The forgotten centre

The gas bill arrived in the email in-box a few days ago. Ten years ago a 45kg / 100 pound gas bottle cost $85 to get delivered here. The bill in the email in-box this time around was $234 for the delivery of one gas bottle and quarterly rental for two gas bottles. Originally there was no quarterly rental fee, the presumption being that you owned the bottle. A bit of quick maths suggests a year on year increase of 12%. And serious people, with serious faces, earnestly pronounce that inflation is only 5%.

Bill shock. Ouch, that hurt!

Fortunately we use very little gas. We only use it for heating water on days when the sun doesn’t shine (solar hot water) and it’s too warm to run the wood heater (wood fired hot water). Plus we use the gas oven at this time of year when the cloudy winter skies produce no solar derived electricity. It’s always our preference to use the electric oven.

This is winter for ya!

The above photo was taken a few days ago, and the solar photovoltaic panels recorded 21 minutes of peak solar energy for the day. An impressive achievement given the pea-soup like conditions. We ran the gas oven that day to bake a loaf of bread.

Many years ago we had a wood heater/oven. We destroyed that machine through carelessness. Over firing (running the machine too hot) – tick. Damp firewood – tick. Assuming that steel was stronger than it is – tick. Not comprehending the consequences for misuse of the controls – tick. You name it, we did it! And the wood heater came to an early end. Like some relationships, it made a good first wood heater.

The old wood heater is not missed. As a machine it was designed to perform multiple functions, and did none of them well. Perhaps one good thing can be said about it, the wood oven was handy. You could chuck a tray of biscuits in the wood oven, leave the oven door slightly ajar, come back three hours later to discover the most perfectly baked biscuits. You just couldn’t be in a hurry when baking, the machine operated at its own slow pace.

We’re far more careful with the replacement wood heater. The extraordinary expenditure required to replace the former wood heater meant that no other outcome would be tolerated. The replacement machine is working really well, and more importantly, going the distance.

It would be a fair comment to suggest that with the original machine, we shouldn’t have been let anywhere near a wood heater! From hindsight, we had no idea whatsoever, and paid the price of our ignorance. Wisdom in this instance, came with a hefty price tag. Books were read on all aspects of the subject. The entire processes surrounding firewood were changed utterly. And we now use the wood heater with the care and attention it demands.

Up on the roof earlier today cleaning out the wood heater flue

Earlier today we replaced the two steel baffle plates in the wood heater. The combustion chamber was cleaned of ash, the original glass and rope was cleaned. A quick climb up onto the roof had the flue cleaned. The machine is running beautifully! The two original baffles were still usable, but showing signs of wear – after all, that is their purpose. We’ve kept those worn parts as emergency spare parts.

A replacement upper front baffle was installed

The photo above shows the inside of the combustion chamber where the upper front baffle has been replaced, whilst the lower baffle plate was yet to be replaced. Several thick stainless steel sleeves were placed over the pins which hang down and support the weight of the half inch thick lower baffle plate. The sleeves are there to help protect the pins from unnecessary wear and tear. It works.

Long term readers will recall that about this time last year a huge wind storm swept across this area. Six huge trees were toppled by the winds on the property. Turns out other nearby areas fared far worse. On Friday we visited an area about 40 minutes to the west of here. That area got hammered by the wind storm.

Near to the Lyonville springs

It’s a bit of a mess. Whole trees were toppled and based on observations of the epicormic shoots, the young trees which survived, were stripped of many of their leaves and branches during the storm.

What a mess

What’s obvious to a few, is that all of those fallen trees and branches will be slowly drying and seasoning (losing their sugars). By next summer, the drying process will be further progressed. And if a fire was to sweep through the area, there would be so much dry hardwood fuel on the ground, that the fire will be very hot indeed, and most likely kill everything in it’s path – even getting hot enough to sterilise the soil. Not good.

And that’s when the story gets strange. The local indigenous mob and the government forestry company have teamed up to begin slowly cleaning up the mess. Of course as part of the process, they’re harvesting whatever timber can be harvested. It is neither a cheap, nor easy activity. Except that it’s strange because people are protesting against the clean up. I’m sure the protesters have their reasons, but when I think back to what I thought I knew about the former wood heater we destroyed, turns out a person can be very wrong. We paid a high price for our ignorance. You can only hope that the forest and all the critters living in it, don’t pay the high price of ignorance.

Wombat Forest salvage logging continues after Game Management Authority removes protesters

Another recent outing (which I neglected to mention last week) ended up at an old Victorian era boat house on the Yarra River. The place serves a pleasant Devonshire tea. It is hard to believe that such a bucolic scene is only a few kilometres from the Melbourne CBD.

The Fairfield Park boathouse

The greenhouse project was finished this week. All of the plywood trim was installed. Latches for the doors were added. The raised beds were filled with soil. The paths were lined with crushed rock with lime. One bed was planted out to strawberries, the other bed comprised a permanent planting of: two types of ginger; two tea camellia’s; aloe vera; and a babaco. Greenhouse project – done!

The doors to the greenhouse can now be latched. Ruby looks oppressed!
Inside the greenhouse looking towards the large shed
Inside the greenhouse looking towards the large solar panel array

The remaining garden bed adjacent to the glass windows (facing the northern sun) will be used to grow chilli’s and eggplants during the summer months. The racking in the middle of the windows will be used to raise seedlings.

Eventually there will be a garden tap and hose as well as some low voltage lighting installed, but that is a job for another time.

The kiwi fruit vines produced an astounding harvest this year. About two thirds of the fruit was used to produce a very tasty jam. That worked out to be about 28 glass bottles. To my palate, the jam has the consistency of fig jam with a similar taste, but is sweeter.

Kiwi fruit jam. Yum!

Despite being just on the other side of the winter solstice, there is still produce to be had:

There are a few Meyer lemons on this tree which is recovering from illness
Plenty of tasty Mandarins
Globe artichokes are real givers and produce these tasty chokes
No shortage of Kale here

Onto the flowers:

The intriguing flowers of the Silver Banksia
The many varieties of Geranium are subdued during winter, but even so…
This Succulent is just about ready to produce some flowers

The temperature outside now at about 10.00am is 5’C (41’F). So far this year there has been 519.4mm (20.4 inches) which is up from last weeks total of 516.0mm (20.3 inches)

47 thoughts on “The forgotten centre”

  1. Yo, Chris – That is a horrible increase in your gas bill. The place I lived before, had a propane tank. Only needed topping up, about once a year. I wonder what it’s running, these days? Maybe I don’t want to know.

    “This is winter …” The phrase, “socked in”, comes to mind.

    OK. Now that the greenhouse is out of the way (and, a lovely greenhouse it is, too), I think it’s time to think about a summer kitchen (as a spring house is out of the question … given you have no spring.) Root cellar, however … But I digress. You need some kind of wood fired oven. A quick look down the rabbit hole, for “wood ovens” just yielded lots (and lots) of pizza ovens. But a search for “cast iron stove / oven” was a lot more fruitful. Especially, the images. I’m sure you’ll see something there, to lust after. 🙂

    That forest … “mess” is right. Those protestors need to go back to Melbourne. I wonder if any of them has taken even one class in “Forest Management.” The logging folk seem to be going above and beyond. Heck, I chuckled when I saw they’re even looking out for some endangered daisies.

    The boat house / tea room is really pretty. Not the one I remember seeing. Can you rent those little boats?

    You can use some of that Aloe Vera, on your burnt fingers. What? No Turmerick?

    Well, one thing one can say about Fern Glade Farm is that even in the middle of winter, you’ve really got a lot of bounty. The kiwi jam looks very tasty, and ought to hold you for awhile.

    The Banksia looks handy for cleaning out bottles. I’m amazed at the never ending variety of geraniums. The wild geraniums I was letting grow, were in a bed someone else took over. They were rather scorched earth, about clearing it out. The ornamental sunflowers went, too. But, I see there are some wild geraniums growing in another part of the property.

    I hacked away at the grape vines, this afternoon. Got rid of all the runners, but kept anything that had grape clusters, developing. I also weeded out all the lemon balm, which were crowding the grapes. One of the rhododendron hedges, is next to the grapes. I cleaned out all the volunteer oak, walnut and holly. Watered, as rain has yet to appear. No matter what the forecast or threatening sky says. I also pulled up the errant brussels sprout plant, that bolted. Oh, well. That will leave room for something else. Lew

  2. Hi Lewis,

    The mystery of the disappearing ATM. Has a kind of nice ring to it don’t you reckon? 🙂 Far out, what a disaster. At least your credit union has tellers you can interact with. Imagine a bank that was run entirely by AI and robot branches. I’m sorry Lewis, I’m afraid I can’t allow that withdrawal. I’ll bet someone, somewhere is trialling a virtual bank. It would be OK as long as nothing went wrong…

    No way, seriously? Drive through funeral parlour. I’m very uncomfortable with the notion. But now I think about it a bit, people could listen to the service and eulogy on their car radios? Dude, that’s perhaps a step too far in terms of weirdness for me personally. Are you pulling my leg with that concept? … … Holy carp, you weren’t joking. My favourite quote is this one: “similar to what you would do when you order a Big Mac” My brain is spinning out of control, but if people are happy with the outcome it is no business of mine.

    That’s a good point about the British and your current celebrations. Hmm. It is possible that the kick up the pants you lot served them, focused their minds and reinvigorated the dynamism of that Empire. An alternative perspective was that they may have quietly faded away as all Empires do due to escalating costs, but the hiding you lot gave them changed the course of things – for a while.

    Yeah, you can rent the boats, and they serve oven fresh scones. My memory recalls that the jam was better back in the day, but no matter, the scones were good and the coffee was fine. Way back in the day I used to enjoy the hot chocolate option, but you know, it was rich for my tastes, and well, glad there was a toilet. A bit embarrassing really, but the challenge – it was worth it. Not quite as special as climbing Everest, but oh well the challenge was there all the same. It is such a beautiful place, and there has been so much change over the past few decades it was a pleasure to enjoy a place where time had stood still. Hey, no doubts the place drew heavily upon English heritage. Even the many signs in the place were delightfully hand painted in ye-olde fonts, but it was appropriate enough to avoid being a disneyfied affront.

    Appreciate the suggestion about obtaining spare baffles, and that is the plan. Getting spare parts for that wood heating machine has already been a real pain, and we’ll get in early and go hard. It may work out, maybe. 🙂

    That country is a mess. The debt. Mate, the debt. Oh yeah, the debt. The parting of the uro folks will hurt, for them. How could it be otherwise? Why they expect it to end differently is something of a mystery to me. Their history suggests military competency was the way forward for such a resource poor area, but if they ignore the lessons of history, it is no business of mine. And yeast it need be said, is easily transportable.

    I can’t recall the exact station the inn was stationed at. My brain can’t recall such details, sorry to say. The chapter finished over lunch today discussed how strong men filled the role of the leaders after the Shogunate fell and the Emperor regained power – and all the while the barbarians (i.e. your lot and my lot) were pounding away at the gates. The book suggests that the inn was and is very much real.

    Hope your stop at the Club was pleasant and enjoyable.

    The problem with compounding increases is that the problems compound, and then you’re left with a monster bill that eventually nobody can pay. 🙂 An overly lengthy explanation perhaps? The increase in the annual insurance bills troubles me more, if only because a 20% increase is somewhat more than 12%. Frightening stuff. Truth to tell, we use only one or maybe two gas tanks per year. But even so, I’m dreaming of wood ovens. Mate, you called it: Do you really want to know?

    Socked in, experienced that, no good for solar power. And incidentally it wasn’t just the mountain range, the thick cloud covered the entire area.

    A spring would be nice. Probably too much to ask for. I bought the book on root cellars that someone here mentioned (I now forget whom it was – that’s what too many sneaky book recommendations look like), but have not yet had the chance to read it. We have an outdoor kitchen for hot days already, and can continue baking bread on even the hottest of days. It works, and the benefit is that there’s heaps of electricity on such days.

    I dunno where the protesters came from, that’s a mystery. It’s weird because I would have imagined that the locals experienced the huge wind storm – lost the power for many days (five days up here, and much longer elsewhere) – and said to themselves, yeah let’s clean this mess up. Probably a mystery we’ll just have to carry with us I’m afraid. The heavy machinery needed a staging post in order to load the logs, and my understanding was that was where the protests took place. I can’t say for sure that the area was representative of the rest of the work, but I tend to believe that it wasn’t. The clear fell that was the staging post, looked good on paper for the protesters. There was a lot of concern about eagles and gliders expressed, but if the ground is covered with fallen trees, there is nothing for the eagles and gliders to eat anyway. A lot of critters live in the trees in the forest, but they eat in the clearings. Something has to give.

    Thanks for the reminder about turmeric. I like the way your brain works! 🙂 Yeah, it would do well in the greenhouse. We’d trialled it previously outside but the tuber rotted because it was too cold here.

    We wouldn’t starve in a worst case scenario, but I tell ya truthfully, by late spring there would be some sooking, and sulking with a side serving of whinge at the monotony of the diet. And surviving on potatoes would be something of a philosophical kick in the guts, but yeah tubers do well here, whilst grains do better elsewhere. Mind you, kiwi fruit jam is pretty tasty. 🙂 See, I’m already whingeing!!!!

    Go the wild geraniums! True survivors. And interestingly there is one particular variety that the King Parrots seem to enjoy snacking upon.

    Good shot with the grape runners, and I’ve never seen such a thing, and will keep an eye out for them. Hey, we grew strawberries around the grape vines, what a nightmare those plants have become and the whip and chair will be brought out to tame their feralness. Hope the clusters produce grapes – so tasty. Out of curiosity are your feral walnuts, black walnuts, or the more usual sort and what sort of conditions do they self seed in (shade / full sun / damp / dry etc.)?

    Brassica’s yeah, they hate summer weather that’s for sure. They always bolt to seed here. We finally discovered a wild perennial rocket plant which does well in the summer heat – the rest of them, not so much. I’ve been impressed in previous years that you can get any of that family of plants to grow.



  3. Hi Chris
    Long time since I wrote a comment. I suffered a small stroke early afternoon last Monday. I was sitting in my reclining chair and when started to get up I couldn’t as both feet felt immovably heavy and I said to myself “Stroke”!
    Off to the local hospital we went. CT andMRI carnival rides multiple arm pokes the MRI is a particular Sort of”FUN” if offered you definitely don’t want to miss . Best bet is lie there and enjoy all 30 minutes of Somewhat loud “FUN”. oh and Don’t miss the antique toilet fixture display where you are offered Hands on “FUN”.
    Yesterday I moved to a different amusement park that goes by The Name of “PT LAND” Where Weightlifting and such are offered.All at once I feel like going MOOOOO!

    Seriously, Recovery is going well and the numbness is gone. The worst thing is that my left knee chose to go BONE ON BONE . on Wednesday. That was the worst pain I’ve ever had. It’s subsided now and both knees need replacement some time after the stroke is stabilized


  4. Hello Chris
    It appears that I may be too late with the following. I finally showed Son your trays of Kiwi fruit. He told me that when he lived in a town on the mainland, the large vegetable market left trays of unsold stuff stacked up for disposal of on Sundays. One time he found a huge quantity of pallets of kiwi fruit. He took them home and made wine. He says that the result was a wonderful wine. Oh well, next time perhaps.


  5. Yo, Chris – The Mystery of the Disappearing ATM! Call Nancy Drew! Call the Hardy Boys! Sherlock Holmes? Any of the number of English detectives I follow, from season to season. CSI?

    “…as long as nothing went wrong.” We have fire doors, here at the Institution. I constantly shutting them, as people leave them open. I was informed not to worry, as they’re held open by magnets. Which release in case of a fire. Do I trust the technology? Well, no. There was a fire, back on our east coast, a few months ago. 19 people, died. Not from fire, but from smoke inhalation. Because their fire doors were left open.

    I suppose the drive through funeral parlor is mostly for the viewing. Hmm. You wouldn’t even have to be related. Sounds like some … interesting free entertainment. Might make an impactful outing for the kiddies. “Hey, kids! Want to see a dead body?” 🙂

    We can bang on about how independent our independence bid was, but if it weren’t for the French helping us out, the outcome could have been quit a bit different. Something people choose to forget.

    I’ve been looking for a nice small sign, in ye-olde fonts, to hang on my door. “No Loitering.” The Inmates tend to gather in the hall and make a lot of noise. I have discovered that if I turn my stove hood fan on, it drowns them out. Blessed white noise.

    An interesting challenge. The Japanese Inn (Minaguchi-ya) was at the 17th station of the Tokaido Road. It’s at a place called Okitsu. There’s a crossing of the Okitsu River, there. Hiroshige chose to portray two sumo wrestlers, being carried across the river, by porters. I wonder if they charged by the pound? The inn still stands, but it closed as an inn, in the 1980s. There is an accessible corner of the building, with a small museum display.

    Banks, insurance companies … I really think they just don’t want to deal with the “little” people, any longer. I was talking to my Idaho friends, about “long term care” insurance. There are not many options. And the options available, are very expensive. There is a government program, called Medicaid. But if you sign up for that, most states have “estate recovery.” They come after any assets after you’ve popped your clogs. Not many people seem aware of that.

    Staging post, aka log landing. Yes, if you want the worst view of a logging operation, pick that, to picture. Actually, once all the logging is done, log landings make nifty home sites. Good places to park if you want to hike or hunt.

    The grapes can get quit feral, sending off runners in every direction. And their tendrils will latch onto anything within reach. They put energy into running, not fruit production. So, all the baby clusters are intact. I just about filled our dumpster, with half the cuttings. Luckily, they picked up this morning, and I could put the rest in. I’ll be interested in what the Master Gardeners have to say, about all my hacking away.

    The walnut volunteers are regular eating walnuts. There’s a tree, across the street. It’s the squirrels that plant the nuts. I even had a couple pop up in my garden bed. I saw a deer this morning. No damage to the veg beds.

    H might get another bath, today. She just reeks. Don’t know what she got into, but our night manager said there was something under the fruit trees. His dog needs a good wash, too. Lew

    PS. An interesting archaeological find, in China.

    It’s an interesting article, as it talks about the different concepts of fairies, Eastern and Western. But probably, not the fairies at the bottom of your garden. 🙂

  6. Hi Chris

    On my way home from 4th of July party at my sister, Julie’s. Today a mass shooting in a suburb close to Cecily’s. Six killed and dozens injured at a 4th of July parade. Friends of Carla’s and their children were in the parade. No one’s on the streets in the suburb Cecily lives in 8 hours after the shooting. Hard to process.


  7. @ Al, I’m glad that you are recovering nicely from the stroke! Hope the knee replacement goes well!


  8. Chris,

    Congrats on a completed greenhouse! I bet it feels good to have that finished.

    Nice photo of the winter fog/clouds/mist. Not a lot of solar energy collected by the panels on a dreary, misty day like that.

    We had rain both Sunday and Monday. At least 7mm Monday and probably about 5mm on Sunday. Nice for July! Back to sunny and warm days starting Tuesday.

    40C? We’ve hit that extreme maybe 8 times in my 55 years in Spokane. Very rare. And half of those days were on consecutive days in 2021. The warmest overnight minimum that I can remember is 25C. That was a miserable few days, IIRC. It’s rare that we don’t drop to 22C or lower.

    It’s the evening of July 4 as I’m writing this. Rather loud outside due to the fireworks. Technically, they are illegal, but it’s easy to purchase them. They’ve been getting fired off all evening, and intermittently for several days. In fact, I was weeding the raspberry area early Sunday evening and noted that one particular firework burst sounded a bit different and a bit loud. Soon there were sirens stopping nearby. Turns out that what I had heard was gunshots about 200m away. A man in his 30s was killed. No further info has been released yet.

    Good job cleaning the chimney/flue. Were you one of the chimney sweeps in that old movie (a dread musical) Mary Poppins? Was being part of the cast the thing that soured you towards musicals? Inquiring minds want to know! 😉

    That is a LOT of deadfall waiting to turn to flame in those photos. It’s a good thing that it might get cleaned up properly, perhaps before a big fire roars through that area. It takes a heavy wind to knock that many trees and branches down.


  9. Hi Margaret,

    Firstly, I’m glad that you and your family were not more directly involved in the incident, however, please look after yourself and your family, they may well be in shock. Hard to process is an understatement.

    Keep well, and hope Doug is feeling better?

    Random violent events are hard to process.

    Yours sincerely,


  10. Hi Inge,

    I like how your son thinks, and thank you very much for the suggestion. We’d been on the fence about whether to make a batch of wine with the kiwi fruit, and your sons experience decided the fate of the fruit.

    When we lived closer to the city, we used to shop for fresh fruit and vegetables at the Queen Victoria Market which is on a huge site on the very edge of the CBD. The name is a dead give-away as to how long the market has been there. Anyway, at around closing time back in the day just after Saturday lunchtime, that clearing used to take place. We had a very similar experience to your son’s except with trays of figs. They were very good, and we turned most of them into jam. Coincidentally, the kiwi fruit jam tastes similar (with the same texture) as fig jam, but the kiwi fruit produces a sweeter jam. Lovely stuff.

    Hope your summer is going well and that the garden is productive.



  11. Hi Al,

    Mate, it has been a long time indeed. And look what happens. You go off skylarking and end up with vascular troubles. Hmm. There may be a coincidence there? 🙂

    On a serious note, hope you recover, and mate so sorry to hear about the knees.

    Hey, haven’t you always pumped iron? Or was that welding iron, I forget. 🙂

    I’ve been slack and have not had enough time to refurbish the Yamaha FM tuner. The project calls to me.



  12. Hi DJ,

    Always good to finish a project, and that particular project is one of the most fun sheds we’ve constructed. Most of them are kind of practical, but that one will be very enjoyable on a sunny day. When held fast in the depths of winter, it’s nice to think of sun warmth. Although candidly, winters here are a bit light weight, but don’t tell the fearful folks of the big smoke that, it just will upset them. 🙂 And then they might want to head up here and test the veracity of the claim! Imagine that happening…

    Frankly it surprised me that the solar panels were able to record, what was it again, 21 minutes of peak sunlight for the day. The three weeks around the winter solstice is always an exciting experience due to the sun being low in the sky. I wrote to management in order to complain about the sun situation, and the reply was not very friendly. Perhaps a change to the axis of the planet might address the problem. I’d imagine that would be a bad thing. Is it even possible? A frightening thought and just the question for a physicist.

    What a great summer you are having, and the added rainfall is a bonus. I assume the fruit growing areas in Yakima are doing OK this growing season?

    Thanks for satisfying my curiosity, that was exactly the sort of detail I was interested in.

    Mate, you guys sure know how to celebrate. Far out! Glad that the festivities did not get any closer to yourself and your lady. As an interesting side note, fireworks would be an absolute no-no here during summer due to the fire risk. When I was a kid, you used to be able to purchase the things at the milk bar (a kind of general store equivalent but in the suburbs)!

    Really? This loose talk of musicals will not end well. 🙂 Hehe! And some secrets… Next you’ll attempt a sneaky book recommendation, that’s also been adapted into a musical.

    Deadfall is a lovely phrase (which I had not heard before), yes, so true. In a perfect world, the fallen timber will eventually convert into richer soil, but that time scale is over many decades, and in the meantime it should be recalled that people are unpredictable – and the risk is there.

    The wind storm was extraordinary. A reminder: After the storm.

    And maybe a few weeks later we went on an eye opening journey and witnessed lots of destruction to the west of here.



  13. Hi Lewis,

    A foretaste of the future perhaps? The photos of the abandoned houses and businesses in Japan was eerie and dystopian. I noticed that the article did not mention the effect that declining population numbers had on the properties. That was an interesting oversight, but then few people consider that aspect to the predicament. There are a lot of people moving outwards from the city now – and I noted today that the emergency powers were extended for another three months (we will rue that chunk of legislation one day) – and I do wonder how the land will look as time goes on. Houses have not always been the speculative vehicle that many people consider them to be, and I remember a time before that nonsense. Oh, and official interest rates were lifted another half a percent today. Given the recent increase to rates, the average mortgage holder has to come up with another $500 per month (that is not an error).

    It’s all very weird, and I was concerned a quarter of a century ago when this long economic game commenced, and made plans, but to see the end point taking shape brings me no comfort. Mind you, one end is another beginning, so it’s not all bad, just different. Expectations for many people need to adjust, but can they is a question I ponder. I’m yet to see changes to behaviours, but maybe there is inertia? Dunno.

    The Editor recently read a Sherlock Holmes story (The Hounds of Baskerville) and candidly, Doctor Watson is by far the more charming of the duo. And if I had to pick which I’d prefer to have a beer with, it would be Doctor Watson. However, if an arrogant bloke was required to swoop in with a minimum of time spent on the investigation and work out: hey dude, where’s my ATM? Well, Holmes is the guy. 🙂 And those CSI dudes were able to neatly wrap up most investigations in under an hour – pity the poor folks who have to do that job in real life (public expectations are a bit high)!

    Ah, not good about the fire doors, and they do apparently work better if shut sorry to say. Mate, how does anyone even test that kind of technology? It’s funny isn’t it, but installing the equipment is not the same as ensuring that it works under the conditions it was meant to be utilised in. It happens down here too with petrol powered water pumps for fire fighting. When the air temperatures start rising due to proximity to fire, the fuel mixture in the carburettor can vaporise and the machine becomes almost impossible to start and run. Not good for a water pump. I recall that the Fire Monks wisely had a proper diesel powered pump for their sprinklers. Diesel is more reliable under such conditions.

    Really? It’s a bit creepy, but yeah I can see that some folks might be into that. On the other hand, as a society we have kind of institutionalised death, so maybe it isn’t a bad idea after all – and the canny may charge per viewing. Would the income be taxable to the estate though, that is the question. 😉

    Ah yes of course, the French were very helpful in your outcome. It seems our gobarmint have mended the unsettled relations with that delightful country (which we’ve shed heaps of blood in). Apparently lots of mad cash can soothe ruffled feathers.

    Hehe! There was a bloke many years ago in a tourist over run town who had a sign over the gate which lead into his property. It said: “No Parking since 1847. R. Sol” Yes, very amusing – and the sign was there for years. I wonder how many people thought to themselves: Is it Roger, Rupert or Robert without correctly reading the words?

    What? Oh no! So the inn survived tumultuous times for like four centuries only to succumb to the 1980’s? Wow, the highway got them. Thanks for the investigative work.

    Tell ya a funny story about the ‘little people’. The other week when I picked up a new modem for the interweb connection, they changed my bill from an email bill to a direct credit. I had no idea this was going on, and now (and I’m not sure here) but I may have to log into their system in order to get the bill (I no longer see it) – but I am sure that in all the paperwork I signed my rights away. All very strange. When I have a free couple of hours, I’ll look into this matter.

    Oooo! Good thinking. The log landing would make an excellent home site. The thing is, it is not a great deal of difficulty rehabilitating such a place. The loggers left far worse here, and it’s green and lush and supports a huge amount of wildlife. And I reckon you hit the nail on the head – the landing doesn’t look good.

    Thanks for the warning in relation to grapes and their proclivities. I have little experience with the plants, and am not even sure how much of the vine should be pruned. The vines aren’t old and last season they finally managed to climb onto the highest wire run, so I’m not in too much of a hurry with them. The strawberries in that enclosure however, have to be removed. So many plants, so little fruit. My mates of the big shed fame are far better at managing their strawberry patch, and notes were taken and are being implemented.

    Squirrels as orchardist’s! 😉 Many species are handy at farming activities, and many more species will alter their environments for their own benefit. Do you ever wonder how long the big tractor farming will last? The price of diesel fuel has gotta be hurting them. And the heavy rains in the state to the north means that the farmers are struggling to plant out their crops. One location scored a foot of rain each day for three consecutive days. Bonkers.

    Best not to ask H, just wash. I hate it when the dogs roll in something nasty. I’ve observed that they will do that when they’ve picked up a tick, so I use that stink-fest as an indicator. Did the stink come out of H’s coat?

    It is possible that there are Spirit-Guardian’s there. On a balance of probabilities, probably not a good idea to upset them. Thanks for the article.



  14. Hi Inge,

    Just a heads up. Your daughter is getting a massive drenching up there along the coast over today and tomorrow. Her family will probably be fine, but the ground on that coast is apparently already very saturated. Fingers crossed.



  15. Hello Chris
    Yes, my grandson told me about the incredible amount of rain that has arrived there. The news here, has only covered the Sydney area.


  16. @ Margaret – My thoughts turned to you, given recent events. I’m happy to hear you and yours were out of the way.

    I’m glad Doug is doing better. In my prayers … Lew

  17. @ Al – Glad you checked in. My thoughts often turned to you, wondering how you and your wife were doing. Us Washingtonians have to stick together! 🙂

    I’ll add you to my prayer list. Sounds like the stroke wasn’t too bad, as those things go. A shot across your bow? Lew

  18. Hi Chris,
    Yes, when a situation like this happens so close it becomes more real doesn’t it. I think I’ve mentioned how one feels less safe just walking around though that’s more the case in the city proper. I think twice when traveling around in Chicago in areas in the not too distant past I felt comfortable moving around on my own. Many from the suburbs hesitate to go downtown now as there’s been pretty major incidents even in the ritzy tourist areas. But then you can’t just stay holed up in your house.

    Regarding your question last week about kids staying in their parents home as adults, I don’t think having my brothers would have changed what I hoped for my girls as adults. I was pretty happy when they went off on their own. I did hope that they would live fairly close though which they do except for a few years when Cecily lived in Boston. That’s the situation I grew up with though. Almost all of my extended family lived in the Chicago area. Doug’s family was the opposite though and was quite apparent that their attitude is different. Even now almost all my nieces and nephews on my side of the family live in the same area and it’s the opposite for Doug. He has no family nearby once his parents died. Both his brothers live quite some distance away and have so for all their adult life. As I get older I’m glad the girls are close. They’ve always stepped up when family needs help so it works in the opposite direction too. Doug’s mom, having lived differently was surprised that we had them live with us when they really needed some assistance and she was grateful as well.

    I know here it’s advised to keep some of the downed trees as it is excellent habitat for many species but fire isn’t the same issue here.

    I hope your finger has healed. Doug is still not 100% but is pretty much back to his normal work schedule. His sense of taste is very slowly returning.

    Cecily arrives shortly. I will pose the question of last week about free will. I’m sure she’ll have some thoughts.

    Almost forgot, we received 2 inches of rain last night!! With the ground so dry and the rain coming fast and hard I’m sure a lot ran off but very happy anyway. Saved me a lot of time today as I was going to pull out my water tank to water everything too remote to reach by hose.

    PS: Read with interest about the flooding in Sydney

  19. @ Margaret – it must have been very frightening for your whole family to have been so close to that terrible event.


  20. Yo, Chris – Reading over your shoulder … The axis of the planet. The poles wander around, quit a bit. And, from time to time, the axis flips. No one quit knows what that entails. What it would be like to live through something like that. Part of the problem is, the earth is top heavy. All that land, north of the equator. And now that all that ballast (ice) is melting at the bottom of the world…

    All those folks who moved out from the cities, are now facing horrible gas prices. I’ve been seeing a few articles about people who bought lots, and then when it came time to build the house (in the not so recent past), are hit with higher supply costs and rising mortgage rates.

    I started reading a novel by Barbara Kingsolver, last night. “Unsheltered.” 2018. It’s about a house, and the family that lives in the house. And bounces between about the time of our Civil War, and the present. The house has had major structural problems, all along. The mother of the modern family wonders, “We did everything right. Why are we in our mid-fifties and destitute? Where did the money go?” I was at loose ends, for something to read. Or, more accurately, what I was in the mood to read. I picked the Kingsolver out of my pile of books-I-bought-at-a-book-sale,-years-ago for a buck.

    “…adjust changes in behavior.” I think more people are doing that. Not a critical mass, but more people. At least there seems to be more dialogue, along those lines. And some are doing more than just talking.

    I agree with what you said about Doctor Watson. Some of it, I think, is what I’ve found with watching mystery series. It’s often the secondary characters, that really make the stories interesting. And don’t forget Sherlock’s landlady, Mrs. Hudson. Always adds something to the story. I never have seen a single episode of CSI (or any of the multitude of spin offs). Just didn’t speak to me. And it got so sprawling, I just didn’t want to invest the time.

    Re: Petrol powered water pumps. Good to know. The only thing more reliable than diesel would be solar. 🙂

    That was a very clever sign. But I didn’t get the R. Sol part. Go ahead. make me feel stupid. 🙂 Something to do with the sun?

    Only one of my monthly bills is a dip into my bank accounts. And, I have them charge it to my credit card, which, at least here, is more secure if there are problems. But every monthly statement, urges me to let them dip into my checking. Nope. Don’t think so.

    Grapes really need need a sever pruning, every year. You leave 3 (?) spurs the first year, 5 (?) the second, and so on. There are books with clear diagrams. There are U Tub videos.

    I heard from the guy at the veg store, that the local strawberry crop was pretty damaged, this year, due to weather. He mentioned one of his vendors had half his field, wiped out. I see Sydney is drowning, again. Three feet? Really?

    H is sweet smelling, again. I worry a bit about her skin drying out. But, I slipped her some egg fried in olive oil, last night. And, discovered that you can occasionally give dogs a bit of peanut butter. As long as it doesn’t have something (long name, starting with x) in the ingredients. The oily natural stuff, might help. I’ll give it a try.

    I stopped down to the Club, this morning, for biscuits and gravy. There was news. Where the Club used to be (Yardbirds), has been sold, again. Our Club manager, Mr. Bill, is going over to talk with Frank, the mechanic, today. So maybe we’ll find out who bought it. Maybe the crypto currency guy? Inquiring Minds Want to Know.

    The last owner might have made a go of it, except for You Know What. Or, not. With the snooping around I did on the net, he seemed to have a history of picking stuff up and selling it off, in two or three years. I really think he was a front for some investment group.

    I watched an interesting documentary, night before last. “Hello, Bookstore.” It’s about a bookstore in a small Vermont town, that’s been there since the 1970s. Then came, You Know What.” He was pulling in, in a week, what he used to pull in, in a day. He was going broke, and might have to close. His daughter talked him into doing a Go Fund Me. In less then 24 hours, they raised over $60,000. Enough to save the bookstore.

    Last night I watched “Mothering Day.” Quit good. England, 1924. It’s about a young servant girl (who later becomes a writer), who’s carrying on with the son from the big house, next door. But it doesn’t end as those stories usually do. But what I found interesting was the effects of WWI. Very few men about. You never see valets, groundsmen, or chauffers. But that’s never specifically mentioned. The desolate big houses, desolate because all the sons have died in the war. The lack of marriageable men, at all social levels. But it’s all pretty much sub-text. Alluded to. Well worth a look. Lew

  21. @ all
    Just in case anyone finds this as fascinating as I do.
    I have a broken base of what I assume was a small stone bottle. The base is flat and the size across, is the length of my little finger. Colour of the stone is cream or a very light beige. I put it out on a table with the small amount of water that it can hold. The red squirrels love to come and drink from it.
    Every now and then the water does not get taken and very slowly the inside of the stone turns dark crimson in colour. This can be wiped off easily. What the heck causes this?


  22. Hi Inge,

    Glad to hear that the family is doing OK. It’s very wet further north of Sydney, and housing was a problem in that part of the country before the floods, it’s gotten worse. Anyway, I’d read that the BBC was describing the rain as the equivalent of London’s annual rainfall, but received in four days.

    The weather has been quite nice here, and the sun has shone from bright blue skies (which is a pleasant change), but not to worry, it looks set to rain here again on Friday.

    How is your summer weather travelling?



  23. Hi Margaret,

    It does indeed. Nobody seriously ever wants to be on the news of the day for the wrong reasons. Well, you’ve hit the nail on the head there. Exactly, what do you do? There is risk everywhere and we can’t insulate ourselves from it – although I have a hunch that the past two years has been something of an attempt in that direction.

    Thank you for the reply to the question. Your family circumstances sounds like a good middle ground – which it should be noted is very hard to pinpoint. For your interest, my own circumstances is closer to Doug’s experience – but I’m also getting to the point anyway in life where the older generation have passed on, or moved away – I’ve long speculated that the people who moved were dodging the assistance role. There are mutual obligations with assistance. I tend to believe that this is a good thing, other people tend to exhibit some sort of reluctance – never quite understood the why of that. Margaret, it is a lovely thing to have the ability to show people a better way, that was nicely done with Doug’s parents.

    That advice about downed trees is also given here, and they do eventually become habitat and feed for forest critters and the soil. The difference is scale, some people take that recommendation and apply it to all circumstances here. Basic understanding of the forest ecology is really lost on a lot of the people protesting. I understand that they mean well, but they probably also need to get more involved and perhaps be a little less prescriptive. A lot of hands, could do a lot of good. And I’m no fan of the heavy machinery, but honestly, the job has not be done properly for at least 180+ years. There’s a bit of work to do! 🙂

    The finger has completely healed. I add some coconut oil to my breakfast of muesli, fruit and yoghurt each day, and that stuff works for the skin – for me anyway. I got the idea when reading about dog skin conditions (surely I’ve written about the casserole dog story? Maybe?) and thought to give it a go.

    Good to hear that Doug is feeling better (happy days!), and I have heard of a few folks who’s taste and smell were messed up for months afterwards, so he sounds as if he is doing OK. I like food a lot, so loss of taste would be difficult.

    I’ll be very curious to hear of Cecily’s perspective in the matter.

    Yay for rain! 🙂 So good at the time of year you are in. Does the ground clay crack in your part of the world?

    Yes, Sydney and the coast further north is doing it pretty tough right now. One place recorded three feet of rain in about three days. I’d be very distressed at experiencing such volumes of rainfall. I won’t mention it too loudly, but the past two days have been gloriously sunny and warm (for winter) at 61’F. It’ll be back to rain on Friday.



  24. Hi Lewis,

    Thanks for mentioning that about the axial tilt and wobblies of the planet. I hadn’t known that and the dinosaurs seemed to have survived the last big one, although I read many references to the wobblies being far more frequent than that last big one. Interestingly, the distribution of mass on the surface of the planet can impact upon the stability of the axis – and we are mucking around with seeing just how much land ice can we melt. How much can we melt – let’s find out! Ook.

    Makes you wonder if the mountain which smacked into the planet 65 million years ago and wiped out the dinosaurs would have upset the axis, rotation or orbit of the planet? Maybe it wasn’t big enough for that to happen? Dunno. Not a good day to experience, and surviving the smash would have been a traumatic set of circumstances. Eat or be eaten.

    It is interesting you say that about gas (petrol) prices because I’ve noticed anecdotally that it now seems quieter up here traffic wise. The problem is, I don’t know whether the tourist onslaught has skewed my perspective as to what quiet looks like. The city areas seem more busy than ever traffic wise. I guess the short trip folks aren’t as concerned about gas costs? Dunno.

    Honestly, the family histrionics in the book kind of would make it a hard read for me. The concept itself is superb and the metaphor is genius, I’d probably just speak my mind if in such fictional circumstances, and then everyone would get upset, but hey, at least they might start to get on with the job of doing what needs doing. The ‘doing everything right, and still coming unglued’ is something I came to terms with in the recession of the early 1990’s – as did the Editor. We now do alright, by not doing right, if that makes sense?

    Interestingly, I’m on the second last page of Japanese Inn, and Oliver Statler was a clever bloke indeed. He made humans out of the enemy. Can you believe that I genuinely ran out of time today to complete the last two pages. It’s a travesty! Has that ever happened to you?

    A very long work day today, most of which was spent training and communicating. I probably need to do some vocal exercises as I’m not used to speaking so much. Years ago I heard Sir Mick interviewed and he sounded a quarter of his actual age.

    Have not yet come across Mr Holmes landlady. CSI may have had 15 seasons. Yes, it’s a big investment of time.

    Hehe! Electric water pumps are able to move heat away, as long as they continue operating and aren’t used for longer than there rated run cycle (upper limit of time for continuous use).

    I have to break the code here, but you did ask… 🙂 Say R. Sol fast and it sounds like Assh&^e. That’s why the sign was up for years – nobody noticed.

    Fair enough, I still haven’t had time to discover where the actual bill is for the direct debit.

    Thanks for the tip, and I shall explore utoob to see what the vine pruners have to say.

    Yeah, if farmers avoid, droughts, floods, frost, mice, and can get labour and/or fertilisers, they’re probably doing OK this year down here. Mate, I lost most of the orchard crops to a late frost last year. Crazy. And that’s right, three feet of rain in some areas.

    Good stuff, eggs and olive oil are really good for dogs. I add a chunk of coconut oil into their breakfast and that seems to help their skin – and mine too for that matter. The dogs here consume peanuts, and they love peanut butter – but we make it from peanuts, so it’s good stuff with no additives. You mentioned years ago to use a food processor, and we haven’t looked back and make the stuff fresh in small batches.

    Any news of the property exchange? Glad your Club got out. Too many owners makes for an uncertain future.

    A mate said the place he worked at was bought by an investment group. He didn’t seem very impressed at the changes.

    That’s community spirit for you. I have heard of the go-fund-me drives.

    Thanks for the film reference for Mothering Sunday, and I have passed this onto the Editor. Looks good, and Colin Firth is a great actor.



  25. Hi Chris,

    Agree about the forest protesters – once again the middle ground is usually best. The issue of invasive species is another example. I know many people involved in restoration and they never think a plant that isn’t a native could be a good thing. Certainly there are some species that are taking over too much but there’s a lot of value to some plants that were brought here – like most vegetables. The well known herbalist, Stephen Buhner Harrod has written about this and of course it was brought up on JMG’s blog last week I believe.

    2.3″ of rain last night too so I think we’re good for awhile. We didn’t have any issues with branches but others in the area did as well as tornado warnings.


  26. @Al
    So sorry to hear about your health issues but sure glad to hear you’re the road to recovery from the stroke.

    You and your wife certainly have had a couple of rough years. You are in my thoughts.

    Thank you for the kind words. This more affected my girls as they are so close to the area.


  27. @ Inge – Maybe a bit of iron in the clay? I’ve seen old stoneware with flecks of rust. Tiny particles of iron, that have rusted out, over the years. It’s a theory … Lew

  28. Yo, Chris – I took a look in the rabbit hole, but any article discussing the meteor that did the dinosaurs, has slipped into a temporal anomaly. 🙂 But from what little I could tell, no. No affect on axis / orbit / rotation. I’ve seen articles where it mentioned the strike “made the earth ring like a bell.” Whatever that means.

    I don’t know about people cutting back on travel, due to gas prices. My Idaho friends say they’re cutting back on all their gadding about, but I don’t see it. I saw an article the other day, that all these price increases (gas included) will soon be the new “normal.”

    Well, in the Kingsolver book, everyone pretty much takes a different view of economics, the environment, etc. etc.. And they all speak their minds. Per usual, the writing is very good.

    Sure it makes sense. You took the path less followed (or, the “Road Less Traveled … Frost: poem). And, given the current state of the world, made right choices.

    Couldn’t finish the last two pages? Was the house on fire? Bread burning in the oven? Doggies acting up? Another earthquake? 🙂

    Well, my day was biscuits and gravy. Chatted with one of the Master Gardeners. Only one showed up, yesterday. Hmmm? Did some laundry and went out shopping for the Club food pantry. Hit the chemist’s. I was out of Old Guy Vitamins. Stumbled on a buy one, get one sale, so for $17, got 400 tablets. Won’t have to worry about that, for over a year.

    Mrs. Hudson, Holmes’s landlady, makes a few brief appearances, in The Cannon. But there are quit a few “fan adaptations from Mrs. Hudson’s point of view. And she usually makes an appearance, in film adaptations. I see there’s even a book, “Mrs. Hudson’s Diaries: A View from the Landing at 221b.” (Cryer). Haven’t read it. Some fan fiction can be fun, if well done. “Pride Prejudice and Zombies.” “Abraham Lincoln, Vampire Hunter.” “Mary Reilly” (The Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde story, from the Maid’s point of view. Also, a film.) People want more of their favorite stories. And when something slips out of copyright, the flood gates open.

    I was looking for some pictures of well pruned vineyard grapes. And ran across this…

    Gives you an idea of what’s involved.

    Well, the weather forecast finally delivered. Starting yesterday afternoon, we had on and off gentle showers. I didn’t have to water, last night. Won’t have to water, tonight. I still fret about the tomatoes. Turns out you need 60-90 degree days … and more than 60F nights for tomatoes to set fruit. So far, we haven’t had a single night over 60F. If the forecast holds, we’ll be in 80+ territory, in about a week. But the overnight lows are still in the 50s. 🙁

    Just a mention. “Mothering Sunday” has a lot of … flesh in it. Be prepared for an eyeful. 🙂 Lew

  29. Chris,

    What’s a mild winter for some might be harsh conditions for another. If I lived where you do, I’d make it a point to make the Big Smoke Folk think winters are hideous in your area.

    One time I was in a restaurant in Monterey, California. A large group at another table was rather loud. One couple had visited their son at Fort Lewis, near Olympia, Washington. They complained about how the rain never quit falling in the entire “godforsaken, backwards state of Washington”. A gent at the next table was rather peeved at the comments, his wife keeping him somewhat calm. I recognized him – we both rode the Spokane bus system a lot and often saw one another. Not friends, but fellow bus people, so I sauntered over to his table and quietly said something along the lines of “Hey, fellow Spokanite. Let them think we’re ignorant and that it rains 3 inches a day even in Spokane. Maybe they’ll stay away.”

    You wrote to management about the lack of solar energy this time of year? Oh no! Careful what you ask for. Management might get so irritated with the letter that they might turn off the sun for a few days, or maybe decide that the earth needs a good cleansing of 40 days of endless rain or something.

    I’m not sure how the fruit orchards and such are doing in Yakima. Locally all berry crops are huge this year.

    As Lew noted, the Earth’s axis wobbles constantly. The magnetic poles drift and occasionally reverse. Everything is always in a state of flux. Change happens.

    There’s an American author that I’m sure you’ve heard of – L. Frank Baum. He wrote a series of books about the Land of Oz. They even mad a movie based on the first book, and it included the first cinema scenes that were in color. The movie is entitled “Wizard of Oz”. How’s that for an attempt to sneak in a musical?

    We had more rain Wednesday morning, but due to wind and increasing temperatures, watering season starts Friday. Rain this late has been a nice break from last year’s insane heat.


  30. @ Lew
    Thanks for the possible explanation.


    Hello Chris
    Haha! I had also been puzzling over R. Sol. Shall remember to verbalise aloud anything strange in future.
    Weather here has been sunny, dry and in the 20s C. Though it is cloudy this morning.


  31. Hi Inge,

    The sign was pretty naughty, and it was the Editor who pointed out the obvious to me about the name. For your interest, the building used to house a wax figure museum, and the guy who owned the impressive Victorian era building behind the fence (and gate with the naughty sign) had worked in props for a television mob. We met him (Ray) once, long ago and enjoyed a long good chat. He was no fan of the changes occurring around him, and it is good to see that the house is now owned by people who seem to be just looking after the special building rather than trying to impose their will upon the pile. The wax figures eventually were sent to the town of Bendigo, and I’d not heard of where they went after that. The figures were of old scenes such as miners at work, convicts etc.

    Sounds like very pleasant summer weather. We had a partly cloudy (with rain) day today, and did an epic burn off of the forest detritus the loggers left behind. Had dinner at the pub. Happy days!



  32. Hi Margaret,

    Exactly about invasive species. There’s both good and bad with that story, but from a long term perspective, the ecosystem can change markedly. It probably wasn’t all that long ago that dry adapted rainforest species of plants dominated parts of this mountain range, and most likely that was the case where I’m located. All the species are still there too, just waiting for their day in the sun, or more correctly, rain.

    When I was a volunteer firefighter, the horrid Black Saturday bushfires of 2009 happened. Back then I was too new to be allowed onto the fire-truck, but I heard the stories and afterwards took a very good look around the fire affected areas to see what survived, why and how things recovered. It was a useful exercise from an ecological perspective. What was obvious in the aftermath was that English oaks were burnt to the trunk on the sides facing the fire front, and yet the other half of the tree was mostly unaffected and largely un-burnt. And there were other species in that circumstance too. I took note of how it played out.

    It’s interesting because the mineral content of the leaves in the trees which survived was probably higher, and the oil content was lower. Plus shading played a part, with a higher volume of leaves in the canopy potentially holding more water – such as English Oaks. There’s a lot to be learned, but yeah I don’t buy the invasive versus indigenous species story. It sounds too neat to me. And I’ve noticed that the local critters are all too happy to munch upon the exotic plants which I also like to munch upon – wish it were not the case. 🙂

    Thanks for mentioning Stephen Buhner Harrod as I was not following those comments and may have missed the referral. How did I miss this? Sacred and Herbal Healing Beers sounds right up my alley! Have you read any of his works?



  33. Hi DJ,

    Oh no! You guessed my nefarious plan. And there are still tourists up here, even today when it was 5’C. We had a very late lunch at the General Store and there were no tables inside so we sat outside, and weren’t the only ones doing that. Oh well, at the least the sun shone for a bit and like the fictional character Oddball. I made the claim “I’m catching some rays, man!” Nobody seemed to think it was funny, other than me of course.

    A wise move to calm the situation. Some folks be fools and think they’re better, smarter, and where they come from is better, and the sun is better there too for all they tell us. Need your bus mate be reminded (although it may be a touch late for this less than timely reminder) Pride is the Devil. 😉 Nice work.

    Hehe! I was just kidding around… 🙂 Actually, I’ve rather enjoyed the past three cold and wet years as it has given me the opportunity to clean up some of the mess the loggers have left behind over the past century and a half. I’m sure there are quicker ways to do the job (most of which involve compacting the soil), but I’ve been happily plugging away at the job for a few years now, and we’re getting places. You see, when it is wet, I can burn the stuff off and not worry about the fire travelling. Had a very big burn off today. A lot of work. Had dinner at the pub which was well deserved. The Editor had a nice pint of Porter, which was very good indeed. I’d tell you what the stout I had was, but you might be appalled!

    Good stuff with the berries, and yeah, those plants love the rain – but perhaps not too much rain. The berry crops have been larger than normal fruit over the past few years here too.

    I’m trying to understand why and how the magnetic poles could flip? I’d imagine that such an incidence would not be consequence free?

    Stop it!!! 🙂 Oh, you’re super sneaky with that musical reference.

    Yeah, your summer is sounding pretty nice to me – so far.



  34. Hi Lewis,

    Whoa! Never seen a green sky before. And um, a Derecho is also not on the bucket list. Have you ever experienced such a thing? I’ve experienced a few supercells, and even a minor tornado, but those are embedded in a Derecho. Yeah, that’s some extreme weather.

    It was a fine day here today, albeit cold and partly cloudy – with some minor rain. We headed out into the forest and did a big clean up and burn off. It was seriously hard work and for maybe four hours I just hauled fallen and left over timber to a huge fire. The loggers left a lot of mess in the forest, you know, small trees that had been dropped but were uneconomic to haul out. The stuff is too wet now for anything to be living in, or under (think snakes), and the moisture content combined with decades of rot means it’s no good for firewood, and will take decades more before it’s gone. We’ll spread the ash around and rehabilitate the area where the mess came from. The local birds were following our every move and picking through the disturbed soil. Despite it all, and no matter how wet the timber was, it still burned. Oh yeah. The fire had enough energy to dry the moisture out, but there was a lot of smoke.

    I guess when compared to the mass of the Earth, a 10km (6 mile) rock is peanuts. You know I’ve always remembered you mentioning that about the planet ringing like a bell when the meteor impacted, and also wondered what it meant. Probably deafening. Recently there was a theory propounded that the meteor impact set off massive volcanic activity in the Deccan Traps in India afterwards (the theory is that a pool of hot magma was forced upwards and released about 100,000 years later). The two events were probably not good for the continuing good health of the vast majority of dinosaurs.

    Probably wishful thinking on my part that people will stop travelling and touristing up in this mountain range due to escalating petrol (gas) prices. It has slowed, but even today we had a late lunch and there were no inside tables, so we ate outside. I’m used to the cold weather up here, and after the last two years when rain, hail or shine there were long periods of take away only due to you-know-what, well there were days it was only 34’F and there was no choice other than purchase and then go find somewhere else to eat the stuff! Yep fun times.

    Your use of the word ‘normal’ is what I often hear expressed as to peoples hopes for the future – as in a ‘return to normal’. Historically, that ‘normal’ was anything but normal. Probably why history isn’t taught well these days, otherwise people would know.

    It does sound like a good book, however, I’m dipping my reading toes back into a Jack Vance series (a favourite): The Demon Princes. With all the excitement and trauma of late, I need an old literary friend to accompany my travels. Hope you understand?

    Finished Japanese Inn over lunch today. Very funny, no, I had to work yesterday (lunch ended up being about 10 minutes and I was pleased to finish the work day) and so couldn’t complete the final two pages. There were several meetings, which I do my best to be punctual for, and sometimes slightly early. I’m old fashioned in this regard and a lot of people seem super-loose about time nowadays. Not sure why the cultural values shifted in that regard, but it has changed. Now I have to navigate which thing do I turn up on time to, and which I should be fashionably late. Dunno, it’s a mystery. Have you noticed this change?

    There are plenty of other paths less travelled, as you yourself would appreciate. It beats the stuffing out of me why others don’t see them. And there are opportunities too, and they seem to be ignored too. I’m seriously scratching my head about that story. Another mystery. The mysteries are stacking up, huh? 🙂

    Do you have any idea why only one master gardener turned up? And go on, do you slip any biscuit and gravy to H? I would. 🙂 How is H doing without Elinor, is she adapting to the new circumstances? Good score with the old bloke vitamins.

    There’s a middle ground with copyright. Of course the author deserves payment for their work, but how long is reasonable for a copyright to provide a revenue stream to the author? I don’t really have any sense of that story. What’s your take? I have noted that intellectual property rights are usually pretty loose when a society is ascending, and pretty tight when it’s descending. Surely that can’t be a coincidence?

    The guide to pruning vines is exceptional. Many thanks as the instructions were very clear. I also intend to remove most of the strawberries from around the vines which hopefully should reduce competition for minerals and / or water.

    Good stuff with the rain, and yeah it’s a pleasure not to have to water. It is possible that it may vary depending upon the particular variety with tomatoes, but yes, I agree the temperature is a problem. And I’m reading of other parts of the world near to you that are also having problems with tomatoes. Hmm. It’s been two years here now that the crop has grown poorly.

    🙂 It happens…



  35. Yo, Chris – Nope. Never seen a Derecho. Seems like they’re getting more frequent. Shades of the 30’s dust bowl. The times I’ve seen the green sky, is when a tornado was trying to form. But, they just couldn’t get the steam up. Probably, lucky for me.

    Here’s an interesting article about a young Scottish lad, who tackled renovating an old stone cottage. Grand Designs … ?

    Sounds like good weather for a bit of a burn clean up. Were there S’More’s? Weenies on a stick? Smoke a chicken? Never let an opportunity go by for a bit of good nosh.

    The jury is still out, on if the meteor had anything to do with the Deccan Traps. Dueling dissertations, fighting to a standstill. Technology is getting better and better, for dating. But plus or minus 100,000 years is … well, not very accurate.

    I actually had a little time to kill (doing laundry) and was able to use the Institution library computer, to take a look at Mr. Greer, this week. “Normal” will look a lot different, in the near future.

    Meetings. Well, I’ve always shown up a few minutes early, for meetings and appointments. Just how I roll. Though, doing the recovery schtick, there are meetings. I never “get” people who show up late, for those. They miss the magic part 🙂 . The structural kick-off. The centering down.

    I don’t know what happened to the Master Gardeners. Maybe they had a meeting? 🙂 Of course, they have lives. One we haven’t seen in awhile, as they’ve got You Know What, in the house. Another was gone for awhile, as her father passed away. Ted occasionally takes a time out, as he’s in the throes of building a house.

    Speaking of gardening, on last weeks library new list, there was a book called “What Your Food Ate.” Sounded interesting. I don’t know when I’ll see it. This week, nothing is moving on my hold list. I think they’re all taking vacations, up at the Service Center :-(.

    I really don’t know how H is handling the new state of things. Sometimes, to me, she seems a bit down at the mouth. But I’m probably projecting. Every once in awhile, she’ll make a bee-line for Elinor’s door. She got her, probably, first peanut butter, last night. It went over well. I’m hoping it helps any dry skin. According to the Font of All Wisdom, it’s ok to feed them peanut butter. Just not too much, and not too often. She’s beginning to shed. Tis the season. Lew

  36. Hi Lewis,

    Bobby Wilson sounds like a good guy and I enjoyed the video and article about the urban farm. If thing ever get dire, I reckon plenty of people would have his back. And there is a little part of your country, around these parts. Who knew? Thinking of movin’ to the country? Here’s how to be a pig farmer with no experience — or land. Sooner or later we’ll have to step up, but right now, it’s all about infrastructure. Probably not a bad idea to get in contact with them given they’re not far from here.

    Spent another day working the forest. The mess the loggers left is bonkers, and I just spent the day hauling damp, wet wasted timber to the burn off pile. It rained, heavily (for a while), and the fire was so hot it just kept on going. Anyway, it’s getting cleaner, and we sorted out the next job for the tree dudes to tackle. It’s a good time of year to do this work if only because the snake risk is very low – not impossible to get a bite, just very low risk. I fell asleep for a few minutes about an hour ago, and I’m feeling now like a hard, but also satisfying, day of work was done. The stretching routine was particularly needed this evening.

    Me neither, and candidly I hope not to see a Derecho. Good to hear that you’ve dodged them too (although we must say this quietly lest we tempt the weather Gods). Absolutely! And definitely lucky for you there.

    The young bloke did a Stirling job, and I note that he was enthused enough to want to do more of the work next time around. I like that sort of can-do attitude. And the house looked really beautiful. I do so enjoy seeing stone work, what do they call it, err, re-pointed? In the older Victorian era brick homes in Melbourne, the mortar was flush finished and a bloke then came afterwards pointing the mortar joins with distinctive lines. It looks good, but is very slow work. There are still folks around today who do such work, but it takes time and is not a job to be rushed.

    Hehe! The fire today was too hot to get close too, let alone chuck a marshmallow on a stick. The poor confectionery would have melted in seconds. Alas, poor marshmallow, I knew thee well. 🙂 And lest you get the wrong idea, about too much work, no play, we enjoyed a delightful Banh Mi this afternoon with a slice of lemon drizzle cake. Seriously, if I did not do all this hard work, and eat like a rabbit at other times, I’d probably be dead due to excessive cholesterol. Tonight’s dinner is a huge quantity of lightly blanched kale, a couple of fresh fried eggs and a rice / vegetable mix. Not exciting, but tasty and possibly very good for you.

    Plus or minus 100,000 years is vaguely in the ball park. 🙂 Thus proving that there are things we can know, and plenty more that we can only guess at. I’d be surprised if the immediate after effects from such a meteor strike were the only ones, that’s why I asked the question about axial tilt, rotation, orbit etc. It was a 6 mile-ish chunk of rock after all.

    When working around the property, the national youth music broadcaster is playing along in the background, and from time to time, the presenters do tend to suggest a pining for a return to ‘normal’. Mr Greer has some bad news in that regard, but it is not new news to me. I’ve know about the concept of peak oil for about 18 years now, and since then have seen nothing to disprove it. Although people can get pretty upset whenever the topic is brought up. It is possible that the concept offends peoples deeply held views as to the future? What do you reckon about that possibility?

    Being on time to meetings is a mark of respect towards the group which is conducting the meeting. Incidentally, what does go on at the start of the Club’s meetings?

    Hehe! Yes indeedy with the master gardeners. It’s another mystery which we’ll have to carry around with us. 😉 You sound to me like you have a good handle on their movements and walkabouts.

    What your food ate sounds like an awesome book – he says noting down the title. This is also in the not new news for me. Each week I pick up a huge load of coffee grounds, add and mix agricultural lime to them, and spread the contents around the property. The soils here are getting to be OK. I would have liked to have seen the state of soils here prior to European settlement, but even then I’m guessing they were deep, but in short supplies of Calcium and Phosphorous at this site anyway. But yeah, slow population decline will come on the back of depleted soils. Historically speaking, it is not a new story and understanding of this problem is so poor in the community right now, and so few people are involved in growing any produce, that I really believe there is no other outcome for the future.

    Well, it is your summer holiday season!

    It’s hard to discern the inner deeper emotional state of dogs. Their immediate emotional state on the other hand is usually quite obvious. The peanut butter might help her dry skin for sure. And it is cheaper than coconut oil, which the fluffies love. Good luck with the shedding, and may the vacuum cleaner be with you!



  37. Yo, Chris – That was an interesting article on the … cooperation among young, wanna-be farmers. Yes, it might be a good idea to at least make initial contact.

    Winter has it’s uses. 🙂 This time of your year, the snakes should be asleep. Or, at least, sluggish.

    Every once in awhile, one of the old buildings in our downtown gets it’s brick re-pointed. Expensive. But necessary maintenance.

    My dinner was similar. Rice, seeds, garlic, a can of diced tomatoes. Fried up some eggs and chopped them up. A little hot sauce on top, and if you squint real hard, you could call it Mexican cuisines. 🙂

    We know all that stuff from Mr. Greer, but it’s good to be reminded, from time to time. And it’s interesting to read the comments. People are at different stages, along the road to … acceptance? I was reading more of Kingsolver’s book, “Unsheltered”, last night. The mother is ruminating on the daughter. Who is a bit of a wild child, but has the firmest grasp of how things are, and how things are going. “What if Tig is right? … That the problem is actually the world running out of the stuff we need. That capitalism can only survive on permanent expansion but the well eventually runs dry.”

    I think, for me, keeping track of the Master Gardeners is more a … well, I want them to know that if they don’t show up, that they were missed. That they’re valued.

    Every recovery meeting has a set of plastic covered sheets, with the kick off. They’re passed around, and anyone who wants to, reads a bit. Usually, the moderator kicks off the meeting with a welcome, and some ground rules. Duration of meeting (usually, one hour), no cussin’, speak for 5 minutes so everyone who wants to speak, has a turn. If there’s time left at the end, people can double dip. Then there’s a short preamble. IE: what the purpose is. Then someone reads the 12 Steps and someone else reads the 12 Traditions. The whole thing takes less than 10 minutes. It’s a set piece. The thread that holds everything together. I guess.

    Ah, yes. The summer holidays. I see that we have a couple of upcoming spasms of civic who-who. Which will gridlock the town, and I’d best stay home on those days. Chehalis is having a Summer Fest that involves everything from pancake feeds to vintage car shows. Then, later in the month, the dreaded STP (Seattle to Portland) bicycle ride. That will tie up our streets for a good two days.

    I wonder how many people, reading the dog and peanut butter advise, try to apply it topically? Rub it into the coat. Now that would be a mess 🙂 . I’m sure someone, somewhere, has done that. I called this morning to make an appointment for H’s rabies booster shot. Toward the end of the month. $85 for the office visit, and shot. Elinor’s daughter will get me the cash. Elinor is back in the assisted living home, and we’ll see how working on her mobility, will go. Her daughter was talking this morning about her coming home, and navigating about in a wheel chair. Good luck, with that. Lew

  38. Hi Chris,S.L Claire,DJSpo,Lew and Margfh:
    Thanks for your kind get well wishes and prayers for my stroke recovery. I am getting excellent medical and physical therapy care in a local rehabilitation facility and loving care and support from my loving wife who had full recovery from her broken pelvis fracture injury last year.thanks to all.

  39. Hi Lewis,

    The pig farmers and producers are located a bit further away than what the location in the article suggests (which suggests around these parts). Looks to be about 45 miles from here as the crow flies, but due to topography (gorges, rivers, forests and mountain ranges) it’s a lot further than that by road. It may surprise you, but rarely do I travel that far these days. Even the big smoke is closer, by a little bit. Ah, I see, all is now clear. The pigs are located on a distant Eucalyptus plantation, but the producers are not far from my mates of the big shed fame. The location now makes some sense. However, my mates raise pigs, so there may be overlap, but I’ll ask my mates about them anyway and see what they know. Had a look at their CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) subscription offerings and the problem for me is that we don’t eat that much meat, and the subscription offerings were arranged for people who do so. Oh well.

    All the same, sooner or later I’ll have to connect up with local groups and/or train younger folks. That’s life.

    Yes, it is an undocumented side effect of winter – the second deadliest snakes on the planet aren’t at the top of their game. 😉 In getting to know my enemy, I’m starting to come to grips with the life cycle of the snakes, and they’re OK. The easiest strategy is not to harm them, but to make this property hazardous for them. It’s a bit like the rats, they can choose to live here, but it’s gonna be hard for them. Incidentally, Dame Plum is highly disappointed that there have been no rat kills of late. And the foxes have cleaned up the rabbits. Things seem to be more or less working.

    Except that a wombat has decided to create a brand new burrow in one of the garden beds just under the courtyard. What a mess, but we’ve all accommodated the new resident, and if three dogs doesn’t scare off the wombat, the marsupial is as tough as they come. And the wombat does nightly raids on my raised vegetable beds and seems particularly smitten with rocket. Acceptance is the easiest path.

    Yes, re-pointing mortar joins really brings back an old building from the dead. It is slow and very expensive work for master craftsmen. Doesn’t it make you wonder how long the current stock of average housing will last? Years ago I hand built a brick wall using recycled bricks, and the result was very pleasing upon the eye. The thing was though, every single older recycled brick was of a slightly different size and shape, and people looking for a dead uniform wall, are deadly boring. The quest for symmetry can be taken to unnecessary extremes.

    Hehe! Mate, I’m squinting and yeah, the Mexican influence is there for sure. Since all the craziness kicked off, I haven’t eaten any Mexican food, and my life is poorer for the lack. There was a place in the big smoke which produced not the westernised version of the cuisine, but more peasant style with soft tortilla’s filled with vegetables and beans. So good, and so tasty.

    It is good to be reminded from time to time. And yes, the comments are as telling as the essay. I treat the comments as a sort of vox-pop and so get a feel for what others are thinking. Acceptance my friend, is always the end point – not that everyone makes that journey. Ook! Most younger folks I speak with are kind of aware of the imbalances and issues, and not afraid to speak their minds. The media however is not controlled by those folks, and so here we are. The recent census highlighted that the baby boomer’s are no longer in the majority, and the millennial’s have taken on that mantle and are now on the ascendant. My lot are hardly a force to be reckoned with, but it is not lost on me that many policy changes have just been pushed through.

    Exactly, and I would feel much the same thing. With the groups I’m involved with, your sentiment is at the back of my mind too.

    Thank you for walking me through the introductory phase of your meetings. Very, very sensible – and I’m incorporating the methods into my world-view. I’ve had to deal with the cussing thing recently, and chose a left of centre way to deal with it, but perhaps it would be better to be just up-front about the matter? Dunno. And truthfully, I swear too, but there is a time and place for such expressions of emotion.

    Holy carp! Stay safe and avoid the civic goodwill. And if you can’t do that, at least be well stocked to survive the dreaded STP. 🙂

    It’s very possible that the topical application will do no harm, but yeah, it’s definitely a problem for the literalist’s in the wider community. Aren’t you curious to learn whether the topical application worked? Hehe! They might be onto something there.

    Continued with the burn off today, and me tired tonight for sure. However, the work wasn’t all about that. I connected up the final two large water tanks connected to the big shed down below the house. And one of the valves on the largest water tank leaked. I had to remove the valve, get covered in water, and try and screw in a replacement valve. That was excitingly cold and damp – and took two goes. Once the problem was fixed I went down to the fire and dried off. It reminded me of a Jack London story, except things didn’t go badly.



  40. Yo, Chris – The CSA boxes? All meat and no potatoes? 🙂 But, you and the group, it might be wise to become aware of one another. For whatever future reference. But do check with the Big Shed Guyze. They may have some insight.

    Poor Dame Plum! How will she keep at the top of her game, with no regular workouts? I don’t know about that wombat. Sounds like they’ve moved in, pretty close to the house. Convenient to the gardens… This morning, coming back from the Club and Library, I saw a mother raccoon and three or four little babies, crossing the street. Cute as. But I wouldn’t want them in the garden.

    Even better than used brick (aesthetically) are rock walls. I include your gabions in that assessment.

    Thinking on Mexican food, I’m getting a craving for shrimp nachos. I can make my own, at home. But, I’m laying off the hot sauce, for awhile. Been having problems with OMB (Old Man’s Bladder), and spicy food (like hot sauce), is a no-no. I’ll refrain for awhile, and see how it goes. I’d been given some frozen batter dipped fish, so, I picked up some fish and chips malt vinegar. The bottle had British flags plastered all over it, and claimed “Traditional British Flavor.” I think not. Rather tepid and pale. Nothing like the dark stuff, that used to be on the tables at the pub I went to in Portland. The bottle promised “hearty robust flavor.” Nope. Reading the small print, I see it’s made in New Jersey. Also, there’s a note that it’s “bioengineered food.” Oh, well. I’ll use it up. Had some mixed veg, rice and a can of tuna fish, last night. I splashed it on with a heavy hand. Could have been heavier.

    Several people over at Mr. Greer’s mentioned the Netherlands farmers demonstrations. Not a peep in our media. So, I thought I’d check The Beeb. Nothing there, either. But, I thought I’d take a look in, at the Australian news. Of course, it mostly flood news. But there was an article about your census. A general search for “Netherlands Farmers Demonstrations,” finally yielded a few articles. So now I feel a bit more informed about what everyone is talking about.

    Cuss words, in moderation, are great exclamation points. If your not noted for using them, in every other sentence, when you do throw one in, people sit up and take notice.

    H quite likes her occasional peanut butter treat. I made an appointment for her rabies shot, later this month. As I’m not the sole owner of the dog, I made the appointment, at her usual vet. Interesting. They had a little pre-recorded lead in, saying they were taking no new dog or cat clients. Then, last night, I saw an article at the Atlantic, about the lack of vets, and all the reasons for that. I almost linked to it, but didn’t know if you’d be interested. I noticed a spot on H’s tongue, this morning. Is that new? Maybe when I take her to the vet, I can convince them to take a look in her mouth. Maybe.

    I didn’t get as wet as you, changing out the water tank valve, but had my own water problems. The hose I use to water the garden, well, someone keeps taking off the good spray nozzle, and putting on one that leaks out the bottom. One to many times. This time I put on the good nozzle … and pitched the bad one in the dumpster. Take that!

    I’m also having a package problem. I was expecting a package, and for some unknown reason, they’ve started shipping via one carrier, and handing off to our local post office. Well, they handed off early Thursday morning. It’s Saturday, and still no package. I guess if it doesn’t show up Monday morning, I’ll have to go down to the post office, with the tracking number, and see if I can shake it loose. Bother. Lew

  41. Hi Lewis,

    I have it on good authority that if you don’t eat your meat, ya can’t have any pudding! How can you have pudding if you don’t eat your meat? 😉 So many questions left unanswered. And makes you wonder how bad was the meat? I’ve seen a thing or two in my life.

    Visited the big shed dudes today. Their place is looking really good, and the Editor and I were invited along for a master cheese-making course. I learned heaps and the group made: fetta; haloumi; mascarpone (tiramisu here we come do-da, do-da!); and there were also fresh curds made.

    When we got home the front of the house electrical circuit tripped and the lights went out in the front of the house. Turns out the connections on the circuit breaker had gone dry. I may have to get the sparky (electrician) in to open up the main fuse board and give everything a squirt of WD-40. I’ve seen this happen before from time to time, especially in winter weather and the connections just no longer work. I’d hate to think what havoc colder conditions would wreak.

    The big shed dudes had a ferret dude in today to sort out some rabbit burrows. Dame Plum would have a ball there honing her martial skills on pesky critters. But after work, she requires some pampering, as befits her regal status.

    Yes, the wombat resident is using the raised beds as a fast food outlet. Tis but a moment in time.

    I agree, rocks do make the most beautiful of all walls, and thanks for saying that about the gabion cages, we arrange the front rocks so as to provide a pleasing appearance. Who can forget Scott and Helen Nearing, they were an inspiration to rock construction enthusiasts everywhere.

    You might be in luck there as I read that Sriracha is in short supply so your timing is good. You may note that we now have a greenhouse for growing such plants as chilli’s – if the summer weather fails again.

    Mate, please excuse my ignorance, but I don’t even know what bioengineered food is? Another mystery.

    Yes, the demographers have discovered many recent changes in the census data. Always fascinating information and it looks as though the Millennial s are now the population bubble de jour. The news from India had quite a bit of coverage on the Netherlands situation. It does sound a little bit like bureaucracy run mad. I’m pretty sure that last I checked, diesel trucks pump out an enormous amount of nitrogen oxides among other belching technologies.

    Yup, I agree, that is how cuss words are best used. Not often and for effect. Otherwise their potency fails.

    Another mystery, and they’re piling up. Why would someone use the rubbish spray nozzle? But your direct action put an end to the nonsense.

    Hey, that’s how most small and light packages get delivered down here. The mail service runs a courier service (which if memory serves me correctly, the folks on the top of the pile wanted to sell off). Anyway, for all sorts of reasons, that didn’t happen, and most of my packages end up at the Post Office, one way or another.

    Did you discover the lost package and survive the dreaded STP bike ride?

    Better get writing.



  42. Yo, Chris – So, were all these exotic and tasty cheeses, made from goats milk? I think you mentioned the Big Shed Guyz went that route, instead of a cow? Or am I mistaken? Now that you’ve got the cheese end of Tiramisu conquered, it’s onto the Lady Fingers!

    I see ferrets are not native to Australia. But have been there since the 1880s. Sounds like an introduced species, that proved very useful. Seems like every month, some new introduced species, pops up here. Usually through the exotic animal trade. The latest addition to our flora and fauna? Giant African Land Snails! I think I mentioned the tribe of raccoons I saw yesterday?

    Sorry to hear about the fuse board. As with duct tape, WD-40, is very handy.

    I tried Sriracha, to see what the big deal was. Still don’t know what the big deal is. But I saw an article, that it was in short supply. Along with several other things. When it comes to hot sauce, I’m a Tapatio kind of guy. Ever since reading in “Taco, USA” that it’s the hot sauce your most likely to find sitting on the table, in most Mexican households. I think there are some other hot sauces (Louisiana) that are equally good, but are more expensive.

    Oh, dear. One down and three to go. I worked in the garden, last night, and noticed another broccoli is bolting. And the one that looked the best looks like it has some kind of gray fungus. Sigh. I’ll be looking into the red rocket.

    I’ll see if the postie turns up with the package, tomorrow. The STP is next weekend.

    I was a bit at loose ends, when it comes to movies. So, I stopped in the library, yesterday, to see if anything sitting on the shelf appealed. There was a new “Batman” movie. Now, I’m not a fan, but decided to give it a whirl. Actually, it turned out to be pretty good. Back to the basics. Not a super hero in sight, and more of a film noir. Colin Farrell (who was in “After Yang”) popped up in this movie, too. But he’s unrecognizable, as The Penguin. I don’t really know what the reasoning behind that transformation was all about. But, in general, the movie was well worth a bowl of popcorn. Lew

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