Monday night we’d decided to head out to dinner for a pint and feed. I’d known the manager of the business for a few years, and it wasn’t his last night, it was his second last night. It’s up for sale that business, and the rumoured price inadvertently made me blurt out: “It takes a lot of drinks to pay that off!” The dark side of my day job being that words get compared to fiscal realities.
The food served is usually pretty good. But something was amiss that night. Possibly the manager leaving had upset the troops in the kitchen? By sheer coincidence, we’d both ordered the beef stew. What arrived looked like a cheap and nasty beef ramen soup (minus the noodles but with heaps of salt), which frankly was something of a surprise. The bloke who brought out the meals was also leaving, instead this was his last night. Yay for us, to encounter such a fine mess.
Far out! I was beginning to get visions and it wasn’t just the cider. Rats exiting a plague addled boat moored in the harbour. The locals had other ideas about the cursed ship and were just about to set fire to it, nicely ridding themselves of the nuisance. Possibly the action would have done the locals no good. After all, the rats had already been swimming for the safety of the distant shoreline! Yes, we could read the room. The drink was good, but the meal was odd and contained way too much salt. Being hungry, and with nobody at the helm, certainly nobody who seemed to care, I ate the meal. Honestly, I’m sure I’ve consumed that much salt in a meal at some point in the deep dark past, but it’d be a rare occurrence. Too much salt raises my blood pressure. I awoke in the middle of the night with a pounding headache and couldn’t get back to sleep. So much for a fun dinner.
We’re going to avoid the place for a month or two. That sort of meal is outside my minimum expectations. With the business being for sale and staff leaving, the question for me becomes: Do they want to run a business, or what? Who knows, but I’ll guess we’ll eventually discover the answer. In the meantime, I see no need to pay for meals which leave me with a pounding headache. But more importantly, it’s not my concern to fix their issues, that’s something for them to do, if they can.
The business being for sale suggests the possibility that the absentee owner wants to cash out. One of the interesting side effects of ever rising property prices, is that there is the inevitable tension between using property to run a business which produces and/or sells stuff, and simply holding the property in the hope that it’s worth more at a future date. If property is worth more over time with no effort expended, why would anyone want to experience the stress of running a business to make heaps of mad cash? The message our society delivers is that: You don’t have to run a business, or get a job – if you can afford property. It’s utterly bonkers!
To me, it has never made sense earning mad cash simply for owning property. I’ve watched this bubble inflate up, up and away since 1997. Credit where credit is due, it’s been something of an impressive ride, which historically speaking, has gone on for a very long time as far as bubbles are concerned. That impressive track record doesn’t imply that the outcome makes any sense, nor that the future is guaranteed. Far from it actually, history suggests that the longer the bubble goes on, the closer we get to the end point.
It’s all very weird. So you’ve got two things: property and mad cash. If the balance between two alters for any reason, then whichever variable rises, it is relatively worth less compared to the other variable. What’s happened in our civilisation is that as time goes on, a person needs ever more mad cash to purchase the same property. You don’t have to be Einstein to know the result is that mad cash ain’t worth what it used to be.
And mad cash possibly ain’t worth as much, because every year for almost the past two decades in Australia, there is somehow 7% more mad cash floating around. Every year! That’s double in ten years, and then double again the following decade. The numbers are so huge, that my mind has trouble grasping them. When I was a kid, being a millionaire was a big thing, nowadays it takes near on that much to buy a median property in the big smoke, and now it’s become all about billionaires.
I’m not good with this outcome, and it needn’t have been this way. Looking at the results of the most recent state and federal elections though, I’ve come to the conclusion that most people are pretty good with things as they are, even the ones not directly benefiting. I don’t doubt that most people just want their day in the sun. However, sometimes like Icarus, a dude can fly too close to the sun, and that’s a bad thing. My aims on the other hand aren’t that lofty, all I wanted was a proper beef stew.
This week, we continued work on the new low gradient path. We’re now getting the fork between an upper and lower path just right. The scary old rototiller was again pressed into service, and the existing paths were both lowered and widened. I love that old machine, it’s good.
I’d be pretty certain the manufacturers of that scary old machine never intended the beast to be used in this fashion, but so what, it works! The tines can cut down almost a foot and half into the soil and produce a lovely crumbly soil. Experience suggests that it is much easier to move crumbly soil than, thick heavy chunks of volcanic clay.
In the above photo, you can see just how much we are lowering and widening the upper path. All the loose soil is then moved and used to widen the lower path.
The loose clay gets reshaped, then compacted using the fine old art of simply walking upon the surface. Over time it will again form solid clay. A layer of crushed rock with lime gets applied to the surface. Observant readers will note in the above photo, the large rocks placed upon the path. About ten of those large rocks were used to line the edges.
The new path has quite a bit of length to it now. Originally many years ago, the path was something of a precarious goats track from the house to the chicken enclosure.
I reckon it’s looking pretty good, but even better, it’s much easier to use. And now the construction zone is barely discernible from the house.
The thing about using ten large rocks is that the supply of available large rocks had been depleted. Peak Rocks is a sad state of affairs, but I must not grumble and/or otherwise complain. No way! I set about tackling the large Moby (body) rock and breaking it into smaller, yet still large chunks of rock.
It took a lot of drilling and splitting.
The process really shakes your entire body because you have to hang onto these machines for hours. If the rock isn’t on a solid surface, and has any movement, the jackhammer can produce an effect which vibrates your teeth. All rather unpleasant.
Part of the rock, which is a super hard granite, had another composite rock embedded in it. I’d seriously hate to imagine the sort of forces which lead to one rock being lodged within a chunk of granite. Probably not the sort of day you’d want to be around to experience first hand.
After three and a half hours of drilling, splitting and generally being shaken around, the Moby (body) rock was now in five smaller, yet still large chunks.
The tomato plants were cleared from the raised beds in the greenhouse. We’ve hung the plants upside down and stripped off all of the leaves. I’d read that this method ripens green tomatoes, and it appears to be working. We’ve finished dehydrating tomatoes for this season. We ended up with five large bottles. The best season in the past produced seven bottles, but also many months of passata (a traditional tomato based sauce). We ran out of that sauce a few years ago when summers were warmer. The dehydrating machine was given a thorough clean which involved some minor disassembly. I also noted some parts in there which probably should be replaced given the machine is nearing on a quarter of a century of use.
The raised beds in the greenhouse were fed, then planted out with winter greens (kale and green leafy mustard).
Whilst clearing the tomato vines, we discovered the long forgotten Turmeric and Aloe Vera plants. They didn’t seem to mind the poor treatment which the tomato vines had dished out to them.
Some of the chilli plants continue to grow. This is odd given that we are now a month prior to the winter solstice. Other varieties of chilli were given a similar treatment to the tomato vines and we are harvesting the fruits as we need them.
Twenty Meyer Lemons were harvested from the tree. The zest is used to make a very tasty limoncello and the juice was frozen for use with wine and jam making.
The tree is quite amazing because maybe about two years ago a fungus had decimated the tree. Since then, the tree has been given a lot of care and attention, and it has responded in turn and now looks great. You wouldn’t know that I was almost about to pull the tree out and replace it. Commercial growers can’t lavish such care and attention on individual trees, and the generally accepted advice was to remove it. Sure.
Not all fruit trees do well. For some unknown reason, the wallabies (a smaller lone forest kangaroo with anger issues and destructive tendencies) have decided to destroy a particular apple tree. It makes no sense to me, but the attention has been unrelenting.
Onto the err, leaf change colours…
When will the madness of leaf change end? The colours are great, but the hordes of tourists are unrelenting.
Up above the house we have planted out a cherry walk, and those plants take over. They’re feral, but look great.
The Japanese maples are my absolute favourite for this time of year.
Fortunately the strong winds over the past day or so have knocked many fragile leaves from the deciduous trees. A shame, to be celebrated!
Onto the flowers:
The temperature outside now at about 9am is 5’C (41’F). So far this year there has been 322.2mm (12.7 inches) which is up from last weeks total of 314.2mm (12.4 inches)