Winter months are cold and wet. For those born during the winter months, birthdays mean short days, extreme humidity, and dark comes early for those who are celebrating the annual passage of time. Not great times for solar power production either, and darkness descends when the government decides: Son, you’re gonna be locked down. There’s not much to celebrate then, especially when you get that edict worse than anywhere else on the planet.
My previous two birthdays were abysmal experiences. The rain drizzled down just beyond the veranda. The park bench was dimly lit by the street lights, and how to discern whether the swirling individual rain drops were mist or drizzle was of importance. After all, the air was only just above freezing. A take away pizza and bottle of Marsh ‘Mallow Mafia Stout’ possibly kept the cold at bay, but more likely it was the thick layers of woollen clothing. Sheepskin boots and jacket, woollen hat and jumper. Thank gawd for sheep. Crazy days.
Fortunately this year there were no lock downs, a good outcome for mental health. There’s always unexpected consequences from the previous crazy days. The other day there was an article suggesting that speech therapists are in high demand, apparently really young kids didn’t get enough socialising and interaction during the lock downs. What did the government expect?
With no lock down this year, we went to the cinema to watch the film: Top Gun: Maverick. The cinema was mostly empty. Honestly, expectations were low, and wrong. Such a great film. A really simple story, told really well. It pumped from one end to the other. The authorities in the film said not possible. The plucky protagonist suggested otherwise. And proved them all wrong to boot. Can’t get better than that.
Maybe the crazy extended lock downs have affected my brain. At such times as these, with inflation running rampant, thoughts stray into the dark realms of economics. I reckon the Modern Monetary Theorists with their penchant for expanding the money supply, got it wrong. The theory may have worked when there were suckers to take the extra paper in exchange for actual stuff, but when there are resource and energy shortages, let’s just say that things have gone badly. Unfortunately, unlike the cinematic world, there’s no plucky band of heroes to save the economic day.
The numpties in command don’t seem to have any new ideas right now for solving the problem either. Simultaneously increasing both immigration and interest rates, whilst continuing to expand the money supply (I don’t see how they can’t not do that given their deficits), are probably going to have unexpected consequences. They tried this in the 1990’s to an uncomfortable extreme. And as a very young bloke, it put me out of work, scrambling to do anything which kept a roof over my head and food upon the table. But it also sent house prices climbing for the next twenty five years.
Makes the sensitive person wonder what will happen this time around? Can’t say for sure, but my experience of that recession we had to have during the 1990’s, was not a pleasant or fun experience. Repeat of yesteryear, what with the economic misery of those days, probably with the same outcome too – a whole bunch of mortgagee and other auctions. The thought doesn’t make me comfortable, and is suggestive of the difficulties of pursuing contradictory policies and beliefs.
But, who knows? Maybe the government has a small band of plucky buff heroes ready and willing to put their lives at risk to save us all from the awful economic ill winds blowing over the land? Probably not though. Right now, as the old Zen story may have suggested: Before economic disaster: Chop wood, carry water. After economic disaster: Chop wood, carry water. Good advice for troubled times.
Speaking of unintended consequences, I’ve had something of an ongoing War upon Rats. The clever rodents had managed to break into the previously thought of as rodent-proof chicken enclosure. After learning that I’d been feeding twenty very healthy looking rats on the chickens grain for quite a while, I decided to act. That was a few months ago. Brother, the news from the front is good, and the war is turning in our favour.
After fifteen separate bouts of modifications to the chicken enclosure, the rats are now again excluded. The problem lately has been that one of the modifications involved removing the guttering which collected rainfall from the steel corrugated roof of the enclosure. The water was collected and stored in an adjacent water tank. Unfortunately, the rats were using the guttering and pipes as a super highway, and it had to go. So, it was removed. That’s when things got weird.
Now, when the rain falls upon the roof of the chicken enclosure, it slides off and falls onto the ground on either side of the enclosure. It’s been super wet this year, and last year, and also the year before that. The ground next to the chicken enclosure was pure mud, and despite the steel and concrete used in the enclosure walls, the inside of the enclosure got very wet recently. And two chickens died within two days. Something had to be done.
The above photo was taken during one of the modifications fortifying the fortress against the plucky rats. The uphill side of the enclosure became very wet during the winter months. This week, we installed a ground surface water drain, added crushed rock and dug in a decent sized rock wall.
Any surface water now gets channelled into the drain, runs around the rear of the chicken enclosure and exits downhill onto an oak tree.
Earlier in the week produced a few sunny and warm early spring days. I’ve been doing a lot of paid work recently, and so took one sunny afternoon off to get outside and put the stump grinder into action. The machine eats up old tree stumps, but it is still a lot of hard work and is not a quick job. A century of logging has left a lot of tree stumps around the property, and it is easier to maintain the property if you’re not having to worry about hitting old tree stumps with the mower.
A lot of sawdust gets produced in the process of grinding out an old tree stump. The sawdust is spread around, the area levelled out, and on the surface I apply my patented mixture of coffee grounds, clay and soil from the immediate area, and Agricultural Lime (Calcium Carbonate). Plants seem to grow in that heady mixture.
Two weeks ago I may have mentioned that the old Dirt Rat Suzuki was replaced. The replacement Jimny seems like a great little car. I have no desire to test the limits of this very capable machine, and they’re probably beyond my skills anyway. However, I did test the limits of the car radio, and the factory supplied speakers were a manufacturing abomination. Sure, they worked and produced sound, so they can’t be faulted, but the quality was below my acceptable minimum standards. Earlier in the week the standard speakers were replaced with after market beasts of speakers. Yeah, rockin’ the bush!
Spring continues to be very wet, and Thursday was no exception. By Friday, the sun shone again and the humidity in the atmosphere produced an astonishing sunset. The colour was one that I had not seen before. Blink and you’d miss it.
The fruit trees are continuing to break their winter dormancy. Several plum trees have produced a lot of blossoms.
Fingers crossed that we avoid late frosts now. Late frosts are not unknown here. The frosts burn off the blossoms on the tree, and damage young fruit.
Onto the flowers:
The temperature outside now at about 10.00am is 6’C (43’F). So far this year there has been 777.8mm (30.6 inches) which is up from last weeks total of 736.2mm (29.0 inches)