Too hot to handle

Normal summer weather has finally arrived. About time. Hot days, warm nights, and the plants are finally growing. Ordinarily I sleep like the dead. The eyes close, only to awaken for unusual noises, and of course the outrage which is the dreaded alarm. Tinkle, tinkle goes the alarm. Go away you rotten device, surely it can’t be morning yet? Alas, the sun is shining and the birds are praising the fine and lovely morning. Nice for some.

Where’s that coffee? Ah, that’s better. Morning life does go better with coffee. After many years, Sandra knows to leave me alone in the morning. If possible I’ll bring her coffee in bed which she can enjoy with a book. Very occasionally the coffee is accompanied by half a muffin. It all sounds very nice, but my secret plan is to keep her out of the kitchen so that the morning world can come slowly into focus without too many other demands upon my brain.

The other night was quite warm. A minimum overnight temperature of 26’C / 79’F and the inside of the house was not spared the heat. The house design works by capturing the normally cooler overnight mountain air, which we allow in at night. Heavy insulation and shading from verandas keeps then keeps the captured cool air during the much hotter summer day times. Rinse and repeat, so the process goes each hot day. We manually manage the house temperature that way, and most days of the year, it just works. During winter, the insulation works in reverse so as to keep the heat from the firebox trapped inside the house. It’s a simple system, and simple usually works.

That other night, I broke my usual sleep pattern and lay awake thinking upon a problem. Every now and then it doesn’t hurt to get some quiet time that way, and some problems require a lot of thinking time. During a recent inspection of the solar power system, I had noticed that a couple of the battery terminals were far hotter than they should ever be. If you’re going to worry about something, it should be worth worrying about, and that is the case here.

I’m something of an old school tech geek from way back. The few hours of quiet reflection time in the middle of the night were used to work my way through the possible causes of the problem. Turns out, there can be plenty of different reasons why the battery terminals are running far hotter than they should be. None of the reasons are any good.

After I’d taken the problem as far as I could in those dark hours, I went back to sleep.

The next morning, we headed off to visit the nearest electronics store which was open on Boxing Day (Jaycar Electronics, thanks dudes!) We picked up enough cable to replace all of the battery connector cables. Those are nothing fancy, just heavy duty cables which link one battery to the other. It was possible that one or more of the original battery connector cables were faulty.

In the warm afternoon of Boxing Day, I made up brand new heavy duty battery cables, then installed them. Congratulating myself on a job well done, we tested the system and it appeared to be working fine. Except I noticed that I was unable to really tighten the cables onto the battery terminals. That’s not meant to happen.

Metal battery terminals are secured to the battery box with epoxy so that you can really tighten the cables down hard. You need to, because any loose connections turn electricity into heat, and so there you go, that’s what the caused the heat problem. It was a shame I hadn’t noticed this problem whilst the batteries were covered by warranty. They aren’t far out of warranty.

In the remote chance that the distributor of the batteries gave a crap, I contacted them to alert them to the troubles I was having. The reply received didn’t fill me with confidence. Oh well, they are out of warranty and that’s what you get. What they’ll get in return, is a nice friendly email thanking them for the reply and describing how I intend to tear down the battery and rectify the issue whilst making a video of it for public consumption. As an old school tech geek, I can do that. If I’m not mistaken, people do tend to watch reviews before spending mad cash on large purchases. I wonder if it will take the distributor long to reply?

Regardless of the outcome, the batteries do need to have this problem corrected, and soon. It’s a serious fire risk. Depending upon what happens with the battery distributor, in the short term we’ll make a quick fix. In the medium term replacement parts are on order from the land of stuff, although they won’t arrive any time soon. In the longer term, I now wonder if these new batteries will last even as long as the original lead acid (old school) batteries. Dunno.

How’s that for a sunset?

It wasn’t all batteries this week. The suddenly warmer summer weather meant that the firewood pile warmed and dried. That’s the time to put the stuff away into a shed so that it avoids further rain prior to being used next winter. Damp firewood makes for very poor combustion and will damage your steel heater, not to mention clog up flues with all manner of nasty chemicals. We spent three mornings hauling and stacking the stuff in the firewood shed.

After two morning sessions of work the firewood shed rapidly filled up
The third morning of hauling and stacking firewood almost filled up the shed. Ruby enjoys the warm summer sun and thinks fondly of cold winter days when the wood heater will warm her belly

Peak rocks is real! We’ve mostly run out of easy to get at and move large rocks. And plenty of them are needed for the new low gradient ramp project. Fortunately, we haven’t run out of much larger but hard to move rocks because those can be split.

We split a few much larger rocks this week, and thought that readers would find the process to be interesting. As a process it is not that different from what the ancient Romans used to do, we just have better tools than them (not to mention the camera).

The first step in the process is drilling holes in the rock along the line you wish to split.

Five holes were drilled into the rock, only two of which are deep (second and forth holes)

We then use the electric jackhammer with several rock breaking bits (they’re tapered down to a point). In order to break an even line, the jackhammer is driven into a hole a small distance, then the same process is repeated for the next hole in the row. Each bit goes a little bit deeper into the rock, but in series.

An electric jackhammer drives the bits into the holes in series

It doesn’t take long before the rock begins to crack along the line.

The rock almost tears apart

Once the crack has formed, it is a very quick process to then entirely split the rock using the jackhammer. One way too large rock, then becomes three still large, but now moveable rocks. Peak rocks is avoided, but at considerable expenditure of energy and capital.

One way too large rock, then becomes three still large, but now moveable rocks.

The yellow power wheelbarrow is then used to move the rocks. We roll the rocks onto timber sleepers, and from there into the bucket of the wheelbarrow. The timber sleepers make the job easier by raising the heavy rock off the ground. It’s not a great difference in height, but it sure makes a huge difference. The bucket is on a pivot which gets tipped back and then locked into place.

Getting a large rock into the bucket of the power wheelbarrow

The power wheelbarrow can haul loads of 500kg / 1,100 pounds, and the whilst rocks are heavy, they’re not that heavy. The machine slowly crawls back up the hill with the rock. It would be very difficult to move the heavy rocks back up the hill without the machine. Not impossible, just very difficult.

Dame Plum is excited that the rock has been brought back up the hill

The rocks are manoeuvred into place using a six foot steel house wrecking bar.

The large rock wall for the new low gradient ramp continues to develop

The wildlife is appreciating the break in the rain, even the tree frogs. Those cheeky scamps hang off the side of the house at night eating any spiders and other insects they find. All power to the them!

A Southern Brown Tree Frog hunts off the side of the house

The warmer weather has begun the process of ripening the blackberries. We grow thornless varieties (Chester and Waldo) and the berries are used for fresh eating and jam.

Blackberries should produce a good crop

I’m not sure about the grape vines. We have ten vines and over the past few years we’ve trained them up onto the growing supports. Last year only one plant produced any grapes, whilst this year most of the vines have done so. It’s still only early days for the grapes.

Clusters of grapes have formed on the ten vines

Onto the flowers:

A creeping rose splashes over onto this garden bench seat
Roses in particular are enjoying the suddenly warmer and drier weather
This may be a David Austen Rose as it is very aromatic
The Geraniums also enjoy the sun, heat and dry this week

The temperature outside now at about 8am is 22’C (72’F). So far this year there has been 0.0mm (0.0 inches). Last year there was 1,416.6mm (55.8 inches) which was the second wettest year since records began almost 150 years ago.

51 thoughts on “Too hot to handle”

  1. Yo, Chris – From last week … Stuffed up the town names, on the alligator story. As the sheriff said, “This is Nampa, Idaho. Not Tampa, Florida.” While poking around in the rabbit hole, I discovered Idaho has a hot spring (Miracle Hot Spring), that has alligators. “Another roadside attraction.”

    Yes, clean around the stone circles, but don’t tamper with them. Gosh knows what strange ju-ju, you might stir up. Planting a tree in the middle of one, probably was OK. Maybe. Unless one can ascribe the battery problems to disturbing the circles?

    We had snow in our forecast, for tomorrow morning. “Chance of snow … no accumulation or measurable amount.” It’s now gone from the forecast. Whew! Dodged that bullet. When I think about it, we’ve actually had a pretty warm winter. So far. Still three or four months to go. I haven’t even broken out a flannel shirt, yet. Though I wear my winter coast.

    Quiet beaches are so nice. This time of the year, our beaches are very quiet. Winter, and all. Ideal time to go and kick around.

    I watched a third “X-Men” film, last night. Watching them in chronological order, instead of release order, well, it all makes a lot more sense.

    “Warm Bodies,” (by Seattle author Isaac Marion) has a prequel, “New Hunger.” Tag line: “The end of the world didn’t happen overnight.” And, there’s a sequel. “Burning World.” All are quit good.

    I picked up a lot of books at the library, yesterday. I’ll mention them as I go along. I’m plowing through “Con / Artist: The Life and Crimes of the World’s Greatest Art Forger.” (Tetro, 2022). In the 1970’s and 80’s, it was easier to get away with faking art. No scientific tests and not much skepticism. The art dealers were a pretty corrupt bunch. They used to call him up and say things like, “Can you run me off a hundred Miro’s?” A dozen Chagall’s? A clutch of Picasso’s?” The “artist” ran through money like water. Due to the fast cars, faster women, cocaine, and jet-setting.

    I struck upon a biscuits and gravy compromise. Hence forth known as the “Biscuits and Gravy Compromise of 2023”. I’ll shop for the biscuits, butter and milk. SHE can shop for the ground pork. She doesn’t like it, but that’s the way it’s going to be.

    New Year’s Eve was pretty noisy. I didn’t go down, but the Club usually runs meetings, all night long. With snackies. I guess there were 20 and 30 people, coming and going, into the wee small hours.

    The auction is done and dusted by now. But, I won’t know how I’ve done, until the check comes in the mail.

    But onto your post….

  2. Yo, Chris – Dealing with batteries, fire wood and breaking up rocks. This is a vacation? Yup. You must have done something REALLY bad in a past life.

    Emily Dickinson had several poems about sunsets … and sunrises. So many, in fact, that Ken Burns quoted one, in the documentary about him, and I couldn’t find it. Beautiful picture.

    The Southern Brown Tree Frog, is a cute little fellow. Where’s Waldo? In the blackberry patch! The roses are eating the garden bench! When you sit on it, do you fell like something is creeping up behind you?

    Your roses are spectacular. Down at the Club, we have a … hmmm, brick garden container? It had some languishing plants in it, and one of the guys took it on as his project. There were some miniature roses, in there. I noticed this morning that they are full of buds, and some are even beginning to bloom. Amazing. Even through the ice storm and snow dump. Maybe some of the coffee dregs I dumped on them, in passing, helped? Lew

  3. Hi Lewis,

    Some people lay upon sandy golden beaches whilst the summer sun warms their skin, sometimes to a crisp. That’s vacation for most people, I enjoy breaking rocks, slow landscaping, and then there are the other things which need doing just because it is the summer months. The firewood job was completed this morning and the shed is now full. After that we got onto thinning the strawberry enclosure, we’ve let the plants run riot, and so they rioted. There are more plants than berries, and that is a problem.

    You may have thought that I was joking around about that… 😉

    Went to the pub for a pizza and pint this evening. It being a public holiday and all, there is a surcharge which is fair and reasonable given penalty rates for the staff. Except I watched one lady request a discount, she candidly looked like she could afford the full price. Possibly a grifter? You’ve probably read it elsewhere that a refusal often offends, this was indeed the case.

    A delightful and complicated person, for who cannot but like one who’s companions were the hills, the sundown, and her dog, Carlo. Some folks do their best work whilst requiring seclusion. It was a ripper sunset that one.

    There probably was a dog hiding in that blackberry patch. If those canes were other than thornless, the patch would look very different.

    Late this afternoon a thunderstorm rolled up from the south. The thunder boomed and cracked, but the lightning was harder to catch, unless you took the time to look for it. More often than not, you’d observe the flashes of lightning from the corner of your eye. This year the garden has been something of a jungle, and we all know what hides in such places: Triffids. Yup. The creeping roses are like that, if you turn you back on them, they’ll suck you into the mass of thorny growth. Best not to sit on the bench. Unruly guests may spy the comforts of the bench, but the question properly is: Should they have been unruly?

    Thanks. The roses are growing really well now that the weather has warmed and dried, despite this afternoons thunderstorm. That is amazing about the miniature roses, and interestingly I looked up el-primo rose fertiliser (I bought some of that stuff a week or two back) and you know, the ratios aren’t all that different to coffee grounds with a bias towards potassium. Hmm. As an interesting side thought, roses would do very well in flogged ex-forest soils. Nice detective work on your part using that soil feed.

    You weren’t kidding about the alligators. They’d make for strange pets.

    The stone circles are bit eerie, and one of them needs some repair despite it being mostly intact, which work I’ll do at some point later in the year. But I agree, approach the task with caution, and see what the site asks. Pah, the two issues are unrelated, maybe… 🙂

    You never know about weather forecasts. We had chance of severe thunderstorm, and sure enough it arrived, but on the radar the storm looked far worse in other parts of the area. Did you end up getting any snow? The opposite has occurred here, it has not been warm, despite today being quite hot, until it wasn’t, and now we’re in fog. There’s been only 12 growing days (days above 86’F) so far this season, and that’s hardly encouraging. Still, you’ve dodged cracking out the flannel, and that stuff does work to keep you warm in the winter months. My mind spins, on the clothes front because this morning was hot so t-shirt and shorts were the way to go, but tonight is now cool and mate, I’m summer soft and put on the woollen jumper. It’ll be a couple of cooler days then things will warm up again. Glad the firewood is done with this sort of crazy weather. No point putting the stuff away when it is damp.

    Hehe! Yes, winter beaches are the best. And how good is winter storm from such a locale?

    It’s weird how film franchises release films in that sort of order. Ah, I see that Sir Patrick Stewart is in the films. Did you enjoy the film? And was it consistent with the first film?

    Ooooo! Book recommendation alert. Lewis, I’m not strong. 🙂 The off grid (I’d accidentally type oof grid, sounds weird huh? What would an oof possibly be?) book has not yet arrived in the mail.

    Mate, the by-line from the book was pretty amusing: providing an art history lesson wrapped in sex, drugs, and Caravaggio. Perhaps not your average art history class? 🙂 So the book a good read?

    An excellent compromise, and it will be interesting indeed to see if the meat purist can come through with the goods herself? Some folks talk big, but when it comes to action… Incidentally, I like the name, sounds like a big conflab took place. Hopefully all the signatories to the agreement were present for the tough negotiations?

    Ah, at such times I guess support is needed where it is needed? The Club provides an excellent service if that is the case. My New Years Eve, I went to bed early because we got up early and hauled firewood. We know how to have fun here! 🙂 Actually the job just had to be done and completed before the weather turns, and it has been a very unpredictable season so far.

    Hey, almost forgot to mention, today we pulled all of the strawberries from the greenhouse except the weird pink flowering hybrid variety. That’s the only one which produces berries in there, and the real estate is too premium to grow runners. Planted out the space to tomatoes. And yes, we’re staking them and pruning them… An old dog can learn new tricks. 🙂

    Fingers crossed for the auction mad cash result.



  4. Yo, Chris – Rioting strawberries. Probably under the influence of outside agitators.

    The surcharge would keep out the riffraff. 🙂 The “lady” may have been distressed, but I bet not distressed enough, to leave.

    No detective work on my part. I just had an attack of tidy, and didn’t want to pour my coffee dregs out in the parking lot.

    As with the roses, you wouldn’t want to turn your back on an alligator. When they’re of a mind, they can move!

    No snow. It got really cold, last night. But, the 3 day weather history went TU at midnight, so, I don’t know how cold it got. This morning, it’s warmer, and we have fog.

    Sir Patrick Stewart does a fine job, as Dr. X. James McAvoy plays the young Dr. X. Hugh Jackman is a time traveling Wolverine. Peter Dinklage is the evil scientist. I think they make more sense out of chronological order, because someone thought they could clean up some loose ends (and, make another movie.)

    Oof grid. Not to be confused with Uff da.

    Well, they’re not really book recommendations. Just what I’m reading. If something catches your fancy, that’s you’re look out. 🙂 I finished “Con / Artist.” I liked it, but then, art and art history is an interest of mine. And true crime titillates. The author makes the point that it’s far, far harder to get away with what he did, these days. Due to advances in technology and the internet.

    So now I’m onto “Remainders of the Day.” The title is a play on a publishing term. (Bythell, 2022). Bythell runs a mostly used bookshop in the small Scottish town of Wigtown. It’s a book town. This is his fourth book. I’ve read them all. The formats are about the same. A day by day, years worth of diary entries. Books bought, books sold, odd and interesting customers and townspeople. Each month’s entries are prefaced by an essay on the book biz. History or current state. Now here’s something interesting. Across the street from his place is a B & B. That’s a bookstore. People can book in for a week or two and run a bookstore. So, is it a recommendation? Well, I suppose, if you’re interested in the used book business or small, quirky Scottish villages.

    Yeah, the “Biscuits and Gravy Compromise of 2023” got pretty lively. It was almost as lively as the Paris Peace Accords. When the yelling got to be too much, H and I stepped out on the veranda, and had a quiet cuppa until things settled down.

    I made my Hoppin’ John, etc., last night. I feel so potentially prosperous. 🙂 Pretty tasty stuff. I couldn’t find collard greens, so, used some fresh baby spinach. What I did was put rice, a slice of cornbread and the baby greens in a bowl, and then ladled the Hopin’ John over it. Wilted and warmed up the greens, nicely. Didn’t have to dirty another pan. There are many variations on Hoppin’ John. But the basics are, black eyed peas, a ham hock, onions, garlic and rice. One recipe I saw suggested green or red bell peppers. As I had both in the freezer, I threw in a handful of each. It gave it (I thought) a nice Cajun twist. There’s enough left over for two or three more meals. Lew

  5. Hi Lewis,

    🙂 The rioting strawberries in the greenhouse were asking for it. Believe it or not, the tomato seedlings which replaced them have almost doubled in size. Admittedly they were quite small, but clearly they enjoyed the new conditions.

    It’s late winter weather here today. Thick clouds, rain this morning. Cold. Dead sheep clothing alert! I thought that it was summer, but then I may have thought wrong. Tomorrow is set to be colder again. After that a week long nice run of sunny weather. Ooo, forget about that though… In breaking chilli news, there are now some small chilli’s on the various plants in the greenhouse. It was a good call to grow them in there, I quite like chilli. Gives food that little bit of extra kick. How are you with chilli? Hopefully you don’t reply with a sentence which includes the words: ‘death’; ‘ghost’; or that most horrific ‘reaper’ (no disrespect to the skinny dude with the going out hoodie and wicked sharp scythe who comes for us all in the end).

    Probably about the penalty rates. Far out man, I’m experiencing some very bad attitudes from that group of late in this area. Must be something in the water. In further strange stroppy news I watched an older lady who was wearing a mask and a large hat trip over a dog today. Now that is a bad thing, but then it got weird. The lady actually said in a surly voice: “It would be my fault. No. It wouldn’t be the dogs fault, would it?” Said as a challenge. It looked like an open and shut case to me, as it did to the people who owned the dog, who were lost for words and didn’t know what to say – the lady just didn’t see the large dog. Hmm. The Editor has begun reading 1984. We discussed language and how the words used to communicate reflect the culture. Over the past three years I’d have to suggest that people have become more inwardly focused. Language is such a funny tool and mode of thinking. One of the oddest slogans I read, which was widely promoted was: ‘stayingz apart keeps us togetherz’. Forget the z, I just added that to confuse the big relational database thing which haunts the interweb and is so bored it sucks up words. The slogan gave me the creeps because it is a logical fallacy designed to overlay abstractions on reality. Probably works super neat too. 🙂

    Your attack of the tidy with the coffee was an almost perfect feed for roses. Mate, sometimes lady luck is with us, and sometimes we just mess things up.

    Had fog here this morning as well. Dare I suggest – same, same, but different? The fog did lift around late morning, but the thick clouds obscured the sun for the remainder of the day. Your forecast is indicative, however local conditions may vary. How’s that for a disclaimer?

    All this talk of X-Men sent me on a rabbit hole reading of the life of the actor James McAvoy, and he sounds alright to me. There were some amusing personal moments which I could relate to in relation to his dad, yes. I didn’t know Peter Dinklage was in the X-Men films, you’ve piqued my interest. May have to put aside some time to watch at least the first film. I so enjoyed the film ‘My Dinner with Harve’. Total genius. I note that he has not been idle.

    Uff da! Thanks for the most useful exclamation. How does one know whether the words convey compassion, empathy or annoyance? Curious minds want to know!

    No worries about the books, and I enjoy hearing about your latest book conquests. Many of them do capture my interest (like the off grid book), but I have nary enough time to indulge in my fave hobby of reading. Sad emoji. At the moment, I have returned to my Jack Vance complete collection and am reading the book ‘Blue World’. It is a pleasure to be in the narrative world of Mr Vance, and the books text has been returned to its former glory due to the hard work of dedicated fans. Over the next year I do intend to work my way through the collected works of the author, some of which I have not read before. But I delay the pleasure and intersperse them with other books such as George Orwell’s book 1984. It was no pleasure to read that book and was something more of a chore.

    Yes, I can see that the book on short term running of a book store would be right up your alley. Did the experience in the book accord with your own?

    Hey, I may not have mentioned this, but ta da! This is the one week of the year with no paid work to do. A true holiday. Mind you, hubris, hubris, etc, is the watchword. The work we do around here hardly feels like a chore. Even moving heavy rocks and stuff.

    We opened up the faulty battery today. It was a funny task to do because it turns out people on the interweb appear to have a lot of trouble doing that task, and very few know how to achieve it. I should put a utoob video together and charge for views? Our fortunes may be made? No? Oh well. Dunno. Anyway, after poking around inside the guts of the thing, we discovered the problem. Contacted the distributor and seriously, they could give less of a poop if they’d tried. However, being the resourceful and crafty sort that I am, there is a plan… As you’d know by now, all plans require work. Work first, talk later! 🙂 That’s our motto here.

    Yelling? Really? Wow. You know, I can’t remember the last time I had to yell at someone. Maybe I cracked the sads about the guy who nicked the firewood, yeah that was a few years ago now. Not my finest hour. And like you, I’d take H outside into the peaceful cold fresh air to attain some quietude until the air settled down. Hope H wasn’t upset by the simian display?

    Good to hear of your food prosperity, and the meal sounds delicious. Why not add in both indeed? An excellent idea, and thus good ideas become, great ideas!



  6. Hello Chris
    Wonderful sunset photo and I love the frog.
    Both Son and I are recovering from that which shall not be named. It is quite unlike anything that I have ever had before. The weirdest symptom is that both Son and I have lost the ability to feel hunger or thirst. I am having to take care to keep up a reasonable fluid intake.


  7. Yo, Chris – Go tomatoes! Daddy wants fresh passata! 🙂

    Oh, I love chillies. Unfortunately, my OMB (Old Man’s Bladder) doesn’t like chillies. I looked into it, and it is believed that spicy foods may cause problems. So, I cut back on the hot sauce, and sure enough, not as many problems. Oh, I can still eat them, but it just depends on how many times I want to get up in the night, to go to the bog. Oh, the indignities, deprivations and hassles of old age. 🙂

    The Scottish book dealer was given a copy of “The Machine Stops.” He made some comparisons between it, “1984” and “Brave New World.” He didn’t go into much detail. He’s not a deep thinker (nor does he claim to be.)

    That slogan sounds like it was created by advertising people. The same one’s who crank out ads, and you really can’t tell what product they’re flogging. I may have to watch the series, “Mad Men.” I watched a few episodes of season one, and it looked pretty interesting. But now the whole series is out, it might be worth a look. I wonder if I should add that to my bucket list?

    In weather news, Prof. Mass reports that there is a HUGE storm, lurking off our coast. But no idea yet where it will head or if the intensity will keep up. Probably show up in about a week.

    OK. For the X-Men series to make any sense, the first film to watch is “X-Men: First Class.” The only X-Men that Peter Dinklage appears in, is the second one. “X-Men: Days of Future Past.” It’s kind of a kick in the pants to see Mr. Dinklage play evil. 🙂

    Uff da! Intent depends on delivery and body language. Context.

    The Scottish bookstore book has similar experiences, to mine. Daft and dense customers. The occasional shining light. One of my favorite locals is “Sandy the tattooed pagan.” There’s quit a few walkers in the Highlands. Sandy carves walking sticks. He refuses money and prefers bookstore credit. The bookstore owner mentions something about barter, and “don’t tell the tax people.” 🙂 There is a bit of barter, that runs through the books. An antique fire extinguisher, for a pile of books, etc.. I’m enjoying the book, but reading about successful bookstores always makes me a little sad. That I couldn’t have pulled it off. Sigh.

    Opening a battery case: first, you sharpen your ax … Yes. Best keep plans close to the chest. Loose lips, sink ships. It’s what brought down the art forger. The flashy life style, talking too much, and those he talked to, talking too much. Sooner or later, John Law takes notice, and kicks in your front door.

    Oh, there’s a lot of yelling, at the Club. People talking over each other, trying to make a point, and the volume rises. But that’s just front of the house. Maybe part of it is, because the meetings are so … orderly. Everyone takes their turn, says their piece (in five minutes or less), and no one interrupts. Biscuits and gravy were ok, this morning. Too salty for my taste, but then, I don’t use salt on much of anything.

    Saw an article on what’s slipping into public domain, this year.

    So if you feel like writing a mystery staring Sherlock Holmes, or belting out “Old Man River” at the pub, no one is going to show up and arrest you for copyright infringement.

    It turns out Elinor’s son-in-law went to the New Year’s Day auction. So I got a little bit of a report. There were so many people that they ran out of chairs. He said people were paying more for stuff than it was worth. But all that is, is sour grapes. Translation: The things I was interested in sold for more than I was willing to pay. He’s not interested in glass or china, so no hard info on that. Although he did say the Fenton glass went for “a lot.” Of course, “a lot” is a pretty relative term.

    I gave H a bath, yesterday. She’s going to the groomer, tomorrow afternoon. She’ll look more like a spaniel, again, and not a dust mop. Lew

  8. @ Inge – I’m happy you’re on the mend. Did you loose you’re taste and smell? Some people do.

    I had a horrible case of flu. Even though I was vaccinated. That stuff mutates so fast! Probably, the worst case in my life. My friends in Idaho, also got it. Laid them low. Lew

  9. Hi Inge,

    Glad to hear that both you and your son are now on the mend from that which dare not be named. Yes, it was a weird illness and everyone seems to experience the thing differently. I like food so your symptoms would be a bit of a personal nightmare, and you are wise to keep a close on watch upon dehydration, given that is the case. That can lead to all manner of unpleasant outcomes. The thing has been getting around, that’s for sure.

    The warm summer days have left, but will return over the next day or so. But right now outside the wind is blowing from that cold frozen continent far to the south of here. The thermometer is reporting that it is only 50’F outside, and of course it is raining. What a summer!



  10. Hi Lewis,

    I’m surprised that the article as to the alleged crims provides the details as to how they got caught. They seem pretty dumb, it’s the ones that aren’t so dumb that you have to worry about. And it’s always weird how much damage some folks will do to obtain an advantage – take for example the recent crypto dude. A bonkers story and several orders of magnitude greater in terms of loss. I’ve never really understood how and why people believe that crypto is an investment. Never made any sense to me.

    50’F and raining right now. It barely got warmer than that today as cold damp winds swept north from that big frozen continent to the south of Australia. More bonkers stuff. It will begin to warm up again tomorrow. Ah, looks like the rain has stopped.

    Had the day off any and all work today. It was quite pleasant, we went and visited a garden about an hours drive west of here. It was really beautiful and quiet. The tourist hordes were elsewhere, believe me, we spotted them and went elsewhere. They sell plant there too and we bought five new varieties of citrus which we’ll get into the ground tomorrow. They’ll probably need a bit of watering so as to get established if the weather warms up, but no matter, at this stage the water tanks are full.

    Oh, they were a couple of oranges, a tangelo and a mandarin. Hope they grow well.

    Hehe! It’s funny that about the tomatoes because if I don’t fix the batteries we won’t be able to run the dehydrator due to how much continuous electricity it uses. If that is the case, we’ll make passata instead, but dehydrating is the preferable option. All being well, the batteries will be sorted out late next week, but it depends on how soon the parts get to us. We changed tack and purchased some components from local suppliers.

    Well, that is something to look forward to. Getting older isn’t all that it’s cracked up to be you know! 🙂 Hadn’t known that about chilli’s but hardly surprising. I’ll put some photos in next week. Hey, the Babaco (a pawpaw) has begun to produce some flowers. The eggplant seedlings wouldn’t have stood a chance outside the greenhouse this year, but fortunately they seem to have begun growing since we planted them out in there. They’re a thin short season variety which will probably be OK.

    Just took the dogs outside to do their business, and it was cold enough that I could see my breath. We’re running the wood heater tonight. Brr! It is very rare that we need any extra heating during the month of January.

    Don’t you think it frankly eerie that a novella first published in 1909 ‘The Machine Stops’ could predict broad brush strokes of the human condition? One notion which springs to mind from this is that we ain’t all that different from back then.

    People raved about that particular ad show, but there was always this reticence towards the show in my mind. How do you know that the show itself isn’t an advertisement for the industry? Stranger things have happened. It would a serious power move. Anyway, I never watched it, and would be interested to hear your thoughts if you do.

    Looks like surfs up dude in your part of the world. And talk about up! 30ft waves would be challenging, probably cause a lot of coastal erosion too. I assume that if the mid-latitude cyclone stays off shore, it will continue to pick up energy? I guess you’ll find out what happens in due course. And that’s good news for the drought to the south of you. Been very dry there of late. But again, big rains following on from a big drought, usually means big erosion. Stay safe and hang on securely to H in those winds. And watch out for falling trees and branches. A huge branch fell here the other day. No shortage of firewood, although at this stage I can’t always guarantee that enough of the stuff will be dry…

    Thanks for the explanation re X-Men. Just enjoyed watching some clips. Very good indeed. Mate, he looked like someone whom it would be best if not annoyed. 🙂 Except the folks in charge seemed to have done so. Not good, for them.

    I dunno man, it’s only possible to make something out of barter when overheads are low. Possibly why things are expensive down under? Anyway, that ain’t the case in this country and I assume that things are similar in your country. My dad’s bookshop ran for years. Someone else then ran for many years afterwards, but eventually as a bricks and mortar thing, it didn’t survive. I’m of the opinion that literacy rates are ever so slowly returning to their historical norms. One of the predictions in the book 1984 was that in the written form of the language, capital letters were no longer used and punctuation was not understood. I’m experiencing communications from people at that sort of level. It’s not good, but time will sort it all out, and we will be back where we came from. I’d like to be wrong in this regard.

    As a laugh, someone in a written communication to me misused the word ‘inducement’ when they were perhaps intending to use the word ‘include’. Yes, things are that bad.

    Your meetings sound very civilised to me, and please correct me if I’m wrong, those rules are in place so as to protect the people within the Club, but also they serve to protect the Club itself? I don’t really encounter people yelling to get a point across. An interesting cultural difference, and such a person may get a response of sullen silence down here. We’re probably a bit more repressed on that front than you guys. 🙂 I must add that I’m noticing a certain level of disappointment in the recent cook. Probably not in for the long haul.

    There was a Kafka novel in the list. Have you ever read any of his books? People can get a bit funny about copyright, so best not to poke them. There was a hugely infamous case with the very popular song ‘Down Under’ by the band ‘Men At Work’, you may have heard this song? A lot of pain in that case.

    It’s all talk until the check turns up in the mail! Good luck.

    Dust mops can be very useful items. H probably loved the attention.



  11. @ Lew
    No loss of taste or smell. However I have had a weird reaction to chocolate. It tastes very sharp and nasty, causing my mouth to hurt. Oh tragedy!


  12. Yo, Chris – Yeah, criminals can be pretty dumb. Like the guy who stole the ATM, here, with a stolen front loader and then hid the whole lot in a stolen rental truck. I think there’s a lot of “Seems like a good idea. What could possibly go wrong?”

    I haven’t paid much attention to the crypto dude saga. Other than seeing the headlines. Since I really don’t understand crypto and will never participate in whatever it is.

    You need to put the big frozen continent on notice, that you’re not interested in whatever it’s selling.

    Sounds like a nice mix of citrus. I’m still throwing a handful of dried tomatoes, in anything that looks like it needs a little color. Seems like there’s an eggplant, or two, planted here, each year. Usually grown from a good sized seedling and must be a short season variety. Mostly, they make it.

    Too early to tell where the big storm is going to go, and what it’s going to do. I’ll keep a weather eye, out.

    The author of the bookstore book, is very amusing. He usually has a zinger, every couple of pages. “Face (plant … my change) sidebar suggested this morning that I join the Apostrophe Protection Society. Must get out more.” “”At 9.05 a.m. a man came into the shop. The lights were on, the sign read ‘Open’ and the door was wide open. He came to the counter and asked, ‘Are you open?’ A photo of a quote painted on the bookstore wall: “Start every day off with a smile and get it over with.” “W. C. Fields.”

    Speaking of Kafka, the bookseller sells (sold?) through The River. His ongoing battles are epic. I may, or may not have read some Kafka, decades ago. Or maybe I’ve just heard enough about his books to think I read him?

    Predictions are funny things. Sometimes, they’re so spot on, one wonders if there’s more going on in the world than we are unaware of. 14 years before the Titanic went down, a short novel titled “Futility: The Wreck of the Titan,” was published. The similarities were more than eerie.

    I’m sure I’ve heard some of the “Men at Work” songs. I think, music videos. Way back when I had TV.

    As far as the auction goes, if I sell just 10 items at $100 per, that would give me …. 🙂 Not outside the realm of possibility, given the stuff I sent. Time will tell. Lew

  13. Hi Chris,
    As Lew said it doesn’t sound like too much of a vacation but then just focusing on work around your property without having paid work going on at the same time has to be a relief. Glad to see you finally took an actual day off.

    Loved the bench with the roses but wouldn’t be sitting there. Is it meant just as a decorative piece?

    Not too much going on here at the moment. Had our traditional New Year’s Eve with our friends, Bill and Kathy of the Retirement home. Decided to celebrate New York’s New Year so we could end the evening an hour earlier.

    Weather’s been a bit above normal with rain instead of snow but no big storms.

    How much longer does your vacation last?


  14. @Inge
    Glad to hear you and your son are on the mend. The unmentionable can drag on for quite some time. Doug lost his sense of taste for months as did his brother. As they are big food guys it was particularly hard for them.


  15. Hi Chris,

    Happy New Year, and enjoy your entire week off paid work! I hope you get some summer weather for at least part of it!

    Glad to hear that you have survived opening the battery case and learned the nature of the problem. It is not a good look for the distributor to be uninterested in making a show of sympathy and perhaps offering a bit of help toward remedying the problem, although technically since it is out of warranty the distributor is under no obligation to do anything. Still, it would be nice for those who supply us with needed equipment to make a show of standing behind what they sell. I trust you will inform us of the plan when the time is right? May your plan experience success in achieving its objective!

    It was very warm here the past few days. Yesterday (Tuesday) we set a record high for the day of 72F. It’s not a record for the month – even in January it can get into the 70sF here – but considering that we are heading into the coldest few weeks of the year, it is an impressive effort. If I weren’t getting over a sinus infection and thus less energetic than normal, I would have spent more time outdoors yesterday than I did. Still, I did take a bit of time to enjoy the fine weather, possibly warmer than you were experiencing even though it is supposed to be summer where you are. Now we are back to weather closer to average winter conditions, with a current temperature of 40F which is about our average high for today.

    I ordered replacements for the strawberry plants that reached the end of their lives last summer. We won’t get many berries this year but next year we should have a good crop. Soon I’ll complete work on next year’s garden plan and put a seed order together. I have a blog post in process on our citrus trees in containers. After that I will look at last year’s garden and how it turned out.


  16. I guess I always figured I was a little slow, but this adds one more confirmation.

    When you have been whinging about peak rocks, I did not realize you were quite serious in your comparison to peak oil. Us cognoscente all know that peak oil doesn’t mean there will be no more oil, just that the effort to get the rest will be too great to bother. So I finally get that you are reaching declining RROEI. (rock return for energy invested).

    Now that the full sequence has been revealed ( thanks for the exposition) I can agree that you have reached ( or are maybe past) peak rock. That said, you’ve got mighty nice rock to dig, split, haul and place. I’ve only got clinkers and bottom of the barrel tar, to use an analogy.

    As far as what could be considered a vacation, I totally get it. The endorphin rush from setting a post just so, or sliding the last huge rock into place, and the consequent feeling of accomplishment and job well done are not to be underestimated.

    Much more enjoyable than sending off my spreadsheets to the sales department, knowing our chances of landing the job were nil. Left that nine years ago now, and feel so lucky that I was able to slip the harness for what many would consider scut work.

    I expect your homestead ( as mine) will never be “done-done”, but methinks your major projects are nearing an end?

  17. Hi, Chris!

    Could your battery cables be part of that crapification that you have told us about (I first heard of that from you)? I just bought my mother a cup holder to attach to her wheelchair. It will not hold the cup, keeps tipping over. I can only think of duct tape. I am not allowed to return it as it came from a medical supply store.

    I have been giving myself a treat of weeding the flower beds as I am able to be at home for 2 weeks as my mother has tested positive for you-know-what and is quarantined in her room at the assisted living for 2 weeks. She is allowed no visitors. I hope she survives the isolation; that is the worst part as she is crippled and mostly deaf. I had some flowers sent to her from a florist, just a small arrangement, and you would have thought that I was ordering a gallon of caviar straight from the other side of the world, it cost so much.

    Just wait till you and your jackhammer reach peak boulders. Then what comes next?

    Because of your slope, without your yellow wheelbarrow you would have to get a mule. They still use them – and horses – in North Carolina and Virginia on some steep mountain slopes.

    Do you prune your grapes? When?

    Last week, I think it was Lew who mentioned collards. They are a staple here in the South, especially places where the cabbage “worms” are so fierce and eat up all the other cabbage family members, except mustard. We can’t even grow cabbages in cages under nets. The butterflies (moths?) always get in somehow. Collards can be quite mild, if you get the right variety. They also can sometimes grow through the winter like kale. I can only grow kale in the fall/winter.

    Oh – those roses! Oddly, even after 5F, our roses still have green leaves. It sure seems weird.


  18. Chris:

    Maybe crypto is an investment, sort of in the way a Ponzi scheme is an investment. Not actually a Ponzi scheme, but surely those first in that get out at the right time, reap the real rewards. I suppose that is true of any investment. It’s that “right time” that gets you.

    Hmm – or maybe it’s like selling stock in a non-existent silver mine?


  19. @ Inge:

    I am glad that you and your son are recovering. When I had That Thing, I lost 50% of my hair. It started coming out in handfuls, apparently because of the high fever that I had for several days. That sort of hair loss is not exclusive to That Thing and I am happy to say, that after several months it stopped falling out and began growing back in. For some reason it is much finer than it was – but cute!


  20. Hi Pam,

    You’re probably right there. When I was a kid I thought investing meant commencing an enterprise to achieve something useful. Like what they used to do on the Flintstones with all the rocks in the quarry – useful dinosaurs. 😉 In these enlightened times enterprising folks believe that money begets money, and given the way the money supply continues to expand, they might be right.

    The battery cables are good. They’re 50mm2 or what is known as 0 gauge wire. I made them myself. It’s the inside guts of the battery which is the problem, but I have a cunning plan to correct such foolishness.

    Oh no, talk about hiding behind an excuse with the cup holder. Hey, we should file that one away for future use. You could make a cup holder out of plastic trellis and some cable ties. Won’t look as good, but it will work. We’ve added such attachments to the various machines for water bottles, but used steel aviary mesh instead.

    Pam, I’m so sorry, there is a real cruelty to the rules surrounding that which shall not be named. During the worst of it down here, folks in palliative care were isolated from family members and ended their days alone. I dunno, things couldn’t get much worse for the patients given where they were. The problem with living in an institution is that a person is inside an institution and inevitably such places are Kafkaesque.

    Still, the flower beds always require weeding and such work is a pleasing meditative break. And if you had a few free moments to spare, there is this rose garden here which needs some attention?

    As a crafty and resourceful sort I’ll have to explore further afield to obtain new rocks. Seriously, the property is looking super neat compared to the norm around these parts. About an hour ago I did a walk so as to identify new rocks to break apart. Yes, things are getting desperate.

    Hey, if I remove the rocks from the paddocks, a mule might be a good thing. Mr Kunstler’s fine series of books ‘The World Made by Hand’ (a fave) pointed to mules and piqued my interest. However whilst there are fossil fuels, there is work to be done.

    I prune the grapes all of the time. They’re only about four years old and so I’m still training them along the stainless steel cables. All of them are showing batches of grapes this year, but it has been a very cold and wet summer so I don’t know how they’ll go. I’m learning by observing and working with them.

    The same is true here. It’s beautiful to see a butterfly and moth garden, but they totally consume any and all summer Brassica species. However, we grow a thin leaved perennial rocket which provides most of our summer greens. It’s awesome and will survive super hot summer days. Diplotaxis tenuifolia. I cannot recommend this plant enough.



  21. Hi Steve,

    Yeah, I was mucking around about peak rocks, but at the same time I wasn’t joking. The comparison is valid for all the same reasons. About an hour ago we did a walk around and took a good hard look at other much larger rocks so as to see whether we could split them. The new low gradient ramp project requires a lot of large rocks, and mate, we’re not made of rocks you know. 😉

    I put the full process on the last blog so that you could see for yourself what it takes to obtain further large rocks for projects. All the easy ones have seriously gone.

    And thanks, this here is granite country, and despite the mountain range being old, the granite and volcanic clay contains quite a lot of interesting minerals. The trick here is to continue to provide calcium so that the plants can access those minerals. That’s not as easy to do as it sounds.

    Sorry to hear about the lack of rocks at your place. Although, that situation would make it easier on the machines you may use. Spare a thought for a moment what these rocks might do to steel cutting blades on mowers. It’s brutal hard.

    Yes, exactly! And thank you for understanding. That is exactly it. I enjoy this stuff, clearly as do you. The constant pressure from that other world isn’t all that it’s cracked up to be.

    I’m not really sure on that front. There are several large projects I really want to get done, but if I say what they are, will that impact upon their potential? As to that, I don’t really know. But between you and I, about another year or two should do it. Every year the property gets easier to maintain and extract productivity from. The future as always is an unknown country. But you already knew that.



  22. Hi Claire,

    Thank you very much for the kind words, and I also hope that you and Mike have lovely New Year. Truth to tell, after three cold and wet years in a row I’m just doing my best to slowly adapt. You may note the new and much larger greenhouse put in over the past year? That shed is earning it’s keep. Just to put the weather into some context, so far there have only been 12 days over 30’C, with another two this Saturday and Sunday, but then it cools down again. My brain hurts and I would not wish such weather upon any gardener.

    This week is it! My one week all year with no paid work. Believe it or not, I’ve been contacted by six clients this week and so resorted to the ED-209 robot reply. 😉 Blessed are the competent, for they are busy. Nah, not to worry, I genuinely have switched off and am feeling super-chill. It’s been really nice getting out into the garden and just doing stuff each day as that work part of my brain has had a pleasant break from thinking. There is something meditative in the just doing for me. I’m sure you’d understand that state of mind?

    The battery is just out of warranty, so I had low expectations from them. It’s no great secret, I plan to do a utoob video on the repair. The Klingon’s do say: Revenge is a dish best served cold.

    Stop it! 🙂 Your warm day yesterday was warmer than today here which was only 19’C, briefly.

    Sorry to hear that you’re not 100% feeling that great, but glad to hear that you still had some time to enjoy the brief reprieve from winter. Get as much Vitamin D as you can.

    Reached the end of their lives? Ah! I tell you a really weird thing: The yields from the strawberries has dropped to almost nothing this year – and we’re scratching our heads trying to understand these pesky berries. So do you replace them regularly? Ours are producing runners, but almost no berries. My brain hurts, and I’d appreciate some advice in relation to these plants – which I did nuke with the brush cutter many months ago as per your suggestion for mowing them down.

    I’d be very interested to hear of your citrus trees. And yesterday we bought five additions which I hope to plant out tomorrow. 3x oranges + 1x mandarin + 1x tangelo. We had to move the entire citrus orchard during early spring, and some of the trees did not like that at all and have since gone toes up. Oh well.



  23. Hi Margaret,

    🙂 What can I say, done something bad in a past life and now have to work hard. That explanation makes as much sense as any other! Nah, don’t stress about it, you know what that work biz is like having done similar work and what it asks of your brain. Working around the property here is quite meditative by way of comparison and I put the national youth music broadcaster on and just tune out. It gets my mind in the zone.

    We had a really nice day off yesterday. And the garden we visited was really lovely, and so quiet. Check out this: The Garden of St Erth. It really is a very beautiful place.

    I’ve planted some creeping roses in some of the garden beds and they just ramble on through doing their thing. Lovely plants, but they are a bit Triffid like. I’ve noticed that some of the canes can grow about three feet in a week if conditions are optimal. You wouldn’t want to go to sleep on the bench with that plant lurking around, would you?

    Nah, we’re having to juggle expanding the infrastructure whilst maintaining the place. Some things don’t get done as well as they should be done, and the creeping rose does need to be hacked back. And until that happens, I wouldn’t recommend sitting on the bench. Who knows what might happen? Once the infrastructure is sorted out, things should get a bit easier. But until then…

    Like your New Years Eve style, and we also went to bed before midnight that night. Maybe two decades ago I used to hang out with people who could chuck a proper party, but nowadays I prefer to keep regular hours and enjoy plenty of sleep. Others may feel differently. 😉

    Good to hear that you’re dodging further snow. That last storm was a biggie. It only got to 66’F here today with a bit of rain. Not exactly ideal growing conditions, but then, things could be worse.

    Another week of holidays after this one, but next week there is work I cannot get out of. Woe is me. My mother retired when she was only four years older than I am now. I can’t see that being a possibility. Oh well, mustn’t grumble!



  24. Hi Lewis,

    Their actions did appear to be rather moronic. If I were the authoritas, I wouldn’t release the info as to how the idiots got caught because it makes the assumption that crims don’t read the news.

    It’s not just you, I don’t get crypto either. The stuff makes no sense to me, and I asked a friend to explain to me how computers can be used to mine the stuff, and that made even less sense. How does one mine an abstraction? But then whilst people seem to love this stuff, I hold some reservations. Anyway, the dude (and possibly friends) are probably in a whole bunch of trouble, maybe.

    I dunno man, that frozen continent has some weight and heft to it. Really packs a punch from time to time. It only reached 66’F here today with thick clouds and some rain this morning. Not ideal growing conditions. Anyway my woes aside, that big frozen continent has a number of active-ish volcanoes and I’d hate to think what might occur with rebounding of the Earth’s crust if all that ice went elsewhere. Or even just a lot of the stuff went elsewhere, that would probably be enough to set some weird things in motion.

    Yeah, I’ll try and get the citrus trees in the ground tomorrow. It was a bit cold today for them, although they’d probably have been fine, maybe. We spent several hours removing all of the Agapanthus plants from the area where the new low gradient ramp will be. It’s looking really clear now, and tomorrow we’ll bring up some rocks (the ones split last week) from below to place in the area. Alas, peak rocks is real, and in these trying times a person can only do what they can do. Hey, spotted a few rocks this evening which might be able to be split. Hmm. Need more large rocks. Ugg!

    Yummo with the dried tomatoes, and that’s how it rolls here too. Plus the flavour gets seriously concentrated in the dried tomatoes. Nice one with the eggplant. We’re constantly trialling short season and slim varieties, but they need more heat than chilli plants from what I’m observing. But as you note, it can be hit or miss with that plant.

    I see that the good Professor has not put up any new updates on the storm. Might be a fizzer? Hubris alert!!!

    W. C. Fields was a very quotable, and well read, gentleman. Used books to his advantage, that’s what he did. The books probably don’t mind.

    Yeah, well, the folks who own the river don’t seem to be broke. Hashtag, just sayin… There was a rumour going around down here, it may even have been reported in the news of the day, that folks working in that distribution centre weren’t given time to go to the toilet. I’ve heard economists banging on about labour productivity, but that’s perhaps taking things a step too far in my opinion. I know how such matters would be dealt with Fight Club style. Not good.

    I’ve never felt inclined to read Kafka’s works. My gut feeling suggests that the narratives would simply annoy me. Time is short, and there are a lot of books to be enjoyed. I don’t shy away from challenges, but you know, do I need to get into the head space of a bonkers narrative? There is risk involved with that, and I tend to shy away from books where there is an escalation of poor decision making. Mistakes are cool, we all do that, but stories along the lines of Breaking Bad, just leaving me feeling cold.

    I recall you mentioning that book about the Titanic. It is a bit eerie. A while back I did a bit of reading about the ship, and those canvas life boats used right at the end were an option, but not a good option, and some folks did not survive that experience either. They were not dry, put it that way. Still when poor outcomes are certain, occasionally an odd option may provide at least some hope.

    Yes, the band would have been hard to ignore back in the day.

    Fingers crossed for a good auction outcome, and that all the stuff sells. Hey did you set a reserve price on the items?

    Just watched a W.C. Fields – Dinner Sketch. Very droll. 🙂



  25. Hi Goran,

    The RSS feeds fixed themselves at your end.

    At this stage it looks as though it is the battery terminal which is the problem as that is where the heat damage presents. There are six 6mm2 wires from the BMS which are soldered onto the bottom of the battery terminal. This is not an optimal situation. Soldering introduces several types of metals – notably lead and tin, and they have different resistance to copper, not to mention that the battery terminal may be aluminium and the bolt is stainless steel. But also, 36mm2 of cable is probably a bit light for currents of 150A (which I never dare draw or charge at).

    The plan at this stage is to connect the six wires using proper copper lugs into a 300A rated bus bar bypassing the battery terminal altogether. More on this to come. I do hope this fixes the resistance issues, but until the job is done and tested I really don’t know. But I have to do something…

    Hope winter is mild for you, your family and the trees get settled in. And also that the voles get their just desserts. 🙂



  26. @ Inge:

    I forgot to mention that since I had That Thing my health has been better than it has been in a long time. It seems to have reset something. Hope it continues.


  27. Your deliberation on splitting bigger rocks reminds me of the rabbit hole I sent you down when trying to split Moby Rock. Expansive grout sounded like a good idea at the time, so sorry it did not work out well.

    Other local news I failed to mention:
    Ordered all the garden seed this past New Years day. Mostly going with proven varieties, but we generally add an experiment or two each year. This year it will be scarlet runner beans. We generally do bush beans, but will trellis these guys and see how it goes. Also shifting more and more to heritage varieties so we can seed save more.

    Cider- FINALLY bottled that last batch. The ferment bucket kind of got shoved in the corner, so it’s been almost two months sitting there. smell and taste were ok, and hydrometer says around 8% ABV, so they are all stored away now. It was all from a single, very late ripening and very tart tree, so a spoonful of maple syrup will likely be stirred in on use.

    The repaired Russian furnace (a style of masonry heater) – The mason had a tough time trying to minimize demolition and still get us a configuration that was effective, and it has taken me a while to settle on a firing scheme that is efficient but I think it’s going ok now. It’s nice to have a glass front to see the flames, which the original design did not have. Built for hygge. (Just learned that word this past year- lot’s of Norwegian settled in this area of Wisconsin.) The thing that will not be named caused a lot of folks to stay home and change their behavior. Coziness moved up on the list of priorities, and thus that word entered the vernacular.

  28. Chris:

    I might invest in a dinosaur – mind you only a small one of Dino’s size – though I do love mules best. With a mule you would need a large paddock, unless you could make a deal with a neighbor who already has one. I tried that when I had a horse, but they weren’t interested; something about liabilities. We did have a small paddock, but no-way could she get all her nourishment from that.

    Oh – the batteries were the problem, not your custom-made cables.

    Umm – you don’t know my mother. Such a home-made contrived goodie would not fly. I guess it’s a status thing. However, there is a fellow at the place where she lives who goes by “Commander” and he has a hacksaw, minus the blade, attached across his walker. Not sure what it is for, but it looks a treat.

    No rose “garden”, just a few bushes.

    Thanks for the perennial rocket suggestion. We depend mostly on Perennial Spinach Chard for greens, which I think Margaret recommended years ago. Or maybe it was Claire. They are both such superb gardeners. We can do a bit of kale and mustards, too, and some lettuce, though I give lettuce a bit of a jaundiced eye, not sure it has enough nutrition to take up valuable space.


  29. @ Inge – Oh, the chocolate is a tragic side effect! I hope it wears off. I don’t know what I’d do without my two small squares of dark chocolate, per day.

    Here, around the holidays, the stores get these orange, dark chocolate balls. You smack them on the counter, and it breaks into perfect segments. I break each segment into 1/3s, to make them last longer. They’re gone now, but before they went, they knocked them down half price. I stocked up. Lew

  30. Hi Chris,

    I’m sorry that your strawberry plants aren’t performing to expectations. They can be rather finicky. Here are some things you can look into that I have learned, though you might want to check with local folks or gardening organizations as well as they will know more about your conditions and the kinds of plants available.

    First is that there are two broad types of strawberry plants available. One kind flowers and fruits only once in a season. They are called June bearers in the US but would probably fruit in November or December where you are. These flower in spring, generally around or just after the last frost, and ripen all of their fruits within a 3 to 4 week period starting about 3 weeks to a month after the flowers appear. They start putting out runners around the time when the last of the fruits are ripening.

    The other kind might be called everbearers or day-neutral strawberries; I’ve seen both names used. These kinds flower and fruit more than once in the growing season. The only time I tried this kind, I got some fruits in May and a handful each in July and September. I don’t remember when they put out runners, but iirc they were less vigorous than the June bearer that I grow and didn’t runner as heavily. The problem with these, for me, is the consistently hot days and nights that we have in summer means that the berries don’t grow well during the summer. I get much higher yields from June bearers, which bear in May here and ripen while we still have cooler spring conditions, than I do from everbearers. So that’s something to check when you are deciding on varieties.

    Although strawberry plants are perennial, they aren’t as perennial as a rose. Individual plants age and decline after several years, so they need to make runners to replace themselves with more-productive younger plants. From what I understand, commercial growers replace all of their plants every 2 or 3 years. With my strategy (mow all the plants right after the last fruits are harvested, to keep them from crowding the bed too much), I got about 7 years of productive life out of my plants. Eventually a lot of violets, a spring blooming native plant, get into the strawberry bed. They are hard to dig out and contribute to overcrowding. When I replace the plants this year they will be in a new bed which I will make reasonably fertile. With good care I hope to get 6 or 7 years of productive life out of them with minimal care (mowing and some weeding).


  31. Yo, Chris – Reading over your shoulder, and news of the world …

    Bonsai grapes? Don’t rocks grow on trees, like money? I took H to the groomer, yesterday. Her new look put me in mind of this …

    Yup. Another princess. The Spanish Infanta. Stopped by city hall this morning, and picked up her license. This year, the tags are blue! So now she’s street legal.

    The local forecast says that we’re going to get wind, this afternoon and evening. Gusts to 32mph. We’ll see. A little ginger might take care of that wind.

    I’m almost done with the book about the Scottish bookseller. There’s also a bit of gardening in it. “Petra dropped in to steal some Galloway Pippins from the garden. The Galloway Pippin is a native apple of which there were only a handful of specimens known still to exist. Thanks to the concerted efforts of a few enthusiasts, it has been brought back from the edge of extinction. I don’t know what Petra wanted them for, but I caught her filling a bag with them from one of my trees.”

    I must be needing to be amused. Since the bookseller book is about finished, I picked up Laurie Notaro’s new book, last night. She’s a very funny lady, has a lot of books, and I think I’ve read most of them, over the years. This one is “Excuse Me While I Disappear: Tales of Midlife Mayhem.” This one looks to be on aging. If she can squeeze some humor out of that …

    W. C. Fields made a number of movies, in the 1930s, with Miss Mae West. Boy, could they play of of one another! She usually got the upper hand. There’s a West movie, that doesn’t have Fields in it. “Klondike Annie.” It’s a lot of fun. San Francisco dance hall girl flees to Alaska, and along the way assumes the identity of a religious missionary, who died in transit. You know, I had a great uncle who died aboard ship, on his way to the Alaskan gold rush. I don’t know much about him.

    Saw an eagle, this morning. They overwinter.

    Sometimes, coincidence arrives late. ( © Lew). We got a food box, yesterday. Cans and cans of collard greens. Could have used them on New Year’s Day. They’re really piling up, on the swap table. Along with the canned yams. So, what else did we get? Well, it was the one with the box of produce. A bag of apples, head of cabbage, plastic clam shell of cherry tomatoes, 2 green bell peppers and some strange brown tuber. They’re not sweet potatoes. Maybe yams? Or some other strange fur’in brown root veg. The rest of it was pretty standard. Dry corn flake cereal. Shelf stable milk. Some kind of apple drink. A few good sized tins of chicken and tuna. Another pound bag of roasted almonds. But the crown jewel, to me, was a one pound bag of shelled walnuts. I eat a small handful, every day. And, at even the cheap food stores, they generally cost $5 a pound. Someone left another couple of bags on the swap table. I scooped them up.

    I watched another X-Man movie, last night. Now, things are on hold until the interlibrary loan comes in. Oh, well. Plenty to read in the meantime.

    It’s noon and the wind is beginning to rise. Lew

  32. Chris,

    Neither of the humans here has been feeling all that well this week. Fighting something that has several of the symptoms of the unmentionable, but not serious enough to warrant getting tested or seeing a doctor. The Fluffy, however, appears to have found peak health for now.

    Only one comment for now, more of a question, until my energy level increases. The picture of the 5 holes in the boulder indicated that the 2nd and 4th holes were the deeply drilled ones. Would that be counting from the left or from the right? 😉

    Okay, back to another senior nap.


  33. Hi Steve,

    Yeah, the expansion chemical was an interesting experience. It failed basically because the holes I could drill in the Moby Rock weren’t wide enough. The drill is a powerful machine, but has it’s limits. Plus rocks tend to split easier when they are not held tight by the soil around them. It was well worth experimenting upon, because now I know.

    I’ve heard good things about the scarlet runner beans, and we’ve never trialled the bush beans. Are they any good? The bean we grow has the dubious name of: ‘Lazy Housewife’. It’s quite an old heritage variety, and as you’d imagine, super productive.

    Good stuff, I was talking with a local bloke today about cider, and am inspired by your efforts. There are a lot of apples and pears on the trees, although I had to shoo away and out of an apple tree, a small family of sulphur crested cockatoos this evening. Not good.

    🙂 Yup, there is an art to wood heating. Yes. I have a very well tested firing scheme, but who knows how such things translate? Top work getting the thing fixed and upgraded. A very timely move. I take firewood very seriously if only because it is the only heating option we have. Comfortable conviviality is an enviable state of being!



  34. Hi Pam,

    Dino seemed like a lovely dinosaur, and from what I heard, hadn’t bit anyone – that we know about. 🙂 And I absolutely 100% agree with you on both scores. Mules would make for great work beasts. And people overstock horses, mules etc. It’s not good. For your interest, Goran (the commenter) is dealing with the aftermath of exactly that. Soil gets squooshed (the technical term) under such conditions.

    Yeah, it became clear that there was something amiss with the batteries, after I replaced the cables and the issues continued. I’m having to live with it until the replacement parts turn up. Always exciting, like in a bad way.

    Oh well, everyone is different in that regard. I’d be pretty chuffed at such a home made modification, especially if it worked well. The Commander sounds like a person not to trifle with, after all, it might be a projectile weapon?

    No worries at all, the plant thrives in hot and dry conditions when other greens struggle. And the dreaded cabbage moths leave it alone. Yay! Might have to try some of that Perennial Spinach Chard myself. A bit of a shame as on Wednesday I could have picked up the seeds. Next time.

    I dunno about your area, but over summer here the lettuce gets a bit leathery, when the heat doesn’t make it wilt. Over the years I’ve learned that the garden has to earn its keep and produce things we’re going to eat, otherwise. Hey plant, are you feelin’ lucky punk, well are ya? I felt like Dirty Harry when we pulled up all the non performing strawberries the other day.



  35. Hi DJ,

    Man, it’s been getting around, that’s for sure. Get better soon to both of you and remember to keep well hydrated and get plenty of rest young man. 🙂 That’s my version of a dad talk. Hehe!

    I’d have to suggest that the counting was from left to right. All right thinkin’ people know this to be true. But then, hang on a sec, maybe it was from right to left? Yeah, maybe it was. Now I’m confused and this maybe why I accidentally broke the small antenna on my worksite radio today? Ended up moving large rocks with no national youth music broadcaster blasting away the tunes. Tes not natural.

    Actually, maybe, it was 42? 😉

    Respect for the nap. Refreshes the brain it does, especially after moving large rocks.



  36. Hi Claire,

    Thank you very much for the reply and information. Who knew that there were day-neutral and early season varieties? News to me. I guess we’ve tended to grow the early season varieties because from memory the plants here usually produce a crop before the raspberries (which for your info are doing OK this year).

    You’re spot on. The early cold frosty weather at the beginning of the growing season appears to have dealt a harsh hand to the strawberries (not to mention many of the fruit trees, particularly stone fruits). But also, you sent me on an interweb rabbit hole and most people are suggesting to pull the plants after three years (as you mentioned about the commercial growers) and replant elsewhere.

    Yes, the same problem is applicable here during a normal summer. The heat will be a problem. My previous experience was that strawberries were the first berry of the season, and usually low in sugar, but with good aroma and taste. Hey, I’ve read that the berries use some sort of chemical trickery to fool people (and other critters) into believing that the berries have more sugars than they do.

    Interesting about your management of the plants. I’ve noticed that most folks seem to be repeating commercial growing advice, so I’ll try your method instead. It’s also possible I might give up on strawberries because there are just so many birds here, and whilst I can relocate the patch, it won’t be in a fruit cage like they are now.

    Going to have to put some brain cells towards this plant.

    We’ve got a run of about a week of dry weather, with sunshine! Wonders will never cease.



  37. Hi Lewis,

    Alas, and woe is me, Peak Rocks is real. Brought back up the hill about eight large rocks today. Sisyphus would have killed for that big yellow power wheelbarrow. 😉 Might begin back filling the area with soil tomorrow. The new low gradient ramp project is looking good, but we really have run out of large and easily moveable rocks. With that in mind, we did a walk around and marked out the next batch of rocks which will require splitting. But first, back fill with soil onto the lowest section of the ramp.

    Far out, young María looks as though she’s expensive – butterfly ribbons don’t come cheap, you know. To be candid, she has a humourless face not to mention the eyes, and she might spend a lot of her days picking up the slack. Hope you’re not the slack…

    H clearly has a glorious do! A blue tag works out well. Hey, down here, the local council collects their annual fee for dogs, but they only ever issue one tag. If you lose it, you have to purchase a new one from them. We know how to do things on the cheap down here all proper like and stuff. The annual fee is around $50.

    Hehe! It might work with the ginger, and might calm some of those errant wind gusts down too. I see that the good Professor has called an end to the drought in that big state to the south of you.

    Ah, did you know that Pippin varieties of apples are similar to pears in that they ripen off the tree? If I’m not mistaken some of the starch is converted to sugars during keeping. I hadn’t known that about those apples, and we have a Cox’s Orange Pippin variety growing here. Had to chase a couple of sulphur crested cockatoos out of the apple trees late this evening. They have long memories those birds.

    It’s always good when local enthusiasts bring plants back from obscurity or from the brink. Petra’s behaviour sounds mildly scandalous! Fancy stealing apples from some dudes garden?

    Hehe! Had to laugh, the author describes herself as Gen X goin on AARP-er. Clearly it must have had something to do with all that big hair and shoulder pads in the 1980’s… Laurie Notaro has been a consistently active author since the journalism gig ended. Are you enjoying the book? Can ageing be funny – that’s the question here, and you asked it? But I was also thinking it. Dunno, the jury is out in this matter.

    I don’t let small matters like getting older worry me, after all there’s always more rocks to move, until we can’t that is. We went to the pub this evening for pizza and a pint and had a lovely time. Spoke with a local bloke I know for a bit, he’s good value.

    Your great uncle wasn’t a missionary on his way to Alaska by any chance? Mae West was a very complicated lady, who excelled at self promotion. She may have been smarter than W.C. Fields.

    Good spotting on the eagle. They don’t migrate here either, but the birds require a large hunting ground.

    What would Pop-Eye say about all those uneaten cans of collard greens? Hmm. You’ve been offered up the unknown root vegetable. It could be anything? Weren’t we talking a month or two back about the worlds biggest spud, that was some other tuber. A case of mistaken identity for sure. Walnuts are really tasty, yup, I agree. The walnut tree here is very slow growing. Like really slow. Funnily enough we’ll be doing a bit of digging near that tree tomorrow.

    Out of curiosity, how is the hold list moving along with your library system? And hopefully the powers that be don’t decide to change the catalogue system again? My brain couldn’t keep up with such actions.



  38. @ Claire:

    Thanks for the strawberry information. I am getting set to order some plants as wildlife, and possibly old age, have wiped out mine – except for the Alpine Strawberries, which are ancient and nothing bothers them. I actually like them quite a lot.


  39. @ Pam
    That sounds encouraging. Son has recovered but I haven’t. Am still exhausted and woke with a very sore mouth this morning. No doubt age makes a difference.


    @ Lew
    For years now I have requested only edibles as gifts. I no longer do stuff. So here I am gazing at boxes of chocolates which I received at Christmas.


  40. Yo, Chris – I forgot to mention I saw an interesting article over at the Atlantic magazine. School age children using sympathetic magic to bring on snow, so they get snow days off of school. I don’t remember anything similar, from my school days. But apparently, it’s a thing in the Midwest and Northeast. The article seems to have several possible titles. “How Children Conjure a Snow Day,” or, “Are Winter Snow Day Rituals (… can’t read the rest of my scrawl), or, “How to Conjure a Snow Day.”

    There was an interesting bit about how children pass down children’s traditions, through the generations. Games and such. My favorite method was flushing an ice cube down the loo. One for each inch of snow you want. 🙂

    I think a funny cartoon would be Sisyphus with a big yellow power wheelbarrow, moving a rock up a hill. 🙂 But then, sometimes, I am easily amused.

    Our yearly dog fee is $5. If you get the tag in January. Otherwise, there’s a fine. Don’t know how much. Last year, the City Hall Ladies, waved the fine, when I explained about my 95 year old neighbor.

    Yesterdays windstorm had gusts in the upper 20s mph. But there were a few gusts that hit 38 mph. Our electricity didn’t go out, but the news said there were a lot of outages, out in our east county.

    Oh, Petra is an old mate of our bookstore owner. I finished that book, last night. There was an epilogue. I hadn’t realized that year’s diary entries were from 2016. In the meantime, our bookseller hero has married, had one child and there’s another on the way. He mentioned You Know What. That actually, he reveled in it. No more pesky customers. There was enough on-line business, to keep things ticking along. Quit nicely. You know, even Before, I had heard that a lot of brick and mortar used bookstores had closed, and moved on-line. Rents got impossible (and see: pesky customers, above.)

    I always feel a little hopeful, when people save old varieties. And often, they make it into the seed catalogues. Which, by the way, two arrived the other day. The two most important ones, to me.

    So, I got deep into Ms. Nataro’s book, last night. Warning! It’s risky to be drinking tea, or eating, while reading her book. And, yes, she makes aging funny. But I must say, it’s more from women’s perspective. I do think (just an opinion) that women do it a lot harder, in the aging department, than men. LOL. She also tweaks the woke-sters. And she lives in a target rich environment. Eugene, Oregon, which is very “woke.” I wouldn’t want to live there.

    I don’t know much about that great uncle, but I think he was just after filthy lucre, not saving souls. That’s the other side of the family. Lots of ministers. Way back. Not so much in modern times.

    The hold list seems to be ticking along, for right now. They must have someone at the Service Center who works hard and knows what they’re going. I’m sure they’ll hunt them down and put a stop, to that. 🙂 Last week, there was no “new” list. Wonder if there will be one, tonight? Yes, I figure we’re about due for a new catalog “upgrade.” You wouldn’t believe some of the results I get back from doing searches. Real howlers. And no one seems to care.

    My pantry, fridge and kitchen are a disaster area. Boxes and bags, everywhere. I pitched several boxes of pasta, last night. All way past date. There was pasta made from beets, pasta made from garbanzo beans and pasta made from lentils. Heck, I don’t even eat regular pasta! And it’s not something you can compost.

    I picked up two more green bell peppers, off the swap table. There were four more in the community room fridge, so no one is going to go without. Got them all cleaned, cut up and on trays in the freezer. There was another plastic clamshell of cherry tomatoes, in the community room fridge. I waited 24 hours, no one went for it, so I grabbed it. That give me three. I figure Monday, I’ll run them through the dehydrator.

    I did my weekly grocery shopping, last night. They’ve been out of Swiss Cheese, since Christmas. I think I mentioned, that after a year, they finally have the “lite” popcorn back in stock. There was a tag on the shelf that said “New Item!” No, not a new item. They just couldn’t source it, for a year. Along with a lot of other things. Lew

  41. @ Inge – As I said, tragic 🙁 . I’m sure you’re taste will return to normal, in time. Anything else wonderful, you can eat in the meantime? Divinity?

    Ohhhh! That’s very wise. I wish I would have requested edibles, years ago. People used to buy me things, for the kitchen. I always specified that I wanted things you didn’t have to plug in. Lew

  42. Hi Pam,

    Apologies for reading over your shoulder but, alpine strawberries! A genius suggestion. I will introduce them during winter. Yet again you have proven the benefits of the lovely conversations we have here.



  43. Hi Inge,

    Hope you are feeling better today? The chocolate issues would be something of a personal nightmare. Life is short, and chocolate is very nice. For me, coffee tasted really weird for a short period of time.



  44. Hi Lewis,

    Err, no, but I could have added in the slaked lime when we made cement. Didn’t know about the use, and the stuff is not expensive. Lime makes up a good percentage (albeit small) of the planets crust. The explanation makes a lot of sense, I can see that. The lime fills in the broken pores when rainwater interacts with it. Interesting.

    Nothing wrong with the approach the school age kids took with the snow. If I recall correctly there was some sort of ancient reference to Druids having some sort of control of mists, but I can’t recall where I heard that. And who knows, the kids might be right. It couldn’t hurt and the bonus of a day off is reward enough to give the practice a go. Back in my misbegotten youth, such things didn’t happen – mostly because we never thought about it, and realistically it was unlikely to snow in the big smoke.

    Yours was a useful innovation with the ice cubes, but I so hear you. Sometimes when seeing a big storm nearby which may miss the farm as it rolls along the valley I head outside and declare to the atmosphere: I piss bigger than this storm. Always gets a reaction. 🙂 Sometimes the reaction is quite a bit more than I bargain for, but them’s the breaks. You should try that sometime in the garden during a dry summer with a nearby storm, although make sure the other denizens of your place aren’t nearby to hear you. Hard to explain behaviour.

    Me too! That image of Sisyphus with the yellow power wheelbarrow is pretty good. The dude needed the help for sure.

    Man, today we did a lot of digging and took down two large mounds which were above the garden terraces. The area was super hard to maintain because of those two mounds, and we needed the soil for the new low gradient ramp. So I dug and we hauled soil. We discovered two old tree stumps during the digging. So, it turns out there were two old tree stumps in the mounds and by early afternoon with the summer sun beating on my head we ground the stumps out. Ended up having lunch after 3pm, but no matter. The job got done.

    Your local city council is much nicer than ours. At $50 a dog and no new tag, we get to be treated like an ATM. I saw a funny meme once someone put together using proper tax stationery and it declared: How much money have you made? Send it to us. Have to laugh, but sometimes I think about that.

    Those sorts of wind speeds aren’t too bad. And glad to hear that you didn’t lose the electricity.

    That makes sense about Petra and the book owner. The bookseller has clearly been enjoying himself during the intervening time. Really? Well, everyone is different, but I can understand the blokes perspective. The time didn’t really gel with me, but you know I may have problems with authoritas figures, and that’s my bag. Having experienced many such folks who were a bit dodgy, I have my own thoughts on matters. Others may feel differently.

    And I agree, rents are stupid to the point that they make no sense.

    Yeah, it’s good to see dedicated folks working at open pollinated varieties of plants. It’s a useful task and of great importance to the future, but I’m not overly worried about such matters because with a bit of time (not always guaranteed) the hybrids can be brought back to open pollinated status. Pam mentioned alpine strawberries as an option to replace the over-bred things I’m growing now, and that’s along the lines of a: why didn’t I think about that option? Probably because I didn’t think. Always a risk! 🙂

    Ah, a true tea spitter of a book! A fine recommendation, except that: the book Cheap land Colorado turned up in the mail today. The Editor saw the email for the purchase of the book and thought that it meant something else entirely. An author must be very careful when considering the title of a book. And what you say is true, women do it harder on that front.

    Hmm, The Oregon Experiment. Very interesting indeed. Such a place ain’t for me either. It is hard not to note that there is trouble in paradise there. Ms. Nataro is made of sterner stuff than I. I’d probably share candid opinions and then all hell would break loose. Yikes! Such a place does not want to hear such things.

    Being a minister way back was also a means to an education. So there’s that aspect to the story too.

    Mate, seriously, I was just mucking around about the catalogue err, upgrade. 🙂 Whatever will they think of next?

    You could probably compost the pasta if you cooked it first, but in wet ground the stuff would probably soak up enough moisture and disappear regardless. The starches contain a bit of energy. Experiments suggest themselves. I’ve never seen such pasta options. I need to get out more. You know by now I respect neat and tidy, which clearly your kitchen, fridge and pantry were in danger of becoming.

    Good score with the cherry tomatoes, and I’m envious that you can run a dehydrator in winter – the electricity here required would be something of a problem during those low solar months.

    You wouldn’t imagine that popcorn would be in short supply, but then there has been some dry weather in your country over the past few years.

    Probably going to plant the new citrus tomorrow. The weather forecast for the next week looks glorious. The north west of the continent has had an extraordinary soaking. I heard, but can’t confirm, that one area had as much rain over the past few days as in the past twenty years. That’s what I call wet. It’s not good.



  45. Chris:

    I am always hoping that you are reading over my shoulder, as I read over everyone else’s shoulder.


  46. Yo, Chris – And, in news of the world … I saw a headline, “A Biotech Firm Says the U.S. has Approved It’s Vaccine for Honeybees.” Its for something called American Foulbrood Disease. They must use really, really small needles. Nick Cage has turned down a part in one of the Star Wars epics. Because he says he’s a Trekkie. I hope someone is listening. I’d love to see him on the Enterprise. Any version.

    The storm heard. That’s why you’re getting so much rain. Your own darned fault. Poke the gods and … well, it doesn’t end well. They probably wouldn’t let you use your yellow power wheelbarrow.

    Pity about the mounds. One would hope for pots of gold, instead of tree stumps. Well, at least it wasn’t a burial, which would bring hoards of archaeologists, running.

    Death and taxes. The only thing in the world you can count on.

    The Scottish bookseller already had a well established on-line presence. When the River wasn’t suspending bits and pieces of his account. But he had other outlets. And, after awhile, began to feel it was a relief not to have to deal with those people, at all.

    Ms. Notaro has no problem expressing her candid opinions. 🙂 Hence, she says she only has three friends, in Eugene. But I think she was exaggerating. Many people appreciate candor … especially when it comes to tweaking the “woke.” I may have to buy two copies of her book. I can think of two people who would really like it.

    I finished Ms. Nataro’s book, and now it’s onto “The Personal Librarian.” (Benedict and Murray, 2021). It’s a novel based on a real person. In 1905, a young librarian from Princeton University, was hired by J. P. Morgan (old potato nose) to be his personal librarian. To oversee his fantastic book collection, and art. He had just built a library / art gallery next to his mansion. But, she’s hiding a secret. She’s passing for white. Her mother had taken the family across the color line, to improve their opportunities in life. A common enough story, in these United States.

    Heck, over here, no education is required to be a minister. Whole religions have been founded, on some illiterate who convinced enough followers that they had a direct pipeline to some divinity or another. You can even get credentials, on-line. See: Universal Life Church. Then there’s the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster, which, a look into the rabbit hole says is quit popular in your country :-). Followers are called pastafarians.

    Well, the “lite” popcorn goes easy on the salt and oil. Several brands have it as a variety, and they all disappeared.

    I got gas, this morning. $3.90 per US gallon. I got to thinking how inflation soon becomes the new normal. I used to think a chocolate bar, for just under $2 was a bargain. Now, if I find one for under $4, I consider myself lucky.

    It’s going to be a popcorn night. I have the alien invasion movie, “Nope,” on tap. Review to follow, tomorrow. Lew

  47. Hi Lewis,

    Hehe! Can you imagine trying to stick it to a European honey bee? They do fight back, and for something so small the bees can pack a punch. Haven’t been stung for many years, but it will happen sooner or later. You get a bit of inflammation around the sting site, although ant bites are worse, and more common. Compared to ants, the bees are pacifists. That disease is present down under, although I’m yet to hear of anyone in these parts with that disease. It’s not good for the colony.

    Good to see that’s how Nick Cage rolls. We’re clearly in good company here. 🙂 I thought the latest films with Chris Pine as the Captain of the Enterprise were good too. My only minor quibble is that they need to remember to just tell a good story, the Earth need not be in peril for the trusty crew of the Enterprise to put on a good show. I see that there will be a new film release at the end of this year. Star Trek 4, not using Roman numerals like the original crew did as a form of differentiation. People could get confused. What does IV mean? 😉 From reading articles on the interweb, the film has had its share of complexities.

    The storm challenge is something of a power move on my part only to be used when necessary lest the weather Gods get used to such things. Who can know such as that lot, for all we know they might studiously ignore my best efforts, and that would be a bad thing. A bloke walks a fine line.

    If I’d found a pot of gold, things would sound the same, but be different. There’s no gold in these hills due to them not being old enough. It all comes down to the age of the geology when gold is a factor. Exactly about the archaeologists, a bloke has to know when to keep his mouth shut. Oh yeah. Fortunately, all we discovered were old tree stumps. Those we could deal to.

    You’ve made a few less than vague references about the river being something of a nuisance to the bookseller. How could that even happen? I would have thought that as a seller, the business was beneath the rivers notice? I’m not a fan of that lot, and have mentioned it plenty of times before that allegedly folks in the warehouse don’t get enough time to go to the toilet due to the constant pressure of algorithms. It won’t end well, err, Fight Club style responses.

    Well done to Ms. Notaro for poking that which needs poking. They (and here I use the pronoun in the amusing sense) can’t take it. A very brittle philosophy. Three local friends out of what was it 180,000 people. Candidly not a good hit rate, but then they are very unsociable types. 😉 Liked your joke too. Hope your friends enjoy the copies of the book. I’ve lined up ‘Cheap land Colorado’ as next on the too-read list.

    Isn’t that why people flocked to the New World? I would have thought that such as that bloke had a certain flexibility which would have overlooked such concerns of the day. People can get weird about all manner of issues, none of which have to make any sense. Is it a good read?

    Strangely, I have heard of this Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster. But frankly I’m a bit scared to do an interweb search on them. Who knows, they might be right? 😉

    Ah, of course salts and oils probably could use a bit of toning down. That word LITE, gets used for all manner of different meanings, so it becomes hard to know what was meant in that instance. A similar thing goes on with the word ‘natural’. All manner of unpleasant things can be wrapped up under the banner ‘natural’ and none of us are left any wiser.

    The other day I spotted petrol for $2/litre, which works out to $7.60 gallon. It beats me how people can afford to drive around in overly large vehicles which suck back fuel faster than, I dunno, it’s probably a lot. That’s what. Chocolate on the other hand seems pretty affordable. Next time I’m in the shops I’ll take note and report back to you.

    Nope sounded like a lot of fun. Just read the plot summary. Good fun stuff.

    It was hot here today which was kind of nice. We took the day off work and so I did some chores around the house which needed doing (who’d want a large house? Their desires for that make them automatically suspect due to excess quantities of cleaning required to maintain the behemoth of a residence). Then I got stuck into refurbishing the old Yamaha FM tuner. Did some good work, and the thing still appears to be working – never guaranteed! But I worked down in the shed at the work bench, and by the end of the day I was feeling a bit overly warm myself. Got through about a third of the job – no need to melt my brain with such work.

    Better get writing!



  48. Yo, Chris – I watched “Nope” last night, and it’s a better than average sci-fi invasion flick. A couple of interesting films in the theaters, now (at least here) are “Violent Night” (looks like a hoot) and “M3GAN”. Which is about an android, but is getting a lot of chatter as to being better than your average sci-fi / horror flick.

    Being released later this year is “I Am Legend II”. Hmm. I thought Will Smith’s character at the end of #1 was blown all to heck? Oh, well, the magic of Hollywood. 🙂 Anyway, it looks like it might be pretty good. Or, at least interesting.

    Our coins from the recovery program (yearly coins) have Roman numerals on them, to denote number of years. There’s usually someone around who can figure out the translation.

    A lot of independent booksellers use The River to sell. An extra source of income. It’s the algorithms. The algorithms notice if you’ve broken whatever arcane rule, and automatically suspend you. It takes human intervention to reverse that. And the humans are unreachable. Even by other people within the company. By the way, I did a search for “bookstore, Wigtown, Scotland) and, my, there is a big online presence. I’ll have to get back and poke around, a bit more.

    I picked up four more books from the library, yesterday. It’s getting deep, in here! No worries. Some are novels, and the way things are going, will prove to be unreadable. So, I’ll toss them back. And the nonfiction one’s I can usually rip through, pretty fast. I’ll be interested to hear your take on “Cheap Land Colorado.”

    LOL. Yes. When younger, I always thought an old Victorian would be great. Somewhere along the way, I realized you had to heat the thing. I guess that’s what’s called “maturity?”

    You might enjoy this …

    It’s just over a minute long.

    Well, it’s time to gather up the dog and head for the Club for the usual early Sunday morning coffee klatch. Annual membership meeting is coming up in March, and I want to poke into if the membership can leverage the board to invest some of our filthy lucre in CDs. Or, if nothing else, we can maybe do an advisory vote. Lew

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