To light a fire

The spoken words came from the kitchen: “That was a rookie mistake”. When words are backed up with facts, truth becomes hard to deny. After all, a genuine rookie mistake had been made. At such awkward moments, good grace can be found in the gentle art of acceptance. The laconic reply: “Yeah”, conveyed a sense of embarrassment and a certain level of discomfiture at being caught-out.

The climate here can be very humid for much of the year. Winter days are cold and often hover around freezing for months. People in the big smoke fear the winter climate in this mountainous terrain. I’ve heard old timers quip that if new comers make it through two winters, they might be around for the long haul. Our only fuel for heating is firewood. Given the thousands of trees, there’s plenty of it, that’s for sure. But getting the stuff to burn when the weather is cold and wet, takes a lot of skill and is something of an art form. And I’d just completely stuffed up the fire.

The autumn evenings here are now quite cool. Not yet freezing, but cold enough to slow the ripening of the tomatoes, and you can see that the end of the growing season is nigh. Rain has fallen every day now for almost two weeks. I watched on through the glass door of the firebox with a sense of dismay, as the fire in the wood heater extinguished itself, then sputtered out. Totally my fault. I’d added in a large chunk of firewood before the fire was well established. As I’ve often amusingly said to Sandra when weather conditions are sub-fluffy-optimal, a person must make love to a fire. I’d unfortunately done the equivalent of a fire ‘quick root and boot’, as a young lady so eloquently said on the national youth music broadcaster the other day when discussing the pitfalls of modern dating.

Seems like every year we have to re-learn systems and techniques. And heating with firewood is a very complicated process, from the very beginnings of sourcing the timber to the end product of heat. None of that system can be rushed either. Firewood – if you decide to undertake the challenge of creating it – has to be seasoned for at least a year, with two years being optimal. All seasoning means, is leaving the stuff out in the weather so that the moisture content reduces and the sugars break down. Unseasoned firewood doesn’t burn. And long before winter days, enough of it has to be stored out of the weather so that it’s dry when you need it.

Get that process right, even with dry seasoned firewood, you’ll probably stuff up the first couple of fires of each year. It doesn’t matter though. At that time of year, it’s cold, but not that cold. Easily fixed and the memories come flooding back. By July though, in the depths of winter, it is that cold! Stuff those fires up, and you’ll begin to regret the wasted time whilst enjoying the benefits of a smoky house. Not fun.

Ignored past lessons have been on my mind this week. The previous week, we’d begun work on the drainage basin. For many years, I’d been observing how the water flows down the driveway and away from the house. During heavy storms, a whole lot of water can concentrate and flow down past the Meyer lemon away from the house, then into the shady orchard. The original arrangement coped with storms, but could have worked better. There was also the desire to further capture, slow and use some of the water. But most importantly, there was the fern potential.

So last week we’d dug the drainage basin, and as part of those works we moved fourteen bonkers huge rocks. I’d had a vague memory that in the past I set an upper limit of moving six bonkers large rocks in a day. Yeah whatever, was how my mind considered the warning on that day! Turns out that the limit was a good idea, because moving fourteen large rocks in one day is a bad idea. Still, no permanent harm was done, and the project was beginning to look good.

We’ve been working on this property for a bit less than a third of my life, and sometimes I do wonder if people growing up in these sorts of surroundings would have a better developed sense of how things work, and what is possible? But then, the alternative thought is that such people may not be able to envisage a rock lined drainage basin planted out with ferns. I see no reason why infrastructure should not also be aesthetically pleasing, whereas others may prefer the more functional concrete pit and drain. Which is the more correct, it’s hard to know.

The long term forecast for autumn in this corner of the world was for dry and warm weather. That didn’t happen, and rain has fallen every day for at least a fortnight. A decision was made to get a large four cubic metre (five cubic yards) load of the crushed rock with lime delivered. The material makes for excellent all weather surfaces.

Ollie admires the dwindling mound of crushed rock with lime

Diesel fuel is a wonderful thing. That much crushed rock would have taken about sixteen trailer loads, and a whole bunch of driving. Delivery in this case is a far better option. With rain yet again in the forecast, earlier in the week we placed crushed rock on the new low gradient path:

Ruby enjoys not having to walk on mud

Also on the recently excavated flat site in front of the long shed:

Crushed rock with lime was placed on the newly excavated surface

Time was in short supply this week, and so we focused on ensuring that we could use the surfaces in very wet weather, rather than completing the task.

On Sunday, we visited a specialist fern nursery (Fern Acres) at Kinglake West, which is in a nearby mountain range. The business has been there for many years, and as you’d imagine, they specialise in ferns. Tree ferns have been in short supply recently due to the wet couple of years in this corner of the continent. Fortunately, the nursery had recently obtained a supply of them, so we picked up a five foot tree fern.

The five foot tree fern in the trailer makes the car look small

The plant is enormous, and is certainly the heaviest plant we have ever had to relocate. I’ve moved logs which were lighter than that damp and dense beast of a plant. The nursery can supply them up to ten feet, but such plants are beyond our skills to move.

During transport of the tree fern, the crown of the plant faced the rear so that the wind did not dry it out. Several new fronds can be seen developing in the crown of our new tree fern.

Fern Cam (TM). The crown of the tree fern reveals several developing fronds

By late afternoon, the tree fern was planted in the drainage basin.

The tree fern is now planted in the completed drainage basin

Observant readers will note in the above photo that in amongst the rocks in the drainage basin there are several patches of green. These are smaller ferns of different varieties.

Drainage basin project, done! Ruby is thinking of rats

At this time of year, the Seymour Alternative Farming Expo is held. It’s such a fun day, and we purchased five new chickens from the poultry group who have a pavilion there.

Unceremoniously dumping the new chickens into the run

There are probably nicer ways to introduce new chickens to an existing flock, but from my experience chickens just aren’t very nice, even under the best conditions. They just have to sort their business out, and mostly they do.

Three of the new chickens meet a boss chook
The Editor chose to purchase two bantam chooks of uncertain parentage

The two Kelpie’s are obsessed with the chickens, and they like to keep a close watch upon them.

Ruby circles the chickens camp

We’ve begun clearing the summer greens out of the many raised garden beds. The removed summer greens get fed to the chickens. In a few weeks we’ll hopefully plant out the winter greens.

The raised garden beds have begun to be cleared

Feeding the fruit trees continues right through the winter. Not all of the fruit trees go deciduous, the citrus for one example, and they benefit from the soil feed. Recently I’ve been mixing up coffee grounds + blood and bone meal + agricultural lime. The trees have been responding well to the feed.

This currently unknown citrus variety (also of uncertain parentage) enjoys the regular feeding regime

We’ve begun the process of harvesting the pumpkins. There are a lot of them and they store well up until about early to mid-spring. At that time, they turn to moosh, that’s the technical description for a very big mess.

It’s pumpkin time!

With the return of the rain and cooler weather, the grasses and other surface plants are beginning to grow.

Some plants are responding well to the colder temperatures and persistent moisture

Onto the flowers:

Succulents are enjoying the conditions here
Basil mint is in flower and will no doubt produce heaps of seed
Penstemon produce really colourful flowers

The temperature outside now at about 9am is 11’C (52’F). So far this year there has been 157.6mm (6.2 inches) which is up from last weeks total of 123.2mm (4.9 inches)

31 thoughts on “To light a fire”

  1. Being retired for some time now, I’ve been catching up on reading some of the classics, as well as more guilty pleasures than I would have been able to when working.

    A couple years ago, I got the unabridged Jack London, and tore through it. I find his writing exceptional, and “To Build a Fire” a quite memorable short story. The real world is rather indifferent to humans, and happy endings are not at all guaranteed (tell that to the purveyors of pop culture these days).

    Anyhoo, as you might have been hinting at, there is a key difference between building a fire and lighting one. Striking the match is the LAST thing to do only after building a structure that fully accounts for the physics of combustion. I have to admit, that it’s been years since I had to build a fire in the wild with only what was at hand, so am a tad rusty, but my routine here in the house is pretty easy and settled.

    I’m not sure about making love, but one does need to be an attentive partner to a going fire. I was at a neighbor’s bonfire get together last night, and saw the fire was being neglected as everyone was busy gabbing.

    I am that guy, though. The one who can’t concentrate on the gabbing while a fire is right there in front of us needing tending. The hosts were quite understanding, and handed me the fire tending stick. All was good with the world after a few pokes and prods.

    We had a nice clear night, far from the nearest “big smoke” and saw the space station pass by. Do you ever check the NASA website and watch the station?

  2. Yo, Chris – In the vast scheme of things, we’re all rookies. When I had my trash burner, that I laughingly called my wood stove, seems like every fall I’d forget to insert a flaming twist of newspaper, to heat up the pipe a bit, to get a good draw. Big Smoke, indeed. Note to Chris: Reread London’s “To Build a Fire.” 🙂 Didn’t that fellow die?

    People growing up in those sort of surroundings, generally cut and run, early. Bright lights, big city, etc..

    Yes, why can’t infrastructure and buildings look nice? The construction on the new chemist’s building, down the hill, is taking it’s final form. It looks nice. Locally owned, family business. Looks a heck of a lot better than the bland chemist superstore, just a block down the same street. Hmmm …

    “Fern cam ™ . From that angle, it looks like the mothership, from “Close Encounters of the Third Kind.”

    I didn’t know chickens could do facial expressions. Those three new chickens look apprehensive. Looks rather large for a Banty. But as you said, mixed parentage. Or maybe, like Texas, everything grows bigger in Australia 🙂

    Uncertain parentage seems to be a theme, for this post. Citrus, chooks …

    Seen on a t-shirt. “The Garden is Calling, and I Must Go…” Lew

  3. Hi Steve,

    Oh yes, reading of the classics is a most excellent guilty pleasure, and it’s always delightful to be in the mind of some of the great authors. Unless of course they’ve written total rubbish! 🙂 We’ve all been there.

    Jack London however, wrote amazing stories of fast paced adventure, and I enjoyed them too. He didn’t spare the reader the unpleasant downsides of existence far from the cities of the day, did he? The guy knew the meaning of hubris, that’s for sure. ‘To build a fire’ left quite the impression on me too. You just knew the story was going to end badly, but at least the dog survived.

    Good to hear. It’s usually not the first fire of the season which gets me, but it’s usually in the early days of the cool season I might rush things along to my own detriment. And that’s when disaster strikes. The burn off restrictions here are being lifted next Wednesday (sensibly after Easter), and I get plenty of experience with burning off forest materials during the wet and cold winter months. Getting the early stages of the fire begun when humidity is 99% and the rain has poured for days takes considerable patience and care.

    Hehe! It was a bit naughty that comment, but hey, I really did hear a young lady saying that thought out loud over the radio last week. Oh my!

    Good work, and I’d have done the same. Fires need to be monitored, but like you, I’ve seen plenty of folks who believe that they’re a set and forget process. Few things in nature are set and forget. And yup, understanding how the combustion process works is something many people just don’t get.

    Who knew there was such a website for the international space station? And the thing circles the planet every 90 minutes – that’s fast. The past three years have been somewhat cloudy and night time star watching has been limited.



  4. Hello Chris
    I looked at that first picture and wondered what on earth I was looking at. Later I read ‘tree fern’! I think of feathery leaves when i see the word ‘fern’. Is the tree fern native only to Australia? I could never have imagined such a thing.
    Years since I have lit a wood fire from scratch but I reckon that I would still be okay at it. We lit them all the time before we got electricity. Also I used to camp out at week ends during my teens and create wood fires to cook on. Still I admit that pride can come before a fall.


  5. Hi Lewis,

    Exactly, eight week old puppies are the equivalent of purchasing eight foot tall tree ferns. Both are monsters, and you’ll probably regret the purchase. 🙂 I’ve taken on board what you’ve said about eight week old puppies. And mate, the tree fern was genuinely heavier than many an equivalent sized log we’ve had to move over the years. The fern trunk is full of moisture, which just makes it even heavier.

    What do you mean I can’t eat my pie and whinge about leaf change tourists all at the same time? Mate, I did sell my soul, but the pies were so good. Isn’t this what penance was made for?

    OK. My brain is now full of the exploits of ‘ol George. He was an unusual fellow, let’s put it that way. Immersive journalism is hard on the writer. His wife notably worked in the censorship department during the war. Hmm. If I may dare be so bold, his was a deep true belief. However his life experience appears to have informed him that a belief is one thing, reality is often organised by the numpties. And if there is a button to be pressed where something bad happens, that lot might just do it. His wider family appear to have supported him in his endeavours, and it appears that he had occasional falling-outs with friends – one notable example was using another authors manuscript to light a fire. Not something I would do or recommend. Feathers would get ruffled and emotions would be extreme.

    Yes, all very true. If the aircraft stays in the air for the correct distance and then lands safely, it is a far more comfortable experience. I recall one notably rough sea journey between the two islands of New Zealand. I dared not go to the toilet, and the Editor told me that many passengers had disgorged their stomach contents there. Rather stinky, apparently. Sitting towards the front of the ferry you could enjoy the spectacle of watching the waves wash over the bow. Up and then down the boat went, and fortunately no matter how rough the sea was, we didn’t encounter a rogue wave. Ook!

    Lewis, they kept me on hold for three hours today whilst I enquired about the poor state of the returned hour. Being a little bit irritated by the time the line was answered, I may have used a family unfriendly word – only once. That was enough for them to hang up and block my number. Guess I’ll have to deal with the scrapes and dents. Are you sure you had no hand in those? 🙂

    Hehe! Yes, it’s sometimes hard to recall all of the finer details with systems, and you’ve mentioned pre-heating the air in the flue so that it draws correctly. And you called it correctly, hubris got the bloke in the Jack London story. That state of mind probably has a high body count.

    Far out, folks probably do a cut and run. I can understand how the idea of ‘bright lights, big city’ could look, but it’s possible the concept may be greater than the reality.

    I can’t argue with you, and it makes no sense to me about making things look not nice.

    I see what you mean about the aliens, and it’s a weird angle to view a tree fern from, but gives a nice close up of the fronds unfurling. I’m suggesting an alternative theory in this case, in that your aliens from Close Encounters of the Third Kind, had sampled too much of the air, and were in the process of barfing onto the camera lens when that fern photo was taken. It’s an action shot! Look at the nice aliens, hope they don’t bite.

    The three chickens have every reason to be apprehensive. There’s too much chicken intrigue going on in that enclosure, but this always happens. Eventually they all get over it.

    Hey, it’s a pretty funny line about uncertain parentage. I’d heard it used a long time ago, and it kind of stuck. Life is sometimes a series of encountering useful one-liners.

    It was hard not to notice that ol’ George was also quite handy in the garden and seems to have had a passion for it. Did you get much done getting the beds ready for the growing season? And was the soil saved during the replacement of raised bed edges?

    Got smashed with unexpected paid work this morning. I’d intended to loaf off and instead do hard work around the property. Oh well, I got there eventually after lunch. Moved six fruit trees: 3x olives (two of them were quite large) + a loquat + 1x fig + a small apple was permanently removed. It was surprising that the soil in the orchard was sort of dry. After all the rain, I’d imagined the soil held more water. Oh well, whatever the case may be, the soil looked and smelled good. All the trees enjoyed a good feed and watering in. It is dark early now that we’ve got our lost hour back.



  6. Hi Inge,

    It is an unusual camera angle for that photo of the tree ferns crown. Mostly tree ferns are photographed when they are upright and have produced a decent arrangement of fronds. I don’t actually know whether the folks who harvested the fern removed the fronds, or whether the nursery folks did that work. Probably the harvesters though. Being over five feet, it is an old plant (maybe greater than fifty years). It is an interesting plant too, and the Latin name is Dicksonia Antarctica, which sought of indicates that the origins of the species are very old indeed. Did you know that the plant has naturalised near to your part of the world in the milder areas of Britain where it thrives and often self-sows in Cornish and Scottish west coast gardens?

    No, other parts of the world have their own varieties of tree ferns, but not of this soft trunked variety. And I believe only Australia and New Zealand have cool climate / temperate varieties. The rest are in tropical and sub tropical areas. I’m uncertain as to why this would be the case, although they do like a lot of water and grow best in high rainfall areas.

    When they are in dense plantings in gullies, they look amazing. Almost prehistoric.

    Wise to add in that disclaimer about ‘pride coming before a fall’. It is very possible that electricity in remote rural areas might be a case of ‘flash in the pan’.

    I moved a number of fruit trees this afternoon after lunch. The weather was perfect for the work. Pleasant sunshine and not a breath of wind. Fear not though, a tiny bit of rain fell overnight. One of the bonuses of digging soil is that you can see how the top soil is building, and it is a variable process.



  7. Yo, Chris – Pie or whinge. Either / or. Pick one. 🙂

    People wrote lots of tripe, about Orwell. One biographer only mentioned his wife, three times, in a full length biography. And she was pretty crucial, to his work. The Marxists were always lying about him, as, he wanted a kind of socialism, without Marxist or fascist leanings. And then there’s just plain old jealousy among authors. Yes, his wife worked in the Censorship Department … in the Ministry of Food. 🙂 Yes, Orwell was quit the gardener, and even kept chickens, in London, during the Blitz.

    This professor (Prof. Michael Shelden), has pretty much made a lifelong study of Orwell. Before they were gone, he interviewed many people who knew Orwell. People who fought in the trenches with him, in Spain. People who were at the boarding school he was at, at the same time. Old lady friends. One old romantic interest even had a copy of “Down and Out in Paris and London,” that Orwell had annotated, as to which parts were true, and which parts he embellished a bit. Very little, it turns out. Recently uncovered letters and documents.

    Well, I’m sure you’ve heard of how people are always forcing unwanted manuscripts, on unsuspecting authors. 🙂 And maybe Orwell just needed … to build a fire.

    Speaking of Big Brother, it turns out that Scotland Yard had an eye on Orwell, from early days. And, before and during World War II, his mail was opened and read. Once, two detectives showed up at his cottage door, to seize a couple of naughty banned books, he had ordered from France. They were by Henry Miller, and he was writing an article about that author.

    About that hour. Not our problem. Perhaps you should consult with your solicitor. 🙂

    Well, you know young folks. Have to get out and find out, on their own. I certainly did.

    The alien mothership in “Close Encounters of the Third Kind,” was lit up like a Christmas tree. Going to light yours, at Christmas?

    Oh, yes. Garden soil is being saved. Heap it up in the middle, and I moved several buckets to my stock tank bed. Saving a lot of the bio mass, too. I’m sure interesting things will be popping up, here and there. Last night I took down the rope lattice work, at one end of my bed. I guess the Master Gardeners are gong to replace it. I saved all the eye screws, but I think when it’s replaced, they’re going to put in hog fencing. Then I won’t have to replace the hemp twine, every year or two. I also dug out some sections, away from the top stringer. I have two more nights to work on it, and I think I’m on schedule. The soil looks pretty good, and I’ve seen worms, here and there.

    I’d saved some Vinca. One for me, and potted some up for the Master Gardener sale. Dug the rest of it out. Interesting stuff. Also called Creeping Periwinkle and is “…in the dogbane family.”

    Last night I watched a remastered copy of “Logan’s Run.” Sci-fi from 1976. Not bad. A bit ernest in parts. I’m winding up the Orwell. The end is in sight. We’re coming up on the publication of “Animal Farm,” and “1984.” His wife has unexpectedly died, and he has an adopted son, to raise. Lew

  8. Chris,

    I’m back. That was a brutal lost week. Nuff said. UGG.

    There IS a way to have both your whinge and pie. Bake a whinge pie. Dunno what ingredients to have in there, but the idea sounds right.

    The very first thought I had when I saw the lead picture: “It’s a TRIFFID tree!” Careful with that thing, okay? It could get out of hand. 😉

    The new drainage basin looks good. That is a great location for the Triffid Tree, er, the fern tree. Will the other ferns in the basin be jealous of the fern tree’s size? As to the culvert that you placed there? I see no culvert in this week’s photos, just some type of pipe pointing down into the basin’s rocks. Culvert? What culvert?

    The old middle school that was near here, for ages 11 to 14, looked like a prison. Felt like a prison inside, too. A replacement school was recently constructed and the old one was torn down. I expected the new one to look a bit nicer, as another nearby middle school’s rebuild was okay. Nope. The new one looks just as much like a prison as the old one. Sad, really. They should be able to construct a school that doesn’t look like a prison.

    Ruby looks very intrigued by the chickens. There are chickens on one of our normal walking routes. Avalanche has a similarly intrigued look when we walk by the chickens.

    It snowed for several hours Sunday afternoon and evening. We got maybe 1 cm on the grass. The official weather station is about 100m higher elevation. There was 6cm of snow there. It was snowing on our walk on Monday, also, but not sticking. Winter doesn’t want to quit.


  9. Hi Lewis,

    Oh my goodness, this does seems like you’ve presented it as an either/or problem, but it might be a both possibility? 😉 Man, I’m torn and don’t know what to do here? Which would you choose? The pies are good.

    How could a biographer not mention his wife. From my brief reading, she went to Spain with him. Far out! Not something I’d ask the Editor to do. And anyway, we’ll try not to add to the tripe noise as that would be a bad thing. Just getting a feel for the inner workings of the bloke – and they can’t ever be verified – I kind of felt that he was an idealist and the book we spoke of represented a pure form of ideology as he saw it, thus my discomfit at the authors words. Yes, I can see that he would have been hated on a few fronts, but he was the real deal that bloke, and didn’t shy away from seeking experience.

    Hehe! Thanks to you I now have a sort of mental vision of ol’ George looking over at his writing companion and saying: “What is this rubbish?”, before then using the manuscript as kindling – an unexpected move worthy of Sun Tzu. The story of him doing that act would certainly have ensured that the number of unsolicited manuscripts reduced. 😉 And hey, I read during a particularly cold winter he burnt furniture so as to stay warm – not something people would think about doing these days.

    Yes, I don’t doubt that at all. Man, I’ve heard our lot down here taking an interest in comedians of all people. Honestly, are they bored or something, and what do they do all day? Only a wealthy society can send people like that on fishing expeditions.

    Well, I guess that’s it then, isn’t it? 🙂 I shall politely drop the conversation on the minor damage to the loaned hour.

    I hear you about getting out there and experiencing. There was a great line from The Breakfast Club film – which you’ve brought to my mind a few weeks ago – Well everyone’s home lives are unsatisfying. If it wasn’t, people would live with there parents forever… Man, cut loose too, and as early as possible. That was a good thing.

    Thanks for the suggestion about lighting up the tree fern. Hmm. We do actually have a couple of LED spotlights trained onto a massive eucalyptus tree. The bats and owls love the free energy because the lights attract all manner of insects. It’s like a feeding frenzy. Of course if the zombies or Triffids ever got loose, the light would have to go – for obvious reasons. But for now, it’s all rather attractive. The owl photo from a week or two back was enjoying the benefits of the spotlights.

    Excellent work with saving the soil. And heaping it up into the middle will save a lot of trouble – if the materials had been removed. Hope the refurbishment of the raised beds goes smoothly.

    Do you use the rope lattice for climbers like peas and beans? I tend to grow those plants up heavy gauge chicken wire. Wow, hog fencing looks strong. That’s the sort of steel welded mesh stuff we’d use for the hops and passionfruit vines. Worms are a great sign. I take it to mean that there is stuff for them to eat. Those little guys do the hard yards in the soil.

    Perriwinkle is what the plant is known as down here, and I know of a local bloke who grows it, but we don’t grow it here. Dogs bane has an ominous sound to the name. Not sure what is going on there?

    How did the film Logan’s Run hold up? It’s one of those sci-fi’s I’ve read much about, but have never seen. Education, these days… I can see how the earnest scenes would have come to be because the film presents a moral dilemma.

    Ol’ George had a very rough road, but many of the hard tracks he chose to head out upon having somewhat of an idea as to what he’d face. The motorcycle incident to me displayed a certain sort of indifference to the body which kept him alive. I wasn’t sure what to make of it.



  10. Hi DJ,

    Yes, some weeks are best not repeated.

    Hehe! I see that the week has done your sense of humour no harm. A whinge pie indeed. What would be in such a thing? Maybe a side serving of, oh here we go: Choice quotes from the fictional character Holden Caulfield. Those things could use a good baking, but who’d eat it?

    DJ, I hadn’t exactly looked that closely at the tree fern, but you might be right there. I could be walking on the adjacent path one day in the far future, blissfully unaware of the risk. Then! A frond swishes out, stings me into incoherence and then slowly drags me into the drainage basin and the tree fern feeds, whilst I’m alert but unable to move. Such is the lack of phosphates in this country that it is a likely problem. Triffids are pesky critters. 🙂

    Thanks for that. I had an idea for the drainage basin, and the project has turned out pretty much exactly as I’d imagined it. Infrastructure can look attractive, and it is near to the front of the house. The other ferns will eventually have spans up to about a metre in diameter so I think they’ll get over it – maybe. The pipe pouring down into the basin is 150mm, and the culvert under the path is a 300mm culvert. It’s nicely hidden out of sight isn’t it? I could probably do the same for the upper pipe, but that might cause it to become blocked via obstructions. Hmm. Dunno.

    It’s a bit of a problem that, but maybe the folks who design such buildings are sending a strong message? Like, you’ll need to know how such places look and work where you’re going son. I too have wondered at the aesthetics of such buildings, but then probably once you get to a certain sized structure, economics drives a particular outcome? It’s probably not much good for the kids mental health either.

    Yeah, funny about that – dogs love chickens. And it is a truth universally acknowledged that a lot of things taste like chicken. Avalanche has a more sensitive snotter than you or I. She knows.

    Brr! Stay warm, and remember to look after yourself.



  11. Yo, Chris – I’d stay home and forgo the pies. The pies will always be there, but the leaf peppers, as with a plague of locusts, will pass on.

    Orwell’s “1984” was a warning, against that kind of regime. Yes, that very cold winter was really bad. Not only did he burn some of the furniture, but also some of his son’s toys. He quit thought peat was superior to coal. Not as much heat, but easier and cleaner to handle.

    After his wife’s death, Susan Watson came to be Orwell’s housekeeper and nurse for his son. The good professor, interviewed her, extensively. And, they often exchanged letters, as other things came to her mind.

    When Orwell was writing “1984”, he moved to the Scottish Island of Jura. The nearest neighbor was a mile away, and the nearest shop, 20 miles. Mail came, maybe twice a week. He really loved it, there. The only way he could get around, was by motorcycle. Was he being a hermit? No. The place he rented hadn’t been lived in, in 15 years. It was big, with 5 bedrooms. People were constantly coming and going.

    Someone made the comment that Orwell was the only intellectual she knew, who could repair a fuse or fix a toaster. 🙂 . I’d say Orwell, wasn’t so much indifferent to his body, as daring. According to the Professor, his son became a unpretentious guy, who was an engineer.

    Well, I dug another section of the raised bed, out away from the top stringer. One more section to go. I used the lattice for green beans. And, also the cherry tomato seemed quit fond of climbing up it. You know, the green bean seed I had saved, didn’t germinate all that well. It was ok, but nothing to write home about. Well. I found out yesterday, that I should have popped them in an envelope, and left them in the fridge, for awhile. Sigh.

    Well, it’s called dogbane, as it’s poisonous to dogs. Now if you could just discover some ratbane? That grows in the ground, instead of trundling around on four legs. 🙂

    “Logan’s Run” was ok. Worth a look, but not worth a bowl of popcorn. Farrah Fawcett Majors has a small part. Plays the archetypal dumb blond.

    No biscuits and gravy, this morning 🙁 . One usual maker was sick, and her backup has got a job. Sigh. They’re talking about closing the Club, during the week, from 1-4. No meetings at that time, and it’s pretty quiet. Lew

  12. Chris,

    A pie filled with Caulfield’s remarks? Remember, you are what you eat. Would anybody want to eat those remarks and become, well, Holden Caulfield?

    I would take precautions about the tree fern until it’s obvious that it’s not a triffid. Like, keeping some distance, perhaps. Never turn your back on it for another. If you catch some rats, maybe throw them at the tree fern, watch what happens.

    That upper pipe doesn’t look bad. Maybe the ferns will help it blend in even more after they’ve grown. A plugged culvert is a bad thing. Hmmmm, is it possible to add some color to it, make it look sorta like the rocks? Sort of like camouflage. But seriously, it doesn’t look bad.

    I read the article you sent me a link for about that giant pothole. Takes a lot of water to do something like that. We had something similar occur in the northwest part of the county circa 2015 after a record setting March – 3 times as much rain as normal. But the pothole in your area dwarfed the one hereabouts.

    The school that was recently torn down? I attended it for a few weeks. It was NOT good for my mental health. Looked like a prison from the outside. Many of the students acted more like inmates than students. I developed an ulcer in just 6 weeks. 4 weeks after that, I transferred to a small Catholic school. Much better fit for me.

    I had 2 teachers there that year. Two classes from one and 4 from the other. Interestingly, the teacher of the 4 classes was from Whittier, California. That’s where I was born. We lived near the end of a cul-de-sac. Teacher had grown up in a house at the beginning of the cul-de-sac. I didn’t remember her, but she knew my parents. Go figure.


  13. Hi DJ,

    It’s an intriguing question, and the answer may be that a person could then whinge like Holden and yet eat their pie all at the same time. Multi taking perhaps? 😉 You and I are in the clear here as the facts speak for themselves! Spare a thought for those who’ve eaten the pie, because there might be some undocumented side effects like becoming instantly dislikeable. Haven’t we all met a few such folks?

    I’ll bear your Triffid warning in mind, and many thanks for that. One of the fronds is in the process of unfurling. I’ll try and take some regular photos of the process. The tree fern would be dirty for the rats.

    Yeah, that’s what I thought as well about the upper pipe. I wasn’t quite sure how to disguise it, so decided instead to make it obvious. The much larger culvert leading under the path is harder to notice as it is recessed into the rock face. Paint doesn’t adhere to the PVC pipe surface very well, so white it is.

    I recall you mentioning the pothole. Such epic repair jobs stick in your mind. Did your lot end up bringing in truck loads of soil, or could the missing soil be still found in the area and recovered? I read about an arboretum earlier today, which in the same floods had all the mulch they’d carefully applied washed away. Some things are notably hard to stop.

    Ah, that’s an unfortunate experience, and some environments can be rather toxic. Makes you wonder whether the institutional surrounds influenced the culture of the place? But it’s probably not worth dwelling upon the matter, and glad you got out. They’re not a bad option.

    You sent me off to read about Whittier, California. To me it looks like rather a hot and dry climate. The list of top 10 employers made little sense to me: Health + Education + Supermarkets. Hmm.

    Mostly did paid work today until almost 7pm. It happens. Looks like we’re going to have a very cold and wet Easter. Melbourne could have coldest Easter in 80 years. Still, things could be worse. In the two states to the north, they have super cell warnings in place. Yikes!



  14. Hi Lewis,

    Thanks for the advice, and warning. I tend to believe that the leaf change tourists may have been a moment in time, but who knows? It’s very possible that economic realities might put an end to it all. It’s hard not to notice that oil prices are yet again on the rise due to I’m guessing a heady combination of geopolitics, decline and general silly business. Locusts do pass on, I’ve seen it happen. Interestingly, I’ve taken particular note that during the past year there have been far less bicycle riders pitting themselves against the mountain incline.

    I accept your view in this matter of ol’ George and will let my opinions go. Hardly surprising, but peat as a material is rarely seen down under. Some of the higher rainfall areas do have peat bogs, but the stuff is very uncommon and certainly wouldn’t be burned deliberately. Over the years I’ve read a few stories about people inadvertently stepping into a burning peat pit. Not good for them, and the pits are really hard to know about in advance. Firewood is cleaner again as a fuel source, but providing such fuel for a city as large as London would probably not be possible. Makes your mind boggle doesn’t it?

    It’s funny but I was discussing the subject of cleaner air, water, soils etc. recently with a mate, and one of the things we’d off-shored when manufacturing headed to shores with cheaper labour, was pollution. People usually forget about that stuff.

    Actually, I’d read that about the housekeeper and thought that the author was very lucky to have obtained such a person given the circumstances. I noted he’d made some proposals which were knocked back.

    Thanks for the additional detail on the little cottage way up in the north, and also how it worked. Certainly the environment might have assisted the authors ailments, if he’d also kept warm. I also had the impression that he wasn’t short of visitors and am still chuckling about your observation of the other authors manuscript which was used as kindling. Bizarrely, this is a topic which has been on my mind of late. We also get a number of visitors, but none stay, mostly because I discourage the notion. Hosting is a real skill, and few folks leave the place here without having had a pleasant experience, but hosting people staying for a longer period of time is an entirely different set of skills of which I have absolutely no experience. I had to have a frank conversation on this subject yesterday and am considering making an exception. Dunno, being something of person who enjoys social stuff, but also needs time out to recover is the classic definition of an introvert. 🙂 Oh well, this life thing, not easy and stuff.

    Oh yes, I too wonder about that issue. Why should a person not be able to conduct a coherent conversation upon a topic, and also able to construct a house if so required? One of the most curious aspects of this journey has been that plenty of people look down upon us for physically performing the work around here. I just don’t get it, and you probably know more about this subject than I, but I tell you truly, status ain’t worth the paper it’s written on. If it was so valuable, I wouldn’t have walked away from it.

    I can see that about being ‘daring’, and that feeds into the authors experience. It’s a great way to describe the process of absorption, and is perhaps the word ‘visceral’ correct to use in this context? It is not lost on me that some authors have a more active imagination, or have a keen eye for observation, or even empathy, and therefore don’t need to subject their bodies to trials. You’ve got me thinking about this matter, and you’ll note that there is a background theme of music in the blog which rarely is spoken about here. But music provides a certain amount of emotional content, and almost a vibe, mojo or whatever you want to call it. I dunno why that would be, I’ve observed people being unmoved by music and that’s cool. But how much did the lift off scene in the Star Trek First Contact get zinged up by ‘Magic Carpet Ride’ playing loudly in the background? It’s well done, that’s for sure. 🙂

    Good to hear. There’s enough pretensions around. Shame we can’t tap into that energy source because then our fortunes would be made! What do you reckon?

    I’m assuming that the top stringer in the raised beds are beginning to rot away? It’s a big job replacing them, and I hear you about the digging and scraping away of the soil. We’ve moved a few raised garden beds over the years, and it’s a hard job.

    Climbing structures for tomatoes is a good idea, and I’m thinking along those lines for next season, although a few of the plants seem like they’re determinate varieties and so form a bush.

    Ook! Mate, there’s always something like that stratifying of the seeds in the refrigerator. Yup, hard to remember all the details. Oh well.

    Ratbane! Imagine that plant – the thing would be a toxic monster. Ooo, I was reading a story earlier today about how some Datura leaves ended up in a spinach mixture. Not good, but fortunately the 190 or so people survived the unintended bad trip.

    Ah, I appreciate the film review. Hey, there is a logical inconsistency with the story, because after all, if the blonde in the film was that dumb, how come she was trying to escape? 😉 The Editor watched the Handmaids tale series and remarked how weird it was that the ladies escaped, then went back. Hmm. A complicated mindset.

    Oh no! I thought the Club was earning some good mad cash from the biscuits and gravy? Maybe the hint needs to be seeded: Some folks enjoy the quieter moments?



  15. Yo, Chris – Yes, I read an article about the shudders rippling through the oil world. Sigh. I’m glad I don’t use to much of the stuff.

    I finished the Orwell lectures. Some random thoughts … Orwell used a lot of war time London, and post-war years, in a lot of his backdrop for 1984. The random missiles, shortages, body counts. He found Jura to be a real relief from the ongoing grimness. There was a quote by him, in a letter, that life was a lot better, up there. Even food wasn’t in such short supply. There was the bounty of the sea, and plenty of farms around. Although not detailed, he also said fuel was easier to get. And, though not mentioned, I bet he kept his own chickens 🙂 Also, Jura was generally warmer, due to the Gulf Stream.

    Another thing I found interesting, was that Orwell wrote (as far as is books go), mostly novels. Due to the sensitivity of the libel laws. I think that’s why he had such a lark, with “Animal Farm.” He said something to the effect that pigs can’t sue. 🙂 I hadn’t realized it, but he worked in a bookstore, in the mid 1930s. I’ll have to see if I can find the essay he wrote about it. And, his novel, “Keep the Aspidistras Flying,” covers that period.

    Speaking of pretensions, on the recommendation of my Idaho friends, last night I watched “Crazy Rich Asians.” It was ok, I guess, but I found the displays of wealth to be obscene.

    I finished up digging out the garden stringers, last night. To celebrate, had a junk dinner. Pigs in a Blanket! 🙂 Master Gardeners showed up, this morning, with the top stringers. Beams. I asked if they were planning on storming a castle, and using them for battering rams. I didn’t stay out long, this morning. Backs a little hinky, and I felt a bit in the way. Chain saws are being deployed.

    My Cherry tomatoes grew right up the support, to 6′ high. I think they would have kept right on going, had additional support been available. I got a bumper crop, off that one plant.

    Well, no one shows up for those quiet afternoon times. And, with the lack of volunteers for the counter, something has to give. As the weather gets nicer, it will be even harder to round up volunteers.

    We’re getting a food box, this afternoon. Or rather, two, as it’s the one with the produce. Report to follow. 🙂

    Last night I watched the first episode of the newish series, “Star Trek: Strange New Worlds.” It’s Captain Pike, so, in time, it predates the original series. I found it kind of quaint. 🙂 Not all the golly-gee, whiz-bang of the later series. Not a holo deck, in sight. Based on only a first episode, I quit like it. Lew

  16. Chris,

    The big pothole/gap in the road was filled with new material they brought in. The old material was disappeared by the flood. That was a lot of dirt and rock and gravel. And one new enormous culvert.

    Jeepers! I left Whittier for Spokane in 1967. My recollection is that the biggest employers were education, health care, supermarkets and orange groves. Of course, the orange groves had all turned into shopping or homes by 1976. Very sad losing the orange groves in Orange County. Ironic.

    Hmmmm, that does sound rather cold for April in Melbourne. Easter here should be rainy with similar temperatures to what is forecast for Melbourne – typical April weather for us.

    Today was one of those fun days. Sunny, light breeze in the morning, very enjoyable time sitting outdoors with a cup of coffee. Then began the Predator War: Raptor Versus Corvid. Seems one of the local Cooper’s Hawks got too close to the large Ponderosa pine that has crows nesting in it. A single crow took great offense and chased the hawk. The hawk was rather unperturbed, outsmarting and outflying the crow. Any time the crow got close, the hawk suddenly surged higher, forcing the crow to approach from beneath the hawk. The hawk then extended its talons. The crow soon gave up, the hawk drifting away. I noticed several Cooper’s Hawks soaring above the neighborhood when on this afternoon’s walk with Avalanche.

    Okay, time for a list. Well, two lists.

    List #1: What to do if pulled over by police when you’re driving.
    1. Be exceedingly polite.
    2. Keep hands in plain sight.
    3. If you need to reach into the jockey box or a pocket, explain that to the police officer, wait for the okay to proceed, then move slowly.
    4. Stay polite and calm.
    5. Do NOT argue.

    List # 2: What Not to do when pulled over by the police
    1. Do not be rude.
    2. Do not be argumentative.
    3. Do not get out of your vehicle unless prompted by the police.
    4. Under NO circumstances do you pull out a gun and wave it in the police officer’s face.

    Sadly, someone about 1.5 km from here was pulled over for a traffic violation this afternoon and promptly pulled a gun and waved it in the officer’s face. The idiot is lucky to be alive, as the officer showed great restraint. Eventually there were at least 8 officers on the scene aiming pistols and shotguns at the offending driver, who decided to drop the weapon and surrender.

    I understand there is a full moon tonight.


  17. Hi DJ,

    The power of water to move materials (to the land of elsewhere!) is really quite amazing. Even shallow but fast moving water can lead a person to lose their balance, so I’d hate to experience what a really powerful flood would do. If it can do that to a road, well us humans barely stand a chance. Bringing in new materials is an expensive process. Yikes! It’s hard not to wonder at how authorities budgets are handling all these repair jobs from extreme weather events? I heard a rough figure mentioned about such works costing 30% over what was in the allocations for the works.

    Hey, the same thing happened in the big smoke – houses ate the fertile orchard land which used to surround the city. The houses which ate the land! Sounds like a horror film don’t you reckon? And yes, it is ironic. Oranges can’t just grow anywhere.

    Handing over the nice weather batten to you lot. Remember to look after it, and don’t complain about the scratches and chewed bits – had nothing to do with me.

    The hawks and crows are well balanced in any match off, and I gather from your description that the crows shoo the hawks on their way, but otherwise do little real damage. The much smaller magpies (also Corvids) will do much the same to the much larger Wedge Tail Eagles, to about the same effect. They’ve probably been testing their skills against each other for millions of years.

    Yikes! Yes, probably not wise to act like a numpty in such a situation, and he was lucky that things did not end up worse. One of the benefits of people not carrying down here is that such situations rarely escalate to that bitter end. Still best not to poke such people, you never know what reaction you may elicit.

    It’s funny about the observed effect the full moon has on people. Always exciting, and maybehaps the gravity of the moon has for some folks lifted blood higher into parts of the brain which ordinarily wouldn’t receive blood. The sheer startlement of having an idea – any idea – can lead to psychotic behaviour. This effect is known, but rarely spoken about.

    It was a bit smoky here this morning, and one of the fuel reduction burns far to the west was big enough that it could be seen on satellite images: Vic fuel reduction burns visible from space.



  18. Hi Lewis,

    Yeah, it’s a bit of a problem that few folks have even thought about. But even a 1% reduction in supply is enough to cause dramas. It is possible that lot couldn’t keep up supply anyway. I see the land of stuff is continuing to build large coal fired power stations. Shame they don’t have huge reserves and makes me wonder what they’ll feed them. It’s a complex old world out there. My thinking in the matter is that we’ll run short, long before we run out.

    I can see that London during the blitz provided the backdrop to the novel 1984, and had thought so whilst reading the book. The inexplicable bombings, the body count, damage to buildings, the utter senselessness of it all – and people carrying on their lives. The author tended to portray the proles in the story as probably the class to be part of. I was always a touch mystified why the protagonist put up with the rubbish he seems to have considered to be normal. The mention of the blitz sent me on an interweb rabbit hole. A very high body count, but compared to the size of the population it wasn’t as high as initial estimates believed it may be. And interestingly too, I got the impression that many found a sense of purpose during that time and mucked in. You often see that here after major disasters where the community pulls together (not everyone of course, but enough do).

    Yes, I bet he kept chickens there. I hadn’t considered that the Gulf Stream would provide such a beneficial impact that far north.

    Libel laws can be rather pesky in Commonwealth countries. Pigs fortunately can’t sue! 🙂 Some of the things I read from your country would provoke a massive and immediate legal reaction down here. You may note my own regular use of the softening words such as: possibly, believe, alleged etc… I don’t use them because I enjoy being wishy-washy, it’s merely a common sense response to a harsh system.

    Ah, I went to the cinema to see that film. The container ship scene looked even biggerer on the cinema screen. A bonkers film, and had some laughs. It touched on class issues I believe. One of the actors was a local comedian – Ronny Chieng. I have a vague memory I saw him perform at the comedy festival. He was pretty funny.

    Pigs in a blanket is perhaps the US version of a sausage roll?

    Hehe! That’s a funny quip about storming the castle using those stringers. Perhaps they were going to make a Monty Python Trojan Horse similar to the one from the Quest for the Holy Grail? Interestingly, the sleepers we used for raised garden beds also required a chainsaw to cut. Hugely thick timbers. Hope your back is feeling less wonky today?

    I’m coming around to the idea of using tomato supports. We’d run the experiment this year, and the vines on the supports produced better and the fruit ripened quicker. There’s something in that.

    Ouch. It happens with the Club, and you can only do so much.

    I moved six large rocks today and continued work on the new low gradient ramp. Also did the final bit of excavations on the new site in front of the large shed. And put a layer of toppings on the excavation site. In a nick of time too – it’s raining tonight and will continue to do so for days. So much for the warm and dry autumn the forecast promised – didn’t happen. This morning was smoky too from burn offs way over in the western part of the state – which incidentally is the most western and southern end of the Great Dividing Range which runs all the way up the east coast of the continent. Hate to think what might have caused such a long mountain range. Ook!

    Did you end up getting two food boxes?

    Good to hear about the new series. I’d been wondering about that story line, and apparently in a nod to common sense, they’ve returned to an episodic format. I’d call that an improvement on long and complicated story lines which take themselves far too seriously.

    Went to the pub for dinner and a pint too. The place was packed with locals. Go figure. Where had they been all hiding these last few months?



  19. Hi, Chris:

    Two weeks of rain happened to us once, so I greatly sympathize. The power was out, too, but we had water! Still, I thought I was going to go mad. Starting and tending the fires has always been mostly my duty. No more, for now, as I have too much else to do and am away from home so much. I thought it was just me that stuffed up the first couple of fires each year, then I realized that it always happened and so must have something to do with the dampers being closed all summer.

    I don’t know how you have any back left with all the rock hauling you do and now a giant, hideous Star Trek tree fern (at least in your opening photo). It does look more promising set up in its new home.

    Mr. Diggy loves his diesel, too. So much so that he drinks a lot of it . . . Is your crushed rock fairly local? Our comes from a couple of counties over.

    And thank you that, though time was in short supply, you still wrote us an essay, with photos. I much enjoyed it.

    I’m so happy to see the yellow trailer again! It’s a real smile-bringer.

    Rats, Ruby, my sweet. Good girl!

    How great to have some new chickens. The three who are meeting the boss chook seem a little uncertain as she gives them the fish eye.

    Where I am, I would have had to plant out the winter greens a month or more earlier. I am already planning it now.

    Thanks for all the flowers, especially the succulents.


  20. Yo, Chris – Well, as far as the Land of Stuff goes, I see a news item, from time to time, where they’re getting business partnerships going with all kinds of countries. Africa, a lot. There’s a recent bill here, up for review, to forbid those folks from buying our farmland.

    That’s why I find the WWII home front, so interesting. The idea of “all pulling together.” Grace under pressure. How what’s really important, rises to the top. Just saw an article last night, about George VI, and his wife, during WWII. They really got out there, rubbed shoulders with the common folk and “pressed the flesh.” Drove their security details, bonkers. Hitler referred to the Queen Mother as “the most dangerous woman in Europe.” 🙂 Due to her morale boosting.

    Yeah, here you can say just about any nonsense about anyone, and get away with it. And now, with the internet, you can do it anonymously! 🙂

    Yes, pretty much like your sausage rolls. Though, as with a lot of things, it depends on how much effort you put into it. And, ingredients used. I did cheap and fast. I used on of those “smack on the counter edge” cylinders for the dough. And the weenies I used were the cheap ones. Still, tasty.

    I went out to see how the garden beds were coming, last night. The two long beds (not mine), look to be done. They really look nice. I e-mailed a couple of The Gardners, so see if they’re done. And did they want me to rake out the piles of dirt, left in the center of the beds. Maybe add some of that compost, they brought. The weather for the next week is forecast to be filthy, but I can probably get out there between rain storms.

    I talked to our Postie, yesterday. He and his wife are also doing a lot of “contouring” as they are also on a slope. I relayed some of your adventures in earth moving. 🙂

    I watched some more of the new Star Trek series, last night. Yes, weekly episodes keep things moving along. LOL. Being an earlier time period, any of the characters that are carried over into the later series, look impossibly young. Uhura looks to be about 16. The guy running the transporter looks about 14. 🙂 Capt. Kirk’s father has just joined the crew. Hasn’t been given much to do, yet.

    So … food boxes. As you remember, * goes to the swap table, # goes to the Club and+ I keep. The high point, to me, were the eggs. 1 doz., large brown eggs. Pasture raised, organic, from “happy hens.” +++. As far as the produce went, there was a bag of nice looking Fuji apples. Though the notation “Coated with Food Grade Vegetable Oil and/or shellac based wax resin.” (!) +. Haven’t decided what to do with the rest of it. Four nice baking potatoes, a head of red cabbage, 2 red onions, a nice bunch of celery and a small acorn squash.

    There was a pack of four square bread products, from a Yuppie food store. Yuppie bread? It’s called Cibatta (?). Trendy now, I guess. Lots of seeds. Made two friend egg sandwiches, with them, last night. Tasty. + A pack of 12, frozen ground pork patties. Sigh. Haven’t decided. 2 boxes corn flakes cereal #, 2 qts. shelf stable milk #, a 2 lb. brick of cheese product #, 2 1lb. packs of spaghetti pasta * (there’s plenty at the Club), 2 2lb. bags of dried white beans #, 1 packet each of shelf stable chili and beef stew #, 1 box mac and cheese *.

    Onto the tins. I haven’t decided where those will go. Need to check my pantry and, The Club. Potatoes (4), Corn (4), Mixed Fruit (2). One each of Pears, Salmon, Pinto Beans, Tomato Sauce and Black Beans. And, that’s it. Another food box, will come from another source, on the 21st. Lew

  21. Hi Pam,

    We’re dodging, ducking and weaving the rain in order to get stuff done, and today was no exception. Almost half an inch of rain fell. But fear not, we prevailed and got drenched for our efforts. The new low gradient ramp project is unfolding.

    I hear you about that. The power in this area went out for five days about maybe two years ago now. Bonkers. Glad to hear that you still had water, although well pumps make me somewhat nervous.

    Really? Wow, both Sandra and I share the task of lighting fires – the winters are cold enough here that we both need to know how to do that task, quickly and correctly. How’s your mother going? And glad that the home fires continue to burn whilst you look after what needs doing.

    The flue here heats up pretty quickly, so in our case it’s more a matter of not attending to the finer details and/or rushing the early stages of the process – like that unfortunate and soon dead bloke in the old Jack London story. Hey, we can make a rookie mistake and recover, but if our lives depended upon it, trust me, I’d give the job and surroundings my full attention. Burn off restrictions are lifting on Wednesday. About time, need I mention it is rather damp outdoors now?

    I better not respond to that note about the strong back lest I jinx myself. 😉 Honestly, I never stopped working physically hard from a very young age, but have always paid attention to what my body was telling me about its status. I learned that trick as a teenager when doing long distance running competitively. You can also learn to ignore the signals – not recommended but plenty of people choose that option. I stopped long distance running at the first signs of knee troubles – the older runners I knew didn’t make that choice, and paid a hefty price. That’s called adaptability on my part. Have you not noticed that we’re modifying and upgrading our infrastructure, whilst we can? We ain’t gettin’ younger!

    The tree fern is in the process of unfurling a frond, and two more are lining up behind it. You may note that this place is not called cactus-acres! 🙂 Hehe! I deliberately took the photo to resemble a barfing alien, but how often does a person get to peer into the crown of a fifty year old plus tree fern?

    Diesel is good. Petrol is about 90% as good too. Use wisely, but try telling that to all the leaf change tourists up this (who got rained out today).

    I used to use the really local crushed rock with lime which originates from the nearby town of Lancefield (where is Guinevere I ask you? Sorry for the bad joke but whenever I’m in that town I think of Lancelot). The supply is usually good, but not always, so we had to begin using a similar product from the other side of the big smoke. It’s a bit better product actually.

    Thanks! 🙂 Always a pleasure to chat with you too.

    The yellow trailer enjoys plenty of smile bringing attention. I need to replace the steel sheet in the tray, but there is always a long list of projects which need doing.

    Ruby may one day receive a title. She’s a cheeky minx that Kelpie. Her nickname should have been ‘Spice’ due to her cheekiness.

    The new chickens are slowly integrating with the flock. The existing lot are pretty mean though to the newcomers.

    Hehe! Pam, I’m so busted. If I’d have had more time, I’d have gotten the winter seeds begun a month earlier too! Life, complicated… 🙂

    Do we need to plant more succulents? This is the question!



  22. Hi Lewis,

    Yup, the folks in the land of stuff don’t appear to have been idle. Oh well, what will be, will be on that front. The foreign land ownership thing was an issue here a few years ago. From what I understand, there is a purchase review board that folks from overseas need to navigate in order to obtain approval. Imagine having to get the approval from faceless bureaucrats?

    It is an interesting perspective on how a community responds when under pressure – and usually it’s pretty good. As I was saying, you see a similar thing after big bush fires where communities have been severely impacted, and eventually the goodwill dissipates, but to know it is there is something of a comfort. I’m always a touch wary of Hobbesian outlooks. Sure it can happen – look at crowd crushes, but under pressure folks tend to pull together – obviously there are always outliers, but there isn’t much anything can be done about that.

    Oooo! I see what you mean about driving the security details bonkers. But good for them to have done that during a seriously difficult time – that’s what they are there for and why they get paid. Do you know I’m thinking the general aspect of morale is more important than most would consider. I mean, after all, if morale got really low, people could shrug their shoulders and simply defy or ignore. The long dead grand master of strategy suggests that it is unwise to back your opponents into a corner, and always leave an out. I’m frankly wondering what our betters are thinking when it comes to their sheer craziness in the handling of what is a basic expectation of shelter. Honestly, I wouldn’t be pursuing all these contradictory policies, but that’s me, not them.

    Hehe! True for you, but not for me. And the anonymous ain’t so anonymous down here. A person has to be careful, and even agreeing with a hypothetical outrageous comment could be problematic. Look after your freedoms and rights – we have no such things down here.

    A couple of decades ago there was a bloke who ran a shop with the name: Doug’s Pies (can’t imagine why the business was so named?) The sausage rolls were more like your lot, except he used super tasty German bratwurst sausages. When he shut up shop and I believe moved north – that was a sad day. Never seen there like again, although a few have come close.

    Isn’t it a pleasure to see good work done in the garden, like those new stringers? It was pretty thoughtful of them to bring some new compost to add into the beds. Do they expect you to smooth out the mounded soil? Ah, the work it never stops does it?

    Hey, we were also likewise dodging rain today (and got drenched for our efforts). Oh well. We moved more large rocks (no more than six, and no less than six) up to the new low gradient ramp project. We also spread out some of the crushed rock with lime on the soil surface on the downhill side of the large shed. But yeah, we ended up quite damp before lunch and that was it for the day. It’s getting colder here. The worst of the storms are in the two states up north. I haven’t read any news items about the storms, so maybe it wasn’t so bad up there?

    Yes, people living on slopes dream of flat land. I’d never heard of the word ‘contouring’, but it paints a certain picture. Yeah. I had an idea late this afternoon for the rock wall on the uphill side of the new low gradient ramp, but I have to dig the uphill rock wall into the soil and see if it looks right first. Dunno.

    Well, it’s true about the weekly instalments. 😉 Hehe! Didn’t you once tell me that after a certain age, everyone younger looks really young? Thanks for the laughs (The guy running the transporter looks about 14. 🙂). Hope he knows what he’s doing? What could possibly go wrong!

    The eggs are a really great score. Are you still hearing about egg shortages in your part of the world? Haven’t noticed that down here. Coating apples with wax is not that unusual and I recall that the wax used to be thicker when I was a kid. You’d have to kind of polish the wax off the apple. Ciabatta is the technical name I believe, glad you liked it, I reckon it’s good stuff too. It uses olive oil to make the guts of the bread fluffier. My gut feeling suggests that other items may also have been chucked in, but who knows? I once read a book which gave the list of ingredients used in supper fluffy bread. A bit scary really.

    The Club has likewise scored well, and yeah best not to over supply items which aren’t moving out of the pantry.

    Me tired today, I sleep more deeply in the cooler weather. I’ve never really understood how some folks seem to want to exist in overly warm houses. It’s probably me though, the ancestral blood is stirred by mountains and forests – and general cold weather. 🙂 It is absolutely thumping down outside with rain. I’m pretty sure the forecast was for a dry and warm autumn – ain’t so, trust me in this. 🙂



  23. Chris:

    Somewhere I missed that it was a fifty-year-old fern. That’s old. No wonder it looks kind of gnarly, that being its nature anyway.

    I see where a lot of rain right now may be good for your peace of mind as it may discourage more leaf peepers?

    My mother is doing vey well. Thank you for asking.

    Umm – yes, I occasionally notice you upgrading and modifying . . . I am glad to hear that even Chris gets behind with his planting sometimes.


  24. Yo, Chris – Yes. Morale is pretty important. When the new regime took over here, it sure beat the stuffings out of the morale of this place. And they wonder why they sometimes don’t get cooperation, out of the Inmates.

    LOL. “…although a few have come close.” I wonder how often they hear, “Pretty good. But not as good as Doug’s.” 🙂

    I’m glad I checked about raking out the earth. The stringers are tacked in place, but haven’t been fully nailed down, yet. I don’t think the Master Gardeners have a … policy (?) on raking out the piles of dirt. I suppose they’d get around to it, if the tenant didn’t get around to it. But, it’s no big deal, raking it out. I try and do one large project, “for the common” good, each week. So, I’ll do other things. There’s a rose bush that’s encroaching on a blueberry that needs to be whacked back. So, I’ll get out the wheel barrow and hedge clippers.

    The old crones are itching to get their tomatoes in. I’ve been asked, several times. “Month, month and a half,” is not what they want to hear. Resurrected the old wives saying, “When the snow is off Baw Faw Peak.”

    I see from Prof. Mass that our atmospheric rivers, are coming back. I’m sure we’ll be hearing about possible flooding, pretty soon.

    I finished watching the new Star Trek series, last night. Who I thought was Capt. Kirk’s father, is actually Capt. Kirk’s brother. Kirk, actually made an appearance, in one episode. Yes, child prodigies seem thick on the ground, in the new series. Interesting. I noticed last night that the actor playing young Spock, actually sounds like the original. There was one episode you might have liked. Space pirates! Capt. Pike actually got to say “Argh!” And more than once. There was a lot of eye rolling, on the bridge. 🙂

    The egg shortage seems to have dropped out of the news. There are other ongoing circuses, that are supposed to take up our attention.

    Yes, the Club Pantry is interesting. Some stuff dependably moves in and out, pretty fast. After weeks of languishing, I noticed canned potatoes and black beans, have vanished. So, I’ll restock those. The dried beans and pasta, sat for awhile, then vanished. I restocked it, and it’s sitting again. Other than white beans. So, I took in a couple of bags. But otherwise, that end of the counter is stocked up. So any of that stuff, from the boxes, went down to the swap table. Besides beans, bags of rice, barley, peas are back in good supply.

    I made a run to the cheap food stores, last night, to shop for me. For a change. Gallon freezer bags, scrubby sponges, dish soap, etc.. Lew

  25. Chris,

    Flooding repairs are hideously expensive. The worst of the road repairs due to flood damages over 3 consecutive years were eventually paid for by Federal government money, aka printed money that wasn’t really there. A flood of money fixed the damage from a flood of water. Or something like that. 😉

    Ohhhh, cool book idea: The Houses That Ate the Land. Thanks for that.
    Chapter 1: Phil’s House Ate the Orange Grove
    Chapter 2: Avocados No More
    Chapter3: What Destruction Hath Jane’s House Wrought?
    Chapter 4: Disappearing Wildlife and the House That Jack Built
    Chapter 5: Where Have All the Wildflowers Gone?
    Chapter 6: The New Development Meets Cthulhu

    We got rain today. Well, drizzle and mist. Definitely not scoffing at it, as we need whatever rain we can get. Monday is supposed to be wetter and the year’s warmest day so far at +20C. We shall see what actually transpires.

    Ya know, I think you’re spot on. The raptors and corvids have been doing their sky dance and raiding parties for millions of years. Each individual bird likely knows more about it than us mere humans will ever understand. It often looks as if they’re more teasing the other birds rather than trying to do anything – until the nest is unguarded! Hmmmm, salmon knowledge, wolf knowledge, raptor knowledge, corvid knowledge. And they know what they know. Then there’s human knowledge: humans think they know everything about things they know nothing about. 🙂 Or am I being a bit too harsh?

    That’s rather a large fuel reduction burn if it’s visible from space, isn’t it? The smoke looked to cover a rather large area.


  26. Hi DJ,

    Thanks for the on-the-ground perspective of flood damage and infrastructure. Yes, expensive is the word, but I sort of thought the city would be on its own financially. Interesting. Like you, I tend to plan for worst case scenarios here when it comes to heavy rain. Only then can you enjoy the lack of drama when nothing much happens during bonkers weather extremes. Elsewhere I’ve noted, stuff is done on the cheap. I’m sure you’ll have some thoughts on that? I’ll chuck in a photo of water pooling in the new drainage basin, and you’ll see how the large 300mm culvert pipe which moves water under the path works.

    Mate, I’m not mucking around, it has taken me years of observation and planning to work out a reliable system to handle the large flows of water during bonkers storms. And also use the water to create something pleasing to look at. Dunno about you, but I’m of the mindset which suggests that critical infrastructure has to cope with the worst conditions, not the average.

    Hehe! It’s pretty funny isn’t it? But also true. A few years ago we had a robust discussion in the comments about the future possibilities of suburbia, and rather than retro fitting the behemoth, to my mind it would be far easier to simply demolish every second or third house. The oldest suburbs of Melbourne have tiny little Victorian era terrace houses, which more often than not had enough backyard space for chooks or a small vegie patch or even a fruit tree. But in these enlightened days, the houses got hungry and they ate that land. Now it’s gone, but it’s still there, underneath waiting for its day in the sun again. The recovered materials will be useful.

    The current housing stock is hungry in many ways. It needn’t be, but it is. Hope you’re doing OK now?

    The rain sounds lovely, and would do wonders for the garden at this time of the year. And 20’C is just enough to feel a little bit of warmth from that ol’ fusion reactor in the sky. The weather here today was filthy, and the leaf change tourists may have gotten very damp and cold. Some seemed rather inappropriately attired for the conditions. Hope they tell others what a horrid experience it was.

    Nope, not harsh at all, although it is a sweeping generalisation and as you know some cultures are more attuned to the goings on around them than western civilisation seems to be. It’s a bit bonkers really, but a lot of advantages have been gained from the insights – but can they be sustained? And that’s where the problems begin.

    Yeah, I was thinking that too about the burn off. The problem as far as I see it with such scale is that it’s too big and the forest critters have their housing separated from their food supply by too great a distance. Lots more smaller burns would be the way to go, but I have no say in the matter.



  27. Hi Pam,

    The tree ferns can live a very long time. For all sorts of practical reasons, like being human (!), I’m unable to verify the life span, but they apparently can survive for up to 500 years. This five footer is a baby tree fern, all things considered. The creek at the bottom of the property is full of the tree ferns, and they recover from fires really well – probably enjoying the rich ash bed. If rainfall here continues the way it has been, like Triffids, the tree ferns might take over. I reckon it would look pretty cool.

    Incidentally, the variety I planted is the soft trunked variety of tree fern. The rough tree ferns which are of a different genera: Cyathea Australis, and are a bit hardier again. I’ve got a few of them happily doing their thing here and they’re also faster growing too.

    Yes, sadly the inappropriately attired leaf change tourists might get very wet and cold, then tell all their friends on anti-social media what an awful experience it was. A person can only but hope.

    Good to hear. Honestly, when you mentioned that which dare not be named, I thought the worst. Your mother is made of hardier stuff.

    Hehe! As you’d know, you learn as you go. Sometimes, the truth is hard to deny and former chunks of infrastructure are recognised in that most awful of categories: Good, but could be better. What does a person do then?



  28. Hi Lewis,

    Yeah, I hear you about that and have also been in some situations where the culture rapidly shifted. And it does affect morale, usually negatively. It reminds me of the impact that leaf change tourism has had on the folks up here. It wasn’t all that long ago when it didn’t matter when the volume of tourists was lower.

    Speaking of which, the weather today was filthy, and tomorrow and Monday look set for more of the same. I have noticed that plenty of the tourists seem rather inappropriately attired for the cold conditions, and no doubt this will negatively impact upon their visit. I can only hope they recount their stories of horror to their friends and family?

    Hehe! I doubt people in these enlightened days recall the excellence of Doug’s Pies. This of course is a sad state of affairs and their like may never be seen again. And you’ll also be disappointed in me. It happens. 😉 We went on the autumn pie trail today and nabbed an interesting Mexican pie from a bakery in Malmsbury which is in the northern end of thise council area. It was pretty good and the filling was mainly refried beans in sauce, but they chucked on a layer of cheese, salsa and corn chips. Most tasty. I didn’t opt for the guacamole and sour cream, and Mexican pie traditionalists may have firm opinions in this matter?

    We headed a bit more north from that town and picked up a good supply of honey for the next few months from a reliable producer. In the botanical gardens in that town I spotted something I’d never thought to see up in the country, and that was a couple of homeless folks living rough in the gardens. That is not good. The conditions out there are very sub-optimal.

    Sometimes the gut feeling suggests that the master gardeners need to be contacted before raking the soil flat. Oh well, they’ll get to finish the job in due course. I tend to use stainless steel screws for raised garden beds on the basis that the soil is a hard environment for metals, even those that are galvanised. Just checking, but do they seriously have policies for guiding their activities?

    Very wise indeed to do something for the commons. 🙂

    Lewis, mate, you’re like the puppet master! 😉 Old sayings have the weight of time behind them, although candidly they might not reflect reality and be more of a rule of thumb. The old timers down this way used to say to plant out tomato seedlings after Melbourne Cup day, which is the first Tuesday in November – your May. Some years that works, other years not so much. But I believe that it may be too early for tomatoes in your part of the world. I’ve known some folks who crowed about the first ripe tomato by Christmas down here, but what they did was bring the plants out during the day if conditions were OK, then pull them back inside again at night – near to a heater. Seriously. The effort is not worth it, and I said as much. Yes, how to gain friends and influence people by telling them the truth! Always an unpopular move. 🙂

    So is there snow on Baw Faw Peak?

    Ah, the good Professor has much to say on your atmospheric rivers, and it will be interesting to hear just how much precipitation you receive in the next day or two. But, my reading suggests that the rain may be intense.

    Hehe! Mate, you’re twisting my arm, and I may muddy the waters and watch the Star Trek series. I’d intended too, and then forgotten about it.

    Good to hear that there are new and interesting ongoing crises, otherwise what would the media have to worry us all about? Imagine a newspaper with the headline: Nothing much at all happened today. Who’d buy that news? Dare I suggest Space Pirates may make the news? What could the officials say about that? Arghhh, me hearties! To much eye rolling. 😉

    Interestingly, supplies for food stuffs seem pretty good down here too, although I have noticed that foodflation is a real thing and hard to ignore. It is possible that folks are resorting to cheaper alternatives than the stuff we usually buy? Dunno. But what is interesting about the economic issue is just how all over the shop the price increases seem to be. It doesn’t seem to be consistent. And some of the price increases are due to natural events such as the weather in this bonkers crazy growing season.

    Hey, I’m really coming around to enjoying pearl barley as a grain. It’s a bit mooshier than rice, but the nutty taste is far superior.

    Ah, nice to see that you survived the roundabout of ultimate trouble in your shopping experience (although that thing may not have featured in the travel – this time). Those are good things to buy in bulk, that’s for sure.

    The weather for tomorrow may not be as filthy as it was today, but I can’t really discern that from the forecast. If it isn’t too wet, we may get out and continue work on the new low gradient ramp project. There’s much work to be done there.

    Speaking of which, I may begin writing this evening.



  29. Yo, Chris – You can always tell the leaf peppers, from “away.” They’re the ones with the blue knees. 🙂

    Sounds like Mexican food is making a beachhead, down under. Soon you’ll have a string of Mexican fast food places. As we do here. Sounds like what you had was a version of nachos. Which can come in many varieties. You should have gone with the guacamole and sour cream. Ah, well. Next time. When I make kinda, sorta Mexican food, I substitute plain yogurt for the sour cream. Pretty much has the same tang.

    Get used to seeing a lot of homeless, around. Even in our little out of the way place, they just broke up a fairly good sized homeless encampment. I started reading a new book, last night. “The Great Displacement: Climate Change and the Next American Migration.” (Bittle, 2023.) Due to the lack of affordable housing, insurance, government policies, etc., a lot of people are being cut loose. Many end up homeless. Some people are forced into migration, by catastrophe. Others are reading the handwriting on the wall, and making an orderly retreat.

    And, as far as housing for seniors goes, this is what we’re facing.

    Oh, the Master Gardeners have general plans and policies, but it’s pretty loose and they play it by ear. I took a walk through the plant section, of our local variety store, this morning. It’s where I usually buy my plants. Everything is outside, so, everything is hardened off. I noticed (in boxes), short season kiwi and fig. We have a fig, in an enormous pot, out back of the Institution. In the time I’ve been here, I’ve never seen it produce. There were lots of blueberries, and other berries. Primroses and fuchsias, and other cool weather flowers, that I’m unfamiliar with. There were starts for cool weather veg. Broccoli and Brussels Sprouts. Cabbage. I even saw a few small tomato plants. “Early Girl,” and the “Sweet One Hundreds” that I had such good luck with, last year. But I’ll wait. While I was driving over, this morning, the clouds cleared, and I could see Baw Faw peak. Still plenty of snow, up there.

    I noticed the wind was picking up, as I came home. We had a frost, a few days ago. And toward the end of the week, there’s one night where it’s supposed to get down to 30F. But, we are past the average last frost date, for this area.

    Last night, I watched “M3Gan.” Dumb name for a movie. Needed a higher body count 🙂 . Filmed in New Zealand, by the way. If you’re not creeped out by dolls, now, you will be. AI run amok. Can “M3Gan 2,” be far behind? Oh, boy, oh, boy, oh, boy. Guess what was on the library “new” list, last night? “Cocaine Bear!” It’s on my hold list, and should show up in a few weeks.

    Yes. Foodlfation is a real thing. But if you get out there and hunt and gather, adjust your expectations and are flexible, you can take some of the sting out.

    Zombies. There’s an interesting meme that’s been rolling around for awhile. It’s resurfaced, since the new zombie series, “The Last of Us.” Which, by the way, is caused by a fungus. The fungus among us? Anyway. The idea is, zombies are kind of a given. You know what to expect. And how to respond. Pretty cut (pun?) and dried. But it’s uninfected people, that are the real danger. You never quit know what you’re dealing with. Lew

  30. Hi Lewis,

    Yes indeed, imagine what the Victorian era folks would have thought of the leaf change folks bare ankles, blue with cold? No doubts they would have had an attack of the vapours at the sight. 🙂 And perhaps an unseen miasma may impact upon those with blue ankles? Always possible!

    The Mexican food I’ve tried down here is incredibly variable from extraordinarily fried stuffs served on a cast iron grill, to food which shares the same name, but looks more to me like a seasonal salad and bean mix wrapped up in a corn flour derived tortilla. I like all of it. Yum! For your interest, you have a Taco Bells, but down here there is a chain of Mexican restaurants with a similar but different name of: Taco Bills. It’s quite good and the food is consistent. One of the nearby towns has such a place. Years ago I may have mentioned to you that we ate at such a restaurant and a couple of nearby tables were taken up by a bikie gang. A person must expect the unexpected! Anyway, what interested me about them was the camaraderie, and not one of them, or their ladies had a mobile phone in sight. Hmm.

    I can see that with the yoghurt / sour cream substitution. It’s all in the zing!

    Actually, I’m not used to seeing that around. However, I’ve read enough stories from the Great Depression era to understand how the process works. Anyway, it’s got me thinking about a response.

    Ooo, that sounds like a fascinating book. Very interesting indeed. Honestly, I do wonder how some of the recent influx of folks to these parts will handle the long term consequences of a changing climate? I suppose the decline of the Roman Empire looked pretty similar – grain shipments will arrive soon, just you wait and see, and in the meantime, whilst you’re starving and barbarians are close by, here’s some circuses to keep your mind off things. 😉 Is it a good read?

    You’ve mentioned an inbuilt trap with that program, so I dunno man. Anyway, look as a pragmatist, I’ve heard the stories from the Editor who when she was very young (her mother had her at an advanced age), her grandfather came to live with them, and was cared for by her mother right up until he died. That’s the future right there, that is. My own grandmother (not the crazy one, but my dads mother) had to look after her husband after he got dementia. That was a wild roller coaster from what I can recall. There is an expectation that we can somehow hand over these sorts of familial situations and that the people will be well catered for, but I dunno about that.

    I kind of like the sound of the Master Gardeners thinking! 🙂 Mate, kiwi fruit vines and figs are both really large plants. They might not appreciate being restricted by a pot, no matter how large it is. I’ve got five fig trees here, and they seem to grow pretty fast. Most fruit trees really need maybe a decade of growth before they produce a decent harvest, and even then a poor season can knock them out – like the one I just enjoyed.

    The variety store sounds to me like a good go-to place for new plants. And sometimes you just have to try plants and see how they go. You’re lucky to have well adapted cool-climate versions of vegies because I’m having to slowly adapt what is available to the conditions here. We don’t have the breadth of varieties available in your part of the world, mostly due to biosecurity laws.

    Hehe! See snow, no early planting! 🙂 Like I said, if things suddenly flipped upside down, it would still be too early down here for such frost tender crops.

    Yeah, the average is only an indicator. When the last frost has occurred, then you’ll know! 🙂 The weather was filthy wet and cold here today. Brr! We abandoned plans for outside work and instead just did a day of paid work. No point getting wet and cold outdoors. We’ll see what tomorrow brings weather wise.

    Oh yeah, mate, I’d seen the trailers for the M3Gan film and it sure looked super creepy to me too. Animated dolls are not to be messed with – who can forget Chucky in the Child’s Play franchise? He’s your friend, ’til the end, and ol’ Chucky was more than happy to assist with speeding along that final moment.

    No way! The buzzed up bear film looked like a hoot! All the bear wanted to do was party. 🙂 I’ll be very curious to hear what you have to say about that film.

    Rest assured, we’re flexible when it comes to food, and adjust our purchasing preferences with the seasons. The stone fruit season is pretty much done – all had to be purchased this year, yikes! Might harvest some Chilean Guavas over the coming weeks. Very tasty. A few Cape Gooseberry plants have self seeded, and I’m torn about pulling them out, but they’re such givers and a person has to sometimes forgive a plant – not all the time, just sometimes.

    Many folks seem to be rather excited about ‘The last of us’ series, and I have a hunch that it’s good. But yeah, I hear you about that, and you see what I have to deal with here? 🙂 It’s true, you know. Like the pun too – yes, take the head. Always a wise move when dealing with the undead.

    Better get writing!



  31. Yo, Chris – Mexico, as with Italy, has lots of regional foods. Then there’s Tex/Mex, SW, and California Mexican food. It’s very … adaptable? The best book I read about the ins and outs of Mexican food, was “Taco, USA.” Which was also, very, very funny. I’m surprised the Bells haven’t sued the Bills. 🙂 Can’t remember the details, but there was a recent court case here, where someone sued, and lost. The judge said, basically, there is no way A is going to be confused with B, by the general public.

    These days, given the cost of “hogs,” bike gangs are often made up of cost accountants and actuaries. 🙂 . You mean the bikers were actually talking to each other? Now that is outlaw behavior.

    So far, “The Great Displacement” has been a good read. They’re kind of case studies, of places, and what happens to the people, and the place, after a disaster. There’s been a town in California that’s been burnt out (not the Camp Fire), the Florida Keys, and I just started a section on a town in North Carolina that was flooded out.

    Well, you know me. I’m all for throwing it in the ground, and seeing how it goes.

    Our temp is supposed to get down to -0-C, Wednesday night. And, snow, or a possibility of snow, is back in the forecast. Promises, promises. 🙂

    I watched “Babylon,” last night. It’s about Hollywood in the 1920’s and 30’s. As they’re shifting to sound. I’d give it a miss. Grossly hedonistic. The opening scene is a naked, grossly overweight man, being tinkled on by a working girl. I could have done without that.

    So as a palate cleanser, I watched a couple of episodes of “South Park.” Season 25. You can’t argue with successful longevity. Very much appeals to the Mad magazine reading, fart joke loving, 8 year old, in me. 🙂 Lew

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