Techno Fan

A person gets a lot of status working at the top end of town. Did that for years and got the t-shirt. Owned an old Porsche 911 too. A cool car, the thing has authority and street cred. People try to drag you off at the lights all the time. You don’t have to worry about that, it’s a Porsche, you’ve already won. Had a nice inner urban Victorian era terrace house, which we’d restored ourselves from a shell. That had status too. The thing is though, forget about all that stuff, living up in the bush is the most fun thing to do – ever.

It’s funny, but sometimes you think you know something, then life proves that you don’t. Living up in the bush has been a truly remarkable experience. That’s something I’d never expected at the start of this journey way back in 2008. It got me thinking about what else I have liked which has surprised me. So, in 2018 I began writing down those things, and will share some of them with you below.

2018 – Big dogs: The animal shelter lied about Ollie. They reckoned he was an Australian cattle dog at six months of age. Turns out he is a Bull Arab (Australian pig hunting dog) and was probably only about three months of age, maybe younger. Who knew he’d get so big? And he’s a fearsome looking dog too. Sadly, his looks don’t do his personality justice, because he’s such a sweet natured dog. If he were smaller, he’d be the perfect lap dog, he just isn’t small. Over the years I’ve known dachshunds with really bad attitudes, and we’d only ever owned small to medium sized dogs before. But by the time we found out how big he’d get, it was too late, he’d wormed his way into our hearts. Then we had a big dog.

2018 – Landscaping: Long term readers will know by now that we spend a lot of time and energy in cleaning up the property. As this work gets done, ever more wildlife turns up, and the place gets easier to maintain. What’s not to like about that? Of course it takes a lot of physical work to achieve those ends, and it’s been remarked upon before that we work hard. That’s a perspective, another point of view is that the struggle for status ain’t worth it. I’d much rather be digging the earth.

2019 – Subwoofer: Who can forget the dramas with the old Suzuki Swift AKA Dirt Mouse? The car had come to the end of it’s life, we just hadn’t acknowledged the fact. Wanting to be environmentally responsible we’d spent half the cost of a replacement vehicle on repairs. Then on one dark evening in the big smoke of Melbourne, the old dirt mouse broke down, even after all that care and attention. Spare a thought for the taxi driver who dumped us off in the middle of the forest in pea-soup thick fog with nothing to be seen but tall trees. He didn’t find the response: Yeah, we know where we are, to be reassuring, but seemed satisfied enough with the tip. The dirt mouse was replaced with the new model Suzuki Swift. Not a flashy car, but good enough for us and it’s lighter and more economical than previously. The factory speakers in the car were terrible, and below my minimum expectations of such things. The speaker upgrade kit came with a subwoofer which is an additional amplifier and big speaker which reproduces deep bass notes. You’ve never heard RÜFÜS DU SOL – Alive , until it’s been replayed with a proper subwoofer. Whoa! Who knew I was a techno fan?

2019 – Dark Ales: The local Mount Macedon pub had organised a take over of the public bars taps, with stouts from a local brewer. The brewer and the staff at the pub had set the challenge to come up with some whacky flavours. It was quite the festive atmosphere when the brews were finally delivered and put on the taps. Previously I’d taken no notice of the darker ales, but the mushroom stout completely floored me for sheer excellence. It’s been said before that a tiger can change its stripes.

2020 – Puppies: By sheer luck, just prior to the bonkers lock downs due to the health subject which dare not be named, we managed to obtain two Kelpie puppies at twelve weeks of age from a local farmer. Didn’t know the first thing about puppies because we’d always had older rescue dogs before that. And Kelpie’s are working dogs, so they have a well earned reputation for high energy levels which should make a person think twice. Turns out, puppies are lovely, and yes Kelpie’s are high energy dogs that need to be worked. But then we’re probably high energy people and they’re a good fit. Having Kelpie’s for us, is like meeting your peeps (as the kids would say).

2020 – Globe Artichokes: Strange looking plants, easily mistaken for weeds. You wouldn’t want to cook up a choke which had been on the plant overly long and was in the process of opening the large spiky purple flower. But get the timing right, cook it right, and the vegetable is a superb addition to the list of: Stuff I like to eat.

2021 – Spelt Flour: 2021 was a strange year due to society collectively deciding to lose it’s freakin’ mind. There were a lot of shortages that year, and that’s what you get when businesses get shut down – stuff runs out. Anyway, since moving up into the bush we’d baked our own bread. It’s not hard. We decided to pad out the flour supplies with some spelt flour. Now, I don’t reckon that spelt flour makes a nice loaf of bread, but when you roll the more usual bread wheat flour based dough in spelt flour, the crust becomes superb. An experiment which delivered. Yum!

2021 – Old Detective Fiction: Sandra obtained for me as a very special birthday present, the back catalogue of my favourite dead author, Jack Vance. Many years before 2021, fans of the author had put together a completed set of works and reintroduced much of the text which had been removed by editors concerned with page length. The author had serialised a lot of his works in magazines way back in the day, and so page length was an issue. The collected works were known as the ‘Vance Integral Edition’. I’d only learned about the effort two years after subscriptions and printing of the edition had ceased. A regret. A few ago, the rights holders began reproducing the works as individual books printed on low acid paper. We’d originally planned to purchase all of the books over a number of years, but the general craziness of the times combined with supply shortages made the decision for us. An order was placed with a book retailer, who was otherwise closed, for the entire lot of books. They turned up in the mail, and there were smiles all around. The author wrote successfully in a few genres, and in among the books were a couple of detective stories – The Sheriff Joe Bain mysteries. Wow, but were they good or what? Completely unexpected.

2022 – Large sheds: Many years ago a mate described our property as a house and a small village of sheds. It was an astute observation. By 2022, we’d outgrown the village of small sheds, and had to do something about it. A new machinery shed and much larger greenhouse was planned and then constructed. I don’t know what other people do on weekends… The larger sheds have made life so much easier, and they look good too, being custom designed and made to fit the site. And doing the work ourselves meant that we didn’t have to worry about the tradesmen shortage.

2022 – Chilli: A few years ago we began growing chilli plants. The run of cold and wet summers has made that task harder than it should be, but that’s life for you. By 2022, we produced our first reasonable harvest (this year is better again). The chilli’s get dried and then blitzed up using a mezzaluna. Nothing quite brings summer heat into winter food, than home grown dried chilli flakes. And they taste way better than the store purchased items.

2023 – Stihl battery chainsaw: Late last year there was a lot of flooding. We went to an agricultural expo up north towards the end of the year, and it was very wet there. It may have gotten even wetter after we left the expo early (a benefit of reading the weather forecast). Anyway, at the expo was a supplier of farm tools, and they had a little hand held battery chainsaw for sale. Sandra suggested it would be a good idea to get it. When surrounded by forest, a person can never have too many chainsaws. It’s awesome as a pruning tool. This little beast of a machine will cut through a couple of inches of hardwood. Utterly bonkers, but so good and useful.

There’s been some other stuff…

The weather this week has been mostly dry, sometimes hot, with occasional early morning fog. One morning looked particularly eerie.

An eerie morning on an otherwise hot day

Last week’s Antarctic blast of cold and wet weather motivated us to bring in yet another days worth of firewood. It all was stored in a shed out of the weather. Sure, it’ll be hot again this week, but on average last year was very cold and wet, and we ended up being a couple of days short of firewood. That’s not good when it is your only heating fuel, so a decision was made to bring more in, then we did something about it.

Ollie admires the stack of dry and ready-to-go firewood. And dreams of winter evenings reposing in front of the wood heater

Regular readers will know that over the past few weeks and months we’ve made many necessary modifications to the solar power system for the house. Saturday was a hot day, so we decided to stress test the power system and observe what happened. Heat and electronics is usually a problematic mix. The modifications have proven to be successful, and the system worked a treat. Due to the position of the sun in the sky, the time of day, the heat on the panels, the capacity of the batteries etc. we were unable to obtain the full output of the solar panels, but I’d say 95 amps at about 56V was pretty darn good.

95A at about 56V was a pretty good output from the solar panels on a hot day

During the day I regularly checked the electronics and connections to see whether they were getting warm. The system just ran smoothly. After many hours we ran of out of new ideas as to how to use more electricity. And overall we used 398Ah at about an average of 56V which equates to 22.3kWh for the day. Many people expect to use more electricity than that amount every single day. Expectations are nice and all, but I dunno.

398Ah of solar power at average of around 56V. A pretty good outcome

Another day was spent cleaning up the surrounding forest. Why the old timer loggers did some of the things they did, is a true mystery. Many trees appear to have been simply pushed or pulled over, presumably by a bulldozer – then just left there.

These two trees have been left like this for decades. Such a waste

The clean up is well worth the effort, and the large old trees here have a much better chance of surviving the next bushfire when it comes through, not to mention everything else here. It’s almost forty years ago to the day that the 1983 Ash Wednesday fires swept through this mountain range. So much damage, so much loss of life – of all kinds. Some species never re-established in the mountain range.

The trees here are big and old and still bear the scars from 1983

I had a spare hour or so of free time, so the final component of the early 1990’s era most excellent Yamaha T-80 FM tuner was installed. The quality of the sound is nothing short of amazing, and I doubt many devices produced these days could match it.

A thing of beauty for the ears, a Yamaha T-80 FM tuner

The garden terrace bed with the Globe Artichokes was looking a bit ratty, so the plants were cut back and the soil in the bed fertilised. The plants should grow back.

Ollie asks the hard question: Where are the Globe Artichokes dude?

The soil in the new citrus orchard was given a good feed and the plants received some deep watering. The burst of summer weather has dried out the top layers of soil.

The soil in the new citrus orchard was fed and the plants got a deep watering

The warmer weather has somehow produced even more insect life, and at times clouds of butterflies and moths hang over the garden beds.

A stick insect climbing up a wall

The warmer weather has increased the size of many of the pears and apples. The local bird population is assisting with the job of thinning the fruit.

Packham’s Triumph Pears hang off the tree
Josephine Pears are very tasty
Not sure what variety of apples these are, but they look good

And finally the burst of summer weather has produced many small cherry tomatoes. I hope they get to ripen this year.

There are now lots of unripe cherry tomatoes

We’ve got some peas growing which I’m a bit dubious about eating lest they be sweet peas. Apparently those are toxic, but I thought they only grew earlier in the season. Dunno. If anyone can identify these peas, I’d be happy to hear what other people have to say? The peas may be: Pea ‘Purple Podded Dutch’ otherwise known as ‘Capucinjer’ but I’m not really certain.

Purple peas, might be edible, but I’m not sure

Onto the flowers:

Purple Penstemon enjoy this densely planted garden bed
The Roses are thriving in the warmer and drier conditions
We grow a large selection of colours
The Rose gardens are looking great

The temperature outside now at about 10am is 11’C (51’F). So far this year there has been 63.2mm (2.5 inches) which is up from last weeks total of 62.4mm (2.5 inches)

45 thoughts on “Techno Fan”

  1. Yo, Chris – Ollie was the optimum age, to be house trained. So were the Kelpies. Take it from one who knows. An 8 week old dog may be cute, but it hardly compensates for the extra 4 weeks of NOT being able to be house broken. 🙁

    Well, as far as your wonderful landscaping goes, besides the self-satisfaction, I think there’s a certain amount of status accrued. Much more satisfying (and useful) than the other kind.

    “Yeah, we know where we are.” The poor cab driver! He probably thought, “They’ll be found dead in a ditch and I’ll be the last one to see them alive! The police will frame me for an easy conviction!” Actually, that was the plot of a recent BBC mystery. Luckily, CCTV footage turned up, to get him off the hook. Probably not going to happen, out in the bush.

    Dark ales. Sigh. The one thing I miss the most, leading the sober life, is bloody black beer. 🙂 The darker, the more bitter, the better.

    I haven’t had Globe Artichokes too often in my life, but they were tasty. With a side of melted butter to dip them in. Pulling the leaves between your teeth, to strip off the good stuff.

    You know, Mr. King has written some straight up detective fiction. he was a real noir fan. Although some of his horror fans didn’t like it.

    I must say I didn’t warm to it. I see his next novel is, I think, titled “Holly.” Pretty much about his, self admitted, favorite character. She has come a long way, over the course of several books.

    That is a funny, and as you mention, astute observation about a house and a small village of sheds. Someone knows how to turn a phrase.

    That is a nice fog photo. The moon, and early morning sunlight in the tree tops.

    Inquiring Minds Want to Know. Is your Mezzaluna a single, or double bladed model?

    Ollie does look blissed out, with visions of warm winter wood fires, dancing in his head.

    The logging debris might not be such a waste, if you can turn some of it into firewood. Talk about well seasoned wood. And, if it’s too far gone, at least when you break it up, the birds will enjoy a good feed of grubs.

    I may not be a big fan of pears, but those Packham’s look like a fine crop. Green cherry tomatoes can be dried, right along with any red ones, you get. I did that, and they’re just as tasty. And, about as nutritious as the red ones.

    Sweet peas, have flat pods, more like sugar peas. And, sweet pea pods are green. Those look ok … probably 🙂

    Your roses are just stunning. Especially the yellow one. Lew

  2. Hi Lewis,

    Haha! Mate, Eight week old puppies are something that I know nothing about, and shall defer to your wise advice. The two Kelpies had to be house trained regardless. Lots of wee and excrement at first, but they learned quickly. Aren’t puppies blind for the first few weeks? Mate, they were so small, and Ollie was very gentle with them. Dame Scritchy at her venerable age of about eighteen just didn’t want to be annoyed by the puppies, so Ollie did all the hard yards. It was funny to watch, but yes, the extra four weeks probably did make a difference. If I were breeding dogs I’d have an area set aside for the mother and litter – it’d be easily washable too.

    It’s odd but there are those who respect the work we do to the land here, and those who hate us for it. A problematic form of status, and usually the old timers are the ones who appreciate it, the new comers generally have ideals which we offend. To make the land productive is a concept which people not attuned to being productive, get offended by. It suggests poverty. But like you, I find it to be a more satisfying experience.

    The fate of the old dirt mouse was sealed that evening, and we still had to pay to get the machine repaired the next day just so that we could drive it to the car dealer. I reckon the pea soup thick fog worried the taxi driver and for all I know he might not have experienced such weather in the forest. You could only see maybe ten feet ahead of the taxi. He earned his tip. And I was a bit concerned that he might not want to drive the full way. We weren’t really dressed or prepared for any length of night hike in the forest in the fog. Probably not good. Could have called a neighbour for help though.

    Oh well, you’ve probably enjoyed a few over the years. I don’t play video games these days. Used to enjoy them. Oh well.

    That’s Globe Artichokes, although I usually enjoy the heart of the choke, and even a little bit of the stem is edible. Hey, the garden bed looks like a wasteland now. Hope the plants regrow, it’s only a theory at this stage.

    Oh, thank you. I really enjoyed the essay on Mr King’s crime novels, and you’ve given me an idea. The Editor incidentally watched Mr Mercedes, and thoroughly enjoyed the series. Hmm. Yes, and I can see that pulp influence, yes, makes sense. In the pulp format, authors had to remember to recount an engaging story. I’d heard that said elsewhere about the character ‘Holly’. Some stories haunt the author, and I don’t doubt that authors want to see characters develop – or do the characters demand it? So many questions, so few answers…

    The observation was made by my mates of the big shed fame. They’re quite witty and amusing, and sometimes what they say makes me blush. Fun people to know.

    The early morning humidity photo just asked to be taken. I’d taken Ollie out to do his business and the image was there. Poor Ollie had to hurry up and get on with it, because the conditions were rapidly changing. Dashed inside, grabbed the camera, got the shot – then wondered if it had worked out.

    The mezzaluna is a double blade, and we have a cutting board with a concave section. As a knife, they produce really fine particles without the conversion to smoosh which a food processor may produce.

    It’s a good plan. Incidentally, the local magpie family will hang around, and if we do find any wood grubs, I chuck them to the magpies. There are now six magpies living here, and they are like the security team and limit the other birds. But truly, there is a huge amount and diversity of bird life here. They’ll come and tell me if anything needs attending too. The other night there was a fox about twenty feet away. I don’t mind the foxes because they keep the rabbit population in check at night when the dogs aren’t about. Without those efforts, I’d be having to do the job of rabbit hunting – it would be feral.

    Thanks, and they’re a fine pear. We’ll see about the tomatoes, it is still early days, but time is quickly running out for the growing season. It will be hot here Wednesday through Friday, before then cooling again. Oh well.

    Ah, I appreciate your insights on the purple peas. Thanks.

    🙂 The rose garden is looking really good. I gave them a feed about a month ago and the plants just went off. It was awesome. Might give them another feed? Dunno.

    Hey, how weird is that, we both use around the same amount of electricity every day. About 6kWh a day is around about the average here too. Historically, it’s a truck load of power, but relative to the norm, it’s quite frugal really.

    I’ve seen that sign about the unruly children and free puppy. Sends a strong message, don’t you reckon? 🙂

    Yes, actually I wonder when code rules will be relaxed in order to bring down construction costs. I read an article a few years back when someone constructed a tiny house which cost $70,000 to completion, but the permits cost $7,000. There’s something not quite right there. I’m of the opinion that time will sort this problem out, but it’s a heck of a lot of pain before we get there. What’s your view on that?

    Are you suggesting that a person has to know a second hand book opportunity when they see one?

    Oh, I hadn’t known that about Koala’s, and in fact that is not a good thing for the health of the population. Some dog breeds have had that problem like the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel (pleasant, but not real bright those dogs) and at one stage there were only six left, of which apparently all of the current lot are derived from. I note that the state to the south of you has placed a ban on kangaroo derived products. Koala’s are relatively rare, but kangaroo’s you don’t have to go far to see them.

    Yup, fire insurance will be a problem sooner or later. Hopefully later, but you never know. From a risk perspective, there are more building fires in the city areas than what is lost from bushfires – they just happen all in one big splat. Not a good look.

    Your mention of the Idaho library and your friends, reminded me of Dr Oliver Sacks in the film Awakenings, which I watched a month or so ago, when he was hitting up the wealthy folks for some mad cash. With power comes obligations, unfashionable to say, but true.

    Yes, the indigenous story does sound remarkably the same. Funny that. People have a fixed idea in their head as to what it should look like, then they try to enforce their views on reality, and it hasn’t ended well for over a 170 years now. You’d think that some change would be possible, but we’re a remarkably stubborn culture, even in the face of failure.

    Went to the pub tonight for a feed and pint. Lovely, and had a chat on the phone to friend. It’s getting late, and bed is now calling. Me sleepy…



  3. Hello Chris,
    The purple peas are most likely Dutch style “capucijners”. I have grown them for at least ten years, and are a stable shoulder-season crop. Spring and fall. No hot summer crop.

    The Dutch are great traders. They invented the fancy name capucijners, after the “gray brothers” Capucines, a branch of the Franciscan monastic tradition.
    In Sweden, we call the same plant “gray peas”, which is less appealing and does not have the same cachet.

    The pea shoots are also a nice addition to a salad.

    Sometimes I grow these peas as “micro-greens” in a tray indoors, to have fresh greens in the winter time. There is so much energy and nutrients in the peas, that they easily make a 10-15 cm shoot out without any additional nutrients.


  4. Yo, Chris – Oh, I remember what fun your pups were, back in the day. They’re still fun, but in a different way. Doggies just don’t have the capacity to be housebroken until 12 weeks. As I found out. Much to my chagrin. 🙂

    I think it’s better to have the old timers, on one’s side, than the new comers. When push comes to shove, it’s the old timers who will have your back. Thinking about your place, and I may be wrong, I think it’s developing / become a proper hill station.

    LOL. Many authors have said that they carefully plot out a story … and then a character or two hijack the story and run off in an unexpected direction with it. Dickens had a lot to say about that. He claimed that his characters actually manifested to him, and told him in no uncertain terms, what they were going to do. There was a film bio of him, a couple of years back, which used that to great effect. One can be haunted by their characters.

    There was a lot of wind and rain, this morning, and I did my best to hustle H along in her business. But it wasn’t coming down hard enough for her to be too concerned. The next 24 hours ought to sort out what our weather is going to do. I have plans! It may already be snowing out in our east county. But, according to our government weather map, the snow will be south and east of us. We’ll see.

    One of the things that was on the agenda, was heading down to the Club, this evening. There’s a nice couple who show up on Monday nights, and she just plunged into King’s “Fairy Tale,” last week. Always fun to talk books with other fans.

    I got to wondering if there was a collective noun, for magpies. It turns out, there are several. Mischief, conventicle, charm or tribe. And a few more. Makes sense there would be many, for such a tricksy bird.

    So, with a mezzaluna, do you use a rocking or chopping motion?

    Collapse might have it’s fringe benefits. 🙂 I’m sure the small farmers in Britain were relieved when the Romans left, and the tax man didn’t show up, anymore. At least, until the first warlord rode in. Might be nice to be able to build a house, without someone looking over your shoulder, with their hand out.

    Yes, second hand book opportunities can be there … and gone. One of our local cheap food stores, has signs on the walls. “Should have bought it, when I saw it.” Doesn’t quit rhyme, but gets the idea across.

    I finished the Koala book, last night. A good read. The end was harrowing, as a wild fire swept through where the author lives (south of Adelaide). Most of her neighbors, and she, rode it out, pretty well. As they were prepared. She mentioned she didn’t have a tree within 100 meters of her house. The Roos and birds did ok, but the toll on the Koalas was pretty bad.

    I read some more of “Indians, Fire, and the Land…” last night. Another good term to know is “Traditional Ecological Knowledge (TEK). Of the twelve essays, the authors are: six anthropologists, three historians, two botanists, and one by professional foresters. Those are the majors, of these people. But they also have minors. Several are ethnobotanists, three are environmental historians, one is an anthropologist in ethnohistory, and one a botanist in palynology. I had to look that last one up. The study of pollen.

    So, I read two chapters, last night. “Aboriginal Control of Huckleberry Yield”. The indigenous people would occasionally burn off the huckleberry fields, after harvest. It was clearly a method of beating back the encroaching forests. They had a clear idea of management, and understood forest succession, after fires. They were also the first tribes to take to western farming, after the white guys showed up.

    The second chapter was “Indian Land Use and Environmental Change.” This was some other tribes, up in the Puget Sound Islands. They had many uses for the plants Camas root, nettle and bracken fern. They kept open meadows, to optimize the growth of those plants.

    So, the way I understand it, indigenous people identified plants of value to them, figured out where they best grew in ongoing forest succession, and used fire to pause, or enhance that particular phase of succession. They also did a bit of forest burning, to encourage some tree species, over others.

    I see from the index that there will be some bits about Australian indigenous controlled burning. Ought to be interesting. Lew

  5. Hi Goran,

    Thank you for taking the time to consider the purple pea problem as I was a bit concerned they may have been sweet peas (which are a bit weedy here), and also for sharing your experience with the pea variety. Ah, that’s a very clever use of the peas during a particularly difficult time of the year in the garden. Candidly, things are not much better down here at that cold wintry time of year in the garden. I’d never considered consuming the peas as a sprout, but yes that would be most excellent for yours and your families health. Very clever, respect.

    Isn’t it funny how plants have these long histories? The name Capucinjer is the alternative name used by the local gardening club where I presume that the seeds came from – they sometimes provide free seeds when they have too much stock. You’ll get a laugh, but the usual name the pea variety is known as: Purple Podded Dutch. Says it all!

    We’re about to get a short run of three hot days, with one very warm overnight temperature. Hope the sun provides enough energy to begin ripening the tomatoes, but just in case I’ll limit watering to the early morning so that the soil gets and stays warm. Fingers crossed. The pumpkins and squashes are beginning to put on some size too.



  6. Hi Lewis,

    The pups have more complicated personalities these days. For instance, at about 6pm this evening Dame Plum spotted me in the hallway, and she then sat at attention next to the box which contains the dog leads. Unfortunately for her, I was still working. However, once the work was completed the leads were hauled out and I took the three dogs out on a walk for an hour. When I got home, they enjoyed a feed, and they’re all now quite content or munching on rawhide chews.

    Mate, behind your less than twelve weeks words of wisdom, I sense a story of excrement. Go on, how bad did it get? Curious minds want to know.

    Thank you, and that is high praise indeed regarding the hill station remark. And yes, that is where we’re aiming. The funny thing is that nowadays hill stations are ornamental gardens, but my reading of local history suggests that back in the day hill stations had ornamental areas for the enjoyment of the gentry, but far out there were extensive productive areas as well. I recall reading an account of an old local bed and breakfast advertisement from those days and it mentioned ‘house cow’, ‘orchard’ etc. People holidayed up here to escape the miasma in the big smoke, but they also had to be fed. Locally there used to be a butter factory, orchards etc. All gone now, but probably not too difficult to get up and running again, if anyone noticed the need.

    Interesting about carefully plotting out a story. Frankly, I’m not sure my brain would work that way. Do you reckon you could plot out a story? Mostly each week I begin with a central idea, theme, and some points. The words mostly write themselves and the story takes the direction it will. I’d imagine an author could write fiction that way too? Admittedly this is not my field of penmanship. But yes, I can understand how a creator could be haunted by their creations. The risk is worth it though.

    Your plans may have to bend with the weather, and the flexible person might just have to cook up a batch of biscuits and gravy, lest H sulk her socks off for an entire day. Dogs understand routine and patterns. An awful situation with the forecast. Anyway, with all that dithering and dathering over the forecast, my gut feeling says that it won’t snow, and you’ll make it to the Club, albeit dodging rain storms. Did you and H make it?

    We’re set for a run of three hot days. And Thursday night looks very warm indeed. Hope the sun provides enough juice to get the tomatoes ripening? Dunno. I’ve noticed that the pumpkins and squashes have begun to get larger. This is a good thing.

    What a decision we have to make here in relation to the collected magpies! My money is on either: charm; or tribe. What do you reckon as to the proper nomenclature? Honestly conventicle sounds weird, like it would be an exciting expo for nuns. Come to Conventicle 2023! Makes you wonder what would go on there…

    Ah, with the mezzaluna, the concave cutting board makes for an easy two handed rocking motion with the double bladed knife. It really does produce a nice outcome. Food processors can be a bit rough and that will release some of the oils, which you want to keep.

    Warlords are probably cheaper to maintain! 😉 That’s what history suggests, because didn’t the fine upstanding citizens of Rome let Alaric I in via the main gates? Incidentally the current arrangements around the paperwork side of house construction haven’t been around all that long, and I’ve met people who’d owner built their houses in the days before such voluminous paperwork became all the rage. Back in the day, architects used to issue plan books and people would owner build from those designs. And trades were allowed a greater leeway to decide upon things such as foundations, and roof designs based on experience. They had to survive based on the quality and reputation of their work. House building needn’t look like it does nowadays, and given some of the issues you hear about with apartment buildings, it makes you wonder how the quality side of that story is working out comparatively?

    That’s a clever advertising slogan. Speaking of such things, I ended up purchasing the last big bag of dog food in the brand that I usually get. There were other brands of dog food bags though. Dunno what to make of that.

    Ended up getting out a huge work job today, and it felt good to do so. It’s been very difficult trying to manage my paid work since the err, you-know-what. Mate, work volumes are all over the shop, and it is difficult to plan for work-flow nowadays, which is a challenging task even in the best of times. Oh well, mustn’t grumble.

    Hey, almost forgot to mention, that with the power system the new bonkers high quality circuit breakers worked so well when we pressure tested the system, that I’ve now ordered replacements for the rest of them. I’ll get it all sorted out in another couple of weeks. Then onto the next problem with the power system. Man, I dunno much about this stuff, but I do know that it’s gonna give ya problems! 🙂 Fortunately, it’s a hobby for me, and I approach the problems from that perspective, but yeah, I’m not sure I’d bet civilisation on this technology. Plenty of people would do so, sorry to say.

    The Editor had to head into the big smoke today, and so when she made it home again, we had a coffee and a piece of lemon and sour cherry cake for valentines day, which I sneaked (! probably ‘snuck’ is the correct word, but the spell checker is complaining – what does it know anyway?) onto the table where we were enjoying our regular coffee and Anzac biscuits. If I’ve learned one thing in life, sometimes it’s the little things that count, far more so than the grand gestures.

    Wise not to have a tree within a 100m of the authors house. The author has written extensively on bushfires, and has a common sense approach. But yes, here’s the thing, if the Koala’s survive the fire, what’s then left for them to eat? He says that shaking his head and wondering why people just don’t get it. The whole bushfire thing needn’t be the way it is, but we’ve overlaid our culture inappropriately on an environment which doesn’t support that. I dunno, you can give it a go, but… The lack of food afterwards impacts quite hard on the birds and roos that survive too, although they are better adapted to moving on to the wonderful land of elsewhere, if that is possible – not always the case if the extent of the fire is large enough.

    Yeah, that is a good term. Sums up the knowledge quite succinctly. And exactly, different land management regimes were required in different ecosystems. I’d read that the rotation of management was between about three years for open grasslands, up to about fifteen years for tall forests. As a minor worry, we haven’t had a clearing fire in the forests here for forty years now. When I look at it with an objective eye, I know it will all burn hot. We’ve been lucky that these past three years have been wet and cool, but eventually luck runs out.

    Open meadows are also good for hunting. The abundance of edible plants is well understood by the other critters that want to consume them, and over a long enough period of time, soil fertility concentrates in those areas. I’d imagine that the ancient monasteries which offered healing also managed to concentrate soil fertility. People arriving from far away would have brought the minerals to that place. The outcomes might have gone a bit of the way towards resolving mineral deficiencies for the people seeking assistance, which in turn would have improved the health outcomes. Soil mineral deficiencies way back in the day were real and very problematic.

    Exactly! The Indigenous folks managed the land by deciding how it would look so that the outcomes produced a balance of benefits. You know what we’ve collectively decided as a culture?: It’ll look like a total mess, that’s what. 🙂 But then when you look at the built landscape, is it any different? We’re at least consistent in that regard.

    I’ll be interested to hear what the book has to say on the subject.



  7. Hi, Chris!

    I wonder if we should write our memoirs before we get old? At least, keep a journal – as I used to do – so that we can remember things later. It helps alot to note the changes that we have successfully maneuvered, to give us confidence.

    I used to just love psytrance, which is not techno, but they sort of fall under the same umbrella. I don’t think I could stand it now. It was great stuff to dance to.

    I occasionally bake with spelt, but had no idea that it would make such a great crust when the dough is rolled in it. Thanks!

    What’s a peep?

    I always thought that you looked like a village unto yourselves, too. It’s a beautiful sight.

    Chillis are probably our favorite crop, only partly because they are one of the easiest to grow here. Go figure, on a north slope, in a forest, with very limited sun.

    I like fog. A couple has built a castle on the mountain behind us. It is very visible because they cleared so many trees in front of it to give themselves a view (and to be sure that everyone can see what they have wrought). They have been building it for 3 1/2 years; it looks like it might almost be finished. Of course, everything, even their driveway gravel, had to be imported from far away. Anyway, it’s a neat look in the fog, like Dracula’s castle, because everything about the place is grey.

    How often do trees just fall over from the roots on your property? That happens to us very occasionally.

    I like that view of the new citrus orchard, greenhouse, water tanks, and large shed. Hasn’t “village” been mentioned?

    Apples and pears – yum! Squawk – yum! Our cherry tomatoes are always the hardiest. Maybe they are more like their ancestors?

    I love the red roses; it seems like I don’t see red ones much anymore. Thanks for the other roses and the penstemons.


  8. Yo, Chris – Dog Story – Part One. Well, way back in the early 70s, I was living in Seattle. I had the second floor of a big old Victorian. With a bit of yard. After long thought, I decided to get a dog. But what kind? I finally settled on a Scottie. I had a friend, at that time, who was a vet tech, so, my choice was a bit informed. Anyway, I got a list of three Scotty breeders, in the Puget Sound area. Each one I called said, “We used to have Scotties, but switched to Westies (the white ones), as they are smarter dogs and not as yippy.” After you hear that a few times, well, choices change. So, I went out to the puppy farm, and they advised getting a 12 week old dog. But no, I had to have an 8 week old puppy. So, Arthur Pendragon, came to live with me. And, wouldn’t housebreak, no matter what I tried. I even sent him to a puppy behavioral place for a week. No dice. He was within a day of being taken back to the puppy farm, when … (Part 2, tomorrow.)

    Places in the country, back in the day, were more common back east. Some were regular hotels, and others more like farms with an extra room or two. They also advertised the joys of fresh country air. Sit on the porch in a rocker, and watch the cows go by. See also: Dude Ranches. More a 20th century phenomenon.

    If I were writing a short story, I’d probably at least make an outline. One well known author I read, about writing, said he used three by five cards. Jot down scenes, turns of phrase. Mix them up and consider different orders. But many authors say they start into a story, and it takes off in an unexpected direction. I suppose some of it is the subconscious working out things in your sleep.

    Well, when I went to bed, last night, at 2:30am, it had just begun to snow. When I got up this morning, I steeled myself, before opening the blinds, fully prepared to yell, “Carp! Carp! Carp!” (That’s a typo.) But, much to my surprise, we got a skiff of snow, but the pavements were all clear. And, the temperature was above freezing and heading north. So biscuits and gravy were acquired, and all’s right with the world. We may get more snow on Thursday, but there’s nothing on my dance card, for that day. So let it snow, let it snow, let it snow. I’ve heard they got quit a bit, out of town.

    I suppose the nuns at the Coventicle 2023 have workshops on the best swings to rap knuckles, with a ruler. To avoid repetitive motion injuries. The efficacy of 12 inch rulers over 18 inch rulers. Oak vs birch. Kneeling on dried beans, in a corner. Unlawful in which jurisdictions?

    Oh, yes, I often run into old guys who built their own houses. And put in their own septics. Or, their fathers did. Septics could be a problem, but not a serious one. There are pretty straight forward books on putting in a septic system and drain fields. And how to do a perk test. Dig a hole, 6 feet by 6 feet by 6 feet. Fill it full of water and see how it drains. Of course, if the land didn’t perk, you could always resort to that old standard, the outhouse. These days, a septic system can run north of $20,000. Although (finally!) composting toilets are becoming more accepted.

    Bags of dry dog food, seem rather thin on the shelves here. At least in the grocery stores. I don’t know about the feed stores.

    Well, snuck sounds right, to me. But here’s what the grammar police have to say…

    “Sneak is a verb that means to move with stealth in order to avoid detection. Sneaked is the past tense of sneak when the verb is treated like a regular verb. Snuck is the past tense of sneak when the verb is treated like an irregular verb.” Whatever.

    Chocolate doesn’t seem in short supply, around your place, so something else probably has more … splash. But, your right. Small gestures can pack a wallop. When some dude is complaining about his old lady, I often ask, “When’s the last time you placed a rose on her pillow. Just because. No particular occasion.” Or, any posy from the garden, for that matter. Women like unexpected romantic gestures. Work it, dude, work it! 🙂

    Koalas and the trees they eat, are pretty interesting. The trees sense when they’re being munched on, and start cranking out tannins. The Koala, due to their highly developed liver, can strain out a certain amount. But beyond a point, they have to find a fresh tree. The liver is a problem, if the Koala needs antibiotics. It’s so effective, what would be a couple day dose in most animals, can take a month long dose in Koalas. Koalas often starve, even when moved to areas with other Koala populations. Why? Their gut biomes are different. There has been some experimentation, and success with (wait for it) fecal transplants from the resident populations.

    Monasteries often had outlying farms, attached to them, usually run by lay brothers. With all the attendant animals. And attendant fertilizer. 🙂

    Read a couple more chapters of “Indians, Fire, and the Land …” The first chapter I read was “Indian Fires in the Northern Rockies.” Now that was a different culture, from the western Washington tribes. They generally used fire in animal drives. And, they summered in high valleys, and when they moved onto their lower elevation winter camps, generally burned off the valley floor, behind them. So that by the next year, the land was ready to set up their camps, again. It wasn’t mentioned, but it probably helped to kill any camp cooties. Fire was also used to keep trails open. You mentioned horses. One must remember horses didn’t make an appearance, until after 1700.

    I found the next chapter, pretty interesting, as it had to do with where I spent some of my formative teen-age years. 🙂 “The Klikitat Trail of South-Central Washington.” I had never heard of the Klikitat Trail, but it began in Vancouver, Washington, where I lived for a few years. The native people had winter camps, at Vancouver, and in the spring, they’d begin traveling the trail. Due north, then east, over the mountains, then south, down to the Columbia River. As they moved to higher elevations, they were following the berry harvests.

    When I lived in Vancouver, we had a Mill Plane Blvd. And, a Fourth Plane Blvd. I don’t know what happened to Two and Three. There was also a Fifth Plane, that showed on old maps. These “planes” were the burnt off prairie areas. I suppose they were ideal for shoving roads through.

    The prairies were often described as “park like.” With clearly defined boarders. There was even some mention of a bit of cultivation and digging out of tree stumps.

    By the time the natives from Vancouver got to the Columbia River, they had a lot of things to trade with the tribes there. They were completely different cultures, but, according to reports, got along well. There was inter-marriage and trade. Berries, Camus root, baskets … and, I had forgotten about Wapato root. Not as numerous as Camus. It grows in slow moving water.

    So, what did the folks do with all the berries? Some were dried. A pit was dug next to a smoldering log, at a 45 degree angle. Berries were spread on mats, and turned. And, there was Pemmican. Berries are pounded into a paste, along with just about any fatty meat. Bear, deer, and particularly salmon. Handled correctly, it can last a very long time. It’s described as a kind of jerky.

    In 1853, there was a railroad survey done. Apparently, there was a botanist on the trip. He noted that 360 species of plants were collected, west of the Cascades. 150 species were particular to the prairies. An analysis of the list indicates that two-thirds are recorded in literature as being important either for food, medicine, or artifacts. Of the sixty-five plants mentioned on the Klikitat Trail, fifty-eight were used as food or medicine.

    And, yes, a couple of the prairies were used as native race courses. And game was also hunted in the prairies. One animal I had forgotten about. Our Mountain Beaver. They’re kind of like your Wombats. 🙂 Lew

  9. Chris,

    Cool. You got a good chance to test the new battery system. And it works! Congrats!

    You do know what’s going to happen, don’t you? You’ll have all this extra firewood in storage and the winter will be extra warm and mild. Leftovers. Much better than falling short, by far.

    Leftovers reminds me. Several years ago, the Princess was with some of her siblings and drove to a local rodeo ground. About 10 days after the rodeo was over. Naturally, her siblings teased her about being too late for the rodeo. Princess didn’t miss a beat: “There might be a leftover cowboy for me!” Last spring the Princess won a drawing for a carving project, an old cut out from decades ago. A cowboy. Leftover from someone’s project pile. Yes, a leftover cowboy. She doesn’t carve. I suppose I better get started on it.

    How cheery. Color after color of roses. Thanks for sharing those and the other flowers.

    That was an interesting recap of the past few years.

    We’ve had 2 of the past 3 days nearing +10C. With sun. Nice break from the grey blahs we’d had for awhile.

    You mentioned to me “But being this is a delete key, the most powerful key on the interweb and would blow your naughty limericks clean off, you’ve gotta ask yourself one question: “Do I feel lucky?” Well, do ya, punk?” Well, I, for one, have no desire to test the power of the Almighty Delete Key. Knuckles rapped by nuns? Yup. Mouth duct taped for talking in class? Yup. (And it HURT to remove the tape.) Getting smacked by the Almighty Delete Key? No. Let’s keep it that way. ;

    Almighty Delete Key aka the Dirty Harry of the Interweb.

    Took Avalanche on an extra long walk today on a hilly course. When we got home, all she wanted to do was run around the yard and play. Full of energy, that dog. Wish I could bottle some of it up, use it when I need a boost.


  10. Hi Pam,

    It’s not a bad idea really. And also it forces us to take note of the passing things in life, if only because they’re moving fast. Any reason you stopped writing a journal? The blog here serves that purpose.

    Yeah, music tastes can change that’s for sure. Had a mate years ago who said to me that he didn’t want to listen to music created after the 1970’s and he was true to his word. I dunno though, there’s good and bad in the new stuff, and some of it is remarkably good.

    I’ll be interested to hear what you think about the spelt flour crust.

    Peep, sounds a bit dodgy doesn’t it? But it refers to finding your people (i.e. your peeps).

    Hehe! Yeah thanks. It was my mates of the big shed fame who made that observation, and there was a lot of truth to the comment. We are having to construct larger sheds though, you’d understand, hopefully…

    I can see that, the chilli’s grow faster than tomatoes from what I’m seeing here. And they seem to be ripening faster. I dunno why, but at a wild guess it may be because the plant is smaller than tomatoes? Dunno. What’s your opinion about that matter? And how hot are your chilli’s?

    It takes a certain sort of person to want to construct a castle. Go on, does it have proper crenulations so the archers can take pot shots at the marauding zombies? There are two castles within walking distance of here. Must be something in the water don’t you reckon?

    Interestingly, the tall trees here are more likely to lose their heads than completely fall over just based on my experience, and from what remains of the living very old trees. What I’ve noticed is that it is the trees on relatively flat land at the bottom of valleys which tend to fall over. Dunno, but possibly those big flat-lander trees have had an easy time of it from the winds and have plentiful access to water, but when conditions are not ideal, that’s when they’ll fall. However, no doubts about it, I’ll share your experience sooner or later. Not a prospect I’m excited about.

    Oooo, an intriguing thought in relation to cherry tomatoes. They do seem rather hardy. Very astute. Here is an interesting and very short article on the subject: 7 Fruits and Veggies That Used to Look a Whole Lot Different Than They Do Today Who knew?

    I love the red roses too. The colours almost fluoresce they’re so vibrant. It’s been a bit dry these past few weeks, so I’ll give them a drink of water tomorrow.



  11. Hi DJ,

    Many thanks, as a person who is very much rooted in ‘how does this stuff work out in the real world where people will whinge if it’s rubbish’, I’d thought that you’d enjoy the story of stress testing the solar power system. 🙂 Mate, if I’ve learned one thing, it’s this: It ain’t the good times / conditions you’ve gotta worry about with any system. Dare I mention culverts?

    I recently picked up a bunch of very high quality second hand industrial fuses for other parts of the power system. The system has expanded in a piecemeal fashion and it was about time that everything got a good second look. Second hand was a good way to obtain them, and they’re so simple they either work or don’t work. Such simplicity makes my life easier.

    Bam! You called it. Look, we’ve had three very cold and wet years in a row, so it might be nice if next growing season is a little bit warmer. It’s not too much to ask is it? And yes, having run about three days short last year, I’m not keen to repeat the mistake with firewood stores.

    OK, how does a person win a drawing for a carving project? And have your carving plans for this image evolved recently? Are you considering three dimensional carving, or will you go with a flat chunk of timber? Or a hybrid of the two?

    We’re only just in a run of three hot days, and I’ll head up to the roses tomorrow morning and give them a drink of water. They’ll appreciate it, but I’m kinda thinking they might need another bucket of fertiliser as well. Dunno.

    Your daytime temperature was not far off our night time low temperature. Man, the seasons are changing. Will the tomatoes ripen, that’s the question.

    Oh, you’ve met nuns? Well, let me tell you a little story courtesy of Mr Dave-Cool-Bananas. He originally used to play the piano, and the nuns used to whack his fingers with every wrong note and chord. That’s why he was my old guitar teacher. Not a good way to teach people, and I’ve had to teach people for a job when I ran the graduate program. It’s a sweeping generalisation of course, but the story left me with the vapours, and he could have been most excellent with the piano. What do you do?

    Hehe! Mate, she is giving you that extra energy, you just might not have noticed. 🙂 What would your life be like now without Avalanche?



  12. Chris:

    I quit journaling because I got too busy. Which is what you should say, too, but thank goodness you don’t.

    Our jalapeno peppers are killer hot. This has happened over the years as we always save the seed, except for a time when I brought in seeds from a really hot variety and that crossed with the others. It also crossed with the banana peppers and cayenne peppers and ancho peppers. I have had to start afresh with new seeds for most of those as I cannot eat very hot peppers. My husband eats the hottest ones fresh every day.

    No, no crenallations on the castle walls. Perhaps I should call it a chateau, though it’s a very big one, and all grey, as I mentioned. It also has a swimming pool in front of it so that the loungers can see the view of the Blue Ridge Mountains. And an outdoor pizza oven, deluxe. The horse barn was built of wood brought from Colorado. It’s not like the place isn’t built in a vast forest . . . And the gateposts are made of stone from Italy.

    Thanks for the fruit and veg ancestors article. I have always heard that tomatoes are – or were – actually berries.


  13. Hi Lewis,

    Thanks for the dog story, although the astute observer notes that we are only in part one of the serialised story. So what happened next? Hope you two resolved your differences?

    They used to call those places in the country by the quaint name: ‘Bed and Breakfast’. The name says it all. I dunno though, I always felt a bit ooky having a room in a house where other people who were complete strangers lived. And sometimes the house contained other people staying, with no owners. That was weirder again, and I can recall staying in one such place where the other people were chain smokers. Far out. Didn’t make that mistake again. A lot of people believe such accommodation options are a path to wealth, but I dunno, unless you do all of the work yourself, there are an awful lot of middlemen taking a cut of the action – and with short term stays I hear lots of stories of regular damage and theft. Something of a wild west.

    Thanks for the new (old) term: Dude Ranch. Cool. Yeah, nowadays the cool kids call such things: Digital detox. Mate, there is a market for such experiences, maybe one day… Dunno. This mountain range has a long history of such enterprises.

    Ah, I appreciate your wisdom in relation to story outlines, and other alternative approaches to writing.

    H and your good self had the full biscuits and gravy experience, despite the brief snow fall. Did I read correctly from the words of the good professor: “ChatGPT can produce reasonable-sounding prose that is often totally wrong Candidly I’m dubious of those chat bots because the reply displays too much in the way of structure. Data from Star Trek Next Generation was criticised for that as well. The replies are only as good as the underlying programs. And at least AI won’t want our biscuits and gravy.

    Hehe! Oh that’s good about the nuns. I recounted my old guitar teachers story in the reply to DJ. Mr Dave-Cool-Bananas was clearly impacted by the teaching method. Yes, repetitive strain injury would be just one risk of wielding those canes. It might work, but I have my doubts and only use such a technique if the consequences of ignoring the lesson were fatal, and even then I dunno.

    Honestly, I agree, constructing a decent system with which to process human wastes just isn’t that complicated an issue. We had to install a certified system – which was the worm farm. And you have to pay not only for the components, installation, overheads, margin etc. But you also have to pay for the costs of obtaining a certification. These things tend to act as a barrier to entry, and need I point out, a septic system creates septic waste which eventually has to be pumped out. As far as I can ascertain, the worm farm never requires pumping out. Nothing wrong with composting toilets, and it might even improve the soil fertility.

    I don’t know about the super markets in that regard because I go to the local stock feed store to buy chicken and dog feed. We add the dry dog, err kibbles, to the stuff we cook up for them. That way they get a bit of everything.

    Yes, snuck does sound right, and sneaked doesn’t sound quite right to my language ear. There’s something about that word which is just a bit off. Dunno. Thanks for looking that explanation up.

    There’s chocolate here, but of late the Editor has been cutting back on that particular treat. I don’t eat them, not for any good reason, the chocolate just doesn’t call to me. Man, that’s so true, everyone seems to be focused on making one-off really huge gestures, and I avoid those things like the plague. More regular surprise small gestures seems like the better way to go, as you rightly point out. But then I tell ya, most people I encounter want to earn more mad cash, very few if any folks comprehend that a person could simply spend less mad cash. Yup, Decline of Western Civilisation, the utter lack of comprehension of other possibilities years. You heard it here first! 😉

    Trees are clever enough in their own way. Who knew that about Koalas and the trees they feed upon? News to me. Interesting indeed about the gut biomes, but it makes a certain sort of sense. Eucalyptus trees readily hybridise so the trees here may be of a similar variety to those growing elsewhere, but there are always subtle differences. You don’t have to go far here to see that the trees have adjusted to different soils and aspects, even though they’re the same variety, apparently.

    Interesting, I’d not understood the role of the lay brother, or lay sister. Not a bad idea at all, but I note they were not evenly embraced across the orders. Hey, the fertiliser was no small thing, and animals were traditionally kept on small holdings for their work, and their manure. Meat was very long down the list.

    My understanding of how things were down here was that fire was also used to drive animals into clearings so they could be more easily hunted. The forest also I believe had been so arranged as to manoeuvre animals into certain areas. That would all make life much easier, so it doesn’t surprise me to hear that the same techniques were used in your country. And yup wise not to build up camp cooties. I’m of the opinion that the cooler burns would have worked towards reducing plant diseases, insects and other plant pathogens too.

    Following the berry harvests would make a lot of sense, and also I’d imagine the folks would be following the climate whilst not spending too long in any one locale. Your old stomping ground. 🙂

    And park like is what the early accounts suggested of down this way as well. Why not arrange the land in a way that is more productive. Given the seriousness with which errors in land management could have fatal consequences, I’d reckon the folks worked out a nice sustainable arrangement with the plants and animals.

    Preserving and storing food is part of what we all do nowadays, although most people probably don’t realise that.

    The immature mountain beavers do look a bit like small wombats. It’s uncanny. They’re a fascinating critter.



  14. Yo, Chris – Woke up at 5am, and couldn’t get back to sleep. Do you know it’s dark out, at that time? It’s 27F (-2.8C). I have to run down to the credit union, after walking the dog. I’ll be scrapping ice, off the truck.

    (Dog Story – part 2). Just to set the scene. There was my kitchen, a long hall, and my bathroom. I also had a cat, at that time. The bathroom had one of those claw footed tubs. So, I washed the dog, in the kitchen sink, because the next day he was going back to the puppy farm. I set him down, while I was cleaning up the sink, walked out in the hall to discover another pile of doody. I grabbed the dog, and shoved his nose in it. Something I had never done, before. He went yipping into the bathroom. So, I’m cleaning up the floor, I turn around, and there’s Arthur. For some reason, he had run into the bathroom, and shoved his nose into the kitty litter box. So, there he stands, with his muzzle covered in dog poop, cat poop and kitty litter. I started hysterically laughing. I laughed so hard, I had to lean against the wall. And then sit on the floor, as the tears of laughter ran down my face. The dog ran yipping, back into the bathroom, hid behind the tub, and wouldn’t come out for three hours. But … he never pooped in the house, again.

    I watched a movie, last night. “Angry Neighbors.” I think it was supposed to be a comedy, but, somehow, it just missed the mark. It does have a talking Westie in it.

    One hopes they at least change the sheets. That’s the thing about small businesses. Cafes come to mind. Owners need to work, and not just sit back on their … laurels, and “manage.” A sure road to ruin.

    I missed what Prof. Mass had to say about Chat GPT. Oh, I’m sure we’ll all have it rammed down our throats, as it appears on the surface, to be cheaper than live people. “Self checkout” comes to mind. Customers don’t like it and businesses say it doesn’t work very well. For a lot of reasons. Theft being a big one. But, “they” just keep trying to shove it down our throats. I noticed when I went to the chemist the other night (my bi-monthly trip) that they had set up two self checkout stations. Of the customers I saw in the store, no one went near them.

    Speaking of mysterious charges, on things … I received my phone bill, the other day. Well! They didn’t charge me for last month. I suppose due to all the drama over new phones and activation problems. But, there were still charges. Almost $10 in taxes and tolls. Government Mandated Taxes and Fees (5 items) and Other Surcharges (3). How can you charge taxes and surcharges on -0-? Inquiring Minds Want to Know.

    I read another couple of chapters in “Indians, Fire, and the Land …” The first was “Strategies of Indian Burning in the Willamette Valley.” The Willamette Valley runs from Portland to Eugene Oregon. That’s 111 miles (179km). It contains the Willamette River. As the “fall” from Eugene to Portland is only about 30 meters, it’s a pretty slow and meandering river. The whole valley was inhabited by the Kalapuya tribe. They pretty much burned the whole thing off, in August and September, right before the fall rains. The early explorers kavetched a lot about the smoke, lack of visibility and sparse forage for their horses.

    The whole valley was pretty much referred to as “oak savannah.” Open prairie with groves of oak and hazel nuts (filberts.) Pollen samplings indicated that that had been the case, for about 6,000 years. The chapter related all the different crops and animals they were able to harvest, off the land. They burned off the brush, under the oaks. Not only for their use, but also to attract deer, elk and bear. Which were easy to see, without all the brush in the way. It was also mentioned that the fire also suppressed any bad insects or disease.

    Besides the usual camus and wapato root and wild onion (meadows of the stuff), the native peoples also grew a type of Indian tobacco and something called tarweed. It was a grain, with a sticky resin. Burning got rid of the resin, and the seed heads could be beaten into a basket. Spring and fall brought a lot of birds, traveling the Pacific Flyway. They weren’t a “salmon” people, as there are some falls, just south of Portland, that prevents the fish from moving up the river. But they traded for salmon, from the Columbia River folks. And, of course, there were berries. Strawberries were mentioned. After a burn off, the folks would collect the roasted grasshoppers. Another food source.

    The next chapter wasn’t as interesting. “An Ecological History of Old Prairie Areas in Southwest Washington.” Mostly pollen records from lake bottom cores. One interesting item was about Ft. Lewis. It was established in 1917, and is between where I live and Tacoma. The army kept a lot of the prairie, by doing controlled burns. When I drive by, it looks very parklike. Lew

  15. Hello Chris
    It has become illegal here to put in a septic tank!
    My trees fall down completely, displaying their root systems. I gather that this is because our heavy clay means that the trees are very short rooted.
    Whoopee! I seem to have returned to full health. Oh dear perhaps I shouldn’t challenge the fates.


  16. Chris,

    Prepare for the worst. Hope for the best. Stress test under difficult conditions and hope difficult conditions never arrive, as you’ve done. Culverts? I try not to use that word. 😉

    Second hand parts in good condition? Yup, probably made better than the newer ones. And with fuses and circuit breakers, I’ve always wanted simple. Anything beyond simple is destined to fail when most needed.

    Our club has 2 events each year. There is the outdoor “rendezvous” in early June and the indoor show in late September. There is a raffle at both events. There are pieces of wood of various types and shapes usually. There are also several projects in the raffle. Some have directions with them. Others, such as the cowboy, have no directions.

    I emailed you a picture of the leftover cowboy cut-out. It is a 3-D project that was drawn onto and then cut from a block of wood. I think the wood is basswood (linden).

    Our heat wave is over for now. Back to more typical February temperatures, but it is dry, and has been for several weeks. In about a week another cold front might move in with temperatures near -13C and perhaps some snow. It is still winter, after all, and nature is not shy about reminding us.

    Yes, I’ve met nuns. I spent 2 years in a Catholic school. 2 of my 3 teachers were nuns. Nobody got swatted by them or their rulers. But it makes for a good story. The duct tape did happen at another school. Once. No nuns were involved with that escapade.

    Life without Avalanche would be rather boring and dull. I need the challenges she provides.


  17. Hi Pam,

    🙂 Busy, is there any other state of being? On a serious note, I’d intended this weeks blog to be a story about things I’ve liked which have surprised me, but I think that side of the story was too subtle. Oh well, onto next week.

    It ain’t just you, so I’m hoping that the chilli’s are hot, but not too hot. Sandra was very heavy handed with the chilli in last evenings meal, and it wasn’t an enjoyable experience, let’s put it that way. Unfortunately that can be a problem with saving seed, and fortunately seed seems easier to obtain these days now that gardening appears to have fallen out of fashion. Are you sorting that seed issue out now? Sometimes a new batch of seedlings is an easier path too when you’re flat out, but then you’ve got the heat mat this year. 🙂 Unfortunately, my gut feeling suggests that interest in gardening will pick up again soon, and around and around we go, where it stops, nobody knows.

    Ah, chateau. Very imposing upon the landscape, and I’m guessing wildly out of character? I’ll try and get a photo of the castle just around the corner although for some reason they’ve grown an enormous cypress hedge – as you do.

    Yeah, Solanum species are part of this continents heritage being once attached to South America, and the original eggplants looked a lot like Kangaroo Apples – which are also edible but taste like soap to me.



  18. Hi Inge,

    I’m not much of a fan of septic tanks, if only because sooner or later they need to be desludged. For your amusement, I’ve seen a local business which offers that service with the name: The Turd Burglar. Very funny, and there is also: Code Brown. I’m guessing people who work in that business have a sense of humour? My only objection with the systems is that nature can deal with human wastes for free and for our benefit, if we set up the arrangements correctly. As a society, we just don’t do that. Makes no sense to me. I get the minerals into the soils here, and it makes a massive difference for the wildlife.

    I don’t really know about the trees and heavy clay soils. I’d read an interesting perspective on old trees which was that the tap root eventually dies off because the root reaches into soil which is anaerobic. So such trees are only as good as their surrounding root systems – which you’ve noted before are buttressed around these parts. I’m not entirely certain what happens in other parts of the world. One of the largest and oldest trees in the state is the Ada Tree, and the root system expands over several acres.

    Well done you. Respect. And they don’t make them like you any more.

    It was reasonably hot here today, and will be again tomorrow. I just heard a blood curdling scream from the forest. Brings on the goosebumps, but I’m sure you’re familiar with such sounds?



  19. Hi DJ,

    Yup, it’s a truth not universally acknowledged (!) that systems need to be established for the worst conditions that nature can throw at them, not the best. And this thought is very much on my mind because today is the 40th anniversary of the 1983 Ash Wednesday bushfires, which I still see the scars of. Few care to look at those scars, but they’re there and the forest tells a story. I may recount what I see of that.

    Culverts, you know them, I know them, and they’re useful inventions for ensuring that roads don’t get washed away under less than fluffy optimal conditions. Sure you’ve never heard the term, but I’m unconvinced!

    You called it. When circuit breakers or fuses need to trip, they really need to trip. This is not always the case, and I hold grave doubts about some of the el-cheapo stuff which gets sold. Mate, it’s a hard way to learn for others, and a less polite point of view is that the el-cheapo things are stuffed from the factory. It’s like a hidden gift from the land of stuff.

    Thank you so much for the photo. It reminded me of an early incarnation of chainsaw art, which you hinted at about the use of the bandsaw. I’ll be interested to see how it ends up under your care. Interestingly, the hat looked to me like it had been finessed as it was very well finished. Not sure how they could have done that with a bandsaw. The design was really good though, and it boggles my mind to see such skills peering out from a chunk of timber.

    Mate, -13’C is hard to fathom on a day when the thermometer recorded 39’C (I suspect it may have been about 4 degrees less due to the exposed position of the sensor, but still). Good luck!

    What? Go on, there is a story there about the duct tape – although please name no names.

    Avalanche is a gift! 😉



  20. Hi Lewis,

    Get out, no way man! Can’t verify your observations, and hey, 5am was never my friend! 😉 What was the inside temperature like though? That’s wicked cold, sorry, but it is – I’m summer soft. It got to about 95’F today and I was thinking to myself, this ain’t so bad. Fortunately it was not a windy day, and tomorrow looks set for a repeat. It’s gonna be a warm over night. Do you reckon you might not have been able to sleep due to the cold weather? Another blanket or two would do the trick, maybe?

    Were the doors on the Ranger frozen? And hopefully H stayed warm?

    Thanks for the second instalment, but I’m left wanting to know how long Arthur was your shadow? So was Arthur your best dog ever? It’s a dubious beginning, but I have also had such experiences. Dogs don’t want to poop, wee or barf in the house – they know the benefits of being inside and respect those. Of course some folks may be a bit permissive with their pooches, and there are always those sorts of exceptions.

    A talking westie is an innovation in narrative. Wasn’t there a westie in a full body plaster cast in a movie, err, ‘There’s something about Mary’? Very amusing and the dogs tongue used to stick out of the hole in the plaster cast.

    Mate, changing the sheets ain’t always the case… Been there, observed the state of play, and left the place. It’s probably closer to my fellow humans than I’d be comfortable with. Pitching the tent was a preferable option. I’d known someone many years ago who stayed in a dodgy motel, which had the singular advantage of being cheap, yet the person was attacked by bed bugs. It sounded like a revolting experience. Never seen the things myself, thankfully.

    And yes, so true. Maybe a couple of decades ago there was enough surplus wealth floating around that someone else could manage a business and all a person had to do was provide the capital. These days, no way at all. But the thing is, I still occasionally hear a pining for those former days, and some do try. It never ends well. In fact, I believe that things are now harder on that front and most spouses are involved as well. That’s decline for ya.

    Yeah, the economics of chatbots. But do we really want to spend our time conversing with such a beastie? The supermarket self checkout is beyond my comprehension – a person is just kind of expected to know how the thing works. Hey, I’m sure that just like the Pinto, someone has run the numbers on the theifing off side of that story, don’t you reckon? I’m with you in that regard and avoid self checkout. Never seen one at a chemist. Wow, who knew where things might be headed? I’ve heard that there are now hard limits on the quantities of products at such businesses. Is that the case in your part of the world?

    Ah, interesting about the fires at that regularity. I believe grasslands were done on a three year rotation down here, but other than that, same, same. Hey, speaking of our collective stupidity, today is the fortieth anniversary of the 1983 Ash Wednesday bushfires. If you have the time, there is a documentary from the aftermath of those days and the footage is quite interesting. For a start, people looked different, sounded different, and the documentary had some lovely prose and turns of phrase: Ash Wednesday – 1983.

    Mate, it wasn’t just the early explorers kavetching about the smoke! Love that word too. 🙂 Nah man, I spoke to the local member of parliament a few years ago about this issue, and people still do that today. You’re ruining my daughters eighteenth birthday party with all that smoke, or more seriously: the washing on the line is stinking of smoke The MP was shaking her head with dismay at the noisy constituents, and appeared that she didn’t want to fight them all. I dunno, when a big fire comes through I wonder what the noisy constituents will say then? The explorers said the same thing about the country down here, and right up along the east coast – but probably everywhere.

    Are strawberries from your part of the world? I hadn’t known that.

    Think park like with isolated thickets for the animals to shelter in, and you’ve got a perfect hunting ground, and plentiful feed and shelter for the forest critters. But a thicket to the horizon like what I see, is a recipe for disaster. Oh well.

    The state gobarmunt stuffed up a big back burn over on the north side of the mountain range a few years ago. The fire then pushed onto a town over towards the east. If I’m not mistaken a lack of labour may have been due to the footy finals. Anyway, they’ve been very gun shy since those days, and the results won’t be good. The main problem with those big burns is that there is a lack of locals and sometimes they run to a schedule, and not the conditions. Hashtag, just sayin…

    Are you enjoying the book?

    We pulled out a huge chunk of blackberry canes today (wild ones with lots of thorns). It was a hard job in the warm conditions. Oh well. Had a well deserved mid-afternoon nap. That’s what happens when a person gets up early, but 5am, I dunno man. How were you by mid-afternoon?



  21. Chris:

    So many Solanum are poisonous, though.

    We have had a septic tank for 30 years; it hasn’t had to be cleaned out yet. Knock on wood. I feel strongly that keeping a lot of water going throuigh it has helped alot, and as few chemicals as possible, to keep those hungry bacteria working. Luckily, we have abundant water from our well. Even in the one drought that we’ve had here since 1989, our well never showed signs of abating. And we have mains power to run the pump . . .


  22. @ Chris and Pam
    I also have a septic tank ( plus others in previous properties). They have never had to be cleaned out No chemicals go in.


  23. Hi Chris,
    Thanks for sharing your list of surprising likes. Have to say I haven’t thought about that much – maybe I should. Pam mentioned something about journaling. That’s something I’ve only done sporadically but have taken it up in earnest the last few months on the recommendation of my daughter, Cecily. Perhaps if I had done that those surprises might be remembered. It surprises me how much I’ve forgotten :). When reminiscing with family members the fact that we forget much sure comes to light. I’ve tried to find out more about my mother’s side of the family from my aunt who is only 8 years my senior but she has forgotten much mores the pity. My mother gave my grandmother, her MIL, a tape recorder to record her memories but she never did. Last year when Cecily and I were volunteering at a used book sale she bought a large blank book, “A Story of a Lifetime” which is filled with questions to be answered about your life and asked me to fill it out. I’ve been sporadically doing so but usually just randomly open to a page and start writing. Anyway at the rate I’m going it might take 2 years to fill it out.

    Do you think large dogs have a calmer temperment? I kind of think so looking back at the dogs in my life both as an adult and a child.

    We’ve had quite warm weather lately. I keep a record of when the migrant birds arrive and the sandhill cranes arrived back early this week when the last two years the first sighting was March 3rd. Today we’re having a snowstorm though – 3 to 5 inches and pretty windy. Glad I don’t have to go anywhere.

    We’ve always had a septic tank when living outside of a town and only pump them out once in awhile. At our last place when we were adding on greatly to our small home to accomodate my brothers increasing the septic field and fighting with the PTB caused a six month delay in starting the project. It also resulted in pulling out many trees I had planted and part of my garden. The size of the septic field was based on the number of bedrooms which was six versus our original three. What was quite frustrating was there would be six of us living in the larger house when the prior owners of the house when small was also six. Needless to say we weren’t happy.



  24. @Lew and Chris

    Re: self check outs
    Two of my brothers were able to get part time jobs as baggers at a large grocery store chain. One store in particular hired many disabled people such as them. It was something that gave them a real sense of pride and they loved the paycheck. I still go to one of the stores and they did have one self check out but pulled it out. They still have many of the same people working there. I’ll stand in the long regular check out line as I think of them and the fact that it was a job they could do well. I wonder how many like them are denied that opportunity. I don’t think people realize this but I point it out when I can. Also the same with the cashless society. Marty is pretty self sufficient but he struggled with a check book and a debit or credit card would be a disaster so it’s cash only for him which is becoming more and more of an issue. He lives in a large apartment complex that has a health club and pool. He wanted to take Gwen to the pool as a visitor but they won’t take cash so couldn’t take her. I mostly use cash myself.



  25. Yo, Chris – Warmer today, no frost. No problem with the truck doors, yesterday, but I did have to scrape a bit of ice of the windows. It takes a few cold days for the building to catch up to the thermal inertia. And, they keep the heat blasting away down in the common areas. And, as heat rises … I did run my little space heater, for about half an hour.

    H shivers a bit, when we first get in the truck. Due to being to the groomer, recently. Even with her warm little coat. But, she plops herself in my lap, once we’re under way. We see in the news that New Zealand is really getting slammed, with weather.

    As I remember, Arthur was a pretty good doggie, 50+ years ago. I had him for about 4 years, and when I moved to California, he went to live with my folks. He lived to be about 16. But I’d say H is about the best dog in the whole world. 🙂 I don’t know how Westies would be, these days. They got popular, and interbred. I see one around our neighborhood, from time to time. Seems like a nice dog.

    Cheap motels. You get what you pay for?

    I’ve used the self checkout, at the grocery, twice. Under duress. But, didn’t have any problem with it. I just read the screens 🙂 . And, you have someone standing by, if there’s a problem. Maybe I’m acclimated as the library has had self check-out for quit a few years.
    I don’t like the idea of charging stuff to my credit card, though. Even though I pay it off, every month, I use it as little as possible.

    I’ll watch the Ash Wednesday film. Are there subtitles? 🙂 Our Jewish brethren have provided us with many slang terms that just fit the occasion. Yiddish is a Hebrew / German highbred.

    If the noisy constituents fall foul of fire, they’ll complain that the government didn’t save them from themselves.

    Strawberries are about a million years old, and probably all have a common ancestor. Back when the continents were joined. Like roses. And rhodies. And a lot of other plants.

    Blackberries. Bane of my existence, from time to time. I see there’s a blackberry vine, in the middle of some of our rhododendrons. I’ll have to get in there and whack it out, before it gets out of hand.

    I went down to my credit union, yesterday morning. Survived the Round-About of Death. Twice! Didn’t read, last night, as I stopped by the library, in the late afternoon, and there were a lot of DVDs waiting. The Ken Burns documentary set, I had to ILL. The second season of Northern Exposure. And two new series. “The Man Who Fell to Earth,” and “Designated Survivor.” The last is pretty interesting. When there’s the State of the Union address (as we had, last week), the entire government is gathered in one place, in the Capitol Building. Except for the Designated Survivor. Usually, a cabinet member. So, the premiss is, the Capitol is blown up, the entire government pretty much wiped out. So you’ve got this guy (Keifer Sutherland) who has to step up. So was the blast, foreign or domestic? My money’s on domestic.

    I also read a review in the Atlantic, about a new film about Emily Bronte. Called, appropriately (I guess), “Emily.” I haven’t watched the trailer, yet. Lew

  26. Hi Pam,

    Don’t know enough about the plant family to comment on that, although there is the most awful of plants: Deadly Nightshade. Now interestingly the almost exact seeming, yet different plant, Blackberry Nightshade is the only one I believe present on this here continent. Best left alone if you ask me, just in case. And interestingly, the leaves of that family of plant are generally also best left alone if continuing good health is your goal.

    The big smoke cracked the 105’F today with winds, and unsurprisingly there are a number of fires across the state. It was a few degrees cooler up this way. The light outside has an eerie quality to it, more harsh glare than gentle sun kisses.

    Thanks for sharing your experience, and I’ve never used such a system. The funny thing is that with the neighbours immediately uphill, I can smell during the wetter months when they’ve done their washing because directly downhill on my property there is a chemically / soapy odour emanating from the soil. I respect your restraint, because if solids do wash out of the septic tank, the soil critters will feast upon them. It’ll arrive at a certain balance sooner or later under those conditions. You can follow the trail of green in the hotter summer months.

    Many years ago, I knew a local bloke who’s wife used an unfeasible quantity of bleach whilst cleaning, and subsequently killed off all the bacteria in their sewage system. An intriguing proposition!

    I’ve never relied upon well water, so have no idea. Dunno about your part of the world, but around here they are bonkers deep and require a huge amount of energy to lift the water, and can still run dry. Not quite the dropping a bucket on a chain down the well kind of arrangement! You know, but I run the same issue with lifting water back up the hill using electricity, although the demands are lower and I could simply walk the water back up the hill in buckets in a worst case scenario.





  27. Hi Inge,

    Oh yeah, the vixens scream does set the hairs on end. But there are a lot of owls in the area here, and of different varieties. And the owls are excellent hunters, whilst the prey are not usually quiet in their dying moments. In the darkest hours you can hear the owls calling one to the other. They’re marking out their hunting territory and advising their friends of their location. Their flight on the other hand, is silent.

    As far as I understand how septic tanks work, they will fill with solids to a certain level. The solids will be dominated by anaerobic bacteria (a bit nasty to humans, but nothing not found in nature), and I’m guessing what happens is that excess solids get washed into the leach fields, where the aerobic bacteria then take over and do the heavy lifting. I’m guessing it would sooner or later form a sort of equilibrium.



  28. Hi Margaret,

    Thanks for understanding, and also enjoying the list! I dunno, Sandra and I wanted to do something different with our lives and what we noticed was that there were all these things and experiences which we might previously not have considered, but are actually pretty darn good. That’s how the list came to be. Take Dark Ales just for one example, they’re complex and really good, but in my former life I’d considered them to be unpalatable elixirs of rottenness. Who knew they were good?

    Journalling is good, but needs a bit of purpose to it don’t you reckon? Thanks for the laughs, and that forgetting thing ain’t just you! Sometimes I write here so as to forget. It works.

    That’s a really lovely concept which Cecily gave you, although it is not lost on me that the concept becomes work for you. 😉 But I dunno, what’s the hurry, the result will probably be better after two years of effort. I reckon the brain has a way of fine tuning those sorts of thoughts over time, but do you go back and re-work the earlier words? I probably wouldn’t on the basis that they are what they are. Curious minds want to know: Are you enjoying the experience?

    Yeah, I am beginning to think along those lines too and agree with you. Although I have to say, it may be a product of training and socialising with bigger dogs? Dunno. People seem to see them as scary and unruly by default, and so some miscreants tend to not rein in those worst aspects of the dogs personality for the owners benefit. Smaller dogs generally aren’t scary, and it may be possible that people don’t train them as well. Dunno. But some small dogs I’ve known have seriously bad attitudes. Very unappealing, but a person accepts a dogs foibles.

    Whoa! Yeah, I wouldn’t go anywhere in those conditions either. The big smoke reached 105’F today, something not seen in three years. Interestingly I read that the scientists are beginning to come around to the idea that the epic Tongan volcano eruption is influencing weather patterns. And your part of the world is warmer, and down here it is cooler and wetter: How the Tonga volcano eruption from 2022 may affect Australia’s weather for up to eight years. Hashtag, been saying that since the thing went off a few years ago…

    Yup, that is my understanding as to how septic tanks work too. It’s not like the solids disappear. Anyway, that exact same situation happened here with the local council. And yes, I had the same reaction, although it was more like a shakedown for mad cash on the day of installation. The previously agreed upon leach field was doubled, for no discernible reason just because – or else. And the funny thing is, from what I’m observing, only half the leach field ever gets used. Such a waste of money, and it caused a lot of aggravation on the day of install. The contractor ended up doing a really rubbish job due to not having enough time allocated, which the supplier then had to come back and correct. It’s bonkers, the system either works or doesn’t, but the council also relies upon the bedroom modelling and changed their mind on the day. I so hear you, but what do you do?

    Margaret, the supermarket I go to is a local independent and doesn’t have self checkout – and you see the same staff week after week and year after year. A sign of a reasonable employer if you ask me. Good to hear that’s the case with your bunch. But the jobs they gave your brothers would have meant the world to them, and they would have gotten to know all of the customers too. A sane society has a place for everyone.

    It’s starting to cool down now. Yay!



  29. Hi Lewis,

    That sounds like the usual run of the mill sort of winter weather. Glad to hear that the Rangers doors weren’t frozen, that would be difficult (well at least I think it would be). I’ve only experienced that one or two times and my brain couldn’t quite comprehend that the door was stuck to the side of the vehicle. We regularly get ice on the windscreen and windows too. Sometimes the windows freeze up and can’t be lowered, always fun. Generally I just start lobbing cold water onto the glass on the car and that seems to do the trick, although you read of places in the world where it gets cold enough that the thrown water freezes mid air. My mind baulks at such coldererness. Truly horrid, but people live in such places so they must like it, or it’s cheap? Who knows? A mystery. Winters in your part of the world sounds manageable to me.

    It made it to 105’F today in the big smoke. A temperature not seen there for about three years. Ah the vapours! Up here it was a few degrees cooler and I shocked the locals by enjoying a coffee outdoors in the shade. For some reason it just didn’t feel that hot, but I dunno, maybe my senses have been blunted by sheer exposure? Mind you, I wouldn’t want to have been exerting myself out in the sunshine today. Yikes! Talk about unpleasant. And as you’d imagine with the wind and heat, there have been a number of fires around the state, particularly fast moving grass fires. One is very far away and to the south west of here and not yet under control – a bit of a worry if it gets into the forest. We’ll see. The air is hazy with smoke, outside. Another hot summers day in the SE corner of Australia. 🙂

    The cool change swept through, so we took the dogs for an hour long walk and it’s hard to understand, but the outside temperature is now 63’F. Even feels a bit chilly out there! Quite the drop from only two hours ago.

    Yes, H would feel the cold after her haircut. Wise to seek warmth in such cold conditions. By contrast, the dogs here lolled around for much of the day. Not much else could be expected of them. Our friends across the Tasman Sea are enjoying some of the more extreme weather we’ve been seeing of late. Interestingly, I’ve read reports that apparently they don’t normally experience such deluges. Who knew? The big storm which hit Auckland had about the same volume of rain which we had here a few months ago which ended up flooding chunks of the big smoke. Cities aren’t really set up to cope with such volumes of rain, and Auckland is at sea level. If the tide is pushing the wrong way at the time of the deluge, water goes everywhere. We’ve been officially requested to provide assistance, so things must be pretty bad over there.

    Go H! She’s alright that dog. In-breeding really is something of a problem with some dog varieties for sure. One notable, yet remarkably popular example, got down to six specimens. Probably not a good thing… Haven’t heard that story about H’s breed, or the rapscallions here.

    Hehe! Yeah, but what kind of person would pay for bed bugs? Apparently you can see them… Ook!

    I bow to your greater self checkout skills. The one at the much loved big box hardware store I can understand, it’s not hard using the laser scanner. The supermarket one on the other hand forces you to weigh all of the items, and you have to move them in a certain pattern – and for the life of me I couldn’t find any instructions, and had to be helped by the err, watcher. Can’t think what else to call that persons job title. Err, watch this lot and make sure they don’t thief off with anything.

    Mate, we’re most certainly being pushed towards a cashless society, but that state of being certainly won’t work with everyone that’s for sure. And you’ve gotta watch that people charge the right amount too on those swipee machines. Down here under $200 doesn’t require a pin number, just tap the card on the screen. Curiously before the health subject which dare not be named, that tap and go thing was raised from $100 to $200. Sometimes businesses just don’t take cash, like the check story you mentioned the other day.

    Hehe! Hey, the documentary looked as though it had been originally recorded on video tape before being digitised. The quality was pretty good, and the scenes from 40 years ago are quite intriguing. It was hard not to notice that people were more reserved in those days, even though the incident produced plenty of drama.

    Thanks for mentioning the word, because I had no idea about that particular language. Fascinating.

    I tend to believe that people don’t wish to be inconvenienced as a primary motivator, and big fires do a lot more than that. We’ll see how it goes on that front.

    More news… Man, sometimes a person is left with the impression that there is more that they don’t know, than what they do know! This winter I’ll put some brain cells towards strawberries because we have to do something different. There’s a local native raspberry too.

    Yes, beware the blackberries. Some of the canes were more than 20ft long. Monsters. Triffids anyone? And the thorns scratch and rip your skin. Not a fun job clearing them out. And wise to get them before the canes get bigger. With the heat today, we did a change of pace and did paid work instead. Always more to do. Blessed are the competent, for they will be busy – that’s what I heard the Big J said, before the edit. After the edit, the sermon from the mount read differently.

    A tidy effort to navigate the dread roundabout, twice! What does the acronym ILL mean? The premise is good, but the survivor could hardly avoid being a figure of suspicion, but then who’s around to investigate? So many questions, so few answers. Keifer is a good actor.



  30. Chris:

    If you don’t have a septic tank, or a cesspool, what do you do? The house my husband grew up in had a cesspool. They put the veg garden over it and never had to feed the garden. Or water it much either and this was in the El paso desert.

    105F is some kind of hot!

    We have considered installing a manually-handled bucket on our well, but, because the pipes are pretty narrow, the bucket would have to be long and narrow and I don’t think it could hold too much water, besides being unwieldy.

    Raining again today. LOTS of rain this winter, but no snow and ice to speak of. Some years we’ve had snow measured in feet.(foots?) (feets?).


  31. Re: Septic tanks. The last place I lived had a septic tank, and leach field. Which had partially collapsed. Which made for interesting lawn mowing. It was probably put in when the place was built, decades ago. And I thought the previous tenants (the evil step-son, his girlfriend at that time, and spawn) had not treated it well.

    So, I was always nervous about it ticking along. I was VERY careful what I put down it. And, I found this magic stuff. It was a bio-booster, locally made. Not very expensive. And, the store that carried it had frequent sales. I’d put a couple of scoops, down the biffy, every month. And, apparently, it worked. I never had a problem with that end of things. Lew

  32. Yo, Chris – Car windows have been known to shatter, if you don’t get the water temperature just right. And, yes. Stuck windows. But, run the heater for awhile, and they loosen up.

    My that was quit a drop in temperature, in a very short time. Mad dogs and Australian men of English extraction? 🙂 There’s been a lot of articles the past couple of days, about the doomsday glacier down in Antarctica. Thwaites. Apparently, they sent down some new fangled submersibles, to check out what was going on, on the bottom of the glacier. The news is not good.

    I didn’t realize Aukland sat so low. Hmmm. Just so long as they keep filming “My Life is Murder.” Or, maybe they’ll have to bring it back to Melbourne. Priorities. I did think the old New Zealand prime minister bailed, just in time. I bet she’s glad she’s off the hook.

    Elinor and I were just talking last night, about how we always feel done over, by the local grocery. If it’s not that you overlook the very small print (must by 2 or 3 to get the sale price), it’s that you’ve picked up the wrong size (also in very small print), to get the sale price. I noticed last night that the cold case, where they keep all the biscuits in a tube, was just about empty. I wonder what’s going on there? Sometimes, I get the biscuits, for the biscuits and gravy, there. But I did find what I was looking for, down at one of the cheap stores.

    Well, between about 1880 and 1915, millions of people poured in from Eastern Europe. And most of them spoke Yiddish. There were Yiddish newspapers and even theatre. Quit a bit of the language, has worked it’s way into our spoken language. Especially, on the east coast. It came in through the movies, mostly. Not only dramas, but a lot through comedy. Also, radio. And TV.

    ILL – Interlibrary loan. Books that come in from other library systems. Some from very far away. Also includes college and university libraries.

    Who’s around to investigate? Well, there was quit a chunk of the FBI, CIA, Homeland Security, etc..

    We got a food box, this morning. Just for poops and giggles, anything with a * I’ll take down to the Institution’s swap table. Anything with a # goes to the club. + I keep for myself. Anything without a symbol, I haven’t decided yet. A dozen sugar cookies*, 1 doz. medium sized eggs+, 1 pound frozen ground beef#, four frozen pork chops#, 2 refrigerated tubes of crescent roll dough, 2 pounds of almonds# (because I have enough in my pantry), 2 pounds dried lentils, 2 pounds dried split peas, a pound box of butter product# (because someone down at the Club uses it), one pound package of spaghetti pasta, a box of 6 Strawberry toaster popups (don’t ask)*, 2 packages of instant ramen* (because the Club sells it, over the counter), a one pound package of potato flakes, a box of cinnamon square cereal# (again, don’t ask), a box of spaghetti with Alfredo Sauce (just add water!), a six pack of small boxes of raisins#, a jar of peanut butter#, A box of mac & cheese* (because there’s plenty at the Club). Tinned stuff: 2 unsweetened apple sauce+ (there’s plenty at the Club), 2 tomato sauce*, 2 tins of tuna#. One each of beef with juices#, a large tin of diced tomatoes, a tin of green beans, a good brand of soup, chicken with wild rice+, carrots, corn, black beans, baked beans+, chili beans+. Anything without a symbol, I haven’t decided where to send, yet. The canned veg at the Club, moves very slowly. Then, all of a sudden, poof! it’s gone. So I need to take a little inventory. I try and keep three or four cans of whatever, on the pantry shelf, at the Club.

    Worry of the day, for the worry of the day calendar: Bird flu is making the jump to many mammals. foxes, raccoons, sea lions, dolphins, possums and coyotes. Even three bears had to be put down in the State of Montana. Can humans be far behind?

    I watched the film on the Ash Wednesday brush fire. Quit good. My only quibble is, I wish they would have had some maps. Ya’all might know where all these places are, but I don’t. I thought the facial hair, on some of the guys, was interesting 🙂 . But the whole thing was just tragic. Really a disaster, on so many levels. I think arsonists should be burned, in public. Might make their actions, a little less appealing. Years ago, I saw a movie, it was fiction. Might have even been set in Australia. The arsonist had a fitting end. He was caught up in one of his own fires. Lew

  33. @ Marg,

    Like you, I avoid the self checkout aisles. I’d rather stand in line. Sometimes some fun conversations occur with others in the line. And it keeps people employed.

    The local Safeway grocery store has had a developmentally challenged man employed for years. He bags groceries and helps people take them to their cars. He’s not stupid, he just thinks and moves slowly. There’s also a younger woman that’s employed there with similar challenges. I try to go through the line that one of these two is working in. Move everything to self check and these two really neat people are out of work.

    I prefer cash to cards and checks also. If a business gives me a hassle about the cash, I walk away and never return.

    The big arena in Spokane, which hosts the local hockey team, large concerts, basketball tournaments, etc, hosted Snoop Dogg before Christmas. No, I didn’t go. Some of our nieces did. And they starved at the concert. And got thirsty. All of the vending was done via credit/debit cards and was “contactless”, so I guess the food came out of a chute or something. Seems wrong.


  34. Chris,

    Forest scars? Nobody wants to discuss those. People pretend they don’t see them. Summer of 1967 was an epic year for wildfires all over the western US. We moved here August that year. Drove through a lot of smoke in Oregon. There was a giant fire at the northern end of Priest Lake in northern Idaho that summer. We used to camp there each summer starting about 1969. The last time I was there was about 20 years ago, and the scarred trees were still visible on the ridgelines on the east side of the lake. Most people don’t even notice them. They look very eerie at sunrise when backlit by the sun.

    Yeah, I figured that photo was worth sending. Saved me typing a thousand words or something. 😉 The hat is somewhat more finished than the rest of the piece, but still has quite a bit of work to do.

    The club’s annual Carver’s Challenge is underway. There are 6 parts to it, one per month. First part is due the 18th of February. I’ve spent the last 2 days working on it. Wood burning for me rather than carving. It looks incomplete, lonely and rather unfinished. Guess what? I need all 6 parts to be completed before part 1 looks proper: a story is being told via the art. If it works out, I’ll add some additional detail and enter it in the show this fall. I’ve made a note to email you a picture of it after completion.

    The duct tape. Ugg. My grammar teacher didn’t like certain of us to talk during class. For others it was okay. I was bored silly, as the prior year I had learned grammar from a nun in a Catholic school. (Teacher admitted that the nun’s methods taught me grammar to a deeper level than said teacher had.) I finished saying a sentence to a friend just as class was starting. Out popped the tape. I was one of the few boys who had short hair. The idea was to wrap the tape around the mouth and long hair 2 or 3 times to make it extra painful. Didn’t work with short hair so well. Especially didn’t work with an uncooperative student who kept putting his hands in between the tape and his mouth. Teacher wasn’t happy, but I didn’t need the pain of removing duct tape from my face. Plus, it was autumn allergy season and my nose was plugged, which she didn’t care about. Anyhow, after 5 minutes of class disruption, somebody else suggested that if she had ignored my 3 seconds of talking in class, teacher wouldn’t have wasted 5 minutes getting humiliated while trying to humiliate me. She quit, I won. Sort of. I’m sure you can guess without my saying that this was a private religious school.

    Same teacher let me out of a year of grammar when I had a class schedule conflict. Then she taught us poetry, among other subjects, my final year. 43 students. 42 were talking, but not DJ. Teacher told DJ to shut up. DJ told teacher he wasn’t talking. “But you were going to!” she exclaimed. DJ suggested that she try to prove that, at which point several fellow students asked the teacher why she was so intent on punishing the only student who was behaving himself. Teacher backed off.

    A few days later, teacher, whose last name was Salisbury like in Salisbury steak, was excited. She told the class that her brother had been doing family history and had found out that they were descended from an illegitimate child of King Henry VIII. So I snidely asked if we should therefore call her “Missteak instead of Miss Salisbury.” (Missteak is as close to how I can write what I pronounced.) She looked mortified, then embarrassed. She finally said, “I should have known better than to bring this up in front of you DJ!” The class clown (not me) then suggested that “If you hadn’t told DJ to shut up when he was the only one not talking, I bet he would’ve shut up about your illegitimate ancestor!” Would it surprise you that not very much learning occurred in that class that day?

    Okay. Culverts. I DO know the word. Putting on my “Paranoid Android” hat: “Culverts. Don’t talk to me about culverts. I have the brain of a trained physicist, and these engineers ask me to copy that piece of paper. Can I copy that piece of paper? Forest Gump could copy that piece of paper. Don’t talk to me about culverts. I have this terrible pain in all the diodes running down my left side.”


  35. Hi Pam,

    Will it work? Well, history tells me that the railroads way back in the day made a lot of mad cash up until the point where the rolling stock, engines and tracks had to be replaced. At some point they’ll have a lot of waste to dispose of. But from another perspective it is good to get that little bit more life out of the batteries. Vehicles are very hard on batteries, but solar, yeah not so much. Most of the time my batteries sit in the 80%+ full range, cars on the other will take out a huge chunk of the charge and drain them. You don’t need to do that with solar, so it is a different use and the expectation is that they’ll last longer. Hope they keep an eye on the battery packs to ensure that none of them fail, in a bad way. If they were smart, they’d also use second hand solar panels – why not?

    No septic tank or cesspool? Well there’s composting and also the worm farm method. Everything gets consumed in nature. I’ve seen those arrangements in action, eaten from those gardens, and they absolutely do work. You just have to be careful about some crops which take up the water. It’s just that in these wasteful days, we can pretend that we don’t need the soil minerals. It’s just a moment in time.

    Hehe! Yes, the same problem with wells (we call them water bores) is in this area. Zero chance of getting a bucket down one of them. Hey, on an old 19th century farm not far from here, I noticed that they had a hand dug and rock lined well. Shame it was dry. It looked good though and must have been an epic undertaking to make by hand.

    Your winter sounds exactly like the sort of winter in these parts. What about footses? 🙂



  36. Hi DJ,

    Man, I dunno what people want from forests. But at a guess, the wants are probably as unrealistic as what people want out of energy. I guess it never hurts to ask… Most of the older trees here likewise bear such scars. A very few may have had the fire rip through the core of the tree and um, during a fire they would have looked like the worlds biggest sparkler (you know those things they put on birthday cakes). Your tale of Priest Lake is a reminder that few people nowadays want to, or can read the land, and often policies for management are dictated at by folks who live far from the very areas they pretend to represent or care about. It happens.

    Yes, the photo did save a thousand words, and even after all those unspoken words, I still might not have understood what the carving began life as. There’s a lot of work there, do you ever get tempted to turn the raw figurine into a cartoon caricature like in that animated film about toys, rather than head into the land of realism?

    Thank you and I’ll look forward to seeing how your creation comes to life.

    Mate, that’s some rough treatment, and I can’t ever recall hearing such a use of duct tape before outside of serial killers, but in some circumstances people take things too far. It was a very mean act on the part of the teacher. You know, I read all of your words, then re-read them, and what stood out to me was that the teacher in question was threatened by you. Life is a humbling experience. You inevitably meet people who are smarter, or more attractive, or wealthier, or better connected, have greater social abilities, faster, stronger, healthier etc. You get my drift. I’m cool with that and having risen from humble beginnings feel that I’ve done pretty well all things considered. Other folks I’ve observed, encounter the same set of circumstances and feel only terror at the challenge presented, and then they do their utmost to stomp the living daylights from the spark. It happens, and unfortunately you got the bad end of that deal. Little wonder you retreated into physics, but I suspect your gift was in the arts. We all get to play the hand we’ve been dealt though and that’s life. The trick is to rise above that sort of nonsense, and know that we’ll make other more interesting mistakes instead! 😉

    Hehe! Culverts. I knew you knew, and very much appreciated Marvin’s insights into the delightful world of what should be, and what we can afford. And let’s just hope that nothing goes wrong with those diodes down the left hand side.

    It cooled down today which was nice.



  37. Hi Lewis,

    Oh far out, I see what you mean. We only chuck cold water onto frozen car windows, but yeah glass and sudden temperature changes are a recipe for disaster. I recall learning this in science class with heating up glass and then suddenly cooling it under water. Not good, and probably very wasteful now that I think about it.

    That’s good advice too about running the heater for a while prior to driving off on frosty mornings, and we’ve been experimenting with this technique over the past year. But sometimes forget, or are surprised by the ice. That’s when a bucket of cold water comes into play. I don’t really make a big fuss about it, but on the house we have heavy duty stainless steel mesh screens over the windows in order to reduce the rapid shift in temperature should there be a big fire outside. No point having windows one second, when the glass is shattered and gone the next. The house wouldn’t long survive broken windows during such an incident.

    It got colder last night. By bed time the outside temperature had dropped to 50’F and I was shivering when taking the dogs out to do their ablutions. I recall a story from my volunteer firefighting days when the crew went out on a hot day to fight a fire and the weather turned late in the day. When they finally got the tanker back to the shed, the temperature had plummeted to about 41’F (from what they told me). Nobody had considered taking the thick woollen turn out coats due to the heat that afternoon, and so the people on the back of the tanker were getting a lot of exposure to the elements. Not good and something to remember.

    Yeah, I dunno what people expect. Back in the days of the dinosaurs, dinosaurs lived on that frozen continent and were able to deal with the three months of darkness each year – and yet had stuff to eat. To me that sounds like a far warmer climate than today, and what has happened once, need not be easily dismissed. It’s a problem.

    Auckland is a harbour city, and although we were there two decades ago, it was still hard to get around. Right at sea level, oh yeah. A sometimes commenter on the blog here, lived in that city for a few years and can recount the difficulties involved in getting to and from work. It beats me why the wealthy folks are building doomsteads in such a country. Apparently they have even less energy than we do.

    Don’t you reckon that legal disclaimers are often printed in one or two point fonts – seriously hard to read under good conditions – on the basis that they’re doing what we asked for. Hope you dodged the rats, or was it another store?

    Culture does seep its way in from the entertainment industries. A lot of US culture has worked it’s way here via those mediums. An old mate of mine was obsessed about the ‘Back to the Future’ film franchise, and he made talking his way out of (or into) any situation as a lifestyle choice. Entertainment has impacts upon us.

    Thanks for explaining the acronym. I get confused when people start using them. For example in your case I thought ILL meant a reference to the infamous International Librarians Liberation day. Nobody talks about that episode nowadays.

    Sure, they’d be interested, maybe. But then again, maybe not! Candidly, they may have their own concerns. I read a cheeky description of the legal system long ago and it described that system as: A system which seeks to administer itself.

    Oh my, Lewis this is an innovation, although I might require a regular legend – is that too much to ask for? Respect for your choices, and if I may say so, I can detect a pattern to them. Wise, very wise indeed. Man, I can understand why the canned veg might move slowly, and maybe both you and I have a misunderstanding that people know how to cook.

    Yeah bird flu is a problem. I see your worry of the day, and raise you some proper worries: But what about the rampaging dust mites? How will the smoke particles from volcanic eruptions impact upon Antarctic glaciers falling into the oceans? Or more importantly, Bruce Willis’ alleged dementia prognosis? Lot’s to worry about, bird flu is pretty common. The dinosaurs survived in that form after the big rock hit the shallow seas 65 million years ago, and we’ve been around with them for a fair while too. Plenty of exposure if you ask me.

    Hehe! Oh yeah, I knew where all the locations were, but I’m guessing the documentary was a touch on the romantic use of the language rather than the: this happened over here and that happened over there sort. It was a time capsule of the culture, which even then was changing. I liked the mutton chops too. Reminded me of footage I’d seen of Joe Cocker at Woodstock, and the cover I’ll get by with a little help from my friends would have been quite appropriate, although they did not do such things back in those days.

    Man, arson is a real pain. Back in 2015, around Christmas day we had one such person living in the big town to the south of here. I may have written about that at the time. And yeah, he appears to have not stopped his activities despite being filmed unknowingly by the authoritas. Locked up now, and hopefully he never lives anywhere near to here. A lot of damage that act.

    It was cooler today, and a gourmet pie may have been harmed – in a good way.

    Cheers and better get writing!


  38. @ Lew:

    I didn’t know about the bio-booster; what a great idea. I’ll keep an eye out for it – I’ll bet our farm co-op has it. Thanks.


  39. Chris:

    I don’t think your waste composting set-up is allowed here, even in very rural areas. Maybe they worry about contaminating water wells near one, especially downslope, as we are so hilly and mountainous.

    Footses it is!


  40. Yo, Chris – If it’s really frosty, I run the heater, once I’ve cracked the doors. Works best if I can roll the window down, a couple of inches, but, if those are frozen, I crack the door a bit. I like the days where it’s cold, but the humidity is so low, nothing freezes up.

    Weather can turn on a dime. I see Prof. Mass is predicting another cold snap. Our National Weather Service mentions possible snow. But, all this is happening AFTER Tuesday, so access to biscuits and gravy is assured. The important things … 🙂

    No rats. It was another store. The one DJ mentioned.

    I thought I had mentioned ILL’s before. With a translation. What!? You didn’t commit it to memory? Sometimes, Mr. Greer’s blog irritates me, when posters start throwing around acronyms like popcorn. I usually skip those posts.

    Re: Food boxes. So, a legend like a map? Will you commit it to memory? 🙂 Done, and done. I’ve put the symbols on a sticky note, next to my computer. I take the REAL junky stuff, down to the swap table. I figure it’s their look-out. Looks like the tinned veg is pretty much topped up, both at the Club pantry, and in my pantry. So, all that will go down to the swap table. I did notice, at the Club, that the bagged dried stuff, is pretty low. So I’ll take down the dried beans, lentils, and peas. Also, pasta. I’m still agonizing over the Alfredo. For me. Hmmm. The ingredients don’t look too bad, and if I jazz it up with garlic and frozen veg, I can ALMOST convince myself that’s it’s kind of healthy. 🙂

    Only one worry a day, to a customer. 🙂 I picked up a book from the library, the other day. “Stuffed and Starved: The HiddenBattle for theWorld Food System.” (Patel, second edition, revised and expanded, 2012.) It’s estimated that one billion people, on the planet, are starving. And one and a half billion are obese. There was an article, yesterday, that bread is getting scarce, or really expensive. So, it was talking about making your own bread. But the article was almost an ad for bread machines. Although the article did mention that you COULD make your own bread from scratch, if you REALLY wanted to. Lew

  41. Hi Pam,

    Ah, I see, yes that could be a concern with any system. Incidentally the local council inspector was less than impressed by the worm farm system. The thing with these sorts of systems is that they have to be certified, and the cost of getting those approvals is exorbitant. Red tape can be taken too far.

    Footses works doesn’t it! A new measurement scale perhaps?



  42. Hi Lewis,

    I wrote the first half of the blog last evening, and will do the second half tomorrow morning. Events got in the way! But had fun, always a worthy goal don’t you reckon? Took some lovely visitors to the local pub for dinner this evening.

    Far out! Well there’s something new which I’d never heard of. Humidity so low that nothing freezes up! Yikes, wouldn’t the cold air suck all the moisture out of you? Winters here are very humid for months and months on end, so I can’t even imagine that experience. Frozen car doors, I’ve been baffled by that state of affairs on a few occasions, and will heed your advice. So rolling the window down a little bit really helps? OK, next time I give it a go and report back.

    Hey, I didn’t really much enjoy that film the good professor is sneakily referring too. It just didn’t speak to my generation, but the soundtrack was very good. Mate, those records being broken he writes of, is that really a good thing? It doesn’t sound like it to me. Stay warm! Montana would be an interesting place of extremes, and the mention of the balloon was quite amusing. I see no lowland snow, oh well, better than life threatening freezing weather. Both Friday and Saturday here are forecast for 97’F with hot over nights. Might not get much work done around here this coming week.

    Good to hear that the biscuits and gravy are secured. 🙂 Nice one!

    I forget which shop exactly it was that DJ mentioned. But I do now know it was not the one with rats. I’m always amused by comments such as: Whole Pay Check. I’ve been to some places like that, and they frighten me. The Editor is continuing to enjoy ‘Cheap Land Colorado’ and was astounded that a person can just head into wallymartz and buy a big battery, as you do. Down here those things aren’t all that easy to purchase.

    Yes, you probably had explained ILL’s before, but my mind is full and I have trouble retaining additional details such as these. My mind kind of zones out when too many acronyms get thrown around as is occasionally the case on Mr Greer’s blog. However generally the acronym please explain thyself police turn up in a nip of time, and order is soon restored to the chaos. Ooo, I accidentally typed the word ‘soon’ as ‘soone’. Sounds old English to me! Where did that come from? Moving on. The Editor used to work for a big tech company and they had an acronym dictionary (if there is such a thing) and one of the acronyms was AMD which was short for Air Movement Device, which is more simple English is also known as a fan. Yes, leadership through obscurity. Sounds a bit doublespeak to me that previous sentence?

    Committing the legend to memory may be a step too far, extra bits of information would ooze out of my eyeballs, and that would hurt, at least I think it might hurt. Oh, we’re really doing this. OK, but the eyeballs man. Oh well. I live in constant amazement at the magic food boxes, you have to admit that it is a pretty awesome service. Butter and Parmesan cheese sauce, what’s not to like? Yum! So did you do it?

    You busted me slipping in more than one worry. I’ll guess I’ll have to skip the worry tonight, and get back on track tomorrow. Did you add in a worry of the day?

    Spotted a wombat up on the road tonight. Looked healthy and happy and was munching away on the grass up there.

    It’s quite impressive that one and a half million people could actually be obese. Way outside the historic norms. How did we end up with that much surplus energy in the system? It’s quite the achievement really. Growing food consistently, is a very difficult and complicated matter.

    Hehe! I hear that talk about bread making machines too. I’ve got one, but it involves a mixing bowl and a bread tin. At least the article mentioned the possibility. I’m wondering if people are falling out of favour with gardening? Dunno.



  43. Yo, Chris – I should hope your visitors were lovely. You wouldn’t want to share your pub with just anyone! 🙂

    Yup. Cold air with low humidity can suck the moisture right out of you (see: Peruvian mummies). One needs to lay in a supply of ChapStick, for such occasions. Our National Weather Service has snow, on and off, in their forecast for the week after Tuesday. But, they hedge their bets, too. “Slight Chance of Snow.” “New precipitation amounts of less than a tenth of an inch possible.” Hardly seems worth mentioning. 🙂

    Re: “The Big Chill.” You had to have been there, man! 🙂 But I agree, the soundtrack was great. It is interesting, from the standpoint of launching a lot of fine actor’s careers. Like “Breakfast Club,” for your generation.

    If needs must, one can even buy a coffin from Wally World. Applies in select stores.

    Oh, I was just tweaking you. I figured you’re brain was stuffed full of batteries for the solar and FM tuners. We have a program here, called “American Pickers.” A couple of guys go out and beat the brush in America’s hinterlands, to discover neat stuff to resell for mad cash. I caught just a bit where someone was hauling radio tuners, out of a shed. But, there was a lot going on, so I got distracted from any details.

    AMD seems a bit over the top. I used to look up some of the acronyms thrown around over at Mr. Greer’s, but got tired of it. From time to time, someone else complains about them, in the comments. The way I see it, polite internet usage would be, spell it once, and then go on and use them. Each time they come up in a comment. Saves space.

    No, I haven’t tried the boxed Alfredo and pasta, yet. Maybe, tonight.

    That’s one and a half billion. So, over 1/8 of the world’s population falls into the rolly-polly classification. Meat on the hoof, if things get really bad.

    I saw an … amusing article at the Atlantic Magazine. “Everything is About the Housing Market.” Apparently, there’s a new buzz concept. “The Housing Theory of Everything.” As I was reading it, I had the thought that one could construct a similar theory, around our health care industry. “The Health Care Industry Theory of Everything.”

    Today’s worry of the day was that I couldn’t come up with a worry for today. But, no worries. Saw an article called “Nearly 30 Dangerous Feedback Loops Could Permanently Shift the Earth’s Climate.” Actually, the headline was fudging. There’s only 27 dangerous feedback loops and 14 that could be positive feedback loops. But, still. That’s almost a month worth of worries, I won’t have to worry about. Though they didn’t list them all …. 🙂 Lew

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