We Will Become Silhouettes

Back in the early 2000’s, writing for the hippy press was a lot of fun. The first articles published were probably of a similar standard to my earlier gardening efforts, you know, there was a bit of room for improvement. In those heady days, physical magazines and books were actually published, and people paid for that stuff. Cool! Prior to submitting my first article for publication, I’d been reading a few different sources of the hippy press for a number of years, and was enthused enough to contribute. The first article was accepted by the publisher in a strange sort of hurry up, then wait, manner. But not to worry about the finer details, my name was published up there with the other folks I’d so much admired.

By the end of the decade, the Global Financial Crisis had run amok, and the pay for each article had been much reduced. The remuneration had frankly gotten to be a bit of a joke, even when the words submitted for publication were way funnier than that. It all came to something of a head (literally in this case) with me in the infamous bubble article. Caused quite the furore in the publishers office. The amusing article was published, the photo sadly never made the front cover. I was replaced by a ubiquitous Earth Mother archetype. Probably why they eventually went out of business.

Whatever. By those days, Sandra and I had been on our Fernglade Farm adventure for a few years. You see, we were getting ahead of the curve. One of the interesting side stories about writing for the hippy press, is that you read the hippy press. And I read widely.

Back in 2004, or was it 2005 (who cares), I read that the IRA (International Rock Agency) announced that we’d reached Peak Rocks. Few people seemed to make much of an issue about it. I’d heard at the time that a few retired geologists were sharing some rather dark thoughts on the website: ‘The Rock Drum’. What did they care, being retired, they didn’t need to earn a living like I did. But, from their unique vantage point of experience and in-depth knowledge they could tell it like it was: Peak Rocks is real, and it’s here. Or more correctly, it had been and gone.

Rocks are fundamental to our way of life. If you’ve been reading this blog for more than say, a month, you’d know we use rocks. Lot’s of rocks. And apparently, as a civilisation us humans were now using more rocks than we’re finding. That doesn’t imply that there aren’t enough rocks left to utilise. No way. There’s still plenty of rocks around, but those are not enough to meet demand. And the rocks are getting more expensive to obtain too. So, it’s going to get worse every single year. Once Peak Rocks was reached, someone was clearly missing out.

We chose to live here because it’s not too far from the big smoke, the land was cheap and the rainfall seemed reliable. And there were rocks. Heaps of rocks. Unfortunately, we’ve now used all of the easy to get rocks. They’re gone (disappeared into projects). Now we have to head down further into the forest, and split larger rocks so that we can move their now smaller incarnations back up the hill. Even then, they’re heavy. We know how to do that work, and we’ve got the tools for the drilling and cracking, but it’s hard work. Sadly, it just isn’t as easy as grabbing a choice rock off the paddock. People tell me that the technology for splitting these rocks is getting better and cheaper all the time, but I’m not seeing that. Did I mention that it is hard work? Wouldn’t it just be easier if rocks were more readily available on contour? It’s enough to make a person say in exasperation: Far freakin’ out!

Makes me wonder what the past used to be like. Can you imagine the ancient days when Stonehenge was constructed? The vast bluestone granite monoliths look awesome. Weren’t they even dragged from Ireland or Wales or somewhere distant like that? Clearly in those days, large rocks were there just for the taking, and people could be choosy. Since Peak Rocks though, everything’s changed, it’s all different now. Nobody could even afford to construct another Stonehenge. Shows you just how far civilisation has fallen in these so-called enlightened days.

So next time you’re wondering about why a loaf of bread, or a bottle of milk suddenly costs so much, you’ll know it’s due to Peak Rocks. It’s real, and it’s happening. I’d really like to have access to some choice rocks of just the right shape and size all happily delivered to where I need them, but wishes are ephemeral, and they won’t do you any good. The effects of Peak Rocks is a real bummer.

The loggers left a lot of mess

I’ve mostly given up trying to comprehend why the loggers who worked these forests for over a century, left the mess they did. In the above image, these trees were dropped decades ago, and there’s a little bit of decay, but not as much as you’d imagine. It was an extraordinarily wasteful act. Anyway, over the years we’ve been slowly cleaning this mess up. A natural forest environment, wouldn’t look like this.

It’s a lot of work to clean up the mess. We cut the logs into discs, then split them. The split firewood then gets thrown onto a big pile in a very sunny location. Despite the rain throughout the year, the sun does dry the split firewood. Over the summer months when the suns strength is at its greatest, we haul the split firewood further uphill, then store it away dry for use during the very wet and humid winter months. Firewood is a complicated energy source which you have to plan many years in advance. It is not as easy as flicking a switch.

The family of magpies picks through the firewood looking for insects

Some of the loggers mess, we’re unable to convert into firewood. For some strange reason, those blokes went to a lot of trouble to extract the tree stumps from the soil. This is no easy feat, and well beyond our abilities. Then they just left them. Makes no sense whatsoever. There’s quite a number of stumps like that, many of which are upside down. It takes a couple of days to burn one off. The timber is so dense that few if any insects live on them, and they don’t seem to be breaking down. Oh well, the ash at least makes excellent fertiliser.

Definitely not a natural process to produce this outcome!

The clean up is a lot of hard work, and a bloke and his dog has gotta take a well earned break every now and then.

Dame Plum assists the author

In the above photo there is a mysterious stone circle. I have absolutely no idea how it came to be there, or what it was used for, but there is another one nearby. Leaning against the stone circle is a large rock in the foreground that clearly does not belong there. We split that large rock into many smaller (yet still large) rocks.

In order to split a rock, you drill a few holes along the line where you wish the rock to crack. Then a jackhammer with pointy bits, wedges the rock apart along the line of the drill holes. People have been doing such work since the days of the Ancient Romans, although they didn’t have an electric jackhammer and carbon steel drill bits!

Splitting the large rock into more easily moved and useful pieces

Another rock was also split.

Ollie assists with splitting this large rock

By the end of the work day, we’d scored a decent quantity of nicely sized rocks. Peak Rocks is real, but we’re doing our bit to put the inevitable off for another day.

We created a decent quantity of excellent sized rocks

One of the low centre of gravity ride on mowers needed a bit of maintenance. Near to a large shed, we’d recently constructed an inspection pit made from steel rock gabion cages. I told you we used a lot of rocks here! I took a photo of the arrangement to show how it all works. And it’s a nice feeling being underneath the machine knowing it isn’t likely to fall onto my head. Falling on my head would be a bad thing.

The low centre of gravity mower enjoys a bit of maintenance

Peak Rocks is here, but so too is leaf change. With today being mothers day, I dare not leave the property for fear of being confronted by a human wall of leaf change tourists. Plans to head to the local pub for a pint and feed were quietly shelved.

Ruby enjoys the spectacle of the Cherry Trees going deciduous

The deciduous trees in the shady orchard are almost now completely bare of leaves.

The deciduous trees in the shady orchard have almost finished leaf fall

I can understand that the tourists would enjoy the spectacle of the autumn leaf change, but need there be so many tourists? The area does not have the facilities (or available land for that matter) to accommodate such vast numbers of people.

A Japanese maple puts on a great show

The trees are colourful up here, but so too are the parrots. The other day we spotted an adult and juvenile King Parrot snacking upon the seeds of a Japanese maple.

King Parrots enjoy the Japanese maple seeds

Onto the flowers:

A cheery Daisy enjoys the late autumn sunshine
We fed the Roses a few weeks ago, and they’ve bloomed
The Rose terrace garden is a real joy
This climbing Rose shows no sign of slowing down in preparation for the winter months

The temperature outside now at about 10am is 11’C (52’F). So far this year there has been 314.2mm (12.4 inches) which is up from last weeks total of 310.4mm (12.2 inches)

55 thoughts on “We Will Become Silhouettes”

  1. Chris

    Could you not use those long straight logs in berms or rustic semi-permanent retaining walls? Or in a Hugelkultur set-up to hold things together or even to encourage rot-down? Guess you would need a tractor to move them.

    Enjoying your weekly rants 🙂

  2. Yo, Chris – Publishing isn’t the same as it used to be. Does anyone even accept a typed manuscript, anymore? Something written out on butcher wrap, in crayon, and thrown over the transom?

    Still banging on about peak rocks. I take it to be an allegory. Or something. Not to be confused with amphigory. Though I suppose if more of it rhymed … 🙂

    Mostly given up contemplating those long dead loggers. Except they keep making appearances. They must haunt your dreams. Or, just come to mind when you’re cleaning up after them.

    Ah, more scale for the stone circle. Not much to it, really. I’d guess, fire pit. Though if something else, I don’t know about disturbing that stone. Some things are best left be.

    The inspection pit looks pretty nifty. I do hope you remember to set the brake, when working on whatever. Measure twice, cut once. Or, something.

    Parrots and leaf change. Things sure are colorful around your place, this time of year. And the roses, always please.

    Well, it hit 91F, today. I watered in the morning, and in the evening. I also fertilized the blueberries. The early varieties are in flower. The bees (mostly, bumble) seem to be doing a good job of pollination. And, the hummingbirds. While I was at it, I took a census. We have 30 bushes. Early, mid-season and late. If they get the automatic water system set right, it ought to be a good year. Lew

  3. Hi Kezza,

    That’s the thing. I can move about a 5 foot long saw log cut from that diameter tree. And that’s the maximum size. It’s a very heavy and dense timber with estimates of density ranging from 720 to 830 kg/m (1,500 to 1,700 lb/yd). The tree species is: Eucalyptus obliqua.

    For some reason, probably chemical in nature, the hardwood timber takes a long while to break down. So it’s not much good for hugelkutur, and way too heavy for retaining walls, where it would have to be milled anyway in order to stop soil oozing out the imperfect surfaces.

    And both portable mills and tractors are very hard machines to use on sloping ground, although the local Lucas mills are pretty good.

    Keeping warm in a cold climate using locally sourced energy, is also a good use. 😉

    Thanks! The inspection pit works nicely. And that machine in the photo requires attention every twenty hours. A design flaw if you ask me.

    I’m enjoying the weekly rants too. 🙂



  4. Hi Lewis,

    A typed manuscript! Holy carp! The thing might be run through a scanner machine with an optical character recognition program to convert the typed manuscript into computer text? Oh wow, the errors that would slip in via that process might astound you! They’d probably reject the manuscript sight unseen.

    Sadly for me, Peak Rocks here is real and you may be hearing about this issue again at some unspecified point in the future. Allegories are my thing, however, in this case I might not be joking around. 😉 What? I’d never heard of an amphigory. Life is too short for nonsense sentences that purport to have meaning, but are in fact full of hot air. That’s been scientifically proven.

    It’s OK for you to give up on the motivations of the long departed loggers. I on the other hand have to deal with the consequences. Talking about mystery, I went to the pub for dinner and a pint this evening, and the beef stew ordered looked more like a beef broth. Actually a minestrone soup would be thicker. A bit odd really. So forget about the loggers, what I’m wondering about is, can a broth technically be described as a stew? Possibly wars have been fought over this issue? We did provide candid feedback, only because it was requested, otherwise we simply decided never to order that meal again.

    You’re blowing hot and cold there with the stone circle. A bit of fence sitting perhaps? We could simply settle on the approved definition: Unknown religious artefact? The other one nearby was of a similar size and both are on contour. It’s possible that resins were cooked up in the pits, but I don’t know. And you’re right, best if left be is our thought too. One of them needs a little repair, which we can assist with.

    It was easier showing a photo than describing how the inspection pit worked. Absolutely! Yes, rolling off that edge would be a nasty experience. But working underneath the machine is much easier than chucking the thing on ramps and sliding under. A bit uncomfortable that.

    Thanks, and hope you are enjoying the warmer weather? Good to hear that the bumble bees are doing their thing. Insect life is a sign of a healthy garden. Water robots are useful devices, but as you say, they have to be programmed correctly.

    One day, both of you may watch the film, and enjoy it. 😉 He says retiring from the field having completely run out of further witty observations on this subject.

    Of course, I’d forgotten about the ‘Orchid Thief’. Yes, don’t mention the orchids!

    It does look like a bit of a destruction of the commons. What do you do? It’s possible that there is not the surplus wealth to run these things now, and so we’re all being treated as if we were walking ATM’s. Not all services provided are meant to be commercially viable, that’s why there are things like taxes. I tend to agree with your argument about taxes going down if former services become profit making enterprises.

    The land of stuff has been bouncing up and down about providing new pay arrangements for plenty of public secta (!) workers. Very exciting, like in a bad way. I can imagine many things with that arrangement going horridly wrong.

    Yeah, don’t you think it is weird that so many organisations are asking for feedback all the time? Are they insecure, or bored, or something like that? Generally I avoid such things. It ain’t anonymous if the survey identifies who you are. I’ve seen ones like that. Bonkers. What would they do with the data they receive from you anyway?

    I hadn’t realised that the term ‘badlands’ was a geologic term. Who knew? Still, such country is not to my tastes. Your family vacations sound like my nightmare. We didn’t go on many such things, mostly due to economic issues – like being poor and stuff. But long travel without stopping and checking out things would have sent me loopy. You’re made of stronger stuff. It sounds more like an endurance test than anything enjoyable.

    Yeah, sometimes some of the finer details with processes get missed. But adaptability is the watchword – and next year the seedlings will be planted deeper. He probably did tell me, there was so much the old bloke told me that went right over my head. He did the best he could, and gave me what time he had, and I was just really young. We never spoke as adults, even at the very end you could see that he saw the world his way, and I was still a kid to him. It’s not an uncommon response in people – I think they find it hard to let go, even when they’re losing. Dunno, but have you ever experienced that?

    A great idea. And they can be washed out and re-used. Incidentally, a mate of mine was telling me the other week that there was a shortage of glass storage / preserving jars.

    H will breeze through the early summer day now that she has her new do. Out of curiosity, what did you use to fertilise the blueberry plants? They like acidic soils, don’t they?

    Thanks for the suggestion about the book. The pruning book has not yet arrived in the mail – it’s remote at the bottom of the planet, err, nod to: On the Beach! Shame about the lack of blue flowers. A letter of complaint to the author perhaps is warranted? It could be some sort of bias perhaps?



  5. Hi, Chris!

    Peak rocks! The Oil Drum! I mean, Rock Drum. Or was it the Rock Pile?

    We haven’t reached peaks rocks yet here, but we use so many less rocks – so far – than you do. At least they never expire, though they may shrink. One of the bad things about our rocks is that they are not suitable for building actual structures. They start to crumble and crack. Retaining and garden walls are fine, though. You don’t often see stone buildings in my area, except from imported stone. That comes from up in the mountains. I’ll bet there is not a lot of it left. The price has been going up, up, up for years. It is a bummer that the cost of the crushed rock that we want for our garden paths is going to be quite dear.

    Speaking of rocks: It is my current job to plant out the thornless blackberries – thank you for the suggestion of “thornless” so long ago – into an area that is mostly rocks. Where did the soil go?! But I am not complaining. I like rocks – but I like blackberries better.

    Nice wood pile! Nice rock wall in the background! Spring and fall is when my husband does most of the wood splitting into firewood. He is at it every day now.

    Could the circle of stones have been for containing a fire, as a burn pit? Or maybe as a grave marker, both which I think Lew suggested?

    Your vehicle repair pit is genius; I can see that it works. Perhaps it is the only one in the world.

    I just made up my first batch of kkakdugi – a radish kimchi. It seems to be doing fine. I only had one row of daikon radishes, but they did surprisingly well; I got seven pounds of them.

    From last week – I think this is what you are remembering about jujubes:


    The leaves are lovely, and the parrots. And especially the early winter roses. Thanks.


  6. Hi Pam,

    Oh, the rock pile! That’s great, like it. 🙂

    Ah, some sort of soft stone like a sandstone or limestone perhaps? That stuff erodes pretty quickly, whereas granite is super hard. Out of curiosity, are your rocks darker or lighter? I’ve heard a rule of thumb which suggests that darker rocks generally have a greater variety of minerals – no bad thing in the soils.

    It isn’t just you, the crushed rock with lime is rather alarmingly pricey, and goes up in line with increased diesel fuels costs. Maybe around $135 for 1.3 cubic yards. The stuff may yet beggar the kingdom! 😉

    Oooo! You won’t regret the thornless varieties – and we have two: early variety Waldo (seriously that’s the variety name) and a later variety Chester (which is more prolific). Good luck, and with all those rocks, they might appreciate a feed too. But rock dust is an excellent fertiliser – and mulch too.

    Thank you. The rock wall is the original low gradient ramp, and the new one is on the other side of the farm running through the shady orchard over there.

    Splitting firewood is a job for cooler weather, oh yeah. Hot hard work. Wise. We’ve got the occasional snake here too, so it’s not a job you want to do in spring or high summer, no way. Picking up a timber round and finding a deadly snake under it is way too much excitement for me.

    I dunno about a grave marker, but I could definitely see the stone circle being used as some sort of fire pit. The forest would have provided plenty of materials for making resins that would required fire to process. But there is no indication how the circles were actually used, I’m just speculating. I doubt it was for cooking though, it’s far too large for that purpose and the fire would have been too hot.

    Hehe! Can’t say that I’ve heard of anyone else constructing such an inspection pit. But it works. One of the benefits of sloping land perhaps. A cool store would be good, but what a lot of work. Yikes!

    Well done with the kimchi. Daikon radish are pretty good. Hmm, what an excellent idea. And did they over winter and survive at your place? Cool. That’s a very useful plant.

    That’s them! I remember them from the cinema way back in the now misspent days of my forgotten youth. Thanks. I quite enjoyed them.

    The parrots are very cheery, but equally cheeky! Clever birds, hey, they probably know more about my business than I do!



  7. Chris:

    In an interesting twist of fate, when pulling weeds in the garden this morning, I suddenly realized how many looked like little jujube plants: The squirrels have been burying them in beds all over the garden (and probably in the woods). So, I can recover some of what was stolen from the original jujube beds. I tell you what, squirrels are something else. Subjects of Her Majesty Queen Charlene, the White Squirrel.


  8. Hello Chris
    Nothing read yet. I had just opened my laptop when I heard thud, crash, wallop outside. A glance through the window showed me a huge pig. It took 5 phone calls to get hold of Son. By the time he arrived, the pig had vanished and I was thinking ‘Oh heck where has he gone?. Fortunately he had returned home. Son said that it was fortunate that it was the boar who has a pleasant temperament, the sow would have been a very different matter.


  9. Yo, Chris – Oh, I don’t know. Nonsense poems (amphigory) seemed to work out pretty well for Edward Gorey and Edward Lear. Maybe it’s an Edward kind of a thing? 🙂

    Well, there’s a certain school of thought that holds that if you can’t eat it with a fork, it isn’t stew. So where’s the dividing line between soup and broth? No discernible chunks? Maybe, beef soup was a bit awkward on the menu. Or, more likely, they were trying to stretch out a batch of beef stew. Maybe.

    The loggers may have been camping out. Not running back to town, every evening. Fire pits to cook up a bit of tucker and tea. Here, we had logging camps, and the fellows only went to town on the weekends.

    I am NOT enjoying the warmer weather.

    I think sometimes, organizations ask for feedback to give the appearance of caring. I’d guess, a lot of them are just binned. Who wants to pay attention to a bunch of whiney customers, when your not going to change your business model, anyway?

    A year’s worth of Mum’s tips from waitressing, financed the vacations. Me, I just read my way through the ordeals.

    Details, details. A lot to remember when your gardening. I think I’ve finally nailed down remembering the difference between an indeterminate and determinate tomato.

    I still see cases and cases of canning jars piled up at our local variety store. It’s the rings and lids that seem to come and go. But, if I was using jars for dry stuff, a good wash and they could be used again.

    I fertilized the blueberries with ammonium sulfate. There are a couple of bags of the stuff, in the gardening room. I’m sure it was obtained “before.” When it comes time to replace it, cost and availability may be an issue. But they don’t seem to use it on anything else around the Institution, so, I’d say we have a few years worth. I can do all the blueberries, with a 2 lb. coffee can full.

    Just out of curiosity, I looked up what things you use ammonium sulfate for. Leafy stuff. And, the onion family. Maybe your kale would have done better with a scant application?

    It was 91F, yesterday. And is supposed to be 89, today. With a possibility of showers and thunder storms in the afternoon. Often forecast, rarely delivered. But, it is clouding up a bit, and everything looked pretty good, from my evening watering. So I think I’ll put off watering until early evening. Lew

  10. Chris,

    Your response to the wasp landing on your pie – moving to the shade – was brilliant. Know your enemy, adapt and improvise, etc. I observe people doing stupid things, or holding onto an idea long after it has been proven false, then I realize that so much of life is about accepting the situation, adapting to it, and moving on. Alternatively, you could have slapped at the wasp, mushed your pie, missed the wasp and gotten stung, then whinged about it for weeks. You made the much wiser choice. And enjoyed your lunch.

    I’m working on the next phase of a pyrography project this week. Got it laid out on the board and started to work. Then realized that some of it wasn’t going to work. Fortunately, I hadn’t started burning that area, so could erase the graphite marks. More proof that even the best plan needs to change the moment the work has begun, or the enemy has been engaged, or whatever. In other words, in both this case and your wasp case: thinking for ourselves rather than turning our thinking over to someone or something else allowed us to adapt and enjoy what we were doing.

    I DID notice that chainsaw eagle. It was brilliant. I really enjoyed looking at it.

    The inspection pit turned out great. Thanks for the photo of the pit in use. I notice that Ollie the Supervisor is paying close attention to the work in the pit. Doesn’t it feel good when a design and its construction actually work?

    International Rock Agency. The Rock Drum aka the Rock Pile thanks to Pam. Your writing had me laughing heartily this week. I don’t know if I’d call your writing allecore, amphigore, albacore, apple core or Baltimore, but it was informative and entertaining. 😉

    Your roses look great. Thanks for the photos. My roses are jealous, as the winter sadly appears to have been the demise of most of my rose bushes.

    Sunday was supposed to be windy. I don’t like working in high winds, so I worked on the landscaping project for 3 consecutive days. Worked hard so I took Sunday off. I had to take Monday off from that project also. Back at it Tuesday. Early, before it gets hot.

    I found another poem from Wang Wei who lived circa 750 a.d. that you might enjoy:
    Day after day we can’t help growing older.
    Year after year spring can’t help seeming younger.
    Come let’s enjoy our winecup today,
    Not pity the flowers fallen!


  11. Hi Pam,

    Cool! Aren’t all the critters activities fun, even when they’re up to mischief? And the nice squirrels returned your plants, with interest!

    It’s funny you mention this aspect, but when the parrots were eating the Japanese maple seeds, I did wonder if any err, processed and fertilised seeds would sprout?



  12. Hi Inge,

    You sure were lucky there. And hope the cheeky swine didn’t damage your container garden?

    In a bizarre turn of events, I was reading recently that in the medieval courts, pigs were actually put on trial. Apparently they occasionally roamed the towns on market day, and well pigs have been known to eat all manner of things. I wonder if the accused medieval pigs retained a proper solicitor?



  13. Chris:

    Our predominant rocks do seem to be sandstone. They are a mostly grey and orange-red, which would account for our orange-red soil that stains everything. There are many, many other kinds of stones as well.

    I haven’t started on the blackberries yet. I hope they have cute names like Waldo and Chester.

    Wouldn’t a cool store have to be all the way underground?

    I didn’t plant any daikon last fall, but intend to this coming one. I haven’t found any root crops yet that can stand our often subfreezing temperatures.


  14. Hi DJ,

    Despite the consistent rain, it’s been a relatively drier autumn and those awful wasps are out and about here because the conditions are optimal. They’re an odd insect, and quite aggressive and what I’ve noticed is that they are likely to be found over in the more fashionable end of the mountain range. Probably more food there. Something around here must be keeping them in check – probably me in the form of habitat destruction – I’m no fan of those insects, so carefully studied their habits. A move worthy of Sun Tzu. Hey, from the shade we could watch the wasps consuming squashed bugs on the front of peoples vehicles. Glad that the wasps aren’t any bigger. Imagine that?

    The pie was too good to mess around with methods that wouldn’t have given proper results! Unless of course a proper whinge is what you’re after? The Editor doesn’t want to hear them either! 🙂 Fortunately no need to worry in this instance. – that’s almost a four sentence poem! 😉

    There’s a good quote about plans not surviving engagement with the enemy, or in your case, the board. It’s funny you mention this adaption technique, but we’ve been more or less forced to hone that ability over the many years. And also – I’m sure you’ve faced this as well – find acceptance when a better approach is discerned but not possible to achieve at that moment? There’s been a few projects that we had to see through to completion, then had to later modify when energy and resources became available. Some things are simply not economically possible.

    It was pretty awesome that eagle carving.

    The inspection pit arrangement with the steel rock gabion cages looks better in the photos when it is being used. Before then it is hard to really convey the impression that the set-up works. Ollie is a capable supervisor and that day took the time to remind me not to roll off the edge – but as you can see, there’s a lot of room for error.

    Yeah, hey we were also impressed with the Rock Pile name – one of those, why didn’t we think about it, moments! It’s good. Opinions here were divided on the content this week, the Editor not enjoying the more absurd aspects of life. But heck, I do! And as you are also a fellow of the Hitchhikers guide guild, well, you know what I mean. 🙂

    Bummer about your roses. I’m guessing by now you’d know. Do you reckon the root systems survived? They may resprout?

    I tend to avoid working outside in high winds too, that’s also known as being prudent. It is of course hard to hear if there is a possibility of something dropping onto your head if the wind is up. A rather noisy experience. The Kelpie’s don’t much enjoy the windy days either. Sensible creatures.

    Yea verily, the poet knows his business. He was the master of the four line poem. Some of the landscape poetry is also very good.



  15. Chris:

    We have had a tiny old International Harvester Cub Cadet riding mower sitting up at the top of the driveway for a week or so as it was for sale and waiting for a fellow who was interested in it to come by. Every time I passed it I wished we could keep it, it is so cute.

    Well, the fellow changed his mind and it has been decided that we can keep it. I am thrilled – and so is my daughter-in-law – I had no idea that she was coveting it, too – as it gives us girls something manageable to drive, even if just for fun to ride to the back of the property.

    It may be quite awhile before we take that ride as Cubby needs a lot of work – a whole lot of work – and is last in line.

    A comparable photo:



  16. Hi Lewis,

    Edward Lear, despite his personal set backs, was a person put on this planet to either make the rest of us look bad by way of comparison, or to raise the bar. I’m thinking the later option in this case. 🙂 Some of his early art with the birds and animals is exceptional. However, after last evenings broth debacle (the intensity of the salt left me with a feeling of being hungover until about lunchtime today when the fog finally receded. I am in ill humour about that meal! Oh well. Moving on…) I’m beginning to believe that a satisfactory chef would would trounce a faithful friend (I’d read that quote in an article about Leary, and flipped it upside down).

    Your observation has much to commend it. I’m of that school of thought too about the use of a fork to define something as a stew. Supplying a spoon denotes a broth. We spoke about the situation this morning (after a very poor nights sleep), and have agreed to give the business a month to get it’s poop together, then we’ll re-test. I may have previously mentioned that they’re in the process of selling the pub, but the deadline came and went. Rumour has it that another agent team turned up yesterday. The managers final shift is tonight, and another bloke was also finishing up yesterday. We heard about all that drama after ordering our drinks and meals. A possible red flag series of events? Anyway, I’m just going with my gut feeling, and what it is telling me isn’t good.

    And I agree, my suspicion was also that they were stretching out a batch. For $30 a meal, that’s not right.

    There were permanent loggers camps and mills out in the forest, so that’s a strong possibility. Yeah. At one stage there were also tramways which took the saw logs off the mountain. Riding one of those tramways back down the hill would have been very dangerous work.

    Sorry to hear that about the warmer weather. Bummer. We’ve got the opposite problem in that it’s 37’F outside here right now. Brr! Worked in the big smoke today, so when we got home late the inside of the house was 59’F, but compared to outside with the icy rain, it felt warm. Just went and stood in front of the wood heater and warmed my legs up. Had a chance today to listen to a podcast from Mr Greer and Mr Kunstler. Lot’s of fun.

    Oh, I’d not considered that aspect of the pesky surveys. Hmm. You’re probably right though, any negative comments would be quietly binned. Made me chuckle though. Prior to making our own toasted breakfast muesli using raw materials, the stuff we used to purchase was reduced in size, but the price remained the same. On the packaging, it really said that this sad state of affairs came about because ‘we asked for it’. That’s what I think about, every time you make that quip. Anyway, so the Editor sent a letter into the marketing department stating that we did not in fact ask for that outcome. They never replied. They didn’t give a poop.

    Reading through a holiday from hell, was a clever strategy. Whenever I go on holiday, I too take a large and usually familiar book. I find a bit of comfort in the book, especially when the surroundings or journey itself is highly uncomfortable. We’ve travelled heaps, but for me it was more about ensuring the Editor was able to pursue her goals in that regard. You know, compromise and stuff.

    🙂 Good stuff, and what is your way of recalling which is which? Mate, I’m still trying to set up systems which record what seeds are determinate or indeterminate. On the way home this evening I picked up a dozen advanced kale seedlings. Hope to get them in the greenhouse this weekend.

    Interesting. What my mate was telling me about the preserving jars was that they really hard to obtain now. Most of the ones I use are all greater than 40 years old. Really thick glass too. The lids are stainless steel, but those rubber rings. They’re the weak link I reckon. And that’s exactly it, wash and re-use. Screw top lids would work really well for that purpose, and we have them also for stuff that doesn’t have to go through a hot water bath in order to pressurise the seals. The old timers might suggest that’s all in the: re-use, category. They knew their stuff.

    Hehe! Yeah, probably ‘before’ stocks. It happens. I see the compound has good amounts of nitrogen and sulphur, and makes your soils more acid – which the blueberries (being forest plants) will thoroughly enjoy. Replace-ability is going to be something of a problem for sure. Aren’t people clever what they put this stuff to?

    Did you get the cool change and thunderstorms through? Me starting to wind down after last nights very disturbed sleep. Too much salt makes me feel jumpy and pounds my head. Can’t say that I’m into it. Hope other folks aren’t consuming that much salt? That could be a problem.



  17. Hi Pam,

    Interesting about the different rocks. Has anyone ever brought rocks (for paths and stuff) into your place?

    You won’t regret the thornless varieties. Dunno about you, but I reckon the thorns on blackberry plants leave little tips embedded in your skin, and that’s a pain. We remove any and all thorny varieties of blackberries, but it is a battle that takes a lot of effort. The birds spread the fertilised seed here, so it’s a losing proposition.

    Maybe, but even digging one back into the side of the hill might work, at least a little bit? I’ve got a book on root cellaring that is on the to-read pile. But right now, I’m reading about English history. A lot of very bonkers things happened over the previous millennia there.

    The experiment will be worth it, and some of those rocks might be able to create some sort of microclimate – maybe. I’ve seen potatoes grown on the alti-plano in Peru, but it may be that they lifted all of the tubers before the winter set in? Dunno. We’re trialling the ginger and turmeric in the greenhouse to see whether it will over-winter in there? Dunno, but they’re not dead yet! The Japanese ginger went dormant about a week ago.

    Ooo! Small farm machines. Cool! They’ve got those machines down here too, and people still use and maintain them, which means they’re probably made right in the first place. I’d prefer the seat a little bit lower (almost impossible to achieve on that machine), or fit a roll over bar behind the seat. But then the slope here might be a bit steeper than your place. Also, dare I suggest, get rid of the turf tires on the rear, and replace them with equivalent sized tractor tires for proper traction in the wet. Never good to be inadvertently pulling burn outs in the wet on your ride on mower! 🙂 Unless that was what you were trying to do? Hehe!

    A shame the venerable beast is last in the queue. However, it’s in the queue!



  18. Hello Chris
    Plenty of rocks here, but they are down on the so called beach. As the land moves slowly towards the sea, the tide clears the clay and leaves the rocks. It makes for very dangerous walking, easy to get a foot trapped. One should wait for the tide to go out and then walk along further out where there are no rocks. Unfortunately more and more tourists haven’t a clue and need to be rescued.

    The pig knocked over a number of just planted pots but Son attended to them.
    In town this morning, I went into a local bakery/cafe to buy 2 macaroons. There wasn’t a soul inside, it is usually packed plus a queue waiting to buy stuff. I got my money out and was then told that the price had gone up. The cost of the 2 macaroons had gone from £3.20 to £4. No wonder the place was empty. The assistant said that they must be trying to go out of business.

    Was listening to the usual bleat about poverty on the radio. Was sympathising with a woman on her own with 4 children, until she said that they were entitled to free school dinners but because they didn’t like them, she made packed luncheons for them! I really am staggered at things today, having lived through years of war and rationing. Son is much kinder than I am on the subject.


  19. Yo, Chris – Speaking of wasps …


    How did I miss this film? Looks like a lot of fun! 🙂

    Too much salt will give you high blood pressure. Hence, the pounding in your head. I use little salt, so when I run across it, I notice. But, with me, I just feel “dry” and drink lots of water to flush it out. LOL. I’ve noticed if I eat something slightly salty, before bed, I’m likely to not make so many late night trips to the bathroom. 🙂

    A meal for $30. I need to get out more. Or, not. I noticed the reader board at the variety store, has hanging baskets for $30. For less than $5, I’ll have a nice hanging basket. All it takes is a little effort and patience. I noticed the red petunias, are beginning to bloom.

    Our logging camps here could be anything from a collection of tents, to small towns. We have a town, south of here (now a retirement village), that was a logging company town. Ryderwood. A lot of the old logging town houses, are still in use. With upgrades. During the flu pandemic of 1918, some of the camps tried quarantine. But as we know, someone always violates quarantine.

    Well, I watered last night, and, of course, then it rained. 🙂 A lot. There was thunder and lightening, though I didn’t see or hear any. Lights flickered a few times. Several people commented how twice in two weeks was unusual.

    I have a problem, with podcasts. Besides the noise, I miss out on too much, if I’m multi-tasking.

    Who asked for it? Names, please. I’m dealing with a problem, with a company right now, and their customer service is just great. And, I sent them an e-mail to tell them that. Which they thanked me for. Why can’t all companies be as responsive?

    How do I remember things? I don’t. 🙂 That old standard, constant repetition. Sometimes, I can come up with a catchy mnemonic. The best I’ve been able to come up with for “indeterminate” is “tomato jungle.”

    We’re still seeing boxes of the old (nice and thick) canning jars at op shops, garage and estate sales.

    It did get cooler, last night. Outside. Inside, I’m singin’ those “Thermal Inertia Blues.” I think that’s an old song by Willie Nelson 🙂 Lew

  20. Chris:

    We have had gravel brought in for our driveway. It is greenstone, quarried in the mountains. It always looks kind of blue to me and is hard as – a rock . . . It is what the state uses on all gravel/dirt roads. I guess the crushed rock that we will get for the garden paths will be the same, but crushed.

    I have wondered about the rocks creating a microclimate; they do retain heat well. And yet they retain cool well, too.

    Thank you, thank you for the suggestion about tractor tires for the back of Cubby. You may save lives!


  21. Hi Pam,

    Is greenstone in fact, bluestone? Wars have no doubt been fought over this minor distinction – of course the combatants may have been colour blind – always a possibility. Maybe? 🙂

    Yeah, the local granite down here is known as bluestone (similar, but not exactly the same as the stuff used in Stonehenge), and just like your lot, it does look like a sort of dark blue colour, if you squint a bit. The rock dust from that stuff is pretty good for the garden, and if your quarry supplies it, could be a good addition? They use it on the tarred roads down here too. The dirt roads sadly, are just dirt roads. Gets rather muddy in the winter months. I’m sure you’d appreciate that.

    Well, that’s the thing with rocks isn’t it? Dunno, but I had this weird idea about placing flattish rocks over your wintering tubers, and that might shield them from some of the worst of the winter weather, but it was only an idea. You’ll note that the succulent garden here has a lot of very large rocks which provides thermal inertia. It works.

    Yes, the turf tires such as normally found on those machines won’t work for you. You can try them at a pinch, but our experience has been that on a slope, any moisture on the ground – or loose dirt – will get them sliding. Too much excitement for my tastes. The tires I’d recommend are the sort you can see in the main photo this week. I know I kid around and make jokes, but I am being serious about this. But it’s worth testing what’s there and making your own mind up.



  22. Hi Inge,

    Oh my! What a nightmare, and yes, I can see how tourists would get trapped in such an environment. It would be an alarming experience to be so trapped, with the tide coming in. I’ve noticed an interesting pattern with the many people who visit, and wondered if you’d noticed such a thing. People who live in rural areas will tend to observe closely where they place their feet. But city folks tend to make the assumption that the ground beneath their feet – or where ever they’re about to place their feet – is perfectly fine. Over the years I’ve witnessed people walking through garden beds, or tripping over items (usually an item where I’d assumed nobody would ever trip over). It is quite interesting to observe, and seems fairly consistent.

    Inflation is real, and seems far higher than what the official numbers would suggest. And the decline in expenditure is hardly being consistently applied given what I’m observing. There have been a few articles on this very subject of late. It’s quite odd, really.

    Inge, I grew up in a poor household. If I wanted something, I had to go and get a job, even as a very young child. In those days you could do paper rounds, or chemist rounds, or retail. Nowadays I believe those options are mostly done for. There was no such thing as pocket money, or big cars, holidays etc. It just didn’t happen. I remember during the recession of the 1990’s as a young adult being so broke what with wages so low due to the pressure of 10% unemployment, that the outgoings for essentials, food, roof over head, bills were only slightly less than my income. Living one pay away from any disaster has the effect of sharpening the mind wonderfully.

    I’ve been cogitating upon your observation (in the background of my minds workings) for most of the day. People aren’t broke until they’re forced to sell things in order to meet the day to day essentials. I believe what people are attempting to voice when they make such claims as you described, is: the idea that what they’ve been promised to expect, is now clearly undeliverable. And they’re stomping their feet hoping against hope that somebody sorts it all out. This is a very dangerous time. We’ll eventually (as a society) get to acceptance, but there will be pain along that road.

    My take on the subject tends to agree with both you and your son. After all, it was needless, but the idea that it was needful was sold. It is very hard for people to accept limits. And they’ll do anything to pretend that limits don’t apply. But there are limits. Sadly, there is an element of powerlessness to avoiding acceptance of limits, but I’m happy for people to think whatever they want.

    What is your opinion of my observations and argument?



  23. Hello Chris
    I agree with your comments but would add my ‘horror of debt’. Debt seems to be completely acceptable here and never ones own fault. Surely this is eventually going to become hell or will it just be allowed to grow for ever?


  24. Hi Lewis,

    Dogs have some pretty unsavoury habits and they can consume all manner of nasties, but do you think they’d enjoy a little bit of pumpkin soup? No way! They look at me with their little trusting eyes which convey the message: What is this rubbish? Get it away from me. What is wrong with you? It was a good soup too. Dogs, don’t know nuffin. 😉

    Oh yeah, the ‘Stung’ looked pretty fun. Lot’s of goo could be seen in the trailer. Is there a conclusion to the tricksey wasps at the end of the film?

    That was also my understanding of too much salt, and I reckon with that meal, they placed in the motherlode. There was also the dreaded monosodium glutamate added, and people say that doesn’t generate a reaction, but I do not believe that. That stuff does weird things to my system. And knowing what I’d just consumed, I did drink a lot of water. Man, that meal has left a distinct impression upon me. Not a fan, and won’t be back for quite a long while. It is possible that the business is dying, but not yet dead?

    Ah, of course not going to the toilet in the night is an undocumented feature, but look it’s probably better to go and not confront the headache. Oh, far out!

    Food prices are on the rise down under. No getting around that issue. Exactly! I agree with your suggestion, do things cheaper is a fine option. We buy a lot of bulk raw materials now, and we’ve cooked meals from scratch for so long now. It takes a lot of skills to do so, or do as you did with your hanging basket idea. I’m of the opinion that a lot of basic skills have been neglected – deliberately too. It’s hard to know how much time will people will give to this sort of stuff? Dunno, really.

    That does happen with people breaking quarantine, doesn’t it? All very unfortunate. A lot of trees around that town. A retirement village, you say. Hmm. Probably not such a great idea, but I could be wrong. I’d probably have a bit more buffer to the surrounding forest for all sorts of reasons.

    I haven’t heard of logging towns down here, but we do have our fair share of towns set up around the goldfields. Mostly the timber getters worked an area and presumably camped out there and as you say, headed into town. And the mill was somewhere nearer to a source of water. The local creeks are probably a bit unreliable for industrial purposes such as steam boilers and engines way back in the day. For your interest, some of the larger rivers in the area (not all that large) had water powered grain mills. Big buildings, and there’s a few of them dotted about the landscape. I’ve always assumed that way back in the day, grains were grown in the elevated plains around this part of the world. You don’t see that happening nowadays.

    Lest ye tempt the weather gods! Which you did. 🙂 The warmer months are the times when you’ll get thunder storms down here too. Nothing unusual about that, although I don’t know how things work in your area on that front?

    Fair enough. You’ve mentioned that before about podcasts, but the finer details always slip my mind.

    Well, I can assure you that no names were given, and no further correspondence was entered into. And we then began making our own toasted muesli. It’s not hard. And that’s true too. If things are better than you expect, it is worth commenting upon. The nice person at the bank actually asked us to complete the survey as it would assist with ensuring the branch stayed open. That was a candid and surprising request. It is not as a competitor didn’t close a few months ago. It’s complicated the whole feedback providing thing.

    Hehe! Notes are helpful with which to remember things. And as you say, practice makes perfect (repetition). Although I’d have to suggest that perfection is not a goal which should be desired. Tomato jungle is a goodie.

    You’ve gotten me wondering about supply down here (not that we’re after any, other than maintaining a goodly supply of those rubber rings). Perhaps my friend is not considering the second hand option because I found an auction near to where I travel with 17 bottles for $50. Oldies, but goodies those bottles. I may have to raise this matter with him?

    Willie may have sung that song. True. But I heard it was titled: “Lamentations of a cowboy on an overly warm evening”, sung in a minor key… Really plucks at the heart strings. 🙂 Mate, it was so cold overnight here that it was a four blanket night. Very cold. Strangely there was no frost outside this morning.



  25. Hi Inge,

    Yes, of course and I agree with you wholeheartedly there. It’s not good. When I was a child, the very notion of debt was akin to bringing the devil to table. But you know, take a peek if you dare at a graph of the cumulative national debt over the past few decades, and it looks to me like an exponential yeast growth curve. I’d have to suggest that the debt story is driven by the top down and has permeated many aspects of our lives.

    I’m really not at all sure about the answer to your question, but we may just find out. All policies are subject to diminishing returns. $31.4 trillion of debt takes a very big income to service. Possibly a lot of printing, and maybe a lot of inflating it all away. I don’t see any good outcome to this strategy.

    I wish it were not so, but it is.



  26. Yo, Chris – …and, in news of the world … A fellow has pretty much nailed down the evolutionary history of butterflies.


    Turns out they evolved from moths, in this part of the world. You’re welcome! 🙂

    And, two new bodies showed up in Pompeii. Two guys crushed by falling walls, rather than the eruption, itself. I was a bit surprised that they figure they were both in their 50s. A pretty ripe old age, for that time.

    Oh, well. More soup for you!

    Don’t know. Haven’t seen “Stung.” I don’t think our library has it, but I’ll check. There’s another one called “Murder Wasps,” but it’s so hokey, I didn’t even bother to link to the trailer.

    Hmmm. Food prices are still … all over the place. Mostly, up. But gas is down a bit (according to what I’ve heard) and eggs are in good supply, and the prices are down. I went down to the cheap food stores, last night, to buy stuff for the Club pantry. I didn’t pay over $1.25 for any one item, and got plenty of hearty soups, condiments and tinned fruit. Tinned tuna and chicken. Beef stew. When I unloaded at the Club, someone gave me a donation of $20.

    We’re supposed to get a food box on Friday, but I don’t think it’s going to happen. They have a sign up sheet, in the lobby. I saw it there, but it slipped my mind. So, last night (Wednesday), I looked for it, but it was already gone. Sigh. Oh, well. I’ll just hit the swap table harder.

    And Ryderwood only had one road in/out. There were also a lot of coal towns, up in our hills. Nothing left of them but collectible cancelled stamps and a few post cards.

    I’d say, if it’s cold and you have no frost, it’s because of low humidity. Maybe. We have mornings like that. Colder than heck, but no ice to scrap off the windows. It was 73F, yesterday. Forecast to be about 10 degrees warmer, today. And, for the rest of the week. But, if the forecast holds, by the end of next week we’ll be back in the 70s.

    My Idaho friend taught me a trick, for buying old canning jars. You need to run your finger, around the rim, to see if there’s any small chips. You won’t get a good seal, if there are. You can feel them, before you can see them.

    Well, the Master Gardeners were here, this morning. I still don’t have my lattice, yet. Wrong wood, wrong screws, still some mulling over a final design. Oh, well. Another week won’t hurt, and I’ve got plenty of other stuff to do. Free materials, free labor. I’m not looking a gift lattice, in the mouth. 🙂 Lew

  27. Chris,

    Yup, acceptance. Something I’ve contemplated a lot the past few years is “radical acceptance” – just accept that things are the way they are, the events that happened have happened, and that I control almost exactly nothing. Can I work toward changing things? Of course, but I might not succeed. Plan B, then Plan C, and so forth, as you well know.

    My landscaping project is another sign of acceptance: after 17 years of my rock garden/thyme/sage/succulent garden, I quit. The grass has encroached and invaded for years. It has won, I have lost. Or rather, I am adapting to the fact that “I fought the lawn and the lawn won”. Buddy Holly almost had it right. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Va1oppIGs1E

    Ah yes, the absurd side of life. Hitchhiker’s Guide, yes. Monty Python and the Holy Grail, yes. I’m finding that I’m including part of that particular Monty Python movie in my carvings and wood burnings: the Knights who say Ni. My current project has a knight in it. Yes, he will be saying “Ni”. Ni will also be the emblem on his shield. A carving I did last summer included a bush that had a sign in front of it: “Another Ni! Shrubbery”. It’s becoming a theme.

    One of our expert carvers has had a theme going for a few years. He carved a bunch of bananas in a bowl. One banana was peeled and had a bite taken out of it. The carving was entitled “Bananas, Slightly Used”. He’s also done similar things with cookies and other edibles. I suggested that he carve a brain and entitle it “Brains, Slightly Used”. He thought about it for a few minutes and countered with the idea of carving the Three Stooges and giving it the title of “Brains, Slightly Used”.

    At least one of the roses has started to show signs of life. I’m not removing them this year, as the roots may need some time to realize that they are still alive. Or maybe undead – zombie roses.

    Avalanche had her first doggy obedience school class today. She is the “party girl” of the group. She was very excited. I think that she got the award for “Best MISbehaved”. We both learned a lot. She also has a veterinarian appointment Friday: as soon as the flowering crabapple burst into bloom, she started snuffling and sneezing and coughing. Methinks allergies are hitting her hard.


  28. Chris:

    That’s an interesting idea about putting flat rocks (are there any flat rocks . . . ?) over overwintering tubers. I will try to remember that.


  29. Hi Pam,

    Dunno about where you are, but we do get some flat rocks from time to time. They’re not all that common, but us humans tend to manufacture them in the form of tiles. Last time I went to the tip shop, there were huge tiles looking lost and forlorn sitting in a pile waiting for who knows what?

    Tell you a funny story. Today, we cleared out the tomato plants from the greenhouse. It took much sooking to achieve this outcome. The tomato vines were stripped of leaves and hung from the stainless steel wire which runs the length of the greenhouse. The raised beds were fed with a combination of aged woody mulch + aged compost + coffee grounds = a heady mixture. But underneath one of those tomato plants we discovered that the turmeric had actually taken and sprouted a fine looking leaf, and the Aloe Vera had survived. The take away? Dunno, but plants are hardier than you might imagine, and tubers might survive in your area with a bit of assistance. 😉

    Both Turmeric and Aloe Vera have died outside of the greenhouse – this has been thoroughly tested. 😉



  30. Hi DJ,

    Oooo, it’s funny you mention that about acceptance, but it maybe the topic for the next blog. Maybe. 😉 I hear you bro! Oh yeah, I hear you.

    The grass is an unrelenting and indefatigable foe. Never sleeps or rests like us mere humans. Interestingly, in the rock lined drainage basin earlier today, I fed the ferns and removed a chunk of grass growing from between some of the rocks. In the end the ferns will win that battle, but like Sir Francis Drake in his quest for the NW passage, in the meantime we might change our minds around about the latitude of San Francisco and go off and do something else. Which I’m guessing is where you are at now?

    I hadn’t realised that the song was performed by Buddy Holly. Very funny.

    Have to laugh about your reference to shrubberies, but in reading about history, you come across vague references to shrubberies, in this case the French, Louis XIV, the universe, and stuff. Must have been a thing way back in the 17th century? They knew how to have fun back in those days. Those Knights who say Ni! were a ferocious bunch and worthy of respect. Mate, there are worse themes, like say carvings which depict endless shrubberies. Life is absurd in many respects – dare I suggest tackling an economics discussion?

    That’s pretty funny about the Three Stooges and the slightly used brains.

    Hope the roses prove tougher than you expect. Most of my gardening experience in that regard comes from reasonably temperate areas, so I had not realised that extreme bouts of cold weather can kill plants which are dormant. I’d imagined that the summer months and dry weather from such areas took them out. But no. You learn something new every day, and perhaps those roses will recover. They’re tough plants.

    Go Avalanche! 🙂 And well done taking her to dog obedience school. Well little missy was probably poorly behaved, but hey, Ruby and Dame Plum would do no differently in that environment. Mostly they’d be trying to out-alpha the other, perhaps lesser canines? But on the other hand, dogs need boundaries and respect a firm but fair pack leader, otherwise known as your good self.

    Sorry to hear that, and I’ve known dogs to have skin allergies but those were short term. Hmm. Out of curiosity, what are you feeding her? Now, you may laugh, but the fluffies here graze upon the leafy greens, and those have anti-inflammatory properties. Just sayin. Have you considered growing some leafy greens for Avalanche to graze upon when she needs to?



  31. Hi Lewis,

    Mate, it interests me that the bloke was drawn into the world of butterflies through the influence of his father. And the findings don’t surprise me at all. The central and southern America’s have an extraordinarily diverse flora and fauna. Thanks for the butterflies! It’s always something of a pleasure to see the clouds of butterflies and moths flying around the garden beds on a warm summers day. At this quiet cold time of year (almost a month from the winter solstice) insects are rare, although in the sun yesterday I did spot a bee foraging. They’ll remain active on sunny winter days.

    Yikes! Yes, falling walls, like being trapped by falling tall trees, can be a rather fatal experience. How do they know the blokes were in their fifties? Wow. Just read an article on the blokes. The photos of the skeletons showed they were preserved well, unlike the holes left from some of the victims which were filled with plaster.

    Hey, the soup which rocked my mind! 🙂 Far out, so much salt. The funny thing about my profession is that after a lot of years of experience, you kind of see how bad events in business come to be. To be honest, it was kind of like the awful Waldorf salad episode of Fawlty Towers. Except we weren’t being pushy, far from it actually. Hmm. Go to a place often enough, and you’ll get to experience a bad meal. There’s still that meal all those years ago from the hippy cafe, I can’t find it in me to forgive.

    I just watched the trailer for the ‘Stung film’, and then read about the background to the film. Reading in between the lines, I got the distinct impression that they were really giving the film their all. Thanks for saving me the effort of having to forget the other film you referred to. My brain can only handle so much!

    Yes, that’s true about food prices down here too. But overall, I tend to believe that things are more expensive than they only recently once were. And that’s also true down here, fuel has become a little bit cheaper. What do you reckon, is it a bit of demand destruction? I’m thinking so. It’s good to hear that the members of the Club are chipping in. That’s kind of how groups used to work, way back in the day.

    Oh, that’s not good about the sign up sheet. Makes you wonder why the former need for the food boxes is somehow considered not the present need? Seriously, a person has to be all over life’s little administrative tasks, and we’re onto the details of that, but I do really wonder how other people cope with this? It’s been something of a mystery to me, after all, I see how other people cope with complex paperwork. Best wishes for the swap table.

    Yes, the same is true here. They told me in no uncertain terms – we are on our own. Truly, that was the best bit of advice I got out of my years spent volunteering with them. Plus I learned about how fire works and spreads through the land. Most people are oblivious to that predictive art.

    Some of the locals have told me that there are the remains of saw mills way out in the forest on what is now private land. But I’ve never seen any such industrial sites in the forest. Interestingly, people often mention the huge piles of saw dust, which is slow to break down. Although, my experience with the stuff here is that it breaks down fairly quickly. I may have more active soil though? Dunno.

    After much sooking, I can declare that the last remaining tomato plants in the greenhouse were removed today. The roots were cleaned and the vines hung upside down so as to ripen any remaining fruit. Anyway, it’s a bit of a conundrum because we might not have enough electricity at this wintry time to dehydrate them – thus my sooking. Oh well, it worked. Fertilised the three raised garden beds in there with a mixed soil of aged woody mulch (so nice) + aged compost + coffee grounds. The mixture smelled and felt really nice. Planted out the winter greens of three varieties of kale and mustard greens.

    Plus! Double plus seriously good! The long forgotten turmeric in the raised bed looked really healthy and had a long green shoot. Also the Aloe Vera had grown massively despite being crowded by tomato vines. Who knew?

    Nope, winter is consistently 99% humidity day and night. It’s cold and wet out there. And miserable. Oh well, mustn’t grumble. Maybe the air temperature where the thermometer is (about six foot off the ground) was colder than at soil level? Dunno.

    😉 We must have gotten to at least 50’F here today! Maybe. 70’sF is pretty nice really.

    Yes, I know that trick with the canning / preserving bottles. The rims really make a big difference to a solid seal.

    Nothing says wet weather down here like this: Southern Annular Mode hits near-record level. The effect of that over summer can be bonkers wet down here. Antarctica reaches up and flexes the muscles to show us who’s the boss here. 🙂



  32. Yo, Chris – We don’t get too many butterflies, around, except for the dreaded white cabbage moth. And I’ve never seen clouds of butterflies. There is a “butterfly garden” down at the other end of the Institution grounds. So, maybe they’re all hanging out, there.

    There’s bones in them thar’ holes. If you look at some of the older casts, that have become a bit “flakey”, you can see bits of bone poking through, here and there. There’s been some DNA work, in the past few years. See if there is family relationships, within groups. LOL. Some of the suspected gentlemen, turned out to be ladies. And vis versa. There’s probably a few osteoarchaeologists, or palaeopathologists kicking around Pompeii. Those folks can look at a skeleton and usually come up with good ideas of sex and age. There are markers. Shape of the pelvis, is usually a tip off to differentiate between males and females. Progression of teeth. Some bones fuse at different stages of life.

    One does tend to remember the bad meals. Such as, the time I ordered Beef Stroganoff, and was served beef stroganoff Hamburger Helper™. Or a Thai restaurant that had chicken as a side, and it turned out to be chicken nuggets shaped like dinosaurs. Clearly, children’s tucker. But the good meals, also stand out in memory. Salmon chowder in a little off season cafe on the coast. LOL. If we didn’t have a few good memories thrown in, we’d probably give up on food, entirely 🙂 .

    Oh, I agree. Food prices are on the up. Peaks and valleys. More peaks than valleys. Sometimes, you just don’t really register a high price, as it’s something that’s been out of stock for so long. You see it, jump on it, and price be d—–d.

    I got the food boxes, straightened out. Didn’t have to deal with our building manager, at all. We have a “community outreach person” who is here two days a week. She’s quit nice, and helpful.

    Speaking of our Fearless Leader, it’s been three weeks, and I still haven’t been reimbursed for the $50+ dollars, I spent on the strawberries. When one is brassed off, evil thoughts tend to creep into one’s head. So, if I paid for them, then the strawberries are mine to do with as I please. Right? I thought I might just rip them out and throw them away. Sometimes, grand gestures are needed to make a point.

    Go, Turmeric! I’ve grown Aloe, a couple of times as a potted plant. Sooner or later, they get top heavy, and tumbled over. 🙁 .

    I stopped by the variety store, this morning, and picked up a couple of tomatoes. One red, and one yellow cherry variety. I also picked up two tomatillos. As it takes Two Tomatillos to Tango. 🙂 I wanted to get a couple of Sweet Basil starts, but they were pretty picked over, and all that was left was weird varieties of basil. Maybe, earlier next week. Or, I might try the plant nursery.

    I do wish the plant tags offered a bit more information. As to if a tomato is indeterminate, or not. Or if it’s a hybrid or not. I suppose if I had one of those i-phone things, I could just look it up, on the spot. Elinor is doing her usual dithering, as to which tomatoes she wants to put in.

    That was an interesting article about your Southern Annular Mode. But I don’t know about those long range forecasts. We’re getting our El Nino forecasts, now. “Warmer and Dryer.” How much warmer, and how much dryer? When? Seems like there’s always outliers. Short periods that will be colder and wetter. 5 – 7 day forecasts are about the only thing that seems dependable. Lew

  33. Hi Lewis,

    Possibly there is a splinter butterfly group hanging out at the more fashionable end of the gardens? 🙂 Interestingly, we get both the dreaded cabbage moths (I hear you about them) and butterflies at the same time over the summer months when the sun provides some warmth. I couldn’t say for sure where either of them go over the winter months. As a kid, you used to see cocoons hanging off fences and trees. Nowadays I see a few around here, but there are none in the big smoke. On the insect front, it is very quiet in there which nobody seems alarmed by. Speaking of insects, I read that Cromwell died from malaria. I hadn’t known that malaria was even in the UK.

    Hehe! Nice one. We’ve struck, err, bones (insert anti climax music)! That’s always a bit of a possibility up here, and to date, none. Thank gawd! Although, it might be a cheap way to get the authoritas to do some free excavation works for us? I hadn’t realised that the air pockets at Pompeii had contained bones, although it makes sense. Oh yeah, I can see that, and of course, sudden final endings are monopolised by the authoritas, so the matter of bones has probably been well studied over the years. They certainly don’t want competition on that monopoly. A few years ago, I read an interesting, and yet mildly macabre research facility into that very subject: Dead bodies move while decomposing, a significant find for death investigations. I’ll bet that didn’t happen at Pompeii, what with the victims being covered in volcanic ash – or walls.

    I’d never even heard of hamburger helper, and it sent me on a dark interweb rabbit food hole. Not good. For a moment there, I thought that stuff may even have been the dreaded Textured Vegetable Protein, I once encountered. I’m a vegetarian at home, but that stuff is a step too far for me. Don’t you reckon there is a weird narrative that vegetable based meals should ape meat based meals? The proponents are hanging on too tightly, me thinks. Vegetable based meals should look like vegetable based meals – how hard can that be? Probably quite hard for some folks. Oh well, moving on…

    Exactly! When the stuff is there, jump. Keep stocks. Hope for the best, but expect and plan for the worst – no disappointment in that strategy. We use very little natural gas here, mostly as a backup energy source for heating water. Just replaced the 99 pound gas bottle, and it was just under $200. Sooner or later we’ll have to get a wood fired oven. So good. Now, how to convince the Editor of the need?

    Your $50 is possibly a victim of the forgotten repayment demon syndrome. Seriously. After four years in debt collection during the recession-we-had-to-have in the early 1990’s, my view on the world of debts is never be shy about asking for a debt to be repaid. The awful undocumented downside of your strategy is that they may ask you for the replacement funds for the ripped out strawberries. Always a possibility. Yikes!

    The turmeric and aloe plants were a real surprise to find them both thriving. The greenhouse is a real game changer as it extends our growing season at either end. And in a short growing season, that’s a major bonus. There’s a couple of different varieties of Aloe-like plants, and I’ve seen that happen with them falling over. I grew a more compact variety.

    But yes, that basil trick happened with us this past growing season. The basil plants we raised from purchased seed looked great, but they were some weird basil-like plant. We pulled them out. The seeds were purportedly sweet basil, but I don’t think so. We grow a bit of basil mint, and it’s close to basil tasting, but as they say, no cigar. Run, Lewis, run! And if you can, taste the leaves – tells you everything you need to know.

    I find that’s a problem down here too. It’s a bit late, but if you start tomatoes from seed, those details are usually provided on the seed packets. But seedlings, that information is never given – and it confuses me too. So I start all tomatoes from seed stock we’ve either saved, or purchased.

    We’ve got three known climate drivers: ENSO (El Nino / La Nina) + Southern Annular Mode + Indian Ocean Dipole. So, being on an island – albeit a very large island, the long term weather is very hard to predict. A lot of oceans out there, and they do weird things. You’ve just got the Pacific, and that Pineapple Express thing – the climate driver, not the film (although it was pretty funny).

    All those rocks we split last week were brought back up the hill today and put in place on the new low gradient path. Excavated and moved a lot of soil there too. We probably need a little bit more soil for that job though, so we chucked around ideas late this afternoon (a caffeine assisted conversation) as to how to get some extra soil, and yeah – in another week or two plans will be implemented.

    The weather forecast for today sounded dire. But today ended up being quite nice, there was even a decent amount of sunshine. A mystery, but I try not to concern myself with such things, and just get on with the job at hand.



  34. Chris:

    How does one “sook”?

    I have always wondered why tiles aren’t made in my area; bricks are.

    You are doing way better with turmeric than I ever did. Not having a greenhouse, I have tried growing it outside and did get small, edible (but tasteless) roots. I gave up trying. Ginger was the same, but I loved the flowers. Aloe very I can easily grow in a sunny window and then put it outside in the summer. It easily reproduces, too.

    Ha! I am now planting tomatoes – late, it’s been quite cool – while you are sooking them. Re soil temperature: I felt a little sorry for the tomatoes as I started planting them as it was only 50F (10C), but as I got my hands below the first inch or so of soil, it felt alot warmer.


  35. Hello Chris
    I reckon that Cromwell must have died from something else. To the best of my knowledge we don’t have malaria in the UK, it has to be caught from elsewhere.


  36. Lew:

    Even now, as cool as it’s been, I have basil coming up in the garden that I planted as seed.


  37. Hi Inge,

    I thought that it was a weird claim too. You may of course have local fevers associated with a particular area? There are some of those down here. Nasty things.

    Oh well, the plot thickens. There is a bit of debate about whether Cromwell died of malaria, however, in a strange twist of fate, malaria used to be much wider spread than it is today. Apparently the mosquito borne parasite requires a summer with a mean temperature of 16’C / 61’F or above. Yikes! There is a suggestion that effective treatment and pesticides have pushed the mosquito borne nasty away – possibly to areas that don’t have such things as effective treatment and pesticides. Hmm.

    Apparently, the guy was bonkers because he refused Quinine. As you do. Imagine cancelling pies and Christmas. Who does that? The history read to me as if he’d become the very thing he sought to over throw.



  38. Hi Pam,

    How does one “sook”?

    If you’d met Sir Scruffy, you’d know how. The dog would give a look which suggested that: ‘this is so unfair’. He was the master, I am but a humble apprentice, and can only hope after much hard work to achieve such mastery and greatness. Hope that makes sense?

    Interesting. Bricks require a certain sort of clay. Good to hear that it is in your area, and is used. In the big smoke, the clay is in short supply. I’d heard that there was a big deposit of the stuff, but a housing estate may have been constructed over the top of it. Quite the irony, really. Tiles probably require a much hotter kiln, I’d imagine.

    Oh, I didn’t put up a photo. Something has to be done about that. Honestly, the stuff growing could also be equally tasteless. The last ginger tuber we grew fermented in the damp soil. That was really weird tasting. I’ve already slowed down watering both of the tubers, but I don’t know.

    Thanks for the growing notes with the Aloe. I intend to trial it the next time I get a burn. Have you ever used the plant on a burn?

    Late, cool. Sounds kind of familiar to me. Dunno why. 🙂 Good luck, and that is cold soil, but the year is getting on. I reckon we planted them out about this time of year too (if things were suddenly upside down). Plant them deep to get at that warmth, although you probably already know that.



  39. @ Pam – I’ve never had luck planting basil, in the garden, by seed. Lst year, I bought three starts. Two did well. One didn’t. Gotta insure I got a good supply of dried basil!

    I souk, you souk, he, she or it souks 🙂 Lew

  40. Yo, Chris – I knew there was a ear worm, for this weeks blog post title.


    Then there were the silhouettes left behind, from the nuclear bomb blasts, in Japan. Then there’s the poisonous silhouette book …


    The fellow who wrote the book about being a bookseller cautioned to avoid Victorian bindings of a certain bright green color. Arsenic.

    Malaria pops up in all kinds of unexpected places. It traveled a lot in the bilge water, of ships. A look into the rabbit hole indicates that the particular type of mosquito, that carries malaria (only the female), can be found in any part of the world. Except, Antarctica.

    We have a body farm, or two, here in the States. An article about them pops up, every once in awhile. Well, as any good detective knows, first you have to establish time of death. Then you start looking at possible suspect’s alibis, at the time of death. Ignoring the reek of red herrings, along the way 🙂 Silly scientists. Every one knows bodies can move. Saw it at the pictures. Bodies rise up all the time, from the morgue slabs. Usually, just prior to a zombie invasion.

    We ate a fair amount of Hamburger Helper™ when I was growing up. Came in flavors, depending on what was in the Magic Mystery Powder Packet. Though we always used ground beef. I’ve eaten my fair share of textured vegetable protein. Not a bad alternative when the price of meat gets out of sight. Same with artificial crab.

    Well, on cooler reflection, I’ll just let the strawberries ride. I usually don’t hit them too hard, for myself. All bets are off, this year. And if anyone complains, I’ll just outline the basics. My money, my berries.

    I think I fixed the SNAFU with the food box, that should arrive, today. We’ll see.

    Prof. Mass has a couple of posts on the smoke from the Canadian brush fires. The first post, covered day before yesterday. It was pretty hazy, all day. But stayed aloft. What he didn’t mention was that due to the lack of ground air, and air aloft not mixing, it was pretty humid. At least here. Muggy. A highly technical and scientific term. Today, and for a few days running, we’ll have temperatures in the 70s, with a bit of an onshore flow. One day, it’s even supposed to get in the upper 60s. That will be nice.

    I keep forgetting to mention I saw articles about the woman who was lost in the bush, for five days. Note to self: When planning to get lost in the bush, take wine, and plenty of candy. Lew

  41. @ Lew,

    Thanks for the earworm and the memories. Been a looong time since I heard that version of the song. I’ve always been partial to Heman’s Hermits. Even they have a version of that earworm. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IT3hCkp_nnU

    The silhouette book looks interesting. It reminded me of something. In the days of actual photography, my great grandmother and her siblings posed for a picture. My uncle had a copy and added a copy to the family history/genealogy book he put together. At little old Thorpe Fruit Stand near Ellensburg, on the obscure 3rd floor I found some oldish photos. One looked familiar: it was the same people, same clothes, same pose 25 or 30 years later. My question has been ever since: how did a photo of an obscure family from southern Ohio find its way to the Thorp Fruit Stand???


  42. Chris,

    Absolutely. It is time to go do something else. Accept that the lawn won. Change course and “fix” the problem, allowing for a more natural process to take over. I certainly am not concerned about a Northwest Passage or anything similar.

    Ear worms can be a terrible thing. A carving (or wood burning) of endless shrubberies might be in the same category. A bloke from another carving club often carves a chain. Yes, a wooden chain. It starts out as a block of wood maybe 6cm by 6cm and 3cm thick. Carving an endless chain wood be a tiresome ear worm to me. But an economics discussion? Absurd doesn’t even begin to describe such a thing! It hurts to contemplate. I’m having to listen to Herman’s Hermits songs to try to recover. A Pangalactic Gargle Blaster might be the only thing that saves me from contemplating the horror and absurdity of an economics discussion.

    Glad you enjoyed the Three Stooges idea. This carving group is a lot of fun. There are a lot of different humor styles that find their way into the projects.

    As the doggy school suggested, I got a “front hook” harness for Avalanche. I’m still tweaking how it fits, but so far it is working. I have better control of walking, she enjoys learning something new, because that means attention from Papa and treats.

    The vet called and was able to see Avalanche a day early. They agree that this is likely allergy, so she is taking one human allergy pill a day. Of course, now we’re fighting smoke from Alberta and deteriorated air quality. The smoke bothers her and me. I didn’t work outdoors Friday due to the smoke.

    Nice idea on the leafy greens for Avalanche. I have some seeds for some, and I have a place to plant them where she can’t miss them: in some of the containers. she likes to eat whatever grows in the containers.


  43. Hi DJ,

    I’m afraid that unless you plant out a forest with a canopy which blots out the sun – a bit dangerous both here and at your place due to the fire risk, the grasslands will probably win. And the fire risk is still there with grass, albeit with lower fuel loads. You canna win that landscaping fight! Your move is worthy of a well practised martial artist – yes, deflect the opponent and respond to reality. One of the things I’m discovering is that it takes a while for the local forest critters to catch up to the increased soil fertility here. And that means some years now take up to five cuts. So in order not to be overwhelmed by that task, we cut and drop areas as part of all the other activities. Cutting becomes a background and incidental activity, and not a massive job. The problem however, is that dropping the grassy material – the soil fertility further improves. My head is beginning to spin! 🙂

    You said it, ear worms are that. Interestingly, when we went to the agricultural expo early last month, the woodcarvers group had a large exhibit tent and one item was a carved chain. It was very noticeable. Mate, it was more than just a few links. I wonder if people actually used such things back in the day?

    Economics is absurd, after all they begin with the premise: Now let’s just pretend that everyone is rational, and go from there. If ever you meet a truly rational person, run. No seriously, I mean that. Run. They might be a psychopath. A Pangalactic Gargle Blaster will certainly help matters recovering from such an encounter. Works for me! 🙂

    Sounds like a fun group of people. What are you working on now?

    Speaking of working on now – The recent massive triangular shaped Moby Rock was dealt with today. It’s now in five large chunks. They still have to be broken apart further, but the hard yards have been performed. The weather forecast sounded apocalyptic, and yet the sun shone, just here. No point allowing all that solar electricity to go to waste at this time of year – the drilling and splitting took a bit over three hours. But it’s now done, and take that ya monster rock!

    Those front hook harness arrangements are very good, but I can see that they’d take a bit of adjustment. DJ, I’m very old school with the leads, and use choker collars. When walking the three dogs together, there is little room for them mucking around. Last week, the four of us (me holding the three dogs) encountered a wallaby, and oh boy, the energy of the three dogs combined almost pulled me over in their excitement. Who needs to go to gym and waste energy fighting resistance wasting heat into the atmosphere, when there are three strong dogs to put you to the ultimate test?

    I read the good professors blog entries on the present from Alberta. It was very kind of your northern neighbours to share their stuff. Not good. Dogs get allergies too. Dunno whether you recall the days when the now deceased Dame Scritchy was bitten by a large bull-ant and blew up like a puffer fish? All her hair was standing on end, the poor suffering dog. I slipped her an eighth of an antihistamine tablet and she promptly fell asleep, but the inflammation reduced. It happened a few times. I’m finding that over the years, the rotten bull-ant bites affect me less. The cheeky scamps also spray the bite site with formic acid, just because. Chemical warfare. I’ve heard that bee keepers weed out workers by getting them stung early on to see whether the reaction is dangerous.

    The leafy greens will seriously assist Avalanche, and she’ll graze at her leisure. There are a number of very heat and dry hardy plants to choose from. We’re all kind of lucky on that front because historically it wasn’t so for European originated cultures. Other cultures were far smarter and had better knowledge on that front.



  44. Hello Chris
    I have just eaten my first ripe delicious strawberry. In the interests of horticultural science, I have to tell you that it was the result of 14 years of using my own runners. I replant with my own runners, every 2 years.


    @Chris again + Lew

    We are told that the malaria mosquito is moving north but that, so far, it doesn’t survive here. We are however, told to be wary near airports.


  45. Chris:

    That’s why I grow aloe – for burns – though it is also nice for abrasions and such things.


  46. Hi Lewis,

    Those guys have astounding voices. And the harmonies are solid. And wow, right at the end they proved just how good their voices were in the conclusion. OK, so here I have to fess up: The Postal Service – We Will Become Silhouettes. Quirky in a very dystopian way, and it’s not everyday you hear the line in a song: “we’ll explode. And it won’t be a pretty sight”. True words, and the end in that instance will no doubt be quick. Won’t notice a thing.

    Exactly. I’m pretty sure those silhouettes were the inspiration for the song. And I was well aware of that aspect of the destruction in Japan. Horrendous. Over the years I’ve encountered a few people who were so intent upon their own goals, regardless of the bonkers outcomes, that only a very crazy over the top display could get them to stop and reconsider and/or take their troubles elsewhere. Such people are very dangerous, and from my reading of history, that sort of insanity can even grip a culture.

    Err, the softwood pine sourced from the tree Pinus Radiata (Monterey Pine) is quite often treated with the delightful combination of CCA (Copper + Chrome + Arsenic). Sure keeps the bugs at bay. And then there was the old film: Arsenic and Old Lace. Those ladies in the film sure knew how to party, and poor old Mortimer, it ended up well in the end not being genetically linked to those two notable naughties.

    Thanks for mentioning that old long forgotten technology of the Physiognotrace. I’d never heard of such a thing. All this talk about selfies being a recent thing is clearly, pure baloney! The images of the silhouettes are amazing.

    Yup, way back in the day, green dye was not all that good for you. And who can forget the mad hatters? They were literally mad. I’ve seen mercury, and back in the 1970’s watched a bloke roll the stuff around in his hand. Not good. Who knows what unpleasant things surround us every day?

    Mate, I had no idea about malaria being that widespread up until recent times. Yikes! Honestly, like Inge, I’d believed that the historian was reporting events incorrectly and that maybe Cromwell had carked it from something similar like encephalitis. He faded out pretty quickly, but such events were common. The chapter in the book on the plague was quite harrowing, and um, selection pressures on the population have probably had all manner of unusual outcomes. Henry VIII’s infected leg from the jousting injury sounded very unpleasant.

    It’s pretty clever to have figured out by observation what goes on after an err, incident. And I agree with you, the 1968 film, The Night of the Living Dead was most certainly a documentary about a series of unfortunate events possibly in a small town in that New England area which Mr King often writes about. Strange things go on up there. Anyway, that’s why the film has been preserved – like the dead sometimes end up. Very circular, that outcome you’ll have no doubt agree? 🙂

    I must say, the film promotional poster was a bit racy. Probably part of the box office success. Oh yeah, the trope of the body rising in the morgue has some basis in reality – a few people have survived to awaken in such a place. What a strange rabbit hole that sent me on. Did you know that the author Edgar Allen Poe, was terrified of being buried prematurely, and that was risk in those days? Yikes! Who would know if they got it wrong and shoved you into the coffin?

    The old film trope of the scientist on the other side of the very strong glass door being attacked by zombies, then sliding down the glass whilst blood splatters everywhere, is another goodie. Hey, they usually brought that poop down on their own heads. Playing around with weird viruses and stuff. Hubris, nemesis. Plus: Escapes always happen – and do in real life. If memory serves me correctly that happened with smallpox a couple of decades ago. Not good to be anywhere near such things. And as you pointed out the other day, quarantine always gets broken.

    The helper stuff looks like pasta to me, so it’s probably not too bad, just maybe occasionally unexpected – as in your stroganoff (?) incident. I’ll bet it made you wonder about future orders for that meal? A loss of innocence perhaps? It is such a nice meal too, when prepared properly. In my first job as an adult – in the public service – they used to have a staff cafeteria, and it was so good, and so cheap. Well, the fun didn’t last, but it was good whilst it did! I read earlier today that the state is in so much debt now, that the public service will soon lose something like 10% of the workforce. Honestly, it sounds like a repeat of what I went through as a young adult. That’s the fun thing with age, you kind of start to notice patterns. The premier (governor equivalent) was suggesting with a straight face that debt came in many forms, and they’d been perhaps indulging, and just like pigs, some debt is apparently more equal than others. Debt is debt, nuff said. Oh well.

    Yeah, true but I enjoy lentils and other legumes. Did you ever finesse the French lentil recipe? What? Crab what? No way… Ah, of course, those things used to be called down here: Seafood Sticks. Just went on another rabbit hole which ended in fish balls. Extending seafood is something of a national past time for pretty much anywhere on the planet with a coastline – or a river for that matter.

    Hope strawberry-gate works out OK for you, and that the harvest is good. Had the first alpine strawberry the other day, and it wasn’t the same as the sort of hybrid varieties people expect, but it had flavour and was producing berries now, at this time of year. I’m going to have to put some more brain cells towards these plants.

    Excellent! And did the food box arrive on schedule? Paperwork, it’s been said before that the devil is in the detail – or lack thereof.

    Yuk! Humidity ups the temperature. Hope things have settled down on that front for you? The cooler conditions will sure feel better. Have you reconsidered the air con and custom window exhaust vent?

    Hehe! Yes, I’d been reading about that lady who became lost in the bush. That part of the state at this time of year would have been no-fun place to be. And the candy and wine addition to the story was an interesting twist. It surprised me that she’d apparently decided to drive such a vehicle, in such a place. Still, it’s impressive that she survived the incident. Makes you wonder if the experience has changed her perspective on life?

    And in rock breaking news… The sun was shining this morning, so there was plenty of electricity. I took that as a sign. Headed down below the house into the paddocks with tools and broke the previously unbreakable large Moby rock into five smaller (yet still large) sections. Take no prisoners!!!! And next time, the rock will know who it’s dealing with. Plus all those rocks will be very useful for the path project.

    It took many hours of drilling and splitting before getting to that point. I cleaned and packed up all the equipment, headed inside for lunch, and no kidding, it then rained heavily. Enjoyed reading for a bit, the rain stopped and the sun shone again. A bonkers day of weather, and the forecast looked dire – but it wasn’t. Anyway, used that electricity to vacuum the house. Pottered around doing some other stuff, then crashed out on the couch at about 4pm for a quick nap with the wood heater going. It was a very pleasant day. And it is particularly enjoyable to be finally cleaning up that area of the property.

    We need to get some more soil on the path project before we can place all those rocks. Oh well, life wasn’t meant to be easy. 😉



  47. Hi Pam,

    Thanks for that. Hmm. I shall try this plant out next time and report back on the results.

    Broke the Moby rock today into five smaller sections. Take that, ye pesky rock! I was a bit worried that it may be the rock which defies our best efforts. But no, that’ll be a different rock. 🙂



  48. Hi Inge,

    Thanks for the update, and respect. Your skills with this plant exceed my own by a significant margin.

    My methods are perhaps a bit too slack with hybrid strawberry varieties, and thus I’ve begun instead to trial Alpine Strawberry varieties. Candidly, they are better suited to how my brain works. Incidentally, I ate my first alpine strawberry on Thursday, and for a plant producing a month out from the winter solstice, the berry was OK. The plan is to hunt down some tastier varieties of Alpine Strawberries – and funnily enough, I know just where to do that.

    But seriously, respect. The runners here have produced nothing. No berries whatsoever. The hybrid plants do my head in and I’m so busy with infrastructure for the foreseeable future, that I don’t have the available capacity to manage those plants better. And I know I’m missing out. We’ve had some decent harvests in the past.

    This area used to be known for it’s berry and potato production, so it is possible that I’m fighting more than my fair share of berry diseases? Maybe a month or so back I spoke with an old timer potato farmer who told me his mother used to own and run a strawberry farm within walking distance of where we are. Hmm. Had a lovely conversation too.



  49. @ DJ – As we say in the “tat” trade, “You never know what you might find, where.” 🙂

    A few years back, I picked up some stuff at auction. As with these lots, there was stuff mixed in I wasn’t interested in. There was a double sided 1920s English portrait, of a gent. A “Sir.” One side was a military portrait, the other in his full royal court dress. And by gosh, there was an extensive Wiki-hoopa entry on him.

    He was in the trade of making printer’s inks. His was one of the first businesses, in England, to go to an 8 hour a day, work week. His worthy, charitable supports were quit extensive. So how did his portrait end up in an auction, in little old Chehalis, Wa.?

    I’ve been watching some of the old Miss Marple mysteries. Turns out, Miss Marple is quit the snob. In talking about a family in the local stately home, she commented, “Not an old local family. Victorian money.”

    Last year I read a book about a Hollywood guy, who had always heard about a “lost” family stately old pile. He found it. It was for sale. It was in terrible shape. He bought it, and started renovations. Learned all kinds of new skills :-). Lew

  50. Yo, Chris – Doo Wop music. Popular in the late 1950s and early 60s. Developed out of guys standing around on street corners, belting out close harmonies. That was a catchy little tune from the Postal Service. The Prepper’s theme song. 🙂

    We live in insane times. Looking at history, most times were insane. They just came in different flavors.

    The Master Gardeners are pretty careful not to use CCA lumber, around any potential food crops. I re-watched “Arsenic and Old Lace,” a couple of months ago. A nice remastered copy. Holds up remarkably well. The play is beloved by high school drama departments and community theaters.

    When I was in grade school, I remember we did some kind of art project, where silhouettes were done. I don’t remember any of the details.

    I watched “Emily”, last night. Bronte, that is. A pretty good movie, though I thought it dragged, in parts. An interesting look at the Bronte household. Of course, they threw in a speculative romantic interest, and a flirtation with opium, for Emily. But there’s one scene where Emily receives her three volume “Wuthering Heights,” fresh from the publisher. I twitched a bit when she clutched the bright green bindings to her breast. 🙂

    For some reason, the Victorians had a horror of being buried alive. Some went to the extent of having elaborate systems of cords and bells, installed in their graves. There was a recent article, where an old lady woke up in the funeral parlor.

    Many nasties are preserved in labs, here and there around the world. Gene editing has gotten so simple, that you can do it at home! See, King’s “The Stand.”

    I’ve made Stroganoff, from time to time. Using the recipe out of my good old Betty Crocker cookbook. You can do it a bit on the cheap, if you use ground beef. And I usually have it over rice, instead of noodles. There are all kinds of ways to economise, classic recipes, and still have a pretty tasty product.

    Premier, governor. Let’s just call them “The Grand High Pooh-Bah.” Tip of the hat to Gilbert and Sullivan, “The Mikado,” 1885.

    I wonder if your seafood sticks are similar to our fish sticks? Our fish sticks are made from ground up fish. One might not want to inquire to closely on species and parts. 🙂 But they sure are tasty!

    I received a check for the strawberries, discreetly slipped under my door. I would have preferred circulated, small unmarked bills, but whatever. Maybe the rumor that the crazy guy in 311 might rip them out, reached Little Mary Sunshine. I mean, he’s capable of just about anything! 🙂

    Food boxes arrived, o.k.. All the usual suspects. There was a nice frozen 2 pound ham. I’ll take that down to the Club. There were walnuts. Keep those, for me. The usual tinned fruit and veg.

    Speaking of the Club, they’re having their 38th anniversary, today. Old timers meetings, a band, a dance, a feed. I won’t be attending. To crowded, for my taste.

    Haven’t done anything about the air con, yet. It means a trip to the big box store, and a whirl through the round-about of death. Last time I went down there, during the day, I nearly got nailed.

    Oh, the lady who was lost in the outback, will probably write an inspirational book on her experience. Hit the talk show circuit.

    I picked up Elinor’s tomatoes, this morning. She also started whining about getting some Cosmos flowers. So, I got those. Gosh, there’s so much to do in the garden, right now. I’m only good for about an hour or two, a day. Last night, I got the t-posts set, and chicken wire partially in, for the tomatoes and green beans.

    You know, if you dug a root cellar, you’d have a lot of dirt. And maybe, even some more rocks! 🙂 Lew

  51. Hi Lewis,

    Ah, doo wop music. Yes, like a barber shop quartet, was very much the music of the people. A mate contributes to such a group. And yes, that was my thoughts exactly! The prepper’s theme song. Very catchy though, and the visuals were just ever so slightly off. Still, when I was a young kid the fear was that we’d get blasted to smithereens, and fortunately nobody seems to have too much problem with that these days. Now we all seem to be fearful of going seriously broke!

    Hmm, your observation on insane history has given me much to contemplate.

    Always wise to be alert with that CCA infused timber around food plants. From memory, I recall quite enjoying the dark comedy. The central premise holds true in that if your family was doing that… They used to say that the apple never falls far from the tree, and there is some truth in that. Although probably like you, I’d hope not to end up like my lot. They were a bunch of bad apples.

    Speaking of apples, we went to the gardening club today for lunch and also an apple growing and cider making course. I thoroughly enjoyed the course and lunch. And learned a lot. The Editor and I have agreed to conduct a brew-off competition with a batch of apples. We may begin this competition over the next few weeks, but I reckon I’ll win that. The Editor has superior skills in more potent brews, and those skills don’t necessarily translate to less potent ciders. That’s my edge in this race, but we’ll see.

    Holy carp! Bright green bindings suggest you know what outcome. From memory, I believe the sisters were not long lived. Talk about the gift which keeps on giving. That’s one book I intend to read over the next few months, minus the green bindings.

    Oh really? I had not known of that Victorian era fear. They worried about some strange matters. I’d also read a reference to the lady who woke up in a morgue. Not something you’d see every day, and the blame for that outcome was interesting.

    Well, ‘The Stand’ didn’t end up too badly. I mean, 99 point something percent, is not 100 percent. Always something to be grateful for. 😉 Anyway, Stu survived, and he seemed OK to me.

    Hang on a second there. Betty Croker must have a ring of power – and has changed little yet adjusted her appearance to accommodate the fashions of the day. ‘Tes not natural! What stood out to me was the reference to a WWII era book which discussed: an aid to wartime considerations in cooking. Probably a bit more involved than the now famous line: “Just cook the f……g meat!” It has not been lost on me that of late there have been a few articles on the subject of cooking and eating on the cheap. Not a good sign, me thinks.

    Yes, let’s do exactly that! The Grand High Pooh-Bah it is.

    I’d have to say that in principle, the fish-sort-of products are pretty much the same, however the details may vary from one country to the next. And yup, they are tasty.

    Hehe! Glad to hear that you were finally reimbursed for the strawberries. The revenge wouldn’t be worth it, wait until it gets to the point where it is. You’ll feel much more vindicated. 😉 Hey, I picked up another two varieties of Alpine Strawberries today and planted them out in the greenhouse. Once we’ve built up extra volunteer self seeded plants in there, I’ll start relocating them outside and removing the hybrid varieties. The hybrid varieties just don’t work with my ethos. Sooner or later, I’ll stuff up the hybrid varieties succession planting – so they have to go.

    The ham was a good score for the Club. I was wondering whether the walnuts would return. It’s not bad given they are way out of season for you. And glad to hear that the paperwork got sorted out.

    I hear you about that. There were something like 45 people at the course today. And the room was heated to city folk standards and I was sweltering. I had a chance chat with another ‘bloke from the bush’ about the heating and we were of like mind in this regard. Exchanged some info about apple trees, but he lives a long way from here (about three hours drive), so I didn’t pursue the connection.

    Oh yeah, watch that roundabout of death. You may not have heard this, but apparently hordes of maraudering zombies are easier to defeat than that thing. Two lane roundabouts are problematic for those who have to turn through them.

    Well, we’ll just have to wait and see. I was wondering what the lost lady was thinking. After a while it is common sense when lost to turn back the way you’ve come and find the last known position.

    I like Cosmos flowers. Super hardy, and Elinor won’t be disappointed. Out of sheer curiosity, what were her tomato variety choices?

    I hear you about that. Mate, I’m only good for about five to six hours of super intensive physical work nowadays. The future is clear – make things super easy, or else. I do worry about folks who suggest that they can just up sticks and head out into a rural area without that background? And I’ve never stopped doing hard physical work. The years, are not our mates, sorry to say. Unless you’re Betty Croker, of course, then it somehow doesn’t matter.

    Lewis, you are like super bad with that suggestion. But I like the way your brain works! 🙂

    Cheers and better get writing…


  52. Lew:

    Ah – but perhaps Miss Marple was only playing at being the snob. A cagey old lady, that.


  53. Hello Chris
    With reference to getting lost in the bush. I used to look behind at regular intervals to see what it looked like, in case I had to retreat. It is amazing how different the view is from what one expected. Without doing this, it is almost impossible to make a correct retreat. I have done this in many countries including Australia.


  54. Yo, Chris – It was 75F, yesterday. But we’re forecast to have a run of three days in the upper 60s. Oh, that will be nice. Hit the garden hard.

    I’ve seen a few articles over the last couple of days about the big boys in the banking racket, quietly taking trillions out of the general slush fund, that is the world economy. Of course, I really couldn’t follow what exactly is going on, but it sounds like a general belt tightening.

    Nature or nurture? Environment? Genetics? Some from “good” backgrounds go entirely off the rails. Others, from dicey backgrounds excel. Go figure. Speaking of family dynamics, I watched “Juniper”, last night. With Charlotte Rampling. Angsty teen, dying grandma, absent father. If you’re up for a good family drama, it’s worth a look. I wondered when I got it, why I put it on order. Oh, yeah. A New Zealand film.

    So, with this brew off, who will be the impartial judges, in the blind taste test? 🙂

    Yes, the brother and sisters died in pretty quick succession. One sister died from being at the rain soaked funeral of another.

    Well, “The Stand.” All very well and good, if you’re in the 1% of survivors. Feeling lucky? 🙂

    Betty Crocker has three rings of power! Well, she does if you have the ring bound version. Which I do. Yes, Betty evolves with the times. Stays relevant, more or less. Being thrifty in the kitchen is good planning. Then you can go out and buy the occasional $30 pie. 🙂 I have made what I call “Poor Man’s Quiche.” I used the less expensive ground pork, instead of bacon, and also less expensive cheeses, than Swiss. Not that we can currently get Swiss cheese. 🙁

    Weeds are over running our strawberries. I don’t know when I’m going to get to them to knock them back. My friend Julia wanted some rhubarb, so, when I cut off the leaves, last night, I laid them down in the worst parts of the strawberries. I hope it will put a lid on some of the weeds, until I can get to them.

    I got Elinor’s Cosmos, planted last night. 8 of them. She went with the Celebrity, a hybrid, who knows why. Maybe because she had one last year, and it produced pretty well. So, she wanted two. Maybe I’ll get those planted, tonight, but then, maybe not. Lew

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