Is it worth feeling sad about?

Thursday found me standing on the back of a Vermeer S800TX machine digging out a flat site for our new greenhouse. What a long and convoluted journey it’s been getting to Thursday.

It could have been an album cover from the early 90’s

Youth favours great hair, and the household had plenty of big hair. All very rock and roll. Looking back at the younger version of myself, pensive is the word that springs to mind. However, the expressions on the faces of my friends suggest a carefree attitude, and maybe they were.

Who knew how things would turn out. And would we have changed anything had we known? I doubt it. We all lived in a large house in a very well to do area. It was a fun house, and who can forget the owner of the house (who lived next door) asking the hard question: Are you guys going to be quiet? Yeah, sure…

Time moved on. The household broke up. People come and go in your life. I kept in contact with the people in the above photo for a while, some more than others.

The twenties and early thirties are a very social time. My friends were part of a much larger social group, and events were as big as the hair. Hair ages, and events get smaller. Responsibilities increase. Children came into being, and economics spread the group to the far corners of the city, some even interstate and overseas.

Geographical distance is no problem to those who play online computer games, and the group chose that path. Space Invaders, Donkey Kong and the lost hours spent at Amusement Arcades as a young teenager, suggested to me that back then I was avoiding life. To join my friends at their online games might require the same effort of will it once took to escape the earlier fate. Wisdom is hard won.

Patience has limits. Three years was enough for me. They were still playing. And my life now included a hole – my friends were elsewhere, doing other things.

Hobbies and purpose helped. A supportive wife was better. We headed bush, on an adventure. Boon companions became new friends. And here we are today. Life is good.

A very old friend visited last weekend. What he’d lost to cares and pain over time, he’d gained in wisdom. We spoke for hours, when in reality we hadn’t spoken for years. Some news was good. Some was bad. And some was awful. One of the children (now an adult) born into the extended group of friends had taken their life.

Memory is a funny thing. Sandra and I visited the hospital after the birth of that child. Hospitals are sad places. We were so nervous that day, we ate most of the chocolates we’d brought. Memories like that have haunted me for days now. And questions.

The hole the old friends left in my life was filled with new friends and interests. There was an invite from the old friends to attend a barbeque. A polite decline was given. It’s notable that one of the people in the above photo is also dead. That was the previous contact from the old friends group. It’s a lot of pain. And it’s also a reminder to enjoy the spectacle of sunsets.

So, on Thursday, I hung onto the back of a Vermeer S800TX machine for most of the day. Sandra and I were using the machine to excavate and move soil so as to create a flat spot for the new greenhouse project.

Early on in the day

It’s a ripper machine, and was super-fun to use. I won’t mention that I had suggested to the equipment hire business that I’d used the machine before and so didn’t require a refresher on the controls. Except that I had forgotten how to tilt the bucket and much to their mirth, I had to call them for assistance. Ah, hubris, you’ve done it again!

Once the controls were mastered, the excavation works began in earnest.


We dug more soil than what was required to level out the flat spot, and so we used the excess soil to fill in and smooth out various holes and depressions in the paddock. Observant readers will note a brown area in the paddock on the left hand side of the above photo.

Late in the day, the job was done. The level was achieved by eye and feel, not even a string line was pressed into service.

I dream of flat land!

We completed the excavation job, and had the machine for another free hour. Did I mention what a great machine it is? That last hour was spent whizzing around the property rolling large rocks out of the paddock and down the hill, like a game of giant billiards! I also managed to clean up a bit of the left over logging detritus.

The forest here has been logged from about 1860 to 1960. And those guys left a lot of mess.

Nothing natural can produce a half buried tree stump on its side

It is hard to explain some of the mess the loggers left behind them. And somehow either the loggers, or the 1983 bushfire, managed to burn the left over tree stumps which has the effect of preserving them. I’m guessing that the half buried cut tree stump in the above photo has been there for probably sixty years. And because it has been preserved, nothing lives in it or consumes it.

Here’s another two tree stumps left by the loggers.

The mound of clay on the right hand side of the photo is actually an upside down cut tree stump

The machine could easily move these tree stumps around, clean the clay off them and leave them ready to eventually be burnt off. One of the tree stumps was quite large, and I’m guessing the tree was over hundred years, but probably less than two hundred years old. It must have been a very big tree.

The plan is to burn this logging detritus off and then clean up

A few days ago it was quite windy, and a bifurcated (i.e. a tree with two main trunks) split and fell and took out a few smaller trees. Most definitely a person would not have survived an encounter with that fallen tree. Fortunately there was nobody around at the time when it fell.

A bifurcated tree split in the windy conditions the other day

Back to the excavation site job. Another day was spent placing a surface of crushed rock with lime over the soil surface. This will firm up over time and also provide a nice all-weather surface with which to walk upon.

A layer of crushed rock with lime was placed over the soil surface. Neat!

Leaf change is now here, as are the countless tourists.

Leaf change is now here

Autumn produce update:

The grapes have ripened, but are looking a bit worse for wear due to bouts of cold wet weather
The formerly sick Meyer lemon has bounced back

Onto the flowers:

A creeping Rose ambles through one of the garden beds
Geraniums always delight
This Aster was very healthy when we purchased it, then became very ill once planted. It has responded well to a bit of care

The temperature outside now at about 10.00am is 14’C (57’F). So far this year there has been 263.4mm (10.4 inches) which is up from last weeks total of 235.8mm (9.3 inches)

48 thoughts on “Is it worth feeling sad about?”

  1. Yo, Chris – “People come and go so quickly, here.” (Dorothy: “Wizard of Oz.”) I sometimes think of people, I haven’t seen in years. Some I can’t even remember the names of, but I do remember situations. I wonder why I didn’t put myself out more, to cultivate a relationship. I’m sure I haven’t crossed their minds, in decades. Oh, well. Water under the bridge. There’s a new cast of characters, now, some I’ve known for decades.

    Suicide is a tough one, for me. I mean, intellectually I know that sometimes life becomes so painful and hopeless for some people, that they just can’t see a way to go on. On the other hand, emotionally, it makes me angry. There’s an actor who checked out, and I still can’t bring myself to watch any of his movies.

    A Vermeer? One wonders what the connection is between a 17th century Dutch painter and an earth moving machine. There must be a story there. So, pushing buttons until it does what you want it to, didn’t work? 🙂

    Making a mess is pretty much SOP (Standard Operating Procedure) for logging operations. But a more interesting take might be, “Someone was here before me and did something.” You think no one’s been here before, and then you’re proved wrong. Working out intent is always a mystery. Stone rings, anyone? 🙂

    Trees crashing down would make one twitchy. On the other hand, firewood!

    Racing the rain to get the crushed rock in, was a scramble. But I suppose that same rain will help cement everything into place. A nice firm foundation.

    Those grapes do look sad. Oh, well, there’s next year. Six of one, half a dozen of the other. Contemplate The Miracle of the Lemon. The rambling rose is quit pretty. We have one here, that I was contemplating, today. I think I need to whack off a few limbs, that are crowding another plant. The aster is really nice. I’m glad you were able to nurse it back to health.

    I worked in the garden, tonight. I got the iris bed prepared. Wonder what the Master Gardeners will think of that. Didn’t ask, just did. I also got a bit of the horseradish transplanted, into a tub. Buried a sack of kitchen scraps.

    Slightly charred popcorn (with melted swiss cheese) and Nazi zombies, await! Lew

  2. Hi Lewis,

    Man I don’t know about that either, and it is something of an enduring mystery. We’ve spoken about the concept of Sliding Doors before, and it’s kind of true. But you do what you do at the time, and that’s what you do. When I had that large group of friends there were a number of people who sought friendship, and I foolishly turned them away thinking that what was with the large group at that time would be resilient. Turned out I was wrong, and ain’t that life huh? 🙂 Overall, I try not to worry about such stuff, otherwise I would have put more energy into the situation than I actually had. Dunno, what is your take on all of that? Nowadays I tend to keep all of my friends separated on the off chance that a larger group implodes. This sometimes creates problems in itself. Far out, this stuff ain’t easy.

    Good stuff with the sorting out a new crew, some of whom you’ve known for decades. 🙂 I’ve got a three month rule with chance new people I meet. Very few people can hide their true personalities for more than three months, and sooner or later the uglier sides get put on display, and we’ve all got less appealing sides to our personalities, but it is whether those are – and I’m uncertain whether the correct word is compatible or tolerable, or a mixture of the two, dunno. It’s complicated.

    Ook! Yes, checking out is tough on the people who remain behind and have to pick up the pieces. The skinny dude with the going out hoodie and wicked sharp curved blade comes for all of us, so why bring him in on the action any earlier? I hear you about that. I declined the invite because I didn’t want to encounter any of the people involved as I might have said something that I later regretted, and it is not like it would change anything. It would only bring pain, there was no upside for anyone. Mate, they had their own race to run and had to learn the hard way. It was no business of mine, but from a distance you see the story playing out, all the markers, and even if you took them all aside and told them to pull their heads in and get their poop together, it would still make no difference – except they’d hate you for upsetting the wagon, which I note they were all comfortable with, if only because it continued on its merry way to the ultimate conclusion. Is it any different to suggesting to everyone that maybe the 99mbpd of oil today might be better used to invest in the future?

    Oh, that Vermeer! Oh my, what a talent. The name cannot possibly have been a coincidence – maybe. What an interesting life the painter lead, and it is of note to me that the English were involved in in the war prior to his demise. For what they sow, they reap. And the English have earned their own burden too, although history suggests they got pounded for many centuries before hand. That national weighing up is a complicated business.

    Some folks before me is definitely a story which is on my mind. Humans have walked this land for tens of millennia. Early on I believed that it was not so, I was wrong. If you know what you’re looking at, it is there to see. I’m surprised that the wilderness story still gets churned out, but people love that story. Mate, I only get glimpses into intent, and even those come through a fog, but when they hit, they hit hard, and it usually doesn’t reflect well on the people involved.

    No shortage of firewood here. Far out the trees grow fast. Some years like this one, they grow more than 3 foot, and there are tens of thousands of them. Not enough to feed the demands of a city – that’s been put to the test, but certainly more than enough to keep me warm.

    So far there has been an inch and half of rain today. Probably a bit too much rain, but mustn’t grumble and all that because things could be worse. The excavated site is a little bit squooshy, and hopefully the rain combined with a bit of sun sorts that out – maybe.

    The plan is to remove the strawberries from the grape enclosure. Mixing up plants is what nature does, but it makes things all that bit harder in terms of output and management. A section of the new greenhouse will be turned over to wider spaced and less crowded strawberries. But then I’m also salivating at the thought of paw paws and tea camellias, which are both outside this climate range. Addressing crowding is part of management – and the same is true of forests (an unpalatable concept for most people). I note that this issue was at least referenced in Margaret Atwood’s essay on forests. What a fascinating life the author has lived. I’m enjoying her world view.

    Nice work in the garden. You do know that horseradish is distantly related to Triffids? I applaud your use of a pot for the cheeky scamp of a plant.

    I watched the trailer of the Nazi Zombie film, and it sure looked awesome. Almost tempted to watch it myself. And yes, the production quality was very good. How did I miss this film?

    A happy bunny day to you too. Did you partake of a naughty third chunk of chocolate? I may have done so, along with a cinnamon scroll. So good. It was like a doughnut baked concoction with glazing, cinnamon sugar and somehow they’d worked in custard powder to the centre. So good, and so very wrong, but somehow also so very right.

    Climate is variable, although past records are a good guide. Good luck with the last frost situation.

    Yeah, prevailing winds from that direction would be a bit weird. We sometimes get the dreaded east coast lows which originate in the Coral Sea and work their way westwards down the east coast – except they travel from the east to the west against the prevailing winds. Bring a lot of rain they do. Usually the winds here originate from the Indian Ocean to the north west of the continent (i.e. today’s rain of an inch and half), or from the drier west, or the dreaded cold south west off Antarctica and the Southern Ocean. A notable climate event hit mid last year when the winds arrived from the south east – and very few trees were braced for that impact. After an already wet year, think Star Trek shields at 10% with the Enterprise taking some serious hits – and vast swaths of forests got bowled over. Isn’t it amazing that trees brace themselves against the prevailing winds?

    A good idea about avoiding the sport. As a young bloke I knew a lot of older runners who kept on running after their knees gave them troubles, and the story never ended well. Of interest to me recently was that the world and Australian women’s number one player bowed out of the sport at her peak. A very wise lady to have done so.

    Hehe! Well done you for outraging the youngsters. I recall the days when doctors told patients to go and have a ciggie in the waiting room and I’m guessing it was an instruction to go chill-out. Ah, how things have changed. People used to smoke in offices and inside buildings when I first worked.

    Seeds in elk guts! That’s amazing, but strangely I can see that working. Yeah.

    Thank you for describing your memories of your road trips, and it is funny you mention that about stopping off to look at anything interesting. Neither the Editor or I are of that not-stopping-off persuasion, but we too have noticed that people focus on goals to the exclusion of the journey. Makes no sense to me. I was thinking about writing about that story, but it’s a bit of a bummer. You may have noticed the final sentence this week in regard to sunsets?

    It was kind of clever to trap the kids in a theatre whilst the parents gambled away their savings. I dunno about you, but sitting in a car for hours on end is not my bag dude, and would probably leave me feeling much the same – ill. And of course if you’re not stopping much, then dehydration of the brain can become a problem, and heck, you know what I’m talking about. It’s the same thing man.

    And I had no idea that easy divorces, easy weddings (I’m guessing) and fast women were a thing there. I guess the state had to do something to bring in the punters! 😉 The film ‘The Women’ wasn’t far off ‘The Hangover’ in terms of complexity and drama. I guess people haven’t changed all that much over the years.

    Surely the book fell off the back of a truck? That’s people used to say. 🙂

    Another word for that is: experience! Hey, but there have been such utopian places here too, they seem to consistently fail. Has the author grappled with the implications of that story?

    Had a very quiet day today, after all it rained for most of it. Plugged up another hole in the chicken enclosure. Hadn’t mentioned it but this was the third modification over the past seven days. The rats are so clever.



  3. Hello Chris
    My goodness ‘historical Isle of Wight’. There is masses, it has had one heck of a history and I won’t even attempt it. Look on the internet.

    There are only 2 people left in the world who knew me before I was 20, my sister and one friend. Live long enough and one encounters most things. In my case, 4 suicides and 1 murder; plus love, friendship and betrayal. I do think that many people bleat about the most minor things today.

    Glorious weather and things are growing, hurrah.


  4. @Inge

    Happy belated birthday! I always enjoy your comments. Our library is doing a fund raiser and the program is a woman performing in character and dress, Queen Victoria. I have to admit I didn’t have a great deal of knowledge about her so picked up a biography at the library. Of course I found out about her residence on the Isle of Wight.


  5. Hi Chris,
    A fine motley crew to be sure. I’ll bet you guys had a great time. It’s not a bad idea to spend some time like that when young before settling down – something I never did.

    Yep, friends come in and out during our lives. I think in particular of one very good friend, a teacher at the Jr. high I taught at. Our kids were the same age and of course we worked together for years so were very close. Started drifting apart when I quit for a few years after my brothers moved in. After retirement she and her husband moved to The Villages in Florida – the last place I would ever move. In truth other than our kids and work we didn’t have all that many interests in common so it isn’t surprising that we only email occasionally now. At our monthly retirement breakfast others often ask about her and are surprised that we hardly keep in touch anymore. Doug’s best friend and best man at our wedding has also dropped from sight though they did keep in touch for a pretty long time. Interestingly though a good friend of his from college who went back to live in Pakistan is in regular contact. They talk for at least an hour every few months. We joke that Doug is probably on some list getting all these calls from Pakistan.

    Snow yet again this morning but supposed to be in the 70’s F on Saturday.


    That is going to be one big greenhouse.

  6. Yo, Chris – People are an enduring mystery 🙂 . People move, for usually good reasons. But I always feel a slight sense of betrayal. Which I tamp down. There’s a lot of turn over, at the Club. People show up, you get to know them a bit, then they disappear. Some “go out” again, some were just passing through. But, there’s a core of old stalwarts. The Club is having it’s 44th (I think) anniversary, in May. Going to be quit the blow out. I’ll probably avoid most of it. Crowds … hoards of screaming children. I might catch the tail end of the feed.

    Sliding doors, indeed. I’m often amazed by people I know, who have been around a long time, who I discover don’t know each other.

    Vermeer was quit the artist. A moment caught. A sense of stillness. The way he handled light. There’s a very good fictional movie called “The Girl with the Pearl Earrings.” (Also, a very good book). And there’s a documentary, called “Tim’s Vermeer.” About a fellow who sets out to recreate a Vermeer, down to it’s smallest detail. Well, I suppose a guy’s got to have a hobby. 🙂 . I may have to re-watch that.
    I think there are a few other movies with Vermeer as it’s subject.

    The Tree Dudes probably heard that tree fall. Expect a visit. 🙂

    It was a pretty nice day, yesterday. I buried a sack of kitchen scraps and got my outlaw iris bed, pretty much ready. I also popped a good sized start of horseradish, in it’s tub. I might pop another start in the corner of my undisturbed garden plot, just as back up. Today is a different matter. It’s bucketing down, and we’re supposed to get more of the same, tomorrow.

    I don’t know how I missed “Overlord,” either. I see it’s 2018. I must have picked it up off the DVD shelving cart. I watched it, last night. High adventure, from beginning to end. Many cool explosions. 🙂 . Well worth a bowl of popcorn. I caught in the extras, that one of the leads is Wyatt Russell. Kurt and Goldie’s son 🙂 . I think he’ll be someone to watch. Seems he was a fairly well known ice hockey player, but injuries made him hang up his skates. I guess acting was his plan “B.” 🙂 As with the runner you mentioned, always good to go out on a high point.

    I didn’t do anything special in the culinary department for Easter. Unless you count popcorn with melted cheese. I see there’s a recipe for cinnamon scrolls in one of the Australian cook books. And, it’s pretty much like our cinnamon buns, which you can find everywhere, here. It’s kind of a national dish.

    I remember when people smoked, everywhere. Theaters, classrooms. Hey!, they were doctor recommended …

    Oh, yes. You can get a quick wedding in Las Vegas. It has many wedding chapels. Some are drive through, so you don’t even have to get out of your car. Or you can be hitched by an Elvis impersonator.

    “The Women” was re-made in 2008. Not near as good as the original.

    The author of the Utopia book pretty much has the arc of the rise and fall of communal ventures, figured out. But there are many possibilities. It would make an interesting flow chart. Here’s a bit of a sample …

    It’s 1681 or 1763, or1830. So-and-so Jansson or Van Wort of somewhere or other, Sweden or Germany or England, decides he Lutherans, or the Anglicans, were sent by the devil. There should be no mediation between man and God, no tyrant king bequeathing spiritual access. So he promptly breaks away to create the Community of True Inspiration or God’s Real People or We are the Realest Ones, etc. He and his small band of followers, who by then have adopted some kind of dress or mode of worship to distinguish themselves, promptly have a mass burning of Lutheran (or Anglican) hymnals and literature. Simple enough.” Etc. Etc.

    Maybe your rats are seeking the Utopia of the Chicken Coop? 🙂 Lew

  7. Chris,

    As long as Avalanche catches the occasional mouse, keeps the stray cats out of the yard and amuses herself chasing squirrels, then she is more than earning her keep. I thought she had gotten another mouse on Easter Sunday, but it was only a large black beetle that she really didn’t know what to do with. Twas right when I was feeding her dinner, and dinner is something that she DOES know what to do with. The beetle escaped.

    Both the Princess and I drive all-wheel drive cars. We don’t carry chains. I figure if chains are needed on those, it’s time to stay home! We do have good tyres, however: all-season radials with some siping for extra traction. Many people use special snow tyres in the winter, with tread similar to our tyres and with little metal studs in the rubber, hence “studded snow tyres”. They do ok on ice, but so do our tyres, and the studded ones can slip on dry pavement. Plus, they chew up and damage the road. Occasionally a stud will come loose and put a nice hole in a windshield. There are now several varieties of all-season and winter tyres that do better than the studded ones.

    Yup, the birds have known me for a long time. Most let me get rather close to them. They’ve learned quickly about Avalanche and know where they’re safely out of her reach.

    That was a nice picture of you and your mates. “Shallow Water” is right up there with “Loose Gravel” as a proper band name.

    This must have been the week for old mates to come to mind. It can be a bittersweet experience. There’s usually a reason why people didn’t keep in touch over the years. Unlike you, I chose not to participate when approached by an old mate recently – I remembered why we’d gone our separate directions and really didn’t want to have to deal with too many memories.

    Glad you got to play on the fun machine. That new area is looking good. Hope the greenhouse works at that location.

    We’ve got a bifurcated decorative spruce tree in our yard. It looks pretty cool with two tops. But, bifurcated is one of those words akin to mastication – perfectly acceptable words but they just sound almost obscene. I can just imagine my dad’s response if I had told him “Johnny’s tree is bifurcated.” Probably wash my mouth out with soap and then see about getting Johnny in trouble for damaging a tree.

    We’ve got some flowers blooming! There are a few violets in the grass, a few dandelions, and the tulips are now adding their red to the occasion.


  8. @ all
    Thanks for birthday greetings.


    @ Margaret
    I live along the same coast east of Osborne House. We used to row to the beach there and wander around. That would certainly not be permitted now.


  9. Hi Inge,

    It’s a respectable innings and there’s a long ways to go before the tonne is reached. Hope you had a lovely birthday.

    It’s rained here continuously for two days which is an impressive feat. People tend to think of Australia as deserts, and even more arid land, but no. And you’ve seen the east coast, so you know. But, it wouldn’t take much to convert this part of the continent into rainforest, as it once was. The trees are still there too, all biding their time until conditions are just right.



  10. Hi Damo,

    Sad to say, but you’re probably right and I appreciate your perspective on the matter. It would be like me phoning you up and taking a massive emotional dump.

    Fortunately that’s not my style. Hey, went to Bunnings this afternoon on the way home from the big smoke and picked up a large box of stainless steel, type 17, 75mm wood screws for the new greenhouse. It never ceases to amaze me the things that you can just go out and buy. Crazy quality. As a salty sea dog, you’d no doubt appreciate the benefits of stainless steel in damp conditions?



  11. Hi Margaret,

    Yeah, we were a lot of trouble, and unfortunately we weren’t quiet. It is hard to feel sorry for the landlord, but there are times we must make special exceptions. Didn’t get any of the rental bond back either (that was not my doing). It’s a long story…

    Margaret, here I have to agree with your general thesis relating to this matter. Mind you, there is a mid point to be found between your experience, and leaving it too long. I’ve long observed that mental health outcomes are better when people have children at a younger age, although I’m unsure why that would be, and have no experience in the area, just general observations. And candidly, my life would look very different now had I married my first girlfriend, and I have doubts that the relationship would have lasted.

    Ooo, I hear you about the teacher friend. Tell you a funny story about such things, my first adult job was very social. Interestingly, I was living with that lot in the photo at the time, and studying part time at Uni at night. Tired, yeah, tired. Anyway, when the recession hit everyone at the workplace was made redundant, and the group split up – and I lost a large chunk of my social life. It was pretty brutal, but yeah work mates. Dunno about that, as my experience kind of matched what you wrote. Hmm, there is something in there isn’t there?

    Hehe! That’s funny about the list. Good luck! 🙂 But on a serious note, my experience has been that you can have long distance relationships, they just have to be with people who can write, or phone. I wouldn’t know how else to do that otherwise. What do you reckon about that? And I don’t travel much these days, which is an added complication.

    Seriously, I’d swap your snow for the two days of continuous rain. Far out, it is wet outside, and 70’F sounds really nice. Hope the garden springs into life.

    PS: Yup! That’s the plan. 22ft x 14ft. Hopefully that is big enough. I’m going to try some paw paws, which are from outside this climate zone and have zero chance otherwise of surviving the winters here. My mates of the big shed fame have a full sized avocado tree which has fruit hanging off it. The 22ft ceiling required for that is beyond my budget – not to mention skills required to make.



  12. Hi DJ,

    Avalanche is clearly reading along and taking notes from Dame Plum. A young dog could do far worse than that. Please convey cordial tail wags to Avalanche and maybe offer the advice that it is beneath her dignity to piffle with beetles, although that beetle may have been an operative for the insect resistance. You never know, and Avalanche is alert to mischief from that direction.

    I’m having a hard time trying to understand how the metal studs would hang onto the tyre without the air leaking? A mystery, and probably not a great idea given the consequences. Which given your former calling (work, what is this thing? 😉 ), you’d be on the pointy end of the consequences.

    All wheel drive in those conditions actually does make a difference. I spun around on the icy/snowy road here because I hadn’t thought to engage four wheel drive on an asphalt surface. Lack of experience there, but lesson learned and also glad we didn’t drop off the steep side of the road. That would have been unpleasant.

    Hehe! Birds are very clever. Almost forgot to mention, but I scored a rat last evening. I left the carcass out, and this morning it was gone. The family of magpies alerted me beforehand (by chance) late last night that a fox was prowling around – and may have climbed their tree for all I know. I took the torch down to the bottom of the orchard and sure enough there was a fox. I’m glad there are no bears or mountain lions prowling around! Yikes!

    It would have been a good band name for sure. 🙂

    Dunno about you, but I’m not on social media because people stalk you down like a little fluffy bunny wabbit on those things. Satisfying peoples curiosity is not one of the services that I offer. If they’re interested, they can engage in dialogue, otherwise they can naff off. 🙂 Ooo, I’m ranting. Hey, DJ started this!!! Funny stuff.

    I was glad too, the machine had been down for repairs and I was considering the effort required to dig the site by hand. Yes, we could have done it, but a one day job would become a six day job. The machine used less than two gallons of diesel fuel. Diesel fuel is amazing.

    It is an odd word isn’t it? And invariably the trees split – especially if water infiltrates the join between the two trees and organic matter builds there. Anyway, Johnny was always trouble, everyone knows it!

    Yay for your growing season commencing. It’s exciting. Tulips are great, and I hope Avalanche keeps off them. I’ve noticed that rats enjoy consuming tulip flowers. Imagine if that had happened during the infamous tulip mania?



  13. Hi Lewis,

    That’s funny, but yeah they do endure, causing further mysteries. It would be nice if it were simple, what fun, what carefree days, but alas, ’tis complicated.

    The thing about moving though is that if the person hasn’t sorted out some of their core issues – and there is no obligation or need for that to happen – they generally end up in the same mess in a different place, with different people. I’m sure your Club would have something to say about that?

    Hey, if your Club has a group of stalwarts, I reckon that is about as good as things can get for a group. From my perspective, it is a very good outcome and makes for a resilient group. And 44 years is an impressive achievement, and clearly the group performs a need.

    Speaking of that, I hear you. We went out for dinner locally this evening and had a really lovely meal. The table behind me had a lot of young children who were getting a bit ratty due to it being late and all. Anyway, they were bouncing around and crashing into my seat, and I rapidly put an end to the mischief by giving each of the adults a thoughtful and significant stare. I was channelling ‘an unwise move’, but they probably received ‘that guy is a bit creepy, kids stop pushing his chair’! Whatever the case, it seemed to work proving that a person cannot argue with success. Better than telling the kids off by dropping an F-bomb in their direction. Parents really get upset about that, but from a positive perspective the children’s vocabulary is broadened! I’m sure they’ve heard such words before if only because parents seem to leave their kids with unsupervised screen time. What could possibly go wrong? Anyway, I can’t do that as Editor says no F-bombs, and I’m not allowed. Probably better for everyone.

    “people I know, who have been around a long time, who I discover don’t know each other.” Can’t say with any certainty, but that may be due to some sort of social game? Or class issue? Dunno. On the other hand I’ve heard the ‘still waters run deep’ story, and do wonder if the person just has nothing to say? Communicating is a skill, and small talk is another skill. Not everyone works at such skills, and fair enough.

    Oh my goodness, didn’t Tim set the cat among the pigeons in Tim’s Vermeer?

    Mate, the tree dudes would not have wanted to be here today. The weather was filthy and it has rained almost continuously for two days. Not nice at all, and in fact rather damp.

    Has anyone noticed the outlaw iris bed? I like irises as they’re great plants. Wise to have a back up plan with the horseradish. It’s hard to know in advance what the season will bring weather wise.

    Thanks for confirming that concept, but yeah it seemed like a smart move to me too. When all other choices point downwards, bowing out with good grace is not a bad idea.

    I may have to track down a copy of the Overlord film. My free time situation has not yet been sorted out, but the wheels are in motion and something will happen, I guess.

    Popcorn with melted cheese is pretty exotic. You rarely see popcorn here outside of a cinema. For some reason they sell cardboard boxes of freshly made popcorn at cinemas, and people buy the stuff. I prefer the chocolate coated ice creams in a waffle cone. Hey, who knew that cinnamon rolls have their origins in NW Europe? The ones you see down here are closer to your version of the roll. And there is a chilli innovation version. Astonishing culinary adventurism!

    Yes, perhaps it is true: Hurry and worry slow up the digestive fluids. (taken from one of the amusing advertisements). Appeals from experts might not work so well these days. Best not to be an expert I’m guessing.

    The Elvis impersonator, I kind of get, but a drive through wedding? Not sure about that myself. It’s OK to be in a hurry, but surely a person can take the time to stop and smell the roses from time to time?

    Thanks for the laughs: We are the realest of the real. Yes, it makes a certain baffling kind of sense. And to think that I thought the answer would be that ‘the passenger’ person would be a problem, and too many of those types, and you’re done for. After all, who said: before enlightenment, chop wood and fetch water, after enlightenment chop wood and fetch water. There’s a pattern in there somewhere?

    The rats are seeking an easy feed. Hey I manage to bop one of them last night. A pitchfork is a lethal weapon. I reckon there are two rats left and I now can’t work out how they are getting in and out again. I’m leaving them alone tonight so as not to overly alarm them, although the ship has already bolted on that front.

    It looks like the rain has finally stopped. I had to polish my leather boots this morning it was so wet outside.



  14. @ Margaret – The Isle of Wight had quit a Roman presence. There appears to have been, a bit of industry and a trading post. And, of course the Brading Roman Villa, where the very mysterious mosaic of the man with a chicken head, was found. Lew

  15. Yo, Chris – Oh, there are legitimate reasons to make a move. For work. To be closer to kids or parents. Trailing along behind a spouse that’s on some quest. But, you’re right. Around the Program we call it “pulling a geographic.” But as that great sage and artist, Mary Engelbreit stated, “Wherever you go, there you are.” You can find that bit of dogrel (cliche was the word I was trying to think of. Took me awhile. Old, you know) on everything from coffee mugs to tea towels. 🙂

    Something I actually did once. Back when I had a small house, a kid was pestering me over the fence. I leaned across and said, “Little Boy, didn’t your parents ever tell you not to talk to strangers.” (Little head starts bobbing.) “Little Boy, don’t you know that TERRIBLE things happen to kids who talk to strangers?” (Kid evaporates. Never saw him again.)

    I think it’s more “ships that pass in the night.” People get into routines. I generally drop in for a cuppa, Saturday, Sunday and Tuesday mornings. I someone else does the same thing, only on Wednesday and Friday evenings, our paths will never cross. Another case of Sliding Door Syndrome.

    Been awhile since I saw “Tim’s Vermeer” but I think your referring to the use of optical devices, by the Great Masters. It’s been pretty well proven, that a lot of them did use such devices. And that bothers some people. Sullies genius, or something. It’s been pretty well established that some of the French impressionists worked from photographs. That bothers some people, too.

    The weather was filthy, yesterday, and slightly better, today. Only one of the Master Gardeners, showed up. MJ (Mary Jane) who is a retired nurse. She thought the iris bed was great. But she’s pretty mellow. So I helped her with a few minor things. But, my small plot was untouched, which I was hoping for, as I need another week to pull it together. Or apart, as the case may be. We’re supposed to get some good weather, later on in the week.

    Here, there are all kinds of machines to do popcorn in, at home. Me, I buy these microwavable bags that are paper. I’ve got the timing down, to achieve the appropriate amount of char. 🙂 I pull them out of the microwave and toss them under the stove fan, so I don’t set the smoke alarms off. When I’m ready to do the cheese, I fill a good sized bowl, half way full, put squares of cheese on it, fill the bowl to the top, add more cheese squares and then nuke it until it just begins to melt. I can make the popcorn in the afternoon, and then do the cheese thing, right before settling in to watch a movie.

    There are many variations on the theme of cinnamon buns. There’s the basic dough, and you can roll all kinds of things into it. Cream cheese, orange. Or, you can buy it in those cylinders that you smack against the table edge. I was looking at the lemon slice recipes, again. The simpler one is a no bake version. It includes “Marie Biscuits”, which I had to look up. I guess our closest approximation is vanilla (or, ‘Nilla) wafers. But I think the baked, more complicated version is probably more satisfying. Maybe. I also had to research what a “Swiss roll pan” was. Like a baking sheet, only deeper. Got it.

    There’s many a rom-com where a couple in a black out, drive to Las Vegas, get hitched, and wonder who this stranger is they wake up with, the next morning. “Meet cute comes in many flavors.

    I’m almost done with the utopia (communalism) book. Her description of the possible flow of these attempts have variations, but they’re pretty predictable. And funny. Patterns, indeed. It wasn’t a bad book, but I could have done without all the author’s marital problems.

    That’s the ticket. Lull the rats into a false sense of security.

    Water proofing of boots, here, seems to use mink oil. I don’t know how the mink feel about it. What do you use? Lew

  16. Chris,

    The metal studs are in the thickest part of the tyre. They are maybe 0.25″ to 0.375″ long, so don’t go very deep. There is a machine that is calibrated to put them into the tyres. Dunno how it works exactly. They don’t go anywhere deep enough in the rubber to cause air leakage though.

    So I was thinking of Mary Poppins when I read about your leaving a dead rat out for the birds. I actually had the song “Feed the Birds” acting as an ear worm at the moment I read that. That would’ve been an interesting scene if the bird lady sold dead rats at “tuppence a bag” to “feed the birds”.

    DJSpo and the Princess with social media. I post here. We both text and email a few people. That’s the extent of it. It’s too easy to track people down and chase them all over the interweb once you engage in too many places and things like faceplant. As a case in point…

    An ex coworker was married to an old college friend of mine. Coworker was a real jerk, thought he was god’s gift to women. And he had put me into several awkward places at work. He was over 50, quite overweight and a real skank. He started putting ads onto online dating places with pictures of a younger and slimmer him and boasting about how young and fit and TALL he was. I had a rellie from a far different part of the country gaggle him. She found him on multiple dating sites, joined them herself, and then she asked him on each dating site about his wife of 32 years and if his Weight Watchers Diet was having any effect on his 275 pounds at 5’7″. His reaction to reading those AT WORK was quite amusing.

    Johnny caused trouble, incited trouble, was trouble. I’ve got a lot of “Little Johnny” jokes. Alas! None are family friendly! So here are a couple videos instead.

    Rats eating the Dutch tulips in the 1600 tulip craze? Hoo, that idea makes me laugh too hard. I can hear a Mary Poppins rat/tulip parody: “Just a spoonful of sugar helps the tulips go down”.

    Well, the friend I recently visited stepped wrong on Thursday and broke his lower leg and ankle at 3 places while dislocating his foot. He eventually went to hospital and they discharged him Monday afternoon. So now he’s off his feet for at least 2 weeks. Good thing he has a magnificently comfortable reclining chair.

    Meanwhile, my cell phone wasn’t charging correctly. I took it into the store. Part of the charging mechanism in the phone broke off. New phone needed. Princess and I both have older Samsung 01 models. They suggested a 03 model, but they only have 1 and no more expected. Princess will upgrade soon and we want the same model as one another. So the manager, who recognized me from many previous visits, suggested that the model 053 or the model 042 would be better for me. I asked if they had plenty of both, to which they replied that they did. I figured it was A Sign. 😉 Naturally, I got the model 042. The young woman who was waiting on me even knew that 42 is the Answer to the Question! To top it off, they were able to transfer all my data, every bit of it, to the new phone. Doesn’t always work that way. The 042 model is both 4G and 5G compatible. Whatever. It makes and receives phone calls and texts.


  17. Hi DJ,

    An intriguing process with the metal studs, which I have not ever seen. Hmm. I’ve noticed with tyres that the uniformity of construction is not as good as it once was, and recently we replaced the Dirt Mouse Suzuki tyres when a bubble formed in one of them. Not the sort of thing that you want to see in a tyre, but it was there all the same. And neither the Editor or I could recall any specific impact which would produce such a weak spot. Dunno.

    Nooooo! You’ve somehow managed to combine ear worms with musicals, and I must doff my hat to your general level of excellence. As a general note both are to be avoided (from my perspective), but alas life is what it is and a person gets confronted by such things. I shall studiously avoid falling into any easy Poppins trap and instead deflect by introducing: The Blues Brothers (1980) – Shake a Tail Feather Scene. The delight of the participants in the video is clear to see.

    Exactly, it’s here and a few other places – and that’s it. Faceplant is right out, although last year I broke that rule and penned a delightful ode for a local that was having a tough time of it, and bizarrely the Editor scored the rewards. Such is the way of the true long suffering artist. 🙂

    Man, that is some weird interweb gear with that bloke. As a contrast I consider myself rather fortunate to have grown up without mobile devices and before the advent of interweb dating. Yeah, a tough school nowadays from what I hear. Back in the day, a person had to be charming in order to err, charm and that meant literally ‘courting’ your date. And um, yeah, there was no such thing as a hook-up-culture. That culture has always seemed a bit weird to my brain, but maybe I’m old school in such concerns. Just cause it’s new, doesn’t mean it’s better.

    Hehe! Yes, we have heard of this Little Johnny down under. Thanks for the laughs. Gallows humour is sharp, and to the point! The recording of the bloke in the coffin was pretty funny, the cheeky scamp.

    Holy carp, what a series of injuries your mate suffered. Hopefully he’s doing OK, and you didn’t eat all of the chocolates that you took? Hope he’s ready for the moon boot recovery? It was a nice thing to visit your mate in his hour of need. Did you get some laughs in, maybe?

    Mate, it is a sign! A sign alright that they’ve got stock – and you have little choice in the matter. 🙂 Hehe! No way, really. Well there you go, it’s nice to encounter folks who get such jokes, otherwise it would be a rather drab old world. And the laugh would be on us because you and I would be making jokes, that nobody understood. Far out, what a horror that would be.

    Anyway, I’m not sure the devices are all that sturdy. Sooner or later there will be supply issues resulting from this problem.



  18. Hi Lewis,

    Thanks, and I stand corrected and was wrong. In fact some of my friends have indeed moved for work and/or family matters, so yeah. Trailing along behind some spouse on a quest! 🙂 That’s funny, with a side serving of irony. Ah, I had not heard of this artist before: Mary Engelbreit. I note that her day job paid for her true artistic joys. A clever strategy. And there is tragedy in there too.

    Hehe! You seem pretty much onto things from my perspective, and the beauty of this form of communication is that a person can stop to smell the roses, and correct the mess ups, as long as it is not too close to bed time. 🙂 I usually reply of an evening, and very occasionally as you’d know, the local pub intervenes, as does the day when the writing strikes a chord. Always a mystery. Note to self: Must write about oil, people love that stuff. 😉

    I’m learning quite a bit about essay writing from reading Margaret Atwood’s words in essay form. I feel as if I’m in the presence of greatness, and the words are very err, engaging. Yes, that may be the right word, although it could as equally be ‘accessible’. I’m unsure, what are your thoughts in this matter given the book was your recommendation?

    Hehe! Yeah, actually I remember the fostering of the whole stranger danger culture in the 1970’s. Although it is possible that the notion was being pushed before that time? It’s certainly possible that there is risk there, but more often than not, it is the known ones who can be real trouble.

    That’s a really good phrase: ships that pass in the night. The phrase was attributed to your poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. A lovely choice of words which conveys much meaning. Didn’t he live an interesting life, and life was risky and subject to chance in those days. However, I agree with you, people do seem to enjoy their patterns and routines.

    Yes, sadly I was referring to the optical devices the great masters may have used. Is it really such a big deal? But yes, it does bother some critics, and their spit flecked pourings of outrage bored me senseless. Yeah, so what? That was my exact thinking at the time of reading the critiques. It was interesting to me that a guy who specialises in reproducing computer generated images was able to spot the techniques which the masters had used. Worked from photographs! Quelle horreur!

    There is always the odd purist lurking around the land waiting for an opportunity to strike a blow for the great purist revolution. Unfortunately the blow never seems to fall on their own heads. What’s with that?

    Good to see that you have a master gardener supportive of your naughty iris plantings. It was a nicer day here today too. A bit of sun poked through from time to time, and more importantly put a bit of charge into the batteries. I checked this morning and they were at 38% full and continuing to operate perfectly. There is no way a lead acid battery would perform that well with only that small a charge left.

    Ollie enjoyed chasing off some deer tonight. Plum rolled in some stinky wombat poop and was far more delighted with her perfume than she should have been. Dogs…

    Lewis, there are videos on utoob showing how to make popcorn in a paper bag in a microwave. Whoa. That’s the sound of me being freaked out. I had no idea. Makes you wonder how that cooking process was worked out in the first place? Truly, I fed the last lot of popcorn seeds to the chickens – they were a gift. Yeah it is just the thing before a movie, although I do so enjoy a home made pizza.

    I’m not entirely certain of the correct pronunciation of ‘Marie Biscuits’, but I have heard people describing them as such with a flat accent: Mar-ee Biscuits, rather than more fancy pronunciation. They’re quite tasty, although I haven’t seen them served for many a year. Biscuits form the basis of many a dessert, and of course there is always tiramisu with its cheeky re-use of old biscuits. I’m guessing that your Vanilla Wafers are a bit sweeter than the Marie biscuits due to the apparent use of the old corn syrup.

    And yeah, I use one of those Swiss roll pans when baking the Anzac biscuits. I didn’t even know they were called that, as I’d been describing them as a baking-tray.

    Who can forget the comedy: What happens in Vegas? Very amusing, with a narrative spin that foolhardy couple won big and were unable to access a quick divorce. I’m glad you finally managed to watch The Hangover, that was pretty funny too. So very wrong.

    I’m genuinely scratching my head to understand how a book supposedly penned about utopia’s included notes on the authors relationship dramas. Surely nobody goes into a marriage thinking that it will be utopia revisited? Actually that would be a good book title, don’t you reckon?

    The hunting patterns have to be shaken up a little bit otherwise the two remaining rats will become alert to impending doom.

    Mate, I’m sure the mink won’t mind providing a little bit of fat for such a good purpose? 🙂 You’re pulling my leg, for sure. The stuff I use was made in Indonesia, so I’m guessing the fat base is made from palm oil. I tell you what though, the stuff repels water. Cadets at school taught me how to polish boots. For some reason they were very hung up about that issue.



  19. Yo, Chris – It’s often advised that artists (of any kind) keep their day jobs. As it is more likely that they will be struck by lightening, than have life altering success. Otherwise, they are likely to starve and freeze to death, in a drafty garrett.

    Oil. It goes up, it goes down. Nothing any individual can do about it, so, “What? Me worry?” 🙂

    Atwood is engaging and accessible … and sometimes laugh-out-loud funny.

    We were well into stranger danger territory, when I gave my performance for little Johnny. I often thought if a kid disappeared in my neighborhood, the authorities would be digging up my crawl space. Oh, well. I’d always toyed with the idea of digging a root cellar down there, anyway.

    I put a hold on “Tim’s Vermeer”, last night. I want to take another look. Purists never stick around long enough for the blow to fall. A nimble bunch, they are. Hard to hit a moving target, as they’re off on another quest for absolute purity. Sounds exhausting. I suppose there’s a certain amount of adrenaline high involved.

    The popcorn comes in boxes, containing three bags. Mostly. The paper appears to be much like parchment paper. I don’t think I’d try a regular old paper bag. I’d probably set the nuker, on fire. Like everything else, these days, it comes in many “flavors.” I just try to find the “lite.” I paid about $1.59, for a box of three bags. Loss leader?

    A Swiss baking pan is just a baking sheet, that’s slightly deeper. I learn something new, every day. 🙂

    I finished the Utopia book, last night. There was something the author tossed off, that gave me pause. Her husband had quit the drinking problem, and she mentioned “…framework developed by the largest anarchist organization in the world – Alcoholics Anonymous.” So I’ve been hanging out with anarchists, all this time? I didn’t get the memo. Well, that sent me to my handy Random House College Dictionary. Which has many takes on “anarchist.” They leave themselves lots of wiggle room. I guess the closest is, “…a theory that proposes the cooperative and voluntary association of individuals and groups as a the principle mode of organized society.” None of that bomb throwing and violent overthrow of this and that.

    “Utopia Revisited.” A book by Isaac (2013). Or Mooney, 2010. Or Locke, 2019. 🙂 You think authors (or publishers) would do a quick check, to see if anyone else had used a title, in the recent past.

    Mink oil is probably more easily obtainable, than say, bear grease. 🙂 Lew

  20. Hi, Chris!

    So you did meet with your friend. I couldn’t have done it. I won’t meet with any of my very old friends. It’s just too much for me; too many sad things under the bridge. I can only look forward.

    What a beautifully compact machine that Vermeer is. Like Lewis, I immediately thought of the artist. Now why do some of us think like that? Anyway, you and it have created a piece of art – which is flat land!

    You do have a huge mess there, with the stumps and boulders. I thought we had a mess, but it’s nowhere near that bad. Now there is the charring technology that we are using to “seal” the boards for the new raised beds, except that yours is natural.

    Mama mia – it’s leaf change time! It is here, too, but our leaves are turning green.

    Real, live grapes at last. I hope they will ripen. I pruned ours back so far in February that I am a bit worried. Thanks for the flowers; I wish I could show you my tulips. And we have radishes and baby spinach to eat now.


  21. Hi Chris,

    Stainless steel is truly amazing. But alas, a bit pricey for my needs during construction of the Puddle Duck boats 🙂 Indeed, the gold standard for wooden boat building is actually copper nails (rivets) as these are more traditional – and thus potentially superior, or at the very least, empower one with superior bragging rights.

    For myself, just lowly galvanised wood screws were good enough, they can corrode if they want to, the glue is what holds the boat together anyway. True boat building masters will plug the screws to cover them and prevent unsightly corrosion. Or even completely remove them after the boat is set, and fill the holes with sawdust/epoxy mix to make a pleasing finish.

    I started to remove mine, but didn’t like the protest sounds coming from the wood as I removed then – so felt it best to keep them installed.

    As with all things boat building, the opinions on the best method vary, and are strongly held.


  22. Hi Chris,

    Nice photo — looks Instagram-worthy! 😉
    Love that little digger too — that would be fun to play with.

    I remember you saying you replaced your lead acid batteries with LiFePO4 batteries, and you bought Australian assembled ones — can you please comment on what you bought (brand?) and how they’re going?

    Thanks, Angus

  23. Hi Angus,

    Thanks. Winter is fast approaching. Hope your garden grew well this year?

    What amazed me about the machine is that over the course of the day it used less than 10L of diesel fuel. And the things the machine could lift and push around was really fun. Much more traction than a dingo or a kanga with tyres and wheels.

    Yeah, nah. I couldn’t get those batteries as the distributor (not the manufacturer) wanted the full value of the batteries upfront, and it was the beginning of the health craziness and I was a touch nervous that my money would disappear. Those batteries are probably the gold standard: PowerPlus Energy. Although other locally assembled batteries will probably be just as good. It all really depends on the cells they use and BMS electronics and without dismantling the batteries you don’t know. I ended up with Deep Cycle. So far I can’t fault them, and compared to lead acid, they’re miles ahead in terms of the way they operate day to day. Underneath it all though, they’re still batteries with all of the limitations of the technology, it is just the limitations are far less with LiFePo4 chemistry.



  24. Hi Pam,

    Perhaps it was naivety on my part that the catch up took place. Strangely enough I lacked curiosity about the goings on, the news from the past was proffered more than requested if you get my meaning. Look, you’re probably right in this regard and it was a bad idea. I just didn’t know how things would turn out. I did however cancel the invite for the event last weekend, so yeah, you probably can’t go back. It was complicated really, and the friendship never ended, it just kind of stopped.

    🙂 Us slope dwellers dream of flat land, don’t we? I’m really looking forward to getting into the new greenhouse project, and I’m hoping to grow some paw paws in there. A few years ago I raised some American cold adapted paw paws from seed and they do come from your part of the world – the plants are still small-ish.

    Yes, mess must be attacked! It must conquered, and brought to order – at some distant point in the future! 🙂 So much work, and who knows what the loggers were thinking? Nothing good.

    I’d be curious to hear how the sealing of the boards works over time. The pine timber sleepers I use for that job are treated with Copper, Chrome and Arsenic, and they seem pretty hardy. Probably not ideal, but I’d imagine timber treatment could get more toxic again with different treatments. Dunno.

    Yay for leaf change, maybe. Was on the road a bit today and up this way the leaf change tourists were all over the place. It’s not ideal as I prefer a quieter environment. Makes me wonder what they all hope to see?

    The grapes which survived taste like they have ripened, there’s just not enough to mash them up. Next year will hopefully produce a bigger harvest. Plus, I do plan to remove the strawberries from that enclosure – I’m thinking of moving them to the greenhouse and managing them better.

    Yay for your early flowers! Such promise of the growing season to come. And both early spinach and beets are pretty tasty. Yum!



  25. Hi Lewis,

    Possibly there are elements of timing and luck involved with making it big as an artist. Talent alone is not enough. Plus there is the not so insignificant issue of work ethic. It’s a hard path. I’ve listened to the national youth music radio station for a couple of decades, and yeah, lots of talent, and some bands make it big, but plenty don’t. The recent health subject which dare not be named also had an impact upon artists incomes – it was brutal. Your imagine of a cold and drafty garret is hardly an appealing prospect. Imagine gaining fame and renown following death? Possibly this disaster may have affected some artists who were not particularly nice people in their lives, but once safely and permanently out of the way…

    Yeah, I try not to worry about such things too. I have an odd hunch that supply will be around for a long time to come. Rationing by price may be the way of things in the future. Certainly the money printing efforts of recent years will cause some harm.

    Laugh out loud funny, yeah I can see that. There are times when the most outrageous sentences are added into an essay I suspect just to stir up the readership. It’s pretty funny. The essay on debt was of considerable, dare I say it: interest. Please excuse the dodgy pun, but it is true the words and observations.

    Very funny, your building managers would have a fit if you dug a root cellar under the floor. Which I also note was a side story in a favourite series of books I read a while ago. I really enjoyed the world of those books, much more to my liking despite all the hardship. It was a more honest place than the society I find myself in.

    Well you’d think that there was at least some blow back from the purists attempts at disparagement? That lot really are a buzzkill. The can be easily foiled by simply owning the stupid claims made by them, followed up by a: Yeah, so what?

    I’d never thought of the microwave catching fire from a paper bag. I do recall people placing ceramic cups with metallic rims which produce a very weird lightning display inside the machine – probably not a good thing. A mate used to have a microwave / ordinary convection oven and the convection function would still work with the door open (like any normal oven), and I used to stir him up about the microwave being dodgy because it worked with the door open. Look, it probably wasn’t funny, but when you’re young your brain isn’t fully formed. There was a film where one of the actors was amusingly describing the microwave oven as a ‘science oven’ and then going on to say how awful it was.

    Swiss baking pans down here are steel pans. Can’t say I’ve seen a paper baking sheet – although I may be misinterpreting your description? Dunno.

    Had to head into a gubamrint office today to update a licence, and I was amazed at how quickly the whole thing was processed. When I was a young bloke those places were Kafkaesque labyrinths of ‘take a packed lunch and hope you don’t have to go to the toilet sort of places’. Some things improve, although we’ll see what turns up in the mail at some future point. And the people were really pleasant too. Hmm. Maybe it is me and my expectations of them are just odd and out of date, dude?

    Ah, right, that could produce some disturbance in the home. Yes, I can see that. What, anarchists? The author may be right there. I tell ya, years ago I inadvertently caused a stir on Mr Greer’s blog by commenting that an organised anarchists protest in Europe just makes no sense to me. Oh far out, they came out of the wood work with pointy sharp knives looking for blood that day. Worse than the bicycle brigade folks…

    Hehe! Tis a known thing that titles are not subject to copyright laws. A thing of beauty to my mind, others may feel differently.

    Hope the bears don’t mind donating some of their grease? But yeah, I see your point. Very toothy creatures quick to anger. They might be defenders of the true anarchists for all we know? 😉



  26. Yo, Chris – But starving and freezing in a garret is so romantic! 🙂 As long as someone else is doing it. There’s many a mystery where the plot is, the famous artist is bumped off. By his wife, mistress, dealer or collector. In the hopes that the value of his work will rise.

    I see Brent Crud, and the other one, is down 5%. Still over $100 a barrel, but moving in the right direction (depending on who you are).

    Several of Atwood’s essays are speeches she gave. The funny lines may have been thrown in, just to make sure everyone was still awake.

    You use “Yeah, so what?” I use, “Don’t care.” As with the academic battles, I suppose the purists get a kick out of seeing their names in print.

    With all the microwaves flying about, we’re all probably slightly par boiled, by this point. A baking sheet is usually a lot shallower than a Swiss roll pan. Usually, stainless steel with some kind of no stick coating. But I usually put a piece of parchment paper on them. So things really don’t stick and for easier clean up. They are ideal for baking biscuits.

    Interesting your trip to the gubamrint office. Someone, somewhere must have slipped up. Or maybe they’re having problems with staffing, too. Which might lead to policy changes for happier employees, hence, more helpful to the customer. I’ve also observed that the flavor of political administration really filters down. There were some innovations to customer service, due to You Know What. Some I hope they keep. I had to go to the medical clinic, once, “during.” They gave you an appointment time. When you got to the parking lot, you gave them a call. They’d collect you and you’d zip right through the empty lobby. No sitting around with people coughing a lung out, from who knows what. I hope they keep that up.

    Anarchists not making sense is part of their charm 🙂 . Reminds me of the old Marlon Brando line from the film where he’s a motorcycle outlaw. A dewy eyed young thing asks him what he’s rebelling against. He responds, “What da ya got.”

    The uses of bear grease were many and varied. They greased the axils of covered wagons. And were occasionally used as a hair pomade. They were endangered in a lot of areas. So, I guess petroleum products made the world safer for bears. In the short run.

    I picked up a new film from the library, yesterday. “The Laureate.” About the poet and writer Robert Graves. I’ve heard of him, but can’t say I’ve read any of his books. Reading the blurb on the box, it sounds like he had “interesting” domestic arrangements. Which I suppose makes for an interesting bio-pic. Maybe. I’ll have to check out the trailer.

    I looked at this weeks ads for the chain grocery store. Now these are all “sale” prices. Tinned fruit (peaches etc.) were $2.50 a can. Same price for bags of frozen veg. Half decent eggs were $5 a dozen. On the other hand, I mentioned the popcorn, and last week a pound of butter (limit 2) was only $1.69. Loss leaders, I’m sure, but other stuff (on sale or not) the price seems higher. I’m glad I have cheaper alternatives, for shopping. It’s hit and miss as far as variety, but as long as one stays flexible, there’s plenty out there to eat. Lew

  27. Chris,

    I had a couple tyres in the past that developed bubbles. Luck of the draw. Sometimes they come out of the factory with unnoticeable weaknesses. Faulty tyres.

    Thanks for the Blues Brothers link. That was fun to watch.

    My brain is acting weirdlier than normal this evening. When I read your reply about Faceplant, all I could think of was the Batman TV show starring Adam West. The theme song…
    Except wherever they say “Batman”, I hear “Faceplant”. This version, however, totally gets “Faceplant” out of my ear:

    I wouldn’t be able to do the interweb dating or the hook up culture stuff either. Call me a troglodyte, but sometimes the older ways fare better for some of us.

    I thought you’d enjoy the coffin video. What a sense of humor that bloke had! That one had me laughing so hard my sides hurt.

    Nasty injuries indeed for my mate. Not good on top of other health problems he’s got. I’m glad I got that “free pass” between storms to cross the pass and visit earlier this month. And chocolates don’t travel well in my car. Or, they travel well but seldom make it to the intended destination. So friend and I are chatting on the phone daily now, and one of his mates from his part of the state visited him earlier.

    Heard a weird noise when enjoying my coffee this morning. I was under the patio roof listening to birds and the raindrops when “Screech! Scrawk!” from a neighbor’s tree. Out flew (an empty-handed) raven with a robin hot on its tail. Robin 1, Raven 0. For now. The birds always provide plenty of entertainment and drama.


  28. Hi DJ,

    Manufacturing is a complicated process. About a week after my final high school exam I was dragooned into working on a production line – for computer floppy disks of all things – and they had this thing called Quality Control. Dunno how that works these days? In that particular case it wasn’t a piece of paper with some ideals, it was three people who physically checked each floppy disk as they rolled off the production line. I had the easy job and took the shrink wrapped boxes of disks into the warehouse for further packing and distribution. Strangely enough, I quite enjoyed the work and the bloke in the warehouse was a big fan of Pink Floyd and so we spoke mostly about music. It was no hardship that job.

    Since a very young age I’ve rarely been out of paid employment. There was the final year of high school which had bonkers amount of homework (about three to four hours per night plus weekends) and preparation for the final exams. My mother promised regular pocket money at the start of the year, so I quit a lucrative job – and then she reneged. I was a bit annoyed about that, but my new poverty stricken phase allowed for more study, so maybe it wasn’t all that bad. Anyway, I was originally enrolled to school at the youngest possible age due to circumstances at home – my mum needing to work and stuff – and yeah by final year my mates were heading to pubs, and unlike them I was under eighteen years of age and so had to stay home. And get some new friends!

    Thanks for that. Yes, I can still recall those lyrics to the show and most of the characters. Brett Kavanagh is very entertaining and wow can he bang out a melody or what? I watched a few of the videos, and he looks as though he is rather enjoying himself with his various sidekicks. Anger management indeed!

    I hear you about that, and the whole thing kind of weirds me out. If necessary, I’d be probably a bit old school and go against the trend and try courting, which worked in the past. People are much the same as they’ve always been.

    Good to hear that your mate has some closer assistance. Far out, what else can you do? Harming chocolates is necessary from time to time.

    My money is personally placed upon the Raven. The war will be long. There will be sacrifices. And I’m guessing the Ravens may prevail!



  29. Hi Lewis,

    Your sarcasm is enjoyed, and many an artist would have frozen and starved in a garret. Here I too must add that the enjoyments of a good meal and a warm fire on a winters eve has much to recommend it. It’s candidly not that all that warm outside here right now. 41’F to be precise.

    Incidentally, that is a genius motive, but somewhat all too obvious. In such cases, the persons known to the deceased are often the first to come under suspicion. There was an interesting thriller film from 2014 titled: Gone girl. I recall that after the girl was no longer gone, one of the final bits of advice was to (and here in the interests of representing the flavour of a quote fairly, the code must be cast aside and the words are presented as they were spoken): “Don’t piss her off” Sage wisdom in that particular case.

    Proving that the law of ‘do unto others’ is actually real and applies in life as it does in text, I put the words to the ultimate test today. The Editor was err, in the bathroom, and the three dogs were outside the door. I looked at the dogs and asked the hard question: Do you really want to do this? They replied in the affirmative. The door was opened, the dogs entered, and I closed the door again. I tell ya, there was much wailing and gnashing of teeth – with added threats. Chuckling to myself at a job well done, I promptly departed the scene and foolishly forgot the episode. Later in the day found me in a similar locale. What a fool was I. The dogs did an invasion move number seven, and words could be heard recounting the Klingon proverb: Revenge is a dish best served cold. Ah, the scales are now in balance and all is good with the world again. I tend to believe that I have also proven the adage that mischief does not pay. 🙂

    Despite the silliness, we took the day off any and all work. However, the tree dudes arrived this morning and help cut up the fallen trees. You said they would, and they did. We additionally dodged some Samoan politics which we were being dragged into. I’m sure I’ll hear more of this in the future. Anyway, and for now, a narrow escape. Oh, and a coffee scroll was harmed today, as was a gourmet chicken, leek and bacon pie. The sun’s feeble rays shone and all was good with the world.

    Mate, if it makes you feel happy? I dunno, prices even that high do not make me feel happy, and I expect them to get worse, not better. However, they shall traverse a wide range of prices from the heady highs of the local pub to the lowest lows of the toilet. 🙂

    Oooo. I read the Margaret Atwood essay on Scrooge today. Very insightful. I particularly enjoyed the recounting of George Orwell’s observation upon the author Charles Dickens motivations. So true and also very astute. 🙂 Yes, there are some very funny observations in many of the essays. I’m assuming that the essays become longer in length as I’m a third of the way through the book, and now at 2010?

    Both of our responses are quite inflammatory to some argumentative folks. Not really so much for the words spoken, but more because we hold up a mirror to other peoples concerns. Sometimes the trivial can loom large as a concern.

    In a rare coincidence, dinner tonight went through the science oven in order to heat it up. It was a simple meal of rice and a side serving of mung beans (Shola Ghorbandi) which we’d cooked up earlier in the day. Mung beans, lentils and their friends have somehow gotten a bad rap, but it is an easy meal to enjoy. I tend to enjoy the fact that the detractors are missing out, more for us!

    Right, yes, that is exactly the sort of baking pan I use for baking biscuits. I’d not previously heard the pan described by that name. And baking paper makes life easy. When I was a kid people had to grease the pans so that cakes etc. did not stick to the sides of the metal. We’ve comparatively got it much easier these days. Dunno about you, but I trialled parchment paper versus baking paper and it seemed much of a muchness.

    What would Kafka have thought of my simple and easy encounter with a gobmunt office? I’ve observed that the biz I sacked recently is having significant troubles replacing me. Is it really that unreasonable to allow people a week off work uninterrupted? Mate I haven’t had a week off paid work for a couple of years now because of them. I’m not whining about it, but far out a lesser person would have fallen over by now.

    And that is true about the end result being a top-down thing. So true. I have this saying which I often use as an explanatory story to people that: You can take two different people, run the same business, and get remarkably different outcomes. It does matter.

    Hehe! Yeah, well, the anarchists not only made no sense, but they sure could fire up in defence of their creed – whatever that is. 🙂 What a hornets nest it was inadvertently kicking that lot. The Buddhists seemed a bit touchy last week when I compared their entry to a monastery rituals to joining the core Fight Club crew. It looked like the same process to me. Hey, I liked the Marlon quote too! The man was an astute observer of the world around him, and even better, he was able to put to words what he saw.

    I’d never thought of Bears from that perspective before. When I was a kid, you’d purchase ‘fish and chips’ and they’d be freshly deep fried and wrapped in paper. White vinegar and salt could be added to taste. The fish in those days was described as ‘flake’ which is a more polite term for ‘shark’. Very tasty too. In these enlightened days shark is not eaten, and the population has bounced back. Your point of view is applicable to other animals as well. Catching shark without petroleum might be a complicated and dangerous proposition. I recall reading one account from early settlers in that the seas around the coastline teemed with sharks – thus perhaps the lack of reliance on fishing to supplement their rations?

    Robert Graves appears to have written a fascinating book on his experience in WWI, Good-Bye to All That. Oh my. Makes you wonder what the media these days would have to say about such candid disclosures? And he did appear to have a very complicated home life didn’t he. I lack the competency for such complications. Did you get a chance to watch the film?

    That’s about what you’d pay down here for eggs per dozen. Eggflation is a real thing. I too have noticed that the grocery bills are higher of late. Where will it end?



  30. Hi Damo,

    Apologies, I missed your comment from yesterday! 🙂

    What? Well you learn something new every day. Copper nails. Makes sense. How do they survive in salt water conditions? And yeah, stainless steel is readily available these days, but it ain’t cheap. Just the thing for screws intended to be utilised to hold together a greenhouse though.

    Hey, the mixture of epoxy and sawdust is a genius idea, and one I never would have thought of. Sandable too.

    Plywood I’ve noted has some flexibility, but then I’m guessing that the many layers are glued together in such a way as to hold the board rigid, and gluing sheets together could benefit from screws. Probably not a bad idea to listen to the construction so as to discern whether it would fail when you least expect it and are far out from shore in shark infested waters. Mind you, flake is a tasty treat, although they’d be hard to catch – and who can forget the shark scene in The Perfect Storm?



  31. Yo, Chris – The trick is to make the murder look like an accident. But, the perp always seems to overlook some small detail that gives them away.

    When it comes to the dog / bathroom wars, “you reap what you sow.” Crime doesn’t pay, either 🙂

    As your not even a voting member, best avoid Samoan politics.

    Oil prices make me neither happy nor sad. They just are.

    As far as buddhists, etc. go (anarchists, the bike people, ad nauseam) they’ve all got their hobby horses to ride. And are serious as a stroke when it comes to their beliefs. I tend to take the movements that can laugh at themselves, a bit, far more seriously. At least they’re more fun to be around. My buddy Scott is deep into Buddhism. At least, he studies it a lot. I try to look interested, when he starts banging on about it.

    I’d say half my evening meals are beans and rice (etc.). It’s the etc. that jazzes things up, and gives you different flavor profiles.

    Kafka probably wouldn’t appreciate a well run bureaucracy. What would he have to write about? But he certainly caught poorly run bureaucracies, which are all around us. Plenty of fodder, there.

    Our local electric companies bills, were very late, this month. Turns out they’re pounding out some wonderful new Ap. (Sarcasm, off.) Of course, it all revolves around a “smart” device. The bill came with a sheaf of paper, singing the praises of said Ap. The paper bill looked pretty much the same … except for the bottom line. I thought it looked a little high, and then I read the small print. That’s the amount if your bill is late and they add a $20 fee. You’ve got to go one line up, to discover the amount you actually owe. If you’re on time. Which I always am. I figure sooner or later, they’ll stop sending out paper bills. Or, charge you an arm and a leg (and a first born) to continue the practice.

    Re: The Brando quote. Or, the script writer could.

    Here, fish and chips are usually dosed with catsup. But, one can usually get malt vinegar, on request. My preferred method. Classy places usually provide a wedge of lemon and tartar sauce.

    Silly me. Of course I’ve read Graves. He wrote “I, Claudius” (and “Claudius the God.”) I didn’t watch the Graves film, yet. I wanted something lighter, so, I’m plowing through a series called “Timeless.” About time travel. I find I’m just watching the episodes that are set in times I’m interested in. Most of the “trips” take place after the 1770s.

    And, besides, last night was “interesting.” About 9pm, the EMTs knocked at my door. Elinor had another anxiety attack, and they were whisking her off to the hospital. She seemed fine, going out. I think she was expecting them to check her vitals, and reassure her that she wasn’t having a heart attack or stroke. As they had done in the past. Nope. Off to the hospital, she went. So, I moved, dog, food and a couple of toys over to my place. Closed up her apartment. Closed the window, turned off a few lights and the TV … once I had sorted out the difference between her phone and the remote 🙂 . I claim not having my glasses with me.

    Well, her daughter and son-in-law brought her back, around 2:30am. Being a night owl, I was still up. So, no drama. Well, none on my part. Her relatives are in their 70s, and not in such great shape, themselves. I went down and talked to the son-in-law while the daughter was getting Elinor settled in. So he wouldn’t die of boredom. They REALLY want to get her into assisted living, but I’ve been hearing that for two years. But, I think, each incident like this is one step closer.

    I’m lucky I get my nice free range eggs from Julia, for $3 per dozen. But I’ll have to do something else, come winter. Lew

    PS: According to my electric bill, my energy use this month(26 days) was 147 kWh (with an average temperature of 54F). Last month (24 days) was 164 kWh (average temperature 50F). This month, last year, (32 days) was 185 kWh (average temperature 54F.) My average daily use is 6 kWh. My average daily cost is $1.35. “Check out SmartHub for a new and improved way to mange your account!” No thanks. Just get my bill to me in a timely manner and don’t screw it up.

  32. Chris:

    When we went into town today, the whole way we were behind a truck pulling a Vermeer wood chipper of some kind. What do you bet that now I have seen yours, I start seeing Vermeer all over the place?


  33. Chris,

    My first boss at the county liked Pink Floyd. So do I. We often listened to one of his albums, especially the song “Another Brick in the Wall”. He’d often tell me, “DJ, at this place that’s all you are, another brick in the wall. You’ll learn that. All they care about is having a brick to fill every slot. Those who quit or retire are soon forgotten and replaced by other bricks.” And he was right.

    Worse things could happen than to have no money, forcing you to concentrate on studies. Been there, done that.

    I get a good laugh every time I watch that Kavanagh video – his “anger management” comment always has me in stitches. Every time. Problem is, I can’t simply watch one or two of his videos. Nope. Before I know it, two hours have gone by.

    I don’t consider it harming the chocolates. More like they’ve been rerouted.

    My money is also on the raven. Ravens seem to be playing a long game. I remember several years ago, maybe see a raven once a year with an entire murder of crows chasing it. Gradually, more frequent raven appearances. Last year, one raven nest. This year, at least 4 nearby. They taunt the crows now. Poor robins don’t stand a chance. Ravens will eventually get their meal of robin eggs or hatchlings.

    Today’s walk with Avalanche was about an hour earlier than usual. This meant that a LOT of dogs were outside. Every one of them had to bark at Avalanche. It was a regular call to arfs.


  34. Hi Pam,

    Mick is cool, and we all must admit this truth, but Taawi is the whole next level.

    Before all the craziness, the Editor and I enjoyed a comedy festival show from the uncannily awesome Emma Malik and her rescued Labrador. Emma has a gift with animals and can enter their world. Emma Malik. The show was intimate, and she even brought out her pet stick insect. Does it get better than that?

    There was a recent contender for worlds oldest dog, and dare I mention that it happened to be a Kelpie? World’s oldest dog? Australian kelpie Maggie dies after 30 years on a dairy farm. Isn’t the face of the old dog just lovely?

    Beware the Vermeer’s as I have it on good authority that they do the job, but are expensive. What a predicament.



  35. Chris:

    What a lovely old Kelpie. You have many years of bliss ahead of you – double, in fact.

    Wow – I could have a stick insect for a pet! We just can’t afford the time or money for pets right now. Except stick insects . . .


  36. Hi DJ,

    The ending of the song with the angry Englishman shouting at school kids was quite memorable. And it also raises the uncomfortable question: which is better, meat or pudding? Wars have been fought over less.

    And then there is the unspoken truth that with a work situation, a person cannot go back. Been there and done that, and then left again. Nothing had changed. 😉 Truth to tell, once it did work and I’m still working away there, but I had not exactly left that situation – it was complicated. In another situation at the top end of town days the replacement worked out not so good and I was invited to help them out of the mess for a time. I did so, and then I left again. Leaving presents are not nearly as good the second time around.

    You’re right, it wasn’t all that bad. And the marks ended up being pretty decent. It did cost me that social group though, but they’d moved beyond my younger self anyway.

    Hehe! Yeah Mr Kavanagh is pretty funny with that comment. It was a delightful way to scare off another person from the piano. It doesn’t quite yell crazy, but if you heard that comment, would you move? I would. 🙂 Yes, well interweb rabbit holes and all. Watched him and his mate do the blues. What a voice. Hey, you started this!!! (spoken as if we were six years old!)

    What about delayed in transit as an explanation for the chocolates? Just had a 70% cacao choccie and it’s zinged me up. Boom! I’d bought the Editor a hamper of Lindt chocolates for her birthday a while back, and somehow it has been left to me to doll these treats out to her. It was a big hamper and contained about 250 of the things (we did an average weight calculation to asses the total number – a calculation which you’d no doubt approve of). The problem now becomes, the chocolates are just over there, and they’re calling to me, like the dread siren song. DJ, I must stay strong.

    You never really know. We have a lot of smaller birds here and they do stirling work in the gardens consuming insects. They’re usually very fast, very prodigious, and highly alert – all useful survival strategies. Split the fallen tree (shown in last weeks blog) today into firewood and I had the magpies and kookaburras lining up for the witchetty grubs. Both birds had to dodge each other and the Kelpies. It was a fraught moment, but most of the birds enjoyed a good protein meal.



  37. Hi Lewis,

    Thanks for the link to the tree planters. Wow. I would have so loved to have worked with that lot. And yeah, they would work hard. Respect. The things that they would have learned about themselves up there.

    We worked in the forest today ourselves. The tree dudes cut up the fallen tree yesterday into discs, and today we then split them and hauled them off to a sunny locale in order to dry and season. The tree was incidentally far larger than I’d previously realised and some of the discs were three to four feet across, and very heavy. Didn’t quite finish the job. The plan for tomorrow is to tackle burning off the crazy large old loggers stump which I showed in the photo last week. The forests soils can eat the ash for sure, but not as it is at the moment as a preserved charred old stump. I really enjoy getting out into the forest cleaning up that detritus the loggers left over. We’ve had a lot of night time critters lurking around the orchards of late. I awoke last night to hear the loud call of a barking owl. Hopefully the owl was consuming the rats? I’m leaving the rats alone for a few days so that they become comfortable again and then I can observe how the last two are getting into and out of the chicken enclosure. Slowly I’m making it much harder for the rats.

    I’ve noticed that such murderous folks tend to believe that they are smarter than everyone else, and in hubris their activities are detected. And it probably is hard not to make mistakes. Incidentally did I mention that the Editor enjoyed your recommendation of the series Prodigal Son? A shame that there is no series three forthcoming.

    Hehe! You have no argument with me about the dog/bathroom incident. I erred, and paid the price.

    Thanks for the advice regarding Samoan politics, and I’ve been dodging that gear for a decade now – it isn’t easy I can tell you. What is working for me is lining up the excuses in advance and wheeling them off when necessary. Despite all that, we’re all good with the tree dudes and have a good working relationship.

    Exactly, oil costs what it costs – on all fronts. I put two gallons of diesel to a good long term investment with the excavations last week. I tend to believe that it was a solid investment. Used a tiny bit of petrol today to clean up the farm/forest. It’s amazing stuff, and can do amazing things. A shame that people take it for granted.

    Actually, that’s true isn’t it? The Editor and I have been discussing self evident truths in relation to belief systems recently, and yeah being able to laugh at yourself is an indicator of a solid basis, or at least the acknowledgement of a dodgy basis. Yeah, like yesterday I chucked in a really amusing observation in my reply to you – about lacking the competency for such domestic arrangements – and man, you’re like giving me nothing… Probably wasn’t all that amusing, I guess. 😉

    I met an Abbess many years ago at a social occasion, and she was a very serious and humourless person. Mate, I tried so hard to be charming and witty, and she too was giving me nothing… I’m probably a charmless man.

    Man, I dunno, some people I encounter manage to talk at me without engaging in dialogue. You have to admit, it’s an impressive achievement, and I’ve always wondered: Do they know what they do? What do you reckon about that?

    It’s weird isn’t it how people believe that meals should look a certain way, but I too enjoy beans and rice meals. We had vegetarian sliders (in home made focaccia bread) and the basis for the patty was French lentils. So tasty.

    That’s a classic piece of understatement regarding Kafka! Thanks for the laughs.

    Mate, bills are going electronic and it does make you wonder what happens to the people who used to work in mail rooms? Sometimes there is no option to receive a paper bill, and some gubarmunt departments no longer even send out reminders – they expect compliance. Hey, remember Ed209 from RoboCop? You have thirty seconds to comply… And I avoid invites to log onto systems in order to retrieve bills. What the heck is wrong with these folks – if you want to get paid, you have to send a bill. Far out.

    That’s a sneaky trick with the late fee, and I’ve noted a similar thing down here.

    Hehe! It is possible that Mr Brando learned the lines in advance. Maybe he had a coach?

    Interestingly ketchup is not usually seen down here, we have tomato sauce instead – which is a different concoction. And just to throw a spanner in the works, tomato sauce is generally applied cold (or room temperature), but then I read that in other countries it is warmed. My mind has now been blown! Do you see tomato sauce in your part of the world?

    I thought that too about I, Claudius. If I recall correctly, you mentioned that the original series was far better than the remake? And I too have to take a break and intersperse non fiction with fiction.

    Fingers crossed that Elinor is OK? And the EMT’s might be adapting to repeated requests? You don’t know. How’s H doing with the upheaval to her routine? You mentioned that she’d been acting a bit weird recently.

    That’s good value for Julia’s eggs, especially as you know of their origins. The chickens here are in their off-time of the year. They’re regrowing their feathers after the autumn moult, and we’re down to one egg per day now.

    Exactly, don’t mess it up is the correct sentiment with such businesses – they have just one job. 🙂 Lewis, statistics like that are catnip to me. You’re doing really well, and by way of comparison, that’s about the amount of electricity we use most days. When we were living in the big smoke, we got the electricity down to 3kWh per day, but there was gas space heating (only one room was heated) and gas cooking, so that reduced the demand for electricity. Interestingly, the house was a terrace house in a row of terraces. The party walls on each side were four bricks thick, and the neighbours used to heat their homes, and the bricks would eventually heat up and radiate heat into the inside of our home. It’s kind of cheating really, but it works!



  38. Hi Pam,

    You can only hope so. I’m assuming that because the Kelpie lived on a dairy farm that the dog was drinking fresh, raw unpastuerised milk. The owner mentioned something about the dogs love of milk. That stuff straight from the cow is rich.

    Pam, you do sound rather busy of late, and so I appreciate you taking the time to drop by and say hello and add in a cheery comment. Always appreciated.

    I’m dreaming of greenhouses and flat land!



  39. Yo, Chris – In this part of the world, most of the tree planters are crews of Hispanic gents. Grab one of those rounds, polish a side, slap four legs on it and voila! coffee table.

    So is the Barking Owl, barking mad? 🙂

    I’m glad the Editor like “Prodigal Son.” Yup. It’s tragic that there was no season three. Last night I watched the latest Spider Man movie. Worth a bowl of popcorn. But I must say, this multi-verse thing is getting very confusing.

    Re: Your comment on complicated domestic arrangements. I thought you were just stating a fact. Not trying to tell a joke. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it. 🙂

    Our building manager also has no sense of humor. I don’t even bother to make the effort, anymore. Well, there’s “small talk.” It’s actually a thing. They used to teach it to upper class Victorian women, so they wouldn’t say anything outrageous, and spoil their chances for matrimony. I saw a quote, yesterday, attributed to Robert Heinlein “I never learned from a man who agreed with me.”

    Oh, yeah. We’ve got tomato sauce. Tins of the stuff. I can’t see heating it to put it on crisps, but it’s used a lot in Italian, and other kinds of cooking.

    Well, I found out what Elinor was probably wound up, about. Sometime, next month, her caregiver has to do a week of class. It happens, from time to time. Sure, she can get a substitute, but that’s never worked out well, as she’s just not flexible enough to take it in stride. One one hand, she’d rather not have anyone in her house at all. On the other, she knows she can’t, at this point, get along without help.

    A lot of H’s behavioral problems sorted themselves out, once she got rid of all that hair, weighing her down. As H spends time with me, if Elinor has a doctor’s appointment, or something, she’s fine with spending time here. And she’s really relaxed if she can see Elinor leaving.

    Our electric company is trying to get into the internet business. Which I think would be a good thing. The commercial companies have managed to block that, to this time. But I don’t think they’re going to be able to, anymore. They claim fast download speeds, which just aren’t there. And this time, the electric company has documentation to prove it.

    I think I’ve mentioned that in winter, I very seldom have to use heat. Due to the magical wonders of thermal dynamics. Being on the third floor, and all. But, the flip side of that is, in summer, I really need some A/C.

    Family Friendly Warning!!! Very bad language, ahead. Nick Cage has a new movie, coming out. Looks like a lot of fun.

    Nick Cage is playing … Nick Cage. Must be a meta something or other. Lew

  40. Hi Lewis,

    The screen on cooler idea simply confused me. I kept coming back to the question: Why? And no answers popped into my consciousness. There was some vague reference in the article which suggested that sometimes products are shown on the screen and are not present inside the fridge. Hmm. I’m not into this new idea.

    Ah, mate, any work to do with trees on a small scale is seriously hard work. The tree dudes earn their money, and cleaning up afterwards is no less of a job. We got back into the forest today and began burning off the huge tree stump left over by the loggers which I flipped up the right way last week using the hired machine. Today was hard work too. As I did my stretching routine this evening, I was a touch crunchy of limb! Actually, I’ve gotten off to a very late start this evening.

    Probably is, about the barking owl! 🙂 That’s funny.

    I’m assuming that the petition for a season three fell on deaf ears? I guess the series have to pay their way. I made an error to. There is no soon to be released Star Trek film, although I thought Simon Pegg was writing one – not sure about that. It was a new Star Trek series. The trailer looked really good and maybe they even remembered that they are there to tell a good story. I do so get sick of the plot line which has dominated the Star Trek movies – Earth is in peril, we must act! Sure it’s in peril… How about just telling a good story again? Is it that much to ask for? Maybe it is…

    Yeah, the multiverse is confusing to me too. Been a lot of Batman’s. I quite liked Michael Keaton as Batman, he added a sense of fun and comedy to the films. I really enjoyed The Joker film, but far out it was a bleak tale. Hey, Mr Keaton seems rather well preserved for his age. Does he have a ring of power?

    Hehe! It was a pretty funny line, and it turned into a total fizzer. Respect, I like your story, it’s good. I’d heard someone else say it years ago and thought to myself, ooo, that’s a great line. Use it on special occasions and stuff.

    I’m not necessarily of the opinion that still waters run deep – mate, those silent guys have nothing to say. But on the other hand, I am something of a total chatterbox, and I can lay the blame on the old house mates in the photo last week who taught me how to speak to anyone. They had the gift of the gab – as it was once referred to as. Mostly I understand that other people feel awkward in social situations, and so I fill in the blanks, look after them so that they enjoy themselves, and get them talking. At the very least, there is always the weather to discuss, although some folks have disparaged that line of inquiry. That’s a good quote too, but then what does he do when he encounters someone who agrees with him? Does that infer that there are no greater depths to plumb in a topic? Me thinks not.

    I’m guessing that your tomato sauce is our passata if it is used that way? Dunno. Tomato sauce is kept in a bottle (plastic these days) and stored in the fridge much like catsup (what’s up cats? 🙂 )

    Lewis, please forgive me here and lend me your understanding. I have a client who has not allowed me for all manner of reasons to take a week off for a few years. Everyone needs a week off, and so I’m having a great deal of trouble empathising with Elinor’s plight. Sorry… Maybe a long while ago I realised that I am the help. That’s what I do and how I’m sometimes seen. I much prefer working with people who have had a very rough time of things because they have an understanding of what they are getting when I turn up and bring joy into their experience. People who have not experienced the pain that is dealing with others in my profession have unrealistic expectations.

    H is a true lady of the finest breeding!

    Hmm, my understanding was that somehow smart meters are able to use the poles and wire connections to transmit data to the electricity companies. An intriguing concept, and some people use such connections in their homes. I can’t see why it won’t work.

    🙂 Win on one hand, lose on the other. Our very seriously insulated house has to allow in fresh air via windows. Even when it is 28’F outside. I don’t believe that there is a one size fits all response to climate when it comes to building construction.

    Thanks for the film link. So good. And Neil Patrick Harris too. It’s gonna be good.



  41. Yo, Chris – I wonder if the coolers will make you stand there, through an advert, before releasing the latch? Of course, the dream is that you’ll walk by things and an ad will blare at you, based on the algorithms stored on your smart device. Which, of course, everyone will carry everywhere. To avoid being mowed down by a driverless car, if nothing else.

    Might try doing your stretching routine, before doing the hard yards.

    I think there was a bit of chatter about a new Star Trek movie. You Know What pretty much threw film and TV production into disarray. It was the death knell for many series and film projects.

    I read an interesting interview with Wolfgang Puck. He’s a “celebrity” chef, with many restaurants. About the problems luring back workers to that industry. He’s of the opinion that restaurant workers discovered the joys of not working evenings, weekends and most holidays.

    There’s a new film that’s getting a lot of chatter. A multiverse movie not based on a comic book character. “Everything Everywhere All at Once.” There was a good article about it in the Atlantic on-line magazine.

    I was never much of a Batman fan, but I really liked Ben Affleck in the role. He also had some very funny line. Maybe Mr. Keaton just has a really good cosmetic surgeon? 🙂

    Elinor had a pretty rough time of it, in her life. Single mom raising three daughters on a waitresses wage. I know, your Mum did the same, more or less. But this was two or three generations prior, and, I think, things were harder. The way she hordes food, I think there was a lot of food insecurity, there.

    I went out in the garden, yesterday. Started disassembling my small plot. So easy to get distracted. 🙂 I also weeded out the strawberry bed, and that wasn’t even on the schedule. The strawberries are beginning to blossom. I think my Jerusalem artichoke is beginning to break ground. I also was at the veg story, yesterday, and saw some shallots. So, I bought three and popped them in the ground. ‘Cause why not? 🙂 Not that I’ve ever cooked with shallots, before.

    I ran across something about shallots that struck me as funny.

    “When swapping, make sure to measure with already-chopped onions. Once chopped, you can substitute with a 1:1 ratio of shallots to onions, but if a recipe calls for more than ½ cup of shallots, slow your roll. That means the shallots are important, and this is not a time to play with onions.”

    That was from the “Bon Appetit” website, just to give credit where credit is due. Lew

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