Three Pizzas Macedon Ranges, Victoria

Down Under, the Christmas holidays coincide with summer weather. Santa has to deal with hot sunny days, warm nights, barbecues and beaches. You ain’t in the wintry northern hemisphere now, son. Old Santa sure has to deal to some weird weather extremes down here, and Rudolph’s nose is glowing red due to heat exhaustion, not some dodgy blizzard excuse of a story. Regardless, it’s a big continent with cities spread far apart, and so Santa’s caper with that sleigh would be serious hard work.

Sometimes, a persons gotta work hard. The book 1984 by the author George Orwell made light of the protagonists long working week. Far out, those dystopian fictional characters worked some long hours. But then, that was probably the point, it was intended to never give them time out to think for who knows what might have happened? Fortunately we don’t live in that dystopian fictional world, and summer holidays down here are times where people can sit and think, not being too busy and stuff.

Makes the curious person wonder just how much thinking is going on right now across the country. Can’t really say for sure. For a lot of people, the summer holiday break concludes today, Sunday. Tomorrow people begin dribbling back into work. Some thinking may have been done during the break for sure.

Recently, this area was getting smashed by tourists, after all it is only an hours drive to the centre of the big smoke. However, it was hard not to notice that visitor numbers in this area had dropped off by Saturday (yesterday).

Other areas are experiencing visitor numbers differently. Over the summer break, Sandra caught up with a friend at a beach side locale. The beach was probably further than a day trip from the big smoke, which suggests that people stayed in that area during their holiday travels. In previous years, the locale had been packed with happy tourists, but this year things were quieter beach side. It’s an odd contrast to the experience over in the more fashionable western end of this mountain range, which was crazy busy with visitors. At a wild guess, the difference may possibly be explained away by the observation that people can visit these parts in a day, but they have to pay for expensive holiday rentals when they’re over by the beach. And economics are biting.

Given there is a possible economic dimension to the different visitor outcomes, it makes an alert person wonder if households aren’t reducing expenditure? It is after all cheaper to go on a day trip, than it is to take on the cost of a week long holiday rental. No doubt people recall that last year the cost of mad cash increased (interest rates), and at the same time the money supply continued to expand faster than there was enough actual stuff to buy, which lead to rising prices (inflation). A heady mixture of economic bad news.

Summer holidays are a good time to sit and think, and maybe even make some plans. I’ll be very curious to see whether all that thinking time combined with the economic bad news has real world implications in the near future, but who knows until it’s a certainty. One possible outcome is that people may begin to slowly sell off the stuff they don’t need, and can’t afford to maintain, like say: holiday homes and expensive cars. Time will tell.

The economic ill winds are probably biting households right now. On Monday night we went to the local pub to enjoy a pizza and a pint. The weather was warm, and being the New Years Day public holiday, the staff were paid penalty rates. A surcharge applied to all the items on the menu. Everything cost more. And fair enough too, the local pub isn’t a charity.

Standing at the long timber counter, with the beer taps on the other side, we waited patiently to be served. There were plenty of customers, but the staff were elsewhere. Another lady stood to my right, she looked expensive, as some people do. I remarked to Sandra that it was like the Mary Celeste in here, an historical reference wasted on many people in these well educated times: Mary who? I don’t know any Mary by that name… Now amused, we continued to wait patiently, there was no hurry.

Turns out we had had to wait because the expensive looking lady had ordered three pizzas, then proceeded to negotiate a discount with the staff. This is a highly unusual request in my experience. But after delay and consideration, the expensive lady was politely informed that the price was as stated. There was a bit of pouting, certainly what appeared to be some sulking, and possibly also some foot stomping. A fine display of theatrics. The transaction concluded, and we could then order our two pizzas and drinks with no thought of a discount. The lady left in a very large white four wheel drive, notably expensive to own and run those machines. Makes you wonder what sort of economic story is going down in that household, and whether the act of public sulking comes before or after hard summer holiday economic decisions get made?

The Cherokee Bank of Firewood (CBF) was filled earlier this week. No more deposits can be accepted at this time.

With a brief burst of Antarctic weather forecast we completed storing away the firewood for the year

Bizarrely, for three days this week, cold and wet weather arrived here from the huge frozen continent of Antarctica. On the coldest day, the air temperature only reached 11’C / 52’F, and withdrawals had to be made from the CBF.

Cold and wet weather coming in from the south
An emergency withdrawal was made from the CBF

Stuck inside the house during the brief burst of cold and wet weather, we decided to investigate the problems with the battery terminals mentioned in last weeks blog. The battery case first had to be cracked open without damaging it. This is not as easy a task to do as you’d imagine and finding a how-to instruction on YouTube is impossible. Clearly it was not intended that the battery is to be opened, and it is very risky to do so – the label says so.

The LiFePO4 battery case was cracked open

Once inside the battery case, a cause of the problem suggested itself. There are six wires soldered to the underside of each of the battery terminals. To say that the arrangement is sub-fluffy-optimal is an understatement. Yes, it works, but it’s not an ideal arrangement. All those different combination of metals for the battery terminal have different electrical resistances (i.e. the electricity doesn’t flow through at the same rate, and so the bottlenecks cause electricity to get converted into heat). By way of explanation: the black and red wires are copper; The solder used is most likely a combination of tin and lead; The battery terminal is probably aluminium; The bolt which screws into the terminal is stainless steel; and then the wires and lugs from there are copper.

Inside the guts of the battery case

There is a plan to fix this battery arrangement, but we are waiting on parts. It’s an interesting enough problem that we might put together a YouTube clip.

Eventually the weather improved and we continued work outside on the new low gradient ramp.

A lot of Agapanthus plants had to be removed

A lot of Agapanthus plants had to be removed in order to continue work on the new low gradient ramp. Removing those plants requires a jackhammer due to the massively thick root systems. This is why those plants are so hardy.

Getting the jackhammer into the Agapanthus hedge

It took a few hours, but all of the plants from that section of hedge were removed. The other Agapanthus hedges aren’t going anywhere…

The Agapanthus hedge was completely removed

The rocks which were split last week, were hauled back up the hill and placed into position. They’ll be used to retain soil, and they’re heavy enough to be able to handle that job with ease.

Very heavy rocks were placed into position

Soil was required for the project. A new rock gabion site was excavated and the soil relocated to the ramp project.

A site for a steel rock gabion cage was excavated

Further soil was extracted from an area above the garden terraces. There’d been two large mounds in that area which have now been levelled. Levelling out that area will make it easier to maintain in the future.

Two mounds were excavated and the soil was relocated

All that relocated soil, barely made much of an impact on ramp project. Need more soil.

Where’s Waldo?

The three hop vines planted a few months ago have begun to grow strongly. One of the vines has even reached the top of the steel reinforcing mesh structure. Clearly these plants are related to Triffids.

The Hop vines have grown a lot in the past few weeks

Raspberries are also producing well this season, and each day we harvest about a handful or two of tasty sun ripened berries. We store them in the freezer and when there are enough, a batch of jam is made. Raspberry jam is a favourite.

Fresh Raspberries. Yummo!

The snow peas have also begun to produce tasty pea pods. They really are good, and can be eaten fresh off the vine. What’s been interesting with this plant is that the direct sown seeds have outperformed the greenhouse grown transplanted seedlings. Beans on the other and are the exact opposite experience.

Fresh Snow Peas

There are plenty of pollinator insects around. On warm sunny days the air hums with life.

A butterfly enjoys the flowers of this Feverfew plant

Onto the flowers:

The Roses are really enjoying the recent summer heat
The Lavender hedges are thick and luscious looking and the bees love this plant
Some of the new Salvia varieties are enjoying the summer warmth
California Poppies reach for the sun on warm days
European Poppies likewise enjoy the sunshine

The temperature outside now at about 8am is 23’C (73’F). So far this year there has been 11.0mm (0.4 inches) which is up from last weeks total of 0.0mm (0.0 inches)

47 thoughts on “Three Pizzas Macedon Ranges, Victoria”

  1. Chris;
    discretionary pizzas- I think I mentioned a while back about a website I follow that focusses on the financial and economic side of decline. One of the author’s main predictions is that the economic house of cards will likely unfold by the contraction of discretionary spending first, but the ripple effects will quickly cause wider contraction. Who knows? Maybe he’s right, but things unwind in ways that surprise us all the time. Point is, the quiet beach sounds much like one of the signs he is watching for.

    Mary Celeste- Ha! A blast from the past. As a young guy, I got hooked on books that collected stories of weird and mysterious phenomenon. The Bermuda Triangle and similar stories featured prominently in those collections. The Mary Celeste was a classic.

    This author was a favorite.
    ( note that this is not a book recommendation, it would likely read rather cheesy now, but hey, chacun a son gout)

    There has been a bit of a run on the western branch of the SFB (Steve’s Firewood Bank) of late, but it appears that reserves will not require a tranche transfer from the main account under tarps. I practice a pretty conservative fractional reserve policy here.

    52F in the first week of January?? I think that would be equivalent to the first week of July here. Inconceivable.

  2. Yo, Chris – Santa contending with the weather can’t hold a candle to Santa walking into the middle of a home invasion. See: film, “Violent Night.” Looks like a hoot!

    Oh, I don’t know. There are distopias, and there are distopias. (Funny. Spell check doesn’t accept that spelling.) There sure are enough distractions, in modern life, to keep much thinking from going on. By design? Of course, some of it is a choice.

    I think even people who have money, are cutting back. A thoughtful person would be a bit spooked and nervous. Some of them wouldn’t have gotten wealthy, if they didn’t keep a weather eye, out.

    Sounds like someone needs to work on their cultural literacy. Hadn’t heard of the Mary Celeste? One of the library workers, a couple of weeks ago, didn’t know who Jay and Silent Bob are. I told her we need to work on her cultural literacy. It’s my new mission in life. Among others. She seems amendable. 🙂

    Miss Expensive Look’s (high maintenance?) possible foot stomping put me in mind of a child star, from the late 1930s, and early 40’s. Margaret O’Brien. She couldn’t make it through a movie without one bout of foot stomping, while declaring, “I hate you! I hate you!” I think it was her trademark. I see she’s still working. Must be hard with terminal fallen arches.

    When Miss Expensive left, were the repo men, hot on her tail? I have read mention that at some of the food banks, people pull up in very expensive cars. Clinging to the last vestiges of a former plush life. And, I suppose, if you’ve got to live in your car, an expensive one is a lot more roomy than say, a Japanese compact.

    International Amalgamated Conglomerate Limited, who probably built your battery, maybe have interests in all those different metals. “Let’s pitch a bit of everything into this battery. Got to use up the stuff.” You might want to put a disclaimer, on that U – Tub video. “Don’t Try This At Home.” Just to cover possible liability.

    Another lovely rock gabion. They are pretty. Where’s Waldo? Hiding up in the shade. Doesn’t want to get anywhere near the work site, in case he’s sucked into doing something useful. 🙂

    Feverfew and Camomile look so similar. And they’re both useful. And pretty. The roses sure are putting on a lovely display. As is the Lavender.

    Well, as is often said, now that you’re vacation is about over, you’ll have to take a vacation to recover.

    In breaking Nick Cage news, he’s in a new movie called “Renfield.” He plays Count Dracula. Renfield is played by the actor who was our zombie hero in “Warm Bodies.” You’d need a certain amount of cultural literacy to know that Renfield was the Count’s minion. 🙂

  3. Hi Steve,

    Discretionary pizzas are real. 🙂 It was my lived experience during the early stages of the recession in the early 1990’s that discretionary spending and non-essential assets got ditched as the cost of money sky rocketed. Incidentally, I’ve read retrospective acknowledgements that things were taken too far back then.

    The thing is, people forget that this time around the expansionary money supply policies have not stopped at the same time that the cost of money itself is increased. That occurred last time. And also the population is being increased so that demand continues to nip at the heels of supply. It’s a mess.

    Thanks for the link to the blog, it’s good and the author is correct. However, I try not to get lost in the detail instead saying: this is how it is. My best guess is that behind the scenes, the powers that be are frantically trying to do … something, anything. Things will get strange from here, not that they already aren’t.

    We’re kind of like the Titanic, except that the policy makers have decided to chuck over board certain sections of the population because it will keep the ship afloat that little bit longer. The thing is, one mistake is all it will take, and the pressure from that can come from outside any form of local control. In the past week, the powers that be have decided to increase tourism – easy dollars. Things will get strange. All the while, pressure builds.

    Fun days, and the book looks good. I used to enjoy Leonard Nimoy doing the ‘In Search Of’ series. It would be fun to be in a world where there is a real Loch Ness monster.

    Wise to avoid the second, or fiftieth tranche investment in the SFB. They’re as dodgy as the CBF I’ve heard, but that is pure speculative rumour. Glad you made the withdrawal without having your assets frozen. 😉

    Yeah, the weather this summer is crazy. It was quite hot here today. My brain hurts…



  4. Hi Lewis,

    Violent Night looks pretty funny, in a darkly humorous way. Are you on the naughty list? Hmm, I’ve heard things… 🙂 Hey, it was like Santa meets Die Hard, which incidentally is also a Christmas film. Confirmed. Tis the season to get blown up, apparently.

    True, some dystopia’s are more scary than others. The spell checker may be dystopian? Have you ever watched any of the Hunger Games films? Never seen them myself. Alas there are more films and books than available free time.

    Speaking of which, we finished off the fencing on the garden terraces today. By 2pm the summer sun was beating down upon my already overly warm brain and turning up the boil, and that might explain a thing or three. The garden terrace project was mostly completed years ago, but other things then demanded our attention. Now it is done. It looks good too, almost as if it had always been that way – not so.

    Dunno how things are rolling on the discretionary spending front. I’m just patiently observing. The authoritas have decided to increase tourism in the past week, so maybe like Rocky and Bullwinkle there are yet weird tricks up the sleeve. I dunno, people tend to imagine that the authoritas sit around doing not much and living large off the public coin, but you can only do that whilst the public happily pays. If circumstances point in other directions, then the authoritas have to get off their backsides and work, just like everyone else.

    Hehe! Jay and Silent Bob are interesting characters, with something to say.

    I reckon child stars do it tough because expectations are such that a person can’t age. And also who wants to peak in their career at such a young age? At high school I was friends with a guy who’d been in a film in 1985 as a child actor, now what was it again … … Fortress (1985 film). Ah, the film did not do so well at the box office. Yikes. The film name has been used many times since.

    Haha! The expensive lady appeared as if she wanted to be elsewhere, so perhaps your supposition as to repo-men is correct? It should not be forgotten that it is intense being a repo-man. But I agree, people hang on to the last vestiges long past their use-by dates. It’s kind of sad. That’s a good point, but I dunno cars are uncomfortable places for sleeping. Although occasionally people do just that down in the nearby picnic ground, and the ones I’ve seen the next morning rarely look as if they’re doing OK. That picnic ground looks nice during the daytime, but it is a very cold place overnight.

    Possibly so about the over use of different types of metals in the battery. It’s a bonkers arrangement, and not one I’d have come up with. But yes, I agree and have considered that aspect.

    🙂 You spotted Waldo hiding in the shade. The extra heat of the past few weeks has really helped with producing flowers. The Roses in particular have enjoyed the heat and drier weather.

    Truth to tell, it wasn’t my body which needed the vacation, it was my mind. The work around here is physically hard, but for me, continual over use of the mind due to paid work is what wears me out. I dunno, but as a species I don’t believe that we evolved to use just our brains. Some folks can, sure, but it doesn’t work for everyone. I prefer more balance between those two options and do my best to reach this, although it is hard to achieve.

    Nick Cage as Count Dracula, cool. The meetings looked to me as if they took something of a, dare I say it: Dark Turn? I really laughed at the line: OK, so we’re dealing with something more than narcissism here. Very funny. The Editor recently listened to the audio book of Bram Stoke’s Dracula, and was highly impressed by the story. Thanks for the continuing education.

    The M3GAN film looks scary, but starts off nice, before then turning horribly wrong. The dance scene was frightening. Robots always go wrong eg. Phone Tree Hell. Nobody really wants that, but people keep pushing, and ending badly is probably how it rolls. In some ways it reminded me of the 2015 film Ex Machina. A super creepy, but in a good way, film.

    I also thought he died at the end of the film: I am legend. In the earlier Omega Man iteration of the film, was it the actor Charlton Heston? He also died in the final scene. However, zombies can arise from the grave? The trailer for the film didn’t seem to suggest that possibility. Oh well. A mystery.

    My brain is overloaded by the information. Why would the river impose arcane restrictions on sellers? Makes no sense to me. Anyway, weren’t we discussing above about robots? Pesky critters.

    Hope you can get to the bathroom, what with all those books. 🙂 I’m always impressed at the way you can blitz through books. I lack such skills.

    Victorian era housing is quite nice really, but may be more suitable in this warmer corner of the planet than where you are. Lots of thermal mass is very hard to keep warm when average winter temperatures are near to freezing. It is a mature perspective, but then we all let loose every now and then.

    I did enjoy that. Thanks. The bookshop is quite huge.

    Hope H was well behaved and that the coffee was halfway decent.



  5. Hi, Chris!

    Oh, boy – are we having to reduce expenditures – except that we have new expenses with helping out my mother and another relative financially. So, I have to cut back in the house budget. Vacations are unknown here anyway.

    Yes, I am fortunate enough to have heard of the Mary Celeste. But I couldn’t tell you (or Lew) who Jay and Silent Bob are. Are they like Cheech and Chong?

    Well, the CBF may have to say “yes” to some more deposits. I see it has just had an emergency withdrawal.

    You are a brave man to mess with batteries. They are not like the salt-water ones on Gilligan’s Island . . . I hope that your efforts are rewarded.

    My one little agapanthus still mopes. And I may have to move it as it is in the area that will soon be open to deer again, and I don’t have a jackhammer.

    Look at Plum smile. Or maybe that’s Ruby.

    Your place reminds me of Butchart Gardens in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada. I have long wanted to visit there. But Fernglade is even better as Butchart is all decorative, with no edibles, and you have created both of those things.

    A real rose garden – and all the rest of the wonderful flowers! Thanks!


  6. Hello Chris,

    As Joanna Macy calls it, we are indeed in the Great Unravelling. Things fall apart in most unexpected ways.
    Here, house prices are dropping (-20% last year, more in the cities), and electricity prices are 3x of 2020. Many, many people have large mortgages and slim margins. This puts a lot of stress on relationships. And a divorce at this moment is for many people economic suicide.
    We, M and me, are lucky to have a very low-stress life. Good for love.

    Your battery story can be a case of dissimilar metal-metal junctions which can drive heat flow sideways ( I think it is when current passes the physical boundary between materials, that you lose energy and therefore generate heat. Can you remove the steel bolt terminal and have a copper-copper-connection all the way from the BMS to your external 0-gauge cable?
    (It is 20+ years since I did quantum physics, and it has to do with the energy bands for the electrons in the conducting materials. Exact details are a bit fuzzy. Could someone else complete the picture here?)

    Congratulations on your full bank account. I did not realize before that bank accounts actually could be full. 😉
    Here we do small, but daily withdrawals and I think we have another year or two of super-dry old wood before we will need to use the 2022 vintage.


  7. @ Pam – Jay and Silent Bob. Way back in 1995, Kevin Smith started directing, producing and acting in movies. Small indy films made on a shoe string. He played the part of Silent Bob. Jay (Jason Mewes) is his sidekick / foil. They more or less play cameo rolls in most of Smith’s movies. Kevin Smith also owns a comic book store. He used to be pretty overweight, until a heart attack was a wakeup call. He’s rather svelt, these days. Back in the day, they typified the uber slacker / fanboy. Jay is a hyperkinetic, rather rude and crude character. Silent Bob never speaks (or, rarely), but is a steadying influence on Jay. I think that the characters have been in about nine movies.

    I forgot the LLC. Limited liability corporation. That means, if their product kills you, they’re not libel. Lew

  8. Yo, Chris – I didn’t read the “Hunger Games” books, but did watch the movies. Cool explosions. But, basically, fodder for angsty teens. There are several series kicking around (Looking at you “Maze Runner”), of the same genre. There are several essays, as to why teens are drawn to dystopian literature and films. Despair over the current state of the world, the hero always fights through and wins, usually an absence of parents of other authority figures, etc..

    Well, boiled brains might keep you safe from zombies. I think they prefer their nosh not just underdone but raw.

    Discretionary pizzas. I used to enjoy a good pizza, on special occasions. But even before inflation, once they hit $20+ for a good large, I bailed. If I want pizza now, I either make my own, or get a cheap frozen one from the grocery, and doctor it up. Call me thrifty … or, cheap. 🙂

    Child actors do it tough. There’s a bit of a child actor theme, in “Nope.” When I looked up Ms. O’Brien, to make sure I got the spelling of her name right, I see she’s still alive (in her 80s), and still working. She looks familiar. I’m sure I’ve seen her in this and that.

    Well, a car is a step up from a refrigerator box. At least you can move a car around.

    I’m sure I saw “Ex Machina.” Guy ends up trapped in the isolated house? I see, according to Rotten Tomatoes, that it’s one of Simon Pegg’s five favorite films.

    Vincent Price also played in another remake of “I Am Legend.” I think they all die in the end. Apparently not, in the latest iteration.

    I think the River tilts toward the big sellers. The more you sell, the more tolerance they have for bad customer reviews. The other big on-line retailer, seems to tilt more toward the seller. At least in my experience.

    If I can’t get to the bathroom, due to book blockage, I just open a window 🙂 . Actually, most of the books I bring into the house, these days, come from the library. There’s those pesky “date dues”. Even though they no longer have penalties, I pay attention to them.

    From the Scottish book dealer’s books, I didn’t get the feeling that the place was so huge. Or never thought about it.

    Oh, H had a ripping good time, as I took the pig’s knuckle along. Kept her entertained and amused for almost an hour. But on a sour note, when I mentioned it to Elinor, the horror! the horror! H might break a tooth on a bone! Next time, I just won’t mention it. It’s a mine field. Some people won’t be missed, when they’re gone. Lew

  9. PS: Someone severely pruned back the pear and apple tree, today. Really butchered. Maybe in preparation to cut them down, entirely? I sent an e-mail to the Master Gardeners, to see if they have any info.

    I notice that the Elephant Garlic is coming up. Lew

  10. Hi Pam,

    Reducing expenditures seems to be something which is going around. Sandra and I had an awkward conversation this morning about the batteries… Could be expensive, and like your experience vacations are for other people. What do you? I’m resigned to having to work in some form right up until the day I keel over, that is my lot and I accept it.

    I note that Lewis has provided an explanation as to those two characters. They’re rather amusing.

    Hehe! The CBF has limits which have been reached. However, the future is unpredictable and there is a new safety deposit box (AKA new firewood shed) in the plans. Operating on a razors edge is not somewhere I’m comfortable to be.

    I so enjoyed Gilligan’s Island. So good. I forget the salt water batteries, but then there is a lot of talk about such things these days. Batteries are batteries in my experience, they’re a very mature technology. The parts for the repair arrived in the mail today + I went into the big smoke to an industrial supply electrical bulk place to pick up the rest of the stuff. By hook or by crook, we’ll get them batteries into tip top condition me hearties, or we might blow the place up – candidly I’m not certain of the outcome. But I know this is the right path to take with them.

    Nothing eats Agapanthus. Truly, the deer here won’t touch the stuff, although that may because there are better options. Not sure, but I do know you can’t dig them up easily. Make sure you get outside and talk nicely to the moping plant. Try this: If you don’t grow soon, and well, I’m gonna feed ya to the deer. What does incentive mean? 🙂

    Both Kelpie’s smile, although Ruby smiles more than the serious Dame Plum. Although this is why Ruby may never receive a title?

    Thank you for the high praise, and those gardens are beautiful. This is one of my favourite local gardens (and gardening club) and there are a huge areas devoted to edibles. The Garden of St Erth. I may have linked to this before, but this page has photos and descriptions of the various areas. It’s a lovely place to spend some quiet enjoyable time contemplating the beauty of nature.

    With the heat and dry weather this week, the roses have produced even more flowers, and the scent can be enjoyed from a distance. We planted a few of the David Austen roses for their aroma. Delightful.



  11. Hi Goran,

    Ah, systems theory and ecology have a lot to say about the state of the world. Those two fields of endeavour don’t tend to get the respect and funding that other areas of science do, mostly because the results are unpalatable to the goals of our civilisation. Hey, just for fun, try talking with people about limits sometime? Most people believe that this is something for someone else, probably in the magical land of elsewhere as well! 🙂

    Yes, house prices are falling here too, and likewise energy costs are rising, but at maybe one tenth the rate you are experiencing, unless you’re considering purchasing more batteries – then my experience beats everyone else by a factor of at least one hundred. It costs a lot to live this cheap.

    And you’re right, splitting one household into two, is a very economically disadvantageous thing to do. I say that too as someone who grew up in a single mother household. The funny thing was that I didn’t know what poverty was, until I observed how other families lived. The comparison to my own home was not good, and it would be far, far, harder nowadays. In those days a single income could purchase a house, working hours were not as long and/or as pressured, and university education was free. I saw that, and the difference to how things are nowadays is not good. Hmm. My, how far we have fallen in my lifetime.

    Yes, it is very simple to convert electricity into heat. Yup. The challenge is to not do so. 😉

    And your suggestion is exactly what I’m doing. I’m adding positive and negative 300A bus bars to the top of the battery and will connect in all the wires to that. Copper all the way. I’m very disappointed with the design of the battery, but I can also understand how and why it came to be that way.

    Hehe! Mate, it’s a new way of thinking about bank accounts. I don’t think most people are going to like it though. It is a truth that for many people: too much is never enough.

    With firewood, we have to plan many years ahead. I don’t know about your timber species as to whether they can be burned green (i.e. unseasoned for a year or two), but the trees here cannot. All the eucalyptus species which could be burned green, were long ago burned for heating fuel by the early colonists. True story. I realise you have a lot on your mind, but given the process takes several years, it might be worth thinking about sooner rather than later. And ask the locals to see what they do? You might have to set aside an area of your property for a fast growing wood lot. Such a thing could double as a wind break.



  12. @ Lew:

    Thanks so much for the Jay and Silent Bob explanation. I now have an intriguing idea of them in my mind.

    Thanks also for the LLC definition.


  13. Hi Lewis,

    Did you hear back from the master gardeners as to the pruning of the pear and apple tree? You’d hope the person who did the work knew what they were doing? Not always the case, but then I tend to believe that trees are far hardier to pruning than we’d like to imagine. Mostly the trees respond very well as the tree ends up with a far larger root system than is needed, and so it grows faster. Plus I’ve heard that some of the root system is let go by the pruned tree and the soil critters get suddenly heaps more feed, they then produce soil critter food and manure. And so it goes.

    I’m watching some of the larger branches of the mulberry trees wilt over, and am thinking of pruning them. The tree will probably benefit from getting cleaned up.

    The other thing is, I tend to recall that once there was megafauna, and they sure must have done huge amounts of damage to trees thus keeping the forests more open than they would otherwise be without them. The trees would have had to evolve to survive that sort of interaction. Would you be able to stop a three tonne wombat? You go first! Brave Sir Chris ran away, bravely ran away, away!!! (sung to the melody of Brave Sir Robin – Monty Python) 🙂

    Wow! Really about the elephant garlic? Possibly your season has turned and your in something entirely different. You may have missed this: Supersized Russian elephant garlic surprises Aussie growers after gnarly ‘nest’ discovery. Clearly benign neglect produces results! Speaking of which, I’ve been unable to water the tomatoes, pumpkins and melons in the sapling fenced enclosure. And despite that, they’re growing strongly. Hmm. I’m watching this experiment closely.

    Went into the big smoke today to run errands and pick up some components for the battery repair. To do the job I needed 60 lugs, and that meant visiting an industrial electrical supply place right in the big smoke. They’re good, and well stocked, but they ain’t cheap.

    Interesting. I hadn’t heard of Maze Runner series of books (or films). You know, it isn’t difficult for me given the arrangements I grew up with to imagine that the authoritas can stuff things up – after all, I witnessed that very thing happening. Sometimes I do wonder if people who had really super normal upbringings and supportive families can imagine that possibility? Dunno.

    A very good observation regarding zombies, and I’ll keep that in mind during the next incursion of those pesky undead things. That’s funny, yes, raw I can see that. 🙂

    No, we all have our limits with such food items. On the cheese course we attended last year, I discovered that the milk we purchase (used for yoghurt, coffee and fetta cheese) was considered very sub fluffy optimal. Incidentally the pizzas are between $25 and $29, but given the exchange rate biz, same, same, but different. They’re good though. Visited the pub this evening. It was a really lovely locals night and people were arriving and going and the vibe there was good.

    I agree, child actors do it tough. To hit your career peak so early in life, and then not be allowed to move on, is rough. There is something inherently dodgy in the wish for things to remain the same. Seriously, the lives of the elves would have bored me to tears. Like being stuck in heaven with the saints and all that music. No doubt I’d share a candid opinion, and get evicted. A smart move if you ask me.

    True, a car can be moved around to better places. There’s a lot of talk about van life these days. And I guess people can work remotely.

    Really? That was the film indeed, and Simon Pegg has outstanding taste. A few years ago we watched one of the films on the actors list Annie Hall, and it held up really well. I had a notion that it may have felt dated, like say the Seinfeld series, but no it came across as a fresh and bright film.

    Nicely said about the recent iteration of the film. Very droll. Hey, can you imagine the directors and screen writers when thashing around ideas for the sequel: We’ve gotta do something different here, say something different for the sake of the story. Anyone? Anyone? You over there, what did you mumble? … Err, we could bring Will back to life, and then don’t kill him in the end. … Good. Now, has anyone else got any ideas? No. Right, make it so.

    Far out. I didn’t know that bad reviews would reach the algorithm. That’s rough. On ebuy I’ve read positive reviews where people have clicked on the negative button. Dealing with the public can be a rough experience. Overall I tend to prefer ebuy because there is a scoring system in place for both the buyer and seller. A lot of people like the freebie ones like fistplant markup place, but the things I hear make it sound like the wild west.

    Nice one, you’re very resourceful to consider the window option. Wise to consider the ‘due dates’ because of the golden rule. Most people are pretty good with that limit.

    Yeah, next time I wouldn’t mention the pigs knuckle either. But it’s a genius canine strategy, and if visitors are here I chuck the dogs into their enclosure with rawhide chews. Keeps them quiet and occupied. Dogs chew bones, and it cleans their teeth. They do that for a living, and for free, well you do have to pay for the bones.

    Surely you jest?



  14. Chris:

    Yes, Lew told me about Jay and Silent Bob. I now have a very interesting vision of them, never having seen them.

    Ah – a safety deposit box! I should have guessed.

    Scroll down to #9; you’ll see the battery charger.

    Good for my poor old droopy agapanthus (no Triffid here). It stays where it is, jackhammer or no, right below where the new clothesline is going to be so it will be in even more shade. Tough toenails.

    One of my four rose bushes is a David Austin: “Othello”. Never have I smelled a stronger rose fragrace; it’s wonderful. And the flowers are exquisite. But what rose isn’t? It also can stand some shade.

    St. Erth is very beautiful. And they have fruit and veg, too. Thank you!


  15. Yo, Chris – I e-mailed the Master Gardeners about the trees. Wasn’t them. They mentioned they are heritage trees, and used to run a pruning demonstration, in the spring. They’ll investigate. I e-mailed them back and said there was nothing left to prune. So … either our building manager requested the regular landscape people do it (though, it was not their regular day to show up), or, the city did it. I had noticed once or twice, over the past few years, that a wayward apple dented a car that was parked too close to the trees.

    Herbivore dinosaurs and megafauna really bulldozed through the forests. And, as you said, kept them open.

    That was an interesting article, about the Elephant Garlic. They’re constantly producing small bulblets, so I can see how a nest can develop. Black garlic sounds interesting. But simmer or 3 or 4 weeks? Maybe a small crock pot might come in handy?

    I eat garlic, every day. But I must metabolize it, in a benign way. I’ve never noticed a smell. And no one has complained 🙂 .

    Once they’re out in the world, kids will discover how the authoritas can stuff things up. Maybe mom and dad had the clout to adjust such things, but they’ll find they don’t. On the other hand, the way kids shrug off computer problems, maybe they just shrug that off, too?

    Maybe it’s because I was raised with the idea that some things are just too expensive. Not all things, but some. And some things (that had entertainment value) just wasn’t worth any amount of money.

    In the news over here, is a child star that just died at 54. He had drug and alcohol problems, but took care of that. But friends say he had problems with crushing depression. No cause of death, yet. And another child star (Dizzy Studios, no less) has discovered the wonderful world of adult entertainment. And, he’s quit happy with it. Well, at least his shelf life will be longer.

    Yeah, it never appealed to me to be stuck somewhere with saints, holy women and virgins. Doesn’t sound like a fun time.

    One wonders what they’re thinking of, in Hollywood. Or, if they think at all. We’ve talked before about if an author sells a book to Hollywood, about all they can count on is “based on a book by” and the title. Any resemblance to the book is probably accidental.

    Ohhh. I found a good book. Another Scottish book. Hmmm. An accidental theme going. “Stargazing: Memoirs of a Young Lighthouse Keeper.” (Hill, 2003? 2004?) Well, that’s the oddest copyright page, I’ve ever seen. “The Moral Right of the Author Has Been Asserted.” That’s a new one. The postscript is from 1999. He may live in Australia, now.

    Any-who. In 1973 the young art student applies for the job of relief keeper, or keeper-in-training. During 6 months, he worked in three different lighthouses, off the west coast of Scotland. He describes himself, going to the job interview: “My hair hung well below my shoulders. I had a great set of Captain Beefheart records and I walked about with a permanent grin on my face as I had recently, finally, lost my virginity. I rolled my own cigarettes, was a member of Amnesty International and had just read Kerouac’s “Desolation Angels.” In short, I was eminently suitable for the job.”

    Back then, the Commissioners of the Northern Lights were a little desperate for warm bodies. As everyone was running off to work the oil rigs, in the North Sea. This is well before automation. You may think a lighthouse keeper is a lonely job (I did.) Not so. Each lighthouse has a four man crew. The head keeper stays three years, and then moves on. Other crew rotate at different intervals. I’m 63 pages into it, and quit enjoy it.

    Last night was pretty typical. First I had to sit through a long story about someone I didn’t know. I may start resorting to cutting the obituaries, out of Elinor’s newspaper. Then, I had to try and find her medic alert necklace, that somehow had gotten dropped next to her two ton, Star Trek chair. At least she was able to come up with either her flashlight, or the smaller flashlight I gave her, one night, when she couldn’t find hers. Found the alert, but somehow or another, the string had gotten tangled in the bottom of the chair. So, the whole thing had to be tipped on it’s side, to get it untangles. Then there was a lot of moving said chair, two inches this way and three inches that for optimal … whatever. I’m not jesting.

    But, onto more pleasant topics. I ran the three clamshells of cherry tomatoes through my dehydrator. For dinner I had rice, garlic, a handful of dried tomatoes from last year’s garden, a can of diced tomatoes, a handful each of green and red frozen bell peppers, a squirt of catsup and a splash of hot sauce. Called it Spanish Rice. Tasty.

    Went down for biscuits and gravy, this morning. No pig’s knuckles were harmed in the demolition of the meal. No bones broke any teeth. Lew

  16. Chris,

    Now that I’m back from the lost week…

    Do people think these days? I see a lot of emotional responses to events, the reasons for the emotions not being understood. Any thinking that occurs results more in logical sounding arguments to excuse the emotional and often (bordering on) violent responses.

    Households reducing expenditures? What a feral and foreign concept to many. We’ve changed what meats we eat as prices go up. And we’re eating much less meat than before. A close friend, however, insists on regularly buying increasingly expensive cuts of meat because those taste the best. Then complains about the household food bill being so high. Among some pockets of people, yes, spending habits are changing. I’m not sure that even a majority of people are changing yet.

    Hehehe. I’m glad the Expensive Pizza Person (EPP) was told that no negotiated discounts were available. I’ve run into those types before, both while in restaurants and stores and also in my professional life. Proper descriptive words cannot be used here.

    Oh side note. EPP is right up there with SEP. Somebody Else’s Problem. Ignore whenever possible. Failure to ignore might have dire results.

    CBF filled. High summer. Funds removed from CBF. More deposits will need to be made?

    Nice photo of the incoming storm. The following picture of the cheery fire summed up the day quite nicely.

    Glad you’re making headway on the battery issue. You seem to have figured out a nasty reality: current can only flow at the rate of the least conductive metal in the circuit. I’m interested in watching how this works out.

    The new slope project is looking good. When you’re finished with it, how about visiting here for 2 weeks and helping with my looming change in landscape? 😉

    Silhouetted dog in the shade,
    Drainage pipes repose nearby:
    Boulders split and made smaller,
    Rock-lined path suddenly appears.

    We’re in a grey stage right now. Fog. Low clouds. 75% of the snow has melted in town. The extended forecast is for 10 or more consecutive days and nights remaining above freezing with rain. The rest of the snow will probably disappear. I predict that winter will have a February resurgence just to remind us that, well, it’s still winter.

    Due to our January greys, the flower pictures are very much appreciated!


  17. Hi Pam,

    🙂 A different way of thinking about mad cash! It’s funny, but what I’ve learned about all the different systems, resources and technologies required to live without all of the centralised arrangements, is that it’s complicated. And firewood is a very complicated process if you source from one end of the arrangement to the final use. Most people don’t really know that perspective.

    Ah, so the professor invented salt water batteries long before utoob folks on the interweb began talking about them in earnest terms. Who knew? 🙂

    Candidly, Agapanthus plants do prefer full sun, but then when the sunshine is in short supply they do have to deal. Go on, are you conducting secret experiments on the plant so as to determine just how tough the thing is? It might not be an Agapanthus, it might be a Triffid.

    Lovely stuff, and the summer sun lifts the aroma of the David Austin roses into the air, doesn’t it? I was a bit worried about the two recently planted roses as they lost a lot of their leaves, but are now beginning to grow new ones. Hardy plants and beautiful flowers.

    My pleasure and that garden is part of the gardening club. They have a few other properties too, and focus on heritage open pollinated varieties of plants, especially edibles. I feel lucky to have them not too far from here. A lot of gardening clubs focus on really fussy, exotic or showy plants and a persons gotta eat too.



  18. Hi DJ,

    So are ya feeling better? I heard you were asleep at the wheel, but that’s just rumours. You know how people are. 😉

    That’s the problem with emoting, a person might not quite know what they’re doing. And an inability to express oneself, can lead to frustration, and things can escalate from there. Yes, that is one outcome. It needn’t be that way, but it is.

    Complaints often proceed the fall. I’m often surprised by the turn of events, and occasionally can’t respond as rapidly as a person is expected to do, but respond I can. Mate, I watched this economic bubble get the very first pumps way back in 1997. My opinion formed back then has not altered one bit. Of all the paths to have taken, this is not one I would have chosen, but then nobody asked my opinion.

    Yeah, hey the folks working at the local pub are young and they just don’t care about the foot stomping combined with pouting. I kind of enjoyed that moment. I’m sure the lady had had plenty of opportunities that the younger folk won’t enjoy. There’s a point where a touch of humility needs to enter the general conversation, and we’re not there yet, but we’ll get there.

    Nope, the deposit imbalance was corrected at the CBF and all indicators are pointing in the direction of them being all fluffy good. Whatever that means. Probably 42.

    Exactly, when you weren’t feeling well, I was chucking out all this physics stuff about the batteries – and you were giving me nothing. Of course you were ill, so fair enough. Now, you come back with appropriate aphorisms, which fit the situation to a tee. Seriously six soldered 6mm2 cables onto a battery terminal to conduct 150A of current is not what I expected to find. My plan, set the dogs of public opinion loose upon the matter. I’ll send you a link in the comments after replying to Lewis.

    I don’t think so, but thank you very much for the delightful poem. It’s in your blood you know.

    Yes, I agree February won’t be the coldest month, but it might be the snowiest month.

    There will be more flowers to come as the season goes on. Some of the plants are responding really well to the extra heat and dry weather of this week.



  19. Hi Lewis,

    I’m of the opinion that is the main reason why people hate fruit trees in urban areas. I’ve actually heard neighbours complaining about the marsupial fruit bats leaving behind a mess to clean up, whilst not wanting me to harvest the ripe fruit. Not to mention that their eyes might be sprained if a squooshed fruit was dumped upon the side walk. Oh no, fancy that! Nope, much better to live in a dead zone where nothing is ever disturbed. And there was that time I intercepted a neighbour late at night who was annoyed by the call of the Powerful Owl and about to do something. Engaging the bloke with discussion about the wonder of the bird of prey was the way to do that – who wouldn’t enjoy a story about headless possums?

    You’re probably right as to the culprit.

    Yup, the Sambar deer and wallabies try to do the same thing, but whilst they’re big, they’re not mega-big-enough. The Indigenous folks had end up doing that task. Imagine facing the reality way back in the day tens of millennia ago of taking on that task? It’s awesome to consider really, but they faced it.

    My mind baulked at the concept of black garlic. It’s probably a market with high margins? Our fortunes might be made? The sheer energy involved with producing the stuff would send me bonkers. After replying to you tonight I have to continue my deep dive into all things lithium batteries. Been bad, past life, what more need be said? And I worked on paid work today, something, something, sook, holiday, interrupted.

    You’re made of sterner stuff than I. I am weak on that garlic front.

    That’s an interesting point about just shrugging off hassles like that. When I was reading the book 1984, the younger female protagonist had something of a ‘what, me worry?’ mindset. I’ve been contemplating that approach recently.

    Speaking of such matters, the tree dudes. Hmm. So as you know, they tried to hit me up for some mad pre Xmas cash. Not a smart move on their part. They messed me around this morning when I had to work. My foot has now been firmly put down. It surprises me that they were surprised at the reaction, and then concerned. People push at boundaries, and sure that’s how it goes, but it is unwise to do so. A step too far perhaps?

    Yes, and I was raised with that experience too. It’s called poverty. Special things (and that included far more things than most folks would understand these days) were reserved for special occasions and even then they were not guaranteed – and certainly not an everyday expectation.

    It’s true, problems tend to disappear for the person involved once they’re no longer in the land of the living. All rather final. And if they’d been very bad indeed, they might get to come back and have to work very hard to make amends. 😉

    Hadn’t heard that about the dizzy studios child actor. Hope the actor remembers that turning up on time, performing on time and knowing lines is still a requirement.

    Hey, some of the chilli plants have produced chilli’s which are almost two inches long now. Hope they’re not too hot! Ook! The others are in flower. Planting them all in the greenhouse has worked out well so far.

    From what I understand of that biz, they’re probably thinkin’: Will this make money for our investors? I note that the actor Chris Pine said something about making a film for the fans. Presumably, then they’ll turn up to watch it. Hardly a challenging idea.

    An outstanding song. The Who were awesome. And the film clip was fun. I dunno about you, but that line: “I was eminently suitable for the job” was a classic. It kind of really sets the scene.

    Have you got any thoughts as to what was meant by the moral rights of the author? Like, we weren’t trying to diss the dude. What are moral rights anyway? Ah, integrity, yes, I know about that. But could the book improve with some editing? As a process it’s something of a challenge for the aspiring author. Still, doing the needful is important.

    Thanks for the music. Loved it.

    I too believed that a lighthouse keeper was something of a lonely job. There are still folks down under who work at that job. There’s probably less crew these days.

    Oh no! Not the obituaries in the newspaper. Far out. Dare I suggest that there is an element of comparison, and heaven forbid, ‘at least it ain’t me’ thinking when reading such public notices. Still, Elinor may be making up the peoples stories in the listings and that could be highly entertaining? I guess that’s not happening, but it’s probably what I’d do. Sorry for the poor taste, but it is a morbid thing to read. yes, pull it out of the newspaper and then you can both wonder at the declining standards of the news media these days. And hope that Elinor doesn’t figure out to count the page numbers. Mate, it’s a slippery slope modifying that news of the day thing – look at the effort the party had to put into doing that task in the book 1984. They worked so hard at erasing the past, they forgot to err, do needful stuff.

    I see, Elinor is clearly in the Captains chair. There’s this awful whisper on the winds: Make it so, number one! 🙂 Hehe! Bad Chris. I know you’re not jesting. Mate, you’re a saint.

    Your dinner sounds tasty. Paella they call it over there, but fried rice with stuff is probably just as accurate – and it’s always good.

    We had pasta with salad greens mixed with crushed nuts and chilli. So good, but my mouth still feels a bit zingy.

    I trust that H was well behaved?

    Onto the batteries… My brain hurts. 🙂



  20. Hi Chris,
    You’ve certainly accomplished a lot on your “vacation”. Impressed with your skills in the battery department. As always the pictures are lovely and brighten up yet another cloudy day here. Yes it’s been very cloudy and often foggy the last few weeks though yesterday there was this unfamiliar yellow orb above and a lovely blue color. Back to dreary today.

    We’ve have a funeral today. The wife of our friend and long time dentist who suffered from ALS the last three years. Doug has been asked to be a pall bearer so it’s going to be a long day with the service at their church in Wisconsin, burial at a cemetary 20 miles south of us followed by a luncheon.


  21. Yo, Chris – Last night’s sunset looked like the inside of an abalone shell. When I walked H this morning, it was quit nice. But, for the next week, it’s rain and some wind. But no major wind. Oh, well, nights will be in the 40sF and days in the 50s. There’s a landslide warning, for most of western Washington state.

    You probably saved the fellow from having half his scalp ripped off. More reports of owl attacks. Well, when you push the urban / wilderness boundary …

    I doubt the indigenous people got very angsty about doing burn offs. “Oh, getting pretty thick in there. Time to burn off the north 40.” 🙂 Just another day at the office.

    “Youth is wasted on the young.” George Bernard Shaw. The Atlantic had an article yesterday, “The Buy Now Pay Later Bubble is About to Burst.” Another bubble. Seems to appeal mostly to the young folks.

    As I was reading about our young lighthouse keeper, last night, he actually mentioned the title of that song. I really liked the footage that went along with it. Blast from the past. In what I read last night, he was given a lesson in weather prediction, and reporting by the crusty old head lighthouse keeper. Who was actually kind of an old dear. Of course, the author is looking through the rosy glasses of 4+ decades.

    Old lighthouses were like giant grandfather clocks. Weights kept the light turning. They had to be wound, every half hour. And the light turns on a bed of mercury.

    The copyright page of “Stargazing” might be a bit complicated as bits were read on BBC radio. And “Peter Hill” is a pretty common name for an author. Sorting out is complicated. But, I discovered he is Australian.

    In his postscript, he talks about visiting a lighthouse, on Bruny Island, Tasmania. It was automated, and the couple that were the lighthouse keepers, became employees of Parks and Wildlife.

    Someone at the Club got all gushy about my work on the pantry. They were a bit taken aback when I responded, “Yeah, I’m a f—— saint.” H was well behaved … for her.

    Zombie alert! There’s to be a new TV (is streaming, still TV?) called,”The Last of Us.” It’s pulled together from bits of popular culture, everything from computer games to comic books. It’s been getting good reviews. “The Last of Us Makes the Apocalypse Feel New Again.” Ah, there’s a trailer …

    At least that company eventually puts their shows out on DVDs. So, I suppose I’ll get to see it, sooner or later.

    Couldn’t access the link to the batteries. It slipped into one of those pesky temporal anomalies.

    Besides the full blown obits, our newspaper also put a box on the front page, with just names and ages. I must admit, when I run across a hard copy of the newspaper, I give it a look. It’s a good day when all the ones who have popped their clogs, are all older than me. 🙂 Lew

  22. Chris,

    The battery issue continued…Enjoyed the picture on that discussion site. And the size of those 6 wires. Why not simply a proper sized cable???

    Remember the discussion we had about the multiple small culverts under a bridge? And 3 small culverts of 3 square meters each allows less water flow than a single culvert of 9 square meters? This is the same problem only with electricity rather than water. So one cable of the proper surface area would allow better electric flow than the combination of these 6 wires. And the inefficiency of the 6 wire combination shows up as heat of course.

    Your proposed solution on the discussion site sounds plausible.

    More tomorrow.


  23. Hey Chris,

    Bargaining for pizza? That’s a weird one. Although, I can imagine how it went down. I worked a lot in customer service in high school and uni and in my experience the two most troublesome demographics were young men and older woman. From what I understand, woman get a testosterone boost as they get older, so that might be the common factor.

    That agapanthus story brings back memories. I only had one plant to pull up but had no idea about their root system when I started. Much cursing and swearing later, I finally got it out. By the way, it’s the same problem with hops. Huge roots. If you ever decide to move yours, I recommend just cutting the root.


  24. Hi Margaret,

    🙂 Let’s just say that the vacation has been something for my mind. I enjoy all the stuff we do around here, and despite the warm day today cranked the stump grinder out and set to cleaning up some of the old loggers activities. Always satisfying to clean up the place as it makes it easier to maintain.

    Did the first of five battery fixes this afternoon – and it worked. Yay! The battery fix is getting a lot of likes in the DIY Solar forum. Still, the interesting aspect of this problem is that it disclosed an awful vulnerability in the entire power system. No Plan B – always something of an issue.

    Isn’t it nice over winter when that big yellow orb in the sky warms our skin – marginally – by putting in a special guest appearance. Beats a blizzard, huh? 🙂

    You’ve mentioned your friend (albeit friends wife) who had ALS before. So sorry for your loss, and friends are precious things. Hope the weather wasn’t feral for the ceremony – especially given it was in Wisconsin at this time of year. It is thoughtful that your friend put on a lunch.

    With sympathy


  25. Hi DJ,

    Thanks for taking the time to check in on that forum. I posted an update of the battery fix today, and the thread is getting a lot of likes. As you’d imagine, the fix is neat, me being me! 🙂

    And better still, it seems to be working. I chucked through 50A from a charger into the battery and the new arrangement was not even remotely warm.

    Well, there were six Battery Management Systems (BMS i.e. the battery brain) for each battery and that is probably why there are six cables. It wasn’t what I expected to find, that’s for sure. On the other hand, with that much redundancy, the battery electronics should run cooler, until one BMS fails, and then there will be cascading failures I’d imagine. Whatever else may be the case, it will be exciting.

    Thank you very much, that aspect had not occurred to me and I appreciate you turning your physics skills onto this problem. Incidentally the 10AWG wire is rated for 30A continuous (or RMS as the old timers used to say).

    Hope you enjoy the update photo and I’ll be very curious to hear your thoughts. Four more batteries to go. Hope I don’t stuff it up!



  26. Hi Simon,

    Yeah it was weird wasn’t it? I mean it is not as if the lady were purchasing ten pizzas. Maybe then it might have been the done thing to ask, but three? No way. We ate two pizzas ourselves (they’re good pizzas).

    One of the downsides of our line of paid work, is that you get a vibe as to costs and how and where businesses make money. And there is a bit of margin on a pizza, but it takes a lot of pizza sales to pay for the wages of the staff – not to mention residual profit. They make heaps more margin on the pints as the cost is pretty low compared to the sale price. Cafes do the same thing with coffee.

    Hehe! Yes, dealing with the public can sometimes be an exciting contact sport. Mate, everyone should do retail and/or customer service for work, and then they’d probably be a lot nicer in their interactions. Far out! It’s possible, truth to tell I got smacked around the back of the head a few weeks ago by a local older lady whom I barely know. If I’d done that trick all hell would have broken loose. I was gobsmacked by that one. Oh well, it is sometimes the unpredictable experience that is hard to predict.

    Hehe! Yes, the root systems are huge. Honestly I could have taken an axe to the plants, but the jackhammer did Stirling service. It still wasn’t easy though. What? I didn’t know that about hops. I’m thinking Triffids – and the three vines are growing very strongly now. Hmm, thanks for the warning, I’d heard they were hardy. Hey, they’ve already topped the reinforcing mesh which was 2.1m high. Ook!

    How’s your garden going? Have you harvested any apples yet? Big rains are forecast for next week.



  27. Hi Lewis,

    Cool. I had no idea what you meant by the inside of an abalone shell, however the images told a thousand words. Yes, light can refract in interesting ways and produce all manner of effects. It sounded pretty cool.

    Speaking of such things, I think I nabbed a good sunset photo the other evening.

    Your weather doesn’t sound all that bad to me, and not much different from the usual winter weather here. Ah, the winter solstice is now three weeks in the past and the weather will slowly warm for you – but unfortunately not in a linear fashion. You know, the sort of linear fashion graph which arm chair theorists so love to clop us realists over the head with. What do you mean reality? I’ve got this model which says otherwise… Oh, if only it weren’t true – pesky folks that lot.

    Did it get cold enough that H required her winter coat?

    Shooot! Landslides, my nightmare. Hmm, can happen quickly and without warning. There’s a landslide over in the east of the state, and it’s been slowly moving for months now. They’ve had a lot of rain over there.

    Owls don’t muck around do they? Although I can’t recall the ones down under having scalped anyone. Might have to go on an interweb rabbit hole (although I’m not keen to see any such photos). Hang on a sec… … Good guess on your part, that particular variety of owl (Powerful Owl) has occasionally attacked humans. Don’t annoy them is how I see the world, other folks, who knows what they want? 😉

    You’re probably right about that being just another day at the office. Although my understanding of the traditional land management practices were that they were very systematic and pretty much covered the entire continent on a regular basis. It’s quite an epic feat really not just doing the work but also having systems in place to recall that the work had to be done over many years, and no doubt we’ll have to do something similar in the future. No doubts it helped that the original folks actually took the time to look at the land in detail, and had an idea as to what it should look like in different climate conditions.

    Hehe! That’s a great quote, and I’ve heard that the young folks aren’t all that into credit cards, but those buy now pay later apps, well apparently they’re different. And maybe they are. When I was a kid, that lot used to be called ‘pay day lenders’ (AKA loan sharks). How things change. Hmm, I’ve heard reports that managing those apps are something of a problem for folks.

    I really enjoyed the footage from that song too. It was good and I assume that the constabulary where pushing the band members into the back of the Divvy Van. When I used to go and watch cricket games (a popular sport down here you may be unfamiliar with 🙂 ) whenever the cops removed some rowdy spectator, the crowd in the area would chant that: “You’re going home in the back of a Divvy Van!” And it was accompanied by some impromptu clapping, which remarkably was always in tune. Quite the feat really for folks who’d imbibed so much drink. Natural drummers…

    I reckon your observation is spot on. Haven’t we all had some hard-nut but fair bosses in the past? They weren’t so bad. The worst bosses always pretended that they weren’t bad – not good, as I’m sure you’ve experienced?

    Ah, a local yet also Glaswegian bloke. He appears to enjoy the arts. I love Bruny Island. We spent maybe a week there many long years ago, just camping about the island. I remember a lovely chat with an Asian-Australian bloke who’d married a local girl. The guy was amazing. We’d decided to get a nights accommodation in a remote valley on the island. And he’d built the accommodation using timber he’d milled on the property using a portable saw mill. It was like meeting my people. 🙂 A handy bloke if you were ever in a knife fight – hopefully that doesn’t ever happen, but you get the gist.

    Well, your response would have earned a response, which is probably how things should be. I assume you went with your gut feeling there? H is a true lady, and would never dare to put one foot out of line, whilst you were looking.

    Thanks, and it’s early to be getting a new zombie film. Will it break new ground? Hmm. I’ll check the trailer after replying.

    Not to stress about the battery forum, it was just me geeking it up with my people. 🙂 Hehe! Man, I’m so relieved the fix appears to have worked. And interestingly, the recent battery issues have highlighted a hitherto unknown weakness in our arrangements. Yikes! Might get onto fixing that, and soon.

    Hehe! Always reassuring isn’t it? As a dirty little secret, I check the occasional school ‘old boys’ magazine for that. Have known one or two that are no longer with us. Always sad, but time works that magic doesn’t it?



  28. Yo, Chris – The inside of an abalone shell is often used for jewelry, or even inlays on furniture. I took a look into the rabbit hole, to see if it was the same as Mother of Pearl. Mother of Pearl can come from three different shells. Pearl oysters, freshwater mussels or, abalone. Abalone can be quit tasty, if it’s prepared right. Somewhere in my long life, I had an abalone burger. But as I remember, it was a bit on the tough side.

    Well, when I take H on walks, these day, it seems like it’s either drizzling or spitting down. Occasionally, rarely, nothing is falling out of the sky. Yup, I always put H in her coat. Since going to the groomer, I’ve even seen her shiver a couple of times. Which is new. On the 10th, Prof. Mass has a post where he says La Nina is ending. I meant to mention, our days are getting longer. Used to be, when I took H out at 5pm, it was full dark. Now, it’s still light, and about sunset time.

    I think pay day lenders are still around, but the government came down on them hard, and they had to clean up their act, a bit.

    D—–d cricket hooligans! 🙂

    The author of “Stargazers” mother was Australian. I had a vague recollection that you had been to Bruny Island. Because of the odd shifts, lighthouse keepers (at least in the book) only get to sleep 2, 4 or six hours. Our hero is about to embark on his turn at cooking. Which he knows little about. But, luckily, one of the fellows on the light is a sort of self-taught master chef, and is taking him in hand.

    When the shift to man the light changes, there’s what they call “The Rembrandt.” No idea, why. It’s the 2am to 6am shift. The outgoing keeper spends an extra 15 minutes or so, talking to the incoming keeper. Just to make sure he’s awake and running on all cylinders. And that’s when tales are told …

    The Flannan Isle lighthouse, is rather cursed (my term.) It’s the Mary Celeste (again, my term) of lighthouses. Maybe. One of the nightly reports, is to make sure other lighthouses in sight, are lit. In 1900, the Flannan Isle lighthouse, was dark. A crew was sent out, and the three keepers had disappeared. The tale as told to the author, was, that the table was set for a meal. It provided lots of speculation, but, more modern investigation thinks it was one of those rogue waves. All three keepers were outside (or, one inside went to rescue the other two) and all were swept away. But other things happened at that lighthouse. There was even a poem written about it (and, an opera). And a film, in 2019, “The Vanishing.”

    Besides the three men who disappeared, “Of many a likely lad- How six had come to a sudden end And three had gone stark mad. An one, whom we’d all known as friend, Had leapt from the from the lantern one still night …” etc..

    Many lighthouses are considered haunted. There’s four or five on our Oregon coast, alone.

    Does the new zombie series, “The Last of Us” break new ground. Well, not really. 🙂 “Z Nation” (filmed in DJ’s neighborhood) had the same general premiss. Get someone who has “the cure” across country to a small group of hold-out scientists. Oh, I’m sure there will be some new twists and turns. And, I see by the trailer, that an indigenous actor, Elaine Miles (who was in the TV series “Northern Exposure”) has some screen time. Always a pleasure to see more of her.

    As I rolled through the drive up window, the person manning the post was the branches head librarian. Unlike some other branch heads, who spend most of their time hiding in their offices, this one gets out in the trenches. And, she lives locally. I may have to make an effort to remember her name, as she may be here awhile. Unlike the last three or four.

    Any-who, I complained bitterly, to her, about the last three “new” lists, and the lack of new DVDs. The last list had three old ballets. And I’m not a ballet kind of a guy. The week before that, there was nothing. The week before that, one (count them … it?) new DVD. She said she’d look into it. I commented that I supposed DVDs would go away, and it would be all streaming. Nope. She said, not likely, as DVDs, as a material classification, were about the highest group in circulation figures. Well, that was comforting. Though I’m sure there are people in library land, who’d like the great unwashed to just go away, and just sit at home staring at screens. I hope they don’t accrue any real power. Lew

  29. Chris,

    Sounds like you’ve redesigned so that the flow vs resistance issue is better. The new battery looks good. Hope it continues to work coolly. 😉

    Asleep at the wheel? Nasty rumour, nasty rumour. Oft have I been accused of that.

    I remember when our money printing escalated hideously in the 1980s. I can’t say much more than that without getting political. I do remember having some heated discussions with a true believer in MMT about why, someday, this won’t end well. I’m firmly in the “get out of debt” camp. Ye most financial advisors suggest that one shouldn’t pay off one’s mortgage early, as the extra payments can go into the stock market where it would “get a higher return than the mortgage interest rate”. Hmmmm, I didn’t know that that was a guarantee.

    Yeah, pouting and foot stomping don’t go over well with me. Good to hear that the younger set wasn’t impressed by it either. That’s reassuring, somehow.

    CBF deposit imbalances must be fixed. Glad you got that done so quickly. It’s one of the most important Rules of 42.

    6 wires at 6mm2 for 150A seems crazy. That’s 25A per wire. Those aren’t the biggest wires. I would’ve hoped for something bigger. But that’s just me.

    I remember one time when a friend of mine, an alleged auto mechanic, needed me to rescue him. His battery died in the parking lot of one of Spokane’s posh restaurants. When I arrived there, he was too impatient to wait for me to find my jumper cables. He had 2 thin wires, the appropriate diameters for a radio aerial. I told him that those wouldn’t work as they couldn’t handle the required current. He scoffed, connected them from my battery to his battery, and promptly fried those thin wires, wire and insulation and all, when he attempted to start his car. The thick cloud of noxious and extremely smelly smoke was blown by the wind directly into the posh restaurant’s open doors. The managers were rather upset with us. Can’t say as I blame them. We beat a hasty retreat in my car, returning the next morning before they were open to start his with the proper cables. No, he NEVER learned to listen to me about physics things.

    Grey. Foggy. We had freezing fog Wednesday night. UGG. It rained in my neighborhood nearly all day. Dreary, misty, but the ice from the freezing fog melted quickly. Avalanche and I went for a long walk despite the steady rain.


  30. Hi DJ,

    Finished late this evening as all four 12V batteries are now repaired (only one more battery to go on Sunday, tomorrow will be too hot for such work). I’ll have to watch the battery charging tomorrow in case the batteries are out of balance. Always a problem. Previously the battery bank was in balance, but now, who knows? Let’s find out. And, turns out that it would be a good idea to obtain a spare 51.2V battery so that I can balance the batteries when needed. Who knew?
    Should give an extra 10kW storage over winter which should be handy.

    Scurrilous rumour mongers are pesky critters. Best ignored lest they begin talk about either you or I. 🙂 And I never believed a word besmirching your good character.

    Well, they’re selling product aren’t they? There is something of an inherent conflict of interest in that advice, because if you trade, they earn a percentage. A bit like that Superman film plot-line, or the Office Space film. Your path on the other hand, which I also am an adherent of denies all of the bloodsuckers a margin. Why would they want that?

    It is reassuring, and I tell you mate, the young folks didn’t care one bit. Look, they made a show of considering the request, then just came back with a ‘nah, sorry’. The whole process just held up access to the pint of local apple cider I’d had in mind. It’s good stuff, and you have to feel for the cidery as they were flooded a few months back when we had the crazy rains, but have bounced back.

    Hey, the batteries are made to a price point and some lithium batteries use 16mm2 cable for the main connectors. Hmm. Anyways, I tend to err on the side of caution and use 50mm2 cables as connectors between the batteries, and everything is over sized so that it runs cool. Anything running hot is a worry and believe me, I have modified the system over the past dozen or so years to eliminate that issue. The batteries really annoyed me, it shouldn’t be thus, but it is.

    Your friend discovered the dark side of cable sizing and current ratings. Oh yeah, it’s real. And many years ago I switched from a 24V system to a 48V system just so as to halve the current. Yes, the magic electrical smoke nobody wants to ever encounter – I’m familiar with that. A mate who worked as a scientist was visiting the day that happened with the 24V system. We’d amusingly decided to turn on as many things as possible and find out what happened. Not good. Few cables can handle 200A. Stupid activities benefit from the presence of sage witnesses. 😉 An expensive fix.

    Ah, on such a day it rains a lot, but little rain falls. A conundrum perhaps?



  31. Hi Lewis,

    I’ve seen the decorative shell inlay work on antique furniture and it was done in thin strips set into the timber. Lovely work, and it exhibited real craftsmanship, and when the sunshine hit the inlay it sparkled. Rarely do you see such work nowadays.

    My understanding of the abalone toughness is that if the abalone was frozen, it becomes tough when cooked. It’s always easy to know when the stuff is fresh as when cooked the result is tender. We have a similar seafood known as Calamari, which is squid, and the same thing happens with freezing. Usually the squid is served crumbed and deep fried. Yum! It’s been a long time since I’ve consumed seafood other than salmon from a can. You have some fish and chip shops in your part of the world, don’t you? A hang over of the colonial era. The out of print cookbook you suggested which I purchased as a Christmas gift for my foodie mates of the big shed fame had lovely photos of such shops in the UK in maybe the 1960’s. I bet the resulting food was good? When I was a kid we used to eat a lot of shark, which was known as ‘flake’, and that was one tasty fish.

    That’s winter for you, and yours and H’s experience is pretty similar to winter here, minus the occasional heavy snowfall. Lot’s of rain and the occasional shivering dog. They’re saying similar things down here too about La Nina, four years in a row would be unprecedented in recorded history – not sure about the longer perspective. The local models are suggesting a return to a ‘normal’ phase of that climate cycle. The model however, is not the territory.

    True, there must have been some dodgy characters in that pay day lending racket because down here there are legislated interest rate limits which from memory I believe are 48%. What kind of crazy loan would that interest rate be for? Best not to know I guess. Anyway, that biz attracts a lot of sharks, and as I pointed out above, sharks are tasty, although they’d probably not look at themselves that way. 🙂

    Exactly. What, you were there at the cricket? 🙂 Adds to the general background colour when the going is slow. You know the games go for five days?

    The young bloke in the lighthouse trade is getting what used to be known as ‘An Education’. Having a curious mind, I was wondering whether the author from hindsight at the time had a rough understanding of that education process in action?

    Mate, I’m on the rough end of that education story with the solar power system. I’ve now fixed up four of the five batteries, and so finished working very late tonight almost 9pm. After getting up super early this morning so as to beat the heat. Cleaned up the new citrus orchard and attended to about 30 fruit trees. Me tired tonight. Holy carp. Planted out the five new citrus trees too, so hopefully they get a good start to life. The past few weeks have been a bit dry so I had to water all of the fruit trees in that part of the property. How much can a Koala Bear I ask you? 🙂

    An eerie story, and of all the many theories, I’m leaning towards the rogue waves theory. They happen, and from time to time you’ll hear reports of fishermen getting washed off rocks and then becoming food for the sharks.

    The lighthouses are maintained on the shores along the south coast of here. A very useful technology. Strange things happen at sea, and one of my very early jobs was with a freight company who occasionally used to lose containers off the side of the ship in very heavy weather. Better a few containers than the whole ship I reckon. 😉 There’s some astounding utoob footage of that happening in heavy seas with containers just plopping off the sides. You’d like to imagine that at some far distant point in the future the contents are retrieved and our future humans or whatever critters are large and in charge at that time, wonder at the weird items found inside the bizarrely preserved containers. Hopefully it will provide them with hours of entertainment.

    The Last of Us looks pretty good, and there are plenty of humans around. The story wouldn’t make much sense if there were only zombies. But did you notice right at the end of the trailer there was a ‘Boss Zombie’ which was much larger and stronger looking than a human. That’s an innovation, probably came from the video game side of the story. Might have to check it out.

    You know I never watched the series ‘Northern Exposure’ but felt that I would have enjoyed it. The premise is pretty good, and it’s quite amusing to consider the delicate and possibly outraged sensibilities of a young medical graduate getting chucked into small town life.

    You’ve got a good person there. As a boss, I used to always sit out with the team, despite there being a corner office available – which sat empty. Somehow it just never felt right to me leading from that position. Other people might get fragged by their team, but I ain’t one of those folks. 🙂 Holden Caulfield on the other hand, oh yeah. No tears would be shed…

    There’s a lot of power given over to those screen viewers. Not sure why, I still recall the Y2K bug, which that lot probably earned heaps of mad cash resolving. Oh well, that’s life.

    Gonna be hot tomorrow. How’s this for a delayed start to summer? Man, cracking open the battery cases was seriously hot and hard work tonight – plus mildly dangerous, like in a very bad way. I felt like a safe cracker by the fourth battery. I must say, one of the batteries was a slightly different internal design and the manufacturer had used a lot of silicone glue. It was interesting to see the decline in quality of the guts of the thing, but also the newer batteries had clearly introduced some new ideas based on user experiences. However, I was cursing them the 25 minutes it took to crack the older battery open. And sweat dripped off my forehead. A lot of DNA evidence would have been left behind! 🙂 I wouldn’t make much of a safe cracker.



  32. Yo, Chris – Well, that explains why the abalone was tough. Probably also why one time the escargot reminded me of rubber erasers. Back when I worked in the little hole-in-the-wall cafe, no question screamed not-from-around-here, more than “Is your fish fresh or frozen?” Well, maybe not. The question “Is this a smoking establishment?” when there were ashtrays on every horizontal surface also betrayed not-from-here status.

    Way back in the mists of time, I ran with a social group where everyone tried to outdo each other with exotic horderves. I once hit upon canned smoked squid. Did give me a bit of a turn when I opened the can, to be confronted with row after row of tiny purple suckers. Which easily peeled off, to provide a nice fillet of squid. I’d eat it again, so, it must have been pretty tasty. I’m sure I’ll go to hell, but there was also the time I tried the canned whale. That, I wouldn’t try again, for a lot of reasons. But mainly, because it was VERY oily, and looked like what the dog left behind, when the dog was having very serious digestive problems.

    The author, in hindsight, was very aware he was getting an education. In life, so to speak. And realized it was a great opportunity. There’s a saying among the lighthouse keepers. “Stranger things happen at sea.” And did you know, the author Robert Lewis Stevenson came from a dynasty of Scottish light house builders?

    Every once in awhile, a container washes up on our state shore. I remember one was full of motor cycles. And, another, high end trainers (aka: sandshoes, aka: runners.) The containers can be quit a navigational hazard, as some of them don’t sink, but float, just below the surface of the water.

    Here’s a good review of “The Last of Us.”

    I’ve got the first season of “Northern Exposure,” on my hold list. Time to re-watch it, and cross it off my bucket list. It was very quirky and amusing. And as I remember you are enamored with air travel, you should check out the trailer for a new film, called, “Plane.”

    Speaking of computers, there was a terrible disruption in air travel. It was all put down to a corrupted computer file … and the backup file was also corrupted. Those things are going to kill us all.

    Sounds like you had a full and stressful day. But, mixing up the tasks was a good idea. Dealing with the batteries sounds very stressful. Planting citrus trees, clears the mind, as citrus clears the palette. I would imagine.

    I received my check, from the auction, yesterday. So, I looked at the check. $500 (+ or – $5.) Oh, well, I thought, it is what it is. Then I looked at the statement. The bottom line was $1,500. Back to the check. I missed seeing that little “1”, out at the front of a string of numbers. As the stuff was bought over decades, and I always go for a good bargain, I figure I at least got my money back.

    Drove to the credit union, last night, and pitched the check into the night deposit. Once it clears, I’ll probably add some money from savings, and buy a couple of CDs. For 13 months, the most recent rate is .04%. Or maybe it’s .004. 🙂 There was some confusion over that, the last time I bought a CD.

    Then I swung by the post office, and sent off a nice thank you card, to the auction crew, for flogging my stuff. And, that they’d hear from my later in the year for the Halloween Auction … Christmas Auction … and next year’s New Year’s Day auction. Lew

  33. Hello Chris
    I am here and enjoying reading everything, just very tired. Am told that this fatigue can continue for quite a long time.
    Very wet and warm here. Ditches running like mad.


  34. Hi Inge,

    Thanks for dropping by, and I was wondering how you were faring. How’s your son going after his bout with that which dare not be named?

    Illness always imposes costs upon the body and mind, sorry to say. From what I’m observing, people seem to be having very different experiences with this thing.

    Oh! I would have thought that January would be your coldest month of the year? Still, the rain is good for the soil, as long is it isn’t washing away along with the water in those ditches.

    It’s turned hot and dry here, which after three wet years feels rather pleasant. The plants are enjoying the energy from the sun and the apples and pears are growing in size. Hopefully we can keep the birds off half the fruit, maybe.



  35. Hi Lewis,

    Yeah, it’s a thing and you don’t have to even ask whether this seafood is fresh (a dubious question of poor merit when consuming such food items at an inland locale). The food tells you by it’s consistency, and rubbery is a dead give away. There’s probably some science behind it all, but my brain is full, and I can accept the results without further enquiry. 🙂 Although the idea is now out there…

    Why would a: Escargot Pastry be rubbery? So tasty, but rarely found. Never eaten proper escargot – the snail variety – before. French restaurants are a bit thin on the ground. Incidentally, down here, smoking indoors or in outdoor areas where people eat is a no-no. Is that the case in your part of the world? I remember the days when people could smoke in bars, pubs and clubs. The day after, the clothing would carry the aroma of the night beforehand. 🙂

    Hehe! Quite the fright, those little purple suckers. It’s worth it though because they’re a very tasty meat. Your words prompted a vague memory that I’d once consumed them in some sort of vinegar based dressing which was so good.

    An intriguing food option, and frankly I was curious as to the taste and consistency. It used to be more widely available historically. Mate, I’m getting this weird mental composition of a very oily spam which wasn’t holding together all that well. Definitely asking to be pan fried and smeared on sourdough bread – to soak up the essential pan juices. But yeah, it might possibly also give us all a case of the runs… 🙂

    No doubts, you are probably going down, but then, your mates might be there, and is that such a bad thing just hangin’ out, if you can ignore all the brimstone and stuff? I think we both agree that the other option would get tiresome, very quickly. So what do you guys do for fun around here? What a choice we have to make here.

    Oh, that lighthouse keeper quote is good. Sometimes a person is where they’re meant to be. Incidentally, the author was probably lucky to have experienced and witnessed an older way of life that was on the cusp of change. Had a few such experiences myself, and afterwards you don’t know whether you’ve been lucky to see such things, or there’s loss that change which has irrevocably occurred, or something else again. Have you ever experienced such a thing? Work culture has changed markedly since I began working as an adult. It was slacker and less harried when I was a young bloke, but that may have been just my experience.

    The Editor is reading many classics (with the occasional audio book). Treasure Island is one of those on the to-read list, and I’ve heard enough about the book to pique my curiosity, so I’ll read it afterwards. The author Robert Lewis Stevenson was an interesting dude who after much wandering found home.

    Interweb rabbit hole alert: Do submerged containers damage vessels? Ah, the subject has been much dissected, and it is the smaller craft that fare poorly upon contact. Yikes, and you wouldn’t know before hitting the proverbial iceberg, yet experience a similar sinking feeling…

    The series recommendation has been forwarded to the Editor, and you’ve piqued my interest in regard to ‘Northern Exposure’. There’s just this minor battery crisis to work past first, then some other stuff. Work first, play later. I enjoyed your take on ‘Plane’, but really, do I need such images in my head? The jury is out.

    And I heard that computer story too. Yes, if that were the only drama in that travel realm, a person might be reassured that the future would look like the past. Oil is on the up again. The whole point is deliberately making the experience untenable. It will get worse.

    The five new citrus trees enjoyed the hot weather today. The heat has been hot today, but rest assured a gourmet pie was deposited in the guts, and other than repairs to the final battery, the day was slack. Feels good to take a day off and be a slacker. 🙂

    Well done you with the auction results. The extra digit can be put to good use in one of those CD’s. In the end, did you find it hard to let go of the stuff you’d accumulated over the years? And hopefully your current collection still retains intrinsic balance?

    Did you meant to type 0.04% or 4%? Don’t believe the hype about those things dropping, looking at the longer term deposits, the story is up. Hmm.

    That’s a very thoughtful touch, and the auction crew will appreciate the card. Mate, it’s the little things in life. Always was. Always will be.



  36. Chris:

    From what I know, Lew’s .04% is about right. That’s what we make on our savings account. It only goes down.

    I have finally starting reading Nora Lofts’ “A Wayside Tavern”, which I bought about a year ago, but then lent to my mother to read, then forgot about it. I am enjoying it very much.


  37. Hello Chris
    Son has recovered well but he has always had illnesses mildly from birth. My 2 daughters used to get far more ill.


  38. Yo, Chris – Your escargot pastry link was gobbled up by a temporal anomaly. Pesky thing. There seems to be many varieties, of that French pastry. And many of them are pretty much just like our cinnamon rolls. Although some use a puff pastry, rather than the more bread like pastry.

    I’ve had escargot, twice. Once was in a little cafe in Seattle, called “Crepe de Paris.” This is 50 years, ago, or so. One day, they had escargot on a very cheap lunch special. It wouldn’t have been so bad, if they weren’t in the shells, just to remind you they were snails. And it wouldn’t have been so bad, if they weren’t cooked in olive oil, just to make them kind of slimy. Your teeth bounced off them, as they had the texture of a rubber erasure. They pretty much had to be swallowed, whole. And it wouldn’t have been so bad, if for the rest of the afternoon, I had fantasies of them attempting to crawl out of my stomach. The second time I had them (again, about 50 years ago) it was at a higher end restaurant. They were cooked in butter. The escargot was finally chopped, along with tomatoes and green peppers. Served in the shell. Much tastier.

    Smoking bans, here, are up to the state, county, or even city governments. So here, it’s a real patchwork. Our state has bans in restaurants and bars. But the Native American casinos (since they they make they’re own rules), allow smoking. Sometimes.

    The whale meat I had out of a tin, was finally ground. And dark brown. Very oily.

    Oh, the lighthouse keepers were very aware they were on the cusp of change. Automation of the lights, was coming. But the powers that be, hadn’t quit figured out how to automate the fog horns. But they knew it would be figured out sooner, rather than later. It was especially hard, on the keeper’s in their 50s. If made redundant, what would their job prospects be?

    Hmmm. Experience on the cusp of change. Well, the last time I worked in a library system was in the late 1970s. Then I went back to it, in the late 1990s. Earlier, no computers. Later, all computers, all the time. I was glad I wasn’t there for the change over. Also, in the meantime, real catalogers disappeared, and cataloging was outsourced. Much to the detriment of catalogues. The other day I did a search for “Deadpool” and what returned was “Deadwood.” Sometimes, I think the algorithm is programed for, “sounds like.” Sorry. That doesn’t cut it. There was another time when I decided not to take a retail job, as the cash registers had gotten so complicated. Surplus off the star ship Enterprise.

    Funny you mentioned “Treasure Island.” After the discussion of the Stevenson family and lighthouses, our young lighthouse keeper hero found a copy of it, on the book shelf in the lighthouse. He was sucked in by the first couple of paragraphs.

    Speaking of sucked in, watch two or three episodes of “Northern Exposure.” 🙂

    So, oil is on the up. No surprise there. I picked up a book from the library, “Megathreats: Ten Dangerous Trends That Imperil Our Future, and How to Survive Them.” (Roubini, 2022) The author predicted the property meltdown, in 2008. People were calling him Dr. Doom, until everything unraveled. I don’t know if I’m going to read it, or not. I’ve dipped into it, here and there, and it’s pretty dense going.

    I think of things I let go, from time to time. But it’s no great drama. Now someone else can enjoy them … for a time. I still have plenty of stuff. But more will be offloaded, at the Halloween, Christmas and next New Year’s Day auctions.

    Well, I thought .04 was 4%. But apparently not. .40 cents on every $100 dollars, not $4.00. I’m not sure how it compounds, but will ask when I buy them.

    Cards are a chick thing. 🙂 I doubt Zack the auctioneer cares a fig. But I bet Regina does. I think she wields a lot of power. She’s the one I stroked over her photo taking skills. Best keep her on side. They do have a “testimonials” section, on their web site. The text of my card might show up, there. Back when the Garrison’s owned the auction, I steered a few estates and downsizes, their way.

    The library new list, last night, was a bit better. A few films worth watching. A remastered copy of “Imitation of Life.” The original film, done in 1934. And, “Vesper,” a new film about a post apocalyptic earth and a 13 year old girl who knows how to bio-hack. Lew

    PS: Speaking of technology, our Scottish book dealer likes to put provocative things around his shop. Such as, nailing a book reader to a wall. 🙂 One of the women at the Club, was complaining this morning. She got some kind of fancy scale with blue teeth. In a five minute period, she apparently gained 8 pounds. Not a happy camper.

  39. Hi Pam,

    Ah, thanks for the explanation. Just checked the term deposit rates here (that’s what Lewis calls a CD I believe) and they’re up to 4%, although you have to lock the mad cash away for a few years to get that. 1 year is apparently 3.7%. Your rates are no good in an inflationary time. Read a theory recently which suggested that interest rates and inflation should be around the same mark. Hmm.

    Great to hear, and it is a fun book. Such a lovely way to learn about history. Sandra really enjoyed the book too.



  40. Hi Inge,

    Hope you are feeling better today?

    Sorry to hear that about your son, but from all accounts he seems to be getting along OK. He might surprise us all by batting a century. As they say, not a bad innings. 🙂

    Out of curiosity, did their health improve before or after they both moved down under? Physicians in days of yore used to recommend doing just that, although the cynical mind does wonder at such historical advice.



  41. Hi Lewis,

    Man, started writing late this evening. A long story. Woke up this morning super early expecting to wheel out the tree stump grinder and do some cleaning up of the loggers detritus. There’s a lot of it to be cleaned up and slow and steady wins the race in this instance. The forecast was for a cooler day today and the thermometer recorded 102’F yesterday – no day for hard outside work. Except this morning was 52’F with drizzle. My brain hurts at such rapid changes in temperature. I’ve slowly become acclimated to summer conditions and this mornings el-freezo was not fun to experience. Anyways, so we changed plans and I spent about four to five hours refurbishing the FM radio tuner and finished that job instead. Switched it on, and please excuse the dodgy pun, but it was music to my ears. A very sweet sounding radio and one of the best ever made. The annual youth music countdown is soon to be and I’ll again be appreciating music you’d probably hate upon, but no matter. Old habits die hard and it is a joy for me.

    Cinnamon rolls are how the escargot treats looked like to me too. Many years ago, I did frequent a proper French patisserie with a properly trained baker, and the items were so tasty. The business suddenly shut up shop one day and that was that. Not sure what happened there, but such occasions are combined with sad tales of woe. A shame.

    Oh my gawd! Your original escargot experience strikes fear into my heart, and mate, we’ve all been there on the receiving end of such culinary abominations. There was that time a friend booked an end of season wedding reception on the cheap and I was served stale fish. Clearly the kitchen was emptying the freezers prior to the end of season. Revolting food and the Editor split her meal in half. The fish was inedible. My friend had a touch of Aspergers and after the wedding he got seriously focused on the marriage and having kids which they had to utilise technology, as you do. That was the one of the last times we spoke. Crazy stuff, but that’s life for ya.

    Good food begins with good ingredients. 😉

    Interesting indeed. Right across the continent the laws are consistent with that habit. What’s interesting to me is that the vaping mob are pushing at the boundaries.

    Your description of the whale meat has not improved my perceptions of what you endured. Stay strong!

    Ouch. Seriously, as a young bloke watching the demise of manufacturing businesses first hand, I worried about that human aspect of the story. Not for one minute did I ever believe that the process was a good idea. It was always going to end badly.

    Deadwood was a good series, maybe the computer is attempting to guide your viewing tastes? It would not be the first time that such things have happened.

    I’d probably really enjoy the series. Remote small town locales are my kind of people. Hopefully one day in the future I’m not that busy, but right now the forces of fluffy are moving against me and there is much work to be done. Interestingly in a completely unrelated side story I discovered today that ‘clean your fluffy’ has been trademarked. Who knew?

    Not to dismiss the learned author, but mate, he got it wrong. As you educated me, Rome did not fall due to a single silver bullet issue. Nope. Only werewolves are killed by a silver bullet. Civilisations take a bit more of a drubbing than that. 99 problems took down Rome. So as a replacement theory, rather than ten, we face 99 problems. I now rest my case in the certainty of correctness and retire from the field in full honours.

    Mate, that’s an eerie thought about ‘enjoying just for a time’, but I agree. There is truth in your words.

    It would be $3.75 down here if locked down for a year. Not saying someone’s using your mad cash for fat stacks, but that might be happening. It ain’t cheap running a head office and board.

    True, cards are that, but the wise person can flip narratives on their head and say produce a rom-com but flip the protagonists. A new take upon an old story. Why not? Anyway, it is the people that do, like Regina, that get things done. Worth acknowledging, and I would do no less.

    Hehe! Scales are rarely calibrated – that’s the technical word for displaying an accurate reading on the digital display. One of the failings of society is that digital displays are given such credibility. Nth degrees of rubbish is still rubbish.

    I’m astounded that anyone would do such a thing, and why would the returns policy allow such craziness? That makes no sense to me and is an avenue for grifters to ply their trade. There’s enough grifters around that you have to block them.



  42. Chris:

    I needed to buy a stepladder yesterday, and get a house key made. I went to the big box DIY store. Well, they are really do-it-yourself now as they have replaced the fellow that made keys with a machine where you have to do it yourself. No way was I going to be able to find the key that needed to be cut and do it myself (and I now need a new car key and that looked even harder).

    The stepladders there had plastic treads (!).

    I decided to go a little more out of my way and went downtown to the only real hardware store that we have left, a tiny place on two floors, where every item jostles each other for space and where there is, indeed, very little space for human beings. The employees are all older fellows with strong Southern accents (like me . . .). Somehow they have everything imaginable and I had my key made and found exactly the right METAL stepladder, all for very little more than the big box. I am so pleased.


  43. Yo, Chris – Yup. Dodgy pun 🙂

    I’m still enjoying “Stargazer.” The author tosses in such nice turns of phrase, from time to time. Drink is forbidden on the lights, but one afternoon a yacht pulled up, and the fellows were all treated to a nice single malt tipple. The author said, “…made my head dance like a church hall full of young farmers, in spring.” 🙂 There’s also a bit about the human aspect of the coming automation, and I’ll quote it, tomorrow.

    Re: Author … Rome … Silver bullets. Thanks. Just gives me another reason not to attempt a slog through the book. 🙂

    Oh, the idea that we are just custodians of our stuff has been kicking around, here and there, for awhile. It takes a bit of the sting out of passing stuff along.

    The Atlantic Magazine had a short article on memory (“Why You Already Forgot That Book Plot”,) and a suggestion to read three other books on the topic. One thing I noticed was that from Socrates to recent research, the opinion is, “Writing absolutely killed memory.” Hmm. As they say, I don’t know if that would stand up, in court.

    Speaking of scams (and dodgy technology,) over the last couple of weeks I’ve gotten some e-mails, that appeared to be from my phone carrier. But no mention of problems, on my monthly statement, that I received, yesterday. Recent upgrades … blah, blah, blah, some phones may not work anymore, blah, blah, so sorry, blah, blah, free phone. Of course, were it a scam, you call, sign up for the free phone, but, there is a small shipping fee, and may we have your credit card number. You see where this is going. But, I tried calling my friends in Idaho, last night. At a predetermined time. All I got was a busy signal. They called me several times, but their calls went to voice mail. But there’s nothing in my voice mail box. So, probably tomorrow (this being Sunday), I’ll either use Elinor’s phone, or someone at the Club’s, to get this all sorted, and a new phone. The horror, the horror.

    Speaking of the big E, she went to hospital, about 9 last night. Her heart rate was up to 127, and she couldn’t get it down. Since it was fairly early, I gave her daughter a call. I’ll call her this morning (from Elinor’s phone) to see what’s going on. Unless Elinor is back by that time. Could happen. So, I had an overnight guest. 🙂 . Lew

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