To be human

The blog content rarely strays into current events, after all, there are more learned and better informed discussions about such matters – elsewhere. However, occasionally exceptions must be made, for on Saturday a Federal election was held.

Voting in Australia is compulsory for adults who’s names are recorded on the electoral register, and most adults do vote. Compulsory, means exactly what the word suggests, and to do otherwise is risking a fine. The requirement came about early on in the life of the nation, most likely because of the general level of apathy in the population.

Apathy is a bit of a problem, but then I don’t recall hearing any of our leaders, current or potential, during the election campaign suggest how they intend to respond to the problem of oil at US$112 a barrel. Right now, oil is super-expensive, and that’s a worry given the stuff is used for most aspects of our lives. Mind you, I didn’t hear talk from them about resource shortages either for that matter.

Maybe the politicians have been so busy campaigning, they hadn’t noticed the relatively high oil price? Stepping inside a supermarket and wondering which product will be more expensive this week is an instructive experience. Whatever, decline is a slow process, with occasional lurches downwards. Right now though, I’m getting the feeling that one of those lurches may not be all that far away. There are potential interest rate rises, further money printing, high energy costs and resource shortages to contend with, what a mess! Makes you wonder what the politicians will do if they’re confronted with such a mess? Hopefully it doesn’t involve masks.

Anyway, I got bored pretty early on with the campaign. The two major parties appeared to me to be taking extreme positions, and all the while neglecting the things which are of importance to the general population – like trying not fall off an economic cliff. But the elephant in the room was the crazy high house prices, and unlike the small kid playing soccer who got knocked to the ground, nobody really wanted to tackle that one. I didn’t hear any coherent policy suggestions about the subject of high house prices. But I do wonder if it’s a similar situation to Climate Change in that there’s a lot of noisy worry, but no demands are ever made if they involve costs to the worrier?

I’m naturally a bit dodge on politicians. They do strange things such as eating raw onions, or tackling small children rugby style, knocking them to the ground. So I treat them all as a bit suspect, and have less worries when they do strange things, because you know, they’re like, suspect. And doesn’t it make you wonder how they cope with the attention of the media which is focused upon them all day, everyday? I’d crack under that level of scrutiny, and end up saying something stupid like <deleted>.

Talking about saying stupid things, someone mentioned to me that in the leaders debate held sometime before the election day, there may have been a bit of shouting. Give them the benefit of the doubt, they might be hard of hearing. But yeah, shouting doesn’t inspire confidence. And tell ya what, I wouldn’t shout at a dog, the dog would think that I was unstable and not good boss dog material, hmm…

The political discourse is all very strange. Apathy about politics is one thing, but critical thinking skills are of interest to me. A few months ago I read a book by the author Robert H Thouless, titled: Straight and Crooked Thinking (nod to Inge). It was an interesting read, and for educational purposes, I shall reproduce two short sentences:

Practically all men desire money and comfort, and fear ruin and death, so they will tend to accept propositions whose truth would secure their wealth, comfort, and security of living, and reject those whose truth would threaten them. … how nearly universal is the rule that those who have possessions (even a few) are politically on the side of preservation of the existing order, while revolutionaries are, on the whole, recruited from the non-possessors.

The election produced a change of government, but what interested me was the sheer number of independents and Greens members elected, and also the historically low primary vote recorded by either of the two major parties. If they don’t take that as a warning to get their act together, those politicians are not only suspect, they’re foolish.

Last week I mentioned that we had no intentions of working on the new greenhouse project this week – something or other about taking a break from work. But then, unanticipated events intervened, and we did work on the new greenhouse project. The local hardware store had ready supplies of the polycarbonate roof sheets, and so I purchased them and brought them back to the farm.

An afternoons work was enough time to install one half of the roof sheets. It’s looking super-neat.

Half of the polycarbonate roof sheets are now installed

For all sorts of reasons I don’t want to go into, we couldn’t do much work this week. However, on Sunday afternoon I had a few hours free and was able to repair one of the poly trailers which can be used to tow stuff around the farm using the ride on mowers.

The steel on the arm of the trailer had buckled. The bend in the arm was straightened out and I welded in two angle support brackets. The trailer arm is now stronger than before.

Ollie is most definitely taking advantage of my face

The weather earlier this week was very wet and cold, but there were signs that the sun was trying to shine through and past the thick clouds.

A rainbow on an otherwise cold and wet day

But then towards the end of the week, there has been a continuous run of sunny blue sky days, albeit cold and humid ones.

The moon sits high in the sky towards the west

The days may have been sunny, but the nights were cold, foggy and frosty.

Frost settles in the valley

On many mornings this week, the roof of the Dirt Mouse Suzuki had a layer of ice.

A frozen roof on the Dirt Mouse Suzuki

Onto the flowers:

Daisies continue to flower despite the frosty mornings
This Daisy is particularly colourful
An Irish Strawberry Tree in flower
The Mexican Escallonia produces masses of pink flowers
Yarrow has produced some flowers against a backdrop of Leucodendron
It’s hard to believe that the Salvia’s are producing masses of flowers now
How lovely is this Geranium?

The temperature outside now at about 9.00am is 10’C (50’F). So far this year there has been 384.2mm (15.1 inches) which is up from last weeks total of 376.6mm (14.8 inches)

48 thoughts on “To be human”

  1. Yo, Chris – The price of oil and resource shortages are low on most people’s list of concerns. If they make the list, at all. A hard truth, but there it is. Higher up their lists are things they can actually influence. It’s probably a pretty mundane list, important to not many people, but them.

    If your politicians are like ours, I doubt they’ve stepped into a supermarket, in years. They have “little people” to do that for them. Usually, somewhere during an election cycle, a politician is cornered by a reporter, who asks what the politician thinks a gallon of milk or a dozen eggs are selling for, these days. The estimates are always wild, an offer a momentary chuckle. A mere sound bite, lost in a sea of dreck. These politicians would not do well on that old game show, “The Price is Right.”

    And, politicians, like most of the fauna in any bureaucracy, gain status, depending on how far they can stay away from the great unwashed. Us, in other words.

    I’d say, we’re well into one of those downward lurches. And there’s probably a few more steps to fall down, this round. House prices? Climate change? See: list of concerns of most of the population, above.

    That Thouless quote? Well, as Upton Sinclair said, “It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends upon his not understanding it.” Of course, he also wrote about the occult and telepathy, so, he was obviously a nut job, and we can dismiss anything he had to say. 🙂

    Polycarbonate. Rolls trippingly across the tongue. Poly trailers. Poly here and poly there. Polly Waddle Doodle (all the day.) The roof sheets really dress up the greenhouse. You can take it out to lunch. But (bite my tongue) I wonder how it will hold up in a hail storm? Can I use the word tongue, twice in one paragraph?

    Frost on the Dirt Mouse. Yup. Your winter is here. I am amazed by how much green and blooming, you still have. We get frosts like that and just about everything turns toes up. The blue salvias are very pretty. I think we have some Leucodendron, around the Institution. The Master Gardeners probably put it in, years ago. And it returns each year.

    The library got a crisp new copy of King’s “Thinner.” Popcorn is all made. Gee, it came out in 1996. Wonder how I missed that? I forgot to mention, when I did my monthly on-line orders, I threw in a copy of the book “Grains for Every Season.” And a copy of the “Dead Poet’s Society,” DVD. Lew

  2. Hi Lewis,

    What could possibly go wrong with harvesting sugars from sea grass? 🙂 I’d imagine that something in there is consuming the stuff because otherwise the sea grass would make its environment too acidic – despite being in salt water, sugar after all is a fine preserving agent. I doubt that there are many resources that are not consumed, or used by something. And just because we don’t understand or acknowledge other claims on resources, doesn’t mean they aren’t there. Anyway, I don’t worry about such things because the researchers were using scuba gear to study the sugar, and that stuff isn’t cheap, so yeah I reckon more expensive than white truffles. 😉 I assume that ethanol fuel is at the end of that story, although it wasn’t mentioned?

    You’re probably right about that, but the other day I watched someone spend $200 filling up their over sized vehicle. How long can that be sustained? It’s not like wages have suddenly jumped up in response. I dunno, I was too young to see stagflation in action in the 1970’s, but I do recall that people had less stuff back then, they looked after what they had, and the activities were generally cheaper than the sort of things people do nowadays for entertainment. Maybe those memories also reflect the parlous economic state of the household I resided in, but I dunno, things were not as flash back then. My mother drove a mini-moke the Californian edition with the tiny 78 cubic inch motor (which is larger than the Dirt Mouse Suzuki’s) and we all piled in without a care in the world. The Suzuki is an easier car to live with. 🙂

    A bit of that activity ‘how much does basic stuff cost’ questioning went on this election cycle. By and large, the politicians did seem to have no idea, but then I imagine such folks have someone keeping the home fires going whilst they do whatever it is that they do. I mentioned the shouting at the debate, and I may make a prediction here: Unless the new Prime Muppet sets up some hard boundaries around his life, he might burn out. Such things happen. One recent Prime Muppet who kept at the job for a decade, did just that and it seems to have worked. Used to take the media on his morning walk, and those slackers had to keep up.

    Dude, I read some of the speeches made by your former President Jimmy Carter, and he seems to have gotten out of his office and actually spoken to people. The problem these days is that if you achieve high status, what the heck do you win?

    I tend to agree about the downwards lurch which is why I mentioned it in the essay. The city of Brisbane flooded earlier this year from the Brisbane River, and now they have Greens candidates elected. As a rough interpretation, that’s like having left wing candidates winning seats in Florida. 😉 The same could be applied to the city of Sydney which also flooded, but which can flip flop in terms of support, but not to the Greens.

    Those Green folks have no representation in the rural electorates, but the people there are different again.

    Your mention of Upton Sinclair (who possibly influenced the words of the author who’s work I quoted – purely for educational purposes) lead me on an interweb rabbit hole ending at the Ludlow Massacre. Wow. I don’t know enough about the author to question his mental state, but was he right about those two subjects?

    The polycarbonate will probably cope with storms better than glass. It’s flexible, and the screws holding the corrugated sheets onto the roof batten timbers have dome washers which spread and deflect the loads. It’ll be fine, and if it’s not fine I will most certainly let you know. The thing that might challenge that form of roof sheeting is fire. That might be a problem. The stuff is even protected from degradation due to Ultra Violet radiation.

    We’re amazed too at the diversity of flowers . It was 61’F here today and sunny. How is that even possible? Leucodendron plants are lovely and the leaves are often as visually striking as the flowers.

    Did you enjoy the film? The Editor is reading Mr King’s book ‘Insomnia’. Mind you the authors books are likely to keep you awake at night – what the heck happens next? – is always the reason for that.

    Yeah, sure about the rats. 🙂 Hey, I heard that when ship wrecked, yet still adrift (somehow) at sea, the sea birds will first take the eyes and then the lips. Sometimes the chickens look at me as if they are sizing me up for their next protein hit.

    No, people love the Harry Potter books, but it was the cover art which put me off, and seriously I could never recover from that point onwards. Honestly, isn’t life hard enough without moving staircases? What if you were late for a meeting, and somehow the staircase moved and you had to find it? I see what you mean about mazes. When I was a kid there were actual garden mazes which you could visit and get lost in. Probably a bit like the old Rubik’s cube which could be dismantled and then reassembled to complete the puzzle, and some cheeky wag would climb upon the hedges and have a look around. Talk about cutting the Gordian knot. 😉

    Well done you with the quilt. Hey, did the person making contact about the quilt say they were from Disney Studio’s, or were they worried you’d put your prices up if you knew? And how did you eventually find out it was your quilt?

    Talk about Great Expectations, leading to vast disappointment – with the dock collapse. Did that really happen? I see that serious books have been penned about this subject. What I want to know is this: Did Little Nell die? What kind of name is Nell anyway, is it short for Nellie? I note that one of Margaret Atwood’s essays were penned about this author. He sure seemed to enjoy writing a good tear jerker.

    Lewis, about the people just buzzing around the landscape when gas is $5 a gallon, doesn’t it make you wonder what they’re giving up, or what debt obligation they’re taking in order to do that? I wonder about that as it makes no sense at all to me.

    Ah ha! Baked beans = Pork and Beans. Of course, all makes sense now. I grew up eating that stuff on toast, and have fond memories of it. Yes, very tasty, but yeah maybe don’t over analyse the pork content. 🙂

    Sorry to hear of your err, gut condition. Never good, and I dunno about sandwiches made days ago. The bread I bake every day has no preservatives in it, other than a teaspoon of salt for taste, and yeah it wouldn’t last two days. Yeah, nah, hope you’re feeling better.

    I do take gifts when visiting friends, but it depends upon the visit as to the gift. It’s an old school act of courtesy and appreciation, and it has much to recommend it. I suspect that my mates of the big shed fame would much prefer the book (he says whilst noting the title for a Christmas gift! Thanks for the suggestion) – they have an enviable collection of books on food and cooking which may rival yours, but whatever, you’d love it.

    Those are good dogs for sure. Speaking of dogs, I’m rather enjoying jack London’s book Call of the Wild. Buck the dog is a commanding presence, and I’m almost finished that story.

    It’s outrageous that Lake Woebegone has become gentrified! Surely there is at least one place left in the world where men are real men, women are real women, and small furry west highland terriers, are real small furry west highland terriers? Whatever is the world coming to these days? 🙂



  3. Yo, Chris – In the foodie world, it seems it’s all about exotic salts, vinegars … and sugars. I keep it simple and avoid such nonsense.

    Hmm. What do I remember about the 1970s? Well, you could dance your ___ off, all night, for the price of a beer. I really don’t remember much about stagflation. Other than the gas being rationed.

    “How much does basic stuff cost?” Usually good for a sound bite, or a bit of filler. Although, I seem to remember such questions worked their way into a presidential debate, or two.

    I’ve often though that anyone who runs for office, well, their motivations might be a little suspect. Now me, I’d run for office just for the premo health insurance 🙂 . Brisbane and Sydney. I read an interesting article yesterday, comparing two Georgia counties, that are side by side. One is deeply red, and the other, blue. But, demographically, there not that much different. And the people aren’t really that interested in national, or even state politics. It’s what’s going on locally, that interests them.

    The Ludlow Massacre wasn’t all that unusual. It was usually a standoff between big business and organized labor. And those kinds of incidents were pretty frequent. See: The Ford (auto plant) Massacre, The Bonus Army, the Triangle Shirtwaist Fire, or even our own Centralia Massacre.

    Upton Sinclair. Which two topics? The occult and telepathy? The jury is still out. 🙂 Depends on who you ask.

    I wondered about the roof and ultra violet radiation. Depends on the hail storm, I suppose. There are some that nothing can withstand.

    I watched “Thinner”, last night. Hmm. I don’t know about the book, but as far as films go, I’ve seen better offerings from King. But, there are some really interesting supporting characters. And Mr. King has a couple of cameos.

    Here, in the fall, corn mazes are a big deal. Usually adjacent to a pumpkin patch. Maybe a cider press. Anything to squeeze a bit more revenue out of the land.

    I just stuck a price on my quilt, and put it in my space, in an antique mall. It was the mall management that told me the Disney prop people were buying stuff up for a new movie. Once upon a time, I also sold an English, Victorian, purple slag glass salt, to one of Arron Spellings minions. I guess he collected salt cellars, and it was one he didn’t have. Same deal. Sold out of an antique mall.

    I couldn’t find the story about the dock collapsing, waiting for an installment of a Dickens novel. But I found this …

    See #8 for the spoiler. 🙂

    All that burning up of $5 gas is probably a debt obligation. I pay my card off, every month. Usually, I put gas on the card. But this time, I decided to just pay cash. That limits my purchase. And one less charge on my card. Though there are never very many.

    Oh, my digestion is back to normal. Elinor didn’t fare as well. But she’s back on track, today.

    The new Lake Woebegone book is resonating with me. A bunch of old farts sitting around, talking about the good old days. Lew

  4. Hello Chris,

    What a beautiful greenhouse. I hope you can capture some greenhouse gases there. 😉

    There are several plants that enjoy the higher heat and especially growing with dry leaves, like tomatoes.
    Even just a roof is great for tomatoes, to avoid getting rain on the leaves. In Germany, I have seen many gardens with a small structure, four poles and a 2×2 meter roof, at approx 2-3 meters high, with a patch of tomatoes underneath. Sometimes translucent, often not.
    My mom grows most of her tomatoes under the eaves of their house, so that the vines climb a rope next to the wall, out of the rain.

    I cannot help but putting in a completely overt book recommendation. This week, I am reading Chris Smaje’s “A small farm future”, Chelsea Green, which is both beautifully written, thought provoking and inspiring. He takes a global perspective on food production in a low-energy future. (spoiler: not the vertical-farming high-tech “solution”). His blog is almost as good as yours… 😉

    Regarding the quote of “those who have possessions (even a few) are politically on the side of preservation of the existing order”:
    In the 1990’s, there was a push in many European countries, following the lead of Ms Thatcher, to “privatize” housing. They managed to get lots of people to borrow money to purchase the apartments that they had been previously renting.
    As a consequence, the conservative parties got a boost in the subsequent elections.
    The amount of wealth seems not to play a role, it is more about feeling that you belong to the owner-class rather than actually owning something. ( i think that the individual interests would often differ in details, but the political leaning would overrule that reality.)

    Did you have the same development down under?

    Have a great week!


  5. Chris,

    Rats living in the steel posts? Yuck. Time to go hunting. With wire snares. A gaggle search for “wire snares” yielded several youtube videos. Here’s one… If you know where the entrances/exits are, place a snare at each one. And hope.

    Frost on the Suzuki. Thunder on DJ. The lights flickered this evening during a thunderstorm. The cable tv was knocked out briefly. I was otherwise occupied, so to me it was no inconvenience. For those who were watching, however, it was a different story.

    I’ve been working on a poem for a few days. I beg your indulgence.
    Pretty puppy human attention happily receives.
    Belly rubs, body strokes, ecstatic canine!
    Tail wags, fur flies.
    Shedding season.

    I’m glad you had no intentions for working on the greenhouse last week. You might have worked too hard and completed it if you had had intentions to work on it. Then what would you have for this week’s project? 🙂

    Nice picture of Ollie advantageously approaching your face. I could wax poetic about that, also, but one bit of DOGgerel this week is enough from me. 😉

    The dandelions are blooming, as are several wildflowers and some bulbs that I never planted that have adorable yellow blooms. And the forget-me-nots are in full bloom, also. The flowering crabapple tree was blooming, well, the 10% that decided to bloom this year. Was. Some nasty wind gusts today blew most of the flowers off the tree. Avalanche and I were under the tree at the time, both of us suddenly covered in pink.

    My mother used to make me baked bean sandwiches. She actually read the Hitchhikers Guide, as she had to see why I was laughing so had. So, she had a name that particular meal: Intergalactic Bean Sandwich.

    It’s good to see that you are enjoying “Call of the Wild”. Jack London had a good imagination and knew how to write a good story. I need a break from the Welsh history tome.


  6. Hi Chris,

    I hope the election outcome was to your taste. I have a weakness for popularist politicians and I always support them in conversation but I don’t vote for them. Our last one really sold us down the river.

    Last weekend we suffered another onslaught of unseasonal weather. Last month many poor areas were washed away. This time the roads in more affluent areas took a beating with large sinkholes or washed away completely. We also have rolling blackouts (we call it load shedding) currently 2 hours a day but it can change to 6 hours a day at a moments notice. (6 hours on, 2 hours off – with an extra 2 hours on every 4 days to shift the time slots) A brisk walk to the nearest petrol station with a jerry can has become a regular chore. I shouldn’t tempt fate but there is still petrol in the pumps and food on the shelves. Not bad for the third world I suppose.

    Your greenhouse looks great. I fell in love with the first one you built which was more to my scale. I have been following your construction closely. You never know when the knowledge may come in useful. There is just one question: the band of planks that go around the shed, how does it connect up at the corner posts?

    Regards Elbows.

  7. Hi Goran,

    🙂 Very funny! I tell ya what, even with only half the roof on at this stage, standing under that clear polycarbonate roof sheeting, it feels warmer. But I don’t really know whether the building will work. The former greenhouse did work, and so we’ve taken all of the best ideas from that structure, and made it bigger, but this time included permanent garden beds for sub-tropical plants, and space for heat loving annuals to grow during the growing season.

    Tomatoes will do fine outside here, if we move the entire vegetable bed to the sunniest location on the property. There are plans to do just that, but there are only so many hours in the day, and whether the job will be done before the next growing season I can’t say for sure. A lot of work needs to be done here, and time is always in short supply.

    Goran, I do like you, but I am immune to further reading recommendations! 🙂 Hehe!

    As to the other blog, I write about the day to day things which affect me, and what my thoughts are on those things, and what I’m doing in response. The blog you mentioned takes a more abstract view of the world, and there is a difference there. I am genuinely interested in how to navigate, say oil at US$113 a barrel, and I’m not really sure why other people are unconcerned about this. It’s a mystery to me. So I just get on with working harder as a response, knowing that trouble lurks around the corner and just out of plain sight.

    Ah, yes, your part of the world has far better arrangements for people who rent, than we do down here. Trust me, it is a miserable experience renting in this country, and the lack of certainty or security in the arrangement is terrifying. Most leases run for a year, and you can meet your obligations, be a perfect tenant, and still have a bad experience. And when we constructed this house, and rented in a nearby town, we were actually pestered so much towards the end of the eighteen months, that we finished the lease and moved into an unfinished house which was not even fully clad. The policies down here tend to push people into home (or apartment) ownership with all that that entails.

    Hope your spring is going well.



  8. Hi Elbows,

    Respect for making such a complicated proposition. 🙂 To be honest, I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect from this election, which is possibly why I wrote about it – the experience of writing is in some ways cathartic for me.

    Politicians are rarely popular down under. We did have a very popular Prime Minister not all that long ago, and that was Kevin Rudd. His party was elected in a landslide, and the government navigated the Global Financial Crisis so well that it was barely a blip down here. From memory, mad cash was handed out, and a cheeky electronics chain even offered the Kevin 37, for a 37 inch television which was exactly the same value as the mad cash hand out. No jobs were harmed, but the printing presses did appear to get a work out, and have continued to do so.

    Elbows, what do you do? There have been some towns up on the further north up the east coast of this continent which have been flooded twice this year. And both the capital cities of Sydney and Brisbane have had major flood incidents. The hot and dry summers are bad, but the wet summers do the most damage over the widest areas.

    I have a hunch that the flooding in those two capital cities was the impetus for the Greens political party to gain some presence there in the recent elections. The thing is, I know of a lot of people who are travelling to distant parts of the planet at an extraordinary cost to the environment (and future), and I fully understand their desires, and I get that, but you know, people want what they want even when it is contrary to their long term interests. And I heard some rumour today that those new Green politicians want to ban rat bait possibly due to the impact upon wildlife. Now I don’t use the stuff here, because of the risk to the owls, but not everyone has a Plum to sort out rodent problems, and my thoughts are with the farmers in this regard. Those are the sort of predicaments playing out.

    Thank you, and I loved that first greenhouse too. The planks which go around the bottom of the shed are screwed into the posts with 75mm stainless steel bugle head screws. The row you refer to supports the weight (and wind load) of the windows. There is another row of planks now, and the purpose of that will be revealed, soon.



  9. Hi DJ,

    Thanks for mentioning wire snares, and I used them with rabbits when they first became a problem following on from the death of Sir Poopy and Sir Scruffy. Not to speak ill of the departed, but Sir Poopy was a very lazy dog (which took about five years off his life, but you could say he lived his best life for sure) and when he was of a mind, him and Sir Scruffy used to head out and destroy the rabbits. Sir Scruffy on the other hand was a very robust and active dog who was clearly able to feed himself. Hmm. Nary a rabbit was seen with those two around.

    Dame Plum is now the only dog up for that job. Nuff said.

    Oh, wire snares. Yeah so I made up some wire snares and set the traps on the burrow entrances, and learned that the rabbits were far more wily than I’d anticipated. If it wasn’t for Dame Plum I’d have to get out and shoot them.

    Isn’t it alarming when a thunder strike makes the lights go dim (or out)? Adds to the spectacle of nature. Hope nothing important was being viewed on the television at the time? A message from George Orwell’s Big Brother perhaps? Hehe! Years ago I was watching a thunderstorm in the valley below the farm and witnessed a lightning strike hit a chunk of infrastructure which then produced an intense flash of light. It may have been signals on the train line, but I can’t now recall. We’ve had large trees hit in the depths of the forest which causes them to smoulder, and it is no easy feat to find them and put them out. That gets the locals out for sure.

    Thanks for the poem. Avalanche is clearly performing magic upon you! Hope the shedding isn’t causing you to sneeze? Such acts attract a lot of attention these days.

    Argh (that’s my pirate noise) me hearties. There be more work in the pipeline which ‘ee ain’t heard of yet. Take that ya land lubber! 🙂

    You can see Ollie’s tongue in the photo. It’s outrageous that he took advantage of my squatting for the photo. Respect for your fine DOGgerel. And Ollie suggests to Avalanche that she try something similar upon your good self.

    Sorry to hear about the blossoms getting blown off the crab apple tree. However, you have to admit, it would have made a good photo! 🙂 Far out, we lost most of our blossoms last spring because of such a wind, except the air temperature back then dropped to 2’C as well. How much can a fruit tree stand? Probably quite a lot now that I think about the matter further. They might not produce much fruit though in such conditions. Do you ever get any self seeded crab apple trees?

    Hehe! That’s funny about the sandwiches. Hey do you guys have jaffle irons? So it’s a cast iron cooking contraption, and you place the baked beans between two slices of bread, and the edges seal, the bread cooks inside the contraption over a hot plate and the baked beans are deliciously toasty. Just the treat for a cold winters day.

    Have you learned anything interesting from reading upon Welsh history? And is this reading purely for interest? I must say that over the years I have put one or two books down and not gone back to the hard work. History is a funny thing because some works are quite entertaining, and others are very dull indeed.



  10. Hi Lewis,

    Yeah, a few years ago there was some cooking contest where the dessert which one had 91 steps. Such cooking is beyond me, and you’d hope that the end result was worth the sheer volume of work which went into producing it? Or was the complexity itself a barrier to entry in that realm? I do wonder why cooking would be presented as being so difficult a challenge when it is something which we can all do every single day of our lives. I’m with you too, simple ingredients prepared well is my school of thought in this matter. And ingredients don’t have to be exotic to be better. 🙂 That’s what the garden is for, to provide the very best fruit, berries and vegetables that we can grow. That stuff is far better than any exotic item. But then a lot of people in western countries have become unaccustomed to consuming genuinely fresh produce.

    Hmm, sounds like you were having a lot of fun in the 1970’s. 🙂 The drinks were more expensive by the early 1990’s and there may have been more synthesisers used in the music, although who can forget the Moog? I must add that the Saturday Night Fever double album was much better than the film. Unfortunately, during the oil crisis my mother was wiping poop of my rear end, which is par for course of being that young an age. I’ve never experienced petrol rationing, but have a hunch about the future possibilities.

    Imagine if your President actually stepped foot inside a supermarket without handlers? It would be mayhem, so yeah, such folks probably have no idea how much stuff costs. Plus they might not be able to operate those fancy new refrigerator doors – you know the ones with the screens. Child proof locks usually stump my brain too.

    I tend to agree about the suspect motivations. I mean how much actual change of benefit to the wider population, actually takes place? But yeah, they do seem to end up voting themselves a whole bunch of after work benefits on the public purse. It’s a truth universally acknowledged that having access to the national printing presses coincides with having deep pockets. How it will end up, is perhaps not so good a story, and may yet find out.

    The Ford Hunger March was another rather harrowing account. Hey, it is not like protesters down here recently were also fired upon allegedly with ‘non lethal projectiles’. It’s odd how such events precipitate change, but after a longer period of time.

    🙂 Yeah, I did mean both subjects, and have heard that reply before. When I was a kid the subject of psychic powers were discussed, but somehow the subject got stomped – hard. Need I remind you that the beginning of the original Ghostbusters film began in a scene I believe the setting of which was a University.

    True about extreme hail storms with huge chunks of ice, but I still reckon the stuff on the roof will be fine – with the exception of a fire, that will not be good and I will have a bushfire sprinkler there for that purpose. The roofing material is far from brittle as it has a huge amount of give and flex.

    I see that Mr King played the Pharmacist in the film and has been in several others, over a huge period of time. And the writing credits speaks much of what a solid work ethic can achieve.

    What, corn maze? No way. Most varieties of corn I’ve seen, you could peer over the top of the plants. Are these not corn, but Triffids you speak of? Imagine a Triffid maze! I doubt the average person could get very far in such a maze.

    Ah, the items were sold on consignment. Right, I’ve seen those arrangements for antiques and collectable items, but it has been a very long time. It’s probably all on line now. Top work too, proves your good taste.

    No, I was getting the impression that the Dickens dock collapse was a ripping yarn, or possibly very good marketing. I see that Nell did in fact cark it – probably had it coming too, for some nefarious act which was not written about by the author. There is some speculation that the author did in fact pen the book “Nell, the true history”, but the publishers bought the rights to the book and promptly burned every copy. Rumours abound that one copy survived. Hey, on a serious note, the NYT is so excloo, that it sits behind a paywall. Incidentally I was interested in item 4. But yeah, cliff hangers are a good idea, I’m just not flogging reader friendly units – as they apparently say in the trade.

    Yes, I too wonder about this $5 gas story. It’s an important story. It could also possibly be the consumption of capital? You can spend your capital upon new infrastructure, repairs and maintenance, necessary stuff, or fun times. As a society we seem to be aiming for the ‘fun times’ option. I’m really scratching my head about this one.

    Good to hear that both yourself and Elinor are feeling better. Would you feed the next round of sandwiches to the worms?

    Hehe! Mate, we all do that good ol’ days act, don’t we?



  11. Yo, Chris – Saw an article this morning, about the trials and tribulations of the US solar industry.

    Notice, they didn’t say a word about all the other stuff that goes into making a solar system, besides the panels.

    “…so many hours in a day.” I understand, there was a Golden Age, where there were more than 24 hours in a day. It might have been in the 1950s … 🙂

    91 steps for a desert? Sounds like tiramisu. 🙂 . Like good soil for good gardens, good ingredients for good cooking. I’m agonizing over if to buy a copy of “The Hebridean Baker.” He uses a lot of self-rising flour. But, I see that can be gotten around by just adding a bit of baking powder. But, there are some good recipes that aren’t too fussy. He uses a lot of good Scottish whisky, in some recipes. But, I figure the alcohol bakes out. And, there’s some golden syrup and black treacle. Two things we never see here. But, I figure I can either find a substitute, or, order some on-line. I probably wouldn’t need much.

    The Moog. Who can forget “Close Encounters of the Third Kind?” And then there was the Theremin. And Ben Franklin was quit a hit with his Glass Armonica.

    The president going into a super market would be a real poop-show. But political fauna further down the food chain, have no excuse. If nothing else, they could take a look at the receipts their minions bring back.

    As with Alfred Hitchcock, Mr. King makes cameo appearances in most of his films. He even had a few cameos in “The Stand” mini-series. The original. I don’t remember if he made an appearance in the new mini-series. “Thinner” was made in 1996. So, it was a quit young and svelte Mr. King.

    Here, “corn grows as high as an elephant’s eye.” A cultural reference that’s probably lost on you, as it’s a lyric from the musical “Oklahoma!” But, most of our sweet corn is pretty tall. Around 8′.

    Re: Dickens #4. See. It all goes back to Shakespeare. Or, the King James Bible. Pick one of the two and you probably have a better than 50% chance of being correct, as to the source of a quote.

    $5 gas. And where does that capital go? It must be good, to be an oil exec. At least, presently. Speaking of wasting gas, I headed down to the Club, this morning, for biscuits and gravy (Yum!). When I got down to my parking lot, I discovered I had forgot my coffee cup. No worries. There’s usually a spare cup, kicking around The Club. But then I was almost to the Club, and realized I had forgotten my wallet! So, it was back home again.

    My friend Julia, is going to be unhappy. When the Master Gardeners showed up today, they had no goodies left over, to bring us. They almost sold out on Saturday. I guess it was kind of a nightmare. Black Friday was mentioned, though no one was trampled to death. As has happened (really!), during our day after Thanksgiving, Christmas kick-off.

    Last night, I dug out the two patches of volunteer potatoes. I was hoping for some new potatoes. The first patch, mostly smaller than marbles. But the second patch … some nice sized new potatoes. There are some things in my garden that are not doing well. The Master Gardeners and I talked about that. I’ve got two tomatillos, just feet apart, and the top of one is turning yellow. The yellow zucchini plant, they gave me, has something eating it. I went on a slug hunt, last night, and all I saw were potato bugs (aka: rolly pollies), and they generally don’t eat green stuff. They like their nosh dead and aged. But, at the Gardener’s advice, I scattered some diatomaceous earth and crushed egg shells, for good measure. I’ve got peppers that are not doing well. But, the root crops and Brussels sprouts are banging along.

    Read some more of “Boom Town.” Yup. Things are a-changing in Lake Woebegone. Young people discovered the housing prices there were still low. So, they moved and opened businesses like artisanal firewood (it’s soaked in sea salt), a worm and maggot farm, and a business that sucks the lycopene out of tomatoes, turns it into pills that will cure just about anything that ails you. There are Life Coaches, in case you’ve lost your way.

    Just for poops and giggles, I checked out the real estate prices in my Mom’s old hometown. Which I swear is the “real” Lake Woebegone. And a couple of other near-by towns. Oh, my. With the money I had at one point, I could have bought a nice house, there. Sigh. Oh, well. Hindsight, 20/20 and all that. Lew

  12. Hi Lewis,

    They used to make solar panels down under, but the factory may have been closed down, then it was started up again, and then closed down. Ah! Who knew? There is a solar panel manufacturer in Adelaide (the capital of the state of South Australia). That city has always done a lot of manufacturing, but things seem to be on the up for them. Hey, the first solar panel I purchased, which still works today was made in Japan by Sharp. It’s one of the more robust panels that I own. As the years have progressed, I’ve noted a tendency to supply panels with cheaper aluminium frames. Back in the day, the frames were heaps chunkier.

    But yeah, most of the panels sold here arrive from South East Asia. Of interest is that most of the other components for an off grid system are made here with the possible exception of the batteries (some of which are assembled down under, but I’m not at all sure that the cells are made here). But I guess when you get down to the details, many of the internal components of the designed and made down under stuff, probably are made overseas. I doubt things would be any different in your country? Maybe? That’s a global economy for you.

    But yes, people always forget the cost of the other components in a solar power system. Man, the cables cost as much or more than the panels, let alone proper charge controllers, off grid inverters etc. I guess all people see are the panels, but seriously it takes a bunch of other stuff to make this technology work.

    Ah, of course, Happy Days and the Fonz. Yeah, I can definitely see that and it makes sense too that they had more than 24 hours in a day as most of the characters seemed unencumbered by employment. Other than the folks who had to work at the diner where the Fonz hung out.

    Tiramisu indeed. Mate, years ago we hacked that recipe and produced a pretty good version of the dessert. It’s the mascarpone cheese which makes the difference. Cheap skates try to substitute cream, but it isn’t the same at all – no way. Then the biscuits are the next important ingredient, they have to be just so. But 91 steps to complete, I don’t think so. 🙂

    You’re right too about it being similar to soil, use the right ingredients in the right proportions and you’ll get a good result. Other combinations may produce results that are subject to change without notice. Hey, I’m collecting coffee grounds for the new raised beds inside the greenhouse. I seriously can’t wait to finish that project and get the plants growing in there. We’ve been doing little bits of work here and there on the project as time permits, but it has been one crazy week, that’s for sure.

    Yeah, that’s my take on the self raising flour matter too. And I agree, any alcohol will be gone in the final product. I believe the evaporation point is 78’C / 172’F (I’d guessed 176’F, so was happy to have that confirmed) and as you know, few biscuits bake at that low a temperature. What? You don’t see either Golden Syrup or Black Treacle in the stores? Interestingly, we don’t see corn syrup. What’s the other grain syrup. Um? How about Sorghum Syrup? I’ve never tasted the stuff, but I’ve heard good reports.

    🙂 That film brings back memories, and how good was the setting for the flat peak where the alien mother-ship landed? The Glass Armonica is amazing, and there are utoob clips with the instrument being used to perform. You have to admit that the instrument would make good background music for Stephen King’s book ‘IT’. Every time Pennywise appears, just softly play that music in the background.

    Yes, the lower down fauna have no excuses and they should probably get out of their offices and find out about prices. It’s not a complicated thing to do.

    🙂 I’d noticed that about ‘The Stand’ and the cameo appearance. Hope Mr King wasn’t nervous as you never know how people cope being at the pointy end of a camera. I recall seeing a film about a stand in news reader who got a bout of anxiety and began sweating whilst on camera. Not good.

    That is tall. Corn here grows to maybe 6 foot, and I am yet to encounter taller than that. Interestingly, the larger corn, probably has larger root systems and might be better adapted to forage for water and minerals. Wheat used to be like that, and some older varieties are still being preserved down under, but most stuff grown is short for the ease of the harvester machines. He turns away and pretends not to notice the musical reference. What was that you said? Anyway, moving on… 🙂

    Dickens #4 topic does tend to suggest that origin. My curiosity was piqued and I had wondered whether he’d adopted that name given the origins of the word.

    Well your actions explain at least two of the trips, but what about the others? And the leaf change tourists are taking over the local facilities. Will they be around when the weather turns foul? Me thinks not.

    I couldn’t quite understand why Julia would be unhappy that the Master Gardeners had off loaded all of their product? Were you two expecting left over stuff? Plants are hot property.

    I’ve noted that new potato plants grow from those tiny little seeds, but whether they produce potatoes the same size is not something I’ve thought all that much about. Top score with the decent sized potatoes you did harvest. I’ve heard that plants turning yellow may be a mineral deficiency, which is hardly surprising given you moved around all of the garden beds. It takes years to produce stable soils. Down here rolly pollies AKA slaters or wood lice) have been known to snack upon very damp wood for sure. Diatomaceous earth is a good suggestion plus it will give the soil a mineral boost. Mate, you should see the Portuguese millipedes here. Revolting critters and they are everywhere. No peppers down here last year, and I can only wish you better conditions. Note – greenhouse. 🙂 It already feels warmer in there, even without all of the cladding installed.

    Artisanal firewood is a hoot! That’s funny. What is a life coach?

    Sure it is the real Lake Woebegone! The author was purposefully vague about that matter. No point crying over missed property. I must have told you the story about Oscar’s House?



  13. Hi, Chris!

    I used to follow very closely our elections, at all levels. I used to encourage my sons and their friends as they got close to voting age by giving them copies of our Constitution and telling them to be sure and register to vote. I guess I’d still do that if I had grandchildren. But mostly, now, I just don’t pay much attention.

    All those dumb old politicians have to do is look online at a local grocery store’s prices. They are there now since we can order online.

    You are right. One does not shout, especially at a dog. Shouting is for alerting to danger. Don’t waste it, or the cuss words. They can be used more effectively if used sparingly.

    That is one fine greenhouse roof and that is one nice welding job on the trailer arm.

    It sure can be gloomy there, but I think you get more rainbows than we do because of that.

    For winter I see one gets pinks, purples, and whites. Are the salvias really blue?

    It’s cool here – soon to be blistering again.


  14. Yo, Chris – As far as the solar industry goes, it’s probably the same / same, here. That global economy is biting us in the bum. In a lot of areas. LOL. I can remember (during that Golden Age we were talking about) when stuff from Japan was considered junk. Boy, they showed us, didn’t they? 🙂

    Tiramisu … but if you make your own biscuits … 🙂 But nope, no Golden Syrup or Black Treacle, here. Maybe in the big cities. Say, in a specialty food section. There are possible substitutions. Maple syrup for Golden Syrup. Maybe black strap molasses for Black Treacle. But as I was diving down the rabbit hole, I discovered that it’s pretty easy to make your own. Both. Something to file away for future reference.

    I think I’m going to have to bite the bullet, and start picking up coffee grounds, from The Club again. Nasty as the job is, sorting out the grounds from the trash that ends up in the bucket. I don’t think I’ll ever get over that rotting turkey carcass after one Thanksgiving.

    That mountain from “Close Encouters..” is The Devils Tower, in Wyoming. I may have seen it, when I was a wee small lad, on our every other year vacation, to that part of the country. But, given the way Dad traveled, it would have been a glance out the car window. But I’m not sure if I actually saw it, or if my memory is from the movie.

    Oh, I just made two trips. The useless first trip, and the second, for biscuits and gravy. And the plant nursery is right next door. I picked up petunias, for my Patriotic Hanging Basket. I look for red, white and blue. Lucked out, this year. Found a red petunia, and a blue one, and they both have white stripes on the edge of the petals. So I only had to buy two plants, instead of the usual three. I also picked up two bags of composted chicken manure. Just because. Always comes in handy. The price is still down. Given the bird flu going around, I don’t know how long that will last.

    I don’t go to the Master Gardeners sale. Too many people, even in previous years. Usually, it’s a weekend event. In past, pretty sedate. And on Sunday, there was always plants left over. Sometimes, they’d half price them. Not this year. It was a real mob scene, and they pretty much had sold out the inventory by end of Saturday. And, they had a lot more inventory than in previous years. I’d guess more people are gardening. Or people who kind of poked at it are getting more serious. I’d guess experienced gardeners may be expanding their plots.

    Life coach:

    Kind of like a paid friend, who tells you hard truths. 🙂 . I finished “Boom Town,” last night. Most of those twee business ventures, unraveled and collapsed. Oscar the Grouch from Sesame Street? His house is a garbage can. 🙂

    I see that Great Course, “After the Plague” is in transit, to me. I’ll probably be able to pick it up, either tonight, or on Friday night. The library didn’t tell me they’d ordered it. They didn’t put it on my hold list. The library usually does a yearly survey, of customer satisfaction. Can’t wait for the next one 🙂 Lew

  15. Hi Chris,

    Raw onions are delicious. There, I’ve said it. 😉 In the US politicians supposedly kiss babies, though I imagine that would be frowned upon at the moment given what I’m not supposed to discuss. We have a primary election this August and general election in November, so our politicians will soon be promising everything to everyone as they shamelessly beg for votes. Fortunately they are easy to avoid if, like us, you don’t own a tv set.

    I still haven’t planted the beans, pleading general busyness. But I expect to remedy that over the weekend. We’ve had plenty of rain and the weather will be warm, so ideal conditions for bean seed germination. Meanwhile I harvested the first good-sized lettuce, endive, and bok choy yesterday, along with about 7 pounds of strawberries. Because I was out of town for a week some of the strawberries rotted or were eaten before I got to them, but enough of them are left for a decent if not record-breaking crop.


  16. Hi Chris,
    I think compulsory voting would help here in the U.S. Lots of people don’t register because they don’t want to get called for jury duty. My mother never registered my brothers for exactly that reason. Of course once they were questioned for a jury they would have been discualified anyway. She would have had to take them down to the court house. If it was compulsory then all the shenanigans pulled to discourage certain segments of the population from voting would end. I registered them and they took voting very seriously. However I always felt that I had undue influence at times as much as I tried not to. I told them to only vote for the offices that they knew something about the candidates.

    The greenhouse is really coming along. Looks great. You are lucky to have flowers all year round unlike here.

    Weather here has really been up and down. We still are short on rainfall though not far south of us its been fine. All the planting I’m doing is done so it’s weeding and mulching time. The pigs have been here a couple of weeks and are doing well. They are the friendliest group we’ve ever had right from day one. Funny thing they aren’t rooting out the grass and weeds in their pen like the others. Usually they make short order of it. The batch of meat chicks arrived today so things are in full swing.


  17. Chris,

    When the lights dimmed and the cable tv box reset, nothing important was being watched. Or so I say. The Princess and her sister will disagree with me. Fortunately, they were watching stuff on the cable box DVD, so they missed nary a minute of their programs. All I remember about what they were watching is that, well, I have this really, really fond feeling for Big Brother now. Yes, I love Big Brother. 😉

    Avalanche fur and dander are not causing us any inconvenience or sneezing. The high pollen counts are another story.

    We’ve discussed some of the nicely done historical research accomplished by the Monty Python crew. I found this today:
    The Monty Python guys must’ve read the same books I’d read, as I remember that some of the Crusaders had mentioned the explosives in their records, but that 20th century writers of history said that such things were, of course, impossible.

    Avalanche needs no urging or suggestions from Ollie. She and her looooong tongue know precisely what ears and faces are actually for.

    Cool! There are still a lot of blossoms on the flowering crabapple. No, we don’t get many volunteers from that tree. The chokecherry and cherry trees have volunteer offspring all over the yard. It’s the pits.

    Jaffle iron? I had to gaggle that, and several “sandwich makers” showed up, as well as jaffle irons. As the end products looked very much the same, I’d say that we could get one if we wanted. We don’t eat enough bread to warrant the purchase of one, however. I’ll have to try toasting the Intergalactic Bean Sandwiches on the griddle. Not quite the same, but it should be a fun experiment.

    I tried reading this particular book on Welsh history several years ago. My cousin did her PhD thesis on some obscure aspect of the reign of Llewellen the Last, who died in 1282. I got bogged down in the endless numbers of Llewellens and Griffiths. Since then, I’ve done a lot of family history research that led to Wales. That gave me an actual reason to sort out the different yet similarly named historical people. So you can say that now it is a matter of personal interest, rather than trying to see what my cousin was studying.

    Interesting side note: My dad and his brother had ALWAYS said that “We are Scottish!” in a tone that allowed no discussion. I always wanted to ask “If that’s true, why is our surname the most common one in Wales?” But I knew better than to ask. And it does turn out that I have more Welsh than Scottish ancestry.

    So, I’ve learned a couple things by skipping around in the book. Wales is often regarded as an appendage of England rather than as its own country. But it was conquered by Edward I of England in 1282, following which there were centuries of laws that marginalized the Welsh and their language. Many of the books I read when younger thus considered Wales to be a part of England.

    Also, there is a relative lack of diversity of surnames in Wales. The traditional naming was Evan son of Owain son Griffith, son of…It wasn’t until the 1400s and 1500s that the upper classes began taking on “permanent” surnames. The commoners were slow to make the switch, which wasn’t complete until sometime in the 18th century IIRC. So everybody is an Evans or a Jones or a Williams, because by the time permanent surnames were becoming required, most of the male names were either names of saints or names of leading Normans from the 1066 to 1282 period.


  18. Hello Chris,

    Here, the spring has been fabulous. The earliest berries, the haskap (edible Lonicera) are already finished, and we had a seven week streak of sunshine all through April and until last week. Of course most of the farmers complain that it is too dry, but then again when is the farmer not complaining?
    I have watered my field trees once in this period, the rich soil does the rest.

    We are packing up all our stuff to move to Sweden in July, so there is a lot of admin arrangements to prepare. One of my part-time helpers will take over the nut tree nursery, and I will start a new one on our new small farm. During the next year, I will be going back and forth a bit, to take care of trees, deliveries, customers and to see friends.

    Indeed, the other Chris’ blog is more theoretical and utopian, and for me that is a helpful complement to the day-to-day challenges. In the same way, the writings of Graeber and Piketty and Rockström and Meadows and Holmgren have helped me to put the local problems into a more global perspective. As long as we don’t pretend that the theoretical sociological/political/ideological/religious/economic models rule reality… Many people fall into that trap.

    I have tested a few new ways to graft nut trees, most of which did not work so well, some did. Innovation and learning is expensive (mainly in time) and fun. I now whip-graft most of the chestnut trees outdoors, when the rootstock has come alive. I think that the best way to grow an orchard is to seed the “rootstock” in situ, and later graft. With that procedure, the roots have never been dug out. I will try this at my new place and let you know.

    Do you celebrate Ascension?


  19. Hi Pam,

    Respect for giving attention to the more important things in life. Between you and I, my main concern from the outcome of this election was whether we’d get chucked back into future lock downs, after the longest on the planet. Of course I’m a touch more honest about the subject and admit to a touch of residual trauma, but my fellow citizens have voted on the matter and so I will abide by the outcome. There’s truth to the old saying that: ‘ya can’t fight city hall’.

    A wise suggestion about just getting on line and checking out the prices. We bought just under a gallon of high quality olive oil and 2.2 pounds of ground coffee for $80 the other day. Things be ‘spensive.

    Ah, thanks for the canine mind explanation. So obvious. Shouting is for an alert, and the boy who cried wolf story has a great deal of truth to it. I don’t shout at the dogs, unless they’ve run the quarter mile in under ten seconds and are far enough away they wouldn’t hear me otherwise. Kelpie’s are athletes.

    Thank you, and the building has progressed this week. A lot of further carpentry work was done, although it might not be evident from the photographs on the next blog. I tell ya, it has been one strange week this one.

    At a guess, I believe the Salvia’s are a bit closer to purple than blue. We do get blue flowers, but not in the Salvia family. Interestingly I spotted the first of the seasons Forget me nots today, but they were yet to produce flowers.

    Hope your growing season settles down into something approximating normality, whatever that is. And if you discover what normality is, please do let me know.



  20. Hi Claire,

    🙂 I like raw onions too in salads, and consumed some red onions in that way this evening. What was interesting was that the pollie chose to bite into a raw onion with skin, but apple style. I’ll see if I can find an article on the subject. Here you go (with an explanation by the person involved): Prime Minister Tony Abbott explains why he ate a raw onion.

    People seem pretty normal on that health subject which dare not be named front, but I still encounter people wearing masks – even today, and I’m good with that. I mean if they feel that there is personal risk, those people need to shoulder more of the burden.

    Hehe! Yes, have you noticed that there are better things to do in life than sit in front of a television set? 🙂 One of the good outcomes with compulsory voting is that the election campaigns are over fairly quickly, and the population can then get on with whatever it is that the people seem to be doing. The promising everything doesn’t necessarily work down here, and often the moral character of the leaders is called into question, like with the last batch who appear to have been turfed out. Sometimes ‘stuff’ isn’t enough.

    Hope you get your beans planted out over the next few days. Out of curiosity, do you soak your bean seeds for a few hours before planting out? I’m considering trialling that next year, and beans are such a great crop, and so easy to dry and store.

    Congrats on the rest of the produce and my mouth is watering thinking about such yummy foods. The output here has slowed down but we’re still harvesting: mustards and rocket, about an egg a day, kiwi fruit and mandarins. It’s funny, but we’ve been so busy with the infrastructure and will continue to do so for the rest of the year that I’ve neglected to say much about the plants, but rest assured they’re growing. And I’ve absorbed Steve Solomon’s advice about soil minerals and applied the knowledge to the orchards, and the results have been very good.



  21. Hi Margaret,

    Thanks for mentioning that info about the electoral roll (your equivalent list of registered voters), because I’d had no idea that jurors were called from such a list. Hmm. As someone who is self employed and has no benefits, such a calling would be an economic disaster

    Exactly, your brothers would probably have been disqualified, although I’m imagining that they would have loved the experience, and day trip too, although your mother would have had an entirely different set of memories from such a day. The experience perhaps better suits retirees or people who work for government or big business than can get time away from work. The $10 a day pay is probably not adequate recompense in my situation. Dodged it twice now for this reason, and received a stern talking too.

    Respect for registering them and not trying to sway your brothers. How’s Marty and Gwen doing?

    Thanks. I’m looking forward to planting out the new greenhouse. Still a few weeks away, but the project is nearing completion, then a short break during deep winter (a bit of forest cleaning of the old loggers rubbish me thinks), then onto the next two projects which have to be done in conjunction.

    Good to hear the planting is surviving. Are you at the stage where the plants need water every day? Go the piggies and the chookies! 🙂 I know what you mean as I spotted a free range pig farm today and the piggies had done double time as excavators and roto-tillers!



  22. Hi DJ,

    What a drama with the power spike and TV. Those things can happen and if you’ve ever put a meter to the mains power, the voltage goes all over the place. You can only hope that it stays within parameters. A mate of mine had his inverter shut down due to the frequency of the mains power changing. It’s 240V at 50Hz down here, although my off grid inverter produces a rock solid 233V at 50Hz. The electrician who installed it marvelled at the stable voltage. Mate the mains electricity grid is one seriously complicated system. Say hi and give my regards to Big Brother! Hehe! Far out, it would be funny but for…

    Good to hear about the Avalanche fur. You never know, but I hear you about the pollen at that time of the year, especially a few warm days following on from rain. Plants love that kind of weather.

    Lewis and I were discussing the Holy Hand-grenade of Antioch and that research the other day. Mate, it’ll do you up a treat! Look at the bones… A Billy Connolly / Monty Python classic. Funny thing is, I can’t recall the words to the very dull and uninspiring national anthem, but I can remember almost every word from that scene. Brother Maynard bring out the book of armaments! 🙂 So much fun.

    Ollie and the Kelpie’s have further suggestions for Avalanche, but they may have to wait until you’re not around. They apologise in advance and offer deferential tail wags (whilst you’re around). Is he still there? Right, Avalanche get over here and listen to this…

    That’s what I’m seeing here too, although someone once told me that if you need a new crab apple tree, all you need to do is plant crab apples. I have not put that theory to the test. Now cherries on the other hand are feral and prolific and will happily turn up all over the place.

    Yeah, sandwich makers fit a similar role, although I guess it depends whether the edges of the bread are compressed and cooked, or whether the machine has a flattish heating plate. Dunno. But traditionally jaffle irons were used over a flame. I’m very particular about bread here and bake all of it from raw materials, but away from home, the stuff is a very mixed bag.

    Speaking of mixed bags, history books can be like that. And prey tell,if so many people have similar surnames, how do you know of which person the historian is even writing about? As evidenced by your getting bogged down in the detail. And I’ll tell you a funny story. When I was a young kid you used to hear stories that such and such a person was descended from convicts. And there was an element of shame to that, but in my life time, that seems to have been discarded and nobody really seems to care any more. It is possible that the Scottish / Welsh thing you spoke of was kind of like that? Thus the emotional reaction you received to your otherwise innocuous question.

    I note that elements of this very discussion reared its head in the comments to Mr Greer’s blog maybe a week or three back – I now forget, but it sure was interesting.

    History as a general rule, is often poorly taught and I doubt the average person on the street down here knows much of our own history, let alone the history of Wales.

    Hey, I can see that about the surnames and it makes a certain sort of sense. I never really understood at what time did the Norman’s consider themselves to be locals?



  23. Hi Lewis,

    Yeah, it wasn’t just you guys either. I too recall hearing of disparaging remarks about goods from that country, and in my lifetime the ship turned around, and my experience has been that the goods are top notch quality. You may note that the Dirt rat and Dirt mouse are from that country. Quality is such an odd issue. As far as I understand the matter, the tool of the scientific method isn’t really well adapted to determine whether a particular path is a quality outcome. I’d read about the implementation of the quest for quality in Japanese industry back in the day when we (as a society) discussed such things, but I dunno because I suspect as a culture we are not so wired in that direction. Interestingly, the Dirt Rat Suzuki was built in 2004, and I’ve owned it since new, and I reckon that 2005 was about the peak of manufacturing excellence (and also that year correlated to peak conventional oil). Isn’t your Ranger about that year? But yeah, they did show us up for sure.

    Hehe! Dude, I don’t have a great deal of experience making the sort of sponge biscuits used in tiramisu, and had to buy them – which is not as easy to do as you’d imagine. You can’t just chuck any old biscuit in there. And I agree, we tend to swap Golden Syrup for Maple Syrup, and it does look and taste very similarly, although the Maple Syrup had a slightly richer and more complex taste.

    My mind is now blown!!! You can make molasses from sugar beets. I must go and check the seed stores here as those plants grew like weeds here. A mate of mine did just this a few years ago from sugar beets he grew, but he called it by another name and I was a touch dubious. I noted that the local gardening club stopped selling these seeds. Not sure why. Something to look into as the sugar content is ten times greater than Sugar maple sap.

    Ah ha! Yes, waste in coffee grounds can be a problem, but the cafe folks appreciate my free collection service (which they’d otherwise have to pay for the stuff to end up in landfill) and are very careful with waste. Not sure how all this will go long term, but for now things are as they are, and used coffee grounds are pretty good feed for the soil (although I add in some Calcium Carbonate to balance off the acidity of the coffee grounds). An easy way to turbo charge plant growth.

    Mate, a rotting turkey carcass is a very nasty thing to discover in coffee grounds.

    Speaking of nasty things. The Editor, Plum and I went a rat hunting this evening (wise to have gone to the pub beforehand for a pint and feed, but that’s another story). There was one rat outside hiding high up out of reach in a pear, and another rat which appeared to be stuck inside the chicken enclosure. I opened the door to the enclosure and encouraged the rat to leave – which it did. And Plum missed it, but they are very fast. Unfortunately the down side of this conclusion to the hunt was that I’m unaware as to how the rat came to be on the inside of the enclosure. Hmm. Further research may produce some results.

    It is unfortunate to travel with people who are goal focused and miss many points of interest along the way. Out of curiosity, did your dad share the driving? I’ve enjoyed the company of a few people over the years that did not want to share that chore, and so I noticed that they had a tendency to want to get to the destination as quickly as possible. There are so many local things of interest, that distant travel lacks all appeal (but I’m not much of a fan of sitting in cars for hours either). Went to Hanging Rock recently and that was really interesting and far better than I recalled when last I visited (it was probably I that had changed). And no, I did not find Miranda or signs of aliens. 😉 The view from the top was very good and the vegetation was interesting. Looking at the adjoining race track brought back memories of my mum taking us kids to the Hanging Rock races way back in the mid to late 1970’s. I seem to recall having fun there, and parenting was pretty casual back then and we just ran amok whilst the adults ate, drank and bet on the country races.

    Memories can be like what you describe. Many years ago I was hypnotised and there is no way now I would willingly let someone into my head that way again. How do you know what stuff they inserted into the mind?

    Biscuits and gravy and a good yak would be worth it. Yup! Out of curiosity does anyone remark upon your Patriotic hanging basket – I think it’s a great idea by the way and recall it from years past. Like your style – and yeah, I do such things too. Actually pelletised chicken manure is one of those things that are hard to find nowadays. Fortunately there are substitute products like stuff from the sea, or zoo poo (seriously, that is a product and I read that the Melbourne Zoo composts two tonnes per day).

    Yeah, sounds like too many people for my liking too. Hey, you should try the leaf change onslaught. I agree with both suggestions for the new timers and the more experienced.

    Probably very necessary and hey, haven’t all been guilty of providing such candid assessments over the years? Sometimes however, a persons experience is limited and an outside perspective is called for, or even as you suggested: A blunt assessment of the facts on the ground. Thanks for that too as the explanations I was reading were fuzzy at best, but yeah I can see that.

    In the Boom Town story did the young folks pack up and leave town after the twee ventures failed? Oscar probably has much to teach us all in the coming years. Mate, I follow a reduce thy costs strategy, but most people have a preference for the increase thy income strategy, which is then followed by the increase thy expenditure strategy. I’m frankly unsure why that would be and if you have any thoughts in the matter, I’d appreciate hearing them?

    I tend to be unfailingly nice on those surveys – on the basis that few of them are ever anonymous. Did you pick up the latest great course instalment?



  24. Hi Goran,

    I now cite the mid-week hiatus and truth to tell went to the pub tonight for a pint and feed and have now run out of time to reply to your lovely comment. I’m candidly amazed that I typed as many words this evening as I did, and can only but hope that they make some sort of sense at least. I learned how to type very quickly due to a government experiment back in the early 1990’s – it sounds dodgy, but it is a true story.

    Anyway, yes, I disappoint myself too sometimes! 🙂 Will speak tomorrow, but until then.



  25. Chris:

    If something stays the same for more than one day, I guess it’s normal.

    I think I may be paying the same for high quality olive oil and coffee.


  26. Yo, Chris – Yes, my Ranger is a 2004. I thought it was a bit overly complicated, when I bought it, but looking at what’s on offer these days, no. I went to the library last night (more on that, later) and stopped by the Club for a cuppa. Jane works the counter, on Wednesday evenings. She’s the big, motherly woman who runs our local halfway house, The Funny Farm. Any-who. Jane needed a new vehicle. She thinks she found one, which is a 2006. And, we got to talking about how complicated vehicles are, these days. And got talking about what we missed, in older vehicles. Who needed air conditioning, when you had wing windows? 🙂

    But would making the sponge biscuits, for the Tiramisu make it taste better? 🙂 And what’s in those store bought biscuits? Of course, then it would become one of those recipes with 91 steps.

    Molasses from sugar beets? That IS an interesting thought. I did a shallow dive down the rabbit hole. I was surprised that small batches of golden syrup and black treacle are so easily made. With very few ingredients.

    Calcium carbonate AKA garden lime? By the way, when I was chatting up Jane, I picked up the bag of coffee grounds. And all the other things that are mixed in. The thing I always miss is the stir sticks. Which are the exact color of the grounds. 🙁

    I’m sorry the rat hunt didn’t go better. But I had a not so comforting thought. Did it occur to you that you’re breeding the rats for speed, skill and cunning? Your culling out the slow and stupid.

    At the point we were taking family vacations, Mom did not drive. She navigated. Which led us down many an “interesting” byway. At least once on every trip, Dad would pull over to the side of the road, grab the map, and swear a lot.

    Next time you ruminate on what you did to deserve whatever fate is befalling you, think back to all that running amok. You probably irritated, someone. 🙂

    Oh, I don’t know if anyone even notices my patriotic hanging basket. Unless I point it out. I don’t think I’ve ever seen (or, maybe noticed) pelletised chicken poop. The stuff I get looks like very rich earth. Occasionally, there’s even a worm along for the ride. Our Portland zoo was renowned for having the only breeding heard of elephants, in the country. The birth of an elephant calf, was a big deal, when I was a kid. Part of the problem was that keeping a breeding male around, was kind of problematic. See: Elephant musth. Our zoo sold bags of Pachy Poo. The name a take off on “pachyderm.” People swore by it, for their roses.

    Speaking of onslaughts, it’s time for me to check the calendar and see when this year’s STP (Seattle to Portland) bicycle ride is scheduled. It was cancelled, last year, due to You Know What. Another pandemic silver lining. I don’t stir out, that weekend. When I was in the working world, I took a vacation day, just to avoid the crush of demented bicycle riders.

    In “Boom Town,” when everything unraveled, some of the young people wandered off to get involved in equally suspect ventures. Other’s stayed, and got involved in more down-to-earth businesses.

    Income and expenditures. I had an interesting conversation with a young fellow, at the Club. New volunteer, on the counter. He’s married with at least one child. He builds cabinet doors, she’s a chemist’s assistant. The topic of expensive child care, came up. I mentioned “The Two Income Trap.” He started babbling about crypto currencies. I mentioned the household economy. He speculated on work-from-home internet schemes. I think I threw househusband, into the mix. There’s just no talking to some people. 🙂 But maybe, I planted a seed? Probably, not.

    I stopped by the library, and there were five DVDs waiting for me. Yes, the “After the Plague” was there. I watched three lectures, last night. I also got “The Story of Australia.” And “Ted K” which is a dramatization of the Unabomber. And a bit of Melissa McCarthy fluff. But first I had to get “Dexter” out of the way. Relax. No spoilers. I did a lot of fast forward. And one whole disc (there were four), I just looked at the “Previously on Dexter” lead-ins. So, I got the high points. Watched the last episode, but fast forwarded through a lot of it. Bottom line? The original was better. But when you’re through with it, we’ll discuss. 🙂 Lew
    PS. I got a new “Great Courses” catalog, in the mail, yesterday. They have a new course of lectures called “The Black Death: New Lessons from Recent Research. It’s presented by Prof. Dorsey Armstrong. She’s quit good. She did all the lectures on King Arthur, and early Medieval England.
    PPS: I was totally creeped out, this morning. I got the usual e-mail from The River. Your package has been delivered. And there’s a photo of my front door, hallway and the package sitting in front of it.

  27. Hi Goran,

    Thanks for the tip, and I’d never heard of edible honeysuckle before, but have tasted the nectar from such flowers. Makes sense. The Indigenous folks used to make sacred drinks by collecting flowers, caching them in a specifically hollowed out tree log and then adding water. The hollowed out log was then covered over and the elixir was left to ferment. You can see where this is going… And edible honeysuckle would have been a fine addition to that mixture, but the local flowers have plenty of pollen and nectar. Some years the tall forest trees flower and then the very air smells of honey.

    You make a solid case about complaints! Seasonal growing conditions are sometimes good, and sometimes bad. That’s life, and the astute farmer has mixed crops so that at least something works in any given season. I had a brief discussion this afternoon with a person in the area whom I had not previously known, but is also interested in edible plant systems. Who knows where such encounters lead? I used to know a lot more locals who were interested in edible plants, but then there was a problem within the group and it fell apart over the issue of aprons. That was a strange experience.

    Exactly, the trees have to be ever so slowly coaxed into surviving on the local resources. Water is one of those resources.

    New small farm. Sweden. So you really are going back to your roots but with your family. What sort of land size have you managed to end up with? And how does the soil and climate look like at this stage? I began with hard sun baked volcanic clay. You are moving further north and so the growing season may be both longer and shorter, so I’ll be very interested to hear of your journey. Mate, fruit trees really need a good decade to get established before they begin producing in quantity, but you may be able to outwit the trees.

    Well that’s my main point of criticism of those authors. And I don’t say such things to discourage them and their ideals, because for all I know they might come up with genius insights which are beyond my brain powers. Man, I’m just firmly rooted down in the real world where stuff has to happen. You’ve been reading for long enough that you’ll know that I can walk away from infrastructure which does work, has been tested, but isn’t good enough – but then I’ll go and implement something that does work. I get the idealism, and respect that, but I just want to do better than that. The idealism to me is a beginning, a reliable productivity, no matter how just passingly OK, is where I’m headed. You should try 99% up time annually with solar electricity, for a reality check on idealism. That’s what I’m achieving. In the wider world people get excited when to me it sounds like 1% up time from renewable sources (i.e. wind power provided all of the electricity needed for a country for one day in the year).

    Dude, I really like where you are headed with the grafting and am also considering such activities – once the infrastructure is fixed. Years ago I attended a course with an old fella who’d passed his orchard onto his daughter. I’d known them for many years. Anyway, the old fella drilled us on the technique of summer grafting which he’d learned as a young fella in horticultural school (Burnley College). That sounds like what you are doing. Out of curiosity, how do you pick your rootstock? But not moving them is a genius decision. I’d never have thought about doing that, but yeah. Total respect.



  28. Hi Pam,

    I concede your point, admit defeat and yeah that kind of sums up variability. 🙂

    For your interest, 1kg / 2.2 pounds of ground coffee was $35 and the 3L / 0.8 gallon of olive oil was $45. Things be ‘spensive. I noticed that a bag of oranges was $9 and after that I’m now eyeing the citrus trees and thinking to myself that perhaps it is now time to do better with them. Citrus trees are heavy feeders, and the wallabies have not been nice to some of those trees. Given the wallabies would make a fine stew, I do wonder why they need to break the tops of the trees. Side branches yeah, cool, but the trunk is perhaps a step too far. Oh well, I must adapt, as must we all. 🙂



  29. Hi Chris,

    Kevin 37 does have a nice ring to it. Public television only came to our country in the mid 70’s and popular culture like Mad mag and monte python passed me by because we had very strict trade, cultural and military sanctions against us 1970s – 1990s. About scarcity from that point of view: A while back you mentioned that it was very difficult to know what to stock up on for the long term decline. You said that replacement for your water pumps came to mind but it wasn’t easy for you to imagine what else you would need. You need everthing. Everything wears out or gets broken much quicker than you would imagine.

    You asked “What do you do?” (about flood damage) I know what we need to do. We need to find/allocate better land so the poor can build new homes. I think that most of the road damage will never get fixed. The water systems are being patched. The electricity… well um what can I say.
    You guys probably need to increase the capacity of your storm water drains and dredge and widen your waterways in the cities. “What do you do?” (about the weather) you are not going to be able to change it, the tipping point is way past. You need to adapt and mitigate. Grow engineers who don’t need tonnes of concrete and steel and electronics to create anything. Maybe call them scarcity engineers. :-p

    I have experienced a search engine failure. Where are Australia’s slums?

    Regards Elbows.

  30. Hi Lewis,

    Ah, truth to tell, back in 2004 I was impressed with the complications of the Dirt Rat Suzuki. Power windows were good. An outside air temperature thermometer was appreciated. But it was the guts of the machine which have stood up to the test of time. Probably the steel and alloys used were of a higher grade (i.e. less impurities) and the finishes seem to have lasted. The first car I owned was eleven years old, and it was a wreck and required a lot of care and attention before being in good condition. It surprises me that people nowadays pay so much for those earlier machines. Who would have known?

    Jane sounds lovely. And yeah, I also experienced the wing windows and they sure could blow in a lot of air on a hot day.

    This afternoon I had a chance conversation with a local bloke I sort of know, and a lady who he knew was listening in upon the conversation. Turns out she has an interest in edible gardens and has one in the area. Might be an interesting contact, and I’ll probably get them both in for a visit when spring comes around again.

    But at the moment, I’m juggling a lot of external crazy this week, not to mention all of the other stuff like finishing the greenhouse project, thinking about future projects and wondering if we are soon to get chucked into a new lock down because of the election result and if I should nab materials for the other projects before that time. Dunno. Plus I checked in to see whether the digging machine I prefer to hire has not been sold. It’s such a great machine for this property. In the short term though, next Monday through Wednesday the rain looks set to return and I have to do something about that. My head spins sometimes with the amount of stuff I have to juggle, but right now I’m sort of on top of things – maybe. 🙂

    Hehe! Yes, I concede your point with the biscuits and 91 steps. Yesterday I was speaking with another local bloke about hats and had forgotten the name of the shop. As things go, the name of the hat shop is: Smart Alec. 😉 You got me interested in the Italian biscuits used in tiramisu and they’re known as Savoiardi, also known as Ladyfingers. They look easy enough to bake, but what is potato starch? So many questions. Hey, the Henley’s formula book turned up in the mail today. Truly fascinating, and I suspect that a hundred years ago when the book was first penned, householders were more knowledgeable and had access to a greater diversity of basic raw materials. A lot of formula’s in the book assume a higher level of knowledge than I have of such items. Might have to do more research into this area.

    That’s a great example too. Molasses from sugar beets is a thing. And it sure beats being stung by unhappy bees as your rob their hives. Sugar beets are super easy to grow. And yeah, I noticed that too about the lack of ingredients.

    Yes, garden lime. The purpose of the garden lime mixed with coffee grounds is that it raises the pH and somehow allows the plants to more easily access the minerals in the coffee grounds. The results in the orchards here speak for themselves. The two blokes who work with Ruth Goodman had a video on the production of lime for the fields in some sort of lime kiln. It was an impressive effort and likewise would have yielded very good results.

    Yikes! Stir sticks sound very plasticy to me. Haven’t seen such things myself, but I can imagine. Coffee here is served in ceramic with a saucer and metal spoon, or in takeaway containers (cardboard and plastic lined I believe). But no stirrer other than the metal spoon.

    Dame Plum has yet again risen to the challenge and scored another rat on tonight’s foray. I’m a bit in awe. Mate, the rats were already fast and cunning, but I take your point.

    Hehe! You know, I hadn’t thought about running amok that way, but yeah. Your insights are good, and I must again stand corrected. On the other hand I’m sure I was delightful as a child, maybe. 😉

    It does make you wonder how the chook poop was pelletised? Here’s a great (but very brief) article on the process and history, it turns out the process was developed down under. Who knew?: Dynamic Lifter fertiliser. The stuff I get really is dry pellets, it’s quite amazing stuff. But unlike your stuff, no worms. But perhaps worm eggs? Dunno.

    Holy carp, an aggressive randy elephant is not an animal I’d want to encounter. The name Pachy Poo is very cute and quite amusing.

    Oh yeah, I’d forgotten about the ride through your town. It sounds like mayhem and I too would avoid such a spectacle. Hey, leaf change was stifled last year and the year before due to that too, and yeah it was the one silver lining.

    The ‘Boom Town’ book kind of sounds like real life to me. People try stuff, and it doesn’t work, then they get to actual work. I get that story.

    Exactly, you understand what I have to deal with too. I dunno, where such ideas get into people’s heads. I’ve always felt that crypto is a purely speculative vehicle, but you know, people love that stuff. I can only but suggest and then get on with what needs doing. Time will sort this mess out, but I reckon people won’t like the outcome.

    Hope you are enjoying the Story of Australia documentary? I note that Mungo Man was reinterned recently: Mungo Man and Mungo Lady to be reburied in unmarked graves in landmark federal decision. It was hard not to notice that a 65,000 year old skeleton was discovered. Hardly surprising, and if folks be down here, they would have more easily made it to your part of the world.

    No worries at all about Dex, I’ll get there, but maybe it will take a month… Nice technique with the remote too.

    Melissa McCarthy has done pretty well for herself. Hope you enjoy the fluff. We all need a bit of fluff every now and then. You know I intersperse fiction with non fiction reading. Too much seriousness and I could get very dull, very quickly. But then I’d probably snap out of it, maybe. Hehe! Sure, I’d be fine, maybe.

    Have you learned anything interesting about the Black Death? I believe it came on the back of two failed harvests, so people were ripe for the taking by our bacterial companions. You may wonder why I bang on about fertilisers, and there is your answer, right there.

    In the trade that is known as ‘proof of delivery’, but it does seem a bit creepy to me too.

    Got the corrugated steel sheeting onto the greenhouse today – in between crazy – and it’s looking good. You’d never know it, but the recycled sheets (with faded colour) are on the downhill side of the greenhouse. A trick of the trade. 😉



  31. Hi Elbows,

    Of course, I forget that history. I guess you recall when the Australian rebel cricket team visited your country back in the day? There was a lot of uproar about that here, but the players still went, played and presumably scored some mad cash. And I most certainly recall your coal to liquid fuel programs. A mate of mine has origins in your country and the stories he tells me.

    Elbows, you’re absolutely spot on with that observation. And I can only do so much. It would be easier if a larger number of people were interested, but candidly few people actually are interested. I truly understand after so many years of this style of living that it takes a village, but you know, if nobodies interested. What do you do? I’m sure based on your observation that you too saw this?

    Houses can be so constructed so as to accommodate irregular flood events and I’ve seen such houses up in the Northern Territory. You don’t want to be at ground level there during a flood because of the salt water crocodiles. It’s the same thing as houses being so constructed as to accommodate the irregular fire events, and this one hopefully is (or at least I made it to be so). But it is not an economic proposition. The Japanese have a more relaxed approach in that they have houses with simpler constructions which can be much cheaper to replace in the event of a tsunami / volcanic eruption. And flooding is also part of natures method of re-mineralising land.

    But yes, the poor inevitably have troubles with housing. There are many parts of this country where it is very difficult to secure a home. We rented a house over a decade ago whilst we built this one, and I tell you truthfully that I would prefer living in a shed on site here if I had to rebuild. And it was super hard to get a rental, and we could pay for it. How others are coping is beyond me. Here are two recent articles about how this is playing out down under:

    Pregnant and terrified, Tailah is moving into a tent with her young family

    How the rental crisis forced Sushannah and her family to live in a tent

    Yup, we are descending slowly bit by bit into the third world.

    Easy to say, but perhaps very hard to do. But yeah, I like your suggestion.

    Where are the slums indeed? The articles suggest the response down here. My understanding of the experience down here during the Great Depression was that such folks were moved on – constantly. They were never allowed to congregate for very long in one place. It’s brutal, but that appears to be how we roll down here.

    The thing is, the rural areas have been largely de-populated over the past century, and there are jobs to be done there. I’m unsure at what point the largely urbanised people of this country will take up that work, and the pay arrangements were recently shored up for that work. Dunno. It’s a mystery to me.

    Cheers (probably not appropriate given the discussion, but yeah)


  32. Hello Chris
    Very busy and not much to say but I thought that I would mention that we also have jurors taken from the electoral roll. Up to the age of 70 I believe.
    Glorious weather at the moment and I have just eaten my first 4 strawberries; absolutely delicious.


  33. Yo, Chris – I actually have to roll down my windows, by hand! The horror, the horror 🙂 I’m sure I mentioned that I could sell my Ranger, for what I paid for it. New. You think the car manufacturers would get a clue, that some people would really like a simple (and cheap) car.

    Jane is a very motherly woman, with a core of iron. Has to be, riding heard on a bunch of recovering drunks and junkies. Her place is way out in the country. I’ve been there a few times. The last Sunday of every month, they have an open-to-anyone interested pot luck. Followed by a recovery meeting. In nice weather, it’s around a big fire pit, out in the woods.

    It’s always good to make interesting contacts. When push comes to shove, survival may depend on who you know. If not survival, at least a bit of comfort.

    Sounds like you are juggling. If you run away to join the circus, we’ll know what that’s all about. 🙂

    Potato starch comes from a well ironed potato. 🙂 A quick glance down the rabbit hole reveals you can replace the potato starch, with corn starch.

    I’m glad you’re finding the Henley’s, interesting. Your right on both accounts. More knowledgeable and raw materials were easier to get. Besides the passing information along, around the work bench, it was the Golden Age of periodicals. Popular Science started publishing in 1872. Popular Mechanics in 1902. And there were many other, in a similar vein. Boy’s Life magazine (a scouting magazine) started publishing in 1911. Besides articles on how to build a fire, or digging poo pits, there were plenty of articles on basic science and mechanics.

    I had idle thoughts about the ROI between sugar beets and bees. Between the planting, harvesting and processing of beets, and bees, It’s probably about the same. Same amount of work, but at different times. On the other hand, there’s a lot more investment in bees. Equipment, and such. And there’s the sting part.

    I remember the guys and the lime kiln, from the Ruth Goodman series. For some reason, it stuck in my mind. Maybe because they had to get everything just right, to produce field lime. And needed a lot of mass, to do it.

    The stir sticks are also straws. In case you’re struck by the sudden desire to suck up your coffee, through a straw. Well, I suppose it gets around any froth, on the top. From those fancy drinks that spoil a good honest cup of coffee.

    I think we’d have made a great team. You running amok, me, sneaky.

    That was a great article about the Dynamic Lifter. I’ll have to see if there’s any here in the area. I see it’s licensed in the U.S..

    Thonglaw was the bull elephant. He had a very sad end. Packy was the first calf born. Packy, 1962-2017.

    Oh, yes. Crypto is speculative. But I think the appeal is, you get to sit on your duff and make money. Supposedly.

    Haven’t got to “The Story of Australia” yet. I think it’s basically traveling around and interviewing regular folk, who reflect some aspect of Australian life.

    Last night, I watched “Ted K,” a dramatization about the Unabomber. Interesting, but very slow moving. I forwarded through a lot of the scenery shots.

    I watched a few more episodes of “After the Plague.” Interesting stuff. The professor keeps banging on about how resilient people were. He also talks about how our ideas of what the world was like before the plague, are often filtered through Victorian prejudices. There was quit a global economy, before the plague. It was a two edged sword. On one hand, it’s what brought the plague to Europe. On the other, enough of it was still in place to help speed recovery. Another point he made is that a lot of cities were already concerned about public health, even before the plague. There were systems and people in place to keep cities clean. But, it just wasn’t enough. After the plague, those systems were improved and expanded. There’s a lot we think about Medieval times, that isn’t true, or not as true as we think it is.

    I’m looking forward to pictures of the greenhouse, this week. Will you show us both sides? 🙂

    We received the local food box, this morning. No surprises. Eggs, and a lot of tinned fruit and veg. Some small jars of peanut butter. And grape jelly. So you can make PB & J. (Peanut butter and jelly, for the uninitiated.) LOL. The grape jelly is corn syrup, grape flavoring and purple dye. Whatever.

    Elinor has not been feeling well. Her caregiver (one of the good ones) gave her a test for You Know What, this morning. It came back positive. They’re going to give it an hour, and try it again. This weekend may prove to be very “interesting.” Lew

  34. Sorry Chris I didn’t mean to be a downer.

    [You really are not headed for the third world and a couple of tough years doesn’t give much of a taste of poverty. The third world is a trigger label that advertisers use to frighten you into unnecessarily consuming or wasting more …otherwise (scarey voice) you know where you will be headed. Today you have access to more resources, skills and knowledge than anyone has had in the past. Just for a while lay down the Greer-spell, walk amongst your trees and imagine. Come solstice – see how you feel.]

    The Rebel tours. Now that takes me back. What one can buy with a bit of gold. You know the old days were BAD. The massive inequality and unemployment we have now are also bad. Injustice breeds injustice.

    Your country has such stringent rules. Would you be allowed to live in a shed while you built your house? Grand designs builders so often end up living in caravans on site. They always find it difficult. The Grand designs episode where the retired British couple restored a French multistorey stone building that had been used by the resistance during WWII is my favourite. They built then lived in a “shed” in the grounds while they did the restoration. The woman of the couple also got a productive vegetable garden going at the same time. They got things done! I find it easier just to imagine and talk.

    Respectfully Elbows.

  35. Chris,

    Ugh, I missed a day here. I, um, can’t say any more other than I was told that I’m NOT supposed to talk about Big Brother. 😉

    When walking today, Avalanche and I ran into the neighbor teenage girl and 2 of her friends. Gobs of fur was coming off of the shedding Avalanche, and 2 of the youngsters kept collecting it and giving it to the third. The third said that she might make a mustache out of the white fur so that she can look old. Kids.

    I hear you about knowing all the words to the Brother Maynard scene. Never watch the Wizard of Oz with me. (Not a chance, I know, as there’s a lot of singing and dancing in it.) I know most of the script and all of the words to the songs.

    This is a brief takeover of the computer from DJSpo. Thanks for all the great ideas, Kelpies. With waggy affection, Avalanche

    Oh, yeah, good commercial bread is hard to find. We met a baker from Scotland when on vacation once. He and his family couldn’t eat American bread because it was much too sweet. He said that a good and tasty bread doesn’t need as much sugar as the American products have. Must say that I agree. The stuff I bake from scratch has little sweetener in it and it still tastes fine.

    Welsh history can be very aggravating because of the similarity of names. There’s a website called Ancient Wales Studies that analyzes a lot of the old Welsh genealogies. There was one of his studies that was stereotypical of the problem: two cousins used the same traditional names for all of their offspring. and in the same order. As did their offspring for another few generations. As the ages of the eldest offspring were only a decade apart, the two families were regularly confused. Quite the hobby to undertake in retirement, eh?

    Our family Welsh/Scottish thing? I think it might have worked like this. Dad’s mother’s maiden name was Todd. Originally from the Loch Lomond area of Scotland but forced into Northern Ireland for religious reasons in the late 1600s. (They were on the losing side, the Covenanters, at the Battle of Bothwell Brig.) The family passed along an extreme hatred of Catholicism for umpteen generations. (The fact that my sister and I went to a Catholic grade school for a few years was nothing short of miraculous.) The Northern Irish who moved to North America were often referred to as Irish. Then a lot of Irish Catholics moved to the United States, so the term Scotch-Irish was used to differentiate between the Irish (who were mostly Catholic) and those whose ancestors hailed from Northern Ireland. My ancestors took it a step further and claimed to be Scottish, not Scoth-Irish.

    Meanwhile my dad’s father often claimed to be Irish. His mother was at least half Irish. After marrying Miss Todd, the Irish background got hushed up. Why the Welsh side was ignored, well, grandmother had a pretty strong personality.

    Agreed, history is normally poorly taught. Nuff said.

    When did the Normans consider themselves to be locals? I think that had a lot to do with when they quit speaking French and began speaking English. Sometime around Henry VIII, IIRC, so some 450 years after the Norman Conquest. My perspective is that this shift occurred after Malory’s Le Morte D’Arthur. Add the beginning of the Tudor Dynasty in 1485 with that family’s Welsh background. This led many of the English ruling class to appropriate the Welsh stories and take them as their own, to give them the right to the throne of England because the then current royal family was descended from the people who ruled the island before the Saxons and even before the Romans.

    Of course, there was at the same time a growing merchant class, so that the upwardly mobile richer merchant families could intermarry with the younger sons and daughters of Norman nobility. This likely introduced a plethora of English-speaking cousins to the French speaking nobility, so something had to give.

    I’m sure a professional historian would have a different theory. But the post 1485 date for the Normans predominantly learning English and using it in court in the next generation is a key part of when the Normans became “local”.


  36. Hi Pam,

    Ah, yes, worry is unfortunately the great activity stopper! There’s a lot of worry going around these days.

    Like your style and the philosophy has much to recommend it.



  37. Hi Inge,

    I believe the same process with juror selection occurs down here. Hardly surprising given the common origins. It is a very hard system upon those whom are self employed, and I have no idea how households with young children are managed if one parent is taken away by jury duty.

    Yummo! And news of delicious strawberries is great news indeed. 🙂 Flavour, after all is the reason we grow our own.

    Great news about the weather too. Things have been more stable on the weather front here too of late. Yay! The greenhouse project is progressing.



  38. Hi Elbows,

    Please don’t think anything of it, and I hadn’t viewed your reply from that perspective anyway.

    It may surprise you, and I honestly can’t recall whether I’ve mentioned it or not to you previously, but Sandra and I have travelled to many third world countries, and so we’ve seen where things can go. And you’re right, we are a very long way from there. And absolutely, that too is not lost upon me. The energy we can draw from the sunlight, or that from fossil fuel energy, and put to work here amazes me.

    The scary voices don’t frighten me, it’s the one’s in suits saying it ain’t necessarily so, that do that trick.

    I do recall those days. The old alchemists used to say that theirs was not the common gold. Plants and knowledge of them are like that.

    From my perspective, the stringent rules are only in place whilst people can afford to pay for them. After that point, who knows? Technically, probably not, but it depends upon the circumstances, and also our response to the circumstances. I’m an old dog, but I have a few tricks held up my sleeve just in case. And, hey, I liked that episode too. Those two got stuff done. One of my favourites was the woodsman’s cottage and on completion the build and garden was very beautiful. Plus the romantic in me liked the fact he got a lady and somehow a flock of sheep was involved. Lovely stuff.



  39. Hi DJ,

    Mate, I noticed. 🙂 Actually, I went to bed early yesterday as I had to get up early today and head into the big smoke to catch up with mates and talk some rubbish. No tiramisu was unfortunately harmed. And yes we must be circumspect about mentioning that all seeing dude, as he seems like a bit of a pain in the rear… And who could be bothered listening in on the inane conversations that go on at the farm here in between the other interesting discussions. BB would get bored pretty quickly by: “How was your day?”

    That’s funny about the shedding Avalanche and potential use for her fur! And it is that time of year for Avalanche when all good winter coats must be shed. Speaking of Huskies, my neighbour has one. I found said Husky on the other side of the dog enclosure yesterday with a lead and no owner. Hard to explain. The Husky seems fine, although the broad and deep chest makes Ollie look small by comparison. I’m glad Ollie wasn’t out and about the farm at the time. Ruby faced off against the much larger male Husky and it just looked at Ruby all unfazed and stuff, and you could see the thought process: What are you, and what are you doing? I suspect that the dogs knew each other from previous encounters.

    Musicals. Well here’s what to do with them: Bring out the book of armaments! Incidentally, I may have seen this exact film at the drive-in cinema when I was a very young child. I’m still in therapy about this situation… 😉

    That’s the thing about the brioche bun and I don’t see the need for the extra sugar either. Surely, aren’t we all sweet enough already? Probably not, but well made bread (and respect for baking some of your own) has a complicated flavour. You do need some sugar so as to feed the yeast so that they can do their thing, but too much, maybe too much. An old mate of mine worked in a sourdough bakery and he spilled the beans to me that during the coldest months of the year, they added a small quantity of bakers yeast just to ensure that the bread rose. Winter slows yeast activities.

    With names that repetitive, sorting it all out as in who is who, is a job for Sherlock Holmes. Hope you’re donning your tweed detective hat, but please save us all the blunt attitude. The fictional detective may have been very clever, but he’s probably not the sort of guy you’d enjoy having a pint with at a cosy pub near to the wood fire on a cold winters evening. Doctor Watson did that more human side of the business.

    Mate, thanks very much for the explanation. What a sorry historical mess, and yes it is miraculous you went to such a school. Episcopal polity, another sorry mess. But yes, I too have heard such stories where reality takes a back seat and people do what they need to do, and believe what they need to believe.

    Nuff said about history indeed.

    Old Harold Godwinson, well he wore his troops out on the long march south. Much wiser had he continued south with his army at leisure, but on such matters does history turn. Sun Tzu said something about not wearing the troops out on stupid stuff. And thanks for your insight and observation as to when the Norman’s went native. That makes a great deal of sense, and prior to that they may have sat uncomfortably upon their throne. Yes, I can see that, something did indeed have to give.



  40. Hi Lewis,

    I too am wondering just how many computer chips can manufacturers be short of, before they dump them from their products. It’s not like the manufacturers don’t know how to supply vehicles without unnecessary infotainment and other bling systems. It’s only going to take a few brave manufacturers to offer supply of vehicles that way, when other manufacturers can’t supply. I note that the very popular Suzuki Jimny, now has a lite model which has dumped many bits of bling is cheaper and has shorter wait lists. What’s not to like?

    Oh yeah, I can see that about a person in such a role as Jane appears to have taken on. Have you noticed a certain sort of no-nonsense trait to boot? That would be necessary, although I’m guessing that if assistance was required, assistance may be provided, but possibly I have a vague sense that a social cost might be involved. The choice of place for the recovery meeting sounds very appropriate.

    That’s the thing isn’t it about social connections, sometimes it really is ‘who you know’. And in rural areas this has additional layers of complexity, and takes place at a much slower pace. You have to be in an area for a very long time before you are considered local. I’m not at all sure how all that will play out in the longer term, but I am expecting some economic weirdness later this year as interest rates get increased. Went into the big smoke today for lunch with mates, and there were plenty of people out and about on the streets, but the normally busy restaurant was quieter than I would have expected.

    From memory I can’t recall ever requiring corn starch (or potato starch) in a recipe. The potato starch looks easy enough to make, although it is not a quick process. Do you use this ingredient much?

    Henley’s formula’s are a fascinating read. I began thinking about the raw materials and it became obvious that we are not encouraged to experiment with such things, as they clearly were way back in the day. As an interesting side note, one of the hippy magazines I used to write for is apparently winding up.

    Dude, it’s the sting. Some bee keepers can tackle any hive with no gloves or other equipment, and that’s not me. Sugar beets are much nicer to harvest from. Mead was for the nobility, the others got weak ciders, so that is probably a good guide to the ROI comparison. I’d imagine the sugar from the sugar beets was added to all manner of food stuffs and preserves. The cane sugar trade would have destroyed that need. It’s amazing that sugar beets did not fade away as a crop, although they’d probably make good animal feed.

    The lime kiln episode stuck in my mind too, and based on that I picked up the Ruth Goodman, Victorian farm book – and enjoyed it. It is amazing how many skills required mastery in those days, and how things have changed in that regard in the intervening years.

    I’m imagining a sudden need to suck up a proper coffee through a straw, and am instead thinking that the device would be better utilised in an iced coffee drink. Standards must be maintained! 😉

    Hehe! Sneaky and running amok would be a recipe for mayhem, but also so much fun. 🙂

    The fertiliser is pretty good, and I’ve always had good outcomes from the stuff. I’m just not seeing it for sale now in my usual haunts. It used to be available locally in 77 pound sacks. The dogs were always interested in the stuff, although there was mention that it did them no good. Ah, there are many warnings about dogs and fertilisers, mate you should see the dogs going after chicken poop – very nasty.

    Thonglaw, Packy and Co have an interesting history.

    What? How does one sit on their duff and earn mad cash. If it seems too good to be true.

    Wasn’t Ted K turned in by a family member? Probably sick of his BS, and possibly read the manifesto, and then thought to themselves: I’ve heard that talk before. Patterns and don’t assume other people are stupid.

    I agree about medieval history, we do tend to talk such things down I’m guessing in order to support our own biases and prejudices. Hey, as far as I understand things, we’re still the same as the people walking around tens of millennia ago for that matter, and too they must have been pretty clever.

    Do you really want to see the side of the greenhouse which used the recycled materials?

    The grape jelly sounds pretty tasty!

    Ah, sorry to hear of that. It is going around for sure. Best wishes for a good outcome for Elinor and a speedy recovery if the worst occurs.



  41. Hello Chris
    I was surprised by the notion of adding sugar when making bread. Have never done this and my bread has risen okay.


  42. Yo, Chris – Looks like the Jimny isn’t sold in the US. I see it is kind of like a Jeep. There was a lot of loose talk, about a new, stripped down Ford Ranger. Still has way more bells and whistles, than mine. And costs twice as much as mine did.

    Yup. Jane is no-nonsense. She has rules. Not very onerous ones. But break them, and you’re out on your ear. Which may mean jail time. Rather than a nice sojourn out in the country 🙂

    I was racking my brains, in what I used corn starch. I know I just bought some new, not so long ago. I finally remembered. I put it in crisps. And some pies. Anything that might have a tendency to be runny. I can’t say I’ve ever seen potato starch for sale. But then, I haven’t gone looking for it.

    Back in Ye Olde Days, most of the ingredients in Henley’s could be had from the local chemist or hardware store. Some probably still is. Or, could be ordered or bought on-line. LOL. Some of it might get you on a “watch” list. 🙂

    I think there’s still a lot of beet sugar, around. Any bag of sugar that doesn’t say “cane” on it, is probably beet sugar. And beet sugar is probably the stuff in most processed foods, as it’s cheaper. Sometimes, it’s spelled right out on the ingredients list. And, yes, the leftovers are feed to animals. During the Depression, my Dad’s family used to go outside of town, and live in a shack, during the week. To thin sugar beets.

    How do we know you recycled those materials, unless we see pictures. And then there’s always the sneaking suspicion that they’ve been photo shopped. 🙂

    Yup. Ted K’s brother read his manifesto, and thought the phrasing sounded awful familiar. He contacted a lawyer, who contacted the FBI. The brother got a million dollar reward. It was taxable. After the taxes were paid, and his brother’s legal fees paid, the rest of it went to the victims of the bombings.

    Elinor is in hospital, and doing well. I got an update from her daughter, this morning. And yes, she’s got “it.” She doesn’t know it yet, but she can’t come home, until she gains some mobility. So, it’s maybe rehab for awhile. And then she’ll need dependable caregivers. Which are spotty. We have a full blown outbreak going on, here at The Institution. Got a memo yesterday that “…several positive Covid cases…” are active within these walls. The EMTs come and go. The place is quit as a graveyard, other than the sound of people hacking their lungs out, behind closed doors. The community rooms are locked up, again. H and I soldier on 🙂

    I watched McCarthy’s “Superintelligence,” last night. Well worth a bowl of popcorn. Great fun. It’s kind of a sci-fi rom-com. While I was at the library, today, one of the fellows working there handed me “The Zombies of Lake Woebegon.” Unfortunately, it’s a talking book. Which I really don’t do. It’s a parody. But, I see there is a book, and if the library doesn’t have it, I’ll interlibrary loan it. Lew

  43. Hi Inge,

    I do not add sugar to bread mixes either. However, I begin the mixing process with flour, yeast, grains, salt and yeast improver to which I add water and mix and knead. The yeast improver contains propolis (bee gunk). I believe the yeast consume the sugars in the yeast improver and thus does whatever then happens to make the carbon dioxide which produces the bubbles inside the dough and thus it all rises. The baking process kills any yeast not already dead.

    That’s my simple bread 101 explanation. And the bread I bake is not sweet.

    More sweet breads include eggs, butter, vanilla, more sugar etc.

    But you know, instead of sugar you could substitute milk, honey, fructose, you name it – anything with some sort of sugars that the yeast can eat.

    Out of curiosity, do you purchase flour, or do you purchase a bread mix (flour, yeast and improver and maybe grains – but otherwise the same stuff)?



  44. Hi Lewis,

    Ah, as far as I understand economics, demand destruction refers to not being able to afford to do whatever it is that you wanted to do at the price being offered. It is a negative feedback loop with inflation, and um, well, it can be a problem if the product or service was kind of necessary and important – like say food. 🙂 On the other hand, it at least shows that muddying the waters of the price discovery mechanism in markets – has limits.

    Mate, I genuinely am scratching my head about the fertiliser story, and yeah it’s not a pretty story. It was bound to happen sooner or later, but the sensitive soul always hopes that it is later. We’re probably about three weeks away from mixing up the batches of soil for the new greenhouse, so I’ll keep you posted on what I’m seeing in that fertiliser market. So far the suppliers look well stocked (other than the exception I mentioned), but it isn’t cheap and I noticed that bags of Monoammonium Phosphate have entirely disappeared. Oh well, I’ll make do, but transitioning to an organic fertiliser basis is a slow process which takes a few years and the yields appear lower to me. On a serious note, there are parallels to the recovery process.

    What? You don’t get Jimny’s? Well you are most certainly missing out. Small in this case is beautiful! 🙂 Of course I always have soft feelings towards Suzuki because whilst the brand does have some pocket rockets (i.e. small and fast cars), they cured me of my earlier rev-head phase. Whatever else you say, it is very hard to go fast in a small four wheel drive that has only four speeds and a 39 inch motor. And cheap to run is an added bonus.

    Yeah, new cars sure be ‘spensive. Fingers crossed we stay out of that market. Or maybe demand destruction will play a role there? Especially if interest rates rise, as I expect them to do so. Demand destruction saves policy makers from making tough decisions.

    That would be my approach too. Jane sounds OK to me. 🙂 Not very onerous rules reminds me of what used to be described as ‘the spirit of the law’, or otherwise known as a guide to better living, but you better not over step that mark. Exactism can be taken too far, like anything I guess.

    Ah, the starch is used as a thickening agent, or what do they call that stuff: emulsifiers? Please correct me if I’m wrong there. We keep a bit of corn flour for that purpose, and nobody wants to encounter a runny pie. And it ain’t just you, I have never seen potato starch for sale.

    Hehe! You know, I was thinking that very thought when I was perusing Henley’s formula’s. What a crazy world we live in. The stupid thing is, it just becomes a matter of how far back in the process do you go? And there are some very clever folks out there. But mostly I tend to think that we are deliberately being dumbed-down so that it is easier to flog product. It won’t end well, but nobody listens to me about such things.

    Ah, the only sugar we see is sourced from cane sugar. There is quite the industry for that stuff up on the far east coast where I’m guessing the conditions are pretty good. Incidentally I read the other day that at the end of harvesting the residual sugar cane is burnt so that there is no rat poop and wee left for the people to get exposed to. Makes sense.

    I’d read about such things happening. Did your dad have a plot of land out of town? Such a good idea, and I read that during the Great Depression, people moved back to rural areas because of such productivity.

    Alright, there’ll be a photo of the recycled materials. 🙂 Mate, I don’t have the competence or time to photo shoop images.

    Actually Ted K’s brother and wife came up with a nice way to distribute the funds.

    Best wishes for Elinor, and dodge as best you may. I’m encountering people who have it too. What do you do, other than what you do. Eat well, get plenty of rest and keep hydrated – and avoid stress.

    Superintelligence looked like a fun film. And who doesn’t love a sci-fi rom-com. 🙂 I don’t do talking books either, but have a mate who swears by them, and the Editor has enjoyed a few classics in that format. I’ll be interested to hear your opinion of the book. I read Pride and Prejudice with Zombies and you know, it didn’t float my boat.

    Cheers and better get writing! Actually I have to make dinner first. 🙂


  45. Yo, Chris – My take has been that demand destruction is when stuff gets expensive, people stop buying it, and the price goes down. Silly me. I had injected more of a “choice” into the concept. I was thinking more in terms of wants instead of needs.

    Hmmm. I just had a thought. Maybe I should sprinkle a bit of that blueberry fertilizer around my garden plots? It sure doesn’t take much, for results. It will be interesting to see what formula you come up with for the greenhouse soil.

    Yup. Thickening agent. Although in the case of strawberry / rhubarb pie, you have to drag out the big guns. A small pack of strawberry jello. 🙂

    My Dad’s family had a house and yard in town. Not that large. As I remember. I’m sure when they went out to thin sugar beets, during the week, it was for some large beet company.

    The EMTs have stopped coming and going. The Institution is very quiet. H seemed a bit “down”, yesterday. But, she ate a good dinner. When we came back from our walk, last night, she REALLY wanted to go to Elinor’s apartment. Sad really. So I took her over to have a good look see.

    I watched a bit of “The Story of Australia: A Land Like No Other.” It has 6 25 minute chapters. I’ve watched two of them. An overview, and one on food production. Up next, mining. They have short interviews with people. A light house keeper, a scientist on the Great Barrier Reef. A sheep rancher and a sheep shearer. My ears perked up, when the grape grower and the organic dairy farmer both started banging on about the soil. 🙂 I had a chuckle when an indigenous woman was talking about bush tucker. When she stated, “It’s a super market, out there.” It is, but you have to know what you’re doing. Lew

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