Time and Money

Earlier in the week I heard the refrain: do what you love, and you’ll never work a day or a night. That’s a load of rubbish. I already do what I love, it’s just sometimes there’s too much love. And then I hate what I love. It’s complicated. But yeah, sometimes I just want to keep things simple and easy, and not do too much love, err sorry I meant to write, work. That’s not always easy though.

My family has been on this continent for a number of generations, but the genetic heritage is Scottish. There are clichés about the protestant work ethic, and they might be true. All I know is that I work hard, and I’m pleased with that. It sounds strange when I type the words out, but I do enjoy working.

A few weeks ago I was offered a one off job, which from past experience begins at 7am and usually ends about 11pm. It’s a long work day. It’s a fun job because I get to sit and chat with all sorts of people for a lot of the day. For someone as chatty as I, that is no hardship. And usually I dealt with people having issues, and so there was no hurry, and we’d just talk and try and resolve the problem. Unfortunately, this time around the instructions indicated that I’d be required to wear a mask all day long. I wasn’t really excited by that idea, and so the offer for work was politely declined.

It’s always dangerous to set off my thinking processes when it comes to work, because afterwards I began considering the pay. The pay offered was around $25 an hour. Seems like a good deal, but then I started really thinking further about the job. The median house price is now (Holy Carp!) $1.12m (the m in this case is for million, folks) for metropolitan Melbourne. And about a bit over half that in regional areas. That’s a lot of money. A rough back of the envelope calculation suggests that I’d have to work 21.5 years full time at $25 per hour, not taking out taxes, in order to purchase a median priced house whilst spending money on nothing else. I like working hard, but I’m not excited about that much love, err, sorry work.

A cheeky perspective might be that it ain’t worth getting out of bed these days for $25 per hour. And possibly it isn’t.

Money sure ain’t worth what it used to be worth. When I was a kid, you’d hear wealthy people described as millionaires. So passé, it’s all about billionaires these days. I definitely don’t recall any billionaires when I was a kid. But we’ve got them nowadays. Yay for them!

It makes you wonder though, just how much money is actually floating around? Economists refer to money supply using the terms M1, M2 and M3. The labels are meant to confuse you. The simplest measure is M1, which includes currency, demand deposits, and other liquid deposits, including savings deposits. In less technical terms, that’s the total amount of mad cash. Here is how M1 has grown over my lifetime.

The supply of mad cash be crackin’

Blind Freddy can see that the total supply of mad cash for the past decade has almost doubled as it did the decade before that. The problem is, if the supply of actual real stuff which anyone can purchase in the country doesn’t increase at the same rate, that stuff costs more. It’s common sense, because if people have more mad cash for purchasing a limited supply of stuff, they’ll happily pay higher prices. That’s inflation for you. And the news on that front lately is candidly not good.

From some perspectives the money supply is a commons, or a public good. The government manages this public good on our behalf, but if they go rogue with the printing press and just churn out mad cash with no thought for tomorrow, then there’ll eventually be problems for everyone with inflation. And here we are today.

I noticed an article on median house prices the other day: Melbourne house prices surge almost $660 per day, but the market may have peaked . A rough back of the envelope calculation suggests that the 16 hours working at $25 per hour will yield $400, which won’t even cover the $660 per day surge in house prices, and I’m assuming that surge includes working weekends too. Far out, I’m getting tired even thinking about that much work. No wonder it feels as if we’re only going backwards.

Sandra and I sat across the desk from a lawyer way back in 1995. He was lecturing us young folks that property was a long term decision. And given that we weren’t married at the time, he also advised that it was something not to be entered into lightly. He was right too, we lost plenty of mad cash when we sold that first house. But at $90,000 the house was cheap relative to our incomes. At the time, if we spent mad cash on nothing else, we could have paid the house off in 2.5 years. My how times have changed.

Regular readers will recall that last week a bifurcated tree split and fell.

Plum investigates a fallen tree

With over ten thousand trees, a lot goes wrong with trees, all of the time. Every month or some guy work here helping me out with such work – I call them, the tree dudes. They’re good guys, competent, and I’ve known them for a decade. On Thursday they cut the fallen tree into discs. We then split the discs into firewood. Then hauled the firewood to another sunnier part of the farm.

The fallen tree took a lot of work to clean up. Ruby loves cooking her head in front of the wood heater

The local species of Eucalyptus will not easily burn green (i.e. freshly cut). The sugars in the wood have to dry and the moisture content has to fall. This process takes about twelve to twenty four months, so heating with firewood is a long term proposition. Apparently there used to be a Eucalyptus species which burned green, but all of the early settlers cut them down and used them for fuel.

A Kookaburra keeps a sharp eye out for grubs and other tasty morsels in the firewood

Last week I had access to the amazing diesel powered skid steer machine. The machine was put to work in the final hour of hire cleaning up some of the left over mess that the loggers made during the century they operated in this forest. One very large cut tree stump was half buried and upside down. The machine easily flipped the stump up right again.

It’s hard to explain what the loggers were thinking to themselves when they left this mess

This week, I began to burn off the tree stump.

The author burns off a large old tree stump left behind by the loggers

The dreaded autumn leaf colour change is here – as are the countless tourists. It does look pretty, I get that, but the mountain range is just not that well set up for such numbers of tourists.

Leaf change is here. Ruby studiously ignores the leaves

Onto the flowers:

Rhubarb flowers produce an intriguing scent and self seed prolifically
The Salvia plants are enjoying the conditions this year
Some of the Salvia plants produce stunning colours
The Roses are enjoying the late autumn warmth and rain
How stunning is this Rose?

The temperature outside now at about 8.00am is 11’C (52’F). So far this year there has been 306.8mm (12.1 inches) which is up from last weeks total of 263.4mm (10.4 inches)

60 thoughts on “Time and Money”

  1. Yo, Chris – In the immortal words of Maynard G. Krebs (“Dobbie Gillis, circa 19 something or other), “Work!!!” Always with an air of great alarm. 🙂

    When I was a wee small lad, somehow or another I got the idea into my head that if I made $1,000 a month, I’d be as happy as the proverbial hog in slop. Maybe my little mind could just grasp that amount. LOL, well, my retirement income is a bit more than that. I get by. There’s enough to put some in savings and a bit of mad cash left over. A buck ain’t what it used to be.

    A phrase that came to mind when I was reading your post is “deferred gratification.” I see headlines where the credit card debt is up, the credit card debt is down. Same goes for savings. Deferred gratification might make for an interesting post, some day. It may seem like all I do is read books and watch DVDs. But there are a host of maintenance things that must be done, before I can roll in a little recreation. If things want to run anything close to smoothly.

    Julia was at the Club, this morning. She’s very financially astute. One of the fellows was saying that his son was chomping at the bit, to buy a house. Her observation was to save money now, as house prices are going to head south. In a big way.

    Plum really isn’t investigating that tree. It’s a diversionary tactic. She’s really on the lookout for rabbits. Or, rats! 🙂

    That’s quit the bonfire. Were there S’mores involved? Or at least a marshmallow or sausage on a stick? Nothing tastes better than a flame touched bit of sausage.

    Your leaf change looks spectacular. Maybe I should come take a look? 🙂 Ruby also has an agenda. “Maybe if I ignore the leaves, so will everyone else.

    I just cut the blossoms out of our rhubarb, last week. I notice there was one more that was hiding under all those leaves. It’s hours are numbered. Your roses are still spectacular. Especially, that orangy one. Well, I’d better do my stretching and get out in the garden. There’s work (!) to be done. Lew

  2. Hello Chris,
    What a beautiful heap of firewood! Wood burning makes us warm many times throughout the year. I think that the meaning of life is life, so working on buildings, food, cooking and time together are all meaningful endeavours, even if there is indeed sometimes too much love. Beautifully put!

    Money printing/MMA/debasing of the currency is exciting in the beginning – Free Money! – and terrible in the end – No Money!?
    Book tip of the day – Frederick Taylor “The Downfall of Money” about the hyperinflation in Germany 1923. It starts with the economic situation during WWI, and chronicles the events leading up to the hyperinflation in 1923 and sets the stage for the 1929 stock crash. The quotations from leading politicians and business men of the day are very, very similar to the official narrative of today.

    The only think we don’t know beforehand is the sequential order – first downward crash of asset prices, or first hyperinflation and restarting with a new currency? I suspect that the sequence is unknowable today.
    What do you think?

    On a more positive note, we just signed a rural property in Sweden and will move there in July. In November I will move in my new “mother trees” and restart the nursery business in 2023. Small but flat, in comparison to your place. I hope to convert all my financial assets into solar PV, solar water heaters and biological systems before the purchasing power disappears…


  3. Hi Goran,

    People get weird about trees and firewood, but there’s enough firewood here just from the trees that do fall, or where large limbs drop to the ground. The challenge in this fire adapted environment is to clean up before a huge fire comes through and wipes everything out. The last one happened in 1983: Ash Wednesday bushfires.

    It interests me greatly that the fire came through here, and you can see the path it travelled in the resulting regrowth vegetation arrangements. But what is really interesting is that many of the largest and oldest trees survived. Few people other than the Indigenous folks seem to have grappled with the why of that story.

    Exactly! 🙂 This is indeed what the blog is about. Respect.

    I must inform you that I am immune to book recommendations – everyone here has trained me in this regard for many years, it’s like regularly attending a martial arts Dojo and practising! I see your book reference and raise you: The Great Crash, 1929 😉

    Geographical area plays into the story as well. I recall distinctly when the recession of the early 1990’s hit hard, property prices declined in the rural areas first. In some respects it was similar to the 1929 matter when the drought reduced the economic viability of the land. Economics is a funny thing in that real assets remain behind after economic destruction, what is lost is the paper / perceived worth of the asset. But the asset, it’s usually still there. Strange huh?

    I agree, the sequence is unknowable, but if I had to hazard a guess – we may see rationing by price. At this stage I believe that is the most likely outcome, but I don’t have a crystal ball in this matter.

    Well done you and your family, and I hope the move further north and maybe a bit west to your roots works out well. It’s always good to be on home soil.

    I worry about such things too – because that is what rationing by price looks like. Mate, I’m not here to dispense advice, but it is worthwhile recalling that you have to walk in both worlds. The world of now, and the world of the future. Always was it thus. But then sometimes you can have chance encounters in a pub with a bloke wanting to offload eight perfect but used solar panels for free. It is at that moment you have to grasp opportunity!



  4. Hello Chris
    I find myself in full agreement with you. House prices continue to rise at an insane rate here. We keep being told that there will be a crash soon,
    Work has always been something that I enjoyed what ever the job, though I enjoyed physical work the most. This meant that I often did jobs which other people considered to be beneath me!
    Glorious weather still and the world has leafed up and coloured green. My winter view of the sea has been obliterated and vegs + strawberries are growing.


  5. Hi Lewis,

    The word ‘work’ should ring alarum bells, and dare I say it, but it all comes back to Gilligan’s Island in the end. Were they better off on the island? Who knows, but you have to admit that it is like my general quest-theorem: Are the hippies winning? Still, sadly no answers to this day. Candidly to me as a young fella, life seemed pretty ideal on the island except for the general level of background craziness. The actors looked clean and well fed at the very least, and it sure beat the heck out of Lord of the Flies (a tiresome book with a cut-short and unrealistic ending).

    Mate, I had similar thoughts as a kid, and even went so far as to crunch the numbers. Being a mercenary little blight did not help matters. Of course I had not understood the general background, which I see nowadays. All you can do is your best at the time. And hopefully, like your income it suffices. We’ll all be fine. Before the decline of the west, enjoy yourself, have a chat with mates, bake the occasional muffin and/or biscuit to share. After the decline of the west, enjoy yourself, have a chat with mates, bake the occasional muffin and/or biscuit to share. If you know of a better mental approach, please do let me know? Beats the stuffing out of me. 🙂

    There is something more that I’ve heard to the credit card story. The younger folks in the audience disdain credit cards, which is why the market share of lucrative merchant fees may have declined. They like the buy-now-pay-later apps instead. I’d have to suggest that a band of your generation may have once belted out: Meet the new boss, same as the old boss. But you know, if it makes them feel better?

    Possibly about house prices. I dunno, it kind of depends on the official response to inflation – at a guess. When far in debt, how many interest rate hikes can be tolerated becomes an interesting question. But whatever the case maybe, what is not sustainable soon becomes unsustainable.

    You know your Dame Plum – she was doing just that. A reconnaissance mission. I had her out working with me today for a few hours. It’s the Anzac day public holiday today and it was a beautiful day. Really nice weather. The tree stump was attended to. I set up a permanent shelf for the chainsaw chain grinder / sharpener (yay!). I pulled apart my grease gun to find out what was going wrong with it, and then reassembled it and used it on some of the machines which needed greasing. And three water tanks were emptied and rolled down the hill so that I could connect them up to the new shed (they still need to be cleaned out first). Me tried (sic). 🙂

    No s’mores. May have cooked my head slightly. Does that count?

    Hey, the Editor and a mate went up to the more fashionable end of the mountain range today to get a coffee. It was feral with tourists coming up to see the lead change. I feel for the people working in those conditions as they’re doing it tough.

    The rhubarb will spread you know, if you let it. 🙂 Like Triffids, but perhaps more edible (except for the toxic as leaves). Hope you didn’t work too hard and that the weather was obliging.

    What a nightmare about the screens. I could see that outcome. Yes, you must watch the advertisement before the latch is released. The thing I wonder is what if two people want to get access to the fridge? And surely sooner or later, people will just leave the doors open and bypass the nuisance. A very Fight Club response.

    I’d heard that about smart phones protecting you from the driverless car suggestion. That also assumes that a person leaves their bluetooth enabled – this is not always a given. I’ve shut that baby down tight and it does what I want it to do – not what some other interested parties are interested in the thing doing. One of the problems with the device is that my ear sometimes presses upon the touch screen when used and all sorts of weird things can then happen. The day my ear said do not disturb. Wouldn’t that make for a classic book title?

    I dunno man, seven hours of cutting and hauling timber to the fire knocks me out. It is possible the stretches before hand would help, but I’m a true believer about the stretches afterwards. I’m used to hard physical labour and so it isn’t that much of a hassle, but I can see as I get older I need to factor in more down time. I’m guessing it would be far harder to get into serious hard work as an older fella when a person hasn’t done that for many a year. It’s not for everyone. And I see a lot of older dudes regularly pitting themselves on expensive push bikes against the main road over the mountain range. Have they kept that effort up over the years – that’s the question I ask myself.

    I thought I’d read something about a new Star Trek movie, but who knows, I might have dreamt it. I do so hope if they get around to making a new movie they drop the Earth under attack business – it’s very boring because no other alien seems to have been successful in that film franchise. Once the starship Enterprise is launched, you know the enemy is f@#$$d.

    That’s possible about the worker shortage. Man it is brutal out there if you still have your shingle hanging out – you’re getting smashed. The thing I don’t understand is how all these people can be lurking around enjoying themselves whilst other people work. It makes little sense to me because few if anyone follows my strategy of cost basis reduction. I have this weird notion that it must be some sort of debt binge. If that is true, there is going to be one heck of a hangover. But I don’t understand any of this. It is very possible that none of it does in fact make any sense. Dunno.

    Yeah, I’ve seen Ben Affleck in the Batman guise. He’s a good actor, and everyone loves a redemption tale for sure.

    Things would have certainly been far harder for Elinor than my mother – who still would have had a tough time of it. You’re probably right about the food insecurity. Man, we’ve all got our share of problems, some more than others, and rarely is hardship dished out equally. I’ve been dirt poor for example – I know what that feels like – but you know, I chose to treat other people as I’d be want to be treated, until they show their evil hand that is – then all bets are off and I consider what Sun Tzu wrote.

    I’ll be curious as to hear of your experience with growing and consuming shallots. You don’t usually see them grown in this part of the world – dunno why. Down here the brown onion is the favourite. Onions are complicated plants.

    Ah, perhaps we shall discover whether you do indeed know your onions? I don’t… Ook!



  6. Hi Inge,

    Well yes, the same story about house price crash is being spruiked down here. And you may notice that the article I linked to has that very thought in the title. Has it happened yet? No. And thank you for agreeing with me. I don’t get it, if you don’t own a house you can work full time and economically go backwards. It makes no sense at all to me. It disproves the great economic dream which is suggested to people, but on the other hand I have an odd hunch that people enjoy unearned income.

    I’ve never purchased property with the thought that it would be worth more with no work involved. I’ve chosen the harder path and added in sweat equity every time. If I were smarter I would have simply bought numerous houses and sat on my backside and reaped the financial rewards. Instead I worked that backside off repairing and restoring and have learned a lot.

    It is worthwhile mentioning that since we left the big smoke I believe the city has added an additional million souls. Those people want and need to be housed, and this too has driven up house prices. The powers that be of either political stripe are unanimous in there desire for that outcome. It needn’t be this way.

    Respect. I too enjoy the physical work around here. And sadly that is so true, but I’m guessing just like you, we both shrugged our shoulders and kept on doing what was important to either of us. 🙂 Some of my neighbours look down their noses at us because we do so much physical work around the property. It’s crazy because if I wanted, I could claim much social status – that’s just not me (or possibly you for that matter).

    I may have mentioned an ongoing paid work issue. It’s a funny one because it is relevant to this discussion. My paid work varies greatly within the profession, but for them I do work which is fairly low status. And unfortunately I’m guessing they perceived the low status and that incorrectly may have left them with the impression they could over work me. They’re now finding out just how few people want to do that work. Hmm, perception is a funny thing. Incidentally I chose this varied paid work strategy based on what I learned from the recession of the early 1990’s. Best not to have all your eggs in one basket.

    Hehe! A winter view of the sea sounds lovely, and oh, spring is my favourite season – and down here it is a very long season, followed by a short and hot summer (which didn’t quite happen this year). Out of curiosity (and bear in mind my winters are cold, but milder than where you are) what are some of the early spring vegetables in your garden?



  7. Hi Chris,

    Happy Anzac Day! A public holiday is always a good thing.

    I admit I am not a particularly hard worker when it means doing what other people think I should do for them. I didn’t need to work hard growing up, though I did baby-sit to earn money for books and ice cream. (I still spend money on books, but not much on ice cream; age slows down the metabolism, so eating habits have changed in order to continue to wear all the clothes I have. Books expand my mind but not my waistline.) Then too I looked at the paid work available to me at the time and thought, no thanks. I did take a cashier job the summer between sophomore and junior year of college, discovering that I was right; it wasn’t anything I wanted to do for longer than that.

    Seeing what teachers and professors go through convinced me that teaching for pay meant teaching what somebody else up the line thought was important to know. No thanks. And working as a scientific researcher in a corporation taught me that I didn’t want to do what the corporation wanted me to do for it. The only thing left to do, after I quit that job and we started living on Mike’s utility worker wages, was to learn how to spend as little as possible to minimize paid work. I discovered I liked that a lot, because I could make the decisions and then work based on what made sense for us and for the world at large. That eventually led us to our current situation and to reading your excellent blog and sharing tales with you and all the other excellent people who comment, all of whom have learned how to work for their own goals rather than what we are told we are supposed to work for.

    Being older now, I still enjoy the physical work of the garden, but less of it than I used to do. I’m adjusting what and how much I grow accordingly. My planning now is to figure out how to gradually wind down the gardening and yard work as Mike and I age and what kind of mind work I can do to earn a bit of mad cash when the need arises. I have adventures in progress on that front.

    It’s been a cool April, with more frosty mornings than usual. While I have the bed for the tomatoes, peppers, and eggplants prepared, I will wait to plant it until tomorrow or Wednesday to avoid the possibility of another frosty morning or two. The flowering trees are at their time of highest beauty and leaves are emerging from buds on the trees and beginning to expand. Spring is short but lovely here.


  8. Yo, Chris – Well, that was mildly exciting. We lost our power, for 15 minutes, or so. I thought I heard some kind of crash, just as my computer shut down. Luckily, I was reading your epistle, to me, but hadn’t begun to respond, yet. I did have rice in the nuker, but gave it an extra 5 minutes and it seems fine.

    I also read the book Goran mentioned. It was a while back, but as I remember, it was fine, but thought it didn’t have enough “human interest,” stories. As in, how did it effect the folks in the street? How did people adapt and survive?

    Consulting my handy “Field Guide to Odd Sorts”, Maynard G. Krebs was a beatnik. A bit of a different animal than a hippie. 🙂 But to your question as to if the hippies are winning? I think some of the better parts of their ethos filtered through into larger society. More interest in where our food comes from and what’s in it. As one example.

    An interesting (?) side story. When I was at the grocery, last week, I noticed a very fit, I think, Chinese couple. Nothing in their cart but fresh veg. There was also a very fit Sikh family. Mom, Dad and daughter. They were browsing through the tofu, etc. selection and there was a lot of produce in their cart. Then I look around at the Americans … (I include myself in that bunch. Could stand to lose a few pounds). You think they’d get a clue.

    Nice you slipped in a “The Who” reference. 🙂

    Anzac Day just snuck up on me! I haven’t even made my biscuits, yet!

    Nobody is interested in your head as a comestible, except for maybe zombies. And they seem to prefer their brains “on the hoof.” So to speak. Not cooked.

    The Editor gave me an idea. Start a counter movement to come watch the funny tourists and the funny things they do. Which reminds me, back in the day, the Haight Ashbury District of San Francisco was the capitol of the hippies. They started running bus tours through. “See the hippies in their natural habitat!” The citizens of that district began running alongside the buses, holding up mirrors. 🙂

    Our rhubarb is contained in one end of a communal raised bed. They don’t seem bent on world domination. The strawberries from the other end of the bed, however …

    I spent a couple of three hours, working in the garden. Speaking of getting older, you must pace yourself. I was doing a lot of heavy lifting (for a fellow my age), so that was about it. I got the iris transplanted to the outlaw iris bed. Also moved over some garlic I want to save. Almost got the top of my small plot cleaned off and the top soil set aside. One more section to do, tonight. I also moved some buckets of soil from another bed that’s being disassembled, and dumped it in one of the new stock tanks. In five gallon buckets. The weather was just about perfect. But, today, we’ve had rain and I may be dodging showers, this afternoon. Oh, well. Won’t rust.

    “The Day My Ear Said Do Not Disturb” sounds like a good title for a cyber punk novel. At least with a title like that, a lot of people would pick it up and at least read the flyleaf.

    I know what you mean about the Star Trek movies. I watched a lot of the series “Superstition.” Bailed out about season eight. It got pretty repetitive. Gates of hell are creaking open and must shut the gates of hell to avoid the apocalypse. They always did. Got pretty predictable.

    I think there might have been a fair infusion of cash, into the economy, due to so many of us Dusties popping our clogs, due to You Know What. There may be a lot of inheritance money, sloshing about. That may keep people out of the workforce … for awhile. Also, there may be a certain amount of people that discovered that a one income household works just fine. Long live the household economy! I keep casting about for cost basis reductions. I used to eat my two small squares of chocolate and a handful of walnuts, every day. Now, I’m alternating.

    Also, your mother may have got a bit of flack, being a divorced woman. Now back in the 1950s, that was a real burden. I can still remember the comments about divorced people, when I was a kid. Elinor probably got a heap of that. Funny, in my grade school grade, there were 60 kids, and only two had divorced mothers. And both were my best friends.

    The shallots were a real impulse buy. I hadn’t even checked to see if they’d grow here. They will. Here, we have a lot of brown onions. And, red ones (which I prefer) but they don’t keep quit as well. And then we have white onions. The most famous being our Walla Walla Sweet. And since you asked …


    Ya gotta know your onions! Lew

  9. Hello Chris,

    Thanks for the cultural link and I found the 1983 original as well, which I liked even better. It reminded me of the excellent war correspondent’s book “War is a force that gives us meaning” by Chris Hedges. A beautiful account of all shades of ugly that wars bring forth. Another book recommendation. (Oops – I did it again! Sorry!)

    I read Galbraith’s 1929 epic book after you recommended it a couple of years back. I very much like the format, of using contemporary quotes, that feel like signposts along a train ride towards a bridge that we spectators know is broken. The apparent inevitability is painful and the clarity that hind-sight brings is searing.

    Regarding the dilemma of living in different worlds… I think this is a major theme in my life the last ten years. Probably for many other people as well. On the one hand, I need mad cash to get groceries and pay for all kinds of modernity costs, like internet access and property tax. On the other hand I cannot unlearn the lessons from Limits-to-Growth and other insights from my later ecology studies.
    To connect to the topic of last week, most of my mates from the past are no longer interested in talking to me, since I no longer appreciate their bragging about clever career moves and company cars. (I just hate that I was the same fifteen years back.)
    I often feel like I have different identities in different contexts, almost like living in several different worlds at the same time. One is based on physics, the others on economics, politics, wishful thinking etc. etc.

    Almost daily, I feel guilt and shame for all the overshoot I have been contributing to in the past, and I am even more often happy that I changed to a positive profession where I can generate value instead of only extract.

    How do you think about these different realities? Do you usually call it “The world of now, and the world of the future.”?
    Thanks for this phrasing. It sounds good. I will meditate on this one tomorrow in the orchard.


  10. G’day Chris,
    Thanks for the battery info last week. Still not 100% decided on what to buy, but getting there.
    It’s so interesting to speculate on how things will play out, I agree with you and Göran that we can’t predict the detail of what will come. I’m reading “the delusions of crowds” by William Bernstein, which is quite interesting/entertaining. It’s along similar lines to Gilbraith’s book, but makes the connection between religious manias (often focusing on end-times prophesies) and economic manias.
    We got our first significant walnut harvest this year (about 30) and have got 4 or 5 macadamia nuts growing. Those trees are 8 or 9 years old – it takes time. Massive apple and pear harvest — 50 kg each (I’m a bit sick of preserving fruit) and about another 100 kg of plums. Citrus just starting to come in now..
    The composting loo is going well — I empty it into a compost bin which I’m planning to cycle around the fruit trees. What’s been eye-opening is the volume of wee that we produce — 4L/day at least (captured in the toilet — lots of garden wees as well). I didn’t expect it, but the composting loo smells considerably *less* than the flush loo it replaced. Because a small fan keeps it under negative pressure relative to the room, toileting smells never escape into the bathroom.
    Another project I did recently is to set up an outside bath with an old enamel bathtub. Having a bath under a gum tree is rather glorious!
    Cheers, Angus

  11. Hello Chris
    Remember that I have to grow in containers; I have some baths. At the moment there is asparagus, swiss chard which has over wintered and is now producing new leaves. Potatoes are coming up plus Jerusalem artichokes and radishes. Son is planting out for me, the runner bean plants that he started. I say ‘runner beans’ but we use various kinds. Don’t know the name of the best but we call them Isle of Wight beans as Son had them from an old Islander. They have the advantage of tasting good even after being frozen.
    Son has carrots, beetroot, peas, pumpkins, courgettes and butternut squash coming up. He says that the marrow plants are doing poorly.
    We are still getting very cold nights which isn’t helping.

    Here is a very strange incident that occurred yesterday in the supermarket. There was a problem at the till. The cashier couldn’t get the cartons of fruit juice that I had bought, to register on the till. She called a supervisor over who said that these weren’t theirs and therefore I couldn’t have them!!!

    Social status has always amused me in this country. One can make the slightest change to language use and behaviour to confound people. Assumptions are made about me because of my primitive life and some new inhabitants were telling people how staggered they were by the vast number of books in my place.


  12. Hi Claire,

    It is always nice to get a public holiday (although I don’t get paid for such things) – and the weather was amazing. A truly delightful late autumn day.

    This getting older business isn’t all that it’s cracked up to be you know! Still the alternatives put an ending to reading endeavours in this lifetime, and as you note there are always books. Although between you and I, my to-read list has hard limits set due to the sheer number of sneaky book recommendations that come with lovely ongoing dialogue with the many book-worms in this present crew. 🙂

    And for some reason I’ve never worried about my weight, it is what it is and age is never kind. Secretly I’m attempting to grow old disgracefully.

    I did a stretch of retail work for a Tandy Electronics store way back in the day, and quite enjoyed it. It was fun talking to the people who came into the shop and if we didn’t stock whatever they were after I’d send them in the direction of a shop that did sell whatever they were after. But dunno about you, but deep down I’m an introvert and enjoy my quiet time to recover as much as the noisy time.

    Exactly. Your strategy was the exact same strategy which we follow. It works. What amazes me about the strategy is that I discuss it with people, and they nod their heads sagely, and go off and do the exact opposite. When everyone is on that strategy, time to go and do something else – as you and Mike have done. The culture is ingrained.

    Respect, and I enjoy updates on the activities in your garden. I understand the why of your practical response and am thinking of that too. We’re seriously examining how to make this place easier to live with – it’s possible and a lot of the infrastructure work over this year is all about that (although it might bizarrely seem like a lot of work!)

    Beware the frost and may you plant the seedlings out on the most appropriate day – and failing that, that you have spare seedlings!



  13. @ Goran
    I was fascinated by your ‘different identities in different contexts’. In my case I am a different person with different people and not even my family know the whole of me. My husband may have known the whole me, I am not sure. In fact I have to be careful and there needs to be some self censorship with friends. My guess would be that this is true of most of us, we are complex.
    I have just come across some letters to my mother written in the early 1930s from Norway. The man is Norwegian and wrote in German to my mother. What I have found, are her English translations. My curiosity will have to remain unsatisfied.


  14. Hi Inge,

    Thank you very much for the update on your productive garden. Interestingly, we grow very similar crops. And I had forgotten of your drainage requirement to grow plants in pots / larger containers such as the baths (an excellent use of them too). I’m of the opinion that raised beds provide for much warmer soil than what is found in the ground at the same locale. This gives a boost in cooler summers. It is funny you mention that about the marrows – they were difficult getting started here last growing season – but I eventually grew them in a raised bed, and they far outperformed the pumpkins and squashes (which were planted in the cooler soil at ground level) by a factor of about three. A difficult season and I do hope that you avoid such climate conditions.

    Inge, oh my. Your supermarket incident was very strange. Do you have any theories about how the cartons of fruit juice came to be inside the supermarket? And did the curious cashier and/or supervisor head over to that part of the store to check and see if there were any other products similar to the ones you were trying to pay for? I’m presuming they took the juice cartons from you? It all seems rather presumptuous.

    The same class system operates in this country as well. And my understanding of the system is good enough that I realise people give themselves away all of the time. And the differences are minute – such as how one wears a suit. I tell you truly, it takes a lot of suit wearing as a young adult to be able to wear one with a casual aplomb which marks out your social status. Yes, yes, for some reason I too receive similar feedback. 🙂 Is it not wiser to realise that some games are not meant to be won, and even if you do win (sort of) the rewards are not all that great? And then with that freedom, you can go off into the wilderness and do something more useful the time you have available.

    Books are lovely too. I’ve travelled to many a distant shore, and to many a shore that never was, via the humble book.



  15. Hi Lewis,

    The palm oil story barely rated a mention in the local media. It’s big news though. Massive, because food processors chuck that stuff in all manner of products. Oh yeah, it gets used. I don’t enjoy the taste of the oil. You may have noticed that the Editor and I prepare the vast majority of our meals from raw materials with a few products that taste the same as what is purchased. I am aware that food producers were already being squeezed in terms of supply of their ingredients, but it appears that globalisation is unravelling rather rapidly.

    Thought that you might enjoy this peek into our WWII past: They fed Australia when the men went to fight, but it took 40 years for the Land Girls to be allowed to march on Anzac Day

    How people in the street are affected are the stories that capture my attention as well. And with all of the training you folks have provided I’m getting good at dodging and deflecting sneaky book recommendations. It’s a martial arts of the finest calibre.

    Went out for dinner locally this evening. Had a lovely chicken parma, chips and salad. So good, and so yum!

    The hippie question may never be answered fully. Hmm. You know the back to the land folks may have over estimated the productivity of the land, whilst under estimating their needs. I’ve met a few such folks over the years who stuck it out, and usually we have a great chat, but the thing I’ve noted is that they usually aren’t in larger groups. The question of the passenger is one that has haunted me. Perhaps such problems are best nipped in the bud is my thinking at this stage for I have not come across a workable response that doesn’t mean work for other people. It is a complicated problem.

    The next few years will be interesting in the apocryphal curse way for sure on the food side of the story. From my reading last year on soil minerals, I expect that industrial food will contain even less minerals, vitamins, proteins etc. I can’t see how that won’t happen. And if doesn’t contain those, it may contain a heap of energy – that’s life.

    It is a very good song. 😉

    What no Anzac biscuits? Well that’s it. Have you tried a lamington yet? They’re good. And shop them around, test the market and your fortune may possibly be made.

    I wonder if zombies would do well in a war zone? Probably not because everyone would be alert for danger, and possibly in a position to do something about it. Zombies tend to head for those who are poorly defended. That’s my theory anyway.

    Isn’t it fascinating that the freeway supposedly crashed the property prices in the Haight Ashbury District, and probably also galvanised the community? With the cheaper living options, the area clearly enjoyed something of a counter culture. Very interesting. The article I read mentioned that the hippy culture prevailed, but I’m dubious of that claim. Was it Dolly Parton who once claimed that: it costs a lot of money to look this cheap? A very clever observation.

    Oh yes, strawberries are a menace here too. I’m planning on moving them to the future greenhouse, and then severely restricting their numbers. They’re taking over, but not producing many berries!

    True, pacing is everything, and you may forget that as a young fella I did a lot of distance running? The runners who took off super fast, inevitably dropped back and it then for me it became a race of attrition. They never seemed to be able to alter their strategies either. Dunno. Mate, a five gallon bucket would carry some heft to it. Yup, heavy. If anyone argued with you about that, you could say: So we’re going to run a test here. I’ll drop it on your head, and afterwards we’ll see if your opinion as to the supposed light weight remains unchanged? 🙂

    Did you end up getting the showers in the afternoon?

    Now as to an engaging story for the interesting title…

    That is the thing with the Star Trek franchise. If the outcome is known in advance, where’s the sense of defeat? Where is Spock ending up dead of radiation poisoning and having to be sent out as a corpse to some weird terra forming planet? That sounds a bit weird, but it was a story line. Only the even numbered Star Trek films were good. That’s my theory anyway and I’m sticking to it.

    Possibly so about inheritance money. That does happen (perhaps not in the Editors or my case). I have wondered about how the household economy is travelling, but my own perspective on that matter is skewed so I’m entirely sure how other households are reacting. What is of interest is that I’m hearing about inflation quite regularly now in the media and in conversations.

    I had good friends at school too, and appreciated it. 🙂 It’s funny but at the time you don’t really think about the social differences caused by being a kid from a single parent family. But it is there and the first high school I went to was for under privileged kids (what a weird way to describe the situation as if having too much privilege was a good thing!) Divorce seems to be more common these days, and parents always ask me anxiously about my own experience. I tell people to quit the arguing, don’t rubbish talk the other person in the relationship to the kids, and just spend time with the kids. I mean they did have them, it was no choice of the kids to be put in that situation.

    Gotta get to bed.



  16. Yo, Chris – Yup. The oil shortage (the other kind) is going to be … interesting. This morning at The Club, I mentioned the oil to a fellow who’s a bit more with it, than the general run. He had brought in some god awful pastry. He didn’t look alarmed until I pointed at it and said, “There’s probably palm oil, in that.” Sure enough. It seems to be used in a lot of pastries, cookies, and crisps. How are those olive trees of yours, doing? 🙂

    That was a fascinating story about the Land Girls. A few years back, the BBC has a series called “Land Girls.” It ran three seasons, and was very good. I think I read a book about them, a few years back. There was also the Women’s Timber Corp. They did logging, in Britain, during WWII.

    If it’s our Civil War or World War II, I’m most interested in what was going on on the home front. Every once in awhile, I pick up a Saturday Evening Post magazine, from World War II (must be whole copies and from a news stand, so they don’t have that mailing label). The cover art was often about things on the home front. Everything from Victory Gardens to food rationing. Some are quit humorous.

    Tired from the garden, last nights dinner was thrown together. Fried up some eggs and diced them. Brown rice, fresh parsley and garlic, mushrooms and half a can of diced tomatoes. Brussels sprouts on the side. Easy, filling, and actually quit tasty.

    Who is this passenger you’ve referred to? All along, I thought it was Dexter’s dark passenger. But in context, that doesn’t quit work. Clarification, please. 🙂

    The Lamingtons sound fine. Cake dipped in chocolate. But then the coconut? No. Don’t like it. There’s so many other things that sound more palatable. To me.

    Zombies in a war zone? Probably wouldn’t work. They’d be eating both friend and foe. Speaking of zombies, there a new French zombie comedy out. There’s been some hoop-la about the title, but they seem to have settled on “Final Cut.” The story is a remake of a Japanese zombie comedy.

    Ah, so that’s the story of The Haight. (as the cognoscente refer to it.) See: Urban Renewal. It hit a lot of cities hard, in the 1950’s and 60s. Portland, Seattle, San Francisco … etc.. It busted up a lot of tight, sometimes ethnic, blue collar neighborhoods. “Hippy culture prevailed?” Well, there are such things a rich hippies. Met a few in my time. But in the 60s, houses could be had on the cheap, in San Francisco. The hippies did the Haight, and the gay folks gentrified the Castro District. See: San Francisco painted ladies. LOL. They’re houses, not working girls. 🙂

    I’m pretty sore, today. Even though showers were forecast for yesterday, and it looked very threatening, not a drop fell on me. Must be living right. Should have bought a lotto ticket. I got my bed cleaned off (saved some elephant garlic and horseradish to eat) and filled two tarps with top soil. I managed to move one, out of the way.

    The Master Gardener’s came, this morning, and Ted helped me move the other one. Laveta, who’s one of the head Master Gardeners, is back. Her father died week before last. Gail, who winters in Florida, also showed up. I went for biscuits and gravy. When I got back, they were calling it a morning, as they got rained out. They did get another stock tank, in place, and I’ll be able to shovel the remains of my plot, right into it. No five gallon buckets. I may get another tarp. I noticed this morning that the rhodies have started to bloom. Down low and in back, where it was probably warmer.

    Even though it was an “Earth in peril”, due to time traveling Borgs, I did like the “Star Trek: First Contact” movie. It’s my favorite. Who can forget the “Magic Carpet Ride,” scene? Ya just want to stand up and cheer.

    The media here has been banging on about inflation, for the past few months. The palm oil story showed up, night before last. I’m seeing it in more and more places.

    Your people splitting up advice is spot on. But will they listen? Lew

  17. Chris,

    Okay. Here’s how it works with chocolates. “They were RIGHT THERE, and I just HAD to!” And they were very good. Works for many different things in many different situations.

    Those one-off jobs I’ve always found not to be worth it. No matter how tightly written a contract is, they always expect more than what was agreed upon without any change to the deadline.

    A bloke I sometimes see walking his husky just sold his house. 940 sq ft living area on a 6,000 sq. ft. lot and he got 2 offers within the first 5 hours it was on the market. $325,000. Median house prices here are now between $325,000 and $375,000. Insane for homes this size built circa 1950.

    Good work getting the bifurcated tree sorted into firewood. I bet burning off that old stump felt good, too.

    Avalanche has progressed to Assistant Mistress of the Green, Junior Grade. (She’s still a pup, after all, so Junior Grade it is.) She had a squirrel treed today, slyly fooled it into making a run for it only to send it up another tree. She nabbed a few tufts of squirrel fur in the process. Then she repeated the slyness and had him in her jaws, only to let it go. She gets kudos for protecting the yard. She gets extra kudos and the promotion for recognizing that I like the squirrels, so she didn’t kill it. She’d miss chasing it when it cross the yard via overhead power wires.

    The view to the west of the house just changed. Less than 100m west, a stately maple tree was removed this morning. I walk by that tree several times a week. It appeared to be healthy. It was very beautiful during the fall.

    Speaking of leaf change. We don’t get the tourists that you do. What would happen if you started taking photos of the tourists and posting those online?

    10mm of rain overnight, at least. Today has been as windy as. No walk today, as it is too nasty out.

    Ah yes, your Scots industriousness often shows up. Mine too. I get that from 2 of 4 grandparents, a boatload of Welsh from the other 2. Born with a Welsh surname. I’m hoping I got the best from both worlds, rather than the worst. 😉 Didn’t feel like coffee this morning! So I had 2 huge mugs of strong Scottish Breakfast Tea instead. Tasty.


  18. Hello Chris
    Son started creating raised beds about 3 years ago and is very pleased with them. He has more tree free space than I have as his land is not on ancient woodland like mine.
    I have no idea as to the reason for those fruit cartons being on the shelf and don’t know what the supervisor did subsequently. In fact I was too stunned to think. Son says that I should have said ‘If they’re not yours, I’ll take them’.


  19. Hi Goran,

    Well done you. I’m impressed that you tracked down and listened to the original song. I grew up listening to such music as the folksie / rock band Redgum. Only because you chucked a sneaky book recommendation at me the other day – and no good deed goes unpunished – you might enjoy: Goanna – Solid Rock. It was a bit of an anthem back in the day. And just for good measure, more recently: BIRDZ – Bagi-la-m Bargan ft. Fred Leone. That will learn ya, with all ya sneaky book recommendations!!! 🙂 Incidentally I don’t see submission, I see patience and defiance, which makes sense. Hmm.

    Exactly, the words are the same almost 90 years on. Innovations… Permanently upward trajectories… Mate, I’m sure the good citizens of ancient Rome once heard the same rubbish.

    It’s not just a drama for you, it is a problem for everyone. The thing is you have a sense of consciousness of the problem, whilst most people may be in for something of a surprise now and in the not to distant future. You can see the future playing out in shortages at the supermarket – and that is the metaphorical tip of the iceberg. The farm supplies I’m trying to get hold of can be a real problem.

    Oh! I understand. Have you considered connecting with people in your area who think in the same terms as yourself? Whilst acknowledging you and your family are relocating to your home roots. A good mate of mine regularly runs for the local council elections (local government) and he gets about 7% of the vote on a platform that you’d probably relate to – at several consecutive elections. The people are out there, you just have to find them. I had a lovely chance chat this morning about such things with a young bloke, just out of the blue. I didn’t seek the conversation, I just found myself in it. That’s how these things work.

    Self hatred is a dark path, and I don’t recommend it. The Editor and I have travelled to many a country in Asia, this makes us hypocrites, but once I learned the impact we stopped travelling and did something different. Indoctrination is a real thing, and at every step on life’s journey the challenge is to think your own thoughts. Easier said than done – and there is only but a small window of free will.

    Think on that. The challenge is there for the brave of spirit.



  20. Hi Angus,

    Hmm. Out of curiosity, what prompted you to consider battery storage? And does your current inverter allow for this option? There are some super clever AC-transfer switches devices (or manual switch overs) which can disconnect the mains and bring an off grid inverter online. A hybrid system is pretty neat because over the depths of winter you can keep the batteries topped up from the mains power. Saves a lot of unnecessary mucking around in hyper space – i.e. solar when the sun is low in the sky.

    Whilst considering your options it may be instructive to recall the huge wind storm hailing from the SE of all unexpected places during last winter which knocked out the mains power supply for 5 days here (and worse elsewhere such as in the Dandenong ranges). There is a lot of wisdom on display as to outcomes in the following article: What the Dandenong Ranges extended power outage teaches us about backup battery power. The case studies reflect my understanding, and can you pick which case study is closest to Sandra and I?

    The question really becomes thus: what result are you chasing?

    To quote Yogi Berra: ‘It’s tough to make predictions, especially about the future’ 🙂

    Out of curiosity, how old is your walnut tree? I’ve really struggled getting those trees to establish here. And yup, Macadmia’s are like that. Truth to tell, I’d be happy with one nut from those trees. 🙂 Almonds and chestnuts grow a lot better here. And yup, the citrus is another month or so away, but it’s looking good as well.

    The old timers used to preserve via the method of cider and perry. Admittedly, it is not for everyone.

    That’s been my experience with composting toilets too. They do have a really slight earthy smell, but to me it smells of soil fertility. Flush toilets are not odour free either. And with the wee, it’s best used on the garden if the person is well and not on meds. Our society is so mind bendingly wasteful and so many of the minerals which we carelessly flush out into the oceans, were imported into the country in the first place. Oh well, mustn’t get on my high hobby horse.

    Hehe! That sounds pretty nice and it is the height of luxury.



  21. Hi Lewis,

    Thanks for the excellent article on the unfolding palm oil situation. It’s not good, but I can understand why the Indonesian government acted so. I don’t like the stuff myself, it tastes not right to my palate. Olive oil is my go-to cooking oil, and then butter. Those are expensive options which is why palm oil is so readily used in yours and ours snack foods. The concern as to the waist lines you wrote about the other day, might not be so much of a problem. I’m always amazed to see footage of folks from several decades ago – they were thinner. If I recall correctly, at the end of the nineteenth century, it was a sign of wealth to be carrying a bit of extra chunk. And when I was a kid, I recall parents and grandparents suggesting that a bit of extra chunk would carry a kid through a bout of illness. We’re probably eventually going to revert to the historic mean, and people might not like that change, but events are unfolding fast.

    Yes, I believe the stuff is used in pastry, and it doesn’t smell nice to my nose. Of course I may be overly sensitive to this particular ingredient? When I was a kid I used to enjoy the taste of margarine, but now I prefer butter as margarine doesn’t taste to me like it once tasted.

    Olives are the future, and if I had more time I’d plant more olive trees – especially the oil bearing varieties. I’ve got quite a few productive olive trees and they grow fast if well tended. Right now, I’m letting the trees just grow. They need time more than anything else, and it is possible to coax fruit trees into producing earlier, but it takes more energy and effort than I can bring to bear on the problem. There are a number of olive groves not far from here. It takes a bit of effort to produce oil from the fruits.

    Yeah, I recall you mentioning the Land Girls series. Alas my time is short and there are many series to be enjoyed. I’d never before heard of the women’s timber corp. Yes, I can see that and the ladies would have earned considerable skills in that trade. Working in forestry is not for light weights and for the ladies to have worked at the job for so many years is commendable. I do wonder how they would have re-adjusted to being made redundant when the group was disbanded? I probably might have cracked the sads, or sulked my socks off for a bit. One can only do their best!

    Ah, yes aren’t we a most adaptable species when push comes to shove? Looking back at the news of the day from those eras is a nice idea. What’s with the mailing label concern? That was lost on me. Is it my imagination or have you noticed more articles on cooking from scratch in the media of late? There was an article on slow cookers today. Far out. It was like how I believed the recent dog show was an advertisement from the gobarmunt to the cattle industry. It can’t be a coincidence – and they were fast tracking the training of the dogs.

    Well, hopefully we can get back to victory gardens. It is worth noting that the houses in suburbia, actually ate suburbia as there is little free land to plant gardens. 😉 Not sure that food rationing will be enjoyed, but there are shortages in supermarkets now, so these are the early days I guess? Dunno.

    A nice dinner. We ate a similar meal without the tomatoes and garlic, but with huge wads of fresh kale from the garden. The stuff grows like a weed here. It’s feral. I hear you, but I remain unconvinced about Brussels Sprouts. It’s probably me…

    Hehe! Nobody wants to meet that passenger on a cold dark night. 🙂 Nah, I’m talking about the guy or girl who sits around talking all day long, avoiding work like the plague, fomenting discord and being generally a nuisance – surely you’ve met those kinds of passengers before? The back to the land hippy communes would have attracted such people.

    Fair enough, I quite enjoy coconut and add a tiny little bit of solid coconut oil to my breakfast of home made muesli with fruit and yoghurt every morning. I read that the stuff was good for the dogs and so thought to myself: what the heck, I’ll give it a go. Seems to be beneficial, and the dogs enjoy it too.

    That’s what I was thinking: zombies in a war zone wouldn’t work because zombies are an equal opportunity problem! 🙂 And yes, I am laughing out loud whilst reading Margaret Atwood’s 2012 essay on zombies. It hits exactly the right notes and I am in awe of such writing. Alright, I must track down a copy of ‘One cut of the dead’. The trailer was very Japanese and slightly zany.

    Oh, I didn’t know whether that was the story of the Haight, but that was inferred from reading. Man, I dunno whether I’m such a fan of gentrification. Hmm. Over a number of moves I tend to be confronted by it, and then run to the next spot. This is why we’re now out in the wilderness. It’s hard to gentrify such a place. Had a lovely chance chat with a young bloke this morning whilst I picked up the mail. It was interesting to hear of his perspective of the area. I was reading the Margaret Atwood book, and perhaps the book has an aura? You never know. It is nice that other people in the area are getting on with life whilst understanding what is going on around them. It is foolish to believe that other people aren’t alert to things.

    What a name, and you guessed it correctly – that is exactly the first image that came to mind. Probably indicative of my general mindset?

    Wise, always wise to recognise when you’re on a winning streak, but then just mentioning the streak, might put an end to it. The fates are fickle and uncertain, and who knows what tomorrow will bring. It’s raining here tonight, and there was no rain forecast – how does that work? Tomorrow looks like it will be warmer, and I have plans. Yes, plans.

    Respect for saving some of the top soil.

    Ah, did the biscuits and gravy eventuate this week? Good stuff and your timing was superb. Of course there is this thing known as a weather radar! But probably your timing was just good.

    I liked that First Contact film too, and yeah: The Magic Carpet ride scene rocks! Not one to listen to on headphones as they had the volume way up to 11 on the dial for that scene. 🙂 The Borg were just background colour in that film.

    The official inflation figures came out here today. Not good. Really not good, but hardly surprising.



  22. Hi Inge,

    Your son was wise to have tried that path in your environment, and here I find that the raised beds on average out produce the other arrangements with the vegetable beds. To be candid, I’m hoping the new greenhouse arrangement beats the raised beds productivity. I reckon it will. I’m hoping to work on that project tomorrow.

    I hear you about trees, and am a steward for many examples that are several centuries old. They seem to be appreciating the care and feeding, but wow, tall old trees can cast a long shadow from many different perspectives. The trick is learning how to live with them and get some productivity. Not impossible, just difficult. Few orchards would have to deal with the consequences of having 165ft trees on the boundaries of the orchards.

    That happens to me too. Sometimes people bring their rubbish to you, and occasionally you know how to respond correctly based on past experience. Whilst other times the situation is so new and weird that how could anyone be expected to know how to act? It seems very presumptuous to have snatched the drink cartons off you, and I have no idea what they were thinking when they acted so. The whole incident is weird from start to finish. It is possible that someone planted the goods there for some unknown nefarious purposes. There was a weird incident a few years ago of someone placing pins inside fruit so as to injure the unsuspecting victim. Such an act is no prank, it’s malicious. So you never know, the store folks may have done you a solid? And they may know something that they don’t wish to share with you. It was odd behaviour on their part.



  23. Hi DJ,

    Man, so sorry. I worked late this evening and ran out of time. Had a bit of a win today, which makes me feel somewhat more relaxed. The battle on that front has been long indeed. But yeah, I didn’t begin replying until well after 9pm this evening and I am now very tired and getting sleepier….

    Will speak tomorrow. Until then, Ollie and the Kelpies send cordial tail wags to Avalanche!



  24. Hello Chris
    It did occur to me, later on, that the cartons might have been planted and dangerous to drink. Nasty things like that, do occur here


  25. Yo, Chris – You’re either overly sensitive … or, imagining it. 🙂 I only use olive oil. And if a baked good recipe calls for oil, I substitute apple sauce. So far, it’s worked. Of course, butter is an oil, too. Kind of. So far, I’ve been lucky finding California olive oil, from time to time, at the cheap food stores. I prefer it, as they have pretty much the same quality controls as Australia. I keep it a few bottles ahead, and store it in a coolish, dark cupboard.

    During WWI and WWII, women filled many “non-traditional” jobs. And, for the most part, liked it. Then they were told to run along home to their kitchens. That did NOT go down well. There was also a meme running around that husbands, if they were men at all, shouldn’t let their wives work. They were made to feel that they should be the sole support of their families. That attitude benefited somebody, but not women and children. If dear old Dad was incapacitated or died, things might not go well.

    The mailing labels are almost impossible to remove. And even if you can get them off “clean”, due to slight fading, it leaves a blotch. The closer to “pristine” you can get, the more value.

    During the You Know What lockdowns, people were a bit at loose ends. They discovered this strange room in their houses, called a kitchen. 🙂 So, yeah, there was more cooking from scratch. Will they keep it up? Some will, some won’t. Sweeping generalization, but I think some people discovered there’s a whole world of food beyond what they can pull out of the frozen food case. They may also have discovered that cooking from scratch, their food budget went a lot further.

    Oh, yeah. I think we’re going to see some food shortages. But I think there will still be food in the super markets. Maybe just not the preferred food of some people.

    Thanks for the clarification on your use of the term “passenger.” Yes, I know the type, well. A lot of communes collapsed, over just that issue. Too much dead wood. And lots of arguments on who was working and how much.

    Always nice to have a good chat with someone who’s reasonably intelligent. Did you get at feel as to if the fellow was a local, or a transplant?

    Oh, I keep an eye on the weather radar. But sometimes those moving green blobs (rain), don’t deliver.

    Last night I had eggs, rice, garlic, mushroom, a bit of broccoli and seeds. Fried it up as patties. A dusting of nutritional yeast and smothered in diced tomatoes.

    Yup. Biscuits and gravy were on offer. Yummers. I talked to the Master Gardeners. I’m limping around like Chester from “Gunsmoke.” Hope I can get that straightened out, as I’ve got a lot of dirt to shovel. Another stock tank has been set, in place.

    I stopped by the cheaper nursery, yesterday, to see if the petunias are in. I want to nab red, white and blue for my patriotic hanging basket. Nope. But lots of veggi flats. I picked up some Brussels sprouts. The cost is getting so high. Now I’ve got to figure out how to keep the cabbage moths off. Maybe I can cover them with something? I had luck when I hit them with BT, but, even two years ago, that stuff was expensive. I’ll have to do a deep dive, down the rabbit hole.

    I’m a bit miffed. Last year, Elinor couldn’t get the two varieties of tomato she wanted, and moaned about it all season. I found them, and bought one each. Now she claims to know nothing about them! She’s got two days to get it sorted, then I’ll plop them in my plot. Not the varieties I wanted, but, I’ll take what the universe provides. Unlike some people … 🙂

    Well, what’s my mindset like, if I thought your mindset might leap to that conclusion? 🙂

    That was an interesting article on the Quolls. Go, Quolls! I wonder if there’s any competition between the Quolls and the Koalas? Lew

  26. Hi Chris,
    Did I read you right – the job you were offered meant a work day from 7AM to 11 PM? How many days a week? One of the reasons I left accounting to teach was the long hours. There was always the promise that it would get better after the new system was put in or whatever. Anyway never happened. My sister is a CPA working for a fairly large company. Her hours are just awful. She’s worked for them for over 20 years starting when it was pretty small. She says the bigger it got the worse the job.

    Pretty swamped here – have only been able to skim the other comments. Weather has remained much colder than normal except for a day here and there. However there’s lots to catch up on outside. Next week we are getting the 2nd half of our floors replaced (did 1st half last year) which means a house full of dust and dirt.


  27. Hi Margaret,

    Yes, the hours were correct. It’s a long day, and a one off, one day job which has nothing to do with my usual paid work.

    I hear you about that and when at the big end of town, I did some crazy working hours, and the money ain’t worth it. It’s a funny thing, but most people at that level expect everyone else to be motivated by money, but this is simply a reflection of their own desires. My motivations lay elsewhere. And clearly you felt much the same about the hours.

    Has your sister contemplated working for someone else and locking in more normal working hours? I’ve noticed over the years that peoples productivity and ability to concentrate upon work diminishes in a direct correlation as the number of hours worked increases.

    Nice work getting the floors replaced. What sort of floors are you getting installed?

    We worked outside all day today and it just drizzled, but there are things that need doing and time is slipping away.



  28. Hi Inge,

    That possibility occurred to me, and you never know what sort of threats the business may have received. The incident was after all rather odd. It’s disturbing to consider that there may have been threats, and for obvious reasons these were not passed on to the customers. Of course this is all pure speculation, and we’ll never know, and they probably wouldn’t tell you out of self interest.

    It rained all day today. A fine drizzle. We worked outside for the day and at least it was unseasonably warm, but still by the end of the work day I was glad to dry off. We’re gearing up to begin the greenhouse expansion project and things needed doing, despite the rain.

    The dogs didn’t seem to care about the conditions, although Ollie perhaps wisely kept to the shelter of sheds whilst keeping an eye on us. The Kelpie’s are young enough that they don’t care about getting rained on. How is Flynn and Ren going? Are they still being naughty?



  29. Hi DJ,

    Man, I worked late yesterday on paid work and didn’t get to reply until 9pm. And I can type fast (thanks to a gobarmint experiment – true story and I’m not being funny, although it sounds amusing), but breaks for dinner, bedtime etc… The moons were not aligned that evening, but today things are looking up. Except that I was rained on for most of the day whilst we worked outside. Proving that no good deed ever goes unpunished.

    Got the tree stump grinder machine out today and cleaned up the stumps left over after the fallen tree incident. The rather large bifurcated (love that word, it makes me sound like I know Latin) tree took out a few smaller trees. And whilst I had the machine out and about, we ground out a few more tree stumps. Removing rocks and tree stumps is an investment in the future. It’s just hard work today. The heads of the fallen tree and broken trees were burnt off too. Did I mention that it drizzled all day today – oh yeah, I’m repeating myself. We got wet with all that incessant rain. Drizzle is a paradox in that it can rain for many hours, yet it didn’t rain much.

    Then with all of the rain, and an inch more forecast tomorrow night, we added in three additional water tanks to the new shed roof. The existing four water tanks are full and over flowing. The storage capacity will be 27,000L, but I reckon it might need an extra 5,000L. More stored water is always handy.

    That’s funny about the chocolate. It’s kind of like the old joke about being on a see-food diet. I see food, I eat food! 🙂 Years ago I heard someone amusingly quip that: ‘Food isn’t the problem. Food is the solution!’ Yes, very amusing.

    Speaking of food, we went to the pub tonight and it was more low key and relaxed. With all of the leaf change tourists last weekend (a long weekend) they said they got smashed.

    Yeah, I tend to agree with you. And incidentally, I’m not at all certain that the pay has gotten better for that one-off job over the past decade. Official inflation is now around 5.9%. Rawhide inflation (dog chews) on the other hand is running a bit higher. 12 months ago a pack of 20 cost me about $85 – nowadays $140. Economists probably ignore dog chews. Ollie gets bones, he’d eat those rawhide things like candy because he’s got a big boof head, whereas the Kelpie’s take a lot longer, and one chew goes for several days.

    Mate, the house price thing took off slowly here in about 1997 and it has just gone bonkers ever since. The problem though is that people get money for nothing, by simply owning property. Now I do mention to people that it’s not such a good thing, because their kids might have a lot of trouble purchasing a house to keep the rain off their heads. And because it has been 25 continuous years, people expect it to continue forever. Yikes! Every single economic bubble has popped sooner or later, but when and how is the tough question which nobody knows.

    Avalanche is clearly a lady of intelligence and distinction to have understood both aspects of the squirrel situation. Possibly superior to the dogs here given what I’m guessing they’d do (ook!), so she is on the right path to earning her title fair and square. 🙂 Respect!

    Sorry to hear about the loss of the venerable maple tree. Out of curiosity do you know why it was felled and what variety it was? Not something you’d do lightly. The sugar maple here is turning, and the colour is pretty awesome. I quite like maples and grow a number of different varieties.

    Hmm. No difference would be the outcome, there are far more of them than locals, but I take your point. Officially they are being encouraged into the area, and because some of the leaves turn red, there is a cultural aspect to this as well. The folks who I know and have to work in those conditions whilst facing the unrelenting hordes are kind of like facing a zombie apocalypse type scenario every weekend. Last weekend was feral. It’s not right.

    A good rain for this time of year for you. The garden would love it.

    Nice work with the Scottish tea. A good cup of tea can solve all the worlds problems. Am I correct in presuming that the Welsh have a different work ethic to the Scotts? Please forgive my ignorance in the matter.



  30. Hi Lewis,

    🙂 Hey, wasn’t it you who told me that it ain’t paranoia, if it’s true! Hehe! I really liked that saying and it’s kind of awful to consider that it once performed a useful function. Very wise indeed with the olive oil, and yeah I’m guessing we’d be enjoying pretty similar quality oil to what you’re enjoying – it’s good and tastes superb. Hmm. Hadn’t considered using apple sauce that way. Interesting and adaptive. Actually olive oil keeps well and those are the same conditions we store the oil in. Down here it is normally sold either in glass bottles, or in I’m assuming plastic lined larger tins which hold a bit under a gallon.

    I agree, that polite request would certainly not go down well at all. And why should it? One comment I noted about the Women’s Timber Corps, was that there eventually became a grudging acceptance that the women were every bit as good at forestry and mill operations as the guys were. On the other hand after WWII there would have been a shortage of labour, and one does wonder why the ladies didn’t set up competing businesses? I presume that this possibility was not encouraged.

    Well, you look at the cultural memes from those days. Sorry to bring things down a notch, but take the Flintstones for example. Dad’s wage kept the household. Wife kept the home. Two kids. People pick up such messages, or perhaps rather is the tail wagging the dog, and the messages reinforce the cultural expectations and programming? I dunno. We didn’t have kids, so not everyone goes along with cultural expectations.

    When I resided in the big smoke, there was a guy who lived up the road, and he kept the house and looked after the two kids whilst his wife worked. He always seemed a bit depressed to me, and eventually he had a permanent bush-walking accident. Hmm. After the health situation over the past few years I can see that this is a more common occurrence. Society changes and adapts.

    Ah, I see. Is there a market for old newspapers? I didn’t know that. A few years ago I did sell on ebuy a newspaper with the space shuttle disaster on the front page. I was delivering newspapers that morning, and knew about it before most people down here did. I took a copy that day, but then years later wondered what to do with the newspaper, so I sold it.

    Exactly, I agree food shortages will be a thing (and they already are), but raw materials will probably be around, and some other stuff where the ingredients haven’t had to travel several times around the globe. I do wonder about packaging too, as not every country makes noodles (the plastic fabrication things).

    Too much dead wood is a lovely way to describe the passenger phenomena. Actually I felt like that myself during the recession of the early 1990’s, although ’twas I who was the dead wood. Work was just so much more fun before that incident. Decline had really been happening since the oil crisis of the early 1970’s sorry to say. It tipped at that point and began the long slow tedious fall. It was almost 50 years ago too. Crazy to think of it being that long ago huh?

    Actually the guy was a local and lived near to someone I knew over in that part of the area. I didn’t think at the time to ask about that, but you know it is interesting meeting people around these parts who are interested in growing edible plants. Oh well, sooner or later I might have to get a local group going on that front, but I’ve gotta get my own house in order first, and there is still much to do.

    It drizzled all day long today, and we worked outside in it. Ground out the tree stumps left over from the huge bifurcated tree which crashed to the ground a week or two back. Burnt off the heads of the trees. And you’d think that with persistent drizzle and cool-ish weather the stuff wouldn’t burn easily. Holy carp! It went off easily like a frog in a sock. An unsettling reminder to continue cleaning up!

    Then we put in place three extra water tanks which catch water off the roof of the new large shed. It was a long day, although we did have a break for lunch. Tasty lunch too, but dinner was better at the local pub: Chicken parma and a pint of dark stout with chocolate overtones. It was very good. The rain seems to have stopped now, but the wind has picked up – this is a good thing as the deciduous leaves will blow away from the trees. Yay for an end to leaf change. This year was unrelenting, and I’m guessing people aren’t travelling interstate and overseas as much as they once did? Dunno.

    The opposite occurred here today. There was no green blob, but it sure did drizzle all day long. At least it wasn’t all that cold, so mustn’t grumble and complain.

    Hey, we’ve begun adding nutritional yeast to the mushroom pasta dish and it’s good stuff. You inspired us to give it a go. Quite a pleasant taste too. The patty idea is good, and we do that a few times per week but with little focaccia buns (which we bake) a fried egg and a bit of cheese – so good.

    How’s your limp today? Very funny about Gunsmoke! 🙂 Not to freak you out but the last seedling tray I purchased was $8. That was an increase. Thus the efforts to raise seedlings from seed, preferably seed we’ve harvested – the bigger greenhouse will be used for this purpose. Mate, I’ve given up on more complicated Brassicas in the summer months. The cabbage moths will win. My understanding is that the Brassica varieties we expect are as highly bred as corn, and perhaps there are downsides to that. Over the summer months the best I can grow is perennial rocket – and even then the cabbage moths sample the odd leaf here and there. Black kale seemed pretty resistant to them too. But the rest is something of a write off, and we get the parasitic wasps which prey on the moth larvae.

    A lot of stuff at the nursery has become more expensive of late.

    I do recall you mentioning the quest for the tomato varieties. Yeah, but don’t look a gift ship in the mouth (sorry mixing metaphors there 🙂 ).

    Our minds are good, the bodies, well let’s hope nobody finds them! 🙂

    Nope Quolls and Koalas would live harmoniously, although Quolls could eat baby Koala’s (joey’s I believe they’re called) if given the chance. They used to be in this mountain range until the 1983 bushfire wiped them out – more likely the tree hollows the Quolls live in were in short supply as was the food supplies after the fires. I read somewhere the the last evidence of them here was in the early 1990’s.



  31. gentrifying the land:
    Had the time to read through more of the comments here, often I do not.

    Saw the comment on gentrifying waves in cities, but I can tell you a similar thing is happening in rural U.S., and it will make it tough for young folk to move back to the land and farm or live a more simple life.

    In our area, I learned that a significant number of nice homes in the rural stretches have no one living in them. They are second homes or investments and often are air B&B properties with a fair chunk of land to boot. In general, the price for land and homes gets inflated, and compounds the wealth disparities we have seen growing these many years.

    Planted the peas and potatoes this week, and the onion starts go in the land quite soon. We’ve had a late, chilly spring, but these are the ones that can handle it. My brassicas all are now sprouting their first true leaves, so it won’t be long till they move outside.

    Also planted around 40 red raspberry plants, so should be adding that to the menu next year. Yum.

    Sunflower oil is made from plantings here in the midwest, and I plan to try pressing some of that from plants I grow this year, so maybe that will be my backup to olive oil. Palm oil is an ecological disaster regardless of taste, so I stay away from that anyway.

  32. Yo, Chris – I don’t remember where I read about replacing oil with apple sauce, in baked goods. Works well in muffins and biscuits. And, it’s a one to one swap. Same for almond milk. Works in most recipes.

    After WWII, there was actually a bit of a shortage of jobs. All the war production had ended and industry hadn’t quit retooled yet. So women were discouraged from keeping on working, to free up slots for the guys. And then the Baby Book came along. I sure saw that in my life. They built a new school, in our neighborhood. K through third grade. Over the summer, between third and fourth grade, they built on grades five and six. Between the summer of six and seven, they built on seven, eight a gym and cafeteria / auditorium. Each grade had two classes with about 30-35 kids in each class.

    There seems to be more and more acceptance of the House Husband. But, there are still some social pressures against them. Of course, there are still social pressures against women who don’t work, and decide to be housewives. And social pressures against women who do work. It depends on where you live and who you know. And sometimes, even what church you belong to.

    Newspapers, generally, don’t hold much value. Of famous events. Wish I had a nickel for every Kennedy assassination newspaper, that was offered to me, when I was in the tat trade. On offer by people who thought they were sitting on a gold mine. Of course, there’s a lot of that in the tat trade, and the book business. They often thought I was trying to get my hands on something of value, on the cheap. Most of it was stuff I wouldn’t have in the store. When it came to books, I’d tell them to check on-line. The EXACT edition in the EXACT condition. I’d let them down easy, or hard, depending on their attitude.

    Oh, here we go, again. I see that The Land of Stuff is back to a hard lockdown, due to You Know What. Factories are shut. Ports are closed. I got curious about where DVD discs came from. Probably, no problem there. They’re manufactured in the State of Indiana, Japan and Austria. BUT … their major component is a plastic derived from oil.

    Those packing noodles (or, peanuts), can be made from corn. And they’re biodegradable.

    I was just thinking you’ll have a long schlep through the dark to check the filters on those water tanks.

    I get Bob’s Red Mill nutritional yeast. As either I can’t find it in the stores, or, it costs an outrageous amount, I order it from The River.

    My limp seems to be easing off. I just keep working it. I went Sunbird’s last night, as they seem to have the most reasonable plants, around. I picked up two (to tango) tomatillos, a tomato (all three, very large. Two peppers, some marigolds and a packet of basil seed. All together, cost me about $20. I also looked into mesh to cover my brussels sprouts. The River has these mesh bags, you can put over the whole plant.

    Turns out, I won’t be shoveling dirt, this weekend. The stock tank that was put in place … well, it looked like the landscape cloth for the bottom still needed to be trimmed. So, I dropped one of the Master Gardener’s an e-mail about it. Turns out they want to make sure it has enough drainage holes, and please not to put dirt in it. Well. I found that out AFTER I bought the plants. So, I’ll have to figure out where to plant the plants. Plan B, indeed.

    Last night I started watching “The Canterville Ghost.” I had forgotten it was from a short story by Oscar Wilde. I’m watching a four part mini-series. My, it has been filmed, and adapted, many times. For both movies and TV. It was done back in 1944, and was about American GI’s, in the stately old pile. This most recent version, it’s an American Tech millionaire and his family. There’s even a version with Sir Patrick Stewart!

    One of the things I picked up from the library was a new book, “Grains for Every Season; Rethinking Our Way with Grains; with Recipes Including Barley, Brown Rice, Millet, Quinoa, Farro, Freekeh and More.” (McFadden & Holmberg). Looks pretty good. Lew

  33. Chris,

    Could have been worse: you could have been working outdoors in the sun with it 40C! Drizzle and mist aren’t so bad in comparison. After all, a little rain never hurt anybody, at least so claimed Charlie Brown. https://www.gocomics.com/peanuts/1962/04/22

    I umpired softball, modified fast pitch, spring and summer of 1983. There were several days of drizzle. We played anyway, at least as long as the infield kept soaking up the wet. Not the most ideal conditions, but that’s the cards we were dealt. Some players acted as if they were melting like the Wicked Witch. That’s when I came up with my saying: “I know I won’t melt in the rain. I’m neither nasty nor sweet enough for the rain to bother me.”

    Good job on the water tanks. It’s almost impossible to store too much water in your setting. We’re very spoiled here being on municipal water where at the turn of a knob, endless water, instantly. Many people in industrial societies don’t know how precious water is. I’ve camped in the deserts before where we had to pack in all of the water for an entire week. Not a drop got wasted. Precious stuff.

    I know the “see food” diet exceedingly well and have followed it for as long as I can remember. 😉 After “food is the solution”, add on “movement is medicine”, and something that should’ve been in the sermon on the mount “Blessed are those who take naps, for they will awaken refreshed”, and you’ve got all the bases covered. Oh, and 1 line from the Harry Potter series. “Here’s some chocolate. Eat it. It’ll make you feel better.”

    A restaurant getting smashed during tourist seasons is a double edged sword, isn’t it? They probably appreciate the extra money they make, but the extra profit comes at a steep cost in peace of mind during that season. Not all of us are wired to deal with the pace of getting slammed.

    We used to get Cheyenne the Finnish Spitz a fairly standard sized rawhide chew. Thordog got one of those about 2/3 of a meter long. Thor would devour his within 45 minutes. Bones work better for a lot of dogs.

    It’s weird that we’re in asset bubbles for nearly every traded asset class all at the same time. That can’t end well. As you said, every bubble pops sometime. This feels like multiple bubbles that might actually burst simultaneously.

    Several years after we’d bought this house, we visited family in the Los Angeles area. One of my cousins is a financial planner. He asked if our house had increased in price very much yet. I replied that it hadn’t. He felt sorry for me. I didn’t: to me a home is a place to live, not an investment. House value increases and my property taxes eventually increase. Among other things.

    Dunno what kind of maple it was, other than healthy. The people who cut it down turned it all into mulch with a chipper (which I refer to as Large and Loud Tree Grinders). They also ground out the stump. That yard looks barren now.

    Welsh vs Scottish work ethic? Both peoples are predominantly English speaking Protestants for multiple generations, although there are still many Welsh speakers and some Scots Gaelic speakers). Strong work ethic both, at least among their descendants in this country. How it looked before the splits from the Roman church, I don’t know. I’m slogging through a thick tome on Welsh history that ends about 20 years ago. If I get any insights from that, I’ll let you know.


  34. Hi Steve,

    Mate, the comments are where all the action happens! 🙂 Glad you had the time to drop by, and I acknowledge that you are doing some good stuff.

    I’m sorry to say that the same rural gentrification thing is afoot here, although we differ in that there are few vacant properties and things sell fast. Maybe it is just me, but the point of this weeks essay was to allude to the fact that there is more money than wealth these days and that pushes up prices. However, I suspect that inevitably the people with their fingers on the button will overdo things, and then money will cost a lot via interest rates, and perhaps wealth will then become more accurately priced. I don’t really know, but what we are moving through and too is the flip side of the Great Depression. Historically not enough money. Now, too much money. There is middle ground, although it seems to have been ignored in the past few decades.

    Good stuff, and yeah those are hardy crops. I’ve moved from onions to leeks and chives of late because they’re easier here. Out of curiosity, are your onion seeds locally derived?

    Raspberries are awesome, and they make the tastiest of jams. Yum! May your harvest be good, although as you note, they’ll do better next year.

    I don’t mind sunflower oil and I’ll be curious to hear how your experiments go. Olives are the go-to oil plants here. And yes, I feel and act much the same about that other oil.

    Winter is fast approaching and an inch and half of rain fell earlier this evening.



  35. Hi DJ,

    True about the 40’C, a very unpleasant experience to be sure. 🙂 Go Snoopy! It’s funny but over summer we get up early to work and finish early in the day. Winter is a time of rest and we get up late and finish at sun down. It feels kind of right to move with the seasons, and there is little allowance for that in society. Right now, there is no point starting early in the morning as it is both cold and wet outside. Sounds exciting, until you confront the conditions!

    We demolished the greenhouse building today and recovered all of the materials. One thing I had not considered is that stainless steel is a soft metal. The type 17 bugle batten stainless steel screws had to be recovered very slowly lest I stripped the heads due to the soft metal. A handful were wasted, but the rest will be used on the yet to be constructed new larger greenhouse.

    Mate, you were Charlie Brown in 1983! 🙂 Your saying was pretty funny. We did not melt either yesterday in the constant drizzle. Mind you once the sun had set this evening, a strong storm dumped an inch and half of rain – and it is still raining as I type this. Crazy weather, and I would run for cover in such a heavy downpour. And the weird thing is that it is still relatively warm outside at almost 10pm at 14’C which is unseasonable. Thunderstorms are in the forecast. I can see that.

    Some years the reserve water storage doesn’t get touched, and other years it is drained down to the last dregs. The water tanks will be used on an expanded vegetable patch, plus I intend to move all of the citrus to a sunnier locale near to the water storage. Mate, there’s a heap to do.

    I’d heard that about the naps, and it makes you wonder why it was pulled from the original transcription? Those dark ages clerics wanted to keep their jobs I guess, and the words work ethics and naps aren’t generally used in the same sentence. 🙂

    What interests me out of the getting smashed story is that the younger folks seemed to be invigorated by the challenge, but folks of my age and older seemed a bit traumatised by the onslaught, but were valiantly keeping on, keeping on. Of interest to me is that both groups employed similar coping mechanisms based on what they discussed with me. I’ve enjoyed a challenge in a job which extended for almost two years, and yeah not keen to revisit that experience. Nowadays, I’d probably run for the hills! I’m sure that you’ve had your fair share of challenges?

    And you’re right, some people are wired for getting slammed, but then they may enjoy the adrenalin burst. I try to save that stuff for when it is actually needed.

    Thordog! Mate, it may be a touch too late, but if I could give you one piece of advice it would be this: Sometimes when you win, you lose.

    The rawhide chews here are about half that size at about a foot.

    The fluffies are sound asleep this evening. They have been running around like crazy dogs all day today. I’ve trained each of them to check in with me every two minutes or so, and then they can go back to their free time, before then repeating the check in. That way they can’t go too far, or get out of earshot. Mate, I’m tired myself after a day of demolition work. We’re now ready to commence building of the new greenhouse.

    Exactly. A house is not an ATM, although most people would disagree – as did your cousin. My perspective is that the thing keeps the rain off your head whilst protecting you from the worst elements the climate can throw at you. And I’ve experienced -2’C to 45’C here and the house performed quite well, can debt do that?

    Ook! Yeah, people are strange about trees, that’s for sure. You’d hope that the tree was not replaced by a lawn? And did you notice what they did with the wood chips? People often think of them as a waste product, and I beg to differ in that regard.

    Thanks for the offer and I will be curious to learn of any insights which you glean from the book.



  36. Hello Chris
    I have been sitting out in the sun drinking coffee and reading a children’s book called ‘The Witch Child’. The only sounds are birds, insects and waves breaking on the beach plus an occasional aeroplane. Ren arrived and went to sleep on the decking close by. He elected for shade.

    Flynn can never be let loose now, he will run miles to find sheep.

    Recently Son has had a cockerel which kept on viciously attacking him. Finally Son had had enough and left the cockerel out over night for a fox to take him. But no, the cockerel seemed to be a match for foxes and was always there on the attack next morning. Then suddenly Ren took him out. Ren vanished with the corpse and quickly returned without it. Son still thinks that Ren must have a vixen girl friend. He wasn’t happy in one way because the chickens are not safe from Ren but pleased on this occasion.
    I had suggested that we eat the cockerel but Son said that it was too scrawny.
    I only use olive oil and butter by the way.


  37. Hi Lewis,

    You know I’ve never tasted almond milk, despite having a few productive almond trees. Thanks for the suggestion as it might not have occurred to me. The almond nuts are very tasty when home grown and I do wonder if commercial almond nuts have to be treated somehow. They taste different to my palate, but I don’t know why.

    Ah, of course. Redundancy = a lack of available jobs. I’d not considered that aspect of history, but can see how that would be. Makes sense, and I experienced the wrong side of that story in the early 1990’s. It amazes me that down under we’re at full employment right now, and there is a shortage of labour. Never thought that I’d see that possibility. I’d heard the other day that half a million people left the country over the past couple of years – because of the health matter and response. And I have a hunch that because the response was so way beyond in this particular state, people who could have left this state to other parts of the country. At one point we were considering leaving the state as a serious option.

    Hmm. All true. I lean towards the belief that there is great value in the household economy, and there are economic advantages to be gained from that endeavour. Ordinarily I’ll work a five to six day working week, but you called it, the option is looked down upon because I split my time between the farm and paid work. I’d gain far more social points (I dare not call them credits any more due to the land of stuff) if it was all paid work. That story makes no sense to me, but then few people seem keen to pursue the economic strategy of reducing outgoings – most prefer increasing incomings. And I’m not sure why that would be. Do you see that in your part of the world?

    That was my experience with selling the newspaper of the space shuttle disaster. There was very little market for the thing. Respect for dishing it out when necessary! 🙂 I have a rule of thumb when it comes to valuing second hand items which I wish to sell: They’re worth what someone will pay for them at the time of sale. And for buying: An item costs what I’m prepared to pay for it and at which the seller is willing to offload it at the time of the purchase. Seems to work for me. A western cultural issue is that we don’t seem to do much haggling when it comes to negotiations. In fact I’d have to suggest that a person is more likely to encounter incidences of grifting than haggling. Not a fan of grifters.

    Man, I’ve had this weird notion based on encounters with various people over the years. I’ll hear someone making a spurious claim as to the worth of something which they own but don’t want and are generally too lazy to sell. The notion is that the belief system can only be upheld by not entering the market and putting reality to the test. It seems like a counter productive mindset to me, but it’s there.

    Hey, in your tat days, did you ever encounter someone trying to sell something to the store but were embarrassed by that act? I’ve met one or two people with that response over the years. It seems weird to me, but I dunno – they were selling something. Whatever would the neighbours think may lie at the base of the reaction, but I don’t really know? A mystery!

    They’ve been at that for a while now, and I’m not usually engaged with politics, but I am mildly concerned that the left leaning parties in this country may follow suit. And there is a federal election next month. It surprises me that response to a health subject could differ markedly depending upon politics, but with no discernible difference in outcomes. Health care is pretty good down under. Maybe I’ve got a little bit of post trauma given the personal experience of the worlds longest lock down. The land of stuff could have kept purchasing our coal – it’s not like other parts of the world don’t want the coal.

    Err, no I meant to describe the core product produced from the beginning of the plastics manufacturing process. Most of which is made in south east Asia and the land of stuff. Hmm, plastics are good, but I believe that in this country we cannot make the original core product which is the feed for manufacturers of plastic goods.

    After the inch and half of rain this evening – delivered in fairly short order – I did have to schlep out in the dark and clean the gunk out the water tank inlet filters. What I was grateful for, was that the water inlet filters did not completely clog up.

    Now the water tanks attached to the large shed are a different matter. Having less trees nearby means that the drainage system is cleaner. However, the tanks were full this morning, and so I had to connect up a 1,000 gallon tank into the system so as to reduce the height of the water until I have time to connect up the remaining two 1,000 gallon tanks. Within two months, they’ll all be full, and then will begin to overflow.

    We also completely deconstructed the original greenhouse this morning and recovered all of the parts for re-use in the new much larger greenhouse. A handful of expensive stainless steel screws did not survive the process, but most things did including the windows. Me tired. Now we are ready to begin construction of the new larger greenhouse. The Editor amusingly suggested to put some grow lights in there, and we could power that, but far out, despite doing nothing wrong and just growing vegetables, the trouble would be not worth the hassle and I’d probably end up on some sort of list. I’m probably already on one.

    Ah, the local independent supermarket stocks nutritional yeast, but yeah it was not easy to find – or in great supply.

    Good to hear that your limp is getting better, and I tend to be a believer in physical therapy for such things. After all, I’m now locked in a daily stretching and exercise routine, but it works. People dodge that path, dunno why.

    Hey, that’s a good haul for the price. Brussels Sprouts, maybe the moths are trying to tell you something? 🙂

    Yikes! Did you find a place for the plants? At a pinch, the kitchen bench (might be a drama for you) with a plate to retain some water, usually does the job. I’ve had to relocate the plants growing in the greenhouse and we’re getting closer to the frosty part of the year. Oh well.

    Isn’t everyone frightened of ghosts? I guess the story proves that this is not the case, and in fact it seem advantageous not to be frightened of ghosts. Hmm, I must contemplate the lesson there.

    Out of curiosity, what percentage of the book covers growing, processing and cooking of grains? Grow notes can be rather scant, I’m guessing because like with many plant efforts, it depends…



  38. Hi Inge,

    Lovely! Spring has sprung.

    After a days work around the property, I love sitting in a hot bath accompanied by a good book, whilst being careful not to drop said book into the water. Despite the hype, wet books rarely recover their former state. This evening I was rudely interrupted in my reading enjoyment by an inch and a half of rain just on the other side of the window. The bath room and bath looks over the valley (it’s all trees and I’m sure you’d be aware that the birds animals care not a whit about me sitting in the hot bath). Ollie ran around the farm for many hours today investigating this and that, and the work day had long since ended as the rain pounded on the roof. He was like Ren, fast asleep, except on the bath mat. Getting out of the bath is a complicated and risky procedure due to basically too many dogs milling around getting in the way.

    Sorry to hear that, some dogs hear the wind in their ears and they hear it whispering a call to adventure. Toothy was of that sort and could never be allowed out in the company of any other dog. He’d lead them astray on an adventure. Sir Scruffy was fooled once, and then he shunned Toothy ever afterwards.

    I can see the conundrum for you Son with the cockerel and Ren. I have had cockerels which were too aggressive and put an end to them. Possibly the rats may have been irritating the cockerel, but I don’t really know.

    An excellent choice, and one which I too follow. Both are very tasty!



  39. Hi, Chris!

    Dancing around the bonfire, are you? And a mighty fine dancer you are, too. Celebrating the full moon, or perhaps Rat Eradication Day? Or maybe just the annual M1 count?

    That is rubbish: “do what you love, and you’ll never work a day or a night.” Hard work is hard work, when it comes right down to it. I was pointing out to my husband this morning, when he was telling me about a fellow who had just bought a $400 million yacht, that money isn’t worth what our minds still think it is. Which sounds pretty simpleminded, but inflation has leapt upward so rapidly that my mind, at least, is having a hard time keeping up with where it is each day. I seem to be stuck in the past. I mean, look at that giant leap in your M1 chart.

    Wow – that is one impressive pile of cut firewood. Money in the bank! At least, that’s what Ruby told me.

    The autumn leaves are gorgeous. I’ve always wanted to grow rhubarb. It might be worth it just for the flowers. And thank you for all the other beautiful flowers.


  40. Hi Chris,
    We are getting vinyl flooring which I’m a bit guilty about because you know – plastic. It will wear well with the dogs and last as long as we do as well.

    Will finally get the snow peas planted today as well as kale and perpetual spinach. It will be in the mid 60’s but mostly cloudy.


  41. Yo, Chris – I am living in a mad house. I won’t go into detail, but the last 24 hours have been off the charts.

    Almond milk, is OK. You can get it sweetened, and even vanilla flavored. But I’ll take mine straight, thanks. 🙂 It tasted a bit thin, the first couple of times I used it, but that wears off. A new term. Alt-milks. I haven’t tried oat milk, but may. A quick trip down the rabbit hole, and, you can use it for baking.

    The new grains book doesn’t have anything about how-to raise the grains. As you know, Logsdon’s “Small Scale Grain Growing”, is best for that. I’m sure there are other books, that may be as good, but cover a smaller scale than even Logsdon. So it’s about the different grains, and recipes. What caught my eye is that it sounds pretty simple to make oat milk, at home. That would be a big savings, as a half gallon of almond milk runs between $3 and $4. At present.

    I saw an article yesterday that said most of our large metro areas, are emptying out. It’s a huge population shift. Some of it is price pressure, some of it is You Know What.

    People either get outgoings and incomings, or not. Or when they’re forced to. Collapse early and avoid the rush, indeed.

    I hate haggling. When I’d go to flea markets, and such, if I walked into a booth, if there were no price tags, I’d move onto the next one. The tags indicate if the seller has a rational grasp of value, or, an outrageous idea of value. And I might haggle a bit, but I need a place to start. As far as an outrageous idea of value, some of it is that previous investment thing. Or, they’ve looked at some price guide, with outrageous values. Or, there’s the brother-in-law effect. “My brother-in-law told me this was worth this much. Usually, I’d say, “Did your brother-in-law have cash in hand? If so, take the money and run.

    No one I can think of was embarrassed to sell something. But I know what you mean. It happens. “Temporarily financially embarrassed.” It kind of relates to “genteel poverty.” Doing the best one can to keep up appearances. To those who appearances are important. A fools game.

    Compared to us, your health care system is stellar.

    Thats pretty exciting about the greenhouse. Moving right along. Grow lights? Often seen, very cheap, at auctions.

    Broccoli, sprouts and cabbage. Things I feel are important to my diet. And, they’re getting more expensive. At the grocery, last night they had a four one pound bags of frozen veg, for $5. But that did not apply to the broccoli or sprouts. Seems the veg sales, never do.

    I don’t think I’d want to move the plants I bought, inside. They’re pretty well hardened off, and I wouldn’t want to confuse them. 🙂 .Lew

  42. Chris,

    Working with the seasons is something we’ve lost. Yet, doing so makes life easier. Watch your dogs…if it’s cold and wet and windy outdoors, they want to stay in by the fire. Smarter than we are, by far. I’m enjoying getting into a more natural mode in retirement.

    Stainless steel heads are notoriously flimsy. One slip and the screw is ruined. I remember having to drill some out for removal. Not fun.

    You’re getting the rain. We’re still in a drought, officially. This winter 38 inches of snow fell officially. That makes a rare La Nina winter with under 40 inches of snow. As this was the 2nd consecutive La Nina winter, it was expected to follow the norm and dump more snow than the previous winter’s 50 inches. Many La Nina winters have greater than 60 inches of snowfall.

    My work ethic improved drastically whenever I was able to sneak a short nap into my lunch break. It made a lot of difference. Those middle ages clerics had to answer to some task masters who totally misunderstood human needs!

    Oh, I forgot to mention. I watched a bald eagle soaring and gliding a few mornings ago. It wasn’t too far away, then left quickly on an air current. It looked to be travelling above Indian Trail Road, which ends at some Native American Painted Rocks at the Little Spokane River. I saw some maps of the area, ranging from very old to 1950s. There really WAS an Indian Trail that became the road. The trail went from the Painted Rocks to a location about 1.75 km south of me now called Drumheller Springs. That would’ve been a distance of about 15 km or so. Then from the Drumheller Springs to the Spokane River waterfalls was another 5 or 6 km. Important to travel between good water sources.

    Hehehe. Debt can’t heat the house or cook the food!

    Most of the guys who remove trees have good uses for the chips from the trees. Some work directly for landscape companies who will resell the chips as mulch. Others will sell the chips to the landscape companies. Others take the chips to the City of Spokane community composting project. Good uses all.

    On today’s walk with Avalanche, we were a mere 2 blocks from home. A young lady (I’m old enough to be her father, therefore she is young) asked me what breed Avalanche is. I told her that she’s Siberian Husky, at which point her little white 3 month old Siberian Husky appeared. Looked just like Avalanche did a few months ago! The 2 puppies enjoyed playing and rough housing for the next 90 minutes.


  43. Hello Chris,

    thanks for the music links. Goanna rocks. To me it is intriguing that they rhymed “someone lied, genocide” already in the 1980s. I guess they got some flak for that in those days, the pre-woke-era?
    The Birdz song was beautiful. Apparently even academic, see https://www.monash.edu/arts/monash-indigenous-studies/global-encounters-and-first-nations-peoples/news-and-blog/bagi-la-m-bargan-as-a-primary-source

    Back home in Sweden, we have a long, dark history of oppressing the Sami people. When I went to school in the 1970s and 1980s we didn’t talk about them, more than in passing, as “we brought railways and schools to Lapland”. Only the last decade or so, the Sami people are more visible in the public debates and get some visibility in the media.
    Right now, there is a conflict around a mining concession (to the British company with the ominous name “Beowulf Mining”) in Sami land that the government just approved…
    More and more people are moving from denial to shame to guilt to looking for ways of reparation and compensation.
    It is uncomfortable but healing, I think.

    Regarding the global Just-in-time miracle – I see more and more reports of export bans. Wheat from Serbia, Romania, Bulgaria as well as from Russia and Ukraine (who both limit hundreds of products). Oils. Fertilizers. Seeds. Petrol. Gas. Coal. This is on a scale that is much larger than the “Trump trade war” a few years back.
    Signs of a more local future, as Helena Norberg-Hodge wrote in the excellent “Local Futures”, that I would never dare to recommend. 😉

    We have had a beautiful spring here, lots of sunshine and enough rain in short, but shallow bursts. The tree seedlings are coming up and it is a great time of the year. A time of promise. We have all April been harvesting ramps, nettles, elm seeds and the last rush of Alexander, and every week the harvest widens. There is no high-caloric harvest yet, so the storage is still the base for our cooking.


  44. Hi Goran,

    From memory all I recall was that the song received lots of airplay and was generally well received.

    In 1967 a referendum was passed with 90% of the populations support where the constitution was changed so that the Federal Parliament could make special laws “for” Aboriginal people for their benefit or, their detriment. But it took until about 1983 before voting became compulsory for the Indigenous folks – as it was for every other adult in the country (there are fines for abstaining).

    I don’t know anything of the Sami people, however I have read enough history to know that quite often groups of people move for all manner of reasons. It is worth noting that other people get displaced in the process, and that is how history rolls. It’s brutal, but also instructive and possibly predictive. When the Europeans arrived on this continent, introduced disease in the southern and eastern part of the continent wiped out about 90% of the Indigenous population. Technology surely would have added to that loss, so it was perhaps not really possible to mount a spirited defence of land when nine in ten of your fellows have perished.

    I was told long ago that the Indigenous folks were not present in this mountain range, and wanted to believe it, but I now know that to be a lie.

    Perhaps it is true that European law springs from the pointy end of a gun?

    Absolutely, the scale is bonkers. I was talking with friends today about this very subject. And the question was raised: When will it matter? A deep question. What do you reckon?

    Argh! More sneaky book references!!! Note my deflection technique number two was brought to the fore in this instance. It works!

    A time of promise. 🙂 I love spring too.



  45. Hi DJ,

    Dogs are a great guide as to what needs doing in any particular weather. 🙂 Thanks for the tidy reminder. Mind you, when we work, the dogs do what they have to do around the place.

    Last night I shone the torchlight into the orchard and spotted three sets of little yellow eyes peering back at me from a distance away. I reckon there was a vixen with her two cubs roaming through the orchard late at night. Dunno. But I have no problems with the foxes as they consume the rabbit and rodent population. The foxes have zero chance of being here during daylight hours.

    Hmm, just watched a utoob video on drilling stainless steel and I was back in grasshopper mode and learning. A difficult metal, so yeah not fun – but doable.

    Just to check the math with you, your 38 inches of snow over the 3 months of winter equates to about 96.52mm of rain. Mr Cotter! Mr Cotter! How did I do with the calculation? Actually that is very dry if I worked it out correctly. Given what is in the forecast for later next week, we’ll beat that amount over a fortnight. Man, outside is crazy wet.

    Naps reset the brain. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it, but yeah I am so with you on this matter. Sadly, I’ve never had a job where that was possible. The harsh task masters would no doubt account for the timeless amusement the clerics enjoyed with their killer rabbits?

    I believe that many roads and tracks down here followed such trails. I’d imagine that the current roads through this forest and mountain range were once such tracks. The sheer effort of creating a useful path in the first place is astounding. Maybe it is just me, but the underlying need for such a trail remained the same long after the original creators of the trails passed on or similarly were unfortunately denied access. It does make the thoughtful person wonder what sort of trails our civilisation will leave behind? What we visit upon the past, we reap in the future.

    Glad you liked that little debt joke. I’m genuinely surprised that so few people seemed concerned about this matter. Maybe I’m the one who is wrong?

    What a difference a world away makes. The wood chips here are often seen as waste products, and the fuel costs to move a truck load of them from the point of chipping to the resale area is not insignificant (the population is spread more thinly here). This is why the nice electricity company left me with so many wood chips last year. For your interest, the landscape companies probably have plenty of wood chips from the big smoke green waste road side collections. People in the big smoke know not what they give away.

    Lovely! Go Avalanche, she clearly has a winning personality.



  46. Hi Margaret,

    🙂 Truth to tell I had visions of beautifully polished hardwood floors. Vinyl is a fine floor and takes a lot of punishment and is easy to keep clean. As a funny side story, we installed the timber flooring here during the wettest year in the mountain range in recorded history. 55 inches of rain was challenging when one wants to construct a house. We left the flooring inside the house under cover so as to season, but it instead swelled with moisture over six months. And as the timber dried, the boards shrunk slightly, thus proving that a person has to consider the climate.

    My experience with vinyl is that it is a long lasting flooring option, it’s a good choice.

    How funny is this? Heading into winter the kale is growing strongly here and you’re only just planting it out. It’s become something of a weed! A very fine weed if cooked correctly. Beta vulgaris, what is your opinion of the taste? I was specifically wondering if the leaves were closer in taste to spinach than silverbeet? Never tried it.



  47. Hi Pam,

    It’s a complicated dance, and I’m wishing away the old logging detritus. What do they say? Oh that’s right, before wishing away the old logging detritus, feed the fire, after wishing away the old logging detritus, feed the fire. Hard work – and hot too, even in the cooler months.

    Sadly I’d not realised the M1 count had ‘progressed’ as far as it had. Doubled over the past decade. Doubled the decade before that. What had work had we done to deserve this outcome? Danced the economists did, and a mighty dance it was for they were the Lords of that dance. Then one day, the music slowed and the dancers were dismayed. Surely it doesn’t matter they said amongst themselves?

    I must say that it is hard to make this stuff up when Plum is sniffing my leg and pestering me for chunks of my dinner! 🙂 And Ollie is drooling. What a proteinous mess like that horrific 1980 Alien film. Scary as…

    Ruby has discriminating sensibilities and knows the promise of keeping warm on cold winter days when she spies it!

    I was reading that rhubarb was grown in Scotland and has long been grown in your country. With the lack of preserved fruits this year due to the abominable harvest, we’re going to be enjoying stewed rhubarb as an addition to the breakfasts once winter really kicks in (at this stage there are pomello’s and hundreds of kiwi fruits also).



  48. Hi Lewis,

    Thank you for taking the time to reply instead of dealing with the madness of the un-dead at your place. Zombies, it is known, are pesky adversaries who’s very fleck of, in this case the slightly unpleasant smelling and possibly much fermented, infected saliva will possibly convert you into an un-dead. Frankly speaking, I don’t believe that you’d make pleasant company as a zombie, and I’d be inclined to lop your head first, and ask questions later. A sensitive and alert person can never be too sure of the facts in such matters.

    On a serious note, I do hope that events have settled down a bit? I may be inclined to flights of fantasy (such as the above), but you are not noted for such flights from reality and so I’m guessing things were pretty serious.

    It’s funny you mentioned the Alt-milks (like the name), but I’m seeing them more widely available of late. In this corner of the continent we have a fairly robust dairy industry so fresh milk is quite good and readily available. In other parts of the continent without nearby dairy farming, usually you end up purchasing UHT (Ultra Heat Treated, I believe) packaged milk which comes in sturdy cartons (plastic lined I’m sure).

    Made certain that I spelt diary correctly this time around too! 😉

    Mate, I have not tried either almond or oat milk. I was even a bit dubious about goats milk when it was offered to me a few months ago. I’d like to believe that my palate was adventurous, but maybe it isn’t. Dairy goats would work really well here.

    Yes, true about Mr Logsdon’s book ‘Small Scale grain raising’. You’re spot on. I’d like to have time to experiment with grains, but that will have to wait until I do have the time. At your suggestion I did a deep dive into grain production a few years back, and I have the theory in my head, but not the practical knowledge which is required to produce grains. I’m learning as I go, and am yet to come across a good book suitable for this area on small scale mixed farming. It is possible that there is no such book. The best so far is ‘Growing vegetables south of Australia’ as it is spot on for this environment, but the author excludes orchards and animals and so there is a lot left out.

    But yes, my understanding is also that oat milk would be easy to make at home. The thing is, I’d try a couple of different varieties of oats, and from different sources until you get one that suits you. I guarantee you, oats may look similar from different sources, but they can be worlds apart. I’m very picky about oats.

    There’s certainly a lot going on right now. I went into the big smoke today for the Green Wizards catch up. It was a good catch up and the food was good despite the lack of tiramisu. I have to let that one go. Sad… It was a good turn out, although you-know-what intervened with some members. I took along a guy I’d known for about a dozen years whom I thought would be a good fit for the group. He seemed to enjoy himself, and that was pleasing. We spoke about gold and oil today, and also the larger world events. There’s a truck load going on, and where we didn’t know details, we didn’t hesitate to speculate. Always good to chuck ideas around and see if they fly. I emphasised to the guy I introduced to the group that the group has divergent views on many topics, consensus is not sought, and this could be confronting to people not schooled to such polite wide ranging discussions and wanting absolutes.

    Speaking of outgoings and incomings, and general understanding of such things, I don’t understand myself how debt as a policy was allowed to go to such an extreme. It seems somehow, irresponsible.

    Yes, of course. In relation to the mechanism for price discovery at flea markets or for the tat trade, I also tend to operate in a similar fashion. You’ve pretty much nailed the cultural values. That’s how it works. Of course, from time to time a person does have to haggle, and that’s life. It is possible that in an alternative culture where there are less different items of ‘stuff’ to purchase, a well informed person would simply know the approximate value of any item (because there wouldn’t be many of them to remember). But I tend to believe that the complexity of our civilisation is such that price discovery has to begin from the basis of a known stated price (or approximate price). We couldn’t operate day to day otherwise. I tend to believe that this is why inflation is such a shock to many people. The shock is a readjustment of their unstated belief systems – what with all that that entails. What do you reckon about that?

    Oh really? It’s rare to see someone embarrassed by the act of selling something, but it does happen. I once bought a second hand water tank (500 gallons) from a seller who lived in a well to do looking, but outer suburban housing estate. The blokes house was massive, but wow did he look uncomfortable selling the water tank or what? Didn’t want the neighbours to think poorly of him. Candidly, if he hadn’t entered the house by the front door, I would have believed that he was stealing the water tank and then on-selling it. But given it was through ebuy with a good record, he would have been possibly traceable.

    It is a fool’s game. And you can’t win it, so why play the game? There are other things to do with one’s time. It’s the Kobayashi Maru of social games. 🙂

    Thank you for the correction as to the health system.

    I’m hesitant about the grow lights, although I could easily power them. People will definitely get the wrong impression, and then the trouble would begin. When I was a very young adult I used to hang around with some stoner’s. They were fun people and I appreciated their emotional stability (although they smoked for a reason I’m guessing). Anyway, I never smoked, but I did pick up some of their personality traits. And that was when people began getting the wrong impression, and then worse. It got crazy.

    Mate, seriously, I spotted a cauliflower the other day which the supermarket wanted $7 for. Note the use of the singular. Inflation be real my friend, inflation be real.

    Oh yeah, I hadn’t thought about the hardening off issue. I have no idea how that would work, but it probably wouldn’t be good.



  49. Chris:

    I wonder if inflation seems extra grievous to us now since we have gotten so used to all that cheap stuff made over yonder?


  50. @ Goran & Chris – My mother’s family was mostly Finns … a stray Norwegian, or two. And one great grandmother, who was Sami. Growing up, it was mentioned a couple of times, just in passing.

    Tolkien spent some time with the Sami. He got some of his ideas for his books, from their folk tales. Lew

  51. Yo, Chris – Being grumpy in life, I’d probably be a grumpy zombie. 🙂

    Well, here at the Institution, police were called, the library door was damaged and is stuck shut … so, it was a made scramble to the library, this morning, to check out the new list. Four of us on the 3d floor, didn’t get food boxes. Our building manager is out til Wednesday, as she’s in quarantine. There was a going away party for our night manager, and someone had You Know What. Yup. Never a dull moment, around the old Institution. Thrill a minute. No building manager, night manager, and our community outreach person hasn’t been replaced. I run a short security patrol, when I walk H in the evening.

    I’ve tried goat’s milk, a time or two. Didn’t like it. But the cheese! Oh, the cheese! Give me more and keep it coming.

    When it comes to oats, it’s Bob’s Red Mill, all the way. I see that I can also make oat milk with steel cut oats (of which, I have 25 lbs., and am wondering what to do with it.) Can be done, but instructions say it’s not as “creamy.”

    I’m glad you had a good time with the Green Wizards. And are indoctrinating a new member. Is there a secret handshake? 🙂 What’s with the Tiramisu famine? Supply line problems?

    Why was debt allowed to go to such extremes? Because someone makes a lot of money off off it.

    When e buy and The River, launched, there was a lot of price discovery. All those “rare” things, turned out not to be so rare. Lots of wailing an gnashing of teeth.

    I agree with your ideas about inflation. See: sticker shock.

    It seems the Kobayashi Maru slipped into one of my computer’s temporal anomalies. But, through other nefarious means, I see what you were referring to. Star Trek. So, a temporal anomaly makes perfect sense 🙂 .

    So you worry about wrong impressions? Sometimes, I cultivate them. Great fun!

    I hope that $7 cauliflower ended up in a compost bin, and not the garbage. Sticker shock, in action.

    I re-watched “Tim’s Vermeer,” last night. Fascinating stuff. It wasn’t mentioned in the documentary, but other artists back then, did interesting things with optics. Van Eych’s “Arnolfini Portrait” did an interesting thing, with a convex mirror, in the background. The Spanish painter Velazquez also fooled with mirrors, in his “Las Meyinas.” Other painters hid things in paintings, like skulls, that could only be seen with a mirror cylinder. Clever lot, that bunch. Lew

  52. Hi Lewis,

    🙂 Sorry mate, but that seals it. I was a bit undecided about whether to lop the head off zombie Lewis, but mate, expect no quarter here now. Imagine grumpy zombies with bad attitudes? Hehe!

    Far out, when things go wrong at your place, they go wrong big time. Does running a security patrol at night now make you the new Sheriff in town, and H the Deputy? It’s been said before that nature abhors a vacuum. On a serious note, I do hope that things calm down a bit and return to normal soon? A lot of the staff shortages down here are due to the health subject which dare not be named.

    It’s kind of funny really, but it wasn’t all that many years ago when we were all encouraged to soldier on by the farmasooteecul companies. That message wouldn’t work out all that well nowadays. I know a bloke who had four shots, and that apparently wasn’t enough. He appears to have recovered easily enough though.

    Did you end up getting your food box via some other means?

    I’m with you about the goats milk and so face the request to taste the stuff with a bit of trepidation. And yes, the milk is better converted into cheese. Halloumi cheese is a very tasty foodstuff, and I’ve enjoyed it fried. Yum! So good. Visited a sheep dairy long ago, and the milk was superb, but the cheese was far better again.

    Had lunch today at a nearby cidery. I’d tasted their product and it was a fine cider, so out of interest we went and visited the nearby cidery and orchard. It was fun, and sadly we’d missed out on the local pie trail which was held briefly recently. Sad. The cidery fed us pork pies with a jalapeño sauce and it was pretty good. The town was pretty close to here, and has an interesting name: Darraweit Guim. The town also produced a notable rock band, but is otherwise very pleasant and bucolic.

    25lbs! Eat them and experiment with on the oat milk is my suggestion! 🙂 I’ve never attempted such a thing as making oat milk, so I’ll leave it to you. I tend to order 35lbs of oats at a time, I could order more oats, but the lovely folks at the local post office may crack the sads – and that would not be good for me, or them.

    Sadly, the tiramisu is now a thing of the past. The menu looked as if it had been simplified to me, and that’s cool. Overall I’ve noticed that the quality of food served in the big smoke has declined. I’m assuming that this is due to many causes, staff shortages being one of them. But also I view the decline in quality as a form of stealth inflation.

    Yeah, but money isn’t wealth. I guess the problem plays out in the wider sphere, but why damage the very thing that supports the abstract concept?

    The classifieds of yesteryear had a similar impact on price discovery, but I do have to admit that having photos nowadays reduces misunderstandings that the text descriptions inevitably introduced. But yeah, ebuy would have had a big impact on prices.

    Hehe! Temporal anomaly it is, and so it shall be. Perhaps it is time to drop in a ‘make it so’ just for good measure. Had a mate many long years ago who thought that he could always gain an edge, or get one up on the system. I’m not sure it worked out so well, and it came off as looking arrogant to me. Hubris was ever a risk.

    That’s funny – he says as he jots down your very amusing line. Yes, such things can be carefully cultivated indeed.

    No, we ate the cauliflower, but candidly the results may have ended up in the worm farm via a slightly different process. Baked a curried cauliflower and cheese pie. Super tasty!

    I really like the idea that a painter could hide an item which is known these days as Easter Eggs. Very clever. Yes. For some reason I recall the art auction where Banksy churned his work through a shredder. It’s one way to restrain supply, plus it provides sheer spectacle.

    Better get writing! I’m honestly uncertain as to what I’ll write about. I have a bunch of ideas and will now try to put them in some sort of coherent order. It may prove to be a step too far, but we’ll see.



  53. Yo, Chris – It was quiet as a tomb around here, yesterday. O.K. by me. Just the way I like it. Won’t last.

    Not so much sheriff and deputy. More like anonymous super hero. 🙂

    No, we did not get our food boxes by other means. We’re just SOL, until next month. But, until we get a replacement for our Community Outreach Person, it probably won’t get sorted. If then. I get the impression that the building manager would rather we go to the food bank, ourselves, to pick up our boxes. Never mind that some of the inmates are either a.) too frail or b.) lack transportation.

    Darraweit Guim has slipped into a temporal anomaly. Damn you Star Trek! (and my old computer). But, I found pictures of it by other means. Looks like a nice little town. Also looks like the backdrop of a few Australian films I have seen.

    Oh, I thought I was buying rolled oats. Not much to do with the steel cut ones, as far as my cookbooks go, other than porridge. But, there’s plenty of interesting things, on-line. They won’t go to waste. I picked up 25 pounds of rolled oats, later. This month, I’ll see if I can round up 25 pounds of all purpose flour.

    So has the quality of the food gone down, or is it just simplified? Or a lack of variety. Simple food can be high quality. Speaking of food, I watched a new bio of Julia Child, the other night. Quit good. She really did kick off the idea that there were more possibilities for food, than what you could get out of a can, or the frozen food case.

    Money still buys a lot of tat and toys, so it’s still perceived as wealth.

    I thought you just sighted the cauliflower. I didn’t realize you actually bought it. So was the curry / cheese pie worth $7? 🙂

    What, pray tell, is a “pie trail?” I’d guess it’s a first cousin to a pub crawl. Lew

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