Carry that weight

Country works subtle changes upon a person. Nowadays, the serious young man who strove with earnest zeal at the top end of town, is gone. Where to, we’ll never know. What’s left over, is what remains. Plus an accumulation of the many strange experiences which come from living in a wild locale.

The early morning coffee focused the mind. Unrelenting rain. That sure is a lot of rain out there. Plans to work outside were quietly ditched, reality had other plans. The pantry stores had been running low in relation to honey. There are only a few trusted suppliers, and seriously wet and windy weather is no time to visit the lovely old hippy couple living way out in the forest. They sell the best honey around. There’s no better, except when the weather is filthy wet.

Why not head out to refill the pantry when the weather suggests so? The second best supplier is another (sort of), home based business in a town an hour north of here. Of course industrial CNC cutters are probably necessary when a business needs to scale up, plus a very big shed. But the honey is still sold from the house, so home based it is.

9kg / 20 pounds of honey stored easily in the rear of the Dirt Mouse Suzuki. Dodge the rain. Head on home again. Except with maybe a stop off to pick up a very tasty coffee scroll and lamington. The tasty treats were enjoyed walking around a very soggy looking botanical garden. Squish, squish, squish the leather boots spoke as we pretended that the weather was better than it was. The cakes sure were good though.

Travelling more than an hour from home makes a person hungry. Cakes didn’t fill the guts. Another stop off and a gourmet pie soothed the hungry beast – that was me. All the good food was bringing on a food coma, and I’d been working hard recently, and yeah, sleepy. You drive, and Sandra drove on home from there. I may have stayed awake, maybe.

About a two minutes from home, a huge tree lay across the road. A large white vehicle was on the other side of the tree, waiting. Sheer force of personality is hardly enough to move a huge downed tree across the road. We swapped drivers, turned around, and drove another half an hour all the way around a quarter of the mountain range so as to get the two minutes home. Dunno what happened to the large white vehicle, probably not a smart idea to wait there, for where one huge tree has fallen, another may do so.

There being only three roads which cross the mountain range, it is no quick trip to cross to the other side of the huge downed tree. After a lot of unnecessary mucking around on mountain roads, and about five minutes from home, we noticed a different ‘nother large white vehicle stationary on the road, possibly taking a phone call. What is it with these large white, but this time muddy, vehicles? Are white vehicles cheaper? Are they the new Tribble?

This time, that large white muddy vehicle was known. The little Dirt Mouse Suzuki sidled around the much larger vehicle, and headed up the road homeward bound. Before too long, the large white vehicle, travelling at considerable speed on the forest roads, caught up with us. Pulling over and indicating to let them know that we knew something of what was ahead for them, the large white vehicle misconstrued the intention.

Beeping the horn merrily as if to say thanks for letting them past, the large white vehicle shot past, at speed – to an uncertain future. Surely you want to see what happens, don’t you? This was suggested, and affirmatively answered. So, we headed past our road, and further up the forest track. And there it was, the large white vehicle stuck on the wrong side of the huge downed tree.

At a distance you could almost sense the level of dismay among the flashing lights of the emergency services folks hard at work cutting up the huge tree. That wouldn’t have been a quick or easy job, and there was little room for the large white vehicle to turn around.

The butt of a huge fallen tree now sticks out from the roadside
The deep rut in the mud on the side of the road suggests that someone got bogged

People sure can be strange. Years ago as a volunteer local fire fighter we had to cut up and remove storm damaged fallen trees over roads. And I can’t forget the numpty in one of the cars urging us volunteers to hurry up. Apparently they had somewhere urgent to go, as if that is excuse enough for such behaviour.

You learn a lot living in wild and remote locales. You learn a lot living with huge trees. And you learn a lot from gardening. Years ago, the brains little light bulb went off in an ah-ha moment. So obvious from hindsight.

Plenty of people get super excited about intensive edible gardening. It works, so why not? Except it doesn’t work all that well when you can’t bring in whatever minerals, composts and soils to keep it all working intensively. If ever you’ve watched the soil level fall in a raised garden bed, well it’s alarming to see soil turned into plants that rapidly. The forest doesn’t have access to all those easily imported minerals and composts. When conditions are OK, the intensively vegetated forest can survive well enough, after all the forest is very dense here so the facts speak for themselves. But when conditions aren’t good, you know, too wet, too dry, or even too windy – that’s when trouble begins. Due to the sheer competition, the plants just don’t have the deep root systems to be able survive the more extreme conditions. And can they then carry the weight?

A 30m / 100ft tree about to keel over here. Observant readers will note that it’s friend is already lying horizontally

The forests here were worked for over a century since about 1850. In fact this area was named “Cherokee” by forestry workers from the US who tried their luck in the gold rush. Failing at that, they then turned their hands to their old occupations, and the rest as they say, is history.

They left a lot of mess here. A whole lot of mess. And slowly over the years we’ve been clearing the mess up. Some of the felled logs are huge, with rotten cores. Makes you wonder what the forest used to look like. Such logs are not good firewood, and they’re hard on tools. And a few logs are larger than our tools can work. Those get burnt off. It was wasteful to drop the trees in the first place. Only the oldest and largest trees have hollows that the forest critters can live in and if we don’t look after them, the forest will get quiet.

Ruby supervises the cleanup

The fire burned for a few days. Even the heavy rain failed to quell the fire. Now there is only ash which will be spread around the area as a fertiliser.

Ollie shies away from the heat

Between the large shed and the greenhouse heading downhill, we constructed a set of timber stairs. The whole lot was made from scrap timber. We made up the design of the stairs as we went along, and they ended up looking pretty good.

Dame Plum is appreciative of the new set of timber stairs

Earlier in the week, two mornings produced 0’C / 32’F temperatures, but bizarrely the only ice to be seen was on the roof of the Dirt Mouse and Dirt Rat Suzuki’s.

The Dirt Rat Suzuki’s roof was frozen with ice

Hopefully, the blossoms on the fruit trees weren’t affected by the frigid weather. Time will tell, but so far it appears not.

The rain on the other hand must be having some sort of effect on the fruit trees. There is standing and surface water on paddocks, and that is impressive given the overall slope of the land.

The paddocks are rather wet right now
More wet paddocks. What’s going on?

Despite the rain and wind, spring is slowly progressing. The many raspberry canes moved to the garden terraces have begun to (dare I say it?) spring into life!

The recently relocated raspberry canes are coming to life

The garden is full of blossoming fruit trees, and the bees do venture forth to do their stuff when the sun occasionally shines.

A feral cherry tree in one of the garden beds surrounded by echium plants and flowers

Onto the flowers:

It’s Rhodie time, and the yellow Rhododendron is the earliest of the lot
The unusual and intriguing flowers of the Acer Negundo
Daffodils, Citrus and Cherry blossoms light up the land
A very stunning weeping Cherry puts on a great show

The temperature outside now at about 10.00am is 6’C (43’F). So far this year there has been 833.4mm (32.8 inches) which is up from last weeks total of 777.8mm (30.6 inches)

35 thoughts on “Carry that weight”

  1. Yo, Chris – Just out of curiosity, to what use do you put all that honey? Inquiring Minds Want to Know. 🙂 Coffee scrolls. Similar to our cinnamon rolls / buns, but with a lot of variations. I see some of yours even have coconut on them.

    As long as you didn’t drool down the window, you were awake. Stick to that story. Perhaps, due to a temporal rift, the first large white vehicle you saw, was also the second large white vehicle. If not, pop the hood and tinker with your space time continuum, a bit. Add it to your “to do” list. Wouldn’t want to be caught with a wonky space time continuum. 🙂

    That was some tree that came down. Yikes! Best not be anywhere in the neighborhood when those loose their grip. The only reason I can think of to justify the numpty urging on the workers is if he had a pregnant wife in the car, about to deliver. Otherwise, no excuse.

    The size of those logs you had to burn off, was startling. Maybe, they cut those down to get them out of the way, to access even LARGER timber? When they were doing a bit of logging, out where I lived, before, some trees were ignored as the modern mills can’t take such large logs, anymore. There was a mill which could, but it was distant and costs would have eaten into profit. I also discovered, that when you see a loaded log truck, it’s interesting to count the number of logs. Most common is an “eight to twelve” log load. If you see a three or four log load, that was some big timber. That’s right. Blame the Americans for leaving a mess. 🙂

    The new stairs are really grand. Quit nice. A job well done.

    Your wet paddock pretty much looks like any grassy area, here, during the winter. When I bring H in, I have to wring her feet out, in a towel. They’re like little sponges.

    The cherry, daffodil and citrus really add a splash of nice color, to an otherwise bleak landscape. A bit of color relief to perk you up, a bit.

    I picked more cherry tomatoes, and will run another load through the dryer, tomorrow. I also washed the two clam shells we got in our box, of sweet grape tomatoes. They have some kind of an … oil on the surface. It’s tasteless, but I still washed them in a bowl with a bit of vinegar, and then gave them a rinse. Probably some kind of petroleum product. I’ve had grapes from foreign climes, that, even when washed taste of petroleum. Nasty stuff, and I never bought them, again. Lew

  2. Hi Inge,

    Mushrooms have been something of a mystery to me too. A few years ago we trialled growing them, but weren’t able to give them the proper attention, or exacting conditions they required. I suspect that they’ll require some sort of specialised construction such as a root cellar cut into the side of the hill, and candidly that possibility seems like a lot of work when there are more urgent projects to attend to.

    You can’t do everything, despite what adults used to tell me when I was a child.

    Turning around and getting home via a secondary option isn’t a bad thing to do, if it’s not all that far to go. And possibly in your case it may not be. Here the journey was well over 20 miles to get the two minutes home. If it was a real problem, there are people I could have called upon for assistance, but best not over use such relationships. The funny thing is that I have the tools and experience to be able to deal with such a large fallen tree, however, the state government takes the responsibility for dealing with such things upon itself – and that seems like a dumb choice to me. As time goes on, the ability to wield that centralised control will lessen.



  3. Hi Lewis,

    That’s my understanding too about brewing and baking – the techniques and materials go hand in hand. And your observation as to conservation of produce is matched by my experience. A mate visited years ago, and he took a shine to the Anzac biscuits, and by the sixth biscuit I quietly cut off his access. The most I can consume are three, but yeah. They take a bit of effort to make, so I try to ensure they last. The same goes for the country wines. It’s not a two minute job to make the stuff, so you have to eek out the produce lest it all be quickly gone, and then you have to make more. It’s like some sort of weird feedback loop – possibly described as responsibility? Dunno.

    I get that about War of the Worlds, and of course need I mention that I grew up listening to Jeff Wayne’s musical version of the tale? Yes, yes, I hear you about the musical thing, but being very young I was easily programmed. 🙂 The guy from the Moody Blues sung the song Forever Autumn from the musical and I know every word and note. Lovely music. Hmm. Early programming is hard to shake! 🙂

    Mate, with the Alien film, just assume for a moment that as a young child, I had no idea what the film was about. In those days, reviews were generally penned in newspapers and magazines, and of course there was ‘word of mouth’, and trailers. But, in these enlightened days you can watch the trailer at home (on demand) and get a feel for the film. I’ve heard that due to music streaming services, current release music has changed because the intro has to be catchy enough to acquire the listeners attention. What a nightmare of a problem. Plenty of music is what I’d describe of as a ‘grower’.

    The Black Phone trailer gave me goose bumps. Ah, Joe Hill, of course. The gift runs in the blood. A super creepy tale. 🙂 On the to-see list.

    With the spring equinox on Friday, things are warming here, as they cool down for you. Hopefully the Packwood library and town remains out of harms way. At lunch time today I sat in the greenhouse for a few minutes and just took in the warmth. So nice. Dug up the ginger tuber so as to see whether it had rotted over winter, and no it seemed OK. I broke the tuber into about three chunks and replanted it closer to the surface. I was amazed to discover lots of worms in the soil in the greenhouse, especially given it is only a few months old. If the soil was three years in the greenhouse, I’d be more confident that things would grow in there, but at this stage it’s a bit touch and go. We’ll see. At the end of this month I reckon I’ll start the seeds for the growing season. I’ve got to get the water set up in there so things are easier to maintain. Oh well, nobody said things would be easy.

    Wow, that’s quick. Interestingly, I recall that the recession in the 1990’s had more than its fair share of mortgagee and assets under finance auctions, and I dunno, you hear things. Things that make you go hmm. 😉 The cupboard at the Club is a great idea.

    Wise to dodge that experience. I hear you! Mate, that’s wisdom. 🙂 I’m not wired for such colour, movement and sound. There are better equipped folks than you or I to attend such events.

    Honey has many uses. The three main uses here are toasted muesli (made a batch today), dog breakfast feed, and of course the dog biscuit treats (made yesterday). I’m a bit dubious as to the quality of honey as suppliers can add in the much cheaper sugar syrup and it would be bonkers hard to detect. We wouldn’t have really thought much about that matter, except we make mead, and a honey/sugar syrup mix produces awful mead – so sweet it’s undrinkable. Headache inducing sweetness. Yeah, so we’re super careful about where we purchase that stuff. Honey maybe 80% sugar, but that means it’s also 20% other stuff, and that’s where the goodies are.

    Speaking of honey, casually strolling around the orchard today (running the dogs out of energy), I noticed some native bees upon the almond flowers. That was a first, and I hadn’t expected to see them so early, but it’s a great thing given varroa mite is in the state to the north of here, well a bloke with an orchard sometimes needs a plan B.

    The coconut laden buns are called ‘cream buns’ and they’re pretty good. You don’t see them as often as you’ll see a coffee scroll, mostly because I reckon the shelf life would be less. Although I believe they use mock cream and mix the coconut into that. Yum!

    Mate, nobody saw nothin’ about drool. Maybe. 🙂

    Hehe! Sure, temporal anomalies are pesky things. I was going to write in the story that the large white vehicles are somehow breeding, but it just sounded weird, and I couldn’t work it in as a joke. People might get upset. So yeah, talk about idea gets quietly dumped.

    That tree was a house crushing, car squooshing tree! Fortunately nobody was injured. The volunteering thing seemed like an unpaid job after a few years. I recall one old timer jocularly suggesting that he’ll send in a timesheet, and I reckon he was on the money with that observation. I actually couldn’t understand what I was meant to be getting out of the experience, given the large number of hours put into it. It used to be a more social activity, and a way of getting rural people together – but that got squooshed hard, then it turned into an unpaid job. I didn’t get that at all. I’d hazard a guess that the people doing the squooshing were getting paid.

    Mate, I can’t figure out what was going on with the loggers. That’s as good a reason as any I’ve heard. And it is not as if there aren’t very large trees around here. It’s possible they had two bulldozers and ran a chain between them. Then something changed and they decided not to harvest the downed timber. Dunno. It makes little sense to me. And there are huge tree stumps dumped around the place. Those are a pain too because they burnt the outer edges and preserved the uprooted stumps? Another theory is that the 1983 fires put the loggers out of business and closed the forest to them? That’s possible, and one day they just left, and left behind the mess.

    Hehe! That’s a true story about the naming. Although the history I read suggested that the loggers were from the west coast of your country, which makes sense given the Pacific Ocean and stuff, except for the name which derives from the eastern part of your continent. Another mystery.

    Thanks for that. I like to think that I’m pretty handy at carpentry.

    The paddocks are bonkers wet. Poor H having to deal with that at her low height above the ground. Yes, the early flowers do cheer the soul – the sun does a pretty good job too.

    I’d wash the oil off too – you never quite know what the stuff is. It may not be oil, but some sort of preservative. I’ve had ciders made from parts of the world which are a bit heavy handed with the sulphur based preservatives. Not sure I enjoyed cider when it has undertones of sulphur. Not nice. One of the things which are in short supply is preservatives for the wine industry.



  4. Hello Chris,
    Trees fall. Maybe that’s their part of the eternal game of nutrient cycling?
    The few times that I have been in old-growth forests, I am in awe of all the moss-covered trunks of fallen giants, slowly consumed by our fungal friends. Each of those trees fell, and tomorrow maybe some more will come down.

    Nowadays, we empty the forests and don’t replace the nutrients. We just plant new monocultures of “highly productive varieties”.
    One day I suspect that we will notice that trees eat soil, like vegetables do, as you so well put it in this week’s installment. Moving large amounts of whatever to a faraway location is apparently the best way of using up the petroleum we inherited.

    I am lucky to be located on a very young geology, with very fine sand soil at my place, and rich floodplain clay a few kilometers away. Minerals galore, and gently undulating fields and low hills. These soils could last millennia, but we choose to plow and let the wind and rain take the good stuff into the sea.

    Last week in the local newspaper, they shared this photo, which is also available on the on-line version: This is a field ten kilometers from my place and I had some smoke-without-fire experience here as well.
    (I plant lots of trees to capture as much dust as possible, before it goes into the sea, but it is an uphill battle. Or headwind struggle?)

    I am happy to hear that you got home safe. Those muddy ravines next to the muddy road look like suzuki-swallowers.


  5. Yo, Chris – I always feel like something a little sweet, after dinner. If I’ve made my own biscuits or muffins, I usually eat just two or three. Somehow, more satisfying .. more filling than the commercial stuff.

    You jogged a memory. I had the Moody Blues album, “Days of Future Past.” As I remember, I nearly wore out the grooves. I should get another copy of it. See if it holds up.

    “The Black Phone” takes place in the late 1970s, so there’s not a computer or smart device, in sight. Some of it was filmed in Super 8. The director had some interesting things to say about that, in the DVD extras. Kind of a home movie, quality. He always felt that that kind of footage, was a bit … menacing? As if there were bad things happening right outside the frame. It was very effective.

    What a switch. Last night I watched the new “Buzz Lightyears” movie. It was pretty good, but the end was kind of a mess, and didn’t make much sense. No popcorn was harmed in the viewing of this movie. 🙂

    The rise and fall of soil. That’s pretty neat that you’ve got worms, already, in your greenhouse. I wonder what they eat? I’m a bit worried about the stock tank, that I’ve got. The cherry tomato in that tank, didn’t do as well, as the cherry tomato in my old bed. But the zucchini, did fine. I’ll be adding a lot of “stuff” to the tank bed. See if that perks things up. Also, if I run across any worms, I’ll move them over.

    The picnic for the Club, turned out about 50 people. I heard there was enough food for all, with very little left over. The weather was perfect.

    I really use little honey or sugar. I wonder where I get my sucrose? Probably, the, at least four servings of fruit I eat, per day. And sugar hides in a lot of other things. My splurges, I suppose. Pumpkin pie spice ice cream, anyone? 🙂

    That’s interesting about the early arrival of your native bees. I wonder if it “means” anything, weather forecast wise? I saw very few European honey bees, this year. But plenty of bumblebees and some kind of small, native pollinators.

    I class shredded coconut right up there with kale and chard. But I do remember that as a kid, I really liked busting open a fresh coconut fruit, and enjoyed the flesh and milk. The things are a devil to get into. I say “fruit” as, though there is argument, it seems they lean toward “fruit” rather than “nut.” Something about them belonging to a class of plants called “drupes.”

    The Club is all volunteer. It has a few problems, but they always seem to work themselves out. I always try and remember to thank whoever is working the counter, for being there. And I try and bring little “goodies” for this person and that. Jane like the tinned beef ravioli. Another likes tinned pineapple. Someone else likes the little tins of potted meat. So, when I’m out shopping, I pick up an extra. Just to let them know their appreciated.

    I got to wondering if all the logging debris got left behind, because the loggers were interrupted, by something? WWI? WWII? The Spanish Flu? Labor unrest? The logging company went broke? Or maybe a couple of people got injured or killed, and it was just considered to be a “bad luck job” and the workers refused to return?

    Not such a mystery. People came from the east coast, all the time. 400,000 people came over the Oregon Trail. After our Civil War, the south was so devastated, that a lot of people came west for a new start. During the farm crisis of the 1920s, and during the Great Depression, a lot of people moved right out of the hills of the south, and into our hills. (Thanks, guys, for bringing your possums, along!) 🙁 There’s a couple of ladies, who live here, who were born and raised up in the east part of our county. And both have pronounced Southern accents. Or maybe, your loggers just watched too many American western movies. 🙂

    Probably nothing to be concerned about, but I also wondered if the petroleum spray might ignite my dryer? Stranger things have happened. A couple of weeks ago, our night manager, for some reason he can’t explain, opened his freezer on his fridge, before going to work. The elements were glowing red hot. I saw a picture. Looked like the mouth of hell.

    I loaded up all four trays of the dryer, this morning. The tomatoes are happily shriveling away. Let’s see. This will make my 5th quart. I’m shooting for six. Lew

  6. Hi Chris,
    A 20 mile detour – nothing to laugh at. Here there is road construction/repair everywhere and it moves so one never quite knows when you’ll encounter a detour or more likely only one lane open with flaggers directing traffic. Best to add in some extra time. Soon it’ll be harvest time and additional time will be needed as well. I may have mentioned it before but its said that the Chicago area (and probably other large metropolitan areas have two seasons, winter and construction.

    In the heavy rain a about a week ago there were reports of trees falling as the ground was saturated south of here. That happened at our old house once and the tree barely missed one of our buildings.

    I’m sorry to read about the varroa mite arriving. It’s thought to be the number one reason that hives just don’t make it a 2nd year. Doug’s hives, which were all new bees, all had them so he had to treat. A local state bee inspector stopped by here recently as he was in the neighborhood. He said there is no normal anymore. Doug had a moderately successful year with honey though it was very slow to come in. We hold quite a bit for ourselves for mead too. He does his final extraction pretty early so the bees have plenty of honey for themselves over the winter. The goldenrod and asters are in bloom now and bees are all over it.

    I’m sorry to hear about your continuing challenging weather. Good you have that greenhouse.

    Weather has been good lately though a bit humid. Starting Thursday it’s going to get quite a bit cooler.


  7. Hi Margaret,

    It was no quick detour home. To be frank, if there was no emergency services to deal with the tree, I could have walked home, got changed, and drove back (with the dirt rat) with enough gear to sort the tree out – without getting bogged too. That can-do response is kind of frowned upon, sad to say. Possibly it is merely a moment in time.

    Our countries are following similar trajectories and policies, and there sure is a lot of roadwork going on down here too. Hmm. When I was a kid, those blokes were employed in manufacturing (and I’ve worked on a production line). Then construction seemed like the next big thing. Then road works. Makes you wonder what will be next? Anecdotally, they seem rather well remunerated from what I’ve read.

    That’s funny! Like we’ve got both sorts of music: country and western (to quote from the Blues Brothers film, yes I believe it may have been a musical). Seriously, those cranes in the high winds in that city, would make me feel uncomfortable. Gravity exerts continual pressure upon them, and down here there have been incidents.

    Oh my gawd! You got very lucky that the tree missed one of the buildings. Always a risk with trees. Some parts of the property, the ground is like a sponge.

    Yes, it will be a problem for sure. All I can do is make their lives as good as possible and not put them under undue stress. On the other hand, yesterday I noted a native bee on one of the almond flowers, so maybe we’ll be sort of ok, but most likely not.

    Doug’s approach is commendable. Most people candidly expect too much, and then try to make it up to the critters with sugar syrup. I don’t reckon it is the same stuff.

    Hope your mead is good! 🙂 I’m quite fond of mead, it’s a lovely drop. We’ve got some that’s aged six years now and it is super smooth. I’ve noted that it appears to have anti-inflammatory properties and you can feel it with insect bites.

    Discovered a blue tongue lizard in the wood shed this afternoon. At first I thought it was a snake. Gave me quite the fright.

    The sun shone with a little bit of warmth today, a little bit. 57’F and sunny. Pretty cold for only a few days out from the spring equinox. It’ll probably be another short growing season again.

    Yes, winter is approaching for you. Hope Doug has sorted out the firewood. I’m working on firewood around this time of year.



  8. Hi Goran,

    Gravity exerts continual pressure, and it takes energy for the trees to stay upright and continue to ignore it. 🙂 But gravity wins in the end.

    I agree, it is part of the nutrient recycling loop. However, the hardwood (the eucalyptus obliqua trees are 720kg to 830kg/m3 – pretty dense) doesn’t break down quickly, and it takes decades for the soil to reclaim its own. So I’m not sure how that works here. The Indigenous folks used to regularly burn, everywhere. From my reading of their activities, I doubt there were many locales they didn’t get to at least once every fifteen years, and grasslands were apparently every three years. That is an astounding effort when you consider the size of the continent. I suspect the hardwood was burned and that sped up the breakdown of the organic matter back into the soils, and regularly kept the forest understory clear. You have to remember, back then, the trees would easily have been double the height they are today and fires may have had a hard time climbing that high into the canopy. And the trees are already big here. The canopy is around 50m at the highest spots.

    The tiny fungi are our friends! Doesn’t it make you wonder what amazing fungi species have been lost over the years due to forestry practices?

    🙂 Got it in one! The tree spacing is also a problem, because once you reduce the available minerals, the trees have to be spaced further apart so as to reduce competition for scarce resources. You can see stressed trees in regrowth forests, and over the decades following re-seeding, the trees slug it out between themselves for supremacy. I’m guessing that with a bit of care, the process could be sped up, and the resulting forest would be healthier. Dunno.

    Your soil is enviable. That type of soil is very rare in old and worn down Australia.

    Isn’t that always the case, you don’t know what you have, until it’s gone – as the song says.

    Far out! I never knew such things were part of your part of the world. Yes, grab what you can, anyway you can, sorry to say. Unfortunately, we do things big down here, again, sorry to say: Huge dust storm sweeps north-west Queensland as winds reach more than 100kph. I wish that I could say that such things are uncommon.

    Hehe! Yes, I suspect the emergency services folks got bogged. How else to explain the deep rut in the road, which nobody thought to fix.



  9. Hi Lewis,

    Speaking of sweet, how are the chocolate supplies going? It’s kind of been long enough, that your palate might now expect the more expensive choccy? And that’s interesting, because I too find that with the food we make. It’s more filling, regardless of serving size. Some places I’ve eaten lunch, and not that long afterwards felt hungry. Not sure what that means, but I know it doesn’t mean nothing. I’ve read that the protein and nutrient content in food has reduced over many decades, but it’s a bit of a worry.

    Speaking of food, but for the chickens. Today I picked up over a hundred pounds of a 65/35 mixture of rock dust minerals and bone meal for the chickens. Bought them a special plastic bin to keep the stuff in, mixed it together in the bin, and chucked some into their run and feed. We’ll see what happens. If I purchased meat, that’s $15/kg (2.2 pounds), but this stuff works out to be $2/kg (2.2 pounds). That’s thinking laterally! Not to mention economically. Plus they also get handfuls of fresh herbs and greens from the garden. Winning. 🙂

    Late this afternoon, both Dame Plum and Ollie told me that there was something in the firewood shed. Fearing the worst, I chucked the dogs inside the house, and got a torch and peered into the shed. Expected to find a snake, and at first I thought it was – then noticed the little leggies. Snakes don’t have legs. It was a blue tongue lizard. I relocated the lizard to a multi-layered rock shelf far away where there should plenty of things to eat and places to hide. Snakes unfortunately consume the lizards so, the presence of the lizard will attract snakes. Best if the little fella was elsewhere.

    Nights in White Satin is a stunning song. No mucking around, that one is A-grade awesome. Haunting stuff. Dunno about the album, but that song stacks up, and maybe able to carry the rest of the work? He still performs today.

    Super 8 is a good format choice, and it does give a bit of a creepy vibe. Interestingly, I didn’t pick up on that in the trailer.

    Good for the popcorn, someone needs to cut the stuff some slack. I’d heard strange stories about that film, but haven’t really watched any of the toy story franchise of films.

    Now you’ve got me wondering what the worms are eating in the greenhouse soil. I didn’t add the worms in there either – the eggs may have come in with the copious amounts of compost added to the soil mix. At this stage it is kind of an artificial soil, and will take about three years before it becomes better. But at the moment, nothing is dying in it (that I’m aware of). As spring is slowly warming from the winter slumber, I’m having trouble getting water to the greenhouse. Will have to sort out a water pump, and soon.

    Had a great chat with a neighbour today. I’d decided to take an easier day and we sat down in the afternoon sunshine and yakked for an hour or two. Good fun.

    You got me wondering about the raised garden beds here too. I did a bit of digging this afternoon and discovered no worms. Hmm. What do worms eat? I’d read a lot about the subject years ago and appear to have forgotten.

    It was nice that the pot luck aspect worked out OK. I’m always disturbed when there is too much food at such events. But then little goes to waste here.

    Fruit provides fructose rather than sucrose. Sucrose Is apparently made up of Glucose and Fructose, and fructose has the least impact on your blood sugar. I eat a lot of fruit. It’s possible that your ice cream contains sugar from sugar cane rather than corn syrup? Dunno. Can’t say that I’ve tasted corn syrup, and may try to track some down to see what it tastes like. Who knew fructose was in the plant agave? Reading about this subject has made my head spin, exorcist style. And I’m now more confused about the subject than ever.

    Yup! I suspect that as a civilisation we’ve used and abused the European honey bee, and now we have to pay the price. Fortunately there appear to be other pollinators here where I am, and clearly where you are, but I can’t say for sure about everywhere else. When in Melbourne I see very few insects, it’s a bit eerie really. I do sort of feel that commercial orchards will eventually have to set aside some room to plant flowering plants and/or meadows so as to get pollinators to hang around those farms.

    Oh yeah, coconut milk is pretty tasty. Yum! I don’t eat all that much dessicated coconut, and no shredded coconut, but do include some dessicated coconut in the Anzac biscuits. I regularly add some solid coconut oil to my breakfast. Good for the skin. Fruit versus nut arguments do my head in! 🙂 Good shot ol’ chap! Hehe! I prefer to dodge such arguments. Say, how many angels can dance on the head of a pin again? I heard the number was 42. 😉

    Your volunteer arrangements sound perfect to me. Just right. Someone once told me that it was the little things in life, rather than the grand gestures – and I can find no fault with the logic. It is very thoughtful of you to do so. Respect.

    Oh. I asked my neighbour about the mess. He reckons it may be possible that the mess was created when the road was put in. The upside down tree stumps were simply rolled down the hill from the road cutting works and pushed away from any potential house site. And that was where they landed. We spoke about how to clean them up. Definitely I need to get in a machine to help with that job.

    And the trees, you know I tend to agree with you about WWII putting a stop to the activities. The local history suggests that after WWII, there was but one bloke living up in this section of the mountain range. There’s an old mansion way up near the top of the range. Used to be a health resort in the Victorian era – you know what they were like about fresh bracing mountain air. Compared to the cities with the cholera and typhoid outbreaks, it probably was better up there. The building is still there and inhabited today. Went up there once many years ago to have a look around when it was up for auction.

    Mate, that’s always a possibility. I’d wash it off as it serves little purpose if the tomatoes are getting dehydrated. I’ve never seen such a thing with a freezer. He got lucky the thing didn’t catch on fire if it got that hot.

    Good stuff, and fingers crossed you attain your goal. Bet the place smells nice with the dehydrating tomatoes?



  10. Yo, Chris – Even the expensive chocolate bars are in short supply. Some bars claim to be “dark chocolate”, but when I check out the percentage, it’s usually around 40-45%. The high octane bars, proudly proclaim what percentage they are. To get benefits, they should be over 73%. I may be reduced to baking chocolate. I did a test drive, of that. Wow! Bitter!

    That mix ought to keep your chickens happy. My chickens were so weird, when it came to greens. One year, they ate the horseradish, to the ground. The next year, didn’t touch it. One day I picked them a bunch of tender dandelion greens. Wouldn’t touch them.

    I took a look at the Blue Tongued lizards. Ugly fellows. I see they’re docile, and harmless. But I see to keep any kind of lizard as a pet, in Australia, you need to apply for a “Companion Animal Keeper License.” Soon to be an invasive species, near me, I’m sure 🙂 Yup, best move him if they attract snakes.

    My favorite cuts from “Days of Future Past” (not to be confused with an X-Man movie, of the same title) are “Dawn is a Feeling” and “Forever Afternoon.”

    The Buzz Lightyear movie is the origin story of Buzz Lightyear, from which the Buzz Lightyear action figure (from “Toy Story”), evolved.

    Last night, I started working on the stock tank bed. Although the zucchini in the bed, did pretty good, the yellow cherry tomato at one end, didn’t do too well. Lots of green, but not too many tomatoes. I think it’s the soil. Sooo … I left the tomato at one end, and there’s some sweet basil and two last zucchinis, that each have a fruit on them, at the other. Everything in between, I used my pruners, to chop up. Very zen. I covered that with a layer of leaves, from last year. On top of that went a bag of composted chicken poop. Then I ran out of light. Tonight I’ll lay on a bag of good garden soil and sprinkle it with lime, stove ash and egg shells. Then I’ll start digging in kitchen scraps.

    Sugar. A quick glance down the rabbit hole, indicates “…over 61 different names for sugar.” I think some of the confusion is intentional. To hide the sugar, in products. Oh, dear. I checked my (empty) cartons of ice cream, and high on the list was “sugar.” What kind was not indicated. And, further down the list was “corn syrup.” 🙁 .

    Angels / pins. 42 seems like a logical conclusion.

    “Trees debris”. Almost sounds like a poem. Someone’s probably already written it. Well, that’s another theory about the logging debris. Holds as much water as any of the others.

    I bet the sanatorium was for TB. Or, at least I bet they had a wing. I wonder who is inhabiting such a large building? Or what purpose they are putting it to?

    I really can’t smell the drying tomatoes, too much. Since I have them on the stove, and the hood fan, turned on. The smell would be nice, but the heat from the dryer, wouldn’t. So, the fifth quart is done. I don’t know if I’m going to be able to make a sixth. The cherry tomatoes seem to be winding down. If I hadn’t had the two clam shells of tomatoes, from our box, I wouldn’t have had a full load.

    I picked one San Marzano tomato, that didn’t have blossom end rot. I thought about saving the seed, for a hot minute, and then reminded myself I’m swearing off large tomatoes. Just too heartbreaking. And the red cherry tomatoes sure do produce. I just don’t have the room for failures. Lew

  11. Chris,

    Nice story about the large fallen tree. Here in the city, a tree blocking a road is an inconvenience – turn around, go a few blocks (less than half a mile) out of the way, and you’re good. Most city folks don’t understand that a downed tree in the mountains means many kilometers of backtracking and detours. If there is even another way to get there! Sometimes I think we were better off when we were riding horses.

    You mentioned late in the last cycle that you enjoyed a gourmet chicken, leek and bacon pie. Oh my! That sounds gooood. I like leeks. And chicken. And bacon. Yummy.

    I’ll spare you the physics about why the temperature was freezing but only the Suzuki roof had ice/frost. You need a break from the physics lessons. 😉

    We are supposed to get between 5mm and 12mm of rain Wednesday night and Thursday morning! That would be nice. The smoke is gone for now, but we need the rain badly.

    The Princess arrived back from Montana in good shape. We will be busy this week. The carving club is having the annual show this weekend after 2 years of that which cannot be named. We are excited. We are at a new venue, built specifically to house artists, part of the City Public Library. We don’t have to pay for use of the facility. That means admission to the show is free. Seriously.


  12. Chris,

    My historian cousin sent me a link to this “Worst Jobs in History – Medieval” youtube. It is interesting.

    However, one section reminded me of you, peak rocks and trying to break the huge moby rocks into smaller pieces. This section starts about 24 minutes in and the fun bit is near 27 minutes in. The medieval method is demonstrated.


  13. Hi, Chris!

    That serious young man still exists – he has just learned the ways of the world, and perhaps views things a bit differently.

    Many a time on our country roads I have had to make a 45-minute or longer detour because of a fallen tree, a flooded creek, or a car accident, all within a minutes of home. And since you mentioned Large White Vehicles – what have I been seeing? Sinister Large White Vehicles. One tailgaited me all through town, which was kind of creepy. I am used to that on the little 2-lane highway I drive into town, but the traffic is not so much.

    I do love a tree story. Thanks. And what an enchanting scene through the forest – if you don’t look at what’s left of the giant fallen tree.

    That is a very neat and tidy set of steps.

    What a wonderful cherry tree; it really likes that spot. Does it produce fruit?

    That honey supplier is definitely home-based. You know – sometimes one has to move up to bigger tools.

    I love botanical gardens, though maybe not soggy ones. And speaking of soggy – we have not had rain in a couple of weeks, but it rained so much before that that the ground is still soggy, even though the temps have been fairly high in the daytime.

    How wonderful that it’s rhodie time. Thanks for all the other beautiful flowers, too.


  14. Hi Pam,

    The sensitive person would like to believe that they have not become cynical with age, and that’s always a possibility – but has that actually happened? Probably not, and anyway, I’m just out here doin’ my own thang. 🙂 Can’t be too serious, been there and done that.

    Yes, I so hear you about those spontaneous and disastrous situations and having to go a huge way out of your way, just to get the few minutes home. 🙂 Those who know, know. The last time the local river flooded, we were on the wrong side of it, as can happen. Ordinarily, you’d call the local river a creek due to the diminutive nature of the water flows, but not that time. Way out in murky water was a station wagon which may or may not have been on the submerged road, and there was not a lot we could do to help. Never found out what happened, but it seemed like a dumb idea to be way out there.

    Hmm, beware and take caution. Many long years ago we were in a small nearby country town and got followed. No matter where we went, they followed. Super creepy. Anyway, I’d had enough, pulled over, parked the car, got out and did my best menacing look number five. Not sure if that worked, but they drove on. A little whisper at the back of my mind suggested they were practising for some dodgy and nefarious act, and I’d like to be incorrect, but I dunno. Very creepy.

    Dame Plum got worms. There, I’ve said it. The household has been dosed. Thanks for that gift Dame Plum.

    Hehe! Thank you, and it is quite lovely and remote up here. Sings to the soul, don’t you reckon? The contrast with the big smoke is not so good and hard to ignore, but oh well, that’s life. One must take the good with the bad.

    It’s a truth universally acknowledged that we do neat and tidy, except for the bits around the property I don’t show photos of. 🙂

    No, that cherry tree is an ornamental. There are fruiting cherry trees here, and the cherries are very good – if you can keep the birds off them. Fortunately there is a local cherry farm, and we buy off them. Lovely people.

    Pam, you’re encouraging my natural tendencies to purchase ever larger machines. Need I mention budgets? My neighbour was speaking with me earnestly yesterday in relation to bobcats. Hmm. I must be strong, but yes, bigger farm tools are often better.

    Holy carp! That’s a lot of rain to produce that effect in the warmer seasons of the year. At least you don’t have to water the garden?




  15. Hi DJ,

    Who knew that medieval masons occasionally did a bodgey job on vertical walls? The cheeky scamps, but then who would notice if the job took 90 years to complete? We use a sort of plug and feather arrangement to split rocks, but having electricity, and carbon steel, we can drill 22mm holes and then use an electric jackhammer with a number of pointy bits inserted along a line to split most rocks. Maybe not the really big rocks though, mostly because they’re super hard work and my inclination does not tend in that direction. You have to be able to move the still large split rock pieces afterwards. Not so much fun. It’s also better if the rocks are not embedded in the ground because the surrounding soil reduces the ability of the rock to expand.

    Horses wouldn’t have had too much trouble with the downed tree, although there is no way a coach could get past, and that used to be a coach road. Makes you wonder what it may have looked like in the winter months with the thin wheels? The funny thing about the tree, was that I actually could have walked home, got changed, got the equipment and driven back and dealt with the tree. That’s frowned upon, so I don’t get involved.

    🙂 There all good ingredients, but the combination just takes the gourmet pie to 11 on the dial. They do a pretty mean chilli beef pie too. Yum! I kind of wish they did a dessert pie, as I could stuff it down my maw. But would the food coma then be deeper?

    Of interest is that I’m discovering that leeks are easier to grow than onions. And they happily self seed here.

    Thanks for the break from the lessons. Do we really want to see my brain explode – like the people in that Scanners movie from the 1970’s. As a hint, it didn’t work out so well for them. Before then I thought that extra sensory brain powers would be a good thing. How wrong was I? 😉

    Fingers crossed you get the needed rain. I’d happily send you some if I could.

    Your lady has done it very tough these past two years. Some years are like that, sorry to say. The two year anniversary of my old mate Mike’s death was two days ago. Raised a glass in remembrance of good times.

    Great stuff that a show will go ahead. It’s been a rough few years on that front, for sure. Are you submitting anything this show? Nice work on the venue. Respect.



  16. Hi Lewis,

    Life is too short for under powered chocolate. 🙂 Some of the Lindt balls in the container behind me, proclaim 70% cocoa. Intense. For some unknown reason the Editor keeps them in my office, but enjoys her one choccy a day. Hey, you piqued my interest in the subject of cooking chocolate, and it soon became obvious that there are many different varieties of baking chocolate, and some are described as bitter-sweet. Have you considered an investigation of the various brands of the stuff? You never know, one of them might be pretty good.

    Thanks for the words about the chickens. I was probably doing the wrong thing with them by not providing the mineral supplements. However, to date I’ve normally stuck to heritage breeds, and may have inadvertently ended up with a couple of more heavily bred types than what I’m used to. Well, that’s how you learn I guess. Free roaming is just not an option due to all the things that would enjoy eating chicken.

    Man, the chickens here can get picky too. I normally change around the grain mixes I purchase, plus they get seasonal greens, shell grit, a bit of mince meat etc. They’re doing fine, mostly. Leafy greens also alter the protein content of the leaves during the course of a year, so maybe the chickens knew?

    The Blue Tongue had to be moved along. I placed the lizard in a pretty good spot, but who knows. I discovered today where it had been over wintering. The dogs fortunately are onto these things, otherwise I’d live more in a state of continual surprise. Not good for keeping ones stress levels down to a super-chill state.

    We have licenses for all sorts of things down here, and the thing is probably expensive too and/or onerous.

    Iron Maiden apparently also did an album of the same name. Fortunately titles aren’t subject to copyright! Ooo, I note that the Moody Blues album is described as ‘prog-rock’, not that I even understand what that means? A mystery. I’d call the album a concept album if only because it had a theme. The original reviewers were not so nice.

    That’s a great combination of soil amendments to add to your raised beds. How did you store the leaves you used? And were they dark and crumbly? The worms will soon be feasting on that combination. Happy worms.

    Mate, I never expected the ice cream to be some sort of health product. 🙂 Sugar was par for course, sorry to say. What would the dude in Cold Comfort Farm claim: ‘Tes not natural! You’d have to suggest that ice cream is not found in nature. Don’t let the ingredient list put you off enjoying your spiced pumpkin ice cream. Now, if that was all that you ate, well that might be a problem. But that’s hardly the case here. Spare a thought for me: Rice and vegetables mixed with cooked kale and a couple of eggs. That was dinner. Had a tasty chicken burger and chips the previous night. One must aim for some sort of balance, and then accept failure with good grace (and enjoyment!)

    42 does sound about right, although for some reason I’m uncomfortable that people could seriously debate this topic. Were they bored, or something like that? Dunno about your earlier experiences, but it was always unwise to suggest when as a kid, I was bored: Got put to work, and the boredom disappeared. Lesson learned! Be bored, but don’t talk about it near any adults.

    That theory is as good as any I’ve heard about the tree stumps and old pushed over logs. It’s equally possible the saw mills in the mountain range shut down due to the economics of the business, and that was that. Water at industrial quantities was scarce some years. And you can have saw logs, without the ability to process them.

    No, seriously the place was a Victorian era health resort. It’s way higher up in the mountain range. There was a sanitorium for TB sufferers but that was on the lower southern slopes. Ooo, here’s a brief history of the place (the 2008 date was meant to be 1908, I believe): The Macedon Sanatorium.

    Ah, the fan would remove much of the aroma of the dehydrating tomatoes. We keep that process outdoors under cover during the autumn months, for all the reasons you have mentioned. Fingers crossed you make the sixth quart.

    Large tomatoes might be possible where you are, but it seems like dreamland aspirations down here. There are short season determinate types, but do they taste any good? I dunno.

    My friend, do any of us?



  17. Yo, Chris – Plum has worms? A parting gift from the rats?

    Maybe I should just consider baking chocolate, to be medicine. “Let food be they medicine…” etc..

    A lot of chicken feeds are fortified with supplements. You’re probably better off using the “real” thing. Think of fortified bread. How well did that work out? 🙂

    Back when the album, “Days of Future Past” came out, it was described as “Genre: Symphonic rock proto-prog pop.” Given it came out in 1967, I think I’ll just think of it as Classic Rock. 🙂 Oh, reviewers. Throw a little something different at them, and they just fall apart.

    Ice cream is not a health product? Who knew? Didn’t get the memo. Will probably ignore it, if I do.

    See: “Angel Pinhead Debate.” Some people thought it was an infinite number. But Thomas Aquinus reasoned, that since two angels cannot occupy the same place at the same time, the answer would be only one angel. And who am I to argue with Thomas?

    Your link to the Macedon Sanitarium had slipped into a temporal rift. But I found enough other articles, about it. And, I see they created Sanitarium Lake, which looks like it has nice nature walks and picnic grounds. Ever been?

    Yesterday, it was 79F (26.1C) and today is supposed to be just over 80F. The cherry tomatoes are loving it. But the overnight lows, are getting cooler. We may get some more rain, this weekend. I finished off working on the soil, of the stock tank bed, last night. Added a bag of good garden soil and gave it a sprinkling of lime, stove ash and crushed egg shells. I got to wondering if there’s any bags of mushroom compost, about. Might throw in a bag of that, too. And there are usually worms in bags of mushroom compost.

    I had the leaves in a plastic bag, with an open top. They were a bit matted, but I busted them up and got a fairly even layer. Then held it down with the composted chicken poop. I was hoping that under the bag there would be worms. I was standing by with my trowel, when I moved it, but, no joy 🙁 .

    I had Spanish rice, for dinner. With a side of Brussels sprouts. Tasty, but not as exciting as ice cream. Elinor’s daughter gave me a small jar of apple butter. So, for desert, I had two slices of the pumpkin spice bread, slathered with that and a dollop of yogurt.

    I went shopping for the Club pantry, last night. Now I told myself I’d buy 25 items, about $30, at the dollar plus store. I ended up spending $48. Easy to get carried away, in those places. No biscuits and gravy, yesterday. The young lady either had an appointment, or, wasn’t feeling well, depending on who you talk to. Maybe both?

    My last word (I’ll try), on the Queen’s funeral. The stars of the show were the pallbearers. Not a misstep, the entire day. They’re actually an active duty troop. Five of them were flown back from some adventure in the Middle East, when the Queen’s death was announced. Lew

  18. @ Lew:

    When I gave up caffeine, I lumped chocolate in with it and gave it up, though I know that its chemical component is not quite the same as caffeine. Before that I was eating chocolate as plain cocoa powder mixed with honey or maple syrup. I like the 100% chocolate/nothing-added baking bars, but they get expensive.

    And besides the Large White Vehicles, we have the Large Black Vehicles with blacked-out windows.


  19. Hi Lewis,

    Well done, I always chuck in a little music reference somewhere! Once there was a way, to get back homewards. 🙂 I grew up listening to the Abbey Road album, then forgot about it. Many years later, by sheer chance I heard the song ‘Golden Slumbers’, and the lyrics and melody haunted me for days. Back in those pre-interweb days you had to actually physically go to a record shop and make a fool of yourself whilst the bloke behind the counter did his best to interpret your version of the song (so you’re saying the song went something like da-de-da-te-da-te-do – was it this song?) Forced a person to take better care of notes, timing and octaves, just as an amusing side story. And yeah, maybe the record shop had the album, and maybe not – but they could always order in from overseas through obscure modes and thick reference manuals. That’ll be a couple of weeks mate, they’d say. 🙂 Those were the days, and there is something to be said about a lack of instant gratification.

    Unfortunately, I reckon we blew that chance of getting homeward bound in the 1970’s but you know, here in the 2020’s I’m trying to work out how to get the car stereo working properly when connecting with the phone which has a memory stick and a whole bunch of songs I might just want to hear. The whole rubbish technology might be smarter than myself, but possibly it’s more difficult. 🙂 I can’t believe the stupid things won’t work properly unless I disclose my location. Pah! Too much data mining does my head in.

    And, after two hours of mucking around, a true waste of life to be sure, the stupid things need a cable connected between the two devices. How stupid is that? I’m not into that option.

    Yes, Dame Plum had worms. Praise be to the rodents! The give-away was her sliding her possibly itchy backside along one of the rugs. Very unladylike, but that dog does the hard yards that the other two dogs won’t do and that’s a commendable effort. And she faces additional risks because of that. The four other members of the household were dosed up, just in case. Yeah, fun days.

    If it works for the soil, I don’t see why dark chocolate wouldn’t work for your guts! 🙂 I tend to avoid chocolate as it blocks my nose up for some strange reason. Possibly a hayfever like reaction?

    I mentioned your perspective on fortified bread to the Editor this morning, and we both knew. You’re probably right. If economics determines that in order to keep prices down, the good stuff has to be cut, I reckon the good stuff will get cut. You know, it’s very possible too that the additives in the chickens feed had waned lately due to such a story? Wouldn’t surprise me given what I’m observing, but that is true of many foods. It was an easy fix, but the sensitive person does wonders just what they might be missing?

    Hehe! The album is older than I, however, it may be remembered long after either you or I are forgotten. 🙂 Classic Rock is a great way to describe the album. The reviewers do’ no nuffin anywhoo. One of the best concept albums I’ve enjoyed is Dark Side of the Moon, although the Arctic Monkeys did a very good concept album a few years back.

    Wise to ignore the rumours in relation to the ice cream, otherwise the fun-police will squoosh us all. Best not to give them the opportunity. You know they want to do it!

    I wouldn’t argue with the likes of Thomas Aquinas either, probably be bested! He seemed like a very focused individual.

    Yes, the Sanatorium Lake is not far from here as the crow flies. By road it is a bit further than that. You can walk from here to there, up an old horse trail, it’s beautiful forest.

    From a visit on 24th October 2021, during lock down.

    Adding the mushroom compost is a great idea to your stock tanks, and we used to use heaps of that stuff. Not sure about your part of the world, but down here it is from racing stables and is a mix of horse poo and straw. It’s always given good results, but takes a while to break down. Hmm, I reckon the average soil temperature might be reducing for you, and yeah – just keep on harvesting the cherry tomatoes! I got none last year. Far out. Oh well.

    Filled and sewed up one of the rock gabions down near the large shed. It’s good to see the project banging along. Also began the process of setting out some pine sleepers for a water pump set-up for the greenhouse. Need to get moving on that water thing because today was 65’F and it felt really nice and warm-ish. Everything is closed today due to it being a public holiday and all. Today’s public holiday is for the Queen’s death, and tomorrow’s public holiday is for the footy finals (not that I’d taken much note of who was playing whom on Saturday, but good luck to them and all that stuff).

    Ah, good stuff and I’ve never composted leaves that way, but have noted old timers in the area bagging up huge quantities of oak leaves for their gardens. A good idea by the way. Ooo, wonder why there was no worms? I’d be expecting them too. Do you reckon it was too dry under the bag?

    Hehe! Ice cream, good, Ugg! Having linguine pasta with a vegetable sauce tonight. Nothing too exciting, but won’t starve either.

    Oh, I hear you about the over spending. So I went to the two dollar shop (our equivalent) the other day to buy a plastic bin for the chickens mineral additives, and yeah, that cost me $30. Whatever happened to nothing over $2? 🙂 Can’t complain, they sell sturdy bins and they need to be just in case there is a rodent incursion – always a future possibility.

    No, feel free, I did vote in the referendum to retain the monarchy so feel free to share the details. Man, when I thought about the grifters banging on about the benefits of the republic and an unelected president (a job which appeared to be granted by the grifters themselves) I thought to myself: what could possibly go wrong? And then you know, turns out there seemed like plenty to go wrong, and the royals, well, they’re probably grifters too, but I reckon they might just have a longer term perspective given its a family biz with a long history. Dunno, it’s complicated thinkering. 🙂

    We do need the pomp and ceremony.



  20. Chris and Lew

    Our property has lots of oaks and hickory much of it unmowed. We have a mulching leaf collector for the mowed lawn and like them up for mulch. I still have quite a bit from last year. It’s definitely helping the soil. I also plant cover crop. Also, the Moody Blues album you were talking about has always been one of my favorites.


  21. Yo, Chris – Speaking of making a food of yourself, in a “record” store … Back in the early 90s, I worked in a bookstore at a big mall up in Olympia. The smaller stores seemed to come and go, a bit. Well … right across from our store, they started putting in a music store. I was so excited. Took them a couple of months to get open. I went racing in on opening day, took a look around, and said, “Where’s the records?” Silly me. I had completely missed the CD revolution. LOL. Talk about feeling old, and out of touch. I never went back.

    I don’t get it with the whole instant gratification, thing. Or maybe, I’m just a more patient person. I don’t need instant delivery, and actually, get a little irritated when a delivery shows up on Sunday. I’m perfectly happy waiting a few months, to see a movie or the next season of a series I’m following.

    “Homeward Bound.” Simon and Garfunkel for $50, Bob. 🙂

    There are whole stores, devoted to vehicle sound systems. Not that I’ve ever been in one. Speaking of technology, I picked up an interesting book at the library, yesterday. “Survival of the Richest: Escape Fantasies of the Tech Billionaires,” (Rushkoff, 2022). Interesting book. I ended up reading three or four chapters, last night. Rushkoff is a Futurist … a professor of media theory and digital economics. He gives a lot of talks, so, when he was invited out to a desert spa, he thought he was doing a gig for a room full of investment bankers. After a three hour trip out into the desert, he arrived at a very lavish, but low profile spa. And, after a good night’s sleep, was ushered into a room with … five tech billionaires. He didn’t name them. They weren’t the heavy hitters, more the petite tech billionaires. The fee they offered was enough to settle his mortgage and provide his daughter with a year of college. But it became apparent to him, early on, after a lot of hemming and hawing around, that what they were really after was where to position their bolt holes, when The Event, happens. The breakdown of society, due to one disaster or another. And how to manage security, to keep them on their side. So, he got to thinking about what all that was about. So far, it’s a bit of a history about how the internet, once free and open, and run by a bunch of hackers and hippies, became monetized. Interesting stuff.

    Four other members of your household were dosed for worms? The Editor, you and the two other doggies? I had a sudden vision of Chris, scooting his backside across the carpet. 🙂 Some things you imagine, you can’t unimagine.

    Sanatorium Lake looks very pretty and serene. And like a good place to drop a body. Though I suppose the lake at Ballarat has the corner, on that. I suppose you might have seen some articles, that as the water level of Lake Powell, has dropped, they’ve found the remains of a few victims of crime. I think they’re up to five, now.

    That’s an interesting mix of public holidays.

    I always thought oak leaves weren’t advisable, in the garden. But apparently, that’s a kind of myth. Sort of.

    They’re thought by some to be toxic and acidic. Including, me. But apparently, they can be used. Never mind the high levels of tannins. They are tough to break down, in a compost heap, and can take 6 months to a year. Even though we have a lot of oak leaves, around The Institution, I think I’ll stick with the maple leaves, I collect from around the library. I go on Sundays, when it’s quite. And, the wind blows them into nice, neat, easy to handle piles.

    It was damp under my bag of leaves, but no worms. And, I’ll have to remember this year, to toss in a handful of soil, into the bag, every so often. Just to get decomposition, moving. Speaking of soil …

    I also picked up another book, from the library. “The Pocket Book of Backyard Experiments: Discover the Laboratory in our Garden.” (Pilcher, 2020). I haven’t looked at it too closely, but there’s a whole large section titled “Soil Science.”

    For dinner last night, I had black beans and rice with a half a hacked up yellow zucchini. A can of diced tomatoes. And the usual zingy additives, to keep things interesting. There’s enough for tonights dinner.

    Well, you old royalist, you. I never would have suspected … But I follow your reasoning. Better the enemy you know, than the enemy you don’t know. I think I mentioned I avoid the articles that are all rumor, gossip and speculation. Could care less. More interested in the pomp, circumstance and odd traditions. The Royals sure know how to throw an event. I felt relieved, when the whole thing was over. At least no one got shot.

    It did edge just over 80F, yesterday. There was rain in todays forecast, but then it didn’t happen. Forecast for the next week, looks pretty nice, with temps in the 70s.

    I didn’t do much productive, yesterday. As my kitchen sinks are small, I threw my drying racks in the tub, and gave them a good scrub. Hit the library, veg store, and took H down to the Club. Dropped off the food for the pantry and gassed with Jane, for awhile. Made up another three days worth of oatmeal. I’ve been putting off H’s bath, because …. well, she just hasn’t started to smell doggie, yet. I wonder how she managed to pull that off? Shorter hair? Lack of fleas, so less scratching? The yogurt I give her, every three or four days? Doggie mysteries, and she’s not talking.

    I also picked up season 9 of the “Father Brown Mysteries.” And picked up season one of a Father Brown spin off. “The Sister Boniface Mysteries.” She did something mysterious for the government, during WWII. Then she got her chemistry degree, became a nun, and joined a convent. This all takes place in the 1950s, so she uses her chemistry background, to be on the cutting edge of forensics, at that time. She also makes the convent’s wine, as a fund raiser. 🙂 I just watched the extras, last night. Looks like fun. Lew

  22. Chris,

    You caught that about the bodgey jobs too? It was an educational video. I sorta remembered that you were using a power tool version of their method to split the rocks. A lot easier than hand drilling and pounding those things in! I’d also guess that the limestone they were using would split easier than the granite and other rocks you’ve got.

    Thin carriage wheels. Mucky and soaking wet winter roads. That is one big disaster waiting to happen. I can imagine how it looked, and it’s not a pretty visualization.

    Yes, you’re right. That combo of ingredients for the gourmet pie clearly set the Taste-o-Meter to 11. And careful what you wish for. They just might begin to offer a dessert pie, resulting in seriously deep food comas.

    Good to know about the leeks. I might try them here. I eat a lot of them and can get the Princess to eat them if I fix them properly, aka hide them in, say, an omelet.

    I’ve got several things for the show. I’ve got one entry for the main portion that gets judged. It’s a wood burning that I call “Incident at Pooh Corner. I based it on this picture:

    I’ve also got an ALF – ALmost Finished. I have some clean-up work to do on it before it is completed. It’s a set of 3 towers which are supposed to show varying signs of aging. The two “older” towers are done in cottonwood bark and show the aging concept well.

    I’ve also got one or more old projects that will be in the “Display Only” section.

    The rainstorm? The Big September Happening to commemorate the first day of autumn? Let’s just say that the Cloud Nozzle fizzled! We got maybe 2mm total. Maybe. As the system blows out, the air quality is supposed to worsen overnight per the official forecast. Except visibility had decreased by noon, the air quality was worsening, and there was the distinct aroma of old smoke in the air. Ugg!

    Will catch up again next week.


  23. Hi Lewis,

    Hehe! Not good, and sometimes the folks who worked at such places gave off a certain sort of smug superiority, but then that may have been my interpretation of events. They would have loved the where’s the LP question? I can almost hear them saying: ‘Dude that’s like so last decade’. I enjoyed the CD digital technology for the lack of background noise, but vinyl was pretty good. Nowadays a lot of music is actually compressed, even the stuff transmitted on FM radio which probably doesn’t need to be, but you know. Anyway, I tend to believe that the delivery of music nowadays is impacting upon the types of music produced. With their being so much of it, how does an artist grab attention? Plus volume can sometimes reduce perceived value – not good.

    I wouldn’t have gone back either. Stuff ’em.

    I’m a patient sort of a person too. Partly explains how I can begin projects which take months – this place is taking decades to get right! There’s pleasure in waiting. Mind you, in the earlier days of writing for publications, the turn around was three months from article to encountering the dreaded fact checker, grammar nazi, or troll. The distance in time did reduce the sting. 🙂

    Very funny with the Simon and Garfunkle. A delightful song – again know every word and note in the melody. Hmm, youthful minds and albums on repeat. I was thinking more Golden Slumbers of the Beatles, although you already knew that. Both good songs.

    Recently I did enter one such shop, and by sheer coincidence happened to get the owner off-side, unintentionally. Remember when I said some people had hair trigger responses. Anyway, so I’m enjoying my coffee and book, and there’s some bloke loudly talking about fund raising for local politicians, and he said something weird, which I kind of agreed with. But that was when I mucked up. I looked up from my book to see who was talking such things, and our eyes locked, and the expression on his face clearly suggested that he was itching for an argument. I dunno man, what’s with all this negative wave energy out there?

    Hmm, many thanks for mentioning this book. Do they really believe they’ll happily wait things out in their villa’s? Doesn’t history suggest that things didn’t work out so well for such folks once the Roman Legions left Britain? I like the sound of the book – are we verging into recommendation territory here?

    Yes, best that photo doesn’t get published on the interweb. Even the professionally outraged, will be outraged!

    Nah, there’s probably better places. Oops… Broke my own rule there. You know the law of the forest. It’s a lovely part of the world, and very serene.

    There’s something very odd about that combination of public holidays, but I can’t quite put a finger upon it.

    Dude, gotta crash out sorry. It’s very late, actually almost 2am here. Me very tired. A long story.



  24. Yo, Chris – I wondered when we’d get back to Mid Week Hiatus. 🙂

    I think they send them to the Smug Superiority School. With yearly followups.

    I’ll stick with my moldy, oldie, goldies music. 1960s to early 1970s. Though at later times, a few things have caught my ear. But nothing in a long time.

    Oh, yes, the negative wave energy is out there. Media probably doesn’t help. I was watching “Evil,” last night. There’s a scene where our heroine is standing in a long grocery line. Mr. Business man, busy chatting on his I-whatever, cuts in front of her. And is very rude about it, when she calls him on it. She’s not having it, goes back to the frozen food case, picks up a bag of frozen something, decides it’s too small, picks out a larger bag. She gives him one more chance to see the error of his ways. He calls her a very unpleasant name. She clocks him in the side of the head with said frozen food. Down he goes! People cheer.

    Years ago, when I was living in California, after a very long day, I was at the grocery. Almost to the checker (finally!). A young lady asked (in a very rude way) if she could cut in front of me. Typical ex-high school rally girl / sorority sister out in Hollywood to become a “star.” I said, no. She was gob smacked. I don’t think anyone had ever said “no” to her, in her entire life. LOL. Wait until she starts going out on auditions! 🙂

    Hmmm. “Survival of the Richest?” Well, the concepts come fast and furious, and I’m finding it an interesting read. But a recommendation? Hmmm. The “Pocket Book of Backyard Experiments” will probably be more useful.

    Yesterday, I started cleaning kitchen scraps, out of my fridge. Why do I let that job, go so long? I buried two plastic bags full, in the stock tank. Even though I broke up the mats of leaves, they still formed a bit of a barrier. I was busy stabbing the point of my trowel, and really breaking them up. I ordered some garlic, from a nursery, yesterday. Today I ordered some iris, blue and white, natch, from another place. Washed, cleaned out, cut up those green bell peppers, and have them on a tray in the freezer.

    Speaking of peppers, much to my surprise, several of my plants are developing peppers! Better late than never.

    When I got up this morning, there was an e-mail from my buddy Scott, that he was heading down to the Club, and would probably be there in 45 minutes. So, I hustled the dog and I together, and got down there. We had a good chin wag. He’s on the mend, and feeling better. Lew

  25. Hi Margaret,

    The (metaphorical) penny just dropped Hickory’s are related to walnuts. So obvious when you see the leaves and nuts, fruits whatever. So they grew wild at your place. Fascinating. By unmowed, do you mean there are wild saplings turning up? Not a lot grows underneath walnut trees down here. I’m growing both walnuts and pecans, and they’re slow but seem to have finally settled in. The timber is a very interesting and useful product – I never knew.

    Very wise with the decomposing leaves. I never really have enough left over organic matter to compost, most of it fertilises the soils where the organic matter drops. The soils here where very depleted when we bought the place, think of a sun bleached yellow clay hardened to the consistency of concrete. Digging in that stuff was very hard. It’s gotten better and easier since those awful days.

    For your interest, in the early days over a dozen years ago, I’d dig a hole in that concrete like clay and mix in batches of kitchen scraps which had been cut and blitzed up so that the particles were mostly fine. Well, things were dire enough here, that all the local wildlife used to raid the kitchen scrap caches, but I guess it slowly began to get air back into the clay. And the critters action and poop spread the fertility around the area.

    The music is both beautiful and haunting. A true work of genius.



  26. Hi DJ,

    Mate, hardened carbide steel is a thing of beauty when it comes to working with rocks. The tools are a pleasure to use. A few years ago when we were breaking up larger rocks into smaller rocks so as to move them, I took a bit of a deep dive into how the Roman’s used to do that work. And their hole drilling techniques were pretty good actually, but compared to the Makita rotary hammer drill, work went on at a slower pace. 😉 But then, they had time. It was of note that the cathedral in the video took 90 years to construct, and few people nowadays could conceive of such a long time line with the construction of a single building. I’ll bet they didn’t have a project manager, just sayin. 🙂 The person, or group who came up with the original design and drawings to sell to the clergy, well, none of them would have lived to witness the completion. There is something in that.

    And that was the other thing I noted about the quarry. You called it, they used limestone. Yeah, nice one dudes. Granite is a totally different experience. And the stuff here is apparently Rhyodacite with a high silica content. Tough rocks need tough tools (and I’d like to believe, folks). An Sgùrr (Eigg) of my descendants looks very similar to the more English named local chunk of long-dead-super-volcano in the mountain range: The Camels Hump. Probably caused a major extinction event when it went off. Oh well.

    My gut feeling was that the accommodation places up here way back in the Victorian era, shut down for the winter. Not as shut down as the err, Overland Hotel (of the Shining fame), but kind of close to that. There were locals scattered throughout the mountain range in those days, but they were the ones who kept things ticking along until the wealthy notables and other folk arrived again to hide from the hot summer typhoid/cholera weather of the dirty smoke city. I doubt that the Cobb and Co coaches ran during the winter months, which might present problems if say a person was injured in this remote spot.

    DJ, mate, I’m up for the food coma challenge of a dessert pie following a gourmet pie. Bring it on I say! Of course it would be nice if the Editor could drive home afterwards, just to be on the safe side. 🙂

    Thanks, the Bayeux Tapestry has never looked finer, but they shot Eeyore in the bum with a fletched arrow, that has to have hurt. May Tigger wreak revenge upon the thoughtless Normans. Best of luck with your entry, and may it shine! I should set up an image gallery on this interweb site for people to upload photos to. I’ll have a look into this matter and get back to you.

    I thought that ALF referred to Alien Life Form. You know how I feel about that film. The slimy and very scary aliens might come to get us all! Oh, you meant something else with the acronym. Mate, gotta be in it, to win it, and almost finished might be close enough. Some societies suggest to not let perfection be the enemy of the good. Wisdom.

    Ugg indeed. One thing I noted about La Nina summers is that your corner of the continent, may be drier, but it is for some reason also forecast to be cooler. Something to be grateful for at least.

    Look forward to speaking soon.



  27. Hi Lewis,

    Yeah, the mid-week hiatus is always a possibility. But then I do so enjoy our chats, and have a personal policy of making time for the things I enjoy. Others experiences in life may vary, and that is their issue. Last night we went to the pub on a Friday night, which is something I rarely do, and mate the place was packed. Enjoyed a good feed and a pint of chilli infused Dark Ale, and that heady mixture set my tongue on fire. There was a lot to talk about, and the Editor and I stayed up until almost 2am talking about stuff and the world. Mate, there’s a lot going on right now.

    SSS used to denote sports cars, however Smug Superiority School graduates are horrendous prats to encounter, or worse to be subjugated by. Seems to be a bit of that going on these days. It won’t end well you know!

    Fair enough, I wouldn’t want to subject you to my taste in music, which candidly is very eclectic. A few months ago I heard a song on the radio I quite liked the sound of. Anyway, thought to myself I’ll check out the music video, and holy carp! I was too old to be viewing that subject matter. An uncomfortable experience, which I stopped. Anyway, fortunately the band had an acoustic version I could watch without feeling such ooky feelings. 🙂 As you quite rightly said, ageing is when you realise that many others appear to be quite young looking! Funny stuff, but also true. I enjoy the youth music broadcaster, mostly due to the absence of advertisements and focus on the music, but also for the challenge and stimulation of the musical senses.

    Ooo, I forwarded on the series recommendation for Evil onto the Editor. It is possible that I may have confronted such a person a week or so back. My grandfather was very forthright in calling a lot of people by the name: ‘d@#khead’ to their faces. Note sure such a strategy would work in these enlightened days. And I’m really struggling with the possibility that the old bloke was strangely right. We’ve all met a few, that’s for sure.

    It does no harm in asking if the lady can cut in front of you, but there’s always the possibility of a refusal, and she has to accept that. And I would have acted no differently to you. It seems very entitled. My observations over the years with people who were born with good looks is that very few of them seem to be able to leverage the advantage. And as time goes on for those folks in particular, time is most unkind, or at least I’ve observed that they tend to feel so. And yeah, auditions would be a brutal place to hang a sense of self-worth. Actors, after all, have to act. And that’s a skill.

    Yes, of course Pocket Book of Backyard Experiments sounds more useful than getting into doomsteads. Dull things. And how have I missed the author Dr Helen Pilcher? Education these days… What was the section on soil science experiments like?

    Garden stabbers are good, but scary old wood chippers are the whole next level when it comes to smooshing up organic matter. For lesser work there is the 2.5Hp electric chipper. That electric machine was locally made, decades old, and has serious grunt factor eight. Bet you had fun smooshing up the leaves? I would have enjoyed that, then mixing in the kitchen scraps. It’s a wonderful thing to make soils, people don’t know what they’re missing out on. I remarked to some friends a while back that the great challenge of our time is to get more organic matter back into the soils. We’re gonna need it, but most likely, civilisation will neglect this most important of tasks – and send the stuff out into the oceans.

    Ooo! It will be interesting to learn if the peppers produce edible fruits? Always possible, even this late in the season.

    Good news with Scott and glad to hear he’s on the mend. 🙂 Happy news. Glad you could enjoy a good chat.

    I hadn’t been aware that oak leaves and compost were considered a problem, but that the risk had been somewhat exaggerated. Bear with me, Eucalyptus species of leaves are possibly the next level in that regard. But like the article says, chop them up. When you’re finished chopping them up, chop them up some more. We do exactly that with fallen leaves – all of them, and the soil gets richer and more fertile all the time. In an energy constrained future, you could burn them off in a cool burn, and be left with some really good ash. Purists… Whatever will they come up with next for us all to worry about?

    Possibly that was it with the leaves – no worm eggs. Good soil is full of them. But even then, with enough time the old adage applies: Feed them, and they will come!

    Hehe! Exactly, better the enemy you know. People at that upper level have a service obligation, not a grifting obligation, but you know, opinions can vary. Yes, indeed so, we can be thankful for small mercies, and nobody getting shot. 🙂

    66’F tomorrow. Things are slowly warming up, but normal years are usually warmer than this by now. had the first strawberry flower in the greenhouse. And there’s a third Japanese ginger shoot breaking through the soil.

    Wise with the cleaning of the dehydrating racks. That’s a problem here too, but we use the larger laundry trough for that cleaning, and they only just fit in. We usually soak them in hot soapy water for a bit.

    Hmm, I don’t usually wash the dogs here, and they smell fairly neutral and their coats are glossy and dry. But then it’s probably like hair dreads and a person has to work through the smelly phase, which candidly can be quite potent. Was in a restaurant once with a bloke on a nearby table going through that phase. Candidly, the pong put me off my dinner.

    I’ll bet a few people did mysterious things with governments during WWII! Thanks for the recommendation.



  28. Yo, Chris – Yup. A lot going on right now. How will it all end? Mr. Greer was interesting, this week, but trotted out an old favorite, that’s kind of preaching to the choir. On the other hand, probably news to any newbie that shows up.

    I’d say my music tastes are pretty eclectic. Everything from old country / western, to French light opera, to John Phillip Sousa. And, of course, Classic Rock. Good dance beats or catchy lyrics.

    Yes, you feel old when your doctor (shades of Doogie Hauser), dentist and policeman all look about 14. One must be respectful, and call them “Sir.” After all, they’re going to be messing about in your mouth or innards. A little respect goes a long way with a policeman, and might get you off with a warning, and not a ticket.

    “Evil” is pretty interesting. Gruesome, in some parts. Our heroine has four daughters, 12 and under. They often shout and talk over each other. Could have done with less of that. Our heroes are the priest / exorcist in training, the lapsed Catholic psychologist and the Arab atheist tech wizard. They been tasked by the Catholic Church to examine “phenomenon” to determine if an exorcist, or plumber should be called. 🙂

    “Survival of the Richest” has a bit more going for it than tech bros fantasy doomsteads. I ran across something last night, that made me pause. “Which brings us to the third main tenet of domination: the relentless pursuit of growth. Remember, this whole drive toward colonial expansion was instigated by the underlying math of interest-bearing currency. Everything is predicted on paying back more than is borrowed.” So the whole purpose of growth and “progress” is a game of staying ahead of debt? Interesting. And here I thought it was all for the “betterment of mankind,” or something. Silly me. 🙂

    Uncle Lew, in the garden, with the trowel. I’ve either been watching too many British mysteries, or flashing back to childhood board games. 🙂 Quit cathartic, stabbing away at the soil. Probably the opposite of zenning out on hacking up zucchini stems and leaves. I suggested to Scott, that he buy a head of garlic from the store, pitch the cloves in the ground, and see what happens. I warned him they could be a gateway drug.

    Speaking of drugs, there’s a house on the corner, and a couple of weeks ago, there were three police cars, an ambulance and a fire truck. According to the sketchy account in the newspaper, it was a drug overdose. Things were pretty quit, for about a week. Suddenly, the place was cleaned out. And now there’s a no trespassing sign, and a notice that the property has been seized by the sheriff. It will be auctioned off. I mentioned it to our Club manager, this morning. Might make a good Club site.

    Noblesse oblige. King Charles III (I wonder if he ever reflects on the fate of King Charles I?) started painting, when he was a teenager. Mostly watercolors, mostly landscapes and historic buildings. On and off, he took lessons from well known English artists. He sells the paintings, and I guess they bring a good price, though no amounts were mentioned. The money from his sold paintings, goes to charities. Just one of those interesting side articles, that have cropped up over the past few weeks.

    We’re supposed to have a run of 80+F days. That ought to keep the garden, happy. The Japanese ginger that took over the greenhouse. Don’t turn your back on it.

    When I was at the grocery, the other night, there were no (or, hardly any) mushrooms. Usually, they have quit a selection. I wonder what that’s all about? So, no Shiitake mushrooms, for me. Usually, they have them available both loose, or in little clamshells. Oh, well. I have some dried packets, stashed, that I got out of the Land of Stuff food section. They’ll last, awhile. Lew

  29. Hi Lewis,

    I tend to believe that the message needs repeating, after all, in the news media, you can read about shortages. But do you read about limits? That’s the question at stake here, and I reckon there would be plenty of people who’d never considered that fossil fuel energy supplies could peak, then decline. I doubt the possibility has even occurred to most people in western nations. And if the possibility has not been considered, the consequences of that possibility might come as something of a shock.

    Hmm, I had not known that people specialise in marching music, but can understand how such a situation would come to be. John Phillip Sousa led an interesting life.

    I agree, and it is always wise to be pleasant with people who are about to stick sharp objects into you, or fine the living daylights out of you. Never good to antagonise such folks because the care factor may dwindle, and they might not suffer the consequences.

    Had another epic burn off today. Man, there’s so much forest litter left over from the loggers. If I thought too much about the situation, probably nothing would ever happen, so yeah, bite off one little chunk at a time. It is so wet in the soil that the burn off took hours to get going, but now at night it is casting an eerie red / orange glow. With all the hard work, I do hope that my writing this evening makes some sort of sense? Always a risk.

    Candidly, that’s a lot of daughters, and err, good luck to the series. I mentioned the series recommendation to the Editor. She’s still a bit dark that there wont be a third season of Prodigal Son. That’s funny, but yeah, the plumber might have to be called in to fix the evil spirits who are running amok!

    It’s a complicated story, and the reach for yields is a net that is cast both wide and far. The super rich dudes might be trying to utilise techniques which worked at one point in time for them, but can they keep up the charade? Probably not. Right now, official inflation is something like 6%, and boring old guaranteed deposits run at around 3ish%. It’s a complicated way to disappear tokens. I tend to believe that wealth is: so what can you do here? It’s an unpopular perspective, but there ya go. It’s a very interesting perspective you’ve mentioned, and I can’t find fault with the thinking.

    Hehe! Mate, many years ago I looked at a large old Federation style house which had been trashed due to drug folks. It wasn’t a bad buy, and your Club could use a more permanent home. How was that site in the last flood? Might need to pass around the hat.

    Charles I had some issues to face, yes. Charles II was a far better and more widely educated person and perhaps was able to face the bizarre challenges put upon him, and he seems to have done more or less OK. I’d have to suggest that the arts and organic gardening methods are probably more relevant than most people realise. I read some blogs from that part of the world, and the quantity of food they enjoy relative to the cost quite astounds me. Food is super expensive down here by way of comparison. Mate, I’m almost certain that III knows history. Now if he didn’t, well we’d know what my grandfather would call him, wouldn’t we? 😉

    For a few brief minutes today the thermometer recorded 66’F, so good, so nice. Your run of 80’F+ days is like music to my ears. At the moment, my feet are swaddled in sheepskin boots and I’m wearing a woollen jumper. More normal years are warmer than it is right now. Oh well.

    Thanks for the advice, and it is always wise to be alert for Triffids, even if they arrive as pleasant little Japanese plants. Right now, the ginger seems polite and acting within bounds – the future, who knows?

    That’s super weird because the supply of mushrooms here has also been a touch spotty. Dunno what this means, but I’m guessing it means something. A few weeks ago the Swiss Brown variety disappeared from supply. Something is going on.

    Dude, I better get writing.



  30. Hi Chris,
    The former owner used to mow much more of the property but we decided that it was a waste of time and gas so just let much of it grow. Yes there are plenty of saplings growing and wild grape vines, multi floral rose which need to be cut out. Some native plants are coming up on their own and I did plant some native shrubs. It would be nice if we could restore it to a real oak savanna but time, money and energy are most likely lacking so we do our best.

    We’ve turned markedly colder in the last few days – below normal but it’s nice working temperatures.


  31. Yo, Chris – John Philip Sousa: Beloved by high school marching bands, everywhere. 🙂 . The brass sections really get to shine!

    Speaking of shortages, I checked the net to see if there was any chatter about a shortage of Stash tea. Nothing specific (but I may have to work on my search terms), but I was surprised to find out, it’s a Pacific Northwest company. They’re just outside of Portland, Oregon.

    Congratulations of more logging clean up. Hard yards, but it kind of kick starts land regeneration. When you think about it.

    I’m with the editor, on “Prodigal Son.” You just had to mention it, and cast gloom, over my day. 🙂 But no worries. “Evil”, season three is being broadcast, just now. And season four is well in the pipeline.

    I don’t think the old drug house, will do for the Club. It’s in a residential block, so zoning might be a problem. And, Mr. Bill our Club manager asked about parking. Not good. The Club has about 40K stashed in a building fund (and a lot of it is in CDs). If we had to float a mortgage, it’s probably possible. We’ve got about a 30 year history of fiscal responsibility.

    Charles II was a fun guy. He wasn’t known as “The Merry Monarch,” for no reason. 🙂 There’s a great movie called “Restoration,” in which he plays a large part. And, you’ve got the plague and fire, as an extra added attraction.

    LOL. We may get no grapes, this year. I flushed a blue jay out of the vines, this morning.

    On the library “New Items List”, on Friday, was an Australian cookbook. On the hold list, natch. I also picked up a new book, on Friday. “The Future is Fungi: How Fungi Can Feed Us, Heal us, Free Us, and Save Our World.” (Lim & Shu, nd.) Seems like a lot to place on the lowly little mushroom. 🙂 It’s a fairly good sized, artist illustrated book. I also picked up “Evolution in Bread.” Haven’t taken a look at it, yet. Lew

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