had a good body to it. Some of the malt needed to impart a mild toasty flavor to the brew to complement the sweetness from the other malts. I also added peat moss to the brewing process, although not all Scotch Ales include it. The Scotch Ale on tap at the local place is good. The Claymore brand that I purchase in tins is MUCH better. Both make a dark stout like Guiness seem dull and flavorless in comparison.

    I was all recovered by Tuesday afternoon. Gotta spent some time putzing in the yard Wednesday. And it’s coldish out. Spectacularly sunny, no snow, but breezy with temps at freezing. Bundle up and putz, come in and warm up with Earl Grey. Yeah, that sounds good.

    Parrots process pooch poop, but nowhere near neatly.

    Clay and wet do NOT mix. We drove on a damp clay road once in New Mexico. It would’ve been fine in our Subaru or Honda, but we were in a rented Dodge Charger. It was overpowered for anything other than pristine asphalt. A balancing act was required: drive too fast and slide off the road. Drive too slow and bog down resulting in getting stuck. I quickly found the proper Goldilocks speed and kept it just right. 😉


  29. @ Margaret:

    That’s good news about your back. I think the chiropractor sounds like a very good idea, also.


  30. @ Lew:

    You are so right about the neat stuff that comes from those old pulp novels. I like the detective ones the best.


  31. Hi Pam, Margaret, Lewis and Inge,

    ‘Tis the dreaded mid-week hiatus where all good hard working folks go to the pub for a pint and feed. ‘Nuff said. Will speak tomorrow and many thanks for the lovely and interesting comments.



  32. Hi Lewis,

    That’s a pretty good idea, I’ve had at the back of my mind to travel on the overnight train to Sydney and then back again one day. It’d be an interesting trip. A mate of mine did that trip maybe a year or two back and it’s kind of a civilised way to travel. Youch! Public liability insurance might sound like a boring topic, and it is, but try facing court action for a claim without it.

    The insurance business folks have been making all sorts of claims as to future costs and viability because of the recent floods up north. Man, you wouldn’t want to have to purchase flood insurance, the cost would be bonkers and I’ve heard rumours that it can be in the tens of thousands of mad cash bucks.

    An RV park, whatever would the neighbours think? Glad your club was able to move, I see trouble coming. Did you manage to chat to Frank?

    Well, yeah, the hours for the library kind of dictate the sort of people who can use the library, and I’m probably not on that list. The library does look nice and the township has many well established oaks and elms. One of the main roads into the township was cut off and I’m guessing they’re going to upgrade an intersection to a round-a-bout, which it kind of needed. Unfortunately, the traffic with fewer roads was a big of a nightmare late this afternoon.

    Made a big call today, and am not sure about it, I just had go with my gut feeling. Other people seemed unhappy with the call, but I felt unappreciated and I’m a hard worker and have other things to do with my time. I tend not to muck around with such things once the decision is made. I dunno though, the economic tidings are not exactly cheerful, but a bit more time means that I can get other things in my life sorted out. I’ve neglected some things of late – hard to believe huh? 🙂 I can’t be onto everything – mate, who can be?

    Even 7pm would be better than 5.30pm. I’m usually still working at that earlier time of the day. And 8pm or 9pm would be do-able. No point crying over spilt milk as they used to say.

    The resistance to public transport is class based I reckon, but then it also depends upon whether the services are even available. When i was a kid, it was pretty spotty service. And oh yeah, when I was a young bloke on the train late at night coming home from late night Uni after a full day of work, it was weird and you’d very occasionally be accosted by bible thumpers, or there was that young bloke who asked if I wanted to have a fight. Hmm. The thing is as patronage of the service increased, such incidents decreased.

    Nothing wrong with a sequel. I mean, what did happen to all those characters next? How did they get by with few survival skills or frontier skills when the easy food ran out – admittedly there would have been a lot of that stuff around. Ralph was a good guy, very practical. Nothing wrong with an extra 400 pages, except the publishers might sulk their socks off!

    Man, I gotta hit the sack. We moved another rock gabion cage today and went to the pub for dinner. It was a long day of work (almost typed the word wrok, which is defined as doing physical hard work, whilst imaging the dinner to come). Food was good, but me tired. Sleepy. Sleep. Speak tomorrow!



  33. @ DJ – But did he have a parrot, on his shoulder? 🙂 . Chris has a few to spare. Lew

  34. Yo, Chris – I it got down to 27F (-2.77C), last night. But, sunny and warm, today. I weeded the strawberry bed, managed to save the bird netting and planted the Quinalts. I picked up four more, this morning. Only got half of what I wanted to get done, yesterday, as a chatty inmate took up some of my time. I must remember to claim OMB (Old Man’s Bladder) to break away. Only two more days to work in the garden, before the rain sets in. There’s some loose talk about another atmospheric river coming in, Monday night. But Prof. Mass hasn’t said anything about it. But he did have an interesting forecast for our spring. Colder and wetter than average. We’ll be seeing headlines, “Seed Rots in the Ground!”

    Plan your trip to Sydney, when there’s something interesting to see at the museum. You missed the Pompeii show … 🙁 Train travel IS so civilized. But if I ever take a long trip again, I’m springing for a compartment.

    We do have a Federal flood insurance program. My Idaho friends used it, once. Said it was the only insurance they’ve had that was fabulous. But even they are tightening up. There was a lot of hoop-la, here, when they adjusted the flood zone maps. No insurance if you’re in the flood zone. And, there’s been some talk about limiting how many times a house will be replaced. Back east, there are some that have been replaced three times, in a short period.

    I stopped by to see Frank this morning, and there was no one there and the place was locked up. Could be for a number of reasons. I heard a rumor that there’s a court case today, over the future of the Yardbird’s Mall. Maybe he was at that.

    Well, no wonder your tired. Stress over the change you mentioned will take it out of you. Besides your usual round of hard work. Sometimes, the mental stress is worse. When I get wound up, even my blood sugar takes a dive.

    Right now, I’m stressed over the truck. Rear axil seal is leaking? How excited should I get about that? I don’t see anything on the ground. And I need new wiper blades. I had a hell of a time getting the one off the passenger side, as I thought Frank might have a replacement. I’ll try the local auto supply, tonight. Another reason to take one off. I expect they will come in many flavors. And will I be able to get them on, again?

    When I first moved here, I didn’t have a car for a couple of years. The bus system wasn’t bad. And, it’s been getting better ever since. Now when I lived in Portland, in the late 1970s, they had a phenomenal bus system. I didn’t need a car, the whole time I lived there.

    Something that kind of relates to the Boulder situation. I’ve been watching those “Great Courses” about the history of the novel. The old duffer was talking about Robinson Crusoe. Now I think I read it, when I was a wee small lad. But now I’m wondering if maybe I read a gutted kid’s version. I really don’t remember that besides Friday, there was, eventually, Friday’s father and a Spanish pirate. News to me. But the interesting part he talked about was how Crusoe figured out different things from the meager supplies he was able to salvage from his wreck. Everything from unbrellas to pottery. I may have to get around to re-reading the book. Lew

    PS: Margaret Atwood’s book of essays has one on zombies. What’s the appeal, etc. She knows her zombies.

  35. Hi Inge,

    I’ve noticed that too about the Jerusalem Artichokes in that they don’t necessarily seem to suffer from not producing flowers, but sometimes they do. Unfortunately, I don’t have enough experience to understand whether this is a problem or not. It might not be a problem, but I dunno. That sounds weird, but I’m learning this stuff as I go along and have no mentors with which to guide me. Years ago, I had contact with locals who knew about this stuff and had practiced it in this area for many decades, but they were old folks then and the group fell apart due to political argy-bargy which I believe centred around the issue of branded aprons at the local farmer’s market. All very strange. A new comer to the group, who I believe had considerable experience with the left side of politics, employed many fascinating techniques to disrupt the group, and eventually the group blew up.

    At the time I had no experience as to how to shut down such techniques and I was not the leader of the group, so I observed what was going on, learned from that example, and watched the outcome with utter dismay. What can I say, I’m better prepared now, but at the same time I lost access to all those wonderful elders who knew stuff and had practical experience to share.

    Thank you for taking the time to drop by and say hello, and I too am busy, and this week, tired. I hear you, what times we live in! I love the primroses, such wonderful plants and so hardy and cheery. And daffodils wait out the worst of the winter conditions only to pop up and remind us that early spring is here and that the wheel of the seasons continues to spin.



  36. Hi Margaret,

    Yeah, the oil story is like super-crazy down here. I get a few laughs from time to time. One of the local petrol stations used to use large road facing price signs, which I’m guessing used some sort of sheet-metal numbers with which to depict the prices of the various fuels. I’m guessing they ran out of (or didn’t have many in the first place) number two’s (that unfortunately sounds weird, but I mean that literally, and not in the colloquial definition, they probably never expected to use so many 2’s on their signs). So being the clever sorts that they clearly are, they hired a massive digital sign on a trailer to display the prices of the various fuels on offer. Diesel was something like $2.30 a litre this morning (that’s $8.74 per gallon – whoo whee!), but the prices could probably be updated far easier than before. And the digital sign looks good, very bright and cheery – if you ignore the text. 😉

    Margaret, I tell ya, that dry can happen. During the last drought here, I watched with dismay as the wind blew from the west to the east and the occasional rain storms were oh so close, but they drifted along the well defined path of the valley below the mountain range and thus out of range. That was a tough year, but at least the trees transpired the ground water over night, and the less deeply rooted plants enjoyed a slight drink in the morning before being baked to a crisp during the heat of the day.

    Good to hear that your back can’t predict the weather – this would be inconvenient for you and also possibly very uncomfortable. 😉 What do you do? We get through this thing called life and accumulate injuries and just have to make do as best as we can. If there was any other way…

    I’ll tell you a funny story about zucchini. But before doing that, you’re right and it’s true. Near to here, but on the more sunny northern side of the mountain range, there’s a large edible plants garden which is hidden behind a very large hedge. I’m guessing the owners don’t wish to offend the neighbours sensibilities by being seen to do something useful with their land. But I’ve noticed. Anyway, one day Sandra and I travelled past the property and they’d left out a batch of zucchini’s with a sign ‘free to a good home’. Well those fruits were put to good use over many months, so yeah, people don’t value the humble zucchini. And every time I travel past I’m reminded of Pavlov’s Dogs.

    Yes, the new garden bed will be easy to water. So, it will be located below the new large shed. The rainfall is collected from the roof of the shed and then stored for later use in water tanks. After so many years, I’ve got a fair idea how much water is required – even in drought seasons, and yeah, it’s downhill. The plan is also to install many bushfire sprinklers down hill of that shed. I have thought about this stuff! 🙂

    I hear you about that, sunny locales on a property are exactly where the vegetables need to be planted. Unfortunately, such places might not be convenient.

    Thank you for saying that about the recent past. I genuinely recall that people socialised far more than they do today. It’s so weird that we have so much stuff, but then we lack for social stuff. Crazy, but this ain’t my idea of life and I didn’t organise this! 🙂 If I had to grade the outcome (and you might appreciate this) I’d grade the result: Could do better. 😉



  37. Hi Pam,

    I’m not necessarily sanguine that electric vehicles are the future due to the mineral resource issues required for that to occur, but you know it makes for a soothing story. The article raised many important questions and the right to repair is a drama. The coffee machine I’ve used daily for more than a dozen years was designed to be repaired – and repaired it gets. The other stuff, well some of it gets thrown out, and note from experience that it is easier to restore older electronics than the newer stuff.

    I’d have to suggest that if companies get too exclusive, they’ll run out of customers. 🙂

    There are other ways: Electric vehicle conversions take off amid soaring petrol prices.

    Maybe the old hippies are winning?



  38. Ahoy, matey DJ!

    Mate, I’m so tempted to put the reply through a pirate speak translator and just see what happens! Let’s blame DJ the dog and the lovely folks at The Crimson Permanent Assurance – you know who they are! Maybe, we best do a before and after reply, and let the chips fall where they may.

    Tom Baker was a fave Doctor Who of mine too. The scarf and K-9 and all the unnecessary messing around in hyper space what with Daleks and Cybermen to spoil your day, was just kinda fun. I liked the quote too. Very amusing.

    Yeah, motorcycles are a young man’s game, but that’s merely my opinion. And like you said, it was fun for a few years. I dunno, my gut feeling suggested that the weather was good for that activity about only 25% of the time, the rest of the time presented, err, challenges for the riders. You ever see an old Western where the rain was a problem?

    Ah, are you suggesting with your search for equilibrium balance theorem that fluffies are somehow unreliable, or prone to acts of randomness? I like where you were going with the thought!

    So the peat moss was perhaps the ingredient which allowed for the use of the name ‘Scotch Ale’? Although I noted that you used the plural form of the word: ingredient. Who knew that there were geeky beer advocates on the interweb? The company which produces that beer has some really good labels and names for their product. Such a fun industry.

    Respect for putting yourself into the dire condition of engaging in inconsequential or unproductive activity. I am like so jealous. 🙂 Double respect. You da man.

    Exactly, parrots are messy eaters. With three dogs, they can afford to be.

    Rented Dodge Charger, nuff said! I must here add that there was a certain amount of choice in that choice. It’s like having logic to a persons logic.

    Had a quieter day myself and visited a local falls that I’d not previously seen. All rather impressive looking.



  39. Hi DJ – you started this…

    Ahoy, arr, matey DJ!

    Arr, mate, I be so tempted to put the reply through a Pirate Speak device o’ translation an’ just see what ‘appens! let’s blame DJ the dog an’ the lovely folks at the crimson permanent assurance – ye know who they be! maybe, we best do a before an’ after reply, an’ let the chips fall where they may.

    Tom Baker been a fave doctor who o’ mine too. The scarf an’ k-9 an’ all the unnecessary messin’ around in ‘yper space what with daleks an’ cybermen to spoil yer day, been just kinda fun. I liked the quote too. Very amusin’.

    Yarr, motorcycles be a young man’s game, but that be merely me opinion. An’ such as yerself said, it been fun fer a few years. I dunno, me gut feelin’ suggested that there the weather been jolly fer that there activity about only 25% o’ the time, the rest o’ the time presented, err, challenges fer the riders. Ye e’er see an old western where the rain been a problem?

    Ah, be ye suggestin’ with yer search fer equilibrium balance theorem that there fluffies be somehow unreliable, or prone to acts o’ randomness? I be likin’ where ye was goin’ with the thought!

    So the peat moss been perhaps the ingredient which allowed fer the use o’ the name ‘scotch ale’? although I noted that there ye used the plural form o’ the word: ingredient. Who knew that there there was geeky beer advocates on the interweb? the company which produces that there beer ‘as some really jolly labels an’ names fer their product. Such a fun industry.

    Respect fer puttin’ yerself into the dire condition o’ engagin’ in inconsequential or unproductive activity. I be like so jealous. 🙂 double respect. Ye da man.

    Exactly, parrots be messy eaters. With three dogs, they can afford to be.

    Rented dodge charger, nuff said! I must ‘ere add that there there been a certain amount o’ choice in that there choice. It be like ‘avin’ logic to a persons logic.

    ‘ad a quieter day meself an’ visited a local falls that there I’d not previously spied. All rather impressive lookin’.



  40. Hi Lewis,

    Last night here was a four blanket night, but that was nothing compared to the cold frosty weather you just endured. Brr! Double Brr! Sorry, DJ inspired me to put his reply through a pirate translator and I now type the word ‘Brr!’, but am hearing ‘Arr!’ Pirates…

    Have you noticed any damage in the garden with the cold conditions? The Editor tells me that when she was young, her mum used to throw blankets over delicate frost sensitive plants when those sorts of 27’F conditions threatened. Mate, you know it’s cold when the dogs water bowl freezes solid over night. 🙂

    Out of curiosity, why is an Indian Nation named after the strawberry fruit? That is news to me. Mate, strawberries is a thorny topic here. I’ve been so flat out with paid work and farm work that the plants have had little attention. Hopefully this is the last year I have to juggle so many things. Oh well. The strawberry enclosure has been over run with plants – and here is the joke. So I have a self seeded strawberry plant grow in an out of the way place, and the plant has fruit on it. Now if I had more time… I’m observing the habits of the plant closely and will do better next year. With strawberries I’m guessing that I’ll do better with less plants which are better catered to.

    We’ve had brown rot alerts issued too. It’s a problem. Too much rainfall is more of a worry than too little rainfall. I do so enjoy the lower fire risk, but far out, getting plants to produce in such wet and cool conditions takes more time and skill than I have available to me at this point in time. At least I can buy whatever I’m struggling to produce and am continuing to learn.

    I went to the Pompeii show when it was on at the National Gallery of Victoria when I was a kid, although I’d probably get more out of it as an adult. The plaster casts were quite eye opening. State borders have not been opened for very long at all. Damo’s border for example was only opened a few days ago. We don’t travel much any more though. The other exhibition which made a solid impression upon me was the The Terracotta Army of Qin Shi Huang, the first Emperor of China. That was amazing to see. Has that exhibit ever travelled to your corner of the planet?

    The floods up north are beginning to introduce such conversations into the national discourse about what and what not to replace. Some buildings down under have also been replaced or repaired already several times in recent history. Of course, nobody suggests employing the very sensible Japanese approach which was to construct in such a way that the damaged buildings can be replaced. There is so much inertia behind planning and building codes and it really doesn’t serve the public very well. The lengths I had to go to with this house in response to the bushfire building codes was crazy. The cost and effort on our part to construct the thing probably doesn’t justify the ends, but then who knows what the future holds in store for us. And those codes are applied unevenly.

    Ook! Hope Frank is doing OK? It is no easy or cheap thing to relocate a mechanics business. And it probably is no fault of his doing. I suspect the owners have to meet the authoritas half way and move on the RV folk. Mind you, they might not have anywhere to go, but that seemed to be the main complaint to me.

    Thanks for understanding, and we had a quieter day today. Went to visit a local waterfall we’d never seen before. It was pretty cool, and the waterfall fell from granite outcrops which were volcanic in origin and looked like a series of columns holding up a rock face. I can work hard, but I’m wired for only so much mental stress which is work related, and then I go off and do something else with my life. People seem to get rather upset by that, but for me it is like lifting a weight off my shoulders. I don’t see the point of getting worked up about work, although that is easier said than done.

    Hey, the farm machine dudes have apparently finished modifying one of my machines to make it easier for me to use. I’m super excited about this. I had an idea for one of the electric machines here about a month or so back, and then took it down for them to have a look at. A part of the machine broke on the way down, so this was a sign from you know who to get the job sorted as it may have broken when we were using it. Anyway, they’ve got a dude that does custom fabrication work to his specs. He’s done some good work before, and I can’t wait to see what he’s done this time around. Haven’t seen it yet.

    Is the rear axle leaking at the wheel bearings, or at the differential in the centre of the axle? They can leak, and if it’s slow, it can just get topped up when next serviced – not usually a drama, although you might have to remind them to do that job so it ends up on the job card. Dunno about you, but wiper blades don’t seem to be as hardy as they were long ago. Yikes! I too wonder about the differing connectors for those blades. Did you score a replacement and get it fitted?

    Buses are pretty good, and I enjoy them as they’re pretty comfy and beat the carp out of walking. Although I like to walk too!

    I’ve never read Robinson Crusoe. Shameful education, yes. We might have to address this matter, yeah.

    Go the zombies! Never read an essay about zombies before. An intriguing concept.



  41. Yo, Chris – Reading over your shoulder … I forgot to mention we have a lot of primroses, about, and they have been blooming for awhile. Pansies are also popping up, here and there. Always enough pansies, around. They seem to freely self seed. When I weed, I leave them alone. And don’t pull them out unless they (later on) get in the way of something. And sometimes I just transplant them to a better spot. They do spread. I’ve had patches larger than dinner plates 🙂

    Again, reading over your shoulder … The social stuff. It doesn’t effect me much, but I feel bad for The Ladies, here at the Institution. The horrible woman who oversaw us for awhile, managed to destroy some of the social fabric of the place. And You Know What pretty much completed the job. I don’t know how much of it we can claw back. So, was the fellow who destroyed your local garden group named Randall Flag? 🙂

    We don’t see much garden damage, at this time of the year (spring.) Everything is pretty much acclimated to whatever the weather throws at us. All the cold and snow did hit my parsley, pretty hard. But plenty made it through ok. I’ve been ripping some of it out. That stuff does take over! It’s the end of the season where the weather gets iffy, and we might loose stuff.

    It’s the other way around. The strawberry was named after the tribe. That variety was developed at one of our universities. I couldn’t find a date. I planted out the other four plants. I’ve got them marked with plastic forks, so I can see how they do. I’m not too worried about any cold weather bothering them. The seed store had them outside, so I’d say they’ve been properly hardened off. Do you have wild strawberries, in your woods? I’d say the stray strawberry might have been deposited by a bird. If not from the forest, than maybe from your patch. It will be interesting to hear what develops.

    A couple of decades ago, the Portland Art Museum had a traveling show. Imperial Tombs of China. There were a couple of terracota soldiers and a horse. And lots of other fascinating things, from across the ages. I remember one headdress. An emperor had come from less than royal roots. So, he dug up granny and had her crowned empress. Well, you know how I am about miniatures. From another tomb was a courtyard house made out of clay. Three stories high, that translated into three feet high. The detail was amazing. Right down to the pigs in their sty and a privy.

    I heard an interesting story, yesterday, about building codes and inspectors. Someone was having a problem with an inspector. Until they slipped him a bottle of very expensive whiskey 🙂 . I heard something interesting about the plot of land the Yardbirds Mall, is on. The hill behind the mall (very tall … mostly sandstone and sand) is owned by a State Senator. He’s hoping to get the plot of land for a song (it’s 33 acres), tear down the mall, use fill from his hillside and build apartments. According to reports.

    Yes, there’s been a couple of articles about the people in the RV park. Most are on fixed incomes, some are disabled, and if they have to move along, there’s no place else in the county that’s comparable. Most of them don’t live in proper caravans (trailer houses) but in RVs. There’s plenty of places to store RVs, but no (or not many) places to live in them.

    I hope we get to see a picture of the waterfall. It sounds really pretty.

    I went down the hill, last night, to the local auto supply store. Mr. Juan, the nice young man who works there, fixed me up. And, as I expected, wiper blades come in many flavors. He didn’t try to up sell me, and, I got what he would have bought. I mentioned that I hoped they went on, easier than they came off and he offered to install them! It was an “up” in a day filled with many ups and downs.

    He also told me that my truck, given the mileage, is a very hot commodity, right now. $12,000+. Which is what I paid for it. Of course, one is in the same bind as with houses. Sure you can get mad cash, but what then?

    On the down side, I went to The River, last night, to order more of H’s dental dog chews. Which I have done several times, before. There was no “Buy It Now” or “Add to Cart” button, that I could find. If they’re out of stock, they tell you. So, after lots of consternation, it suddenly dawned on me that I could go to E-Buy and probably get them there. Yup. On the way.

    It was a pretty interesting essay on Zombies. Comparing them to monsters of the past (Frankenstein, Grendel, etc.). Ms. Atwood knows her monsters 🙂 . I read another essay, last night, that was a review of Mr. King’s “Dr. Sleep.” The sequel to “The Shinning.” She also talked about Mr. King’s writing, in general. She mentioned something I had never thought of, before. King really taps into a vein of writing that goes way back. Poe … even some Hawthorne.

    Well, after yesterday, I’m laying low. I think I’ll get one more turn in the garden, before the rain sets in. Plenty to do, so, I’ll decide when I get out there. A rose needs to be pruned away from a blueberry bush. The Jerusalem Artichokes need to be dug up and replanted. I’m not done hacking away at the grapes, yet. Last night I pulled a lot of weeds and parsley, got a small bed organized and planted a small row of the early sprouting broccoli, you mentioned. Buried a bag of kitchen scraps. Pruned and fertilized two current plants. Planted the strawberries. I might clear another plot, tonight, so I can plant some cool weather root crops, next time the moon turns. Anyway. things will get done. Lew

  42. Chris:

    Thanks for the EV conversion article. That was fascinating. Especially interesting to read from an Australian perspective.

    I buy gas every 2 or 3 weeks. Two weeks ago I bought some, then when we were out today realized that it had jumped almost a dollar. Uh oh.


  43. Chris,

    Consider this a reply to both Chris and “Pirate Chris” 😉 I’m feeling too lazy to translate this into pirate.

    I also enjoyed how extremely low budget and low tech Dr. Who was in that era. I think a friend and I were able to recreate some of the sound effects with junk from my dad’s storage shed.

    Actually, yes, I have seen a few old Westerns in which there was a lot of rain, and sometimes problematic rain. IIRC, “My Darling Clementine” had a longish section in heavy rain. 1946 flick about the OK Corral, sorta, starring Henry Fonda.

    Yes, indeed, the fluffies can be extremely random. Hook a fluffy up to a piping hot cup of tea and you’ve got yourself an Infinite Improbability Drive on steroids. Our fluffie just dug a hole about halfway from Spokane to Fernglade Farm whilst she was supposedly eating her dinner.

    The peat is supposed to add a slight smoky flavor to the ale. I’ve had a bottled Scotch Ale microbrew that was very good, but was missing that slight smoky something that my attempts and Claymore have. The locally produced version on tap is good, but is missing that something also.

    And it is a fun industry. Back when I was brewing was also when I was downhill skiing. I made a logo and a business card, sold a batch of beer to a friend, then was able to obtain a corporate season pass at my favorite ski area. Because a friend worked at the ski hill and was also on the “corporate ownership”, I scored the season pass for like $10.00. The guys loading the chair lifts would see my “DJ’s Brewery” pass and ask if I would sell them some. I truthfully replied that I had only one customer. More than that would overload my brewing capacity.

    Just read today that the La Nina is expected to last maybe as late as August. That should provide an interesting summer for us. Dunno what it will do to the eastern US, but the last time we had a La Nina last all summer, the summer was cool and wet. Very wet. Time will tell.


  44. Hi Pam,

    No worries. It’s probably cheaper to convert an older vehicle with a simpler design, at least that is how I understand things.

    Ook! I dunno what to say, but inflation is now such that I have this odd notion that a heavy handed approach will be tested. Historically, this has never ended well and the powers that be have been very liberal with the printing presses for many years. It surprises me that people used to suggest that it all doesn’t matter. That is what might be politely described as a half truth – it doesn’t matter, until it matters.

    Moved another rock gabion today. What do you do, other than the things that you can do. Makes sense to me.



  45. Hi DJ,

    Mate, I cheated and used an English language to pirate language conversion program. 😉

    The thing is, what a narrator, director and actors lack in special effects budget, they can sometimes make up with story telling skills. And Tom Baker was a very quirky and endearing Doctor Who. Your dad’s storage shed sounds like an intriguing place chock full of mystery.

    A classic film recommendation. And rated as one of the best Westerns ever made.

    Naughty Avalanche, a diggin’ she was, and dug she did. An inexplicable hole was made. How much fun was that, she asks boss man DJ? Not that much came the reply. Avalanche sought shelter from the lady of the household. Consequences the hapless pooch discovered be real. Tomorrow the digging begins anew!

    I’ve heard that about the use of peat moss in brewing and distilling, and it is a favourite ingredient for the the Scotch folks. Not much peat around here… It’s amazing how much of that final product is a blend of art and science. It’s instructive to create your own product because you begin to attune yourself to the expected final tastes.

    Down Under there are plenty of legislative obstacles chucked in the way of producers, so yeah, at least the merest hint of your product produced public demand. 🙂 And cheap ski passes.

    Ordinarily a La Nina breaks down during the summer months down under, but this one is continuing to linger, but I read the other day that it seems to be dissipating. But that ain’t the only game in town climate wise. The flooding up north along the east coast of this continent has been pretty epic.



  46. Hello Chris
    Son says that fuel is being rationed at our local petrol station. Haven’t seen any mention of this in the news. The price continues to go up up and away on a daily basis.


  47. Hi Lewis,

    I respect the primroses as a plant because they seem to happily return every year, put on a good show, set some seed, and then disappear with no actual effort on my part. Can’t ask for better than that. I hear you about weeding. When I’m doing that activity, it’s a thinning exercise but I’m also thinking about what plants the chickens can eat. The large sapling fenced enclosure has all of the pumpkins and squashes growing in it, and every morning I get in there and grab a bucket full of plants for the chickens. The chickens scored some beef mince this morning with their more usual grain mix, and the birds are pretty excited by the feed. One of the cheeky chickens has begun trying to fly up and tip the food bucket out of my hands. Not an endearing trait, but chickens skip to their own beat.

    About the social thing, well one of my jobs was turning into a sort of socially isolated thing and I’d begun recently to feel like a bit of a work unit. I don’t mind working hard, but the problem with becoming a work unit is that you can be easily replaced by gawd knows who. There is much truth to the great resignation, and it is something that is taking place at the bottom end of the market. I may have just added to that problem, but a man can only be pushed so far. There has been an extraordinary attack on social connections in the past two years. I’m no fan of the goings on, the thing is though, you can’t have a relationship with a corporate entity, people yeah you can do that, but a faceless corporation is a bit weird. I’ve been thinking about this subject lately.

    Actually the person was a lady, and the boss of the group was a lady, and for some unknown reason neither brought the matter to a head – they simply endured a long tense back and forward which destroyed the group. It was so weird to see that playing out, and the disruptor had a background with the major left leaning political party. I would have taken a vote and put an end to the matter, but that’s me. Ooo! I’m reading the book: ‘Straight and Crooked Thinking’, and have already learned much. From memory it was Inge’s recommendation.

    We’ve run a bit short on leafy greens at the moment, although I can still rustle up a Chris’s crazy herb salad – guaranteed to clear your sinuses and pep you up! 🙂 But yeah, parsley is like your part of the world and the plant is super hardy – and plentiful. You’re lucky that the iffy weather arrives at the end of the growing season. We have the opposite problem (which you’ve probably heard me sooking my socks off about!) and the early growing season weather can be very problematic. Thus the need for the greenhouse expansion project.

    Work on that project continued today as we mostly moved another steel rock gabion cage, with all that that job entails. It’s looking good and one side of the earthworks at the new machinery shed is now completed, and the other is almost done. One more day of work and we’re ready to get the machine in to do some serious stuff.

    Couldn’t finish the work today because we picked up the modified machine from the farm machine repair dudes first thing this morning. They did a great job making the machine more usable than it was. The machine weighs over 200 pounds, and could only be moved by hand, but it’s now modified and we can tow the thing. Pulling that machine up hill by hand was a shocker.

    Ah, thank you for the explanation regarding the strawberry name. I reckon the plants will be fine too. Out of curiosity, and also utter inexperience, do you cut out the runners? The berry which has developed is an intriguing looking thing, and some strawberries have escaped from their enclosure. They do tend to run away.

    Digging up dead ol’ gran’ and crowning her Empress is a novel solution along the lines of cutting of the Gordian knot. I always enjoyed that story, and might have done something similar in an exasperated state, possibly whilst mumbling: I don’t have time for this sh&t! Hehe! Funnily enough I did something along those lines recently, and wow, do people get upset or what? Is this my problem? I don’t think so.

    The courtyard house sounds amazing. When I was a young bloke I dated a girl who’s dad owned a model train shop. She used to drag me along – as I’m guessing entertainment – when the family set up stalls at model train shows. That’s a whole different world that scene, but I tell you truly, you would have loved the miniatures. The detail people go to amazed me and I gained a bit of respect for their skills. The Japanese film you mentioned the other day had some stunning miniature sets. Truly mind bending quality.

    Hehe! A nice bottle of whiskey smoothes many an upset nerves. The lot I walked away from recently could get a hint about that… The property story is a bit sad, but historically local politics was full of that sort of goings on? And yup, I hear you about the homeless. Can you imagine what things are like right now up in the flood affected part of this country? The property market was already super tight and nabbing a rental was I heard like discovering hens teeth.

    Good stuff with the windscreen wipers. Winning! 😉 I’d say that’s an up, but then all must be in balance, sorry. And exactly, will mad cash get you from A to B, or keep the rain off your head? And for some horrid reason I always have the words of Chief Seattle at the back of my mind. I read of the oration many years ago and it struck a chord. Words are powerful tools in some peoples hands.

    Haha! The River is the last resort, I dunno I prefer Ebuy, but I grew up scouring the classifieds when seeking stuff.

    Go Grendel! And so the hero was smote, but may have gotten better! The Editor recently read Frankenstein and had not very nice things to say about the good doctor, he did seem like a bit of an indecisive blow-hard tool. But it is a classic story and ignited a genre.

    My understanding of Mr King’s Modus Operandi as derived from his book: ‘On Writing’, is that the good author may have been quoted once as saying: Before writing, read, after writing, continue reading more! 😉

    Did you get much rain? It was a superb sunny and cool day here today. The UV is dropping (it is a sine wave curve) and we’re between Very High and High now. You can feel that the sun has less sting. The grapes will not ripen this season. Oh, finished A Wayside Tavern this morning. What an enjoyable book and a great ending! 🙂

    I’ll be really curious to hear how the early broccoli works out in your garden. The plant produced straight through winter before turning toes up. There are a number of either self seeded kale and/or purple broccoli in the garden beds where they grew. Such plants make it look like we know what we are doing. Mate, things take the time they take.



  48. Hi Inge,

    Ook! I’ve been saying to people that rationing will become the norm, but everyone gives me these sorts of blank expressions which suggest that they’re thinking that I’m crazy and that: ‘that’ll never happen’. Sure it won’t.

    Thanks for letting me know. And the price is going up here too. I have this awful feeling that a very heavy handed approach utilising interest rate hikes is soon to occur. I guess we’ll soon discover who is swimming and who is under water in serious amounts of debt. It’s not easy to tell that possibility by merely observing a household or business.

    Oh, thanks very much for recommending Straight and Crooked Thinking as I’m rather enjoying the book and am also learning. It’s fascinating.



  49. Yo, Chris – I hadn’t paid much attention to the primroses. They just kind of quietly do their thing. But I noticed some of them are blue!

    My time in the garden, yesterday, was all slash and burn, scorched earth. Without an ignition point. I hacked back the rose that was overtaking the blueberry. It’s an enormous bush, of an old, wilder variety. I’m sure there will be complaints. 🙂 . But, I did the same last year, and you can’t even tell. I also did a lot of weeding and cutting down of this and that. Tough volunteers that I can’t grub out, but can only chop down. Another point of future contention (I’m sure) is that I did away with three plastic tubs. I think they belonged to the Garden Goddess. They were tucked in between the grapes and the rhodies. So, they’ve been sitting there as long as I’ve been here, growing nothing but weeds. So, I scrapped off the weeds, dumped the dirt, and into the dumpster they went. They were so UV damaged, they pretty much just splintered. One less eyesore. Besides, I want to plant an iris bed in that spot.

    There are people out there trying their best to destroy the social thing. I’ve talked about the horrible woman who oversaw this place (not the building manager … oh, excuse me. Her new title is Housing Director. Her boss). I mean it really was a concentrated effort to destroy any semblance of sociability. Perhaps because they’re afraid we’ll rise up and overthrow them? More just plain old, garden variety lust for power and control.

    Packs of small screaming children, will also clear the sinuses. I prefer salad, thanks.

    Sisyphus needs to visit your Farm Machine Dudes. Would probably be easier to tow that rock up his hill, than push it.

    Last year, the Master Gardeners showed me how to dig out the old, woody, non-producing mother plants. Which had sent out runners. With the tip of my trowel, I figured out where the root mass is. Then I plunge the trowel, around the root mass, cutting the runners. Lift out root mass. Dig up a few of the juvenile plants and put them where the root mass was. Yup. They run. I noticed they’ve run as far as the rhubarb at the other end of the bed. But I’m not going to mess with them. I figure the rhubarb will just shade them out.

    Ah, yes. Model trains. Bowling alone. Year before last I stopped by the model train show, just to see if they had any of the miniature Barclay figures. The show was 1/3 the size it used to be, and it was all old guys. They did have a lot of miniature building kits, but, they’re all plastic, which does not appeal, to me. There are several books out on how to build the sets … and make them look real. Dioramas.

    Property and affordable housing is so tight. And, I think, about to get tighter. I’ve mentioned we have a pretty good sized Ukrainian population, here. I’d guess we’re going to see an influx of refugees. But where to put them?

    Dr. Frankenstein made a mess and then couldn’t figure out how to clean it up. I’m sure somewhere along the way, he thought, “Seems like a good idea. What could possibly go wrong?” That’s another classic I should read.

    Well, it was supposed to be raining, by this morning. Nope. Blue skies and scattered white clouds. But, there seems to be darker clouds moving in, from the west. If it holds off til this afternoon, I’ll spend another couple of hours in the garden.

    Depending on how the broccoli does, I’ll plant some more in the fall. Per your suggestion. Lew

  50. Hi Lewis,

    Oh no! Your blue primroses are delightful, and at first I thought that they looked a bit like the flowers of forget me not, but with a far more vivid blue. Some of the flowers look almost ultraviolet. What grows here, which I’d previously described as a evening primrose is not that at all. A mystery plant… Whats iss its my preciousses? 🙂 I’ll go out and have a look right now. Couldn’t find it, but then it does tend to show up in spring, bloom, then die-back. It may have been a Hollyhock or a Snap Dragon, but I don’t really know. Has similar leaves to the primroses, but the yellow flowers grow on a tall spike. Hmm.

    Nothing wrong with a scorched earth theory to gardening – sometimes cutting back hard is what needs doing. It’s like a jungle out there! 😉 You know I hear those complaints too, but back when we had megafauna I’d be pretty certain that plants were pruned back way harder than anything that you or I could do – although I can wield a chainsaw with flair! Handy tools. The plants dealt with that megafauna business just fine, and pruning I’ve noted reinvigorates many plants. I’ve often suspected that once we humans ate all the megafauna, we discovered that we had to then do the job that they used to do for free – talk about a Devils bargain.

    Plastic ain’t just plastic. 🙂 A lot of plastic sold down here for garden use has been stabilised against the stronger UV we endure each summer (being closer to the sun and all at that time of year). It’s worth spending the extra bucks, but yeah the cheap stuff falls apart, quite literally as you wrote. I’ve had that trouble with hoses, and now only stump mad cash for the best and longest lasting. It’s not worth it otherwise – had one hose break apart after only a year in the sun and rain.

    Like your plans for Iris domination. I really like those plants and the flower under the worst conditions that nature can chuck at them.

    I hear you about that, but I do wonder why anyone would try that act? Are they bored or something? Power and control just doesn’t seem to flow from such acts, but I guess a person might revel in the spotlight for but a moment or two and wield the power and control right before everything then falls apart. It could be closer to the sort of motivations which drive arsonists? What do you reckon about that? A person might do that social response because they seek the excitement of the moment? Dunno, it really is something of a mystery to me. Another thought pops into my head about this stuff: Maybe they just want to feel something? There are people who feel flat all the time and seek that sort of energy.

    Yes, salad is good. 😉 Hehe! People do get so upset at the claim: Who owns this errant child? Back in the corporate Chris days one business used to fly me back and forth to the Sydney office once a month (and that was too much for me). One early morning flight, colloquially known as the ‘red eye special’, a mum had a child sitting on her lap in the seat next to me. Yeah, two people, one seat – who knew that was possible? The kid was maybe the around the age of eight. Fair enough, the kid could not sit still, but after about the sixth or seventh time of climbing past me, I turned to the mum and said: That’s enough of that. Tensions were high from that point onwards and I may even have received the truly awful: ‘death glare number six’. Glare five is bad, but I tell ya, six is worse. 😉

    Sisyphus got a bad deal. In a more even handed world, Sisyphus would have heard the line from the gawds: Mate, you’re good. Then he would have gotten a promotion. But alas, things did not work out that way, thus proving that mediocrity often succeeds where wit fails. I now rest my case and retire from the logic field in full glory!

    Thank you for the detailed notes on strawberry plant succession. That sort of information is very useful. That’s my thinking too with the rhubarb in that it will out compete any strawberry plants. They humongous root systems.

    Over the past year or so, we’ve been favouring the production of leeks over onions. The plants self seed like grass (but easier to remove from the soil), and every morning I head out and thin the leek patches and feed the excess plants to the chickens. The pumpkin and squash bed also produces a year around supply of greens for the chickens, and leeks for us. Seems to work well.

    Mate, way back then the model train shows were full of old blokes and families with young kids. Actually, it wasn’t a cheap hobby by any means. But I’d not considered that some of the hobbyists produced their own miniature buildings. Back then, they probably did that for sure, so the book makes sense. I always wondered how they got the sets out of the building without destroying them – they seemed rather heavy and the seams were hard to spot. The hand construction would have been a bit like the false town set used in the film Blazing Saddles, but perhaps smaller.

    Began doing the spring clean of the house today. Yeah, I hear ya that it’s autumn here, but you know, better late than never. Mate, I’ve been busy of late, but things are finally slowing down a tad.

    Do you reckon about the refugees? Maybe, maybe not. Deep down I tend to use the lens of ecology when considering such matters, but who wants to hear about limits? I tend to agree with the ex Australian Foreign Minister who observed recently that if they want the war to stop, give up on the NUTO plans. Like you, I too believe that housing will become even more of an issue in the immediate future.

    So many classics to read, so little time. The Editor was not a fan of Doctor Frankenstein. This is third hand, and I could be incorrect, but the fictional doctor seemed unencumbered by employment almost as if he were of some sort of nineteenth century leisure class. But yeah, what could possibly go wrong indeed?

    Blue skies with scattered clouds here too. A very pleasant and warm-ish day.

    Cheers and better get writing…


  51. Yo, Chris – Stop the madness! Daylight Savings Time started, last night.

    Mullein? The toilet paper of the woods? Stunner of fish? It’s tall with yellow flowers. In noticed a few popping up, the other day.

    These were re-purposed plastic storage bins. Probably shouldn’t have been exposed to any more UV than you’d find in a dark closet.

    No gardening yesterday. About 3PM, it got dark and started spitting down rain. But, it’s been an on and off thing. The main event, the atmospheric river, starts tomorrow.

    I think they feel powerless, so making other people feel powerless makes them feel powerful. See? 🙂 But, right. Probably gives them an adrenaline rush. One can only hope they OD on the stuff. Couldn’t they just take up sky diving, or something?

    Well, the good doctor was referred to as Baron Victor Frankenstein. But that may have just been the movies. Let’s see. University education, fancy digs all tricked out with the latest scientific equipment and, at least one servant. Igor. So, yeah, I’d say he was a member of the leisure class. 🙂

    I finished “UnRoman Britain,” last night. The authors made some interesting points. Britain may have held onto it’s tribal identity, longer, as they were conquered later than a lot of other areas of the Empire. So, other than the towns, military zones and villas, Romanization didn’t run very deep. Another interesting thing I’ve never thought about. After the Romans left, no one started minting coins, again. A few of the pre-Roman tribes, did. Even the usurpers who only lasted a few months, minted coins. So, after the Romans, there was no central authority. Hmmm. You’d think King Arthur would have minted some coin? Any-who. The book was a pretty good read, though some of the sections on different styles of belt buckles was eye glazing. 🙂 Lew

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