Being cool, yeah, it’s cool. Take it from me. Sure, you lot may scoff. And fair enough too. But yeah, cool. So at the petrol station the other day, the little dark green Suzuki Jimny was scoring a drink of fuel, and some young bloke was super excited about the car. Like really excited. His wife owned a much larger Toyota Kluger he said, and we both agreed that the little Suzuki would be a much better get-away into the back country with your mates kind of vehicle. He was of the opinion that his wife would stomp hard if that use for her vehicle was suggested. And the back country was calling to him.
In the big smoke of Melbourne, other Jimny drivers flash their headlights at me in recognition of being part of a super-exclusive cool club. Whatever, it brings a smile. At other times, old dudes stand around discussing the merits of the cool-mobile. It’s not just the dudes either, the chicks are into the thing too. Excuse me, is that your Jimny? I’ve been politely asked by some of the local ladies. The thing is a people magnet.
The whole experience makes me laugh. Anyone who worked at a Tandy Electronics (Radio Shack) store as a teenager probably isn’t cool, despite the vehicle. There’s just been an inordinate number of unsolicited conversations with strangers due to the car. And it happens all the time. Far out!
Makes the sensitive person wonder whether people nowadays hanker for smaller somethings or other, maybe anything smaller! After all, biggerer is generally considered better in these enlightened days, and who knows, they might be wrong about that.
It’s been remarked upon before that: Small is beautiful. Except in this case, Small is also Cool. Yeah. Small is also cheaper to purchase, cheaper to run, and cheaper to maintain – plus it’s cool. Can things get any better than that? Why anyone would want to purchase overly large examples of houses, cars, holidays etc. is a matter which is beyond my comprehension, for small is cool.
Maybe all the unsolicited conversations are a form of unacknowledged buyers remorse? Kinda looks like that to me. If a person wants a small car, they don’t need to ask for my permission.
My mother owned a small car during the oil crisis of the mid 1970’s. Fuel got really expensive in those days. Down under we were sort of lucky during that time because the local Bass Strait off shore oil fields began producing, and with local refineries fuel supply shortages were never a serious issue. Other countries fared far worse. But even so, fuel back then was expensive. And cars were small. In those days, we drove around in a Mini Moke, the Californian edition with the 1275cc (78 cubic inches) engine. The thing had a canvas roof too, which mostly worked well in rainy old Melbourne winters. Whatever, other Mini Moke drivers used to flash their headlights in recognition of the exclusive club to which we all belonged. It was a thing.
As an update: In these enlightened days, the off shore Bass Strait oil fields are apparently in serious decline. And the local refinery is only one of two still operating on the continent.
But back in the day, the cars were pretty small. Sandra’s favourite uncle used to own the Ford Falcon coupe, which was the same type of vehicle used in Mad Max (AKA The Road Warrior). A true beast of a machine, just the sort of thing needed to take out a bunch of post apocalyptic punks with bad attitudes. Unlike me, Mel Gibson was actually cool, as was that beast of a car. But compare the curb weight of one of those machines to say, a current model Toyota Corolla, and you’ll discover they’re about the same. And the newer car is considered a small to medium sized vehicle nowadays. The Mad Max interceptor on the other hand, was considered to be a serious beast of potent machine! My how times have changed.
Smaller is beautiful. And cool!
Long term readers will know by now that we like to do neat and tidy here. It makes maintaining the property easier. That’s a challenging goal though, because a century or so of logging has created a lot of mess in the forest. Tree stumps don’t break down, and many still display the scars of the last big bushfire: The 1983 Ash Wednesday fires. A lot of people in this mountain range perished in those fires, and we’re fast approaching the fortieth anniversary of the event. Best to keep the place neat and tidy.
We’ve made the decision to clean up the many tree stumps left over from the logging activities. And this week we tackled one of the largest. The diameter of the stump was about 1.5m (5 feet) and it was an effort using the chainsaw to cut the stump to ground level. The stump grinder then ran for four hours taking the stump below ground level. It was hard work. Every ten minutes, the machine had to be stopped, whilst the cutting teeth were turned. The teeth are designed to wear in a manner which blunts the facing cutting tooth, yet sharpens the other two sides. And it works. Some items are made very well, and you never really know which they’ll be.
A lot of the work around here is physically very demanding, and so we mix up activities so as to avoid injuries. A less physically demanding project was refurbishing the old 1990’s Yamaha FM tuner I’d purchased second-hand a year or two ago. It’s not the best that Yamaha produced, but second best isn’t bad, and the reviews suggested that the sound quality was exceptional. Despite that, people throw these things out, or sell them for peanuts. Anyway, a couple of months before Christmas, $50 was splashed on the many replacement parts required to bring the device up to brand new condition. The other day I spent maybe five hours carefully replacing the remaining parts. And whoo whee, this machine sounds better than the interweb reviews ever suggested. It’s truly beautiful to listen too. And with the national youth broadcaster (Triple J) holding it’s hottest 100 + 200 countdown next weekend, my ears are up for a feast of music.
All rocks on the farm are valuable items. It’s an investment in the future to remove old tree stumps, and the same is true for rocks poking up out of the paddocks. For some reason, the rocks tend to float in the volcanic clay / loam soils here, and you don’t want to hit them with the blades of a mower – that could start a fire, not to mention damaging the blades. When we find them poking up inexplicably out of the ground, we remove them. Then store them in a pile and work out what to do with them all. We grade them based on size. All of the smaller rocks get chucked into a steel rock gabion cage.
A new steel rock gabion cage was made and positioned this week.
All of the various piles of small rocks collected about the farm, were then relocated and placed into the new cage.
Earlier in the week it was very hot. Then a cool Antarctic weather system arrived, and since then the weather has been cool and moist. The temperature difference between Tuesday and Wednesday was well over a 25’C drop in air temperature. Wednesday was actually very cold, and one evening we had to run the fire as the maximum was only briefly 14’C / 57’F that day. A truly bonkers summer. Oh well, probably more enjoyable than the epic bushfires of 1983.
There’s a lot of life in and around the farm. Near to where we ground out the tree stump is a very large wombat hole. As you’d imagine, a very large wombat lives in there, and leaves the burrow at night (when it isn’t raining, wombats being sensible creatures) and enjoys the mineral rich plants in the orchard.
There are a lot of insects around too. When I head into the big smoke of Melbourne the absence of insects seems to be a bit of a worry, not that anyone else appears concerned.
With the hot weather earlier in the week, the five new citrus trees grew quickly.
We’re eating quite a lot of produce out of the garden, and most meals contain something or other from here.
We’ve had a very bad year for strawberries, and are going to re-think how we go about producing these plants. However, the raspberries made up for that, and it looks like the blackberries will have another bumper crop. Such great plants and we only grow thornless varieties, which makes for easier picking. The local wild varieties are just as tasty, but have a lot more thorns.
The pumpkins and squashes have enjoyed the brief burst of summer heat. The vines have grown, and the plants have produced some fruits.
The greenhouse has earned it’s keep in this cold and damp growing season. The chilli plants look set to produce a huge crop. Dried chilli flakes get added to a lot of our food. Yum. And home-grown chilli is a superior tasting product.
The Babaco (a cool climate pawpaw) in the greenhouse has begun producing fruit. These taste like lemon sorbet to my palate and I hope that this plant achieves such results.
A mate (you know who you are), gave me some tomato seedlings at the beginning of the growing season, and far out, his tomatoes are out performing ours by a considerable margin. Amusingly, I doubt I’ll ever hear the end of this… But credit where credit is due.
Onto the flowers:
The temperature outside now at about 10am is 20’C (68’F). So far this year there has been 27.8mm (1.1 inches) which is up from last weeks total of 12.0mm (0.5 inches)