Captain Kirk of the Starship Enterprise in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, famously stated that: “I don’t believe in the no-win scenario”. After all, he’d managed to survive the infamous Kobayashi Maru training exercise, so perhaps he was right? The training exercise was designed as a no-win scenario in order to test the mettle of a commander. The crafty old Captain Kirk hacked the simulator instead and changed the scenario so that he could turn certain defeat, into a certain win – for him.
You have to give credit to the wily fictional character, he displayed verve and talent. On the other hand he might have been displaying arrogance or hubris. And as everyone knows excessive pride leads to nemesis – the inescapable agent of a persons downfall. Who wants that? Sounds horrid to me.
Nowadays I can barely stand to read the news of the day. In fact, I don’t read the news of the day. Instead I skim the headlines so as to get a feel for the general flavour of the sort of issues being reported upon. It works for me and saves me the distress of observing some of the stranger events of our time too closely. Exhibit A: Recently Australia began the process of purchasing a nuclear submarine. Cool, toys. Such a vessel can project force, I’m guessing, right up to the Straits of Malacca. Coincidentally most of China’s oil has to travel through those same Straits. And now the Solomon Islands, which is alarmingly close to our shores, has signed a security pact with China. All very exciting and also goes to prove that hubris does indeed lead to nemesis.
Anyway, hubris is always there to be feared. Sometimes I consider what I may have overlooked, or whom of consequence I’ve annoyed. Probably lot’s of both now that I think about it! But seriously, I try not to worry about such things, and simply do the best I can. If I come unstuck and face the no-win scenario, I probably wouldn’t have failed due to lack of trying.
Other people though, I don’t know. Motivations are cloudy and obscure to me, and all a person can do is observe actions, listen to intuitions and then make a best guess. Those acts provide useful insights into why things are the way they are, because right now, there are a whole bunch of crazy things going on that I don’t believe will end well.
Maybe the crazy things are going on because few people can now recall the five year long recession which ended a quarter of a century ago? I recall those days. Being told by my boss, don’t come Monday, here’s some mad cash, now get lost – that was an exciting experience. And unfortunately it meant the next four years of work involved contacting customers and asking them to pay their bills. If ever you want a view into the darker sides of the human psyche, I recommend working in debt collection. The work was easy, but with 10% unemployment, the pay was not so great. Who can now forget the bill heavy couple of months where I needed to buy a new pair of socks, and could not afford them. It was either that, or put food on the table and keep a roof over my head. Poverty is an instructive experience. On the other hand, once faced, the fear is diminished.
Speaking of poverty. Last week I wrote about housing affordability and the economy, and how things were different back in the day, because you know, they were different. The policy choices which lead to this current state of affairs where a median house in Melbourne costs $1.12m were deliberately introduced. You don’t double the supply of mad cash over a decade, and then double it again over the next decade, by sheer accident. And at the same time, I recall hearing serious economists suggesting that it doesn’t matter. Those words sound like hubris to me, and everyone knows where that leads.
Housing is expensive and in short supply in Melbourne, but there would be worse places. I reckon that there would be a shortage of houses on the eastern coastal part of the continent nowadays. The area has suffered some horrific disasters over the past few years. The Black Summer Bushfires of 2019-2020 destroyed something crazy like 3,500 homes and almost 6,000 outbuildings, with the total damage estimated around $103bn. The following two summers then produced too much rain, leading to flooding right up the east coast, and some towns were flooded several times.
Because of all of the destruction of houses in that part of the country, you see stories in the news reporting upon the housing shortage there. And those were not cheap places to live in the first place. So not only are the remaining houses expensive, but they’re also in even shorter supply. And I’m sure the majority of people would have been uninsured, and that means that those people might not even have the mad cash to rebuild.
What to do? Step back and away from the current policies which makes houses – you know, the thing which keeps rain off a persons head – so expensive. That after all is the genius of the wily Captain Kirk’s move, he didn’t challenge the system, he changed the rules. But fear not, change is coming.
Speaking of flooding rains, on Friday night a thumper of a downpour delivered more than an inch and half of rain in under an hour. I’d been aware that this rain was in the forecast, and so I relocated an additional three empty water tanks down to the new large shed site. The original four water tanks already in place were almost full to overflowing.
The three empty water tanks were rolled down the hill. The trick with that job is making sure that the water tanks don’t roll too fast otherwise they’ll escape control and end up in the forest way down below the new large shed.
A high pressure water jet cleaner was used to clean the insides of the water tanks. They were then lifted and pushed into place where they sit on a bed of rock crusher dust.
One water tank was connected up to the original tank pipe system which links them all. The job was completed about two hours before the rain deluge. I’m still yet to connect up the other two water tanks, but will have to do so soon, because after the recent rain, the tanks are again almost full.
We’ve been working recently towards building a larger greenhouse. This week we dismantled the existing small greenhouse, recovering most of the materials. There was a little bit of waste in the dismantling as I accidentally destroyed a few stainless steel bugle headed screws. The rest of the materials however, will be used in the new larger greenhouse.
In order to dismantle a building and recover the materials, you have to be aware how the thing was constructed in the first place – and then remove materials in the reverse order. In this case the building was dismantled from the roof downwards. It is far quicker to dismantle a building than construct it in the first place.
By the end of a days work, the greenhouse had been dismantled and the site was cleaned up.
As an amusing side story: During the process of dismantling the greenhouse I’d spotted what I thought was a rather large dead spider hiding in a window channel. I thought to myself: I wonder if you’re dead? So as you do, I gave the spider a poke with my finger. Did I mention before that it was rather large? Oh yes, the spider was massive and most definitely alive. My finger depressed into the soft abdomen. The spider took umbrage at my actions and rapidly scuttled away from me, and unfortunately towards the Editor, who rather courageously squealed and stepped away. It was a big and very fast moving spider. Anyway, we survived the incident unscathed, except I now have this recurring memory of what it felt like to prod the spider. Ook!
Regular readers will recall that last week we began burning off a very large tree stump thoughtfully left over by the loggers. A few more hours were put towards continuing the burning off, and the tree stump is now a more manageable size (about a third of the original size). And the soil around the fire pit is still warm a week on.
Autumn is coming to a close, and winter is becoming all too real a possibility. The persimmons are near to ripe.
Despite winter being just around the corner and the awful growing season we’ve had this year, there is still a lot of fruit to be consumed during the darkest months of the year. The kiwi fruit vines are prolific.
And instead of showing flower photos this week, I thought to include some random images from late autumn around the farm. The leaf change is very pretty, although the hordes of tourists are far from pretty.
The temperature outside now at about 9.00am is 12’C (54’F). So far this year there has been 361.2mm (14.2 inches) which is up from last weeks total of 306.8mm (12.1 inches)