Don’t be the load

Wednesday morning, about 10.30am, the connection to the Internet suddenly died. There was no notice, no prior warning of any impending failure. Nope, none of that. Notice would have been useful, but no. It would have been OK, except for the mountain of work to do. That for me was the real problem. And suddenly the mountain of work became that much greater, because the Internet connection mystery also had to be resolved, and quickly.

Early indications as to the source of the problem, was that a crucial bit of communications hardware had failed. Someone long ago, once asked me: “What shops are in your area?” At hearing that question my mind pondered: “You don’t get out of the city much, do you?” However, good manners and a polite demeanour meant that the words weren’t voiced. The face however, may have betrayed an incredulous look, thus proving that a career in poker would not end well.

It’s a long way to the shop from here, but it’s an even longer way again to the nearest large well stocked computer shop. Wednesday and the next two days were a nightmare time of doing long work hours using the backup methods of connecting to the Internet. Frankly, the backup methods weren’t all that great, but the work got done albeit sometimes very late into the evening. There were also two visits to the nearest large computer shop (over an hour each way) combined with much mucking around, before the problem was resolved.

By Friday night around about 7pm, a brand new system for connecting the computers with the Internet had been installed. And more importantly it was working well. The expense was extraordinary, as built in obsolescence meant that every component in the system had to be replaced. And the new system has become even more complicated than the old one. Admittedly, the new system works much faster and seems stable, but the old system worked just fine – until it didn’t work, of course.

Bread and circuses. Are you not entertained!?

The reason a second trip to the distant large computer shop occurred, was because one of the original devices purchased, was faulty. And that was where things became weird. The hardware supplier had a phone number for technical support. The lack of knowledge on display from the technical people on the other side of the phone line quite surprised me. Despite the product being faulty, they suggested that the blame lay with the telecommunications company, which in this case was untrue. What they hadn’t realised was that I’d already put the nice people at the telecommunications company to the question.

The sort of technical assistance being offered from all corners was really basic advice such as: have you powered the device off, checked connections, and performed a factory reset? All of those things, and more, were done prior to contacting them. The people were pleasant enough, but unfortunately my expectations of more detailed technical assistance were beyond their capabilities, and worse, their knowledge. It was an alarming level of inadequacy.

The experience caused my mind to begin considering the question: How much do people know about the complicated systems which keep us all doing the things which we’re doing? Probably the lack of knowledge isn’t too much of a problem when it comes to small consumer devices. But what if that lack of knowledge as to how things work, is far wider than I realise?

As a young bloke I was a bit of an electronics geek and thought nothing of assembling amplifiers and other electronic devices such as radios. After being legally recognised as an adult, and obtaining my drivers license, I mucked around with repairing the various cars I owned. Later, Sandra and I became interested in repairing houses in the mid 90’s after we bought one that needed serious work. Nowadays I’m mucking about with edible plants and all manner of other systems which keep the farm going.

The thing is, there aren’t that many people I meet who are prepared to muck in and give things a go. I believe that a sort of learned helplessness has somehow crept into our society. It’s not a good thing, because when I observe people stridently campaigning for an electricity grid powered by renewable energy technologies, I do wonder how much practical experience they personally have with this stuff?

My fear is that people are shouting slogans that sound and feel good which they’ve learned from some other source – which may have an agenda. Always a possibility. Maybe, it’s just me, but I tend to give things and systems a go and muck around with them, prior to endorsing them. That way I know whether the idea is a dud idea or not. As to what other people do, I can’t really say.

What I do know is that over the past week or so, the media has been mooting the idea of ‘load shedding’ with the mains electricity supply. That’s where the demand for electricity exceeds the supply, and sectors of the grid get cut off from the supply. I guess it’s a result of the policies of the past few decades. I don’t know how all this will turn out, but based on experience, don’t be the load which is shed.

Earlier in the week before everything went crazy, we managed to install the rest of the polycarbonate cladding on the new greenhouse. Then the first raised garden bed was assembled using thick slabs of timber sleepers (which were recovered from another project). And finally we hauled in a huge load of soil. I’m trialling a new compost product, but am yet to add in the various mineral and organic matter additives to the mixture. Ollie finds the new compost mixture to be delectable!

Yum! Yum! Stinky tasty snacky compost poo

Even only a few days out from the winter solstice, the inside of the greenhouse is warmer than the chilly outside air. The various plants which will end up in the garden bed in the photo above, have been moved into the greenhouse and are already enjoying the conditions. There are two types of Ginger (usual variety and a Japanese variety), a Babaco and two tea Camellia’s.

Ruby enjoys the mid-winter warmth of the greenhouse

Early in the week, a storm rolled over the farm and the winds were strong. The farm is in a very protected volcanic amphitheatre, and so it is only rarely windy. But it should be recalled that rare does not imply never! Anyway, the wind acts as natures pruning tool and a number of large branches fell from the tall trees.

Wouldn’t have wanted to be under this one when it fell
Or this one!

The war on rats is going well, brother! After a few weeks of hiatus, I went on the offensive against the rats and removed several other access points to the chicken enclosure. I’d observed that the rats could climb up a Californian Redwood, limber along the limbs, then jump onto the roof of the chicken enclosure. It was a move worthy of the best James Bond stunt.

Branches can be removed and chipped up, and fortunately I have a scary old wood chipper (side note: I feel an unnatural fondness towards the machine because it is so well made with a heavy flywheel) and chipped up the Redwood branches. Whilst I had the machine out, I also did a bit of winter pruning in the orchard – and blitzed the branches. There were also further modifications made to the chicken enclosure.

Scary old wood chipper. Love it!

My able assistant in the ratting department, Dame Plum, assisted me with the work.

Dame Plum assists with the ratting work

The parrots have decided to begin harvesting the many kiwi fruit which are hanging from the vines. Parrots tend to enjoy slightly under ripe fruit, so I’m guessing the fruit is near to harvesting. Had a taste this afternoon, and the fruit is really getting there.

Parrots have been chomping upon the kiwi fruit

In these cold no-summer growing years, the latter ripening fruit have been the winners. It’s an impressive sized crop from the three vines.

A portion of the fruit hanging from the vines

Onto the flowers:

Canary Island Foxgloves look set to produce new flowers
This Daisy has grown into a Sage bush

The temperature outside now at about 9.00am is 7’C (45’F). So far this year there has been 495.0mm (19.5 inches) which is up from last weeks total of 466.8mm (18.4 inches)

37 thoughts on “Don’t be the load”

  1. Yo, Chris – What is it with this “need for speed?” I never pay for accelerated shipping. And am a bit irritated when something shows up, the next day, from The River. Or Sunday delivery. Saturday, for that matter. Maybe I’m just more patient than the run of people. Or, maybe I like the anticipation. Like Christmas! 🙂 .

    I’d guess a very high percentage of computer problems, are of the sort you mentioned. “Is your computer plugged in?” At the library, it was amazing how often a plug would get accidentally kicked out. I’d guess a lot of perspective employees say things like, “Oh, yeah, I know all about that.” Similar to when I got my first drink waiting job. “Oh, yeah. I’ve waited a lot of tables.” (At that point, the tally was zero (-0-). Sometimes, I think employers just think, “They’ll learn on the job.”

    People who generally talk through there hat. Which is a phrase that dates back to the late 19th century. Last week, there was a fellow at the Club who was spouting some kind of political nonsense. Never mind the flavor. In one of those “Gee, I wish I would have thought of that earlier”, moments. I realized he sounded like he was quoting someone. And, I wish I would have said that, and asked who. 🙂 .

    Load shedding. Why I so seldom take the elevator, here at The Institution.

    Nothing like compost poo, to hit the spot! My friend Julia brought H a knucklebone, today. H was thrilled. Until I got it home. Now, she doesn’t even look at it. I’ll give it til Thursday, and then out it goes!

    Your beds in the greenhouse look really good. You might want to think about adding a stringer (?), every couple of years. So that eventually, the beds are about waist high. We have both beds that are raised, as much as yours are. And others that are waist high. As we age (and, we do), the higher beds are easier to deal with.

    Those tree limbs are really something. They’re called “widow makers”, for a reason. 🙂 . Once I had to drive home through a storm, and limbs the size of Christmas trees, were coming down on the freeway. Good times!

    Dame Plum, ever alert! What’s she going to do with herself, when there are no more rats, to catch?

    That is a bumper crop of kiwi. Parrots allowing. You’ll have to figure out something wonderful to do with them.

    Here’s an interesting article, from today’s newspaper, on “Welfare Gardens”, during the Great Depression, in our county. The boy’s trade school mentioned, is actually a boy’s reformatory. It’s still in business. A friend of mine has worked there, for years.,295563

    I got our blueberries fertilized, today. After doing that, I spent a bit of time down the rabbit hole, looking into fertilizers. Urea (aka, piddle), has more than twice the nitrogen of ammonium sulphate. But it doesn’t have any sulphur. But there are other sources of sulphur. Interesting information. Lew

  2. Ah yes, the beginnings of divergence between Morlocks and Eloi? Or, how about a prelude to “The Machine Stops”? Writers and observant folk have been extrapolating where this is going for quite a while now.

    In my personal experience, while still working for a large company, every once in a while my computer would not behave as per usual, so being just a dumb user, I’d call IT (MIS, help desk, whatever moniker you like). They would always fix things, but I would ask them, “So what happened, WHY did it malfunction?” They never knew the why of a specific problem, they just knew these things happened sometimes and their tricks would get me working again. I was not comforted by that, but here we are.

    The learned helplessness is actually forcefully pushed by corporate business strategy. There is a movement right now to establish a right to repair, driven by farmers no less, but it will be tough slogging to get any substantial changes.

    There has been so much intermediation between folks and the real world ( I mean this in the wider sense than just finance) that many don’t know how much they don’t know. Twill end badly.

    I can’t recall if you’ve described how your new greenhouse will manage temperature to avoid overheating. If you have, I apologize and wonder which post that might have been in.

    Don’t be the load- Well, one way this may play out is the end of the grid operating by load following, and a massively disrupting switch to generation following. Could it happen?

  3. Hi Steve,

    Believe it or not, I’d never read The Time Machine. Isaac Asimov covered similar territory with the Foundation series, and it did make me wonder, just how much do we know of the technology we rely upon? It seems like an important question to comprehend when making decisions. I have a hunch about the policy makers in that they believe that electricity is the same as Oil, and batteries are just another fuel tank. I’ve got some bad news for them. Batteries act like balloons from what I’ve observed.

    Comfort is not to be found in such explanations, sorry to say. But what do you do when the people who purport to support this stuff have no idea? But mostly I reckon the fact that most of this stuff cannot be repaired means that we’re bound for history’s dumpster. I wish it were not so, but communications equipment which lasts but two to three years is not an encouraging prospect. A couple of decades life span would please me, but my experience suggests otherwise.

    And interestingly, one of my hobbies is repairing and restoring high end FM tuners from the late 1980’s to early 1990’s, and those are beautifully made machines. I doubt we’ll see their like again.

    Yeah, I too have been interested in the ongoing right to repair. It may amuse you, and it does amuse me, but some groups can be so exclusive that they go extinct.

    And that is indeed the core of the problem. Intermediation. It wasn’t always this way, and when I was a young bloke, things were repaired and looked after. It was not a challenge to find a shop in those days which repaired small consumer devices like televisions, and the people running those shops must have had amazing knowledge as to how such things worked. Efficient and cheap is not necessarily the same thing as resilient.

    Ah ha! The greenhouse is constructed to accommodate local summer conditions. Did I not construct a smaller test building and run it for two years before demolishing it and recovering the materials for use in the larger greenhouse? Hot air rises, and so the ventilation takes place between the top of the walls and the roof sheets. Of course I have had to add in strong steel bird mesh there to stop the birds and bats (and rats) from gaining easy entry. And you thought I was half asleep! 🙂 It’s a local design adapted for local conditions. I haven’t really written about the modifications for local conditions much, because they are local conditions and people hold their beliefs so tightly that I’ve observed many empty greenhouses down here. I just didn’t want the fight.

    I look forward to reading your latest instalment.



  4. Hi Lewis,

    Mate, I’d been using this interweb communications network for over a dozen years, and it had not occurred to me that the signal and systems at the network end had been upgraded. I’d been limping along older technology and doing my best to keep it going. The thing is, I didn’t really need that ‘need for speed’. The older technology failed utterly, and I had to revisit the entire system from beginning to end, and that was when I noticed the upgrades. Do I care about such speeds? Nope. I recall a time before such things were considered a necessity, and I’m old enough to recall the exciting days of telnet (a blast from the past, man). Mate, by trade I’m a long letter writer! You may have noticed? 🙂

    Look, a lot of computer problems do fall into the ‘basic’ category. The troubles I had late last week were in the ‘beyond super-crazy taken to 11 on the dial advanced’. And that was when I discovered that the hardware support folks appeared to be useless. They had no idea, but were more than happy to bluster. To their credit, eventually they apologised for the troubles.

    That can happen too, and I’m fine with that. If people say they don’t know, and it’s a really complicated subject, how could anyone be upset about that? It’s the pretending to know where the problems set in. Most jobs where you’re striding boldly where you’ve never been before (!) mean that you have to learn on the fly. Dude, I made it right to the top in my area of the profession, and each step involved a massive learning curve (whatever that is). What interests me more, is that I encounter people who seem unable to learn. Now how do you reckon that situation may have come about?

    Talking through their hat. A delightful phrase, and unfortunately there seems to be a bit of that going on in the wider community. Dude, I don’t engage with such loose talk. I dunno, I reckon they’re only supplying sound bites which they might have picked up from the magical land of somewhere else. However, if such folks are derailing a conversation, there are means to put an end to such nonsense.

    Good thinking about the elevator. There was a Six Feet Under episode revolving around such a death. Yuk!

    What? Oh, H, wise up my friend. Knuckle bones are there for your teeth and enjoyment. Although, we tend to give the dogs here rawhide chews and larger marrow bones. When I was a kid there was a game you used to play where you threw knuckle bones. I can’t recall it now, but have a vague memory that it was enjoyable.

    Thanks for the advice about the stringers with the greenhouse raised beds. Hmm. Probably right. The past two weeks have been very weird, so I took the opportunity of a quiet morning to pick up the rest of the sleepers for the other garden beds in the greenhouse.

    Oh, and the vacuum machine developed a fault with a damaged hose. How cool is this? The manufacturer offered to either repair, or refurbish and restore the machine. I never expected that, I just have to box the machine up now and send it to them. I could have done the repairs, but they seem to have ensured that they have control over the more fiddly repairs. I can deal with that as it is less wasteful than disposing of the machine which has otherwise had a long life.

    Trees are to be treated with the respect they deserve, for if nothing else, they are bigger.

    Yes, feel sorry for Dame Plum for she appears to have run out of enemies. Since the latest rodent modifications. Nil. Zip. Nada. None. Hubris. The rodents are probably ferreting away on the problem.

    “30 acres of potatoes, 6 acres of carrots and 10 acres of corn among many other crops” is like music to my ears and possibly where the future is headed. But we’ll see, and much depends.

    Hmm, incidentally where does one get sulphur? Always handy for growing onions, garlic, chives etc. Down here, way back in the day they were big on urea, wood ash and manure – but that isn’t everything, and if the stuff begins phosphorus deficient, it ends up that way too. It’s such a shame we send so many useful soil minerals into the big drink A.K.A. the oceans. The rain is pounding down on the roof. Far out.

    Hehe! Well, I guess the smoke out the front door folks will quickly learn their lessons. And it is a truth universally acknowledged that smoke alarms can be a touch indiscriminate when they go off. Imagine what would happen during a bushfire here… What a nightmare of the ‘wall of sound’. Something to add extra stress and zing to an already stressful situation.

    The wildlife does a similar thing here with fallen fruit. It’s only commercial and fenced off orchards that have problems with orchard hygiene and fallen fruit. It’s one of those weird situations where you get a benefit and a cost all at once.

    Just enjoyed a lindt ball choccie. So good.

    What troubled me about the robbery was that my mind was suggesting improvements upon the idiots capers… 🙂 Watched too many television shows.

    Honestly, I wondered about the hop / mildew story too. Sometimes land becomes too expensive as a speculative vehicle, to grow certain crops. But then it is very possible that certain minerals were strip mined from the soil – it’s a finite resource after all and wetter areas tend to lose minerals at a faster rate than drier areas. I’m wondering about what effect all the rain I’m enjoying in the past few years is going to have.

    I hear you about that with estates. And you never know what interesting things you’ll discover? The people involved are perhaps beyond caring given where they went.

    That was sort of what I was suggesting with the beef in juices line. What juices prey tell? That’s the important question. Funnily enough whenever I hear of exported beef from Argentina I always think of To the Manor Born. Programming is hard to remove.

    That was my understanding too about the Sedaris household based on what had been penned in the Diaries. Some of the stories in those diaries are pretty funny and enjoyable, with a side serving of zany. You’d want to be switched on and at your A-game when dealing with that family.

    James Beard is an interesting bloke, with passion for food.



  5. Yo, Chris – I suppose all the added speed is welcomed by the gamers. According to a quick test, my speed is 4.9 Mbps. Whatever that means. Please don’t explain 🙂 It’s fast enough, for me. Although sometimes, I have to wait for some darned ad to load, before I can take the next step. Otherwise, things have a habit of seizing up. Then I have to clear everything and start over, again. Think of the chaos, if the hip and with it, were subjected to dial up? 🙂 . I always kept a book handy. I got a lot of reading done, waiting for things to load.

    Oh, the IT people love to lord their slight knowledge edge, over us pedestrians. Revenge of the nerds.

    Massive learning curves? I’ll opt out, whenever I can. Give me a skill I can master. That won’t be a moving target.

    The Romans had knuckle bone. There are frescoes. But, it was, according to Sophocles, invented during the Trojan War. Well, that was a real “hurry up and wait” kind of battle. A bloke named Palamedes (he was a pal, to everyone), invented it. To pass the time and maybe pick up a bit of mad cash. H rediscovered her bone, about 10 last night. And happily gnawed on it, until bedtime. I do wish she’d keep it off the carpet. No dice.

    Vacuum machine, aka vacuum cleaner? The last place I lived, there were at least three machines, kicking around the place. One would have problems, and they’d just go out and buy a new one. Did I mention they were hoarders? 🙂 Even, I, who have little mechanical aptitude, tinkered with them a bit and got them all running.

    Dame Plum will just have to go back to rabbits. To keep her edge.

    I looked into sulphur, too. Just about any kind of animal droppings. Chicken, etc..

    I’ve got a Lindt chocolate story. Our store still hasn’t restocked their store brand of chocolate bars. So, it’s the Lindt. It was “on sale” this week, two bars for $5. But on my loyalty card price break, I got a further reduction. 4¢. I’ll try not and spend it, all in one place. 🙂

    I won’t link to the scene from “Repo Man,” where the crim is bleeding out on the floor, from a robbery gone bad. But that is a funny bit.

    It could be the hop vine at my old place, did so well, as I was on a bit of a windy ridge. Good air circulation.

    “To the Manor Born” has slipped into a temporal anomaly. But I get your drift.

    Beard, Child, David, Olney, Clayborne. They’re all pieces in the puzzle that led to better food, in general.

    I saw another article on peecycling, last night. More in depth. But I forgot to link to it, and, it’s gone. Maybe it will show up, again. I also saw an article about what American foods, people who move overseas can’t get, and miss. Or, people from overseas, who lived here for awhile, and miss some of our foods. I was surprised to see that in Australia, you have no, or few bagels. They look like a donut, but are boiled, then baked. They are in great quantity, in just about any baked goods section of a store. Sometimes, in flavors. There was even pumpkin! 🙂 But, they’re probably best known for “bagels and lox.” With cream cheese. Lox is fillet of brined salmon, sometimes smoked.

    Our water is to be turned off, for an hour, sometime between 12 and 4. “For critical plumbing repairs.” Per usual, not a clue as to what these critical repairs, are. Inquiring minds want to know! Lew

  6. Hi Chris,
    Really glad you got all your computers issues sorted out. Impressed with your knowledge of these systems. I tried to install a new router which the instructions said would be “easy”. Well an hour and a half later I threw up my hands. Luckily the old router is still working but has been needing rebooting more and more frequently so I’m trying to be proactive. Anyway my SIL who is in IT was over and he tried for an hour as well and failed but he does think that my internet provider is blocking my new router as the original one was from the company. They want me to rent one from them which is a no go. My SIL said I’ll probably have to call them to get something switched (I forgot what it is but have it written down).

    I had 4 days out of town last week and am in Chicago next Saturday/Sunday at my aunt’s for a family ladies’ overnight celebrating Carla’s 40th birthday. I have a feeling this will take some recovery time :).

    I’ll bet that greenhouse will be pretty cozy on sunny days this winter.

    Wish you could beam Plum here for awhile to rid us of the excess chipmunks. Salve and Leo apparently aren’t interested in the job.

    Doug and I recently finished “Six Feet Under” and really enjoyed it. It was the best finale of a series that I can think of.

    I’m wondering if Steve was referring to “The Machine Stops” by E. M. Forster

    Weather is up and down between nice and very hot. We’ve been getting just barely enough precipitation but once again that looks to change – no rain for the next ten days. Glad I have all the leaf mulch from last fall.


  7. Hello Chris,

    Congratulations with your beautiful greenhouse!
    Please share more photos of your ventilation solution. It is always interesting to see the many possible ways of solving this universal problem.

    Indeed, “learned helplessness” is ubiquitous. Jakob Lund Fisker (mainly known from his low-purchase lifestyle forum) said that marketing is mainly about tricking people to purchase a product instead of learning a skill.
    He wrote about his ideal of a “renaissance man”, knowing many skills instead of buying many gadgets.
    You are one example of people who actually do something, or muck around as you say.

    I suspect that the disdain for working in “primary production”, a.k.a. actually doing something useful, will disappear in the next crunch… But we never know how values and preferences will develop. We are still in the Bread-n-CircusTM phase.

    Regarding the hyperinflation coming, I would like to share an observation from Europe. Here the central bank proved last week that they are unable to turn off the money-printing-press. They announced on 9 June that the bond-purchase-programme would be stopped, but backed off after less than a week had passed. No end to the circuitous fibbing and explanations.
    It was chilling to see that the moment had arrived when the central bankers themselves acknowledge that they have started something that they cannot stop. The press release was the least informative I have ever read:
    Do you think it is possible to say less with so many words?
    “We failed.” would be a more concise message…

    I hope you will have a bit more time before it crashes on your side.


  8. Hi Lewis,

    I’ve known about getting our excrement and urine back into the soil for over a dozen years. It’s just everyone had this kind of ‘ick factor’ to the story back then. Now that chemical fertilisers are in short supply, people have woken up to the seriousness of the situation. But I dunno, the story of fertiliser shortages will play out over the next few years and peoples health will decline in lockstep. There’s no getting around it, and I can only hope that people get on board as every drop not put back into the soil is a total waste. And interestingly, as time goes on, even the pee will contain fewer minerals. It’s a massive feedback loop that will end up in a new equilibrium of lower crop yields. I wish it were not so.

    Mate, I’m done tonight. Went to a funeral this afternoon, and yeah. Had a lovely chat with some relatives.

    The Editor was enjoying those speeds too using the Plan B connection method, but trying to run her side of the business using that. No, don’t stress I won’t explain as I’m not sure how meaningful my explanation would be, and most people don’t really know their bits from their bytes anyway.

    I think you’re right though, gamers and people streaming video and/or audio are the ones who want such speed. There was something quite satisfying with the old dial up modems and the connection sounds they made – you knew something was happening. I had to suggest that if the hip and with-it folks were subjected to dial up, there’d be a lot of whingeing. It worked fine enough.

    Yeah, it is funny you say that, but I am having some software troubles now with the back end of the website and am trying to figure it out with the support folks. A mystery. Anyway, I can report that the hardware side of things here has been resolved successfully and we’re on the air!

    A lot of the very old tech stuff can still be seen in the workings of computers, software and websites. A lot has changed, but underneath, things are sort of the same. But the constant march forward of that stuff is hard work, so that’s a good point you made.

    Ah, Sophocles the poet / playwright. Isn’t it curious how minor references to day to day activities such as games of knuckles can be seen in the old works? Had to read Euripides in High School, I believe it was Medea. I was probably a bit too young to have enjoyed the reading. Dogs have been known to seek out carpet whenever they have something horrid to do. I tell them, chew your rawhide chews on the floorboards, but do they listen? Nope.

    Which brings is to the vacuum cleaner (thanks for the word correction). Well, that is the thing, those machines are pretty simple and can be repaired, and I’ve done a few repairs on the current machine, but the damaged hose this time around is beyond my abilities, and they won’t sell it to me anyway. Best to get the thing refurbished and that will give the machine another couple of years life.

    Dame Plum is onto the rabbits, she unfortunately has become a victim of her own success and has run out of enemies. No sign of rats in or near the chicken enclosure. Oh, the rodent survivors will be plotting and scheming for sure. Where will their next move be?

    Thanks for that with the information on sulphur. Chicken poop. Got that stuff.

    Shortages are one of those really strange things which are hard to come to grips with. And I never know which item will be in short supply. I have very little exposure to the business-end of the food industry, so it’s something of a mystery how they’re coping.

    Society did make him do it! 🙂 I love that film.

    Maybe about the hops. Down here they tend to grow the vines in very cool climates, but those places sort of coincide with adequate moisture, so I don’t know enough about the plants. We’re yet to set up the climbing structure for productive vines. I want to grow a proper passionfruit plant.

    Sometimes there is a cultural cringe as to a countries own contributions to gastronomy, and I tend to ignore such things. However, the shadows of such thoughts tend to reach long over the land. And it takes some brave souls, such as those, to show the way forward. Those folks were also very accomplished chefs as well as being able to communicate the skills.

    Bagels just aren’t a thing down here, and you’d go hungry looking for one. I don’t really like bagels, the taste or the texture. When we do fill inside bread product, the result is either sandwiches or rolls. I enjoy Banh Mi rolls what with their roast pork, coleslaw, chilli and mayonnaise. Quite tasty. Bagels, just never called to me.

    Mate, did you hear about the cheese shortage for bagels over in the east of your country?

    Hopefully the water wasn’t off for four hours? I don’t how they provide such estimates because who knows what the plumbers will discover when they begin the job?

    I’m heading to bed, me done.



  9. Yo, Chris – I really need to test my soil. Maybe, this fall. I just keep chucking things into it. Seems to work. We’re supposed to have a really nice week, and 90F by Sunday. The tomatoes will love it. I wonder if I shouldn’t cover some of my soil, maybe with plastic, in winter? Just to retain more of the minerals that are washed away.

    Funerals. Something I studiously avoid. Don’t think I’ve been to one in over 50 years. I also avoid memorial services and “celebrations of life.” But, such occasions are awash in nostalgia, and sometimes you find out interesting bits. Can’t say it sounded like you had a good time, but at least, it wasn’t some spectacle. Was there food?

    I know my bits from my bites. At least on a personal level. 🙂

    Since so much is getting to be like a film running backwards (roads, electrification, etc.), I wonder if we’ll revert back to dial up. Simpler times. But your right. The stuff that underlies all this tech, is pretty old tech. The rest is just bells and whistles. Which sometimes adversely effects the underlying bedrock. And sometimes, a bit of the underlying bedrock, fails. Which is pretty much what happened to cause my temporal anomalies. Newer machines had been primed to deal with it. Older machines, not so much. I just wish when they come out with “new and improved”, they didn’t lose so many useful, older functions. As happens with our library catalog.

    Ah, Euripides. He wrote a play called “Trojan Women.” In 1971 there was a movie version, with Katharine Hepburn and a stellar supporting cast. It didn’t get much play, as it was a bit high brow. But I got to see it in a little art theatre, when I was at uni. It is tragedy, larded on tragedy. Not anything to see, if you’re on a bit of a bummer. Helen of Troy’s entrance, is unforgettable. She’s being held in a stockade, and all you see are her eyes, gliding along, looking through cracks. Its very snakelike. I later had it on VHS tape.

    Usually, when H does something horrid on the carpet, she’s hacking up a hair ball. With attendant juices. 🙂 . I scoop her up and put her on the wood floor. Cleans a lot easier.

    Our food industry seems pretty good, right now. There are spotty bits. But not too many. When there’s a problem, it’s either they can’t get ingredients, or packaging, or transport, or staff to get it checked in and on the shelf. So much to go wrong.

    A lot of food resistance, way back when, had to do with class issues. Anti-immigrant feeling. The rise of prepackaged stuff. The Beard biography was talking about a food program he did on television, back in the late 1940s. It was mostly televised just in New York City. He had to tell people, where to purchase olive oil, in out of the way corners of the city. 🙂

    Bagels. Maybe you’ve never had a good one? 🙂 Or, maybe you just don’t have a good sized Jewish community? They are Jewish in origin. So, I guess you don’t have blintzes or latkes, either? Ah, here you go …

    Their food ways are well worth exploring. There’s some good tucker to be had. And the deserts!!!

    I don’t know how long our water was off. It fell during my siesta, time. 🙂 But I put a few gallons of water, aside, just in case.

    When I went down to the Club, this morning, for biscuits and gravy, there was a LBB (Little Brown Bird), that had somehow gotten inside. Some kind of sparrow. After strapping H down (think Gulliver, in the land of the little people), because she thought it was either a lively chew toy, or doggie treat, I managed to catch it, without too much trouble. Such a fragile little thing. I released it outside, and it flew off. I will not link to the ear worm, “Born Free.” I figure just mentioning it, will send it tumbling through your head. 🙂 Lew

  10. Hi Margaret,

    🙂 I tell you, last week was very much Revenge of the Nerds overdrive 5000 edition! I got there in the end, but it would have been nice if there was no hardware failure with the new replacement gear. That’s always disappointing, but the biggest IT disappointment I’ve ever experienced was purchasing the empty box. Never thought that was possible, but it actually happened a few months ago. Got a refund, but am reluctant to go back to that particular shop and will nowonly do so in the direst of need.

    But at the end of it all, my poor head was left spinning Exorcist style. That hurt too! 🙂

    Dunno about that, the router might be preparing its final journey to where all routers eventually go. The number is the IMEI (International Mobile Equipment Identity) which is unique for your router (and all the rest of the stuff) and back in the day, the telco here used to link the SIM card and that IMEI number to your service. They had to drop that a long time ago and now all you need is the SIM card, but things might be different in your part of the world. But on a balance of probabilities, I’d probably replace the router. They do fail the way you described – not a whimper, but erratic behaviour. Some folks end up that way too.

    Happy birthday to Carla, and hope you have a lovely ladies night, and remember to keep out of trouble, this time. 😉 Hehe! Thanks for the much needed laughs. Good luck with the recovery time.

    We haven’t quite finished sealing up the greenhouse because some of the trim needs painting and it is so slow to dry at this cold time of year.

    Dame Plum would most certainly be up for the chipmunk challenge. Unfortunately, I asked her whether she’d be up for the journey, and she said something about life being too short for less than first class travel. I’m not sure what she meant by that, but it sounded expensive. Incidentally, there has been no sign of rat activity for many days now. I’ll bet they’re hungry.

    Margaret, it was a favourite series of ours, and the last three episodes, I dunno, but something must have gotten into my eye. Powerful stuff and you end up really going on an emotional roller-coaster with the characters. The final episode had a few Australian songs in it, but Sia’s song Breathe, well the kids would say: you get the feels.

    Ouch. Hope you get some rain soon. I certainly have plenty to share at this stage – and it was raining outside then when Dame Plum and I went out a rat-a-huntin!



  11. Hi Goran,

    Absolutely, I’ll put up a few photos when the aviary mesh is installed over the ventilation to the greenhouse. It’s very much a local design, because some rare summer days can reach 45’C, although at this stage the worst year will bring about 10 days over 40’C, and last year there were none. Mostly the idea came to me by observing other people’s greenhouses, and then trying to understand how my mates of the big shed fame’s shed worked so well. Most greenhouses down here are empty by mid summer when the sun is at its strongest. Most of the designs you see in use down here were lifted from the cooler northern hemisphere, and culturally I can understand how that came to be, it just doesn’t work.

    Jakob is quite correct there! 🙂 Don’t you think that it is strange that a person must be either an intellectual or a practical person? Can’t we be both?

    That’s my thinking too. Did you know that during the Great Depression in the US, that there was a movement out of the cities and back into rural areas? There is truth to the old adage that at least farming families can eat. But you make a good point, and I have no idea how culture will change in response to necessity.

    I’ve not believed the stories about putting a halt on such expansionary monetary policies. If you compare tax receipts to government expenditure, there is a substantial mismatch, and for them to stop printing money, they also have to lose power and/or increase taxes. Dunno where all this will stop.

    My experience of the previous recession of the 1990’s was that it was a slow and grinding process. It’s the little things I notice such as the sign I spotted yesterday advising people to pay their late dog and cat registrations, or face hefty fines from inspectors. Now that is a telling indicator as to where things actually are at.



  12. Hi Lewis,

    Proving I’m not on my A-game, I read your comment about soil testing to mean that you don’t see the need to test your soil. Thus proving that sometimes you are ahead, and sometimes you are behind. It’s not a bad idea to get your soil tested, and would you pick a service that made recommendations? Because there is so much soil here of varying qualities over such a large area, I wouldn’t know where to take the test sample from. It’s a more complicated problem than it seems at first glance. What would you do?

    90’F sounds really nice to me. I’ve had the wood heater going on low all day today (not throttled for oxygen, but just with less fuel in the combustion chamber). I find the machine works better that way, but you have to monitor it a bit more frequently in case you use up all the fuel and it goes out and has to be re-lit.

    Maybe about the plastic. It is worth doing the experiment to see what happens, and you might find the soil critters once protected from the rain, get the soil going faster and in spring the soil looks very crumbly and just right for planting. I’m doing just that experiment with the greenhouse, but I have no idea how it will work out.

    Your abilities to dodge such things exceed my own humble skills. And no there was no food, or even water. It was a pre-paid funeral, so I’m sure he’d carefully selected the options.

    Glad to hear, one mustn’t confuse bites for bits as that might hurt. 😉

    Nah, I’ve got a feeling that dial up won’t make an appearance. The will to put back in the copper lines and exchanges which traversed the nation, candidly, might not be there. Everything is digital these days, and going back to analogue might involve more equipment than I reckon we’ll have access too. However, simpler systems such as radio and print media have a fairly long life I’m guessing.

    I’m having a bit of trouble with underlying bedrock technology going off the rails, right now. It’s a long story, and I already geeked it up enough this week. 🙂 Well that’s the thing isn’t it? Backwards compatibility is not always that good. Having said that though, the Windows operating system is very good in that respect – credit where credit is due. It can still run older software in a compatibility mode. There is a website known as Abandonware, and some of the software is pretty good – a blast from the past, man. I’ll bet older versions of the library catalogue, might be – out there.

    Hmm, we read Medea and Other plays. The Trojan Women though did rather poorly, although Cassandra was freed of her fate, and that must have been something of a relief. Yes, I will studiously avoid the film given present circumstances – thanks for the warning. I’m not wired in such a way to be bummed out for very long. The mindset just doesn’t sit that well with me. Anyway, there is stuff to be done. The trailers for the film are very interesting, Cassandra has a kind of deer in the headlight sort of expression.

    Well, the plan is always to scoop up a dog and remove them from carpet prior to them doing something horrid – and I commend your general state of alertness. But sometimes, they’re fast, not often, just sometimes.

    I dunno, but the supermarkets seem reasonable well stocked, but expensive. I noticed a sign yesterday from a nearby local government imploring people to pay their already late dog and cat registrations or face fines and inspections. Hmm. It’s the costs you don’t see that are getting dumped. I’m also noticing more cars with unrepaired damage – always a possible sign of a lack of insurance.

    Yeah, I used to live near to a few Jewish areas and I loved the colourful cake shops. I remember this one although it may have been a different incarnation in the late 1980’s (there’s a short history): Scheherazade. The article mentioned the Europa cake shop too. It was a fascinating area as it was kind of grungy with a lot of seedy activity, but also it was full of life and not as plastic as places seem to be nowadays. Not once did I feel like I was going to end up in some sort of trouble, despite the seedier elements.

    But yeah, bagels ain’t my thing. Maybe it is the boiling of the bread? And maybe I just haven’t had a good bagel? Always possible.

    The desserts on the other hand, we’re pretty awesome, and they were fun to look at too. The shops were amazing and they used to stay open really late, and you could get a proper coffee there back in the day when they weren’t easily found anywhere. Coffee culture has come a long way over the past few decades down here, but there was always some stalwarts, usually surrounding immigrant communities.

    Good work with the gallons of water, just like the old days! 🙂 Bet, you’re glad to be done with them?



  13. Yo, Chris – I took a little demo, from the Master Gardeners, in soil testing. There are little kits, that are not too expensive. But they only test for the “big three.” More intensive testing, for trace elements, and such, you have to send it off. You dig shallow test holes, here and there. Mix the soil together, and, voila. But your place is so big. I bet you’d get different results from the high end of your orchard, vs low end. Once you get your big veg patch established, you could probably do one test for the whole patch.

    Speaking of the Master Gardeners, this Saturday they’re doing the demo on tool sharpening, again. I’ll take it in. I could use a refresher. And, one of the Master Gardeners didn’t show up, yesterday. She has “You Know What,” at her house. The local newspaper hasn’t published stats, for a couple of weeks. At least, not on-line. But the county north of us, is pretty grim. 600+ cases and 11 deaths.

    We had our solstice, yesterday. It’s all downhill, from here 🙂 . Prof. Mass has a post on our upcoming “heat” wave. He has a graph, for Seattle. Our forecast temps are 5-10 degrees warmer. They have more of a tempering ocean influence, than we do. Yesterday, it was 70+F. Will be about the same, today. This morning, it’s overcast, so quit muggy. But, the garden is loving it, and banging along.

    Funerals here usually have an “after party.” 🙂 Usually a potluck, either in the home, or, maybe a rented hall. There may be a lot of drinking, but it’s generally BYOB (Bring Your Own Booze). There are variations. Usually based on the families ethnic background or social class.

    I’d forgotten the dial up was dependent on land lines. Silly me.

    I did a paper once, on migrating library catalogues from one software platform to another. It’s fraught with peril 🙂 . Sometimes, anything that was added to the catalog, since inception, was lost. Or had to be re-entered.

    H usually gives a couple of good hacks, before regurgitating, whatever. If I move fast …

    You asked a couple of days ago, about the cream cheese shortage. We never saw it, here. But then, that grocery has it’s own dairies, down in California. And the situation might have been different, for commercial accounts. On my loyalty account, last week, they had 12 double rolls of TP for $5. Now I’m well over the 42 optimum count. But at that price, why not?

    Car insurance is mandatory, here. But, if the damage isn’t too bad, sometimes it’s better to just not make a claim, bite the bullet, and pay for the repairs, yourself. As I did when I hit the deer.

    That was a fascinating article about Scheherazade. I see your Scheherazade and raise you Rose’s. 🙂

    Over on the right side, is a box that says, “19 pictures.” Check it out. When I was in high school, it was the place to go, after catching a movie, downtown. Grandma Rose wrote a cookbook, “Grandma Rose’s Book of Sinfully Delicious Cakes, Cookies, Pies, Cheese Cakes, Cake Rolls & Pastries.” (Naftalin, 1975). Then she wrote a sequel. Both made the best seller lists. I have both.

    I see it’s closed now. But, there are still outposts. It was a great place, to go. It had a troop of crusty old waitresses, but under that crust, they had a bit of a soft spot for the high school kids. Of course, we were on our best behavior. We were obviously on budgets, and they usually slipped us a little something extra. Lew

  14. Hi Chris,

    Last week my siblings and I finally got to hold the memorial service for our mother, almost two years after she died. We spent a week together, along with most of their children, in a rental house on Siesta Key just the other side of Sarasota, Florida. Our parents are buried in a cemetery near Sarasota, which is why we had the reunion and memorial service there.

    The advantage to holding such a service this long after the death is that most of the grieving has already occurred. Thus we could appreciate our mother for who she was and for the positive influences she had on all of us. It also meant that we could fully enjoy this rare opportunity for all of us to get together at the same time.

    Siesta Key didn’t appear to be affected by economic issues, largely because rents and house prices are so high that only people who haven’t yet felt the pain of the last couple of years can be found there. The stores in the shopping area were crowded with shoppers, even though this is off season due to summer heat and humidity. I and my siblings chose to reduce our inheritance from our mother by the cost of the rental, otherwise Mike and I would never have chosen to spend time in such an expensive location.

    On the other hand, because we drove down and back on the same route that we’d traveled multiple times over the past 30+ years to see my parents, Mike and I had an opportunity to see how things had changed in the rural areas due to what I can’t discuss. Some of the stores along the route had gone out of business compared to two years ago. On the other hand, the thrift store that we went to in Alabama (because Mike discovered he’d left the suitcase with his suit for the memorial service at home) already had many customers at 9am. He found a suit and a dress shirt there that fit him.

    I’m glad you’re back online and impressed that you could do so much of the new set-up yourself. Not long before we left, I succumbed to our ISP’s prodding to sign up for fiberoptic service, which was extended to our area several months ago. It seemed to me that our previous service was getting worse – slower and sometimes iffy – as if our ISP was letting us know that if we didn’t switch, they would no longer support the previous hardware/software at some point, and we’d regret it if we didn’t take the upgrade. So we let them upgrade us (but we aren’t using the “smart” home features that the new modem is set up for as we prefer our household services to be under our control). I have to say that the internet speed is noticeably faster now. But there isn’t anything I know how to do for any of the hardware beyond making sure it’s turned on, the laptop battery is charged, and the light on the modem is on.

    We do muck around in other areas, however, like my gardening. Mike has some mechanical skills, so he can often fix things that aren’t too complex and rig up simple contraptions like our rain barrels. We can both make repairs to our clothing and cut each other’s hair. Generally I prefer to do as much as possible myself for many different reasons.

    After being away from home for almost two weeks I was pleasantly surprised to find that the garden, while quite weedy, is in reasonably good shape. I even found two cucumber seedlings had appeared – I had re-seeded the cucumbers about a week before we left, but no seedlings had appeared before leaving. Just in case, I bought some seedlings as we traveled home. I’ll plant them too in a different part of the garden. For the time being I am immersed in harvesting potato onions and general weeding. It’s hot and dry (though it was hotter while we were gone), so I will also have to water the garden until nature sees fit to take over. It might be awhile however.


  15. Chris,

    Glad you got the router fixed!

    This week has turned into a nasty week, too hectic with funerals, assisting a friend through a crisis and the rains turned into heat. Will write when I can.


  16. Hi Claire,

    It is good to hear that your family finally had a chance to attend a wake for your mother in person. Yes, virtual wakes are weird, and to be honest my old mates wake just slipped quietly off into the night.

    So true, funerals can be raw experiences. Like weddings, they can sometimes bring out the best and worst in people. Funny you mention that. On the other hand, it is possible that the future will mean that catch ups with distant friends and relatives may get more difficult.

    Hmm, as a comparison, earlier today I was in a very touristy area and candidly it looked kind of dead to me with lots of closed and empty shops. Went to the cinema, but afterwards, the place we’d decided to go for lunch was closed, presumably due to staff shortages. We had to go to a less touristy area for lunch and that seemed more or less normal (whatever that is now). Decline is happening from the edges, most people who are reasonably well to do, have not got the memo yet – as you suggest with your astute observations. Dare I say it, but events are progressing.

    A wise option with the fibre optic connection, and a good example of reading the ill winds. The cost of maintaining too many connection types increases the overall costs for the telco, so I reckon your gut feeling was how things would roll. And no worries at all, machines are pretty simple things, they attempt to dazzle with stories of complexity – it’s another dull form of capture.

    Top work with the cucumbers. 🙂 Happy days, you’re in the growing season!



  17. Hi Lewis,

    What a great example of waste not, want not. The book Rummage spoke of the Rag and Bone men, who would have looked upon those battlefields as a good source of fertiliser. And didn’t years ago we discuss something about Waterloo teeth? Those English are far more squeamish today than they once were when they pounded the daylights out of other forces in remote parts of the globe. It’s funny how the grittier sides of history get swept under the carpet and/or glossed over.

    Speaking of battle grounds, I dodged work today in order to celebrate a day that was important to me, and has been somewhat pushed back in time due to recent events, such as err, deaths. Had fun too today. And the last two years, the event was cancelled due to you-know-what and the never ending lock-downs. We went into the big smoke today to go the cinema, yes, yes, I hear you, but it was a really good film. Watched the film: Top Gun Maverick. I thoroughly recommend the film, they told a good story. And the film had an overarching theme that the older technology was still pretty good – all of the technology on your side of the story, was older. That was an interesting aspect of the film.

    That’s the thing with basic soil testing in that it only covers a few minerals. Would you consider sending off some soil samples for more detailed testing? I dunno about that because the cost here is a lot higher for testing than in your country, and the cost instead could be used to add more minerals to the soil. It’s kind of an economic problem really. That’s an astute observation as to the high end versus the low end problem with the orchard, and I also reckon the land closer to the house is more minerally rich. My thinking is that the soil in any new large garden bed takes about three years to settle down and do it’s thing. After that might be a good time for more detailed testing? Dunno.

    Read a funny line in the book Japanese Inn which I wanted to share with you: “All in all, Hanzo decided, in reviewing the incident, the dead and dying were less trouble than some guests who were very much alive.” I’m about half way through the book, and the author has hit his stride, and the recounting of the history is sometimes farcical and very amusing. I really am enjoying the direction the author is taking, the book is a pleasure to read.

    Also, I have to bow to your good self and acknowledge the simple wisdom and practicality which you’ve employed in relation to funerals. I get it. So, bare with me and indulge me a moment or two of your time. I’ve been telling people about the err, family situation, in order to get people to cut the Editor and I some slack work-wise for obvious reasons, and the responses have crossed the full gamut of the human condition. Mate, if I pondered the meanings of the responses I’ve received – some of which have been very good and supportive, others, well not so much… – I’d crack the sads with a lot of people. Deep breath, calm thyself, and wonder for a moment at how our communities social skills could have dropped to such a nadir. Unfortunately, the social skills could get worse. It wasn’t always this way, there is corruption of the soul out there. Mate, maybe I’m just a person out of other times? I dunno. Anyway, you were right, and I respect your honesty.

    Tool sharpening is always a handy skill and hope you get a lot out of the master gardeners talk and demonstration of skills. Maintenance of the stuff we have (as a society) is probably a far bigger problem than most people realise.

    It’s going around and around, and if you’re high risk from the consequences, you have to take precautions.

    Hehe! Well it’s all up-hill from here! 🙂 I’m sure there was a little bit more sunlight here today. Mate, even our news had talk of the heat dome effect. Sounds like the sort of high pressure systems which can stall over the hot centre of this continent, and just amplify and move the heat. Heat waves kill a lot of people. But 70’F, that sounds nice to me.

    I agree. Migrating any databases (which is what a library catalogue technically is) from one platform to another is a fraught task, and if stuff gets disappeared, who’s to know until the loss is discovered? And what if the functionality ends up being worse? You’d have some opinions on this matter I’m sure?

    H is clearly of a superior breeding to the dogs here who are very occasionally careless in what they digest. Is it nice of them to show me? Probably not. But yeah, move fast and have a clear escape plan.

    The reports sort of said that somehow the cheese shortage was an east coast thing, more than your part of the world. 42 is the optimal number, but more rolls of tp couldn’t hurt, could it? We’re thrill seekers and daredevils and have far less than that number. Talk about the years of living dangerously.

    Ah, vehicle insurance here is different. Hmm. You pay for injury insurance involving vehicles with the car registration fee (up around $850 from memory). But accident damage is not compulsory, which can make for fun and interesting times with the other party to any accident. And then some people have lesser insurance which covers the other party (always wise if you hit a luxury vehicle which is expensive to repair) but not your own accident damage (if say the replacement value of the vehicle is very low). It’s complicated and yeah you’re right about the deer and the economic choice as to the future policy costs.

    OK, Rose’s looks pretty good and I would definitely enjoy such a place as a regular haunt. And they have tabasco as a condiment – always a good sign. Although I must say, the chip, cheese and something else meal is probably a bit rich for my tastes. And yeah, the cakes do look like proper nanna cakes. 🙂 Yummo! Did you mean closed permanently, or outside of trading hours?

    Tell you a funny thing about that part of the world down here back in those days, it had quite the seedy side to it with hookers and junkies and what not, but I dunno maybe I was naive, but I never felt in any danger. The times I’ve been in actual danger and trouble were areas you wouldn’t expect such things to happen. Dunno what that means, but I’m sure it means something. That part of the world is very clean and touristy nowadays and I haven’t been there for decades. I tended to move away from areas which ended up getting gentrified, if only because the level of peoples expectations rose, that brings different troubles, which I didn’t much like.



  18. Yo, Chris – Next shortage up? Condiments.

    Maybe I should rush out and buy a case? 🙂 Or is it a phony shortage story? Those have happened, in the past. Manufacturers claim a shortage, to goose sales. There’s a long history … See: Illusion of scarcity.

    I’m glad you had a day off. Or, as much of a day off as you take. 🙂 Now me, last night I watched “The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent.” Well worth a bowl of popcorn. But, perhaps you need to be a Nick Cage fan, to really appreciate it. Though reviews, in general, have been good. Be warned, however. Nick Cage was asked if there was a kind of movie, he’d like to do. As he’s had such a range. He said he’d kind of like to try a musical … 🙂

    Detailed soil testing? Maybe when things settle down a bit, in our gardens. If things go according to plan, my major bed will be ripped out next year, and replaced with stock tanks.

    Hanzo has grasped a universal truth! 🙂

    Believe it or not, I never know quit what to say, in grief situations. Words fail me. Back in Ye Olde Days, you could fall back on religious platitudes, and everyone was pretty happy. “She’s in heaven with the angels.” Etc.. So, I wing it, and it never sounds quit right.

    Yesterdays muggy, overcast morning, cleared off. It hit 70F, but we had a nice onshore breeze, and the weather was about perfect. I think we’ll get a replay, today.

    The library catalog is a good example of lost, useful functions. There are new bells and whistles, that aren’t really all that useful. Our National Weather Service has mucked up the “three day history.” I think some of these changes are due to trying to make everything device friendly. Apps, and such. So, now instead of just clicking on “Three day history,” (which now leads to an incomprehensible page), I have to do a search, “Chehalis, WA., three day history.” Outside the National Weather Service site.

    While I was looking for Rose’s, I saw an article that the original restaurant closed, well before You Know What. They lost their lease. That area (NW Portland) used to be funky and arty. Cheap housing. But it gentrified.

    Back in the day (early 1970s), when I worked around Seattle’s Pioneer Square, it was pretty gritty. But, I never felt unsafe. All of us who worked down there pretty much watched out for each other. Yes, there were hookers and junkies. And lots and lots of drunks. I think those folks have gotten a lot more aggressive, than they were in the past.

    I got my flea traps, and have had them up and running for two nights. Haven’t seen much action. So I think the problem wasn’t as bad as I thought it was. But, nip it in the bud.

    I picked up two more sweet basil plants, the other day. The first two I got, didn’t do well. Talking to the nursery person, they speculated that we just had too much rain. I guess they like it a bit on the dry side. One of my zucchini is showing tiny zuccs. Green beans are really banging along. The BT has really helped the brussels sprouts. They’re doing well.

    I’m still reading the James Beard biography. The author picked up the pace, so, it’s turning out to be a good read. A bit about the rise of frozen food, was interesting. At the beginning of 1946, there were twenty-two shops in New York City, devoted entirely to frozen food. By the end of the year, there were forty.

    I ran across a line that I liked. It was talking about the illustrators of Beard’s cookbook. “Both worked in a pop medium that riffed on high culture.” Think Disney’s “Fantasia” or “Peter and the Wolf.” Not a princess to be seen 🙂 . I just liked the turn of phrase.

    The chatter over here, is over the new Barbie movie. Say it ain’t so, Ryan! Ryan Gosling plays Ken. 🙂 Lew

  19. Hi Lewis,

    Yeah, it is hard to get a handle on which products are in short supply and depending upon supply lines, it can be equally difficult to know which stores will be short on what. The article was alarming, but it kind of also suggests that the west has been rather foolish in cutting off its nose to spite its face. Brassica species of plants, which mustard seeds are derived from are really affected by hot spells. The plants run to seed early in those conditions and haven’t had enough chance to store the suns energy and produce bulk seeds. Mind you, that family of plants has been seriously in-bred so many varieties are not as tough as you’d imagine. The varieties I grow here are akin to weeds, and those ones are good to have around, the other varieties, well I dunno.

    As an interesting side note about US varieties of mustard, I must say that I prefer the hot English mustard which will blow your mind – and clear the sinuses. Why that lot produce such a hot mustard sauce variety is something I haven’t gotten my head around. I heard a story long ago about the heat from that sauce arising out of spices and meat from and in India, but it sounded like a tall story to me. French mustard by comparison is also very mild and similar to the US variety. 🙂 Dijon mustard is a thing of beauty though, so good on chips or in a burger.

    Thanks for the marketing term, and I was aware of the concept, but not the name of it. Makes sense, drive sales through fear. It could work well, for a bit.

    Hehe! Rest assured that yesterday no work was done. Today was another story and I worked from sun up until sun down. The Editor headed into the big smoke and so I caught up on some work which had been weighing heavily upon my soul. It is a curse to be fundamentally conscientious, and of course there is my little saying about: Blessed are the competent, for they are busy! 🙂 Brings a smile to my face.

    Don’t worry too much, I had to go to the post office today for work, so stopped a while and enjoyed a coffee and Banh Mi roll, so tasty. The days work was done at a reasonable pace. Dunno about you, but very occasionally when the need arises I can dig deep into an energy reserve and pump through the work, but the need must be urgent as the cost for that is great.

    Over a very late lunch I continued reading Japanese Inn, and the author certainly leaves no stone unturned. I quite enjoy the characterisation of the long suffering, but astute and very aware head of the Inn who in reality seems to be doing fine, Hanzo. I can relate to the character and his tribulations. I’m thoroughly enjoying the book. Indeed the Inn Keeper has grasped a universal truth!

    A Nick Cage musical? Well, you know my opinion in this matter. 🙂 On the other hand, it might be quite good and until the work of art is complete, we won’t know. He may indeed be onto a new career with this choice?

    Ah, I thought that all of your beds had been replaced with the stock tanks – an excellent retaining wall too if I may be bold enough to say so. How are you finding the stock tanks and are they holding up to the day to day demands put upon them?

    When uncertain, a guide can be taken from the most excellent series: Six Feet Under. Those folks could say the magic words: “I’m so sorry for your loss”, and sound sincere. My general experience over the past couple of weeks (and previous experience) is that I don’t believe those words when I hear them, but the words should be said all the same so as to smooth the social waters – but always remember that sharks also patrol those waters. What has surprised me over the past few weeks is that the ordinary social protocols have somewhat disappeared, and I have a vague idea as to where they’ve gone. Awful, but oh well, what shall be, shall be. Anyway, it is far more their problem than mine.

    Your weather sounds perfect to me too. More rain overnight but today was kind of still and sort of sunny. Not bad for only a few days after the winter solstice.

    There are times that I get the distinct impression that your weather service is a bit light on for mad cash funding.

    Oh my gawd! That is a business nightmare. Commercial leases are generally for a set period of time, with provision for extensions, and after they all run out, it’s a month to month proposition. Always exciting, and loyalty is often not rewarded from what I have seen. Mind you, there are some aspects of the business world where loyalty is not rewarded at all, in fact it can be penalised. And insurance springs to mind in that regard. Makes no sense to me, because the customers you already have, are generally cheaper to retain than the newer customers. I can see how the situation came to be, but at some point you’d imagine someone would wake up and go: this ain’t right. But then again, I probably expect too much on that front. But yeah, that’s the downside of gentrification and I’ve seen it play out and didn’t much like it.

    I’ve wondered about the increased aggression thing too. Dunno about your perspective, but it may also be a factor of our age, like we were oblivious of the risk when younger, or being younger we could have been more trouble than we are today? But I believe that the culture of expectation feeds into the aggression too as it can breed a sense of being wrongly done by. You don’t really want to encounter that belief from an angry person.

    We used to go for dinner to a place in that area known as Greasy Joes, and it was a fun, but rough place, the sort where the toilet is locked and you have to ask the grumpy looking guy on the grill for the key, and it wouldn’t always be forthcoming. But the burgers were superb, the chips were large and provided with Dijon mustard, and the ambience, well the name… Oh no, the place has been resurrected, but looks a lot cleaner these days. That’s gentrification for you.

    There is a school of thought which suggests that just like discovering no rats, discovering no fleas in the trap is a good thing? 🙂

    Yes, sweet basil likes the warmer and drier conditions, but dunno about your part of the world, they tend to do well with a bit of shade, so I often plant them in amongst the asparagus spears and fronds. None grew here last year. Zucch’s and beans are great crops. What variety of beans did you plant?

    By frozen food, where you referring to frozen dinners, or frozen raw materials? We don’t tend to use the freezer much. It is used for storing yeast and frozen peas (because I cannot taste the difference when cooked), bread crumbs (from loaves we’ve baked) and some puff pastry. I’ve had friends who didn’t quite understand what the various products in our fridge and cupboards were. That does not reflect well upon them.

    It’s a nice turn of phrase and it shows how good the chefs were to be able to walk in both worlds at once, and also communicate what they’d learned on their journeys.

    Mate, the very amusing Amy Schumer was originally going to be in a Barbie film. Yeah, I believe there was a bit of trolling about that. Well, someone has to do the role, and the money might be good? He’s a good actor, and yeah, The Big Short. 🙂



  20. Hello Chris
    Son was driving out yesterday when he encountered his young boar on the road. Fortunately his animals love him, so he was able to walk it home. He had to place it with the 2 sows who will probably attack it. He doesn’t have time to repair the area from which it escaped so will slaughter it tomorrow. An activity which normally occurs in the winter. Flies will be a terrible problem. We will have the liver to eat and the rest will simply be cut up enough to be frozen until Son has spare time. Apart from earning a living elsewhere, Son is embarking on goats and is preparing a home for them. Spare time is non-existent for him.


  21. Yo, Chris – Nothing beats Coleman’s English mustard, for a real sinus clearer. 🙂 It’s pretty easy to get, here. And, I don’t think they’ve mucked around with it, for “American Taste.” There are Chinese mustards, that are pretty zingy. But I suspect, a lot of Chinese restaurants use Coleman’s, with the addition of maybe something like sesame oil, just to give it a slightly different flavor. You’re right. Some of the French mustards are quit nice. We also have a lot of horseradish / mustards. And “brown” mustards that are pretty zingy.
    As one grows older, the taste buds surrender, and one might like sharper flavors. If the stomach can take it.

    I wonder if I still have a copy of “Japanese Inn,” kicking around? I doubt the library has it. It’s pretty old. Their culture is just sooo interesting.

    They replaced about half the Inmate’s beds, this year. They’ll do the rest, next year, money allowing. Half comes from the Master Gardeners, half from The Institution. Early days, as far as the stock tanks holding up. I think they’ll do well. But I’m still undecided on the aesthetics. I planted Kentucky Wonder, green pole beans. They’re a heirloom breed. This is the third generation of saved seed.

    Looks like the temperature is going to be pushing 80F, today. As long as the breeze keeps up, it’s tolerable.

    Leases. Hard for the lessee to cancel. Easy for the lessor.

    I think in Ye Olde Days, people, even street people had a bit more of a sense of … propriety and manners. More people were raised with it. I think, also, more people had a religious upbringing. Whatever flavor. Also, and I haven’t quit worked out how it applies, people had more of a sense of shame.

    Whole dinners came pretty early on the scene, in frozen food. A turkey dinner was one of the first. But, if by raw materials you mean bags of frozen peas, etc.., yes. Fish sticks (fingers). Then some bright lad invented the TV tray. A folding mini table that you could plop down in front of the telly. There were pictures of the then current president and wife, in front of the TV with their TV trays and frozen dinners.

    I started reading the autobiography of Judith Jones, last night. Picked it up at a used book sale, who knows how long ago. She was the editor for James Beard, Julia Child, and a lot of other cookbook authors. Before that, she had discovered “The Diary of Anne Frank” in a slush pile. A slush pile, when it comes to publishing, is a usually unsolicited manuscript, that pile up in publishers offices. See also: “thrown over the transom.” 🙂

    Well, we got a food box, this morning. It’s always the more interesting one. A very sad looking whole pineapple (what?), a pound of frozen beef, a tiny packet of frozen corn, a tiny blueberry desert, eggs, a loaf of French bread, a bag of brown rice, a package of spaghetti, bag of lentils, jar of organic peanut butter, a sack of granola bars, a bag each of raisins and dried prunes, a small packet of goat’s cheese, a box of cereal, a box of mac and cheese and a packet of shelf stable black beans with spices. From the tinned department: green beans, vegetable soup, diced tomatoes, spaghetti sauce, mixed fruit, cherries, carrots, corn and tuna. All in one box :-). Lew

  22. Hi Inge,

    Your son was lucky that the boar was not hit by a thoughtless road user, but on the other hand the boar perhaps understood that he’d over stepped the mark. And your son is spot on with his relationships with the animals so that only the curious (the boar) or the wilful (Flynn) stray too far from home.

    We have minimal fencing here so the dogs have to self limit their activities, and they know the boundaries. Interestingly, years ago it was the now departed Sir Poopy, who taught me to take him on boundary patrol walks, and after having been well trained by that dog, I now train the other dogs relentlessly with this limit. Sometimes the training is several times per day, and they return here and I reward them. The dogs seem to enjoy knowing where their boundaries are.

    Hope the young boar provides some tasty meat, but that’s sometimes life on the land – there is always much that needs doing, time and resources are unfortunately limited.

    Yes, house flies and horse flies are a nuisance here too during the summer months, but a boar carcass would be like a magnet to those critters.

    Last I checked, most people have to work, one way or another. 🙂 Goats are a good option, and there are times I’m tempted by a dairy goat. My mates of the big shed fame have goats and fresh the milk is quite good. Hope your son is prepared for just how intelligent goats are?



  23. Hi Lewis,

    Ah, the Jolly Roger! What can I say, I am but a poor child of marketing and would definitely opt for the familiar skull and cross bones on the black flag. 🙂 Which flag would you choose for the good pyrate (!) ship Lewisistan? Tell ya what, Mary Read and Anne Bonny were not to be trifled with – alas for the drunken crew.

    Yeah, that’s the sinus clearing stuff: Coleman’s English mustard. You’d think that it would be all soft and easy going, like a gentle summers day with a view across green rolling English meadows. But no, the stuff is like having a no-rules cage fight up your nose where the mustard might just win that round. Makes your eyes water, and it’s always a rookie mistake to apply too much of that stuff. But so much fun to survive! I have a hunch that horseradish root plays a role in the ingredients. What’s your guess in that regard?

    Well that is the thing isn’t it? The spirit may be willing, the mouth takes the punishment, but the stomach may be the weak link. Had that with some super hot chilli a week or two back, and oh boy, did I regret eating that stuff.

    True words about the taste buds, alas they disappear with time. Probably fell behind the couch?

    Travellers Inn shows a very interesting and complicated history, and the Tokugawa’s appear to have taken their perquisites to an extreme. And the society seemed to function.

    I had not understood that, but it’s not a bad idea to change over the older garden beds slowly to the stock tanks so that lessons can be learned. The rate at which the soil compacts and slumps in a raised bed can be an alarming experience.

    Just headed out in the dark and rain to check on rat activity near to the chickens. After the most recent modifications, the rats appear to have been momentarily thwarted (for now). In the end it worked out to be about fifteen different occasions where modifications were made. It really is getting very hard for the rats, but I suspect they’ll be plotting and scheming. A fox dug up a rabbit burrow last night and made quite the mess. I’d seen the fox very late last night and it scurried away from me, but the enemy of my enemy is in this case, my friend.

    It was 60’F in the big smoke today. Your weather really does sound nice to me.

    All true, and ordinarily down here a director is required to provide a personal guarantee for the full amount of the lease – all of it. It’s a harsh requirement from my perspective, and many a house has been lost over such signatures.

    That sort of matches my experience too, but I have a hunch that eventually society will have to return to some sort of new normal which includes social niceties. At the moment, social obligations are paid for with money, and eventually social obligations will be the currency.

    I much prefer meals at table, but then my quiet enjoyment during those moments are books. A lot of reading gets done whilst eating here. 🙂 But from memory, we were took broke for frozen meals and instead meals were cooked from scratch. Funnily enough, there is a lot of talk in the media about meal preparation with the budget in mind.

    Isn’t it odd how some people can have an out-sized contribution to a field of endeavour like Judith Jones did? What a find that manuscript would have been.

    Yes, truth to tell, it has been many years since I’ve purchased pineapple. They were always over ripe, or under ripe with no in-between. I gave up on that fruit, so your description ‘sad’ makes a lot of sense to me. It is the more interesting box, looks like a good score to me. 🙂 It’s surprising they could squoosh all that lot in!



  24. Hi Lewis (forgot to mention),

    You may not notice, but I’ve done a few upgrades to the website including adding in better feeds from other blogs on the left hand side of the screen. The old bit of software was err, old and about to give up the ghost.



  25. Hello Chris
    Your improved info. on the side of your blog, is superb.
    Son has had goats before so understands them, we hope.


  26. @Inge
    I loved raising goats. Would never had considered them if my youngest daughter hadn’t picked them for her 4H project at age 8.


  27. Hi Chris,
    In breaking news Doug has the unmentionable which means that I’ll most likely be next within a few days. However this means that I miss Carla’s 40th birthday celebration and ladies overnight tonight. My aunt does not feel comfortable with me coming as I could have it and expose her. I’m looking at the good side though. I won’t have a hangover tomorrow from too much Prosecco, won’t have found an additional two pounds, will get a much better night’s sleep and tomorrow looks to be a lovely day to catch up on my outside work. Added bonus it’s raining today!!

    Like the updated blog roll.


  28. Yo, Chris – It was 77F (25C), yesterday. Forecast is for 87F, today. The garden is loving it.

    I think I’ll stick with the good old, traditional, skull and crossbones. When the bill (the law) comes due, might be better not to be so readily identified 🙂

    A glance in the rabbit hole reveals that Coleman’s mustard has no horseradish in it. The heat is derived from a mix of different kinds of mustard seed.

    So far, I haven’t had much trouble keeping the soil levels topped up, in my raised beds. What with all the kitchen scraps and other organic materials I add to the beds. But I keep an eye on it. It is amazing how they sink, just over a single season.

    I suppose the fox wouldn’t turn down a nice rat meal?

    While eating, I’m usually watching a screen either reading the news or watching a DVD. I really don’t have a dedicated space for just sitting down and eating (and reading). Reading is for my comfy chair / recliner. Usually, with the dog on my lap.

    LOL. Speaking of Dog, she woke me up at 3am, making weird noises in her sleep. Must have been having some dream. She’s really good about sleeping. Never wakes me up, nagging for one thing or another. I was moving fast, this morning. I was on the computer, she was on the bed, when she started making those barfing noises. I got her on the wood floor, and she upped a frothy bile. She kept wheezing and moving onto the carpets, and I kept moving her back on the wood floor. But, after the initial go-around, that was it.

    Judith Jones headed for Paris, when she was fairly young. Loved the food. But when she got into publishing, that wasn’t really her “area of expertise.” Even though she had a real personal interest in good food. But, it turned out she had a real knack for it. And, dealing with the sometimes ego-driven and prickly authors. 🙂

    She has some really interesting observations about food, in general, and the arc of American food tastes. Or, lack thereof. 🙂 Can a palette be developed, or do you need a pre disposition to having an appreciation for food? Is there a taste memory? She found the best food authors were the ones who were amateurs, trying to recapture food memory. The celebrity (maybe) came later.

    I gave the pineapple, to one of the other Inmates. Who was thrilled to get it. I keep a few tins of pineapple, in the pantry. But don’t use it too often. Maybe in some sweet and sour Asian dish. Or, on pizza. I’ve never cared for pineapple in deserts. Pineapple upside down cake, gives me the shudders.

    LOL. I confess I don’t pay much attention to the sidebar. I’m usually caught up in the meat of this thing. I should explore more, and have, on occasion.

    One of the Master Gardeners is coming, this morning, to do a demo on tool sharpening. I might learn something.

    I had some of that goat cheese, last night. From northern California, and claims to have French Province herbs, in it. Nice, mild, spreadable. I slapped some on that “French” bread we got, and called it dinner. Lew

  29. Hi Inge,

    Thanks, and the impetus for change came via an issue with Simon’s blog (for a dissenting opinion). Simon is a good guy and a very deep thinker on the issues which plague our society. Your feedback is much appreciated, and I too prefer the results from this new bit of software. In fact, the old page with website updates was deleted as it became superfluous.

    Bizarrely, the older version of the software had been abandoned, and I had to chuck a few dollars to the new software provider, but between you and I, it was less than a main meal at a restaurant, so no big deal. Mind you, what with inflation being as it is, I have noticed at the street level that prices for meals have gone upwards. I do wonder at what point people will simply stop heading outwards for meals? I have heard of AU$50 meals becoming the norm, but have not encountered that particular beastie yet.

    🙂 Two words in regards to the goats: Good luck! A much more sensible creature than dairy cows due to the wide variety of diet they can consume, but the side benefit is an interesting personality. Your son will be fine, maybe. 😉



  30. Hi Margaret,

    Sorry to hear about Doug’s err, condition. And I do hope that he pulls through just fine. My gut feeling suggests that this will be the case, but you never really know until it’s over. Fingers crossed and positive energy sent to you and Doug.

    Really? Things are different down here, and I have encountered quite a number of people who’s partners have had you-know-what, and as long as they were not exhibiting symptoms and tested negative they were out and about in the community.

    Hope Carla is understanding with you, and you weren’t required to give too much in the way of care-giving to Doug? I have an odd vision of you enjoying some movies whilst Doug slept it off, but you only know what took place.

    Taken to an extreme perspective, the night might have ended up like the film: The Hangover? So much fun that film, and who could forget ol’ Zac being shot twice in the head by the kids with the stun gun? Makes a hangover from Prosecco look mild by comparison.

    As a funny side story. Years ago I went to a mates Bucks night and he’d rented a house in a rural destination not all that far from here. A huge group of mates showed up and slept over. Now I knew my mate snored like a feral punk band rock concert, and so I took a tent and slept outside in the peace and quiet. Woke up early the next morning and it was 37’F, being winter and all. Walked to a nearby, you’d call it a diner (which I knew), for breakfast and enjoyed a leisurely breakfast and large coffee (much needed after the previous night). Walked back again, and to my utter surprise, the house had been cleaned up and everyone had headed home. The lesson of the story: Breakfast and a large coffee were worth it. 😉

    Hope Doug is feeling better.



  31. Hi Lewis,

    Not suggesting that I’m envious of your weather conditions, but yeah, they do sound rather appealing. 🙂 I’m sure it got past 45’F here today, maybe… Worked on the greenhouse, so when the rain hit we were out of the wind and rain. All very pleasant, if but cold. Even the dogs retreated into the greenhouse when the rain fell, but I did note that they were sampling the chicken manure. Dogs…

    Oh no! Mate, that’s a massive hole in the pirate flag lifestyle. Thanks for the warning. Only those who fly such a flag should be prepared for reprisals.

    I defer to your knowledge in relation to making mustard sauce. We grow red mustard and green mustard, and the leaves from those plants have a similar effect to horseradish. I assume that the plants require sulphur in order to perform that trick, so we put a bit of gypsum today (along with other compounds and organic matter) into the new raised garden beds in the greenhouse. They are all done and constructed now, but I still need another 0.65 cubic yards of compost to top them up. I’ll have some photos up tomorrow.

    It is amazing how the soil in the raised beds falls over time. An instructive experience for believers in perpetual motion machines. Adding in your kitchen scraps is a good idea.

    The foxes so far have not turned down any rat meals. When Dame Plum and I score a rat, the body is chucked into the orchard and it always disappears before the next morning. The conclusion from this is that if I drop my vigilance for but a moment…

    H enjoys a luxurious pedestal from which to enjoy book time. I did say that she is of a long lineage of dogs. I noticed that the worlds ugliest dog competition has only just been held and ‘Mr Happy Face’ won.

    Dogs dream for sure, and I tend to wake them up when they’re having a bad dream. They do seem to appreciate that act, and always have a stunned mullet kind of face. Incidentally, it is the alpha dog who sets the wake up time for the pack (of which H is a part of). So yeah, dogs sleep just fine and deeply, if they recognise you as the alpha, which from our conversations I reckon H does.

    Ook! Artists and ego’s, please spare us all! 🙂 Her work does not appear to have negatively impacted upon her life span, so she may have had a gift for dealing with very difficult people?

    What a series of questions to which I have no idea as to the answers. Sorry, I have to dodge you here. What I have noted was that the potty mouthed chef, whom we’ve discussed in the past, was first put to work making ‘Club Sandwiches’ for about three years, before he was allowed to do anything else in the kitchen. Hmm, race horses do need to be broken in. But then thing is, when I train people I tend to show them the wall, but then hone in on some random detail of the wall in order to get them to notice the complexity, but also consistency in the wall. If it could be any other way…

    Glad your inmate appreciated the fresh pineapple, but if it were any good… You converted the dodgy pineapple into social currency – respect. Well, you learn something new every day. If you’d left me alone for a hundred years to ponder a new cake variety, I would not have come up with a pineapple upside down cake. There may be a reason for that. 😉

    Best not overlook the quality of the meat, by being fooled by a good gravy. Not sure what that means, but it was what came to mind. When I was a kid, gravy was something that was reconstituted from a packet. Gravox was the product.

    How did the tool sharpening demo go? Always good to know how to maintain tools.

    Sounds like a tasty dinner. We’re doing sliders tonight. French lentil patties, with a focaccia bun (I mixed up earlier) and fried egg. It’s a fun meal.



  32. Yo, Chris – It got to 88F (31.1C), yesterday. I had the AC running, all afternoon and into the evening. It’s supposed to get up to 93F (33.9C), today. But I see rain off the coast, on the radar. Huge green glob. The weather is supposed to start cooling off, tomorrow. When I took H out, this morning, I noticed: no wind. We’ll bake, today.

    Next planting season, I’ll have to look into mustards, in the seed catalogues.

    I guess I’m H’s alpha 🙂 . She gets her bath, this afternoon. And she’ll like it!

    Judith Jones was pretty good at handling “difficult” customers. She wasn’t afraid to say, “Well, then …” And head for the door. Back in those days, big publishing companies were owned by real people. Not international conglomerates, where things are decided by committee.

    It’s interesting that she developed such a love of food. She was raised in one of those families, where you didn’t even mention if a meal was particularly good. How declasse! And not a hint of garlic. But, France awakened her love of food, and she had a husband who also cooked, and was just as adventuresome as she was. They eventually bought a place in the hills of Vermont, as a summer place. And had quit the garden going. Plus foraging. Swapping with neighbors for such things as maple syrup. They both had family, in the area.

    I remember those gravy packets. Although Mom could make a good pan gravy, sometimes the little packets were used. I cheat. Flour and juice go into a small bottle that I shake vigorously, to avoid lumps. 🙂 Ms. Jones observed that men tend to cook faster. Higher heat, etc..

    The tool demo, went well. A pretty good turnout. Probably 15 people, or so. But I really wonder how many will go home and give it a whirl? Besides garden tools, he also covered kitchen knives and scissors.

    I kept it pretty simple, for dinner, last night. I had a can of turkey meat. Brown rice, frozen peas, a handful of parsley, from the garden. Dried shiitake mushrooms. Garlic. A bit of Swiss cheese, on top.

    H and I are headed to the Club, this morning. Before it gets too warm. Lew

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