Miracle Mile

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.

Ollie knows cool when he sees it

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!

Cleaning up the mess left over from a century of logging activities

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.

The refurbished Yamaha T-80 FM tuner (perched on top of a printer). A thing of beauty for your ears

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.

A new steel rock gabion cage sits behind Ollie

All of the various piles of small rocks collected about the farm, were then relocated and placed into the new cage.

The new steel rock gabion cage has begun to be filled up

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.

The shady orchard is still very green. The large tree still bears the scars of the 1983 bushfires

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.

A very large wombat hole on the edge of the forest / 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.

It’s been a very good Dragonfly year

With the hot weather earlier in the week, the five new citrus trees grew quickly.

The five new citrus trees put on a lot of growth this week

We’re eating quite a lot of produce out of the garden, and most meals contain something or other from here.

Some of the produce ending up on our plates

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.

It’s almost blackberry season

The pumpkins and squashes have enjoyed the brief burst of summer heat. The vines have grown, and the plants have produced some fruits.

We call this squash variety: The Cannonball. It’s a good keeper and produces smaller round fruit

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.

Looks like it might be an excellent chilli season

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.

The Babaco (a cool climate pawpaw) has begun producing fruit

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.

Steve’s tomatoes. Better in every way

Onto the flowers:

The hedge of Lavender is beautiful to look at, and the bees love it
The insects also really enjoy Fennel flowers
There are plans to expand the Succulent garden
Not your usual flower – A large Smoke Bush
A lovely Fire and Ice variety of Rose
The Rose garden presents a pleasing aspect

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)

52 thoughts on “Miracle Mile”

  1. Yo, Chris – Dogs and vehicles seem to be people magnets. I even get comments on my 04 Ford Ranger, which always startles and surprises me. “This old thing …?” 🙂 I must admit, when I see someone with a REALLY old pick up truck, if they look approachable, I always ask to look under the hood. Such simplicity.

    Yes. Smaller … less complicated is better. And I think people are more and more yearning for that. You know, when they “upgrade” things with more bells and whistles, they always say, “Our customers asked for it.” Which I doubt. Whoever takes the plunge, and really goes simple, is going to clean up.

    I’d never heard of the Mini Moke, before, and wondered if the “California” edition, had ever seen our shores. Turns out, they were available in America. But seen as more of a beach vehicle. But I see they’re coming back! In an electric version.

    One big stump. Small is better. Small stumps, or made smaller. In some parts of our country, “frost heave” brings rocks to the surface. Not here, I don’t think. Your rock gabions are so cool. They have a cool factor.

    As wombats are day sleepers, I’m surprised a very grumpy wombat didn’t make an appearance. Given all that stump grinding activity.

    Dragonflies, are also cool. We have them, but they’re not all that large. Back in prehistoric times, dragonflies had a wing span of 2 1/2 feet. (75cm).

    That looks like a pretty happy citrus. Ditto, the blackberries, squash, and peppers. The paw paw looks so interesting. We don’t even have the cool season varieties, here. As far as I know.

    The lavender and roses are very pretty. Smell nice, too. We have fennel that seems to volunteer here, every year. I am always amazed at the variety of pollinators that they attract. Far more varieties, than I was aware of. Lew

  2. Hi Lewis,

    Mate, ’04 Ranger, cool as. And H would be a total people magnet. Yeah. The original fluffy was old fluffy, and when she was a younger dog, and people would ask to take her photo. She loved it too, that dog. Dirty for the camera. Seriously old cars are a labour of love, a serious hobby, as they’d take a bit of effort to keep in running order. Not for everyone, that hobby.

    I reckon they are yearning for smaller, as well. That’s what I reckon is behind the wistful talk. It might be a return to nostalgia, but I’m guessing the ‘smaller is beautiful’ thing is on peoples minds. Especially as prices continue to rise. I tend to agree with that proposition, and the market really is crying out for small and simple. It’s always annoyed me that the gains from engine technologies, fuel systems, drive trains, aerodynamics etc. have been given up through constructing ever larger vehicles. We’re kidding ourselves about the subject of energy as a society, but nobody listens to me.

    Hehe! The customers maybe are asking for it! Nah, not really.

    You weren’t kidding about that small vehicle now being offered in all electric. In a strange way, it makes a lot of sense due to how light the vehicle would be, but I bet the thing will be expensive. It doesn’t look similar, dude it looks the same. Talk about living the dream!

    Candidly after four hours on the tree stump grinder, I was feeling the strain. Fortunately – at this stage – all the remaining tree stumps that I’m aware of, are smaller. It’s a work first thing. You know, it’s possible, but I was wondering if the swelling of the soil after prolonged periods of rain, then the subsequent drying out has a similar effect that the frost heave does with rocks? That’d be the case in your part of the world too – at a wild guess.

    The rock gabions hold back a lot of soil. We’ve used a lot of them around the place, which is why we’re running short on easy to nab rocks.

    The wombat is way too sensible to disturb a quiet midday repose to investigate our activities with the tree stump grinder. Sensible creatures.

    Are dragonflies present in much of the world? They eat mosquitoes. Who knew? Apparently it’s been a very good year for the insects, but they’re around here during the summer months. Speaking of summer, it was downright tropical today, and we even had a brief mid-afternoon monsoonal downpour. The rain is forecast to be heavier tomorrow, but still warm. The UV from the sun is falling as we move further away from the summer solstice. It’s like a jungle out there sometimes.

    The pawpaw was a very interesting plant, which I’ve seen grown and fruit outdoors in Melbourne – which is mostly frost free these days. Definitely a greenhouse only plant here, hey, I happened to see what was left at the local nursery from the batch we purchased from. Not good. We’ve got three left of the North American variety of pawpaw, which probably could grow in your part of the world. Finding seeds for the tree was really hard, and they seem to be growing well, although they enjoy water during the summer months. Mind you, they haven’t been in the soil for long, so that might account for some of the moisture issues. Dunno, but the fruit is meant to be very tasty.

    Both the roses and lavender smell beautifully, and on warm days the flowers produce a wonderful combined aroma. Good for the health, I reckon. I read somewhere or other that lavender used to be used as a medicinal, and not considering the oil, even the leaves have a use.

    I didn’t know that the X-Men series included Deadpool? You know, I’ve only ever heard good things about that film. I guess you’re giving it a two thumbs up rating? 🙂 The trailer looked like fun.

    It’s an intriguing hobby, sure, but can you imagine bringing out stuffed fluffy at a dinner party? To be honest, I don’t know how I feel about taxidermy, and your comment is suggestive. Hey, I was thinking more along the lines of Silence of the Lambs: It puts the lotion in the basket. A seriously creepy line. Who comes up with such lines?

    That part of the garden is really coming up nicely. It’s starting to get a sort of finished look to it. The shady orchard has that vibe too. It takes a lot of years for plants to grow into their locales.

    You might be right about the ‘meeting after the meeting’. But at a pub, isn’t it kind of like putting oneself in the way of temptation? Or do you reckon it might be a mutual support thing when placed into a problematic scenario. That may explain the chain smoking, which looked kind of a nervous behaviour. It’s not really the done thing down under to do what they did. I’m going to mention your theory to the Editor, and see what she reckons. You might be right, the group didn’t look like a family group despite age differences. A very astute guess on your part – I wouldn’t have thought of that possibility. Hmm. Report to follow tomorrow…

    Apparently bird flu isn’t down under, but I dunno, we do get bird flu’s on a regular-ish sort of cycle. Having a lot of native birds around means that the chickens here do get flu-like infections from time to time. Sometimes they recover, other times, not so much. Usually chickens go from healthy to dead, very quickly. The chickens are enjoying huge amounts of weeds most days. They love them.

    There are serious worker shortages down here too. The problem is that despite there being work, sometimes the cost of living is pretty high, and that old dream thing looks dead to me.

    Hope you didn’t have to resort to chucking anyone out of the membership meeting? People can get out of order, sometimes at the slightest provocation. Glad that your group has a monitor, hey, I find myself acting in that monitor role for groups I’m involved with. It’s a valuable thing to nip problems in the bud.



  3. Yo, Chris – I’d have to say no, to pictures of H. Might compromise her witness protection program. 🙂

    I did read, somewhere, that the new, electric Mokes are quit a bit heavier than the old ones. Due to the batteries. I took a look at some pictures, and think they might be a bit too “open” for American tastes. Except at the beach.

    Our weather is supposed to be foggy mornings and sunny afternoons. For a few days.

    Pawpaws here seem to be more of a central east and southeast kind of a plant.

    Yes, “Deadpool” gets a two thumbs up, from me. The trailer didn’t really do it justice. Tonight, I’m probably going to watch “Deadpool 2.” We’ll see if the sequel, holds up.

    I doubt it was a problematic scenario, by design. Though you do do things differently, down there. 🙂 . Probably more of a time, space, price kind of scenario. Is there any kind of a meeting space, nearby? Church basement or lodge hall? I don’t have any problem being in places that serve liquor. It hardly registers. I think I was about a year in, when I went out for pizza with some work mates. It was after the fact, that it clicked that there were pitchers of beer on the table. Varies from person to person. The situation.

    I checked out the egg situation, when I was in the grocery, last night. The so-so store brand of eggs were about $4 a dozen. For large. It ran up to $8-$9, for the free range, organic brands. The egg case, in general, was pretty empty. But then, it was late Sunday night.

    There’s been articles here, that there’s been a lot of tech and media layoffs. Thousands and thousands, across the board. A lot of speculated reasons, for that. Interest rates up, and venture capital, down. A lot of them really geared up during you-know-what. And now demand for whatever they’re pushing is down. Face Plant Boy’s foray into virtual reality has pretty much fallen on it’s face. Nobody is much interested. I guess those “customer’s who asked for it” were just joshing. 🙂

    The Club meeting went ok. There was also the election of some officer slots. I got to trot out my “I will neither run, nor serve,” schtick. Good for a laugh, once a year. I had to get up and gas about the CDs. Unexpected, so I didn’t get a chance to be nervous. So, I’d toss out some nugget about CDs, and a few people would be won over. Wash, rinse, repeat. I think the hesitance was due mostly to lack of information. I made it clear that the details would vary, from institution to institution. A big concern was penalties for early withdrawal. In the case of my credit union, they would take four months of dividends. But the principal, would remain untouched. So, any-who, the board went into executive session, and they ok’d buying 3 CD’s a $5,000 per. As Julia and I agreed, it’s a start.

    I started Stephen King’s “Fairy Tale,” last night. All 600 pages of it. I read about 70 pages, and decided to go to bed. Glanced at the clock and it was 3:45am. I actually chuckled out loud and said, “Done it again, Mr. King.” Lew

  4. My 2004 Honda Insight weighs 1850 lbs (840 kg) and has a 1 liter engine. Still limping along, but I dread the day I will need to replace it.
    Parts not really available anymore, so fingers crossed.

    And yes, I get comments in the parking lot occasionally. Its body shape is a bit unusual. Very low drag coefficient.

    Frost heave pops up the odd stone in our hayfield, but they are typically not good for anything but dulling the mower. Over the years, I imagine this fielded had been stone picked each year, so only a few appear these days.


  5. Hi Steve,

    It’s a venerable chariot your Honda Insight, and very easy on fuel use. Sadly, I’m coming around to the concept that vehicles have an economic life of around 250,000km to 300,000km (186,000 miles) and maybe sometimes more, sometimes less. It’s hard to know, but when the repair bills start piling up, it’s probably a sign from the heavens as to the ultimate fate.

    For your interest, things have come a bit of a ways in terms of engine and fuel technologies, and the dirt mouse has an equivalent fuel economy. The thing is feral in that regard. I know not how they achieve the result, but I see the claims reproduced in the real world where such stuff matters.

    I reckon it would be the cover over the rear wheel makes a design statement as to the air slipperiness and attracts so much attention. The hybrid set up though really is clever and simple.

    Hehe! Hey, they dull the mower blades here too, although the biggerer ride on mower has blades made from Damascus steel and can actually slice into the rocks. Those things frighten me as to the cost of replacement. Oh well, hitting rocks can’t be helped. Your predecessors thought to extract all of the rocks, which is probably what happened. Nobody around these parts ever realised how useful rocks are. 🙂

    This afternoon was positively monsoonal. What a summer. At least we’re managing some production, and apples, pears and kiwi fruit are the best performers. Frost took out the hazelnut / filberts, but the shrubs are at least growing strongly. Oh well…




  6. Hi Lewis,

    Wise to not blow H’s deep cover. 🙂 Consequences are always uncertain! As an amusing side story, I used to say to the Editor that I wasn’t entirely certain as to whether Old Fluffy (the now deceased Pomeranian), wasn’t conducting subtle experiments upon us. The dog was very photogenic, but oh boy, in her early days, she knew how to push boundaries. She was a rescue dog and had somehow bizarrely fought and connived her way to top dog status in a house of forty dogs. Naughty, as to that, well, she knew a thing or two. It was the Editor who finally had had enough of the dogs mischief and worked the magic which produced one of the best dogs I’ve ever known. Old fluffy had met her match, and submitted and decided to limit her ambitions to being top dog, rather than top critter of the household (which takes in us humans).

    Hehe! As a kid, we never considered getting into a car crash in one of those cars – the thing didn’t go fast enough to get into much trouble. 😉 But alas, from my motorcycle days experience, it’s hard to ignore that it ain’t you sometimes when it comes to being squooshed, it can be them – whoever that is. Mate, seriously I’ve used up all of my nine lives on those machines, and I wasn’t the sort to push the machines to their limits either. Eventually I lost my nerve, and that was that. The last bike was sold off. Did you ever ride a motorcycle, or scooter?

    In a few months we’ll return the lost hour, and also the growing season batten. Be nice to it. The mornings have been foggy here too. A sign of change. This afternoon was positively monsoonal. It didn’t rain up here, but in the big smoke, things were different and some parts had a bit of flash flooding.

    I reckon the American pawpaws might work in your part of the country. Dunno, just a hunch. They grow well here, and are deciduous so might survive the winters in your part of the world. You’d think someone had trialled them, although growers probably have better fruit options where you are.

    I’m so enjoying the book Cheap Land Colorado. The people are very flawed, but also canny and resourceful. It pleases me that the author acknowledged the deficiencies of the tourist, then mucked in. He’s good. And the story has grabbed me. Thanks for the recommendation. The plains dwellers would know that I live in the lap of luxury, relatively speaking! 🙂

    The trailer was pretty good, but if the film is better… … added to the ‘to-see’ list. utoob just recommended a trailer for the film ‘Shrinking (2023)’. Might see if I can do something about that one. Go on, did the sequel stack up? Curious minds want to know! Or were expectations too high?

    Interestingly, such spaces like ‘meeting spaces’ are in very short supply down here. Probably by design too, given the cultural heritage of having begun the present nation as a prison colony. It reminds me of stories from the depression era down here, where large groups of unemployed men were provided sustenance work, but had to constantly move on. Hmm.

    Thanks for explaining your reaction to that situation. I guess nobody ever really knows how they’ll fare until they’re placed into the situation? Dunno

    Yeah, exactly, I don’t know whether you guys pay Sunday rates for staff, but that might explain the lack of supply on the shelves. One change I noted began a number of years ago is that often some suppliers themselves now have to stack the shelves of supermarkets. That’s weird, but a common practice. You’d hope the suppliers didn’t stuff up the job. There has been some loose talk that grocery costs have increased about 9% just in the last quarter. Yikes!

    Mate, I was listening to the youth news broadcast this afternoon, and they had an ‘expert’ on who suggested that the lay offs were going to continue, but the silver lining was that apparently this would fuel innovation. The mechanism for that claim sounded murky, but the claim was made. Dunno, getting made redundant as a young adult, just annoyed the daylights out of me, and destroyed trust in the system. Some people believe the system has their back, but my experience has been that if you’re not careful, it might knife ya in the back.

    Who even understood the face plant dip into virtual reality? Made no sense to me, but then I’m probably not of the demographic the thing was aimed at. How about you? 🙂 Hehe! That’s funny. Yes, they were probably were joking around.

    Your shtick was well aimed, and clearly well rehearsed! You could have done well in the theatre with such good one liners. 🙂 Good for you, with the seeding of the idea, which worked out. It’s a start. incidentally, putting the funds into CD’s – and this is not financial advice, merely general commentary as to social groups – eliminates an element of risk with having mad cash. Not likely, but not improbable either.

    Hehe! Yes, he got you bad there. Mate, we’ve all been there, especially with Mr King. The Editor is getting into Lisey’s Story. I really enjoy a good page turner, and I count Cheap Land Colorado in that class. Got home late this evening from paid work, and buried my nose in the book for a good half hour. Of course, all the necessary things which needed doing, got done beforehand. Oh well, all that work just makes the pleasure of reading, more pleasurable.



  7. Hi, Chris!

    When I was driving my 1994 Toyota pickup truck – known to you as Mr. Musty – I used to draw admiring comments, too. Er, not for me, but for the trcuk. I’ve even had people ask if they could take its picture. It also had a few neat bumper stickers. Now, instead, Mr. Musty has a “Farm Use” license plate; that’s cooler. There is something about practical, sturdy vehicles that draws people, old or new. I think it gives them a feeling of security. But you can’t deny – old is cool. Though I am not cool.

    My first new car was a 1973 Ford Pinto. It never did catch on fire . . . I now drive a 2006 Honda sedan. It’s a wonderful, wonderful car. My husband drives a 1988 Nissan Pickup truck, which is cool because it has an “Antique Vehicle” license. He bought it new.

    We are not neat and tidy; that is one of our biggest problems. But we are trying very hard to do better. Or betterer.

    I am so happy that – through a lot of hard work! – you have the radio repaired in time for the Triple J countdown.

    Ollie does so admire the gabion cages. Me, too! Find Ollie in the orchard . . .

    That wombat (Fatso?) doesn’t seem worried about hiding his front door. We have so many different insects here, too. Maybe that is why we have so many varieties of birds?

    Your produce is so lovely to see, here in our (relatively mild) winter. And the flowers. Thanks!


  8. Yo, Chris – Yes, I think some pets (cats, too), have been landed from outer space, just to check up on us. I had a cat, one time, and he didn’t make cat noises. More … mechanical noises. Maybe we haven’t been invaded, yet, as cats and dogs are still pounding out some kind of agreement? 🙂

    Best settle into a sedate middle age, before using up all those extra lives. We have a few people around, who have been pretty banged up, from riding motorcycles, too late in life.

    Prof. Mass mentioned low-land snow. Maybe next week. Advised to watch for future updates.

    You may have noticed, the author of “Cheap Land Colorado” did some immersive journalism as a prison guard, in Sing Sing prison (“New Jack”, 2000.) I think that really colored his take on the underclass. And not in a good way. But in his new book, he revises some of his earlier … opinions. He’s discovering people are more nuanced.

    I see “Shrinking” is a series from the Fruit people. Don’t know if it will make it to DVD, or not. They’re rather tight fisted, with their content.

    “Deadpool 2” was very good. Maybe not quit as good as #1, but I think the difference is, you know the set-up. LOL. After watching it, I hit the Club for a cuppa (before heading out to buy some stuff for the pantry), and I felt just … manic. Higher than a kite. I kept the small crowd, entertained, for quit awhile. 🙂

    Just for poops and giggles, I took a look in the rabbit hole. There are about 1.900 AA meetings in Australia. I also did a search for “AA Meetings, Macedon Range, Australia.” Quit the list. I saw many meetings in Bendigo, Castlemaine and Ballarat. Place names I remembered from our chats. Lots of them are in churches. All denominations. It’s a win-win for the churches. Small, but steady stream of income. I’ve attended meetings in churches, union halls and even library meeting rooms. Grange halls.

    Food company reps have been stocking shelves in supermarkets, here, for eons. The reps fight for the best spaces. Eye level. Sometimes, they even move competitors stuff, around. I think there have been fista cuffs. They also often set up free standing cardboard displays.

    Interesting. I think I had a run-in, with AI, this morning. I needed to pay my rental insurance. I usually do it on-line, but the website didn’t want to take my credit card. So, I called my agent. And was met with a fellow, who I’m sure doesn’t exist in the real world. It all went very smoothly, but I found the whole thing rather eerie.

    Oh, I didn’t rehearse anything. It was all very much off the cuff. That thought crossed my mind, too. Even though I entirely trust our current crew, you never know how someone might work their way into access to our filthy lucre. CDs are a little harder to pry out.

    Well, I read more of “Fairy Tale,” last night. I’m up to just over 200 pages. It’s nice that, with the acknowledgments page, it comes to 600 pages on the button. So I know I’m 1/3 of the way through. 🙂 . Lew

  9. Hi Chris,
    I don’t think I ever had a vehicle that drew comments. One of the best cars I had though was a Datsun (don’t remember the model). It was quite small, got great gas mileage and was able to get through the snow after one of the worst blizzards I can remember putting much larger vehicles to shame.

    Wanted to let you know that my sister Kathleen has finally worked out the insurance issues and is getting infusions. She received her first one last Wednesday. I went to visit her yesterday and couldn’t believe the improvement. She had already gained six pounds, pain has diminished greatly as well and she’s been able to eat a decent amount of food. She was down to 76 pounds and needless to say we were awfully worried about her. Speaking of dogs she is an ace trainer herself. She’s got a big yellow lab that probably weighs more than her but he knows she’s the boss. He also seems to sense when she’s having a bad day and doesn’t even ask to go out.

    Cecily and I are going to Florida the day after tomorrow. A friend of mine who lives there 1/2 time has been bugging me for years to come down so I finally gave in. We both enjoy birding and nature in general so she’s got quite a bit planned including a trip to the Everglades. We’re flying out of a small airport 30 minutes from here. Only one airline flies from there and only to a few places and our destination is one of them. There’s not many flights but we weren’t tied to a schedule so it works. As it’s a small airport as is the one we fly into it’s pretty hassle free and quite reasonable as well.

    Actually this will be an unusual year for us. Doug, after last year’s pig losses decided to regroup and take this year off. We aren’t big travelers at all but we have two trips planned one to Badlands National park, Mount Rushmore and environs in May. Then we’ll be home to raise a batch of meat chickens and late August head to Isle Royale National Park in Lake Superior. From there we’ll head to Niagara Falls with a few stops in between and on the way home.

    Weather has been pretty moderate but cloudy and gloomy. Starting Friday (when I’m in Florida) the weather is turning much colder for the next 10 days or so.

    The roses are beautiful.


  10. Chris,

    If the Jimny is a girl magnet, and Ollie is a girl magnet, can you imagine cruising in the Jimny with Ollie? That could have disastrous consequences!

    Congrats! The FM tuner project is completed. Glad it works superbly and sounds better than superb. Good job.

    I have a question about your rock gabions. (Yes, the new ones are looking good.) If I have it correct, you are taking free range rocks and putting them in cages. My experience has been that caging up anything feral can turn VERY BAD if the feral beings escape the cages. Rocks are hard and heavy and can cause a lot of damage when unloosed. Did you give any thought to what would happen if these once feral, freely roaming rocks were to manage an escape?

    Dragonflies. We always have a few during the summer. Two summers ago, the Year of the Extreme Heat in June, we had more dragonflies than I’ve ever seen before. And they were huge. One of them liked to “roost” on the kitchen’s screen window. Its mouth was rather large, too. They are a lot of fun to have around.

    That’s a nice picture of the veggies and the brown eggs. Looks tasty. And some of your berries are growing well, too. Makes me long for gardening season.

    Alas, that season is far off. We had another 5cm of snow, most of which has melted. We are at 100cm total so far, although there’s not a lot on the ground right now. This will change. We are expecting another Arctic blast this weekend, lows maybe attaining -16C. Yes, cold. Some snow might drift in at the forefront of the cold wave, then there should be some heavy snow as the cold weather leaves. Winter is still here.

    Brother-in-law is okay. We got a lot of his business done, had some fun and supported two locally owned restaurants. The drive to his area was mostly good except for 65km of thick fog, but the drive back had nearly perfect driving conditions. The 5cm of snow arrived a few hours after my return home.

    Businesses are slow in that area. The reservation gift store and museum has very few customers these days. I purchased some inexpensive items the Princess wanted, as well as a couple things for me. One of the restaurants is now closed on weekends. they are hoping that business picks up once winter is over.


  11. Hi DJ,

    I’d never considered the matter from that perspective before. Intriguing, but candidly that course of action sounds beyond my competency. 🙂 And I’d probably get into a lot of trouble.

    Did I mention that the electronics supply folks were one capacitor short in the supply? There’s one more pesky tiny little capacitor waiting to be replaced in the FM tuner. The replacement turned up in the mail the other day, and it’s sitting on the desk glaring at me demanding to be included in the refurbished circuit board. And here’s a question: Why the heck does the label for the smaller capacitors need to be printed in one point font? The writing is tiny. I’ve got good eyesight, but even so, plenty of them required closer investigation with a magnifying glass. A handy invention.

    What a question. Do you want an answer that makes you feel good, or do you want the truth? How come you didn’t answer? Hmm. I’m guessing you’ll want the truth? Maybe. You guessed right, the rocks if allowed to free roam at some point in the future might come and get me. It’s possible.

    Cool, I like the dragonflies too. Anything which eats mosquitoes is alright by me. This year has been similar to what you described, there are plenty of dragonflies zipping around here and there. The flight path they take is very similar to the marsupial bats, mostly because they’re eating the same meal.

    I tell ya, the warmth from the sun is nice. It was a very slow cold and wet beginning to the growing season, and now the sun has to be especially nice to make up for the earlier deprivations. The whole house is wide open right now to the warm evening air, and it’s quite nice. Don’t worry, we’ll be freezing again sooner or later.

    Far out that is way cold. Brr. Stay safe, and stay inside, although Avalanche may beckon you outdoors in such wintry conditions. It’s in the blood you know. I recall a Jack London story where the protagonist died in the cold due to hubris, whilst the dog survived. Fortunately, hubris is not in your demeanour. I hope that’s the case anyway… 🙂

    Oh my! Out of curiosity, did you have to slow down in such foggy conditions? Mate, that’s a slow drive. And the weather co-operated on the return journey.

    Things have slowed down a bit up here too. I have theories as to why that has occurred, but I dunno, time will tell. Were the businesses busy beforehand (i.e. only recently)? It might be the season. Maybe. I’ve noticed that such businesses are busier in the official in-between seasons, but don’t really know. Hmm.



  12. Hi Margaret,

    Ooooo! Yes, I too have owned an old Datsun, and weren’t they great cars? Never gave me any troubles either, and from memory they were very easy to work upon. Dunno about Doug, but back in the day I used to do my own servicing and repairs, but nowadays the complexity of vehicles is a mildly daunting prospect. Nice to hear that your Datsun beast put larger vehicles to shame. They were very renowned rally cars back in the day – for a good reason. 🙂

    Margaret, that’s really great news about your sister. I’m not mucking around with you, but the earlier reports were not good. Very lucky indeed, and I’ve heard mixed reports about the infusions, but if they work, they work well. Yes. A good lesson to never mess around with the gut in the first place, sorry to say. I know someone who worked as a researcher in that area, and she said that you can retrain the gut, but it takes a lot of effort, personal change, and time (3 years was mentioned – from memory). Hmm.

    Cool. Dogs are very sensitive to the emotional state of the pack. Just took the fluffies out for an hour long walk (it was 86’F). They loved it, brought them back and fed them, and they are now all sound asleep. 🙂

    Enjoy your holiday with Cecily! Like your style too. Dodging winter. 🙂 Well done. However, watch out for the gators, I hear that part of the world has a few of them here and there. 😉

    Ooooo, the images of the Badlands National park are something else aren’t they? I’ll bet it will be an epic adventure. Really beautiful, and not a bad time of year to travel there too, weather wise. And Isle Royale National Park is almost the complete opposite experience, but every bit as good. Enjoy, and I’d visit both locations too. Lovely stuff.

    Hehe! Are you sure you’re not dodging the winter!!! It kinda sounds that way. Tidy work.

    Thank you, the Rose garden has enjoyed the recent warmer and drier conditions. It’s a lovely place to spend time in.



  13. Hi Pam,

    An old mate of mine had a very similar vehicle to Mr Musty and they were purposeful vehicles. I mean you could actually load things into the tray, just for starters. Nowadays, the same, but current model is so big I can’t peer into the tray, and I ain’t short. 🙂 Makes you wonder what’s hiding in there doesn’t it? But more importantly, makes me wonder if the thing is even useful?

    Pam, I so hear you too. When people asked me to take photos of the obliging old fluffy, they’d want me out of the frame. Sure you’re attached to the dog, but can you just move back a bit? The cheeky scamps. Old fluffy loved the attention too.

    Nice work with the farm use license plate. I assume that makes for cheaper annual registration fees? We have a historical vehicle license plate which does that trick, although it is hard to fake a vehicles age, there’s records and stuff.

    Holy carp, you dodged a bullet there. Is it just me, or whenever that car is mentioned I recall the old proverb about: For Want of a Nail? The baffle in the fuel tank only cost a few bucks. 🙂 Oh well, you survived and may even have had the optional extra installed, and it makes for a good story: I survived the Pinto ownership experience and lived to tell the tale!

    Ah, a venerable antique, but alas, I recall when such vehicles were new. Down here they were called a weird name, the 720 ute and maybe that is the same vehicle? Dunno. Anyway, go figure about the name? If it means anything, I have a vague belief that the peak of manufacturing excellence was around 2005, which is near to the date of your Honda, and the recently departed Dirt Rat Suzuki.

    Isn’t neat and tidy an aspirational goal? Anyway, it wasn’t always this way, and there was that one time we got into trouble because we weren’t neat and tidy. Yes, lesson learned there.

    Thanks, and I’m looking forward to the countdown. I doubt there is another radio station like it in the world. It’s paid for by the tax payer, broadcast nationally, is primarily focused on new music, and has quotas for locally sourced music and also for female performers. Plus no advertisements. What’s not to like?

    Good spotting. I was wondering who would notice the: Where’s Waldo? Ollie is really lovely.

    Unlike hobbits, wombats can’t manage front doors. However, if they could, they’d enjoy a round door upon the front of their burrows. It would lend a certain gravitas, don’t you reckon? 🙂

    Are you getting any leafy edible greens growing if you’ve got a mild winter?



  14. Hi Lewis,

    That’s funny as. Yes, go with your gut feeling there. I reckon the cat was not all that it was pretending to be. Yes. Did the sounds the cat make sound like: Here kitty, kitty, kitty? If so, I’m guessing the mechanical feline voice box had failed, and the noises made were recordings. Or maybe, the AI in the cat brain was conducting subtle experiments upon you for sure.

    So are you suggesting that the dogs and cats are working out a deal? The dogs in particular don’t seem to enjoy leashes, so I hope those are not added to the (possibly short) list of grievances when the aliens invade and certain demands are made. Yikes, we could be in trouble. But then, H scores a winter coat for walks, so I dunno, maybe that balances things out a bit? What do you reckon? Will revenge be a dish best served cold?

    And hey, I took the three of them out for an hours long walk this evening. They looked happy enough with that. It was 86’F and I brought them back, fed them, and they all promptly went to sleep.

    I’ve got the house wide open letting in the cooler evening air. It’s quite nice really. Did paid work today, however tomorrow is the Australia Day public holiday. Or invasion day depending upon your perspective. All very complicated.

    I’d imagine that for the early convicts, being sent to Australia would have been a one way trip, which they probably might not have chosen to willingly embark upon. Surprisingly, they never lost a convict ship despite often contracting them out to private shipping concerns. Rations on the other hand were often sold on arrival in the colony – cynical minds don’t have to wonder why there were excess rations left over. Ook!

    I hear you about that. I really had felt like I’d used up my luck with those machines. The other week as I headed into the city, I noticed the outbound lanes were closed, lots of flashing lights, old blokes standing around with their parked motorcycles. The freeway usually only gets closed when there is a fatality. It gets investigated, and fair enough too. You never know as to intentions.

    Ooo, possible lowland snow by Sunday. Read the professors blog and it sounds promising, and cold. Fingers crossed for the snow. Saturday here looks set to be 97’F but with a cool overnight. Should be nice, and the plants will grow. Today was cooler, and I’ve kept the greenhouse closed so as to really build the heat in there. Those buildings really need to be manually controlled. Interestingly, it uses very little water and I was surprised by that.

    Interestingly, the fruit trees I fed last week have grown quite a bit. The soils here have probably been flogged to death by logging and whatever took place after a century of that. I guess a lot of the soils on the planet are like that. Oh well.

    Actually I’d read a reference to the authors earlier work, but didn’t really know whether the story would appeal. Years ago I used to have a mate who worked as a plumber in such an institution, and he casually said to me one day that the general sentiment inside is that everyone was much maligned and innocent. He thought that was quite funny. The money was apparently good for the work, but he felt it was a bit risky and went back to domestic plumbing work. He eventually moved interstate and we lost contact.

    That’s an interesting way to put the authors perspective change. Yes, I can see that in the words and narratives. The author is very non judgemental, but in a really weird way, it’s almost as if he realises he’s part of something which is biggerer than his other life. I reckon he’s enjoying the social aspect of the experience – quite a lot. I like that about rural living too, you’re known, and people are mostly pretty good – with a few notable exceptions. And you can’t go anywhere without such folks, can you? All part of the human experience I’d have to suggest. Hehe! You haven’t mentioned Suzanne with always a better idea, for quite a while. 😉

    Really? Oh, it looks good. The actor Jason Segel was in the film about the author David Foster Wallace (End of the Tour). Frankly I enjoyed the film far better than I’d imagine I’d enjoy that book – you know the one, you gave it a go and provided a candid appraisal, which I agree with. Hmm. The film has haunted my memory over the years, dunno why. It’s hard to know which films will make an impact upon you, isn’t it?

    Mate, when you’re hot, you’re hot! Well done, and I’d say that was a double thumbs up for the sequel. 🙂 Was the eventual come-down real? I feel that way sometimes, and can be quite amusing and play the audience, but then I need some quiet time afterwards, being something of a classic introvert. Batteries. Recharge. You know.

    Who knew? Never thought to look the meetings up. Of those towns, Castlemaine is closest, then Bendigo isn’t much further away. That’s quite a big town (well for an inland town down under) and has a really lovely Victorian era feel to the city centre due to the gold mining heritage. It is good for the churches too. They don’t have The Grange down here. Most small towns used to have a mechanics library and hall, which was used for vocational education way back in the day. They’re mostly unused now, or only for community groups etc.

    Really? The practice with super markets hasn’t been going on all that long down here from my understanding. But yes, it is asking for the occasional bout of trouble. In some ways the practice is a bit like putting the kids in charge of the lolly shop.

    Ooo, that is an eerie experience. Mate, they use voice recognition on some of those sorts of services down here too. I noticed that many of the recent tech lay-offs suggested that AI will take their jobs and other stuff. The thing is, there is incentive in there for the programmers to stuff it up. Like the old school luddites. I’ve actually had business people speak gleefully of the future days when AI would do away with the likes of me. Sure, I thought to myself, the future is an unknown country, but I dunno about such thoughts. I reckon it is a bit like self driving cars, how can an expensive computer do something which we can do ourselves, but for free? The economics of that talk make no sense to me.

    Mate, it’s a serious concern, and I’ve heard of asset rich groups being apparently hijacked. You hear stories from time to time. And that is my perspective of them too.

    What? Could that be an edict from the publisher and/or editor? Yes Mr King, 600 pages and no more. Make it so! 🙂 It is a suspiciously round number. Could be a coincidence, but then again, maybe not.

    Not sure what I have planned for tomorrow, it being a public holiday and all. My thinking is that by tomorrow evening, I’ll have a clearer picture. 🙂 But until then…



  15. Chris:

    Yeah – even Charlene the White Squirrel was able to somehow get into the tray of the Toyota when we had hundreds of walnuts gathered back there; not sure how she did it. There was nothing to grasp onto and no branches over it. None of the other squirrels figured it out. That is why she is still Queen, even in her 9th year. And still fighting, as she recently was going around with the last few inches of her tail all draggly and drooping – until it literally fell off. I reckon somebody had bitten it. She is now Charlene Halftail, but it bothers her not.

    There is no more annual registration fee once you have an “antique” designation. Hmm – the 720 Ute looks rather different from my husband’s Nissan.

    We still have kale and spinach growing – really, really slowly. Also one of my favorite weeds from the kale family – hairy bittercress. It is beginning to bloom.


  16. Yo, Chris – Well, dogs being dogs and cats being cats, it might take quit a bit of time for them to pound out an agreement. With all the spaying and neutering going on, leashes may be the least of our problems 🙂 .

    Australia Day. And, like our Thanksgiving, the same issues come up … year after year.

    Prof. Mass had another update. There will be lowland snow, but it might be western Oregon, or western Washington. Either way, it will be cold. Not DJ cold, but cold.

    Yes, I think the author of “Cheap Land Colorado” likes the social aspects. But I notice he pulls back, every once in awhile. Burnout is a real thing. As you well know. Once upon a time, decades ago, I saw a job advertised to work in a prison library. Great pay and benefits. I considered it, for a hot minute, and then decided … no.

    Suzanne, Who Always Has a Better Idea, was quit ill, about 6 months ago. She’s doing quit a bit better, but I don’t see her out and about quit as often. H and I go out the back door, just to avoid too much interaction with some of the inmates. Sometimes, I see her talking (and talking and talking) to someone I don’t want to deal with, so I just pass on by. As I’ve taken to saying, recently, my social life takes place outside this building.

    I see there’s going to be a sequel, to “Deadpool 2” Probably, next year. And there’s loose talk that the Wolverine, will be back. Don’t know how. I watched the last X-Men movie, last night. And by the end, the Wolverine was dead, dead, dead. But then, at the end of “Deadpool 2”, there’s that little bit during the final credits. Deadpool was moving through time, and “correcting” this time line and that.

    Programmers (coders?) stuff it up without trying. But I take your point. But the AI I encountered was … different. Instead of the usual, “Push 1 or yes, push 2 for no,” it was very … conversational. I’ve gotten a bit … miffed with my insurance company, as it’s become a bit disengaged. There’s no human contact, anymore. And the agent has put layers between herself and the great unwashed. First, the old guy who owned the agency, and was very hands on, sold it and retired. The woman who bought it, moved it to Olympia. The last time I called, with a question, I was told the receptionist (?) could answer my question. Didn’t need to bother the agent, at all. This time? Not even a live person, at the other end. So much for the personal touch.

    Maybe at some future date, we’ll see an unabridged version of “Fairy Tale.” All 1,500 pages of it. I read to the halfway point, last night. I also cheated, and read the last two chapters. Bad Lew! 🙂 . Oh, I still want to read the whole thing, but don’t feel quit as pressured. I may even take an evening off, and do something else. Just a break. A palate cleanser. 🙂 Lew

  17. Yo, Chris – PS: And, from today’s “Worry a Day” calendar … I saw an article, last night, at the Atlantic Magazine web site. “Get Used to Expensive Eggs.” Imagine a world without eggs! Lew

  18. @ Lew,

    With apologies to John Lennon…

    Imagine no Egg McMuffins
    In the world today
    no eggs in markets
    Only what you raise.

    Imagine no McMuffins
    In the world today
    Ohhh Noooo!


  19. Chris,

    Neither you nor I are equipped to deal with the possibilities of combining car and dog “babe magnets”. The phrase “catastrophic results” quickly comes to mind. I’m pretty sure that on my next visit to the general Omak area that I would be “disappeared”, eventually becoming “sasquatch pooh”.

    Ah, so the electronics shop was one capacitor short of a tuner? Is that similar to “one brick short of a load”? Curious minds need to know these things.

    I can imagine a new horror movie. Or maybe a series. No more zombies, werewolves or vampires. Enter the Killer Escaped Cage Free Rocks. Near the rock gabions, you might need to erect some signs. Instead of “Don’t Feed the Bears”, they would say “Don’t Free the Rocks”. I can see a series of movies, maybe a 9 movie “trilogy”. 😉 Titles such as “Attack of the Killer Rocks”, “The Killer Rocks Return”, “Revenge of the Killer Rocks”, “Killer Rocks on Friday the 13th”, “Killer Rocks versus Chucky”, “The Killer Rocks Strike Back”, etc.

    Yes, I noticed the flight paths of the dragonflies being nearly identical to that of the local bats. Standing outside near dusk, I’d get swooped at by these biggish things and finally realized that they were dragonflies. They were almost as big as bats.

    Ah, “To Build a Fire”. The tenderfoot didn’t have a clue about winter survival. Good story. I’m sure I’ll reacclimate to the cold as Avalanche will have more energy than she knows what to do with.

    The foggy drive? The fog started in Al’s area with speed limits about 95km/hour. Due to the volume of traffic, not due to the fog, traffic was slower than that. Once out of the metro area, the speed limit increased to 110km/hour but most people drove faster, just as if it were sunny. I wanted to remain at about 80 km/hour. It was interesting driving until I got out of the fog. I was about to exit the Interstate and use side roads when the fog cleared.

    I’m not sure that there’s only one reason things are slowing in some locations. My opinion is that there are usually several reasons why most things change.


  20. Hi Pam,

    Poor Charlene the White Squirrel has been in the wars. Not sure whether it is true or not, but I heard a rumour that the contender for the title of Queen Squirrel came off worse for wear from that encounter. Word on the branch was that the contender is now known as Muriel the lesser Squirrel. You heard it here first!

    The last cat who shared my life was a very pleasant cat. He’d arrived as a very sickly young kitten, and just waltzed on in and enjoyed large vet bills for an extended stay until he was better. He was alright after the initial bout of sickness, but would sometimes blow incomprehensible snot bubbles – on the windows of all places. The stuff set to the glass like epoxy resin. Far out. Having hung out with dogs all his life, he thought he was a dog. Another big tomcat sliced his ear in a fight. I sprayed the tomcat with the garden hose – sends a strong message, and leaves little evidence. 😉 Anyway, like Charlene, he displayed the scars of his rough and tumble lifestyle. And he hung around the dogs for support thereafter. A smart cat.

    No way! Annual vehicle registration down here is around the $800 mark, although the historic rego is much cheaper. Mind you, that ain’t free! 🙂 Well done you.

    I see, I’m thinking a Patrol ute then? Much biggerer than the 720 ute.

    Hey, your words almost exactly replicated my winter green garden. That’s how it rolls here. Is that your usual winter garden experience? They don’t quite die, but neither do they thrive. I’m going to use the greenhouse this winter for greens. That’s the plan at this stage anyway.



  21. Hi DJ,

    That’s it exactly, catastrophic consequences sums it up nicely. First there would be trouble. And I mean serious big time trouble. Ouch! Then the lack of competency would be on display, after all, juggling two relationships would be beyond me as I would slip up sooner rather than later. What a horror show, and who needs such stress anyway? And as to the folks in the Omak area, mate I’ve heard it said down here, that country is a big place, and shovels are cheap. 😉 Hehe! Nobody wants to put such a theory to the ultimate test. Thanks for the laughs, I’m now contemplating the hideous fate of ending up as “sasquatch pooh”. Possibly not good.

    Yeah, maybe that was what happened! I’ve got the last capacitor staring back at me. I left it between the keyboard and monitor on the desk so that it wasn’t forgotten to install it. However, the countdown begins at 10am tomorrow and there is no time now for such niceties. Let’s just hope that the original capacitor won’t fail tomorrow, and my gut feeling says that it won’t. The former owner of the FM tuner looked after the machine as it was in near perfect condition when I got it. Not bad when you consider the thing is over three decades old. You can tell the history of an item by the way the former owner may or may not have abused it. Possibly in the future when there are less projects to do here, I might refurbish one of these units, then re-sell to test the market for them. You never know. It might be a tidy earner.

    Hehe! Yes, killer rocks are possibly a lot like killer rabbits! 🙂 I hear you. I didn’t mention it, but the rock gabion cage installed last week supports soil (which is probably quite solid) which in turns supports a very huge rock. Hmm, the plan there is to shore up the soil just in case – there was that 5.9 earthquake a while back. However as Lewis once quipped, eventually it all rolls down the hill, regardless. Unfortunately the house sits between the large rock and down the hill. References to Chucky are like catnip to me… 🙂 He’s your friend till the end. They just never quite got around to mentioning that the end may be sooner, rather than later with that little bloke. Thanks for the titles, he says whilst noting them down for future use.

    The dragonflies fly around here during the daylight hours, but same same as the bats which will be flying about now at dusk. It’s a nice sunset this evening. I heard on the radio science hour this morning that in the northern hemisphere in built up areas, even if the horizon is visible, the sun and moon is usually obscured by pollution when near to the horizon. The skies are possibly biggerer down here where the air is usually clear (although not always because smoke can be a problem).

    That was the story I had in mind. Mate, the Jack London story really described in detail how hubris comes home to roost. And if I were the dog, I wouldn’t have helped the tenderfoot either. Avalanche most likely has more energy than all of us combined! 🙂 Good luck, err, Kelpie’s… City folks are discovering that the dog breed is far more energetic than themselves and now attempting a return to the shelters. Dunno what the people expected.

    Wow. What a story, and I probably would have taken the back roads in such weather conditions. Holy carp! We see a bit of thick fog here, and adjust to the conditions, but a lot of civilised life these days means pretending that what is happening in nature, ain’t happening. It’s a valid perspective, I just don’t know whether the philosophy is a workable one, and hold onto some doubts.

    I agree. A week or two ago I made a joke about silver bullets, and some people seeing every problem as if it was a werewolf. Hey, I thought it was funny. No one said anything. Far out, this amusing stuff doesn’t grow on trees you know. The Editor said last week I should write a funny essay as I’d been a bit ‘preachy’ of late. But my brain is a bit full right now with fixing the power system. It’s taken most of my spare capacity. I’m sure you’d know how I feel in this matter.



  22. Hi Lewis,

    I note that DJ responded to your suggestion as to the future of eggs. He might be right there too. On a serious note, it’s something of a worry because in terms of animals eggs are one of the easier sources of protein to obtain, easier than dairy, although the two do complement each other in a small holding. And dairy goats would be a very good addition. My mates of the big shed fame raise goats for milk, and fresh the stuff tasted pretty good to me. The best milk I’ve tasted was sheep’s milk, as a long time ago we visited a dairy which specialised in producing cheese from sheep milk. It was very good. But overall, I dunno, we as a species can get the minerals we need from plants, the thing is, do we know nowadays how to do that? My gut feeling suggests the answer is no. People have such strange beliefs about food that it baffles me.

    Hey, I’ll bet near to the end, Rome was also a bit short on fresh eggs? 🙂

    We’ve added a new grain to our meals. The organic oat supplier chucked in a bag of pearl barley. Now when I was a kid, my grandmother used to add pearl barley to casseroles and vegetable soups, and I liked it. When cooked the grain has a nutty flavour and puffs up. Yum. Anyway, so we cooked up the bag of pearl barley in a rice and vegetable mix and was impressed enough that we’ll chuck in an order for a much larger bag. See, I’m susceptible to marketing!

    Interestingly, as a grain, barley might grow quite well here. I’ll put some brain cells towards the problem, but after the battery situation is fixed.

    I hear you. Mate, I don’t get involved in such arguments. What is, is. And change has to be either justified, or fought for. There is a lot of talk in the media about a future referendum (a change to the constitution) for an Indigenous voice to Parliament. The thing is, my understanding at this stage is that the referendum will be presented as a concept, rather than providing any concrete details. I must say, it seems like a road to failure not providing any details because people won’t know what they’re voting for. It is worth noting that the previous referendum on the question as to whether to change to a republic failed. Concepts have to be sold to voters, not just raised as an awareness.

    Yes, that was the professors some lowland snow forecast blog entry which I read. I don’t mind snow, but it is something of a novelty here. And that is probably a significant difference.

    Today was a superb late summers day. 72’F and just lovely. We wheeled out the tree stump grinder and continued the clean up of the forest job. It’s looking good and we took out two monster old tree stumps. Neither was as big as the one last week. That one was a knock out. But even so, I’m feeling it tonight, and aim to have a quieter day tomorrow. Plus there is the countdown tomorrow. Yes, I’m a new music tragic, but am happy to be so.

    Had to laugh, the new batteries still haven’t turned up, which is something of a nuisance. Anyway… The batteries are locally assembled by a small company up north. If you’re interested, there’s a quick utoob vid from ‘Motor Sailing for Old Dudes’ (very amusing) who visited the small factory to see how the batteries which they purchased were assembled.

    Motor Sailing for Old Dudes – Lithium Batteries

    That’s true, the author of “Cheap Land Colorado” does appear to pull back from time to time, and one notable example was when he encountered the folks who enjoyed the conspiracy theories. Afterwards, the author sounded to me as if he were mildly shell shocked due to the barrage. We’ve all been there. What interests me is that Ted seems to be open to new experiences, can navigate acquaintances, but is very careful as to developing friendships. And he did move on from his original digs in order to get some space. It amuses me that his earlier concerns were that he might suffer from loneliness. No chance there… And no updates on the progress of that concern!!! For all the space and distance, it’s probably more social there than where he was in NY.

    Burnout though, is real, and a person has to be careful to navigate those waters. I see a lot of burnout in the community, some of which is expressing itself as anger. Mate, I wouldn’t have taken that job either. There are risks to such a workplace, and I’m not talking about the physical risk.

    Nice work, and I’d do the same. Truth to tell, I once escaped a party using the fire escape stairs. Nobody noticed, and I wasn’t missed. That equals the right choice, as in your style too with exiting via the door less travelled. A fine sentiment, and a good one liner.

    You’ve intrigued me with the Deadpool talk. I must remedy my poor education.

    Hehe! Well, yes true as to the efforts of programmers. Seriously? Conversational is a bit eerie. Haven’t encountered one of those, but no doubts it’s only a matter of time. Hey, hope the thing doesn’t lull you into a false sense of security – you did mention the film trailer for the creepy AI doll which seems to go rogue. AI always goes rogue. Interesting, down here we do have insurance brokers, but most people deal directly with the company from what I’ve observed. Some people might be excited to talk to a robot, although I’m guessing that ain’t you or I. I’d be disturbed to find out what an AI has to say about us all. It might not be complementary.

    No, not at all. Hope the book ended well? Here I have to fess up to doing a similar thing when I recently read the book Jane Eyre. I read the last two chapters to find out whether the protagonist died, which from a novel of that era, is always a possibility. But no, happy ending in that case, with a side serving of troubles. Hehe! That’s funny, yes a palate cleanser. Mr king’s books do so eat up the hours, in an enjoyable way of course. The Editor is continuing to read Lisey’s story, and appears to be enjoying herself, but has noticed a theme – err, Misery and Mr Mercedes.



  23. Hello Chris
    Just to say that we have many varieties of dragonfly here. They are indeed very attractive insects. I am told that they are in danger but see no sign of that in my area.
    Eggs are supposed to be in short supply here but Son is drowning in them.
    So little of the news appears to relate to us!


  24. Chris:

    You have hit the squirrelly nail right on the head. Muriel it is. Was.

    I really like cats. I wish you could see our cat, courtesy of my daughter-in-law, who rescued him off the streets of Chicago. He is a giant white cat with giant black splotches, like a Holstein cow. When Sweet Thing first moved in I expected to see a mass squirrel slaughter, so many of these squirrels are now really friendly. Not to worry! Sweet Thing and the squirrels have commenced on a feud royale. He and they take turns running at each other, almost like jousting. Just before they collide, each swerves away; sometimes the two of them go in a mad circle for a few seconds. So far, no-one has lost any of those rounds. Sweet Thing also pops out of bushes at them and sneaks up the back stairs to surprise them on the second story back porch. Nothing doing; those tree rats think it’s all a game. Forest squirrels are tough cookies.

    Except maybe for Muriel . . .


  25. @ DJ – What’s an egg McMuffin? Some Scottish specialty like haggis? 🙂
    An egg stuffed with oatmeal? Thanks for the ear worm. I understand the treatment for those is to plunge a pencil into your ear. Sounds like a good idea. What could possibly go wrong? Lew

  26. Yo, Chris – And, from news of the natural world … I see a 600 square mile of the Antarctica, has gone adrift. Just for scale, they mentioned it’s the size of greater London. And, the earth’s inner core has maybe stopped spinning. Might go into reverse. Doesn’t seem to have much effect, topside. Also, there’s this …


    I don’t know about saving us from climate change, but the story of this seed bank, is interesting. Also, at this same web site, I see there’s an article titled, “America’s Egg-istential Crisis.” Haven’t read it yet.

    My Idaho friends, when they bought there new place, there was a run down chicken house that came with it. I commented that it was too bad they had sold it, when we were talking about the high price of eggs. Turns out, they couldn’t give it away. They still have it. But said they probably wouldn’t get chickens, citing cost of feed. They’ve had chickens before. They know what they’re getting into. But still … My friend Julia’s chickens have taken the winter off. She’s also had a flock of quail, show up at her place. She throws them the odd handful of grain, from time to time. They might stick around.

    You may remember a couple of years ago, they found some Roman eggs, in Britain. I guess some people hoarded coins … others hoarded eggs? 🙂

    In not so natural news, Atlantic Magazine had an article last night, titled “The People Who Don’t Read Books.” Didn’t think that lot were big readers. 🙂

    Beef Barley soup is quit tasty. Every once in awhile, I find some at the cheap food stores, and tried it in our Club pantry. It went fast. I’m surprised, sometimes. There was some canned okra / tomatoes / corn. Didn’t know how it would go. Okra isn’t something you find on plates, a lot, around here. But, it goes. Yes, people’s food choices are often a mystery. I usually just think to myself, “No sense of adventure.” Our night manager is often ill. He’s also quit proud of the fact that he eats no fruits or veg. Hasn’t made the connection. Which I point out to him. Otherwise, he’s quit a nice guy. So, I nag.
    Not much, but from time to time.

    It’s kind of like my little CD presentation. Every time I threw out a solid nugget of solid information, I could see a few more people sway to investing in some. It probably didn’t hurt that I also mentioned I had just bought three, myself.

    Lots of nice sawdust, for the soil. Plus the money saved on that gym membership. 🙂

    The “Motor Sailing for Old Dudes”, is quit amusing. Although five minutes into the clip on batteries, I fell into a tech coma. That’s a real thing. Might be a pill for that. Or maybe, an ap?

    Burnout can be an insidious thing. All of a sudden, there you are. Life / work balance, etc.. Back in the old days, we just called it “having too much on your plate.” 🙂

    I once escaped an after hours club, using a fire escape. There was a raid … Too long a story.

    “A door less traveled.” I like that.

    I gave Mr. King a rest, last night. I started watching an older Ken Burns documentary, “The National Parks: America’s Best Idea.” We’re kind of a park-y people. We have national parks, state parks, county parks and city parks. As of now, we have 423 national parks, covering 84 million acres. But as Mr. Burns makes clear, we really fell into it, by accident.

    Even though we traveled a lot, on vacation, when I was a kid, we really didn’t see much of the national parks. The way my dad traveled, if we couldn’t see it from the road, we didn’t see it. We did see Yellowstone, but only because the road went through where we were headed. Drove right by Old Faithful geyser, but didn’t get to see it do it’s thing, as Dad wouldn’t wait the less than an hour to see this wonder of nature. I think I’d like to see Crater Lake, down in Oregon. But, until things resolved themselves with Elinor, that’s out of the question. Lew

  27. Hi Inge,

    It’s a good sign that you have plenty of insect life in your corner of the world. The big smoke of Melbourne has very little insect activity. In the inner city the small gardens I regularly see, they are very quiet places. Makes you wonder whether people like it that way? But the contrast between there and here is quite stark. How does that compare to the gardens you see in the larger towns near to you?

    The radio science hour this week mentioned the insect decline, and suggested that more study was required. I’d have to suggest instead that less insect sprays, not to mention less herbicides, might assist reversing that decline story. It couldn’t hurt to try.

    Hehe! Well done. I hadn’t noticed the lack of eggs either, but I don’t believe that we are seeing the same effects from bird flu. Dunno. Your warmer winter weather would be beneficial for egg production. The chickens here love warmer weather and respond by producing eggs. They really begin to pick up production after the winter solstice as the days get slowly longer. The sunset is coming around earlier these days.

    If I dare be cheeky, I’d suggest that is because neither you or I live beyond our means – and that is probably true for most of the people who comment here. People wanting to live large, don’t tend to enjoy my writing. I probably annoy them. 🙂



  28. Hi Pam,

    An intriguing use of present tense, then swapping to past tense in your first paragraph makes me think that Charlene would have pulled a Dirty Harry manoeuvre. “So Muriel. Are you feeling lucky? Well do ya?”

    I like cats too, but there is a huge amount of bird life here, and some of the birds are on my side, and will warn me of things going on, like snakes. So it’s a predicament. Sweet Thing is a great name for a cat, as of course his name evokes a reputation. Aren’t the squirrels fun, please keep them in your country though. 🙂 Wow, what a story, it almost sounds like the squirrels are teasing the cat. They’ll probably keep Sweet Thing sharp and give him plenty of exercise. The magpies do that with Ruby, but not the other two dogs. Hmm.

    Had a quieter day today, which I rather enjoyed. Just pottered around here and there doing things which probably needed doing – like adding more fuses to the little power system in the shed. Doesn’t hurt to add extra layers of protection in case things go wrong – that’s described as wrong, but less wrong. 🙂 The remaining stuff I was waiting on to fix up the house battery stuff arrived today. Yay! I don’t like it when problems intrude upon my sleep. Oh well.

    Are you getting any winter sunshine?



  29. Hi Lewis,

    That is a very large chunk of ice to break free. The reports hedge around the issue, but seem to indicate that whilst there are swings in sea ice coverage around Antarctica, recently that does appear to be on the decline. Who knows what is going on with the Earth’s core, but it is probably very interesting. Some of the articles suggested that the whole thing was no big deal. But what I thought was interesting was that the inner core is about the size of Mars. Yikes, that’s one small planet, little wonder it couldn’t hang onto its atmosphere. And being a smaller planet, you’d probably bump into people you know, but want to avoid, far too often. Doesn’t hold much appeal to me.

    They’re doing some good work with that seed bank, but what the heck do they do when the power goes out? Probably not too easy to keep seeds at -4’F at such a locale. Lebanon has it’s fair share of troubles. The research station on the other hand looked as if it had some interesting rich red soils. An interesting colour those soils. The problem becomes scale, when the seeds are actually needed at some point in the future, will there be enough food produced to ensure that the seeds themselves aren’t eaten? And what if the crops fail? There’s just a lot of ‘what ifs’ for me in that story, but it is good work no getting around that.

    I dunno, I’ve been thinking and working on the power system here for the past couple of weeks in order to iron out some err, bugs. The problems have been giving me some headaches I can tell you, but the last of the items on order arrived in the mail and were delivered today. Far out, that was a relief.

    The courier driving the truck for the delivery today was a young lady who said she’d lived in the area, but had never been up ‘here’ before. Then candidly went on to explain that the other drivers probably wouldn’t have delivered the stuff here. Ook! Not what you want to hear, and I wondered why the stuff had sat in the depot for days. I was almost about to ring them – except there is no phone number – and ask if I could just head on down and pick the stuff up in person from the depot. A very dynamic situation.

    Oh yes, a shortage of eggs is not good – and would probably lead to an egg-istential crisis. A rather witty title to the article. 🙂

    Yeah, the chickens here also take the early part of winter off, and only slowly begin laying eggs again after the winter solstice. It picks up in spring when the weather gets warmer, but you know that. And the light you used to use would have helped heaps during the winter months. I’ve never done a cost – benefit analysis with home reared eggs. For a start the yolks are bigger, and the albumen has more protein than the eggs I sometimes purchase over winter as a top up of the supply. Fun fact: You can tell there is more protein in the albumen because it holds together better, and is less runny. You can see the difference. And that’s gotta be better for your health?

    That’s funny about the Roman eggs. Makes you wonder if anyone suggested cooking them up? Yuk! Shame they weren’t gold, could have been handy. 😉

    You’re probably right – the entire concept appears conflicted to me. It’s kind of ironic about the books too. Mr West is a complicated bloke who may very well be stirring the pot with a weird sort of performance art. Dunno. I reckon we’ll eventually find out what is going on there.

    Barely is really very tasty, and yes, those were the stews my grandmother made when I was a kid. I enjoyed the stuff and can well understand how it didn’t last long in the Club pantry. Mate, you rarely see okra for sale down here. Speaking of tubers, and you did mention that they would be slow, but the ginger tuber has finally produced a stem, and the turmeric is even slower but has some developing nodules. Exactly, that’s it with food – you can’t know in advance what you’ll like, feel indifferent about, or dislike – before you’ve tried it. Bonkers to believe otherwise.

    What? No way. No fruit and vegetables. Holy carp. I agree, that’s not good, but if the thought makes him feel good, I dunno. Hey the nag can sometimes be the gentle sowing of the seed of an idea. Incidentally I read that comment of yours during breakfast which was a big bowl of fresh fruit, homemade toasted muesli, topped with homemade yoghurt. So good, the dude is missing out.

    Yup, good stuff with the CD’s and it’s good to keep things simple. You know man, I hear of people telling me that they invest in cash, and what they don’t know is that often that contains some of the very complex financial instruments which were dare I say it, heavily involved in the GFC (the Collateralised Debt Obligation). They may call them something different nowadays, but no matter. If I talk to friends about this stuff even in general terms, I really get an emotional response – so no way, I keep my mouth shut.

    Yeah, no need for a gym membership for me. 😉 Mate, I see people aimlessly walking around burning calories – and all I want to do is harness them up and haul rocks back up the hill. How cool would that be? Resistance and endurance training, producing positive outcomes. There’d have to be a charge for the privilege of that experience – only fair don’t you reckon?

    Yeah, the old dudes were amusing in a very cheesy way. No need to worry there, past five minutes was probably only of interest to tech geeks such as myself. I thought you’d find the old dudes to be amusing. Hope they avoid rogue waves? Yikes! Hey, a tech coma sounds almost like a food coma to me. Not to put too fine a point on it, I reckon we’re headed for a tech coma in the future. There’ll still be plenty of tech around, just not as much as there is today.

    I recall those days too. And interestingly the language used is suggestive. Burnout suggests an end point, whilst “having too much on your plate” suggests that a person can wind things back a touch. I’m super careful not to overdo things, and when that situation is encountered, winding back is always the first option. I’m sure you’d know what I mean there.

    That story sounds like it has the makings of a grand memoir. Maybe the title could be: The fire escape exit? Actually that doesn’t sound like all that great a title. Too long. Have you got any ideas there? I reckon the standard has been set with: The door less travelled. 🙂

    Ah, we were discussing Mr Burns a few weeks back. If indeed it was an accident, it was a good one. And also has grown and been taken up by other countries. From here I look across the Wombat State Forest to the horizon. A sea of trees.

    Oh my! Your earlier travel experience is like my nightmare – and clearly wasn’t all that enjoyable for you. Hey, just out of sheer curiosity, was your dad like seriously goal orientated, or just didn’t allow much time for the travel? We didn’t really travel much when I was a kid due to economic circumstances, but thinking back on it, I don’t recall stopping much to check things out either. Hmm.



  30. Yo, Chris – Yes, I thought that interesting about Mars being the same size as earth’s core. But then I got to wondering about surface area. As, if you took the United States surface area, and wrapped it around a ball, would it be larger than Mars? Nope. The U.S. and Australia combined? Nope. Africa and South America? Nope. But Mars is only 15% the volume of earth. And, we’ve got all our water to contend with. The surface area of Mars is 56 million square miles.

    The way Mars Boy rides herd on his minions, he might like the “up close and personal” aspect of a smaller planet.

    More likely religious fanatics would decide seed banks are “against God’s will” and scatter the seed across the desert.

    Well, in future, up “here” may be too far to bother with. Which may be a good thing.

    The egg-istential article was full of puns. The author said he just couldn’t help himself. 🙂 I never ran my chickens lights, 24/7. Just a couple of hours before sunrise. Been awhile, but I think no more than 4. In the darkest part of winter. I didn’t want to stress them. Just keep a slow dribble of eggs going.

    Mr. West is, in general, nuts. He may just ascribe to the idea that no PR is bad PR. He seems to have his fans. The kind of people who admire bad boys acting out.

    I just pulled three days worth of oatmeal and fruit, out of the nuker. Three kinds of fruit in the oatmeal, and a sliced banana on top, when I heat a third of it up. A little cinnamon, a splash of almond milk.

    Tech comas are like food comas. But they’re not as filling 🙂 .

    Oh, they’ll be plenty of tech, around. It will just be different. More hands on. You’ll be going at those stumps with a nail file, instead of a grinder.

    Winding back. We’re in the land of the art of saying “no.” Takes practice.

    Well, when it comes to our national parks, later on it was all about democracy, blah, blah, for the people, blah blah. But it was an evolution. The first one was Yosemite and some big trees. Federal land, but given to the State of California, to manage. Which they didn’t do very well, given political and commercial interests. Then came Yellowstone, which was the first national park, but that was kind of an accident. There were no states, around the park, at that time. Only territories. So, the first national park was created. So, how to administer it? Keep out the cheesy hotels and poachers? It fell to the army. For 30 years, the army managed and protected the park. And did a fine job of it.

    President Teddy Roosevelt did a lot to save lands. Now, creating a national park took an act of congress. Not the easiest thing to do, given political winds. And, commercial interests. But Teddy had a brainstorm, and asked his attorney general if he could create bird sanctuaries, by executive order. Well, said his AG, no law against it. So, with the stroke of a pen, some were created. Then he asked about not national parks, but national monuments (I didn’t know the difference). Yup. Executive order. The only problem with executive orders, is that presidents can also undo them … with a stroke of a pen. As we recently found out, when oil, uranium and rare earth leases were in play. National parks have far more protections.

    Any-who. I’m finding the evolution of land use, pretty interesting. A hundred year process, or so. And how things evolved, sometimes, quit by accident.

    I read another 50 pages, of “Fairy Tale.” It’s holding my interest. Lew

  31. Hi Chris,

    The only car Mike and I had that drew comments – and it happened more than once – was a 1985 Chevy Caprice station wagon, greenish color, fake wood on the sides. We bought it used in 1996 and sold it in 2005 when we bought our current minivan. I would never have thought a huge station wagon would draw favorable comments from strangers (especially since it lived outside most of the time until 2002 so its looks matched its age), but occasionally it did. I think it said to those who commented, “Fellow tightwads!” Not cool, precisely, but those who had ears to hear, heard.

    The minivan has never drawn any comments, but its age isn’t apparent by just looking at it because there are a lot of other minivans out there of similar shape.

    Then there is the somewhat odd experience that I have gotten compliments from men at my advanced age regarding my undyed, naturally silver hair. Apparently there is a subset of men who consider silver hair cool. Who knew?

    Yesterday we bought a reconditioned CD player to replace the one I had purchased new in 1986 that no longer works. We had the same tech shop that fixed the cassette tape player open up the original CD player in an attempt to fix it, but the needed parts are no longer available. The new-to-us CD player, which we bought from the same shop, works great! I am having an excellent time rediscovering the music on our CDs and cassette tapes, which I have not played in the last several years.

    We received about 2 inches of wet snow on the 24th. It would have been more but the temperature was such that we received a rain and snow mix instead of all snow, and much of the snow melted later in the day. I was fine with that; wet snow is the hardest to shovel by hand. While January has been warmer than normal, we are supposed to get real winter conditions beginning on Sunday and continuing as far ahead as the forecasters are willing to go.


  32. @ Lew,

    Hmmm, an egg mcmuffin. Well, when some animals leave pooh in the road it is known as a road muffin. Most years it is possible to fry an egg on the asphalt aka macadam. But if the egg is dropped on the road muffin…egg macmuffin.

    Smart people do NOT eat the egg mcmuffin regardless of the type of mcmuffin.


  33. Chris,

    Juggle 2 relationships? What could possibly go wrong? Gah! I can barely do one relationship. The thought of juggling 2 or more? UGG.

    How did the FM tuner do with one old capacitor? Did your program sound good?

    Killer rocks. Killer rabbits. What if the killer rabbits are hurling the killer rocks at people? I dunno what you’d call that. I’ll be interested to see how and if you work some of those titles into your narratives.

    The light pollution here is noticeably much worse than when I was at university. I used to be able to see the Andromeda Galaxy with the unaided eye even near downtown. Hard to find it with binoculars now. Several of the constellations are somewhat dimmed. I’ve been in worse…Los Angeles area, for example, there are nearly no visible stars, a handful of the brightest ones perhaps. I feel lost when visiting such places.

    Our “big” snowstorm” before the cold front blows in is over. Big fizzle. 5mm of snow. That’s all. It had all melted by noon. Not that I’m complaining, mind you.

    Avalanche got into a mood and was testing everything, especially me. She wouldn’t let me get near her, even with the leash for our walk on Thursday. So, I went by myself. I made sure that she saw me. Then I walked up and down the alley a few times right next to our fence. And ignored her. She was howling and yowling, sounding like someone was pulling out her entrails. Someone from a kilometer away drove by to investigate. We chatted and he laughed at my predicament. Later I ran errands while leaving Avalanche at home, something I never do. Her body language and attitude were much improved on Friday.

    After our Friday walk, it got foggy. Glad I’m not driving anywhere, as it’s getting thick. It should disappear Saturday when the wind picks up to drive in the cold. This cold snap should actually be with clear skies. The stars are extra spectacular when it’s really cold.


  34. Hi DJ,

    Mate, I’m so with you. Lack competence for such stuff. Nuff said.

    It’s funny you should ask that question, because at the time your comment arrived in the in-box, the FM Tuner was playing out the tunes. So good. It’s an absolute disgrace that the technology could even be discarded. It wasn’t that difficult to refurbish the thing, and the engineering and development behind the machine probably won’t be reproduced any time soon, if ever. As a music and tech geek, take it from me, it really does sound superb.

    Far out! You’d hope not with the killer rabbits. Imagine if the cheeky scamps could do that trick. Next thing, they’d be taking our jobs. 🙂 You’ve got me thinking about titles, but candidly the battery and power system problems are dominating the problem solving parts of my brain and, well, limits and stuff. The Editor said to me, why don’t you write a funny one this week? The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.

    The big smoke was also suffering from a lot of light pollution, but not quite to that extent. I’ve been recently reading the book: ‘Cheap Land Colorado’, and one of the many stories included a lady who’d never seen the stars in the night sky before. Like you, I would feel lost in such places. The bush is where I’m meant to be, in the big smoke I felt like an impostor, or I dunno, someone going through the motions, but with no heart for the task at hand. It eats away at your soul. I enjoy small towns, they feel comfy to me, but big cities, they’ve got a kind of background hum which I find to be less than restful. Tell ya what, whenever we travelled, we skirted the big cities and looked at what was beyond.

    5mm of snow, soon to melt away. That’s my kinda snowfall! Hey, beats having to dig your way out of the buried garage huh?

    Ah, Avalanche, the awkward teenage years. Like your style and I’d do no less. Your actions sent a strong message which said: Avalanche, you ain’t the boss in this here town. Oooo, that sounded like an early Clint Eastwood spaghetti western quote. Mate, Ruby is getting that message too. She may never receive a title, unlike her sister Dame Plum.

    What do you reckon? Is fog a sign that there is a change in the seasons? I’m leaning towards that perspective. It was forecast to be 35’C here today and I spent a long while watering plants, and it got warm, but cloudy so the sun intensity just wasn’t there. Did paid work all day long whilst enjoying the tunes.



  35. Hi Claire,

    Had to laugh, your venerable 1985 Chevy Caprice station wagon looked to me as if it had materialised from an episode of The Brady Bunch. 🙂 Talk about an uber cool ride, oh yeah! Nobody can look past fake wood panelling. Don’t you reckon the name ‘Caprice’ is an odd choice for a vehicle? They used to make a large sedan down here which was also produced by a GM offshoot known as the ‘Statesman Caprice’. Tell ya what, in the past I’ve worked for people who could pass for that title, and yes, they were a touch flighty…

    And I absolutely agree, the things we surround ourself with send conscious and unconscious signals to our fellows. For some reason my things and symbols suggest: ‘this one works hard’! Rest assured, I take time out, although today is a Saturday and I did paid work all day long. But also listened to tunes on the new-old refurbished radio, so it’s all good.

    Claire, you’re cool. 🙂 And if I may dare suggest, your silver hair colour has a touch of the Elvish – or elder ones – about it.

    You may have noticed by now that I’m something of a tech geek. The refurbishment of a CD player I mentioned was a big call, mostly due to the bonkers fine tolerances. I respect you for purchasing items from them, I tell ya, the things they would know about appliances probably isn’t widely known these days. As we move away from manufacturing items, we also lose the ability to repair them. Glad to hear you are enjoying the music. Music for me is also a joy. How’s the dulcimer going?

    Hope the soon to be winter weather is not too severe? I am of the belief that the season here has turned and we are now in the next one.



  36. Hi Ann,

    Thanks for the link, and if memory serves me correctly, one of these incidents has already flooded the central valley in recorded history?

    Not something you’d want to experience first hand, and best to be elsewhere is my thinking!



  37. Hi Lewis,

    It must be the season for articles on the subject of seeds. Now really is the time you begin planning the garden for the next growing season. Has any new varieties piqued your interest? I always try one or two new varieties, and bulk up the genetics of the seeds I do save, so seed catalogues are a source of temptation. Lead us not into temptation, well maybe just a little bit! 🙂 Don’t you love getting seed catalogues in the mail? The ones I get are very glossy and colourful, but only members get those and there are subscription fees.

    As to the article, there is an inherent flaw in the logic presented. If the native plants could survive the present land management practices, then there would be little need for a seed bank. So the unspoken issue there is that the current land management practices don’t work with the variety of plants subject to that practice. I hold doubts that the entity pushing for the funding, is capable of substantive change. And mate, we’re no better, you’d think 170+ years of poor outcomes with the forests might allow for at least some change of mindset, but I’m not seeing it. It’s bonkers, and at least the knowledge of that, gives me energy for the task at hand.

    And I forgot to mention yesterday, but I read about the Chinese Elms. Mate, those trees must be super hardy – and they were noted by other prairie dwellers as of being substantive value. A long time ago I overheard a lady speaking with a real estate agent about her desire for an established garden. Hmm.

    Hehe! That’s funny, hey what I’ve taken away from the book was that too much available land is bad for property values. Mars may have a property price crash! 🙂 That’s an eerie thought about Mr Mars, and you’re probably right. I’ve heard some interesting things about the engineering side of his businesses, and he pushes for personal accountability for decisions from the top to the bottom. People have to sign off on tolerances, and be held accountable for the decision. He’s a smart bloke, I’ll give him that.

    Dude, that’s funny, but at the same time, it’s not funny about the seed banks, because you might be right. My concern with such places is that we don’t have a culture of not eating our seeds, and so the thing probably is nice to have, but can’t scale in any meaningful time period.

    Here’s hoping that ‘up here’ is too remote to bother with, and from what I know of some of my neighbours, there may be consequences for disturbing the peace. If energy supplies were ever restricted, most people I know aren’t fit enough, or experienced enough (people can’t read maps or topography these days) to walk the distance from town to here on an unknown outcome. The ones that can do so, might be useful individuals to have around.

    It is good to see an author using puns to liven up an otherwise bleak topic such as a shortage of eggs. Could the author do the same with a gasoline shortage? Now that would be a challenge!

    And yes, I do recall your use of the lights with the chickens was a very different experience to that of the factory egg farm. The birds probably enjoyed the heat from the light globe, your winters are rather cold, at least it seems that way from my perspective.

    If I had to hazard a guess, Mr West is pushing peoples buttons. As to why he would do so, I can’t really say for sure. But I reckon time will either sort it out, or reveal all.

    Your oatmeal sounds delightful. And rolled oats is the mainstay of the toasted muesli mix I bake up. No doubts the grain grows well in more temperate environments. We had a rice and pearl barley mix with vegetables and a couple of fried eggs for dinner. Very enjoyable.

    Hehe! Have to laugh about the tech coma / food coma comparison, but you’re probably right there. The Editor asked me recently: Why don’t you write a funny blog this week? Unfortunately the tech coma has eaten up that side of my brain, that was my response in more or less words. Beware the dreaded tech coma, better than encountering the Terminator though.

    Ook! It’ll be a big job with a nail file, that’s for sure. Nah man, trying to make the place easier to live now, not at some unspecified future date.

    Hey, it was meant to be hot here today. 95’F was forecast, but we didn’t get anywhere close to there due to a cloud layer. It was still hot, but the sun lacked the sting it usually does. The coming week looks predominantly cloudy. Ook. I went around this morning and watered everything which required watering. The dogs enjoyed following me around and poking their noses here and there. Ended up doing paid work today which was the plan due to the forecast heat. It may rain tomorrow, maybe.

    Not sure about your experience, but the word ‘no’ is something I’d had to learn how to wield. The culture I was raised into didn’t actually ‘just ask’ for things unless they were necessary, so ‘no’ never really entered the vocabulary. It was as a young adult when I encountered culture clash on that front, and experienced people who would simply ‘just ask’, even for outrageous asks. Learning to say ‘no’ was an important journey I can tell you. Another culture clash was the ‘we will’ folks, sometimes known as ‘we-willies’, but that sounds a bit pervy. 🙂 Anyway, that lot just randomly make plans with no intention of ever going through with them, some sort of social dance I reckon. But navigating that lot was complicated too. I’m sure you’ve encountered those types?

    What a fascinating history of Yellowstone, and some of the buildings constructed during that army period look pretty good to me and appear to have stood the ultimate test of time, sans a monster eruption of course. Oil, uranium and rare earths are in short supply I believe so there is an incentive to rescind such executive orders. On that note, years ago I read a book on firewood, and the book mentioned that during the oil crisis of the 1970’s the forests were opened for firewood activities and any idiot with a welder could put together wood heaters. Firewood and wood heating in general is a very complicated process and technology, but I’ll try and avoid the tech coma. I reckon we’ve got a new in-phrase there. Anyway, my point is that things can change, sometimes suddenly.

    Good to hear about Mr King’s book. The Editor told me at lunchtime today that she is halfway through ‘Lisey’s Story’ and apparently there has been a phone call, although I’m uncertain what the significance of that was. The suggestion may have been that a lot had happened, but also not much had happened. She seems to be enjoying the book.



  38. Hello Chris,
    What a great concept “tech coma”. My wife was often in tech coma when she was my girlfriend and we visited my family. Both my parents and my brothers are engineers, and I was an engineer as well. A lot of talk about capacitors and kWh.
    She is a lawyer and language-person and mindfulnesstrainer. Nowadays, I often zoom out when people talk about this or that upgrade and gadget.

    Milage does indeed vary, especially with weight. After a couple of months without a car this Summer, I went into town and bought a second hand VW Polo. The lightest car with a trailer hook that I could find. 1200kg. It goes 17km per litre petrol, when I drive it. And I don’t drive much.

    The last fifty years has seen a steady growth in car sizes and weights. I worked on the first generation of the Volvo XC90, the heaviest Volvo ever produced. A terrible car. Full of complex electronics and entertainment software. I am ashamed of having participated in producing such a monster. Now we are 20 years later, and Volvo has in the meantime released four new models that each is even heavier and even more complex. The latest one weighs 2750kg.
    It is eerily similar to the stone heads of Easter Island, that got larger and larger towards the end of their civilization.


  39. @ Claire – Your station wagon might have drawn interest, as it was a “woody.” Which in some quarters, evokes … endless California summers, Beach Boys music rocking on the radio and shooting the curl. Wipe out! 🙂 Lew

  40. Yo, Chris – I haven’t sat down and given the seed catalogues a good look, yet. One of my favorites (Nichols) is pretty basic. Printed on pulp paper, with just a few pen and ink sketches. They’re a real “down home,” operation. They also don’t gouge you on the shipping.

    On the library “new” list, last night, was a book on forest management. Sounds like it might be the American version of “The Biggest Estate.” Controlled burns, as the indigenous people used. It’s becoming more of a topic of conversation, and implemented in some areas. Slow change. I put it on my hold list. There was also a book about Koala bears. Put that on my list, too. 🙂

    Landscaping can add value to a property. Of course, everybody’s idea of pleasing landscape, varies. Formal garden, or something wilder? Pleasing yourself or impressing the neighbors?

    Seems like there are seed banks, small and large, scattered all over the world. A good thing. Not all our eggs in one basket. 🙂 Might make a good post industrial fiction story. An arduous expedition to rediscover a lost seed bank. The hero’s journey.

    Hmmm. Interesting. Also on the libraries “new” list were several books (electronic and hard copy) on building chicken coops.

    It’s going to get cold, here. Clear and cold for a few days. The forecast for tonight is 25F (-3.9C). “Chance of snow” in the forecast for Tuesday and Wednesday. We’ll see.

    “Wee Willie Winkie runs through the town,
    Up stairs and down stairs in his night-gown,
    Tapping at the window, crying at the lock,
    Are the children in their bed, for it’s past ten o’clock?”

    And then it runs on for another 15+ lines. First written by a Scottish fellow, in 1841. Translated into English in 1844. One of the first books I remember having, was a pop-up book of nursery rhymes. That was one of them. I about wore that book out.

    The WPA (Works Progress Administration) gave a big boost to National Park’s infrastructure in the 1930s. A good example is Timberline Lodge, on Mt. Hood, in Oregon.


    Not only did it provide employment for building the lodge, but also to artists for the interior decor and fittings. But Mt. Hood is not a National Park. It’s a National Forest. Right from the early days, the National Forest Service, and the National Parks Service, did not see eye to eye, philosophically. As to best use, for land. The Forest Service is more open to commercial development. Lew

  41. Yo, Chris – Another piece of one of these mystery gizmos, turned up.


    Hmmm. Something I never trigged to, before. They’re only found in NW Europe … and never seen in Roman art or mentioned in Roman writing. Well, duh! They’re Celtic. And, I see, we’re back to “unknown ritual use.” LOL. The catchall for anything unexplainable. I think it’s a cheese grater. 🙂 Lew

  42. Yeah, the floods are a 200 to 400 hundred year event, the 1862 one wasn’t the worst they can see in the geologic record and with warm air holding more water, they expect the next one may be worse, but then, in a chaotic system, nothing can be really pinned down.

    Down here (in Alabama) we call seed catalogues vegetable porn. Fortunately it is mostly free and not regulated. Though my environmental (prudish 🙂 ?) side wishes they’d limit themselves to just on catalogue a year.


  43. Hello Chris,

    I wanted to add a couple of observations from the Old Continent, where today winter is beautiful and crisp.

    This week I saw the first reports of tree-theft for firewood. Car+trailer tracks, and some chainsaw chippings marked the site where a handful trees were pilfered from the estate of count Wachtmeister. It is a place near Malmö, the third largest city of Sweden. “People don’t have a sense of “mine” and “yours” anylonger”, the count is reported to have said.
    No comments regarding why his inherited lands of 2750 hectares and castles were his in the first place.
    Tensions are rising.
    I hope that no armed robbers arrive at your Firewood Bank.

    And a more positive point regarding eggs. In times of decline and resource scarcity, inventiveness sometimes comes to the surface. The Belgian town of Diest had a campaign a couple of years back, to reduce the amount of household green waste to collect. They gave the residents a choice – we either keep picking up your green-waste, or you get two laying hens for free from us. They organized trainings for the citizens and what I heard, it was largely succesful. They estimated that more than half of the feed for the hens would be supplied by the kitchen scraps, and half by purchased grains.

    Have you heard of similar schemes?


  44. Hi Ann,

    Not the sort of climate event you’d want to experience first hand. The last one was epic by all accounts. The photos tell an intriguing story. And hey, it’s almost forty years to the day of the epic 1983 Ash Wednesday bushfires, which ripped through this mountain range. Many of the tall trees still bear the scars, but at least they survived.

    You’re in a lovely part of the world, and that is very amusing. I get that wish, the local gardening club sends a glossy seed and plant catalogue about once a quarter. Always fun to see the thing in the mail box. Then plot and scheme the next growing season.



  45. Hi Göran,

    Dude, I have to write this evening, so will be brief.

    I know exactly what you mean, and getting stuck in those sorts of conversations does producing that ‘drifting away’ kind of vibe. Once people discover that we’re not attached to the electricity grid, the enthusiasm increases and inevitably they begin talking at me (an interesting difference to that of dialogue) about batteries. Apparently I’m informed that as battery production increases, prices will come down, and the people are just waiting for that moment. Hey, I just hope they’re not holding their breath whilst waiting – it may be fatal. Batteries are very expensive items, and even if take up of the technology was greater within the community, the entire lot won’t last more than twenty years – a sobering thought.

    The Polo has a good reputation, and I didn’t even know they could tow. Good stuff, and a wise choice. Smaller is better in every way. The Suzuki Swift actually achieves 22km/l but there is no way it could tow, that’s what the Jimny is for and that’s about 14km/l. I drive less and less as time goes on, and heading somewhere an hour away is a far place for me. I enjoy a very local life, but also use a lot of stuff made in the distant land of elsewhere.

    Hehe! Yeah, the XC90 is a beast of a machine. No stress at all, I once knew an automotive engineer (we used to design and build cars down under) who worked on the brake components and was told to remove 1kg from the overall design so that some bit of entertainment rubbish and gadgets could be installed instead. It was only the brakes…

    I’ve heard it said elsewhere that the biggest things are made prior to a serious set back. The costs imposed by the bigger things is a problem don’t you reckon?

    The interesting thing about the story is that history suggests that what can’t be held, won’t be held. To be candid, such a huge tract of land would have a lot of trees, and gas and electricity is getting very expensive in your part of the world. I’m unsurprised.

    Things are different here in that regard. Humour me a second. From here I look to the horizon and see a vast sea of trees and not that many people. Mate, there are easier places to get firewood from than here, and in some parts firewood collection is allowed. Believe it or not, the forests here could use some thinning. There are some very interesting books which describe the historical accounts of the state of the forests during early settlement and also I have read some recent Indigenous critiques of forest management – and as a culture we are totally stuffing this up and have done so for about 170+ years. It’s an impressive achievement to be so consistently wrong and yet experience the same consequences of massive bushfires. I do not understand why this is so.

    That’s a great scheme, and no I have heard nothing in that regard. I spoke a week or so ago with a really lovely young lady who was raising chickens from eggs in her house in the city and we were discussing what to do with the roosters. Historically most houses had vegetable patches, chickens, fruit trees etc. If I was being cheeky I’d suggest that the houses ate the land.

    If you don’t believe me, here is a fascinating website which compares current Melbourne to the same area in 1945. Go to the suburb of Doncaster (east of Melbourne) zoom in and just look at the huge number of orchards. All gone.

    1945 Melbourne



  46. Hi Lewis,

    My mind wonders why an item only found in Celtic areas, and nowhere else in the Roman Empire, were not known as Celtic Dodecahedron’s? Very funny, but a cheese grater makes a weird sort of sense. The things look like they were meant to be rolled and the article noted that the holes were of differing sizes, but I don’t really know and am just taking a wild guess. They’re beautifully made items and I’d struggle welding up an item to that level of precision. It really is an item of intricate craftsmanship. The catch-all is perhaps wrong in this instance. 🙂 Sounds like some lazy thinking to me. Have any of the archaeologists just remade one and mucked around with it, handed the item to friends and families – particularly kids, and just observed what occurred? Sooner or later someone will figure out the use, by accident. Given it was stored with coin hoards, I’m thinking a very high end gambling device.

    The ‘down home’ seed operators probably spend less on advertising and put more effort into supplying a quality product. It’s funny but you mentioning that twigged a memory of my early forays into writing for the hippy press publications. They were really quite sweet, but got glossed up a lot over the years, then kind of faded away. Sad, there’s probably a market for the early basic publications.

    Looking out the window, there’s thick fog and drizzle. Summer has left the building, and the forecast for the next two weeks looks bleak. 71’F is the warmest day, and some days are cooler than that. Ook! This morning was cloudy but warm and dry, and with that forecast in mind we brought up another load of firewood – just to be on the safe side. Mate, I didn’t want to do that job, but you canna argue with the weather. 🙂

    Ah, fascinating. This is a topic very close to my heart. If you believe the book is worth the read, I’ll be very interested. Some of those books descend into countless historical examples and after a while my mind glazes over due to the point already having been made many times over. It was a bit like the book on historical recycling practices, how many times does the same point need to be made – the intelligentsia push for that extreme level of evidence, but probably don’t apply the same standards to themselves. It does make for tiresome reading that, don’t you reckon?

    Doing it for the neighbours is like constructing a rod to beat yourself with. But there have been some epic examples of that in the newspaper very recently. Hmm. Fussy gardens are beyond my resources, and isn’t that the exact point of them? The old hill station gardens in the fancier western end of the mountain range are a bit wild, I quite like them – when they’re open to the public, which is rare these days.

    Hardly surprising, chickens are one of the easier animal protein sources. And if you run no rooster – which will mostly be the case in urban areas, they’re not hard.

    Mate, that sure is cold. Brr! And to think I was whinging about 71’F… I’m summer soft!!!!

    Thanks for the nursery rhyme, and they were fun reads. I used to love the Doctor Seuss books, so good. And no doubts my warped sense of humour was influenced by the Peanuts cartoons. So much fun. Reading has always been a pleasurable pastime, as I’m sure it was for you too.

    Ah, thought I’d recognised the exterior of the Timberline Lodge – The Shining. Cool. What a great story of the building, and who wouldn’t love posing for photos with a St Bernard or two, both on the payroll of course. And it was not lost on me that the workers constructing the roof framing were camping in tents in deep snow. Yikes! It’s truly a beautiful building. And I love the use of rocks in the lower levels and timber framing in the upper levels. Such a beautiful building, a real pleasure to look at. Isn’t it funny we as a civilisation can produce wonders during times of such hardship?

    We have that split too. You may have noticed that the nearby huge expanse of forest is the Wombat State Forest, and not National Park. State Forests are a bit more loose about commercial development, and I expect to see timber harvesting from the Wombat State Forest in my lifetime. Historically the forest resources were over extracted, and eventually the forest was closed due to the low economic viability, although there was community support to shut down the logging operations. The economics of the story was the primary driver behind the shut down. With the wind storm a year and a half ago now, that forest needs a serious clean up, but everyone is dare I say it, at loggerheads?

    Better get writing…



  47. The houses ate the land! Indeed.
    That is what happened. What a clever overlay-website with the comparison 1945-now.
    Here is a website with historical maps from 1800-2020 of the Netherlands. You can slide the time-line on the left-hand-slider. I zoomed in on the town of Utrecht, not far from where I lived. A lot of land was eaten by houses!

    I think we will see many houses being eaten by the land and the sea in the coming years. We’ll see.

    Regarding roosters – I have a friend here in Sweden who raises layers from eggs. He does not kill the roosters, they live with the flock, but die quite young. He says that the roosters live 1/3 of the lifespan of the hens.

    When we lived in China, our gardener had a method to castrate the roosters, into “capuns”, a kind of eunuch. We had one of those and it got very fat and juicy.
    In Europe, that tradition is no longer alive. I have not found anybody who knows how to do this, only read about it in older agricultural manuals. Do you or anyone in the commentariat know someone who is still doing the caponizing trick?


  48. Yo, Chris – I’m going to start referring to them as “Celtic Doohickeys,” as I’m tired of always looking up the correct spelling. 🙂 I took a glance into the rabbit hole, and found this …


    The search I did was “dodecahedron reproductions”. Some interesting results. I forgot to mention that bit about them being found with coin hoards. So, somehow connected with money. Maybe.

    Our overnight low was 27F. The sun’s coming up now, and the last reading was a balmy 28F. Tonight’s low is supposed to be even colder. Snow if off the forecast. Weather whiplash.

    So, instead of numerous historic examples, your looking for more a how-to? 🙂 I think some of those dense books (on a lot of different subjects), started their lives as dissertations for degrees. Hence the defensive, beating a dead horse, posture. Sometimes, they’re just published by a university press. Sometimes, cleaned up a bit for popular consumption and tossed to the market.

    Another thing I noticed on the library “new” list was a book on baking without eggs. There have been on-line articles, too. Several of the articles reference granny’s recipes from WWI, WWII and the Great Depression. Was it you that linked to an article about a couple of brothers dehydrating eggs? $20 a dozen, which kind of defeats the purpose of thrift. On the other hand, if you need eggs, and none are available, a packet might come in handy. I remember the article said they’re having trouble keeping up with orders.

    I thought you’d like that bit about Timberline Lodge being used as a stand-in for Mr. King’s “Overlook.” Many of those WPA projects were done with a, what was called, “rustic” style. With a dash of art deco. It was also the tail end of the arts and crafts movement. Lew

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