Recently I’ve been thinking about my old mate Mike who died a while ago. Apparently the health authorities cancelled his appointments because the officialdom were oh so worried that he’d get the health subject which dare not be named, and die. That fear didn’t work out so well for my old mate. He was a fun guy and a good friend. At the time he died I wrote about who he was and shared some charming anecdotes. What I didn’t emphasise in the story was that one day a few years earlier our friendship abruptly ended.
People are something of a mystery to me, but I observe actions, listen to words, and can only do my best to predict the outcomes. Mike’s new girlfriend hated my guts. That was easy enough to work out. I couldn’t and wouldn’t compete with that, and so our friendship really did end abruptly one day after decades. It was a real kick in the guts.
Things can indeed change abruptly. A dark hunch tells me that some people lust for abrupt change in the hope that they won’t have to go to work on a Monday morning. I’ve got bad news for such folks. Change can be abrupt, but you’re still probably going to have to go to work on a Monday morning.
Speaking of work and abrupt changes, only two years ago people could go about their daily work without having to wear masks. In these enlightened times and as a member of the public, I can enter a cafe or restaurant without wearing a mask and order some food or a nourishing coffee. Caffeine is good, Ugg! But the staff have to wear masks all day long regardless of temperature or humidity. And I am super uncomfortable about this situation because it introduces a social divide. It stinks of politics hiding under the covers of science. If I may offer a bit of advice to scientists: If you tolerate this, then you’ll be next.
For me the social side of things count, and despite being something of an introvert, I enjoy speaking and interacting with other people. Way back in the recession that ‘we had to have’ in the early 1990’s I worked four years in the job of debt collection. It’s an unglamorous trade, but you get to speak to people all day long which is hardly a difficulty for someone as chatty as I. Plus it puts food on the table and keeps a roof over your head. The thing is though, debt collection teaches you the skill of communicating with people whom would otherwise be very reluctant to open a difficult conversation. Recently, I’ve been using those skills and conversing with people who have to serve the public and wear a mask all day long. If I was to advise the left leaning politicians in this state as to the mood of the population, I’d tell them to give the people working in those jobs a break.
One night a few weeks ago, Sandra and I were heading to the local pub, where the young staff by law have to wear a mask. As a side note, the customers and staff, by and large looked pretty healthy to me. After a pint of the finest local cider combined with a good pub feed, the sensibilities were loosened. Sandra suggested that we visit a distant town which has some familial ties. Rather ungentlemanly I responded: “Well, how the fuck can I do that?” And then I was utterly mortified at the overly emotional response. Was I turning into an angry old fella? Why was I even suddenly angry? Hasty and heartfelt apologies were followed by many hours and days of quiet consideration.
After the careful consideration, Sandra and I discussed the core problem and options, and decided to cut the Gordian Knot. For those who don’t know what a Gordian Knot is, the story goes that some smarty pants oracle laid a challenge to untie a very complicated knot and thus win a Kingdom. Way back in time, Alexander the Great was confronted by this knot and unsuccessfully attempted to untie it. Possibly he thought to himself: Stuff it, this is too hard. Then he slashed down with his sword, cut the knot, and thus won the Kingdom. We on the other hand did nothing so great, we sacked a client and have now withdrawn our services.
Working in small business means that I have no benefits such as sick pay or even annual leave. If there’s a public holiday and I don’t work that day, I don’t get paid. Having previously been in the corporate world, I did actively choose this life, but I haven’t had a week off with no accounting work for many years. And I’m tired and in need of a break. And meeting the requirements of one of my clients in particular meant that I had to keep working week in and week out and have done so for many years. I can’t do that any more, so I sacked them.
I can only guess that like my old friendship with Mike, the abrupt change in the status of our relationship came as something of a surprise to them. Unlike my old friendship with Mike, there was a power imbalance with that client, and they can dictate terms. Even when the terms were harmful. You can’t maintain a relationship that has that sort of power imbalance. It’s bonkers.
Most of my business dealings are with people, small businesses and family businesses. We have chats about their kids, or their pets, or the sort of challenges they are facing and the successes they’re enjoying. Those relationships are with people, even when those businesses are large and complicated. The business which we sacked was much larger again than those relationships. So, I’m beginning to come around to the idea that a person cannot have a normal social relationship with a large corporate business. And if normal social relationships can’t take place or be enforced, then there’ll be strange outcomes. Just ask my old mate Mike how that turned out for him.
The weather was cool and sunny this week, so we did two days of work moving steel rock gabion cages for the new greenhouse project. It takes a days work to relocate an eight foot steel rock gabion cage.
The cages have to be emptied, then relocated. Then they have to be filled up again and sewn shut with steel wire. But the gabions are very strong and will last a long time.
One side of the new shed now has its soil retaining wall completed. Excavating the soil so as to produce flat land can now take place, except that a retaining wall is also being installed on the other side of the shed.
All that remains for this job, is to fill the final steel gabion cage with rocks, then sew it shut. Can’t wait to get the digger machine back here again and play around with it.
Over the years it has been remarked upon that this farm is very neat and tidy. The area where we are removing the steel rock gabion cages from, is far from neat and tidy. There are plans to eventually convert this area to garden beds. And after that, you’ll never even know what lies beneath!
The existing greenhouse was originally constructed as an experiment. The building has performed very well and that is why we are constructing a much larger greenhouse with permanent raised garden beds. We’ve been able to grow a few useful plants which are outside our climate zone, not to mention all of this years seedlings.
On Friday after making the fateful sacking decision, we took the day off and visited a nearby waterfalls which we’d never visited before. Let’s just say that it’s not well sign posted and doesn’t appear to be set up for hordes of visitors.
The falls are on a river which runs through a small canyon. The canyon was created by volcanic activity a couple of million years ago. It’s not well recalled, but the area of the continent I reside, is full of volcanoes. Looking out the window I can spot several volcanoes. Heck, I live on the edge of one of largest ones. Hopefully, they’re all extinct. There are always suggestions from people in the know that perhaps this is not the case.
We scrambled down the cliff face via a well defined path and was able to check out the falls at water level.
It’s sort of dry granite country around that part, so the soils have fertility and lots of minerals, but the rain, well, it comes and goes. However looking back down the small canyon, the plant community looked like a dense rainforest.
Autumn produce update:
The cool and damp summer has proven to be very challenging. The grape vines have produced plenty of bunches of delicious looking grapes. Unfortunately, they’re mostly unripe and quite sour tasting.
Sandra and I have been so busy this season that we neglected to fence the tomato vines. And yet again the tomatoes are also green and unripe, which is part of the reason we hadn’t worried about them. The plants must be related to Triffids because they grow really fast.
Usually we fence the vines, but there must be a better way to grow the plants than let them sprawl and/or using fencing. A problem for another day, but if anyone has any suggestions I’d appreciate them.
A person would never go hungry with enough Globe Artichoke plants. And the chokes taste really good. The old plants have died off, and already the new ones are producing.
Blackberries continue to produce heaps of berries for breakfast, and it looks like there is now an occasional autumn raspberry to consume.
I’ve taken better care of the citrus trees this season and some of the trees are now flowering. They’re such a great tree because they produce fresh fruit in the depths of winter when no other fruit tree is producing.
Onto the flowers:
The temperature outside now at about 10.00am is 18’C (64’F). So far this year there has been 201.0mm (7.9 inches) which is up from last weeks total of 186.6mm (7.3 inches)