Week on Repeat

It’s been another funny old year. Makes the sensitive person wonder just what exactly is going on with the climate? Last week was bonkers wet. Thursday we headed north to attend the Elmore Field Day. It’s a farming expo, and of course for lunch there were the tasty sausages sold by the bloke with the genuine mixed Aussie – German accent, who sold charcoal cooked Bratwurst sausages with fried onions and cheese in a bun. Proving that inflation is a real thing, they were $14.50 each, but so good and so tasty. Yum!

The weather on the other hand was a bit crazy. It was bad enough having to get up in the dark in order to get to the Expo at a reasonable time. It was after all about an hour and a half to two hours drive north of here. During the night beforehand, the wind blew and the rain pounded the house. Hardly inspiring weather to head off into the wilds and visit a farming expo. Candidly, it raised doubts as to the sanity of the entire journey, but more seriously, the noise from the wind and rain disturbing my sleep was an unforgivable sin.

The journey to the expo was horrendous. Not only was there water on the roads, but the rain hammered against the windscreen. Toughened and laminated glass is a wondrous product, and it was nice to be on the correct (and drier) side of the technology.

Not everyone drives to the conditions, and on a narrow country road on a bend, the trailer of a speeding truck heading in the opposite direction began sliding towards us. An alarming sight. Fortunately the laws of physics came to our rescue and the momentum of the prime mover pulled the trailer back into line. That was a close call, and we sure got lucky.

We took the new Suzuki Dirt Rat to the expo, not because it was the most efficient vehicle choice, although it holds it’s own. At 7L/100km (or 34 miles per gallon), the Dirt Rat is not bad at all. It’s easy on the wallet when it comes to refilling the beast. The Dirt Mouse Suzuki is better again at 4.6L/100km (or 51 miles per gallon), but could it get out of the saturated paddock car park? On exiting the paddock car park, the Dirt Rat had to be chucked into four wheel drive to stop the sliding around in the smooshy mud. All good fun.

The paddock car park was a bit wet, but that was expected

Before we left home that morning, the sturdy work boots worn during the day were treated to a decent coating of shoe polish. Some people may consider that shoe polish is a form of paint, they’re wrong. The waxy layer provides some water proofing properties to leather boots, and did we need that or what?

A lot of mud and a lot of puddles at the Expo

Mud and puddles are par for course when it comes to farming, and they’re a tough bunch who just get on with what needs doing, when it needs doing. The vast majority of the folks at the expo seemed to be appropriately attired for the conditions. At least we dodged the rain, and that was because we looked at the forecast in detail and timed the visit accordingly.

This wet year, it sure pays to keep an eye on the weather forecast. City folks probably don’t think much about the weather forecast, but they’re wrong to do so. Looking at the rain fall predictions for the coming week shows, Holy Carp! Another freakin’ huge storm looks set to dump between two and four inches over this south eastern part of the continent. At this stage, you’d have to suggest that we’ve kind of had enough rain, for now at least.

There’s a continent under all that colour, somewhere

After the rain this week, the valley below the farm has a sort weird flooded look to it. And the bridge crossing the local Macedon River (also known as Riddells Creek) looked as close to flooding as I’ve seen it for many a year.

Yep, it’s wet down there on the flats. And the humidity is real

By Friday evening, the heavy rains went away to wherever it is they go, and the sun shone. The sunset produced particularly lovely colours.

Sunset and clear skies: The promise that the next day will be drier

It was hard to ignore some of the damage caused by the heavy rain. The dirt roads around here are a mess. Relative to the surrounding area, we fared well with only minor damage. A small part of the crushed rock surface of the low gradient ramp was washed down into the paddock. The crushed rock with lime will feed the plants well, but certainly that was never the intention.

Ollie wonders how all that crushed rock with lime ended up in the paddock

As an avid weather watcher, it was hard not to notice the big storm last week. With another one due this week, we’ve begun making some preparations on the basis that: Things could always get worse.

One of the preparations for worse weather was adding further weather protection for the chickens. The hen house sits on a concrete slab, and the walls are steel, but a layer of silicone sealant was added where the two meet so as to stop water from really big storms entering the otherwise dry hen house.

Where the steel and concrete meets was weather protected with a bead of silicone sealant

Late one evening during the most recent storm it became necessary to clear debris from the stainless steel water tank inlet filters which serve the house. If those filters clog up with gunk, they’ll fail, then water goes everywhere, much to my distress. So best they don’t get clogged up – which they didn’t, with assistance. However the ground around the water tanks had become very muddy and slippery and something had to be done about that. A thick layer of mulch was chucked on top of the surface and that will provide a nice all weather surface.

A thick layer of mulch was placed over the otherwise wet and muddy surface

The water tanks attached to the large shed have long been full. However, it goes without saying that when water tanks are full, to quote the fictitious Star Trek engineer Scotty: They canna take any more captain, they’re going to blow! So excess water has to be channelled away from the water tanks, and preferably away from buildings, and anything else you don’t care to see damaged. Two water tank overflows were extended.

Two water tank overflows were extended

It’s probably not optimal having the two overflow pipes side by side. An ideal solution would have been to separate the overflows so that water does not get concentrated because that is often what causes a lot of damage. Conditions however were not optimal, and that’s how it is. With that in mind, we’ve begun trialling a way to break up and disperse water using a rock diffuser arrangement. Such a system was put together in the past few days so as to test whether it will work. Time will tell, but the system diffuses water exiting from the surface water drain located around the large shed. That drain ran continuously for over a day following the cessation of the rain.

The black drain is hard to see but it is level with and the left of the top stair tread

There are some areas where water is still issuing days later, and they look suspiciously like a spring. In other unusual items of interest, a tunnel made by rats had collapsed. Makes you wonder how the rats fared during the rains?

A rat tunnel collapsed during the recent storm leaving this hole in the ground

And in a truly bizarre and somewhat ironic twist to the rain tale: A day of work was spent setting up a water pump and garden hose tap (spigot) so as to water the plants growing in the greenhouse. We’ve been unable to get the summer seedlings started in there until there was a feasible way to get water inside the greenhouse. What a fine joke, because despite the rain, for months now most days have involved me carrying buckets of water down to the greenhouse. That had to stop. Now we have a reliable water pump and tap in there.

The large 12V water pump does the heavy lifting, but it needs all the other stuff

The 12V DC high pressure water pump arrangement has been developed over many years of trial and error with this technology. It would be nice if the water pump worked without all the additional gear (non return valve + pressure tank + replacement pressure switch + emergency shut off valve + heavy duty switch), but it doesn’t, trust me on this. A temporary cover was later attached so as to protect the arrangement from the worst of the weather.

The cover looks dodgy, but it works. The spare timber will house a second bigger water pump

Despite the cold wet weather, the plants continue to grow. The recently relocated raspberry patch is thriving, and most of the relocated canes took.

The relocated raspberry canes are doing well

The strawberries inside the greenhouse are out-performing their outside peers by a considerable margin. And, the unusual pink flowering strawberry plant appears to have begun to produce some tiny berries.

Tiny strawberries are forming on this plant in the greenhouse

Onto the flowers:

Leucodendron flowers reach for the sky
Daphne is one of the loveliest smelling flowers in the garden
Hellebores continue to delight and perform well in shady locales
This week the Asian Pears are in blossom

The temperature outside now at about 10.00am is 5’C (55’F). So far this year there has been 1,000.0mm (39.4 inches) which is up from last weeks total of 902.8mm (35.5 inches)

50 thoughts on “Week on Repeat”

  1. Yo, Chris – Sounds like you have a spot of weather. Our endless summer, continues. I wonder if we’ll pay for it, with a horrendous winter?

    At least the car park paddock looks reasonably flat. Boots? Mink oil.

    The low gradient ramp is telling you where it wants to go. 🙂

    I thought we’d see a lot of pipes and pumps, this week. You did not disappoint. I bet the rock diffuser could be made to look quit pretty. A “landscape feature.”

    Raspberries and strawberries. Future yummies. The flowers are very pretty, with the first and third looking rather otherworldly. The picture of the Asian Pear / Chock Fortress is really a knockout. Calendar worthy.

    Time to walk H. Hitchcock’s “The Birds”, awaits. Popcorn already made. Lew

  2. Hi Lewis,

    Ah, mention of Columbus Day, I know not what it refers to, however, it brings to mind the big blow which is now 60 years in the past. I’d suggest that gusts of 150mph (probably far greater and anemometers disintegrating is very suggestive that things were very bad indeed) are an extreme weather event. The Good Professors essay on the storm, really took me there. And air pressure that low would strike fear into my heart. When it drops here below 1000hpa, things are going to be unpleasant. Who cares about ol’ Columbus, it’s a big wicked storm celebration day. And may we dodge such extreme weather in the future, maybe… 🙂 If Columbus encountered such a thing, he’d have sunk at sea. Mate, who can forget the film: A Perfect Storm. Just went on a rabbit hole reading about Freak or Rogue Waves. Far out, you would not want to encounter one of those, even in the largest of vessels. A 100ft wall of water would be the end.

    Who knows what the winter will bring for you? Wasn’t last winter pretty mild for you, with some decent flooding for good measure? Today here on the other hand was almost a perfect cool spring day. The sun shone, and unusual events (nothing to do with us) conspired to change all plans. Why waste a perfectly good day, when there is a perfect storm set to drench the mountain range later in the week? We spent several hours splitting and hauling firewood in the spring sunshine. It was quite nice actually, and the sun warmed the bones.

    I picked up the second hand scary old rototiller today. It’s a beast of a machine. Not sure what to make of it yet, but it will do some good work breaking up the grass in the two rows for the tomatoes and mixing in all of the goodies I’ve added to that area for the past few months. Gave it a test run this afternoon. A dangerous machine indeed.

    Oh no! Dubbin used to include mink oil. Hope the mink’s didn’t mind handing over the oil? I hadn’t known that history. But then the main characters in Moby Dick wax lyrical about the light oil and the little light shrines in polite society the whales so bravely provide.

    Very funny, but I reckon the low gradient ramp is telling me that it requires one or two surface drains to become complete? 🙂 Mate, we got off lightly with the damage, as some of the roads around here now have very deep wheel swallowing sized ruts. I should take a photo of them, because any vehicle falling into them, would not make it out again.

    Fried rice, kale and fried eggs for dinner this evening. No floods were harmed in the cooking process.

    Yeah, that was my thinking too with the rock diffuser. It could look quite good, whilst being very practical. We’ll see how it works this week. And heavy rain can create a lot of damage.

    Thanks for saying that about the Asian pear photo. When I saw that scene, I raced back inside to grab the camera. And the result didn’t disappoint. The new camera is actually better than the old camera as it records the colours more faithfully. Speaking of flowers, of interest was that I noticed one of the Japanese maples today is covered in flowers and the bees and honeyeaters were all over it. You could hear the hum of the insects today.

    Did you enjoy the film: “The Birds”?

    Ollie is so busted, no he failed to catch the rabbit. You’re dad was correct, although not for lack of trying. They’re just super-fast. Now if the Kookaburra had alerted the much more agile and focused Dame Plum (who is even now hassling me to go and see the rats / chickens). Anyway, things would have been different.

    Man, those dudes who made the film ‘Endless Summer’, they really got it right and did their own marketing to boot. A true triumph of the underdog.

    Yeah, I’m thinking maybe that name has some bad juju associated with it. Now, your opinion may differ here, but err, here he whispers to you ever so quietly: Hubris, my friend, hubris. 🙂 You’re a braver soul than I to bring up the name Captain Trips. What surprised me was just how much of the dialogue from that book managed to enter the public sphere over the past couple of years. One can never know the mind of such a talented author, but I’m guessing Mr King never intended the book to be a how-to manual. A warning, maybe, but not a how-to. The Editor is about three quarters of the way through ‘The Dome’ book and rather enjoying it. Hard to put that book down once begun.

    Hey, just sayin’ you brought the check incident down upon yourself. Something, something hubris! 🙂 Sorry to hear that, but yes, the things are a pain. My gut feeling was that the Club required the paperwork trail. I don’t know about your part of the world, but down here the Club would require an independent audit for their finances, and checks make their life easier. Ouch.

    At least the co-op has a night deposit slot. I’d keep an eye on that system, I’ve seen errors from time to time, but usually they’re OK.

    Not good about the alleged vandalism at the sub station. The folks doing that activity would have to know what they’re doing due to the very serious risk of being cooked. It’s bonkers to cause so much damage for such a small gain, but things like that do happen. I believe that there is a shortage of transformers – long ago the things used to be re-wound, but I dunno whether that gets done locally any more?

    Online stores kind of are eating away at bricks and mortar stores. But then, I recall a huge set of factory outlet shops opening, and I was thinking to myself: How much demand can there be for this stuff? Turns out I don’t know as much as I’d like to think that I do. Demand can be surprising.

    Thanks about the oatmeal maths. Please don’t hurt my brain! 🙂

    Hehe! I wonder what my mate would say about the question: So what’s going on under the kilt? I don’t get how kilts could work in the sort of bonkers cold weather they get in that part of the world. Maybe they’re tougher than my summer softened personage? Dunno. A mystery.

    Ah-ha, Leave it to Beaver! It took me a while to work out who was the Bev? Yes, some of the European films can have very dark moments, as well as some rather quirky moments. For some reason I was thinking about a Peter Sellers film the other day when he played a savant who became embroiled inadvertently in the role of economic sage. An odd film.



  3. Hello Chris
    I loved the photo of the Asian pear blossom and the shed there. It looked a beautiful spot.
    Elder daughter has just returned from the Yorke peninsular. Her return was delayed by the weather. When they finally left, she walked into the water whenever it appeared on the road, in order to check that it wasn’t too deep for their vehicle.


  4. Yo, Chris – Ah, yes. The Columbus Day Storm. I remember it well. Being an old duffer, I often wonder if I’ll see another one of those. At least, these days, we might get decent warning. At least in the Portland area, there was rain, but not much. Prof. Mass’s article was very good. Should such an event happen again, the plan is to tape the windows, and move down to the first floor (interior hallway) for the duration. In case the roof comes off.

    Columbus’s fleet encountered a hurricane, on his 4th voyage. Because he paid attention, his fleet came through, fine. But a Spanish treasure fleet … not so much.


    Our last winter was lots of rain, a few narrow miss flood situations, and some snow.

    We’ll expect a picture or two, next week, of the new/old Scary Old Rototiller. 🙂 Get out your whip and chair, and tame the beast!

    Whale oil. There were whale oil lamps. Quit collectible. We don’t see many out here, as, whale oil had become passe, by the time the West was being settled. I think the whales would have been entirely done in, had the black bubbly stuff not started to come out of the ground. Odd, I just thought of a book I had when I was a kid. Don’t know where it came from. But I had it, and was somehow fascinated by it. “The Year of the Minty May.” (Sanders, 1954). It’s a story about a Pennsylvania farming family, and how they have one of the first oil derricks, on their land.

    Low gradient ramp. I think you do water management, quit well. I’d say your small landslide, a few years ago, was a wake up call?

    “New camera … better than the old camera.” Aren’t all new things, better? 🙂

    “The Birds” held up, quit well. Worth a bowl of popcorn. I think “The Dome” is one of King’s better books. It was done as a TV series. Three seasons.

    Whatever happened to petty cash? Receipts in, cash out. But, you need someone with a pretty level head, to ride herd on that. Mr. Bill our Club manager is pretty good at money management, but I’m sure he has our treasurer, tearing his hair out, from time to time.

    I just keep thinking about that electrical substation attack, down in California. All very mysterious. It seemed almost like a “testing the boundaries” kind of foray. If there was an EMP, either from a solar storm, or, a high altitude nuclear blast, we’d be screwed. It can take up to 2 years to get a new electrical transformer.

    A glance into the rabbit hole, had some interesting things to say about outlet stores. But they are perceived by people to be bargain emporiums. One thing going for them; you can see and feel the merchandise.

    Lots of blue knees, in Scotland. All those Picts, running naked into battle really didn’t paint themselves blue. They were just cold 🙂 .

    “The Magic Christian.” Peter Sellers and Ringo Starr. 1969. Some great (and very odd) scenes, in that movie.


    Ah, but I see I’ve confused that movie with “Being There.” 1979. Which is the one I think you were referring to. Oh, well. Either one is well worth a second look.

    Lots to do, today, as my blinds are to be replaced, tomorrow. Need to rearrange the deck chairs, on the Titanic, so the guys have elbow room to work. And nothing gets broken. Lew

  5. Hey Chris,

    It never rains, it pours. I’ve also been in preparation mode the last few days. Had a nice test run of my new “system” last week. I put a couple of raised garden beds in the spot where the water would run up towards the extension once the ground was saturated during heavy rain. The theory was they would block the water due to the weight of the soil. I’m pleased to say reality matched theory for once and there was a good few inches of water lapping up against them but dry concrete on the other side.

    That might have been enough to solve my problem but, of course, the water was still pooling in an area too close to the extension for comfort so I decided to bite the bullet and dig a trench which I filled up with leftover concrete I had lying around plus some drainage gravel. Interestingly, at the bottom of the trench I hit a rusty old pipe which I think must have been the original pipe running to the stormwater drain. If I get really lucky, the water that pools in the trench will drain out to the street. I’m not holding my breath, though. The pipe looked pretty well blocked up.

    Anyway, I’m as ready as can be. This is my last stand. If I lose this battle, I’ll have to admit the war is over and resign myself to building a pergola 🙂

    Good luck on the northern front, soldier!


  6. Leather is amazing! I suspect we’ll all be using a lot more items made of leather as plastic and synthetic fabrics go away. Anyway, gotta take some care to make it last. I use Huberd’s shoe grease, but there are many treatments to fend off water and keep it supple.

    Just curious to know what the higher pressure pump will be for? Just the ability to transfer water to uphill tanks, should the need arise? What pressure are we talking about?

    And why 12V? I had assumed your pumps were generally AC after the inverter, and 12V panels are not so common here now.

    Any new insights from the farm expo? I go to a couple similar events each year, focussed on permaculture or sustainable land management. It takes a LONG time to see if a tree is a keeper or not. My chestnuts finally had their first (small) crop this year.

    Building a garden shed right now, it’s not the showpiece of a Cheerokee original, but I will eventually post pictures on my once in a while blog.

  7. Hi Inge,

    Thank you. That’s the chicken shed in there amongst the Asian Pear trees, and the blossoms are so plentiful that they produce a delightful aroma.

    Your daughter lives in a lovely part of the country, and we’ve visited the very tip of that peninsula, but it was almost a quarter of a century ago. It was quiet and lovely. I have fond memories of that part of the world, and Kangaroo Island in winter was a real stand-out experience, despite the alarmingly rough ferry ride to the mainland. Fortunately I’m lucky enough not to suffer from sea sickness, Sandra, is not so lucky on that front.

    If I may be so bold as to provide some additional commentary to your daughters experience, well, a person has to be grateful that there are no salt water crocodiles hiding in the water on the roads. Up in the northern warmer part of the continent, the absence of those large reptiles is not guaranteed.

    Of interest to you (and possibly your daughter) I was at a big box store hardware today and overheard staff talking about shortages of gumboots (Wellies). Hope your daughter didn’t end up too damp, and also hope that next time she does not draw the short straw.



  8. Hi Lewis,

    🙂 We’re all either there or getting there to old-duffer-ville! Mate, ignore the years, think of the accumulated wisdom! And you can apply the wisdom by putting on your best sage face (number four sagacious face would do nicely, don’t you reckon?) and suggesting that: “If the Columbus Day storm has happened once, it may happen again”. Of course living on the side of an ancient super volcano, that kind of talk makes for a mildly nervous experience. Perhaps we need to rethink this strategy? Hmm. Anyway, so I was at a client today and they had the radio playing in the background. Lot’s of music from the 1990’s (I forget what happened last week, but far out I knew every lyric), and the hourly news reports were giving storm warnings for Thursday. I can’t recall that happening since the days leading up to shocking weather which resulted in the 2009 Black Saturday bushfires. No doubt it will all be something of a fizzer, but then again…


    It’s good that you’ve considered a response to the storm conditions of the Columbus Day storm. Yikes!

    I’m assuming that after reading the story of Columbus’s correct reading of the weather portents, that with the word Hurricane, we are subtly revering the Ancient God Hurakan from Hispañola? Surely it can’t be a coincidence? Little wonder most civilised people call them by their proper name: Cyclone, of course named after the mythical beastie Cyclops. Don’t mess with those monster dudes!

    Not suggesting that your winter sounded a lot like my usual winter, but it did rather sound that way. We haven’t had any snow these past two winters. None that I can recall. The old timers used to suggest that dry years were cold years, and there is truth to that due to cloud cover.

    Fear not! The scary old rototiller (accidentally typed roototiller, but that does sound a bit pervy!) was pressed into service yesterday on a maiden test run (that last bit seems to be compounding the general weirdness). But having then seen the weather forecast I’m now wondering about the wisdom of that act. Anyway, fingers crossed the now tilled up soil doesn’t wash down the hill. Stranger things have happened.

    Interesting. You know I’ve never seen a whale oil lamp. You weren’t wrong, they aren’t cheap items are they? They’re very ornate items. I wouldn’t have guessed their function if they were not labelled. Hmm. I have used both oil and gas lanterns and they’re far less ornate. Burnt my hand on the metal top of one of those lanterns as a kid. That sure hurt.

    I try on the water management front, but it can be challenging. After the recent storm last week, I noted that plenty of properties and roads faired poorly. Someone’s drive way had washed a long way down onto the road (a couple of hundred feet of lost gravel). Strangely the folks hadn’t yet thought to clean up the mess. And, I noticed a few landslides around the area. Hope the farmers on the flat move their cattle and sheep to higher ground this week, although they usually are very good with their management.

    Were you kidding around the other day when you said that in the movie there was some sort of explanation provided as to the birds predatory behaviour? And The Dome is apparently excellent – yes, one of the best the author has written.

    I recall in one club I volunteered at for a couple of years, some mad cash did go missing. It was a small amount, however it couldn’t be accounted for. I had nothing to do with the mad cash ever and made that position pretty clear from day one. There was a push to become treasurer due to my day job, but due to professional obligations it would be like taking on another client for me, so no thank you. Anyway, sadly I had to there on the day the mad cash disappeared along with a bunch of other people. It was awkward, and I told them bluntly I earned enough, I didn’t need to steal from them. They probably lost the money, it was idiotic and professionally I have to not only keep my hands clean, in addition to that I have to maintain the perception that my hands are clean. And sometimes people can chuck mud. Far out one day you’re happily going about your business, helping out, the next for no reason at all, you’re embroiled in a dog poop situation. So yeah, that sort of thing is probably why they don’t have petty cash at your Club. Is that old duffer wisdom on display? I’d like to think so, yeah. 🙂

    Yes. Definitely, that attack was not for no reason. It’s a lot of effort to go to. Oh yes, there are some things which don’t get reported upon in the media due to not wanting to freak the public out. I doubt much tech would survive an EMP or big solar storm. I mean it would still be there, but would it work, and then what next? Big questions.

    I agree, I prefer bricks and mortar stores so as to be able to eyeball and see the merchandise. And I rarely if ever purchase clothes online, unless I am 100% certain of the fit and sizing. Of course there was the dead sheep vintage bomber jacket. That’s different though. 🙂

    No wonder the Picts were so angry. You ever taken a cold shower, well winter weather over there would be colder. Just sayin…

    Yes, Being There was indeed the film. He was a complicated bloke that actor. I had not heard of the cult film, and I note that a parting shot at John and Yoko formed a scene. I did enjoy the line in the essay: in that it’s practical, to the point, yet completely bonkers. Sounds like a great take on the economic policies of this more enlightened time, don’t you reckon?

    Hope the folks replacing the blinds don’t make too much of a mess. Good luck!

    PS: Forgot to mention that in the map, I’m located just little bit above the final letter T in the city name: Ballarat. A charming city with a picturesque lake, and where you and I know, the detectives are busy! 😉



  9. Hi Simon,

    True. But I’m still chuckling over your comment from a few years back: What part of droughts and flooding rain, don’t you mofo’s get? 🙂 Pure poetry! And I still can’t believe you got it passed. Well done.

    In the reply to Lewis, I chucked in the latest rainfall prediction map from the Bureau of Meteorology. Ook! You’re in 25mm to 50mm land, and we are unfortunately the next level. Hopefully the whole thing is a fizzer, but there have been a lot of warnings issued over the radio today during the hourly news (the client had triple M playing in the background today). Anyway, probably a fizzer. Maybe.

    From memory, your extension sits at or near ground level? The preparations sound pretty good, and such systems have to be established, tested, refined, then corrected. You already know that though, and the whole process begins all over again after that. At least your soil is well drained, but as you note there has been a lot of rain this year – and it’s been consistent rain too. Fingers crossed that it works, your concept has much to recommend it.

    We had a landslide years ago on the steep soil batter behind the house, and the clean up was epic. A lot of work went into preventing such a thing from happening again, but you never know how systems will stand up to being put to the ultimate test.

    I’ve been faced with that dilemma too of what to do with a rusty old pipe such as what you’ve discovered in the soil trench – and isn’t on any of the infrastructure maps – which are really good and readily available. The question is: what is this thing? I ended up chopping it out with an angle grinder, but first made sure that it wasn’t anything that was used. Hey, that’s technically known as a French drain, and those things work. I’ll be interested to hear your reports later in the week, but largely hope that the drain isn’t put to the test.

    Nothing wrong with a pergola! And think of the passionfruit vines and fruit? Yum!

    Good luck to you too on the southern front Cap’n, and remember to fight the good fight! 🙂



  10. Hi Steve,

    Yeah, Huberd’s Shoe Grease seems pretty similar to Dubbin and other shoe polishes I’ve used over the years. So true about leather products, and I’m not even sure that people know how to maintain the surface on leather shoes. At high school I was in cadets and they were bonkers about maintaining the army boots, but on reflection it was probably not a bad thing to drill into our young heads.

    The high pressure pump is used to lift water into the greenhouse (although gravity does most of the work there), but the flow rate is 26L/min or 7Gallons/min. Not bad for a 12V pump huh? Plus it will run a tap outside, and ta-da a permanent ready to go, bushfire sprinkler.

    There will also be another much larger AC pump there which can run three taps, and ta-da three bushfire sprinklers. Are you seeing a pattern yet? 🙂

    What makes you think that I don’t have 12V panels and two separate 12V off grid systems? I’ve been tinkering with this technology since 2006 and can cobble all sorts of arrangements together. Look not using an inverter is a good thing as it saves power, and water pumps are very energy efficient, they use stuff all power. That’s why direct wind power can also lift water at pressure.

    I prefer the farm expo’s you wrote about. This one was for broad acre farmers, but still had enough to keep our interest.

    Congrats on the chestnut harvest. 🙂 Did you roast them?

    I look forward to reading about your build and seeing the photos. And also hope that the weather is kind to you during the build.



  11. Yo, Chris – I think there’s peak accumulated wisdom. Eventually, it starts falling out of your ears, instead of your mouth. 🙂

    Looks like your on the leading (bleeding?) edge of about 4″ of rain. Of course, it depends on if it all comes down at once, or is spread over a day. Does the storm move through quickly, or stall? We’ve had storm tracks that were supposed to be a direct hit, and they’ve tracked north or south of us. Ya just don’t know, and neither does anyone else.

    I wonder how one revers the God Hurakan? Slaughter a goat? Does the goat have to be flawless, or will any old goat do? Does the god have a color preference?

    When it gets really, really cold here, it’s usually dry and clear.

    I guess the Scary Old Rototiller left all your digits intact? I suppose you’d mention it, if it didn’t. Weirdness, yes. Pervy, no. Unless I’m missing some bit of Australian slang.

    The whale oil lamps I saw, were quit simple, to my eye. Not if you take a look at “Antique Banqueting Lamps” or “Victorian Banqueting Lamps,” you’ll get quit an eyeful. I think I mentioned the wonderful lamp I saw at our antique mall. Blue satin glass, with enameled painted flowers. But it was huge. Totally out of scale, with my digs. I remained strong. Even though they kept cutting the price, and cutting the price. I’ll remember it for a long time.

    There’s one scene in “The Birds,” where everyone is sitting around the town cafe, kicking around theories as to why the birds are attacking. Among the group, is a weird, eccentric old bird who just happens to be an ornithologist. At first she poo-poos the idea that the birds are doing, what the birds are doing. Until a major attack happens, right outside the cafe. Then she changes her tune, and states that the birds have gotten fed up with mankind, and are striking back.

    Speaking of birds, a couple of nights ago, I heard the first geese. And, again last night. Leaves are beginning to put on their yearly show.

    I think we don’t have petty cash, at the Club, as it’s just a bit beyond Mr. Bill’s ability, or desire, to ride heard on. And, I suppose, having a bit of mad cash laying about can be a temptation to overspend.

    The novel “One Second After (Forstchen) is a pretty good depiction of what the aftermath of an EMP would be like. I read it, and the sequel. While looking for the correct spelling of the author, I noticed there are two more books in the series. I’ll have to look into that, after we get past all this inspection nonsense. The books are very reminiscent of the “World Made By Hand,” series. In fact, I’ve put all the books on my hold list, in suspension, for the duration. But not the DVDs.

    So, yesterday I spent a lot of time, reconfiguring my apartment, to give the maintenance guy elbow room to do his work. The I’ll reconfigure my apartment, again, to prepare for the inspection. Then I’ll reconfigure it again, to meet my needs and convenience. After a long day of shuffling stuff around and cleaning, I decided I needed a reward, in the form of ice cream. They’re out of pumpkin pie spice, but something new! Caramel swirl apple pie. Not bad. Chunks of apple and pie crust.

    I’ll have to see if the library has “Magic Christian” and “Being There.” I’d like to see them, again. It’s been decades.

    Master Gardeners are here, today. And, H and I went down to the Club for biscuits and gravy. Yummers. H cleaned my plate. Lew

  12. Chris,

    This is being written from the local Old Dufferville. The Princess and I were talking about aging and getting old and sleep and aches and pains and…you get the picture. Living in Old Dufferville is NOT for the timid.

    Hahaha. Bashing at the Commodore 64 keys! Reminds me of Brendan Kavanagh the boogie-woogie pianist and his “Don’t bash the piano”. Sometimes bashing the keys is the only reasonable thing to do.

    That’s cool how Ollie and the kookaburra communicate. Now if only Ollie could catch the rabbits regularly!

    Yes, practice. Practice some more. Then repeat. IIRC: “In theory, theory and practice are the same. In practice, they’re not.”

    We had a rainless cold front blow in Monday. Which increased the smoke levels before the smoke started clearing out. Then the dust blew in. Awoke Tuesday to the best air quality in a week. We won’t get out of this cycle completely until we get some real rain. Nothing yet in the 15 day forecast.

    A local news station posted an interesting blurb Saturday. Three years ago that day, the high temp was 41F, the low 27F and there was 4 inches of snow on the ground, a record for the day. Meanwhile, the day the news folks posted that it was sunny and 77F. The Princess prefers the 77F.

    Your pictures of the lowlands below your home remind me of some of the drainages in the more mountainous parts of Spokane County. Especially where the Little Spokane River crosses under a major highway near the wee hamlet of Chattaroy. Floods nearly every spring.

    Hmmm, the photos of your trip and the description of your local roads are eye-opening. Good work on the additional drainage features your adding. And the new cover – may not be the most picturesque, but it looks functional. Functional is very important.

    On a side note to all of your rain and mud…parts of Montana claim that they have 3 seasons: snow, mud and dust.

    We had some fun drama outdoors Monday. It made for an especially enjoyable time enjoying the sun and coffee. First, Avalanche treed a squirrel at the south side of the yard. They watched each other, the squirrel with a high level of unease, Avalanche with the expectation of fresh meat. Eventually, the squirrel figured it out. When Avalanche circled south of the tree, the squirrel leapt northwards onto the grass and ran like crazy to the north fence line and scampered into the neighbor’s maple tree. And kept a rather large nut in its mouth the entire adventure. Avalanche gave me the kind of look I have on my face when I want to say something unprintable but choose to keep silent.

    About the time this was ending, one of the local hawks was enjoying soaring over the area. Eventually, the crows gave chase. The hawk, somewhat bigger than the crows, was mostly unperturbed by the murder’s aerial assault, occasionally climbing higher then diving at some of the crows. It was fun to watch.


  13. Hi Lewis,

    Thanks for the article, the original source link worked, the Atlantic folks decided that I was not to enjoy any further free articles. The research into ancient myths is eminently sensible. I mean just because we don’t understand what the stories are trying to convey, doesn’t mean that the stories have nothing to say. Far from it actually. It reflects poorly upon us that these sorts of stories are not taken more seriously, but then isn’t that at the core of hubris?

    Ah, well when wisdom is lost, as occurs, at least we know where it went. I tend to see the brain as being something akin to a tube of toothpaste. You can chuck more and more of the stuff into the tube, but eventually, there’ll be ooze. Anyway, I had to ponder long and hard over your comment and came to this conclusion: so are suggesting that it is wiser to listen than to proffer sage advice? Not a bad observation at all. Is listening falling into your ears, or out of your ears? Not sure really.

    Yes, it does appear that a big storm is fast approaching, and somehow I’ve managed to find myself in the epi-centre of the drama. Should be exciting, if nothing else. There are storm warnings on large electronic billboards over the freeway in the big smoke today. Yikes. If today is any indicator, it just rained all day, but we so far we’ve had twice as much rain as what was forecast. An inch and a half of rain, and the wet stuff is still falling from the sky. People I spoke to today in the big smoke don’t seem terribly perturbed by the forecast despite my words to be cautious as they’re also in the firing line, but to a slightly lesser extent. Whatever.

    Surely Gods wouldn’t be upset by a minor scratch mark on a sacrificial goat? What did they used to say when I was a kid, oh that’s right: It’s the thought that counts. 🙂 But then Gods might be picky, and problems with quality could arise. Here he whispers: Get another God, who’s a bit easier going? 🙂 Hope they didn’t hear that whisper.

    The same is true here, although the coldest temperature I’ve experienced in this location is 28’F, which is very cold for me, but possibly shorts and t-shirt weather for more rugged individuals. I recall when in Nepal at serious altitude (nearing 16,500ft above sea level) that clothes froze solid over night, but bizarrely also dried. Very hard for my mind to grasp how that worked.

    Truth to tell I learned a thing or two on the brief test run of the scary old rototiller. Best used uphill, as distinct from downhill when it can get away from you. An exciting event that one. It seems like a good machine. And yes, it was a bit of Australian slang. 🙂

    The banquet lamps look to me like kerosene was the primary fuel source? Hey, I noticed that there were early lamps of animals holding electric globes. They looked very cool and some of the birds and animals were ravens and mice. Some items haunt you like that don’t they? I hear you. Years ago I wrote about the steel dragon which I should have stumped the mad cash for, but funds were tight and I have not seen such a thing since. But where would you use such a lamp?

    Oh! The ornithologist enjoyed a wake up call courtesy of the birds. There is an often misattributed quote to Mark Twain, something about “It ain’t what you don’t know that gets you into trouble. It’s what you know for sure that just ain’t so.” Even if it wasn’t from the author, it’s still a great quote.

    Hopefully the leaf change tourists don’t descend upon your quiet and peaceful part of the world? You won’t like it. Imagine Seattle to Portland, but every weekend for five or six weeks. Hmm. Puts a new spin on it methinks!

    I agree, the administration of such pools of mad cash is a pain for such a group as yours, and it is best if there were not the temptation in any possible direction.

    The book with the EMP scenario sounds gritty. Cannibals make for a colourful immediate and urgent problem not dissimilar from zombies. I assume that down under, we got away largely unscathed? A bit On the Beach, don’t you reckon? Not that it would do us much good.

    I need a reward after a series of err, extreme Kondo’ing your place. Hope the new blinds spark joy for you? Or at least they do the job quickly and then get lost. What a nuisance. Did the inspection take place yet?

    Magic Christian would probably do my head in as I’d be looking for the narrative, and not discovering it. A bit like the difference between Monty Python’s ‘The Quest for the Holy Grail’ and ‘Life of Brian’. Brian was a superior film, and not having two directors would make a big difference. Being There was a very good film from memory. I’ll be curious to hear what you have to say about it, and whether it has aged?

    Mate, you could put that plate away! The current batch of dogs are not much good at such work. I look at them and give them my best serious look and say: Sir Poopy and Sir Scruffy would never put up with this sh%t. 🙂 True!



  14. Hi DJ,

    I’m receiving you loud and clear Dufferville WA, can you hear me clearly from Dufferville Vic? Over and Out? 🙂

    Mate, the alternative to Dufferville is, err, what again?

    Hehe! Yes, I could see Brendan Kavanagh saying such a thing, and then pumping out a fast paced boogie-woogie. He has such an understated style, before than smashing you over the head with talent. On a serious note, I used to use that technique when debt collecting when I had no other option to keep the roof over my head and food upon the table. An instructive experience. I’d act real dumb, and then once the person had lowered their defences, I’d go in for the kill. A brutal technique, but effective. Far out, it was a dirty job, and I’ve heard every excuse under the sun.

    I shall take your astute words to heart. Yes, theory is practice, or was it practice is theory. Now I’m getting confused here. What were we trying to do here again?

    At least the rainless cold front would have cooled things down. I’m astounded just how warm your autumn has been. 25’C would be hot for here in the month of April. Yikes! Hope you get some rain soon. I’d share some, no, seriously, at this stage I really would be happy to send some your way. 36mm here today, and it’s still falling from the sky.

    There are times a person dreams of flat land, such as Chattaroy (which incidentally is quite pleasing on the eye) and then there are times where the forecast looks set to deliver between 50mm and 100mm tomorrow – with winds. Living in a flood plain is bound to expose the landowner to floods sooner or later, but then they get the benefit of more minerally enriched soils. Gravity and erosion never ceases.

    As a professional in that area, what do you notice about the photos of local roads I’ve chucked in over the past few weeks? I’d very curious to hear what you have to say about that matter.

    Thanks for saying that about the modifications to the drainage infrastructure here. I’m not entirely certain that around these parts people take the matter of drainage seriously. Most of the responses seem pretty slapdash to me.

    The new cover is temporary until I dismantle one of the sheds and recover longer sheets of corrugated steel. It ain’t pretty, but it works, would be one way to describe the arrangement. 🙂 We’ve all been there with such projects where it is more important to just get something done, than wait for the perfect (and neat) solution. I’m sure you have in your former role?

    Honestly, I’d probably enjoy Montana due to the sheer space, but you lot are doing your best to make it sound unappealing! I guess that’s why there is lots of space in the first place? The facts perhaps speak for themselves in this instance.

    Ollie and Avalanche would have a lot of fun mucking around together. They do sound of a similar temperament and skill level. Dame Plum on the other hand probably would have outwitted the squirrel. You know, I reckon the other dogs just enjoy the chase, they don’t want the actual encounter.

    The hawk clearly enjoys an advantage over the crows. You almost get the impression that the hawk is saying to you (rather than the crows): it is beneath my dignity to notice the crows. 🙂 The wedge tail eagles do the same trick and sometimes they’re surrounded by three to four magpies darting in and out again. Those magpies have some courage as the size difference is not inconsiderable.

    The rain has just picked up. Oh goodie!



  15. Yo, Chris – Flood “myths” are interesting. There certainly were huge floods, all over the world, at the end of the last ice age. Makes sense there would be some ancestral memories, kicking around.

    “Is listening falling into your ears, or out of your ears?” I think I used to know, but now I don’t remember. 🙂

    Maybe it’s time to pull that copy of Nevil Shute’s “In the Wet” off the shelf. Give it another read. There’s been a few sci-fi short stores and novels, about a time when it just … doesn’t … stop … raining. Prof. Mass has a post today, that our weather may take a real turn, in about a week. With a caution that forecasts that far out are pretty tentative. In 28F weather, I might break out a jumper. But probably not the thermal underwear. That’s reserved for -20F.

    Yes, after whale oil, it was kerosene. Well, I suppose you’d use a banqueting lamp, at a banquet. 🙂 Or in very large rooms, with 12 foot ceilings.

    We don’t have much problem with leaf peppers, here. Step out your door and watch the show. But along any kind of designated “scenic highway,” they’re probably a problems. Really, I think leaf peeping is just an excuse to hit the open road, and drive about in an aimless manner. Other than the gas, free entertainment. If you pack a lunch.

    I don’t remember the EMP novel, mentioning Australia. As I remember, it was a high altitude burst, over the center of North America, that pretty much wiped out all the electronics from sea to shining sea. And maybe aid (with strings) being offered by the Chinese and Russians.

    I see in New Zealand, they want to tax the farmer’s cow’s wind. From either end.

    The maintenance guy didn’t show yesterday, to replace my blinds. He was here. I just don’t think he made it to the 3d floor. Today? Next Tuesday? So, I just live in suspended anticipation. The inspection is the 31st. Happy Halloween!

    I found another article on the Roman refrigerator. With better pictures. And, an interesting discussion about water management in the fort. Usually, I ignore this website, as it’s one of those “aliens built the pyramids” outfits. But this article is pretty straightforward. Do not look at any of their other articles. They’ll rot the brain.


    Haven’t had a chance to check if the library has either of the films under discussion. Last night, I watched “Dinosaur Apocalypse.” A two parter presented by Sir David Attenborough. It’s about the dig in North Dakota. It’s been pretty much proved that a four foot layer of destruction, was deposited on the day the comet came down. Probably deposited by water surges, on the river that flowed through the site. Due to the 12 point earthquake that shook the world. There was an interesting bit I hadn’t heard about, before.


    Just a half an hour after the big earthquake in Japan, the water in Norwegian fjords started sloshing around.

    News on the Elinor front. Apparently, even if you pay your rent, if you’re gone for medical reasons, 180 days, you can be evicted. And, I guess our building manager has started that process. Details are sketchy, so far. Lew

  16. Hi Lewis,

    D-Day update report as of 8am.

    3 inches of rain since yesterday. Still bucketing down and will continue to do so for the rest of the day. And the heavy stuff is meant to arrive late this afternoon into the evening. Ook!

    At least the satellite images look pretty:

    Satellites capture colossal cloudband soaking southeastern Australia

    Colossal is a nice choice of words, perhaps originating in the word Colossus? The Oracle of Delphi probably had a far better grasp on economics than the Rhodians who foolishly wanted to beggar the kingdom in reconstruction of the thing. The wreckage might prove to also be a valuable tourist destination – and a whole bunch cheaper for the society to deal with. 😉



  17. Hi Chris,

    Wishing you drier days soon! If only we had some of your rain. We received the first rain in almost a month in the last two days, but only about a half inch total. Next week might bring us our first freeze of the season.


  18. Hey Chris, don’t you feel fortunate to live on the side of a mountain? I certainly do. We have had over 20ml here in Launceston, with many hours of rain to go. I think Paul has had around 70ml up on his mountain, still only half of your total. I think we are on the southern end of the rain band here, but still the rivers are flooding are already. I am quite glad I climbed up on the roof yesterday to clean out the gutters!
    I am thinking you could maybe experiment with a rain garden where your tank run-off pipes are – lots of gravel and reed beeds in a meandering trench. There’s one at our local tip which I study whenever I visit. There is one place in the garden where the rain pours off the roof, so I am thinking of popping a little rain garden in there to see how it does. Currently there is a lot of erosion there, so Something Must Be Done!
    Keep as dry as you can, all.

  19. Hi everyone,

    As a brief update, the really heavy early evening falls fell to the east of here, and for that I’m eternally grateful. Since yesterday 140mm (5.5 inches) of rain has fallen on already saturated ground, and it’s still falling out of the sky. The local bridge is a washout and fortunately there is another exit (or two) off the mountain for us hillbilly folks! A whole lot of rain.



  20. Hi Jo,

    Truth to tell, it’s a double edged sword that observation of yours. Yes, it rains here when it rains nowhere else (being up in the cloud catching higher hills of the central highlands), but sometimes, just sometimes, it rains here a whole bunch too much – like err, today and yesterday.

    However, I agree, flat land is simply asking to be flooded. How else could the land have become flat in the first place? And glad to hear that you and Paul have survived the torrential downpour with aplomb. 🙂 And really happy to hear that Paul is now getting up to his usual activities – he’s made of the tough stuff of the Earth that one. Anyway, think of the effort the rain has saved you both in having to water the gardens for the next few days (or weeks, or even months)! Wise to be located on land high above flood plains as the atmosphere now holds far more moisture than it only recently did.

    I read your update this morning, but alas (and sadly I admit this) had to do paid work. I have not had a week off paid work for about three years now and am beginning to resent this intrusion. Hmm. Anyway, enough whingeing on my part, your roof top gardening efforts are a true innovation. Respect. There are a few plants growing in the guttering here too, and I swear that I’ve tried to get to them and clear them out, but err, no, events always intervene. You’ve now set the gold standard. 🙂

    Jo, there’s just so much water that a rain garden would pop. Seriously pop, the house collects 200L of water for every mm of rain that falls. So today, the systems collected 28,000L and the water tanks are already full so that excess water exits the system at a certain point. Imagine that much water in your back yard? There is little you can do in such events other than the years of preparation leading up to this day. I’ll put a photo of one of the systems and how it is working today on the next blog. It’s not a perfect system by any means, but it does work.

    Back in 2014, we actually had a landslide after this sort of rain, and decided then and there to do something about living with the sheer volume of water which can on occasion be a problem. It’s been a long journey I can tell you. Your back corner of the garden could benefit from some mid sized rocks, and you do have a source for those – and a willing helper in the form of Paul. Just sayin… 🙂

    There are heaps of plants who enjoy wet feet which could be planted in amongst the rocks. That’s how I’d do it, but all you can ever do is slow and break up the movement of water. You can’t stop the rock!



  21. Hi Claire,

    Without hesitating, or even the most minor of considerations, I’d happily send you some of the bonkers amounts of rainfall which the past three years have delivered. I dunno, something changed after the Black Summer bushfires pushed an inordinate quantity of particulates into the atmosphere, and here we are today. Goodie for us!

    Didn’t you receive a seriously decent dump of rain only a few weeks ago? I guess the soil wasn’t saturated so it’s drained away into the subsoil. Are you still continuing upon your soil mineral additive journey? I’m still chucking out good quantities of the coffee ground and Calcium Carbonate mixture every week, although don’t really make much of a big deal about it. It’s helping though, you can see the results.

    The long term rainfall forecast is for this madness to continue into November and December and then the next four months to be around the a bit above average mark. But I dunno.

    For your interest, I’m trialling a rototiller to dig up the more sunnier rows for the tomatoes. It’s an interesting, and rather dangerous machine.

    Ah, the first freeze of the season sort of denotes the beginning of the end of the growing season for you. I look forward to reading about your bountiful harvest.



  22. Hello Chris
    I am thinking of you both, dealing with that incredible amount of rain. Perhaps not good to tell you that I have had a perfect summer and my woodland has not suffered from the supposed lack of rain here. It recovered immediately the moment that a bit of rain fell.


  23. Hi Lewis,

    Mate, on days like today when 5.5 inches of rain falls over already saturated ground, it’s not hard to believe in epic flood myths. The local bridge is now a no-go zone, thus reducing the opportunities to get out of this part of the mountain range. Another bridge has new and rather deep holes in the deck – always exciting to hit when you weren’t aware they were there. At almost 11pm the rain has only just finished. What a day.

    Dame Plum and Ollie both had a bit of cabin fever, so I let them both out to go and do what they had to do. Ollie obediently came back after ablutions, and I’d expect no less from him. Dame Plum on the other hand was bored after having been cooped up for the day, and so took herself off on a short adventure and boundary patrol check. There’s nothing going on out there in the forest it is so wet, and after two minutes she came back of her own accord. It being unpleasant out there and all.

    If you don’t remember, how the heck am I meant to remember? What were we talking about anyway? 🙂 Hehe!

    Nevil Shute’s Novel In the Wet isn’t all that far fetched an idea. The recently installed Federal Labour government is already whining about becoming a republic. Now if they didn’t seem like such a bunch of grifters to me… Anyway, it didn’t work out all that well for them last time around the question was put to the public. We’ve got a state election next month, and that will be interesting, the state of emergency was only lifted in the past few days. I wonder what will pop out of that now unprotected rat-hole? The powers taken during that time were a step too far.

    If it didn’t stop raining, my gut feeling is that we’d all die. Few edible plants enjoy such wet conditions. Sure, they like a bit of water, but not that much.

    And exactly, you see, that’s what I was saying. 28’F for you is like shorts and t-shirt weather. 🙂 To me, it’s very crazy cold. We didn’t get far off that temperature a few weeks ago at 32’F, but it has not been colder than that all year, and certainly not -20’F. The whingeing would be epic, and you’d hear it all the way up where you are. It’ll be interesting to see how the rainfall today affected fruit set in the orchards? Truly, I have no idea but will probably find out.

    Ah, I had not known that kerosene was originally derived from coal sources. And that royalty issues spurred on the change from coal to oil sources. Who knew? And that the whales were saved from extinction as a unintended consequence. Although I’d have to suggest that whale oil probably went up in price in accordance with a reduction in supply of the beasties, and oil for lamps is a very useful product.

    Yes, I can well understand how the 12ft ceilings would have been necessary. I also have a hunch that people went to bed earlier in those days. No sitting around at 11pm chatting with your mates. 🙂

    I agree, the leaf change folks are enjoying free entertainment – at my expense, but no matter, energy and economics will sort that matter out. Driving around in an aimless manner suggests a great deal of wasted time, but that maybe just me.

    That weird tax over there is perhaps a byproduct of the World Ecoidiotic Fartbrain folks. It stinks of them. I’ll bet they still want to eat meat. Cows fart, people fart, bacteria and fungi farts – there’s a lot of farting going on, they need to get over it. Next they’ll want to tax yeast.

    Happy Halloween indeed. That’s scary, and hopefully not indicative of anything significant?

    The Roman refrigerator was a fascinating discovery, and it had some sort of baked remains left in it. The water pollution story was also interesting. I would have thought that the Romans knew better, or could at least deduce why the lead pipes were such a health problem.

    That site in North Dakota copped it pretty hard the day the big chunk of rock slammed into the planet. Most certainly you wouldn’t want to have been there, and the aftermath would have been a true nightmare. Do they have any idea how long the atmosphere was clouded up with dust, debris and particulate matter? I’d imagine it would have been a few years at least. Dunno.

    Holy carp, that is one heck of a shock wave.

    Yikes! Sorry to hear that about your friend. I dunno what to say. It’s not good though if those moves are being made in the background. How’s Elinor doing anyway?



  24. Yo, Chris – You’ve had really epic rainfall. You’ll know things are really bad, if you see an old dude rounding up two of every animal. It must have happened. I’ve got a Currier and Ives print, of the event! So, you’re trapped! (Well, not really.) Cabin fever will soon set in. Actually, I was once entirely surrounded by flood water, for three or four days.

    If it’s pouring down rain, H usually doesn’t mess around with her abulations. But she and I still get pretty wet.

    We have our mid-term elections, coming up in early November. It’s either going to be the apocalypse, or a bright new day. Depending on who you talk to. Whatever. We’ll just deal with what comes.

    28F would NOT be shorts and t-shirt weather, for me. More flannel shirt, winter coat and a good hat that covers my ears.

    Children’s books: “The Gas We Pass,” “Everybody Farts,” “Almost Everybody Farts” (with a real nice unicorn on the cover), and “Almost Everybody Farts; The Reek-Quel.” 🙂 Children seem fascinated by bodily functions, no one else wants to talk about.

    They figure the comet winter lasted about ten years. Amazing to think any kind of life could have bumped along, through that.

    I talked to Elinor and her daughter, yesterday. I think Elinor is in a kind of la-la land, and the eviction just won’t happen. Her daughter feels that whatever she tries to do, it’s the wrong thing. Interesting family dynamics. I’m reading a lot about detachment. Be supportive, but stay out of the dramatics.

    Two of my corn plants are developing tassels. No sign of any cobs, yet. It’s interesting, that so far, they’re about 1/3 the size of corn in the past. I’ll be happy if I get just one cob, for next year’s seed.

    Well, I get a jab, this afternoon. A Covid booster / flu shot. I wouldn’t be surprised to be knocked on my can, for a couple of days. Or, not. We’ll see. Lew

  25. Hi Chris,
    It’s been particularly busy the last couple of weeks so am behind here. I have, however, read about your epic rain. Have had seasons like that but three years… We received .8 inches of rain yesterday the first in 3 weeks when we had 7 inches. As we were way behind in rainfall that amount didn’t cause much in the way of flooding.

    Yes, we have a hard freeze coming up so that’s it for the garden except the kale and beet leaf spinach.

    I’ll bet those dogs are suffering from cabin fever especially the pups.

    Best of luck dealing with all the water.


  26. Chris,

    I like Dufferville. Never tried the alternative. It can wait.

    I like your brutal technique. I had to resort to using that quite often when I was working. The engineers kept forgetting my actual background, thought I was a “mere” ignorant technician, so it was very easy to feign stupidity/ignorance and pounce at the appropriate moment. It was a matter of survival sometimes, unfortunately.

    I forgot what we’re doing…That’s the downside of Dufferville. Maybe we should practice some basics. 😉

    Yup, things cooled down for a day or two. Now back to the upper 70s starting Friday. Record warm October they’re saying. The good news is that I used the amount of water I’m comfortable using on the yards this year, despite the heat and dryness, and the grass is greening up now that I’m watering it in the cooler conditions. The next temperature break should hit around October 23, or so say the forecasts. Highs in the 50s, more normal. Maybehaps some scattered rain showers then, but maybe not. Twas a comfortable 38F this morning. 🙂

    Montana isn’t bad. The jokes make it sound horrid, though. I often wanted to live there, but dad said it was too cloudy all winter. Ummm, so is Spokane.

    Yes, Avalanche appears to like the chase more than the catch. Except for mice. She likes catching them. She and Ollie would get along fine.

    I see you got more than saturated by the intense rains. UGG! One hunting trip in days gone by, 3 of us had a long weekend planned. The first full day there it rained about 11 inches in 24 hours. In the mountains, so the water only pooled in flat spaces, maybe 7 cm deep. UGG!

    I also noticed that the proposed New Zealand tax on cow farts was mentioned. Next, of course, they will try to tax human farts. I read once that the average human farts 13.5 times per day. Only 9 more to be average today. 😉

    Ok, your roads based on the pictures. A lot depends on the soils and on whether or not the road is “crowned” when graded – center of road higher than sides. The road in the paddock car park looks to have been constructed properly. However, enough rain can overwhelm even that, which the pictures suggested was getting close. The roads in your area? IIRC from past pictures, these roads are rather flush with the edges and not crowned very well. These roads will get full of ruts and churned muck. All wheel drive is a requirement, yes? Having a lot of rocks in the roadway surfaces would usually help, but some soils swallow the rocks.

    About 2014(?) there was gobs of snow in February followed by gobs of rain in March. The dirt roads in the county’s mountainous areas had problems, as the runoff had to go somewhere, so it entered the ground and spewed out in several of the roads. Too wet and mucky to work on them for many weeks with that weather. Some dirt roads on the lowland flats were torn to bits by regular vehicle tires. With a high water table and continuous rain, those roads couldn’t be graded. Naturally, folks complained to the electeds, who told us to grade the roads. The graders got stuck, sunk above their axles in the muck.

    Sometimes even proper construction and design lose out. That same year had several paved roads get washed out in the uplands. The scenario was 50cm of saturated snow with 15cm of rain in 5 weeks just meant more water than the roads could handle.

    Hope that helps? Oh, and back about summer of 1998, the Electeds published a publication entitled “Code of the West”, meant for new property owners in the rural and mountainous regions, especially from places where snow didn’t exist. One of the things the booklet suggested was to have alternative means of heating, cooking, etc. And to have plenty of food and necessities stocked up, just in case. Common sense to me, but many of my coworkers sneered at it. Until we had 68cm of snow fall in 36 hours a week before Christmas 2008. Some of us weathered it just fine, others got hungry.


  27. Hi Chris,

    The serious dump of rain – which we did indeed receive – was at the end of July and beginning of August, so two months ago. Since mid August we’ve only received 1.7 inches of rain, far below average. The plants have sucked up all the groundwater from the earlier rains and then some. Lawns have gone dormant, and the leaves are turning color and falling early.

    It’s not just here either. Most of the Mississippi River basin is in some degree of drought. It’s lowered river levels to the point that barges are running aground. This is a big deal as barges bring grain downstream for export and fertilizer upstream for farmland, among other necessities like coal and gasoline. Lower capacity = lower prices for farmers, reduced supplies of goods to export and to use here. Just one more brick in the wall …


  28. Hi everyone,

    Flooding update. The rain here has slowed, but continues with some sun today. 140mm (5.5 inches) of rain has fallen in the past couple of days over already saturated ground.



    These are clickable high resolution photos.



  29. @ Lew,

    We got our flu and covid pokes Wednesday. Thursday is a lost day, but could be worse.


  30. Chris,

    Thanks for the photos. Nasty. Water wins, right? The flooding really really reminds me of Chattaroy and the Little Spokane River.

    Forgot to ask…how are the roads, driveway, parking areas, paths that you built holding up. I think you tried to build them fairly well. This much water, though, could win just by sheer volume.


  31. Hi Inge,

    I appreciate your kind words, and as you’d know, after the landslide here many years ago, we’ve made many adaptions so as to be able to cope with deluges such as what took place over the past few days. I’ll make another adaption tomorrow, but other than that, the farm has done OK, so far. The risk right now is if the winds pick up, as that can topple large trees due to the saturated ground. We’ll see. The forecast suggests that the coming week will be calm on a wind front, but with more rain next Thursday. Yay for us!

    That’s good news, and the same is true here too. The best growing seasons here, are the ones which are warmer and drier than the average conditions. I keep enough water stored for those years, and you’re absolutely correct, the forests bounce back after the first decent rainfall. It’s a real pleasure to watch that happen isn’t it? And the smell of the invigorated forest is something else too.

    Cold and wet years are far harder to get through. Although the hot and dry years have higher fire risk, but I’m working on that aspect, but it’s slow and hard work. Oh well, nobody said this stuff would be easy. 🙂



  32. Hi Margaret,

    Three years of this has been a bit trying, but mustn’t grumble and just try to work out how to get produce in the err, mind bendingly soggy conditions. I suspect the heavy rains may have damaged plenty of the early setting fruits, but pears and apples are only just producing blossoms, so they should be OK, maybe. 🙂 It was a truly bizarre experience having to water the plants and soil in the greenhouse this morning, but oh well, it is an artificial environment – and at least the water pump was working perfectly.

    The areas I ran the rototiller over earlier in the week seem to have been OK as they weren’t in direct line of any water runs. More luck than anything else. That’s where the tomatoes will go in this year, and I took that as a good sign. 🙂 Maybe…

    It’s a complicated thing when rainfall comes in big splats, rather than the more preferable consistent format. Good to hear that you got a little bit of rain.

    Kale gets sweeter after such freezing weather. The starches convert to sugars in the leaves so that the freezing point is lower. I’m quite the fan of that plant now, it’s a survivor (and is in dinner this evening).

    Oh yeah, both Dame Plum and Ruby wanted to get outside and run around like crazy. They had to be towelled down afterwards. At one point however, the rain was so heavy, and I was looking after the chickens, that Dame Plum ditched me and wanted to be let back inside. Ollie is content to bide his time. A smart dog that one.

    Thanks! And hope the frost isn’t too severe and the garden keeps producing that little bit longer.



  33. Hi Claire,

    Thanks for the correction. That’s not much rain for the warmer end to the growing season. Yes, not good at all, and that would result in drought conditions here as well. Looking at rainfall records dating back a century and a half, two inches per month of rain on average over a year is a very dry year, but over two months of high summer would be a disaster. Sorry to hear that about your part of the world, it’s not good.

    What a nightmare scenario, and I do hope that the rains reappear from wherever it is that they have gone.

    Out of curiosity, are you observing the effects of the extreme weather on your garden? Has it affected the volume of produce? Hot and dry years here are more productive seasons, as long as the place doesn’t burn down in a bushfire and if water supplies can keep pace with needs. One memorable summer we got down to 25,000L and that was it. Fortunately we made it through and the winter rains replenished the water tanks, but yeah, not good. I’d imagine that ground water tables in your country are dropping pretty fast too.



  34. Hi, Chris!

    You have been living in Gloomville, though as I try to always tell myself: “Look for the good.” and so you do have plenty of water. I can remember some times in the past when things got a bit dodgy about your water, though you didn’t have as many tanks then.

    Those expos are such fun, in spite of wet weather. That does sound like just a bit much for the delicious sausage, cheese, and onion in a bun. Undoubtedly worth it, though!

    How does the Dirt Rat’s 4-wheel-drive work? Is it like Mr. Musty’s where I shift the separate 4WD lever into whatever gear I want and then manually lock the two front wheel hubs by turning a knob (I feel sure that you don’t have to do the last thing)?

    I still haven’t replaced the work boots that melted in the wildfire several years ago. I don’t know why I am so nervous about choosing a new pair. I guess because they will have to last me a number of years and I don’t want to make a mistake. I had the last ones for over 25 years.

    That Ollie – he’s a deep thinker. He is also a great help in inspecting a silicone sealer job. He says: “Well done!”. He is also good at guarding rocks. He worries too much about Peak Rocks to let one get away! And he makes a very fine shadow.

    The flowers are as beautiful as ever. Thanks. Though at the moment I would not trade you for our trees as we are in the Golden Time, with so much of our forest turning gold and yellow. Red and orange, too, and bronze, of course, but the majority are gold.

    And guess what? My son and his fiancee just got married. It was a planned “elopement”. We knew about it a bit ahead, but none of the family was there as it would not have been fair to her family in Long Island as it was too short a notice for them to come down. Whew! I thought they were never going to tie the knot and I am so happy.


  35. Hi Lewis,

    Mate, I have no doubts that something of that sort happened. The floods at the closing stages of the Ice Age, must have been abominable, and unrelenting which humans had to retreat before. You can’t stop the oceans. And I doubt the humans living through that time would have had any idea as to where the new shorelines would end up. Years ago I read a very good sci-fi book by the author Kim Stanley Robinson, titled ‘Aurora’. And at the end of the book was a scene where the humans of the future had laboriously reconstructed a beach habitat due to the relentlessly rising oceans. We muck around with the atmosphere at our peril, but truly, I’m doubtful that people take the problem with any level of seriousness. Concern and talk is cheap, actions are expensive. And based on what I’m observing of my fellow humans, nobody seems to really want to engage with a lower energy future. Of course, that’s what we’ll get, but in the meantime anything which can be burnt, will be burnt. And we’ll get to find out the sheer craziness of that choice. It’s a hard way to learn, but it is one way to learn and is no better or worse than any other route.

    Hehe! Getting trapped is a risk here, although there are several options to get off the mountain from this point. Although it wouldn’t take too many downed trees across roads for things to get dicey on that front.

    What happened to you in the flood? Presumably you made it out OK, the facts speak for themselves. But did the house or building survive the flooding? And were you dry during the days you were holed up?

    H is clearly more sensible than the Kelpies. They see navigating heavy rain as something of a personal challenge. Think old duffers (male and female from reports) getting stuck in floodwaters. The Kelpies would be into that option. The gobarmint has been pleading with people to stay out of floodwaters, but one problem has been that the flooding has reached the big smoke where citizens probably aren’t all that braced for nature to bash their doors in with a very large stick.

    Residents in Melbourne’s west evacuate as floodwaters spread through Maribyrnong, Werribee

    Simon is near to one of those floods, but is doing OK.

    Yeah, exactly. A change of leadership is hardly going to make any difference to the fundamental predicaments facing the society. The Romans sure showed us that was the case huh? On the other hand, years ago we had a female Prime Minister and the opposition quite literally took their role to mean to oppose. And oh boy did they do that or what? Eventually the population had enough and got rid of all of them. What amused me no end was that the former leader who was probably took things a bit too literally, ended up being a volunteer firefighter and making the last Prime Muppet look like a right total muppet. It was bizarre, but that’s politics down under, and things have settled down since those days. Your lot seem to be lost in the detail, embroiled in constant intrigue and haven’t got the reality memo about where they actually fit in and what they are actually paid to do – yet. They’ll get there, but until then, expect more craziness on all sides.

    Yes, no point having your ears freeze off during such a 28’F cold snap. Thanks for the correction, I was aiming to be amusing, but probably failed abysmally. It happens.

    Hehe! Well, farts probably aren’t polite conversation to be conducted at table, but fortunately we aren’t at table. 🙂 Oh, the horror at the sort of conversations we would have. Certainly genteel folks would blush and titter at the talk.

    I hadn’t realised the winter was a decade long. Yes, it is astounding that anything could survive such an extreme event. I’m guessing the soils would have been full of seeds, fungi, soil critters and just sheer detritus, and whatever could survive off that did so. And of course other things would have eaten those critters, but couldn’t have wiped out the local store of critters either. What surprised me is that some predators such as sharks and crocodiles made it through. Crocodiles are amazing creatures as they can recover something crazy like 97% of the food that they consume, so perhaps that’s how they made it.

    Mate, it’s hard to be detached in such a circumstance, and you have my admiration. It would not be easy to do so, but there really is little else you can do, and worse you could become a target for some seriously heavy emotions. I dunno man, you’re in a hard spot there.

    I wouldn’t bother saving seed from such late growing corn plants, even if they did produce something. Late developing ears are not a trait you want to encourage with those plants. I’ll be interested to learn how your experiment goes.

    How are you feeling now after the shot?

    Had a quieter day to catch up on a lot of administrative tasks we’d not been able to get too. A late lunch was enjoyed, and the sun even poked its nose out from behind the thick clouds to lend some energy to the lunch enjoyment. Can’t ask for more than that. Had to also set up a new bank account with one of the two remaining other local banks. Had a conversation with the people working at the bank branch which is due to be closed down next month. I commiserated with them, and it’s awful to be made redundant – I know that feeling, and no longer trust. Others may feel differently, but that’s their reaction. It ain’t mine.



  36. Hi DJ,

    Thanks for that, yeah, the local bridge appears to be operable today, but the water flowing beneath it is alarmingly high. It takes a while for the water to move down out of the hills into the waterways. And the soil is saturated.

    Actually, all but one of the areas around the farm survived intact. The low gradient ramp has a bit of damage due to the sheer volume of water which cut a channel into it and washed crushed rock with lime down into the orchard. The fruit trees won’t mind, but tomorrow we’ll add a surface drain at the very top of the low gradient ramp, and that will fix that problem, but may cause other problems (hopefully not though, maybe). All the water got there at that point from way higher up. It wasn’t even off the road itself, that went elsewhere, but just higher up the hill and was concentrated in a culvert pipe running under the road. Concentrating water during such a deluge is a bad thing but not much I could do about that. During the storm I walked around and just looked to see how things worked. Is there a better way to learn? 🙂 Ollie got wet, I had an umbrella, but also still got wet.

    Wise to think that, the alternative to Dufferville is a quiet place. And it’s always waiting to catch us unawares and stuff.

    Yeah, exactly the brutal technique works and gets through to people. One of the great things in life is that at times you get to meet folks who are better than you in all manner of aspects, and that realisation produces a nice cosy happy little reality check. I dunno and I’m not entirely certain, but why that brutal technique works is that other folks take a different approach and can believe that they’re the smartest kids in the room. That ain’t so, and I’m sure you’ve met folks who you realise (uncomfortably) are more clever than either of us – and possibly combined too! And there are different smarts in the world too. I’ve known some folks who were very clever indeed, but seemed to make some very dumb choices. That was odd, but at least they seemed consistent in that outcome. A mystery!

    Man, I forget too. What the heck? 🙂

    Yes, as your part of the world moves closer to winter, the sun imparts less energy per square meter than it would have over summer. We get physically more energy from the sun over summer due to being closer to it and all. Thus you’ve got your green(er) grass growing back. If you’d known that was how the weather was going to roll, you might have been able to get some very quick growing edibles in whilst the soil was still warm-ish, but it might be a bit late for that now. Mate, I hope it cools down for you soon.

    Hehe! What does too cloudy over winter even mean? 🙂 Your dad could have been saying that about here – winters are cloudy and damp affairs. In fact, spring seems to have been like that too. What’s going on? My brain now hurts. Montana sounds interesting to me, but I enjoy wild places – ’tis in the blood.

    Go Avalanche. Catching mice is not easy. Respect. And Ollie sends cordial tail wags, although Ruby and Dame Plum are jealous of that.

    Holy carp! 11 inches in 24 hours would be a miserable experience. Out of curiosity, did they not have weather forecasts for that general area? Mind you, I can hardly talk as I once had my entire kitchen in the backyard and a supercell hit. That was both exciting and expensive. And so much water. I now take the weather forecast very seriously. There’s been flooding in the big smoke (and I chucked in a link in my reply to Lewis). I’ll bet those folks now take the weather forecast very seriously.

    That weird fart tax has even weirder origins. It won’t end well following that lots advice. They seem like a bunch of mindless jerks who’ll be first up against the wall come the revolution – much like the directors of the Sirius Cybernetic Corporation in Hitchhikers Guide. 😉 Beware the shiftless armchair theorist, but what do I know? Anyway, I just love that quote – whatever.

    Thanks for your astute observations, and you called it correctly. Interestingly, from my road downhill the road appears to have been made properly with a crown. But heading uphill from here, the road construction is pretty much how you described it – and to the same effect. I should take an updated photo of that road, and if I remember I’ll do so. Obviously, as a person heads uphill here, it gets wetter and there is less sun due to deeper shade from the trees as well as aspect. That doesn’t help the road.

    You can get away without four wheel drive, and we do with the Dirt Mouse, but it’s not an optimal situation – sometimes. A Subaru is a good comprise as they’re only four wheel drive down here, but they’re also not oversized – which is also a problem for the roads.

    What a nightmare. I’ve never heard of a grader getting stuck in mud before. That’s not good at all. Ordinarily, roads around here aren’t graded in really wet weather – it seems a pointless exercise, the road has to dry and set after such work.

    It sounds eminently sensible to me, and we’d be fine for weeks and weeks, if not months. Others, I dunno about that. I do wonder at their perspective of the world, but then I don’t believe in unicorns. Pesky things, that big spike on their heads could do some damage. Why encourage the things, and your electeds poke some holes in bubble land thinking. Well done them.



  37. Hi Pam,

    Always wise, and yes, right now, we possibly won’t go thirsty from lack of water. Later, who knows what might happen? And the original settlement was abandoned due to a prolonged water shortage. Of course the timber getters had something to do with that issue. Imagine the timber tramways which were used to get big saw logs down the hill. An exciting experience, what with timber brakes and stuff. Yikes! Too much excitement for my tastes.

    And your memory is good. Yes, one year we got as low as only 6,500 gallons in reserve – and that was it. Yikes! Add more water tanks. It’s a mantra much like: add more solar panels. 🙂

    Pam, the cheese kransky cooked over the charcoal grill was worth every cent. The Bratwurst sausage was about 80% of the experience. One mustn’t try to achieve perfection and simply be content with good food. Do they even have such foods in your part of the world? In the big smoke one place used to do a decent P’Oh boy, which is a slow cooked roast pork and coleslaw roll. So good. Yum!

    Yes, it’s exactly the same as Mr Musty’s without the unnecessary mucking around with the front wheel hubs (been there and done that with the very first Suzuki Dirt Rat). The second gear shifter sits most of the time in 2 wheel drive, but it also has a 4 wheel drive, and a 4 wheel drive low range gear. That last one is for crawling along in hopefully unstoppable mode – that’s the theory anyway. Never bogged one, but have come very close upon occasion. An alarming experience, which I hope you have not also enjoyed?

    Yikes! A good set of leather boots is always worth the hassle. Some soles are resistant to melting from fires, as well as chemical spills, acids etc. Probably worth the extra mad cash given it’s happened to you once. Hopefully your feet survived unscathed? That’s not always the case in such situations, and the skin damage is very real.

    Ollie is the supervisor here. If it passes his inspection, the job must be good. Right now, he’s sound asleep on the couch. It’s a hard life. Unfortunately his nose is not good enough to sniff out new sources of rocks.

    Such a lovely time of year for you. 🙂 And nice to hear that your trees are putting on a good show.

    Oh my goodness, that’s exciting! And I so respect an elopement. A planned one is even better. Big weddings do my head in. Seriously, I respect people who can do them, but a tidy elopement is just seriously awesome. I’m really happy for you all, and the marriage has got off to a good start. It’s great news for you too. One story ends, and another begins. Life is quite magic like that.



  38. Yo, DJ – Yes, yesterday evening, after the jab, I felt a bit bubble of plumb (not to be confused with a well known ratter.) Slept longer than usual, last night. Today, nothing planned beyond walking the dog, and watering the garden. Lew

  39. Yo, Chris – I had an odd thought, yesterday. In probably not too long, a good chunk of Florida will be gone, or at least unlivable. If one could figure out where the new coastline is going to be, one could probably make a killing. 🙂 And, it won’t just be Florida. There will be major changes, in a lot of places. If you could just figure out where the beloved “ocean views,” are going to be.

    There have been some major prehistoric floods. See: Black Sea Deluge Hypothesis. They’ve found some ancient settlements, under it’s waters. And then there’s the Mediterranean. The Zanclean Flood. Once upon a time, Gibraltar blocked the entire outlet, to the Atlantic. One day, a small trickle started. Soon, it was a 300′ waterfall. It took years, but the whole Mediterranean basin, filled. Well before there were many humans running about. But some animals became stuck on islands. And, due to an “island effect,” became much smaller. Pygmy elephants.

    Speaking of islands, I finished “Shadowlands.” About abandoned places, in England. There’s one that had an Australian connection. There was an island, well off the coast of Scotland. St. Kilda Island.
    (Special News Alert! The fire alarms went off. Grabbed the dog, my go bag, wallet, and oh, yeah, pants and shoes. Fire trucks showed up. H and I howled along, in harmony. Apparently, someone on the second floor had a frying pan, with oil in it, in the oven. It started smoking. Drama over. Back to our regularly scheduled programing.)
    They didn’t even know there were people there, until the 1700s. In the 1800s, the British government offered people to get off the island. One option, was Australia. Several people moved there, sent letters back to their friends and relatives. The island was finally evacuated, in the 1920s. But that’s why you have St. Kilda’s, this and that, in Australia. 🙂

    I agree with your view of the future. It’s all happening so piecemeal, in so many places, over a stretch of time, that it’s just not on people’s radar.

    Good article on the Melbourne flooding. Not to … belittle people’s losses, but the stories are all pretty typical. I noticed some of the flooding is coming from a tidal river. As ocean levels rise, the high tide mark will move ever inland. Storm surges. I’m glad Simon is well out of it.

    My flood experience. Well, I lived in my little shack, all 365 square feet of it. It was the lowest house in the neighborhood. Some of my neighbors called it “The House in the Hole.” We had a flood. My neighbor across the street’s basement and yard flooded. The only thing that kept the water out of my yard was, as DJ mentioned, the crown in the road. BUT … the water must have been higher than my house, somewhere in the neighborhood. All at once, water started rising in my toilet, and bathtub. For awhile, I thought I was going to be flooded from the inside, out. The water slowly crept up the inside of the toilet bowl, got within an inch or two of overflowing and … slowly started to recede. I was warm and cozy. Never lost the electric and I had a little trash burner, that I laughingly called my wood stove.

    Also, turtles. Don’t forget the turtles. They did find one turtle, at the Tanis site, that had been impaled on a stick, from end to end, in the storm surge.

    My jab(s). Arms ache, of course. The Covid side worse than the flu side. I took a long nap, after. Got up and took an aspirin. Most of the evening, I just felt a bubble off plumb (not to be confused with a famous Australian ratter.) I did go shopping, as I just wanted something I could dump out of a can, over rice. So, I got a couple of cans of low sodium chicken noodle soup. Of course, since I can’t leave my food alone, I also added frozen peas, chopped garlic, mushrooms, and seeds. A side of Brussels Sprouts. Today, I plan to do nothing but walk the dog and water the garden. Oh, and evacuate the building.

    I watched a very fun movie, last night. “ParaNorman.” It’s one of those claymation films. There are zombies. 🙂 . And since you always ask, origin?: curse of a 17th century witch. Speed: Neither slow nor super speedy. More human speed. I should have made a bowl of popcorn, but just didn’t feel up to it. And think I should stick with “real” food, for awhile. Well, worth a look, and, anyway, tis the season. Lew

  40. Chris,

    Bridges can be scary when the water is high. Sometimes when the water is low. County had a bridge that had structural issues. It was reduced from 4 lanes to 2, both “good” lanes near the center of the bridge. Allowed weight was severely reduced. I drove across it. ONCE. I could see through it at a few places, giving clear views of Deadman Creek flowing beneath the bridge. I figure it was a good thing I was driving nothing heavier than my Subaru. I was followed by a semitruck, which was NOT supposed to cross that bridge due to weight. It was from the SWIFT company, which those of us in the weight permitting business referred to as Sure Wish I’d Finished Training. Oh, the bridge was replaced with a new one a few years ago.

    Glad to hear you only had that one little erosion problem on the farm. The picture of it said it all. It was a bit of a mess, but it could have been much worse.

    Oh, jings! People smarter than I am. And quicker of wit. The Princess is one. My friend who owns the large Doberman is another. We were in the grocery store once and our friend was there. The conversation quickly degenerated (from my viewpoint) into a case of the 2 quick-witted females picking on DJ. I wandered off to shop elsewhere in the store. I said to them both, later, that they shouldn’t get so much joy from winning a battle of wits with an unarmed man. They smilingly disagreed. 😉

    Yeah, “too cloudy over winter”. Must mean it isn’t Southern California winter or something. Clouds and winter sorta go together hereabouts.

    Yup, there was a weather forecast for that area of the soggy hunting trip. A day of rain was expected, but nothing epic. The storm was bigger than they’d anticipated, as was the cold front that followed. The afternoon and evening of the rain, the Three Waterlogged Hunters enjoyed a fire, ate dinner, smoked cigars, breathed in woodsmoke, ate more, drank a lot of whiskey and a lot of beer. Why? Well, one of the other guys announced that he had asked my sister to marry him and that she’d said yes. We had to celebrate. We awoke with hangovers the next morning with the temperature much cooler and snow squalls all day. Followed on the final morning with a temperature of -14C. It was a memorable hunting trip, to say the least.

    That IS one of the best quotes from the Hitchhiker’s Guide, isn’t it? I’ve used it on many occasions. I think I might have gotten some mileage out of it when the Electeds forced us to grade soggy roads so that the graders got stuck. Another one I used was during big thunderstorms and windstorms. I’d dash into the receptionist desk area and excitedly quip, “It’s so windy out I saw Elected So and So fly by on a broomstick!” Big Boss heard me once and was not impressed. I told him that I saw what I saw and suggested he try to disprove it. He walked off shaking his head.

    Mountain roads are hard to keep intact during the wet. And sometimes hard to construct, as it can be straight uphill on one side and straight downhill on the other. Grading it so that any water does a “sheet-flow” across the road from the uphill side to the downhill works ok under normal conditions, but not with what you just had. As you noted, any ditching and therefore culverts to remove water, well, that water has to go somewhere. And sometimes the volume of water drastically exceeds the size of the culvert. Nothing good ever comes from that!

    One year, I think it was January 1998, we had an epic snowstorm with winds. Few could make it into work, so they had me on the front desk answering phones. It was very windy, also, so the southern third of the county suffered from roads getting drifted closed within minutes of being plowed. The plows could only go back and forth on the arterials. I got multiple calls from people who were out of propane, had no firewood and were very low on food. And 6 or 7 miles from the nearest arterial. I told them what I had been told to tell them: it would be 3 to 5 days AFTER the wind died down before the local roads would all be cleared. I dunno how one can live that far out in the boonies and NOT have backups for the backups and several months of necessities. Many snowmobile clubs organized with the county and the Red Cross and hauled people to safety.

    Between the residual smoke in the air and some thin cloud cover, the sunset tonight was extra spectacular. I had to take a few minutes out from dinner preparation to enjoy. I mean, sometimes ya just gotta stop and enjoy the sunset.


  41. Hi DJ,

    Bridges are a complicated business. The state government maintains the bridge over the local river which separates me from the nearby closest township. There are other exits from here, but each option is less appealing. 🙂 Anyway, after the last flood, a lot of work was put into raising the deck height of the bridge, and this flood, the road on my side of the bridge flooded. The bridge was dry. What do they say: Same, same, but different. Last flood the bridge and the road disappeared under water for at least 200m. And way out on the other side was some bloke in a station wagon, who really shouldn’t have been in the water and maybe was on the twisting road, but maybe not, I couldn’t tell. You know I dunno whatever happened to him, but the car had come to a standstill. I suspect the engine had taken in water, and as you’d know – that’s a show stopper. There was nothing I could do to help the guy which wouldn’t have put me in serious danger of being swept away.

    There’s a smaller bridge over the local creek which originates at the bottom of my property. I believe the local council maintains that bridge. It’s rather narrow and only allows one vehicle at a time. Somehow during the heavy rains, it’s developed an enormous pothole. Ask me how I know about this? 🙂 The water on the bridge deck hid the giant hole, which today is probably much larger.

    It may not surprise you, but there were a lot of people out touristing around that day. Have they nothing better to do? I’ve got some rocks which need to be rolled uphill. Yes, that will learn them. Evil genius chuckle!!!!!

    We put a 3m surface drain at the top of the low gradient ramp today. It looks like it was always there, but not so!

    DJ, mate, I so hear you. The Editor would be keeping up with them, and you and I would be asking the hard questions like: Where’s that quiet spot and ale to be had over there?

    Such news only happens every now and then, and as such is worth celebrating. I didn’t quite understand whether you and your buddies were in a tent or a cabin? With that much rain, I’d be hoping for the cabin option, but reality sometimes hurts. Over the years I’ve enjoyed the accommodations of some remote cabins, and they’re a true delight. In the alpine areas down here, there are mountain huts dotted about the landscape which were originally constructed for the summer cattle drovers. Quite rustic, but when compared to a tent, they’re pure luxury.

    Oh yes, I loved that quote the very moment I first heard it. My introduction to Hitchhikers was the original BBC series. And in some respects, the quote tells it as it is. 🙂

    That’s what is known as a CLM. Yes, what is a CLM you ask? It’s a Career Limiting Move. Like you, I also used to share candid opinions, and send up the higher up folks. They started it! That’s my excuse anyway.

    Interestingly as part of the building permission process, I had to install a rather large concrete culvert. To do the job required a 20 tonne excavator, and I was seriously chuffed when the excavator driver yelled out from the cabin that I was a natural for such work. He had the huge pipe hanging from the boom with dog chains, and I was underneath and directing the pipe by hand into the dug channel.

    What the heck? Mate, as you know by now, I live way out in the boon docks a goodly ways away from any help. I enjoy the challenge which comes from that situation, but I dunno how other people view such things. But you know, your experience sort of accords with the responses from what I’ve seen of folks around these parts. It won’t end well, you know.

    Well done, and I respect folks who can take the time out from the exigencies of day to day living to enjoy the sheer spectacle which is life on this planet. People can ask for more, but that is their problem don’t you reckon?



  42. Hi Lewis,

    I agree, parts of Florida are probably toast. Don’t they already enjoy ground water rising during King Tides? Hey, that would be a very cool band name don’t you reckon? You may laugh, but I’m reminded of the miserable old matriarch who survived the Black Plague in Norah Loft’s most excellent book: ‘A wayside tavern’. After the plague the miséricorde suggested that ‘now is the time to buy land’. Sage advice.

    Too many sit on either of the extremes when it comes to climate change from ‘this is going to be apocalypse’ to ‘yeah, all lies’, that the truth probably lays somewhere in between. A clever person would indeed make some sound real estate bets as you suggest. But then what legacy do you or I need to consider?

    What amazes me about the arguments for and against the Black Sea Deluge Hypothesis is that the general consensus appears to be that sea levels rose 120m (almost 400ft) in a relatively short period of time (geologically speaking) and the experts are arguing amongst themselves that it was either this kind of bad, or that kind of bad, without realising that it’s all bad. To conserve literally means to avoid making changes to the overall system.

    Have to laugh, but when we were talking about gritty areas way back in the day, St Kilda was one of those places. I really enjoyed the vibe and never felt as if my life was in peril. The people there probably had their own issues, and I was small fry and of no consequence. Nowadays the place is probably pretty sterile, but what do I know? The burger place there way back in the day, Greasy Joes, used to have a cast of some very colourful characters, but the chips were served with a small jar of Dijon Mustard which you could slather on. So good, and so tasty, but where is their like today?

    I had an enjoyable read about the folks from the Isle of St Kilda. There was the awful moment when the bible thumper landed and stayed for 24 years. What a martinet! And I was surprised to read that plenty of them had ended up down under. Who knew? My gut feeling was that despite the hardships and poor soils down here, it would have been an easier existence than that isle. Thanks for the history lesson as I had never heard of the existence of that island before and it’s connection to links in the big smoke.

    Glad to hear that the place didn’t burn down, and that H was also saved. 🙂

    The stories are familiar to me too. I watch the weather forecast like a hawk on the off-chance that there is unpleasant news involving myself. Other people, well, like you, I also dunno what they do. The Maribyrnong River flows into the bay and yes, it is a tidal river. I tell ya truly, the Editor and I used to regularly cycle along that river and I was always amazed at how little the difference was between the dry ground and the water. It wouldn’t take much rise at all, let alone a King Tide. What interested me was that in one of the news reports, the origins of the river were correctly pinpointed at this very mountain range. The creeks and rivers on either side of it flow into that much larger Maribyrnong River.

    With more rain forecast for later next week, today we installed a surface drain near to the top of the low gradient ramp. Seemed like a wise idea. Also I managed to move those two American pawpaws I mentioned last week, and also two rather large Irish Strawberry trees which had a lot of surface movement due to the soggy nature of the surrounding soil. Had to cut the tap root off one of the trees, but I trimmed it back hard, mulched up the material and used it around the soil where the trees now reside. A big day. Moving trees is not a fun thing to do, but if the conditions aren’t optimal for them, what else do you do?

    The funny thing is that without people even realising it, they’re adapting to the realities of a complicated and difficult future.

    Thanks! Your shack sounds like it would have been quick to clean, and cheap to heat. It surprises me that people want so much space. It wasn’t always thus that these wants could be entertained. I’ve never experienced such a thing, but yes, it’s possible and water tends to find its level. And I’m glad that nothing floated out of the drains into your toilet and/or bath. What a clean up though. You never know, but heavy rains can wash all manner of gunk into nearby creeks and rivers.

    A trash burner as a wood stove, well if it works, it’s a great idea. I expect that some parts of the world this winter will be grabbing whatever they can to chuck into fires in order to keep warm.

    The Tanis site is remarkable. You watched the documentary on the site didn’t you?

    Sorry to hear that the jabs now hurt. Youch! Dame Plum would surely love to be thought of as ‘bubbles’. Whatever else you may say, it’s not a bad nickname. Of interest to you in relation to the dogs (and here is my dastardly trick to take your own mind off your arm troubles) is that I now call them using a very calm voice. What is of interest, is that they respond better to that calm sound than me raising my voice at them. Interesting, and perhaps the pooches are teaching me calm leadership?

    A lovely meal. And yes, chicken soup can contain a good amount of sodium. It seems to be something of a thing to do so, and am not sure why. Hehe! I’m pretty sure evacuating the building would not have been high on your list of things to do today! But, I could be wrong. Hope H is keeping you company and being nice today.

    How good is the by-line: “It’s all fun and games until someone raises the dead”? I went to a seance once and the experience gave me the creeps, so I went off and did something else with my time. It’s very possible the dead would make for rather boring and unpleasant company. Like living with a bunch of obsessive compulsive folks in an asylum. Doesn’t sound appealing to me. Not sure about how other people would see such a situation?



  43. Hi Pam,

    Ah, yes that could be something of a problem if a person didn’t have ready access to recovery equipment. As an amusing side story, there’s a road near here in the eastern part of the mountain range. It has a lovely name, Mount Charlie Road. And every single time we’ve set out to explore it, we’ve had to turn around and retreat. I dunno, the road might be cursed for us, or something like that. It runs alongside a flowing creek, and the road is rather wet. Once the Editor was driving the former Dirt Rat, and we looked like we were going to get into some trouble which may have lead to getting bogged. With that thought in the forefront of my mind, and the – dare I mention it – unblemished record, I may have suggested that it would be wise if I did the driving instead? And we didn’t get bogged.

    However, proving the universe is something of a trickster, long ago I ran out of petrol (gas) in a car. The Editor has not done so, and I still hear about it today. Look, it was only once… 😉

    Don’t you reckon ‘Rock Hound’ would be a great name for a breed of dog? Imagine this: So, what kind of dog is that? Yeah, mate, it’s a rock hound. Cool! 🙂

    Put in a surface drain at the top of the low gradient ramp today. No point allowing further damage to occur from the bonkers rain which they reckon will continue for the next one and half to two months. Ook! At least it didn’t rain today – I never thought to hear myself saying that.



  44. Yo, Chris – “Sunny day,” or “nuisance flooding.” Happening not only in Miami, but also Charleston, Savannah, Norfolk, Annapolis, and parts of Boston and New York. Can be particularly bad during full and new moons.

    You drove me to the rabbit hole. “Misericorde.” Most of the definitions were in French, but the few English ones either referred to a part of a church seat, or, “divine mercy.” Which doesn’t seem to apply, in context. Perhaps you were shooting for “miserable old b____?” 🙂

    I thought you’d referred to St. Kilda, before. The district sounds like my kind of place. Or, did. The island was pretty barren. Just a few little swales to grow a bit of oatmeal. Mostly, they lived on sea birds. The place was inhabited, for 2,000 years. I wonder where the population came from. I suppose the occasional shipwreck and the odd Spanish Armada. 🙂

    Oh, yes, I keep an eagle eye on the weather. It’s supposed to be 80F, today and tomorrow. And if the forecasts hold, it’s the last hurrah of summer. Prof. Mass seems to think our rains will start, next weekend. But, he hedges his bets. That far out, subject to change.

    Yes, a surface drain near your ramp seems prudent. So, if you’ve got “surface movement” and took out the trees, what are you going to do to stabilize that section? Willow?

    Yes, the documentary I watched about the Tanis site, was “Dinosaur Apocalypse.” A two part PBS program. It was fascinating.

    The jabs weren’t bad at all. She was very good. It’s the aftermath. It feels a lot better, today, than yesterday. But I don’t think I’ll be doing any bench presses in the near future. 🙂

    Oh, I don’t know. Ghosts are kind of a mixed bag. In “ParaNorman” his grandma’s ghost was very comforting. I’m looking forward to season two, of BBC’s “Ghosts.” It’s a lot of fun. A stately house full of ghosts from many different eras of history. From a Neolithic warrior, to a smarmy Thatcherite politician. The Scout Master with the arrow in his neck, is pretty fun. And not to forget the plague pit, in the cellar.

    I think H is trying out a new look. She’s got a bit of fur that’s flopping over one eye. I think she’s channeling Veronica Lake, “the peek-a-boo” girl. Quit a famous movie star, at one time. Poor thing. The drink got her. Lew

  45. Hi Lewis,

    Yeah, that nuisance flooding sure would ruin your whole day. If I may but give one tiny bit of unsolicited advice to people in such situations: Run, and run now whilst ya can! I doubt they’d listen, but it did probably make both of us feel better.

    Mate, it took me a while tonight to think about how to write this weeks blog. I’ve told you the story before, but it never tires in the telling. And who knows, maybe someone, at least one person, will listen. That would be a fine outcome. One must not hope for better.

    Anyway, gravity is unrelenting and the moon (and probably all the rest of the heavenly bodies way out there in the solar system) exert an influence. Ignore at one’s peril.

    OK, so I’m so busted here. It was the name of an album from a very talented (and alert) local band, Tiny Little Houses. Truly, that was what they were called, I can’t make that stuff up. And yeah, you called it, that was what I was aiming for, and you already know that it wasn’t either you or I who were hanging out for the Divine Mercy? Bad attitudes can bring that gear down on their heads, we just have to occasionally suffer the consequences of a mild berating from strung out folks – then ignore the martinets and go on about our otherwise important business.

    Back in the day, St Kilda had some very interesting character. What did they used to call such places, err, Red Light Districts? Anyway, it was a place you could go to get some late night feed, or coffee and cake. By natural inclination, I’m a night owl in a world that is obsessed with getting up early. That’s their issue, not mine, but yeah I guess it’s a culture clash of sorts. And such places have disappeared over time. As I’ve mentioned before, I never felt hassled there, but I’m guessing economics shut the area down as property prices in the area would change the demographics. It wasn’t always that way.

    Wise to keep an eye on the weather. Dude, despite being apparently half way through spring, I haven’t yet seen any temperatures near to 80’F. What the heck? Enjoy your warmer days. Exactly, that far out, all advice is subject to change.

    I’ll chuck in some photos of the surface drain, and you can make your own judgements. It sure was wet. From what I’m noticing, the land moves ever so slowly, regardless. You can see that in the older trees with their buttressing and how the soil has receded around them. The older trees have converted soil minerals into tree.

    I didn’t have any impact from them, but the Editor sure did. It was not good. Having had the dreaded thing despite the forced jubs, I don’t know which is worse?

    Thanks for the correction, I’ve unfortunately read too many tales of malevolent ghosts. Mostly they arrive in your sleep state, and some are bad, and some are just there. I’m not convinced they have much to say of any merit. And I do take umbrage at having my sleep disturbed. Others may feel differently, and that’s cool.

    Yes, who could forget a plague pit in the cellar! 🙂

    Veronica Lake was a very interesting person. I read so much in between the words penned by others. I wonder if they saw? H is definitely onto something there and has upped the charm ante considerably.

    Cheers and better get writing.


  46. Chris:

    We all know that there are times when trouble should be avoided.

    My husband once ran out of petrol with me and our two small sons in the car. Ha – I had forgotten about that.

    Yeah – cool!

    I have a strong feeling that our rain roles will be reversed next year. What I am wondering about is the production of Vitamin D and the other healthful factors, like increasing the uptake of calcium and the sun’s disinfectant properties, that we get from the sun. Do you feel a deficit?


  47. Yo, Chris – So the blog is entering the dreaded summer re-runs? 🙂

    Yup. Given my druthers, I’m a night owl too. I wonder if there’s a genetic component to that? My Dad was a “everyone must be up and doing at 5am, or Western Civilization will unravel” kind of a guy. But my mother was more of a night owl. I read recently that a study indicated that night owls were less likely to live as long as early risers. I’ll just ignore that study, and indulge in something a little healthy to offset it. Eat more greens, or something.

    Well, yesterdays weather was “interesting.” I don’t know if we got to 80F, or not, as the local weather stations reporting was spotty. As it has so often been, lately. But around noon, I smelled smoke and wondered if our building were on fire, and we’d have to evacuate … again. Nope. Looking out the window, we were socked in by smoke from the forest fires. I couldn’t even see the Interstate. It eased up in the evening, though I could still see smoke around the street lamps. We’re supposed to have another day of it. Prof. Mass usually doesn’t post, over the weekends. But he did, just to comment on it.

    So, I had a strong reaction to one out of four jabs. Not bad odds 🙂 . Considering the possible alternative.

    Don’t know what’s up with H. Usually, in the evening, if I’m reading or watching a DVD, she wants on my lap. Demands to be on my lap, in fact. But as it got on toward bedtime, I realized she hadn’t wanted to get up, even once. Hmmmm. Well, women. I’m sure if I asked her, if anything was wrong, she’d just say, “Nothing!” 🙂

    The weather yesterday reminded me of an old cli-fi novel. From before there were cli-fi novels. “Nature’s End,” (Strieber & Kunetka, 1986.) I wonder if the library has a copy of it? Probably, not. Pretty old.

    Last night, I made a bowl of popcorn, and settled in with “Arsenic and Old Lace.” (1944). Cary Grant, et all. It’s very fast paced. A black comedy. A farce. Lots of fun.

    A few nights ago, I happened to watch a documentary. The 20th anniversary of the Harry Potter movies. I know your not a fan. There were several bits with Robbie Coltrane, who played Hagar the gentle giant. And then he passed away, just a few days ago. I decided I’m going to work my way through all the movies, beginning to end. Judging from the film clips, I missed a few along the way. Given your antipathy, I’ll observe radio silence, on that topic. 🙂 Lew

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