“What is this shit? I so hate you!”

A sulky Ruby kicked Ollie off the white leather second hand couch. Usually Ollie and Dame Plum sleep upon this couch, but not that night! Ollie the big dog, now lost and forlorn, standing all alone upon the timber flooring, took one look at Ruby’s new sheepskin bedding, and decided that it was both warm and comfortable. The new sleeping abode came with a side benefit of a reduced chance of being bitten by Dame Plum. Always something of a risk. Sometimes Dame Plum needs to send a strong message to the troops. Teeth are effective for this purpose.

Long term readers will recall two or so years ago, when Sandra and I purchased a white leather couch for the dogs to sleep upon. It was second hand, but the leather was made from super soft hide. The couch must have cost quite a lot when new, not so much second hand. The previous owner was presumably selling the couch because she’d used kiddie wipes to clean the leather. These things stained the white leather a weird yellow bile colour in places. Visitors might get the wrong impression. Dogs on the other hand, don’t care about such niceties.

Candidly, the couch did smell rather strongly of cleaning fragrances, and that set my sinuses on edge for a few weeks whilst the chemical load dissipated. I can’t imagine what the dogs made of the stench, but that’s their problem. They were at least more comfortable than their former bedding.

In an interesting side story, we dropped everything the day we had to pick up the couch. Sandra had become something of a lock down whisperer (due to the health subject which dare not be named). She believed that the state would be locked down that night, and so we’d arranged to head into the city earlier than previously agreed, and picked up the couch whilst it was still possible to do so. Sure enough, the city was locked down that evening. The lady selling the couch was only too happy to get rid of it. And I never found out how she replaced the couch. It is very possible she went without a couch for about four months. That’s how long that lock down went for – and there were others. At least there was a positive side benefit for the environment – the overall use of kiddie wipes was most likely reduced. Nasty things.

Ruby had never previously slept upon the white leather couch. Instead she had her own bedding on the floor. A large pet mat was covered by an old sheepskin, and that made up her bedding. The sheepskin has been in continuous use for many years, and was formerly the bedding of the delightful Sir Scruffy. He’d passed away three years ago. The pet mat is in great condition, mostly because it is made of super tough materials most likely not found in nature. The old sheepskin however, had seen better days and was looking rather tatty.

We set about a challenge of purchasing a second hand sheepskin to use as a replacement. A couple of weeks of occasionally looking for one, yielded results. It wasn’t even located very far from here. And on Thursday, the new second hand sheepskin arrived in the mail. For some reason, the sheepskin also smelled strongly of cleaning fragrance. It’s strong smelling and not very pleasant to experience. We left the sheepskin outside for a few days to ‘air off’.

Ollie enjoys the new second hand sheepskin

Ollie slept on the new-old sheepskin for a night. The next day, Dame Plum inspected the bedding and likewise declared it to be good. Curiosity finally got the better of Ruby, and she finally reclaimed her throne. It was pretty stupid though. And that’s not a word I’d usually use to describe the dog.

There’s a bit of stupid going on at the moment. The state of Victoria where us humans and the dogs live, appears to be in a lot of debt. An awful lot. Turns out that it isn’t all that affordable to double the payroll of the public service over a short period of time, spend heaps on infrastructure, and lock down the largest city in the state for a planet-wide record breaking period of time. The combined policies display a lack of prudence. Anyway, all that costs heaps of mad cash. Now with interest rates rising, the bill is coming due.

What would Ruby do? Probably want the worn out old sheepskin, that’s what. That’s what economising looks like. The leader of this state may have other ideas though. He recently made a fascinating and disingenuous claim which sort of suggests that the lock down debt is akin to credit card debt. The rest of the debt was suggested to be akin to mortgage debt. Ollie would suggest that he’s wrong, and debt is debt, all other considerations to the side. Dame Plum would simply bite him.

Me, well, ignoring the recent bizarre social policies, it reminds me of the lead up to the recession of the early 1990’s. In the aftermath of those exciting recession days, heaps of state owned assets were sold off. That paid down the debt. This time around, it makes me wonder what’s left to sell? Certainly you don’t get much for a stained second hand white leather couch, no matter how expensive it was when new.

Winter: cold, wet and little in the way of solar derived electricity

Despite the official pronouncements, and no matter how disingenuous, winter is here. That means cold wet weather, and reduced electricity from the solar photovoltaic panels. Some days it’s pretty bleak, but so far we’ve avoided using the generator and haven’t gotten the batteries lower than 60% full. That’s what living within your means looks like.

Earlier in the week I had a day off work. The weather that day was forecast to be more pleasant that what you can see in the photo above. With that in mind, I headed down into the forest to clean up and burn off an area where the loggers had dumped three upside down partially burnt tree stumps. Don’t get me started on the whys of this mess… 🙂

Anyway, two of the tree stumps were easily lifted from the ground using a steel six foot house wrecking bar as a lever. They were then cleaned of compacted soil and rolled down the hill into a clearing to be burned off.

Ruby assists me with the burn off of the loggers mess

The third tree stump was epic, and I couldn’t budge the thing. Instead I had to dig around the stump, then cut the thing in half. Chainsaws do not like cutting into timber whilst coming into contact with any soil. Soil blunts a chain almost immediately. As you can imagine, it was a hard job. And just prior to a very late lunch, I’d managed to finally break apart the bits of the stump I was unable to cut. The epic tree stump was in two pieces and I could just lift them both out of the ground, roll them down the hill where they were burned off.

The epic tree stump left a deep hole and a large mound of soil

The fire continued for two days until it was all gone, and only the ash remained to be spread around as a fertiliser.

The burn off continued for two days

It was good to have removed those three tree stumps. Under one of the tree stumps was a tunnel leading to a rabbit warren. Rabbits have no place being here, and the ones that are, give the dogs a run for their money and provide feed for the foxes. I’d prefer if the rabbits were elsewhere, and so part of the cleaning up process is reducing the opportunities for rabbits to become established. That’s what taking care of business looks like.

Surrounding the tree stumps were a lot of rocks. Presumably, the loggers bulldozers had pushed them to that location along with the tree stumps. But whatever the case may be, we recovered a number of very useful sized rocks during the clean up.

Say, that’s a lot of rocks. It makes me feel peaky!

Another day was spent levelling out the site and relocating the excess soil. The tree stumps had had a huge amount of compacted clay stuck to their roots. The compacted clay had to be broken up and spread around.

In another week, we’ll add a mixture of compost and woody mulch to the surface and then the native ground covers will do their thing.

Much less of a loggers mess

The excess soil was used to fill in holes and ground depressions in the nearby area.

Excess soil was used to flatten out this depression in the ground

The rabbits might not appreciate our efforts, but the other wildlife which lives on the farm sure does.

An adult and juvenile King Parrot enjoy life on the farm

Last growing season was really weird with the strawberry plants. We grew lots of runners (new strawberry plants) but produced few if any berries. As well as timber harvesting, the area was originally used for growing potatoes and berries. I’m not noticing any plant diseases with the potatoes, but it may be a problem for the strawberries. Most of the strawberries which people have become accustomed to consuming are produced on highly bred plants, and they might be a bit problematic here.

Fortunately, there are alternatives, and I’ve begun experimenting with older (presumably less highly bred) varieties of strawberries. Those are known as Alpine Strawberries, and we’ll see how they go over the next year or two. They have the benefit of growing true to type from seed, so they’ll most likely suit my gardening style better. But we’ll see how the trial goes. At the moment we’ve got about four different varieties of the berries planted out.

Alpine Strawberries for trial

In another fortnight or so, we’ll begin harvesting the huge kiwi fruit crop. In these cooler growing areas, kiwi fruit vines are amazingly prolific. Some of the crop will be used for fresh eating, but plenty will go into kiwi jam and wine.

There’s a lot of kiwi fruit to harvest

At the beginning of the last growing season, we moved most of the citrus trees to the sunniest location on the property. Most of them weren’t doing well in the shadier conditions where they were originally planted. However, a few citrus trees were doing well, and the Pomello (an old variety of grapefruit) is one of those.

The Pomello produces heaps of tasty grapefruit during the cooler months

The cooler weather has brought out the mushrooms. It’s good to see those fungi chomping away at bits of tree. Lots of fungi is also a good sign as to the soil health.

Fungi slowly chomps away at this dead tree

Onto the flowers:

Alpine Heath is prolific at this time of year
A very late Salvia provides nectar for the honeyeaters
Winter is here, but the Roses haven’t quite given up yet!
This Geranium is a stunner

The temperature outside now at about 9am is 7’C (45’F). So far this year there has been 338.8mm (13.3 inches) which is up from last weeks total of 322.2mm (12.7 inches)

49 thoughts on “Sheepskin”

  1. Yo, Chris – Ruby sounds like an angsty teen. No cure for that, except a good smack in the side of the head with Real Life. Maybe if you put the new sheep skin on the floor, and the old one on the couch, the patterns would be restored? I have a feeling I’m not working with quit all the facts, here.

    Who knows what wonders the woman found behind the couch? Maybe she reassessed her whole life, and became a Zen Buddhist nun? 🙂

    Get your bid in early, on all those state owned assets. Maybe you can pick up that nice Victorian conservatory? I’d guess there will be all kinds of back door deals, offloading stuff into private ownership. Next year’s scandals. Coming soon to you: toll bridges and roads. Maybe all the parking meters will go to the (supposed), highest bidder.

    Did anyone else point out how stupid the statements by the Lord High Grand Poobaa were? About debt? I think I’ve mentioned I pay off my credit card debt, every month. The stuff I can only buy online. There’s a couple of things I need (garden stuff), but they can wait a week, until my checks come in and I can pay off the small balance from last month, and run up a small balance for next month. I do not need the garden stuff, RIGHT NOW! It’s called deferred gratification. Something some people don’t seem to understand. Governments, and stuff.

    Well, as you don’t know the story behind the logging mess, you really don’t have anything to get started with. 🙂 Best you could come up with is conspiracy theories and wild speculation. One of these days, you might run across a crusty old logger, and all will be revealed. Or, not.

    Yup. Best get rid of the rabbit warren. As you’ve mentioned, they just provide cover for big, ugly, highly poisonous snakes. Do not read “Watership Down.” The rabbits will do quit nicely, left to their own devices.

    The King Parrots are so pretty. It will be interesting to hear how the Alpine Strawberries work out.

    Kiwi for breakfast. Kiwi for lunch. Kiwi for dinner.

    The Pomello look pretty tasty. Another indicator that you’re a climate zone or two warmer, than we are. Most of the time.

    That rose is a real stunner. Obviously robust, but looks so delicate.

    H and I went down to the Club, this morning. We were there a lot longer than usual, as the crowd was good, with conversation to match. Terry almost ran me down in the parking lot. He was amazed. “You didn’t even flinch!” LOL. I told him I didn’t flinch, as I had nothing to live for. 🙂 Lew

  2. Hello Chris
    I hear on the news today, that Melbourne has had a hefty earthquake. Is all well with you?


  3. Hi Inge,

    Oh my! The blog had been written and edited, the dogs ablutions completed. Teeth brushed. Headed to bed. Then a pulsing roar like a wave arrived and passed through, and the house shook. Imagine a helicopter crashing into the house, and that was close to the aural side of the experience. The house didn’t shake as much as the 5.9 earthquake two years ago, but this time the sound was much louder. The nearby town of Sunbury was the epicentre, and that is not far away at all, in fact I went there today. The depth of the earthquake this time was far shallower at 3km deep or a little less than 2 miles.

    We’re doing OK, although I was, dare I say it, a little bit shaken up after the experience. We reported the shake to Geoscience Australia, and a lot of other people did as well. They have an interesting map, and the shake was felt as far away as Hobart (the capital of the island state to the south).

    There were aftershocks this morning.

    Thanks for checking in.



  4. Hi Lewis,

    Oh yes, the Earth sure did move for me last night! Sounds a bit dodgy, but it’s true – the Earth really did shake. Two in two years here is a new experience for me. Before the last one which was a 5.9 magnitude, I’d never really thought about earthquakes, let alone experienced one. Apparently down under they are quite common because this continental plate is moving the fastest of all, and it’s heading north at a goodly clip.

    This time around the earthquake epicentre was the largest nearby town, and the depth of the quake was relatively shallow at 3km, or 1.8 miles. The sound was something else this time around. For a moment there (at first) I’d imagined that the air ambulance helicopter was flying at night (they do fly overhead at night sometimes) and the pilot was asking the awful question: What’s that Kelpie doing up in the clouds? 🙂 It was very loud this time compared to the 5.9 two years ago. That one shook much harder but didn’t make as much noise. I’ve felt a few aftershocks today. One this morning rattled some furniture.

    Thanks, yeah, the earthquake thing is one of those experiences you don’t really want to tick off the bucket list. 🙂 I can see how a big one could wipe out a city. It’s not like you can do anything about it, other than hoping the building you are in can handle the flexing. Far out.

    It’s the volcanoes which are the interesting side story. The last one went off 7,000-ish years ago, and whilst that is infrequent, they’ve been doing that for hundreds of millions of years on the continent, so sooner or later, we’ll find out when the next one will go off. And they are right up and down the east coast of this continent.

    Repairing stuff is good news. Shame that few have the skills to do so, and it takes a free-fix to motivate that bloke to repair a flat tyre. When I was a kid, repairing a puncture could be done when out on the road. They used to sell rubber vulcanising kits, and all you had to do was know how to use them. There’s a lot of low-hanging fruit before you get to repairing radios. I hear you, it’s a good change in mindset, and you know, I reckon we’ll all get much better at such things over the years to come.

    Hehe! Ruby gave over her stupid views when the other two dogs declared that the new sleeping arrangements were superior, despite the chemical odour. 🙂 Ollie is on the sheepskin right now. He knows what comfort looks like. I see little need to pander to Ruby and indulge her whims in this matter. The patterns are that the dog has to deal.

    Possibly true! After four months of being holed up in a one bedroom apartment, with no couch, a Buddhist monastery might seem like total bliss. I hold strong fears that the lady was unable to replace the couch quickly at that time.

    The Victorian conservatory would be pretty cool, if you can ignore the ongoing maintenance bills. Maybe, all those botanical gardens could be converted into apartment blocks, then sold off? A clever marketing person might call them: The Gardens. It’s got a nice ring to it, don’t you reckon? I’d heard that about the parking meters. Not good. It seemed priced to clear.

    Wild conspiracy theories and speculation might plug in the lack-of-knowledge gap? The loggers in this case are clearly at fault because their motives are at best murky. I wouldn’t mind that chat at all. It would be interesting to say the least to learn more about why things are as they are, and what it used to look like.

    I hadn’t really wanted to point out the bit about rabbits and super deadly fanged things in the essay. But yeah, that was at the back of my mind the whole time – as I mentioned to you the other day. It was a relief not to have encountered any of those toothy reptiles as for sure that was the sort of area they’d be found. The best approach is to make other places more appealing to those critters. There’s no need for them to be here, especially when other nearby areas are better suited to their needs.

    Man, I don’t do animal books or films. You know Old Yella was going to cop it in the neck at the end of the film. What can I say, I’m soft. Come to think of it, I don’t recall you watching animal films either – unless you count zombies as animals?

    Dunno about the alpine strawberries, but so far they seem to be doing OK. My gut feeling is that the hybrid berries will be better, but harder work.

    Lot’s of kiwi’s. Yum! Do you like the taste of grapefruit? I enjoy it, but the Editor is not much of a fan.

    Thanks! It amazes me too, to get flowers in the winter months.

    Ha! Fortunately the Club hasn’t relocated near to the roundabout of death. Isn’t it good chewing the fat with folks you know? I like that too. H would have been rather annoyed if Terry upset her ‘do’ by crashing into the ranger. Teeth may get involved, and you know Terry would eventually be begging H for mercy.

    I recall reading John Kenneth Galbraith mentioning in one of his books that during WWII price controls were put in place and that – every manufacturer went cap in hand and had a tale of woe. I’m pretty sure a lot of inflation is price gouging, but then isn’t that the same thing? Manufacturers, wholesalers and retailers can only charge what the market can bear. Keeping stocks is a wise strategy.

    Yeah, I’ve heard that ‘I’m busy excuse’ too. Never quite understood what that meant either, but maybe that’s just me and you? I sort of believe that the money side of the story shouldn’t enter the picture with those family sauce production days. I’d heard that story from an old mate who is of Italian parents when they didn’t want to do the day. Lazy is as lazy does.

    I hadn’t known that about the genre of soap operas. Makes a weird sort of sense. Oh no! Doh! So the term ‘space opera’ was a clever play on the term ‘soap opera’. So obvious from hindsight. Probably big farma (!). Farmer operas sounds weird though, despite it possibly being accurate. They might be muscling in on my turf there!

    So, did you find any resources hiding in amongst the petunias? 🙂 I don’t know whether you ever read about the lost radioactive material over in the far west of the country a few months ago? Apparently, the stuff really did fall off the back of a truck. Seems like a bonkers possibility to me, but what do I know about such matters?

    Ook! Well at least the weather is cooling for you. Hope the peppers do well. Are they a thinner (short season) variety of pepper? Whenever you mention basil leaves, I begin getting this hankering for salsa and corn chips. Makes you wonder what that bloke Pavlov would have thought of my reaction to the basil leaves?

    Your night manager will learn sooner or later. I can’t imagine though that the bugs are chowing down upon the ghost and reaper chili plants? Are they? It’s good advice you gave him.

    Anonymous comments are just asking for the lowest common denominator of human behaviour. Maybe the folks who set the thing up in the first place had unrealistic utopian expectations? You never know. Being able to program doesn’t mean that you’ll know when someone wants to stick a knife in you, it just means that you know how to program. But on a more serious note, after you-know-what, I’ve noticed a marked decline in the collective conversation, almost as if, well, it’s strange out there, let’s put it that way.

    Man, I can’t shake off (please excuse the unintentional pun) the feeling that the floor is occasionally shaking today, albeit on a very minor basis.



  5. Debt- Our politicians are close to the end of a big struggle to set priorate and extend the debt ceiling for this next budget cycle, but it’s funny, they only try to keep the debt under some arbitrary number, but never seem to discuss paying it off.

    I guess the makes sense, since it will never be payed off. Just one of those open secrets that we can’t acknowledge, or the whole house of cards might topple.

    I’m not a finance guy, don’t understand things like notional value or credit default swaps, but I DO know the natural world does not work that way. That’s why I keep tabs on the Surplus Energy Economics website, it tries to explain the disconnect that is soon to be resolved to the dismay of many. So it goes.

    Gardens and frugality-Finally got the rest of the garden planted now that risk of frost has passed. Our experiment this year is with pole beans. We’ve always done bush habit soup beans, bur wanted to try a heritage variety that was grown by the natives before the Europeans came and mucked thing up.

    The Hidatsa bean happens to be pole habit, so we are building trellises out of some the various odd materials I’ve been cramming in the pole shed. See! pack ratting does pay off!

    We are also trialling scarlet runner beans on trellis, so the garden looks like a bizarre outdoor sculpture exhibit this year.

    And of course, we are in a drought period, early hot weather, no rain, so have started watering the garden much earlier than usual. At least we are cranking out lots of electrons.

    One more update- a rabbit got through the Maginot line fencing, and hammered our brassicas. Hopefully they will recover. I think I found the hole, so we’ll cross our fingers. Just like mice and rats, the
    battle never really ends.

  6. Yo, Chris – Yes, when the terra becomes less firma, it’s pretty unsettling. Glad to hear you rode it out, ok. After my initial rather flip comment, I started fretting about your place. Did the water tanks slosh a bit too much? Did the solar batteries or panels bounce around a bit too much? Did the Kiwi fall off the vines and the grapefruit off the trees?

    Think of all the places you could have been, over the last week, that would have been sub-optimal fluffy. Under the house? Up on a ladder? People often comment on the sound an earthquake makes. I’ve never experienced it. Other than stuff falling off shelves. “They” say, if you put your ear to the ground, during an earthquake, you can hear the earth grinding away. Of course, I never have the presence of mind, to do that.

    So you’re continent is moving north, very fast. Fast enough to blow your hair back? Should I air out the guest room? 🙂

    Any smart paperboy knew to carry a puncture kit.

    H gets her whims, too. Sometimes, she just digs in her little paws, and refuses to move, for whatever reason. She gets a quick lesson in, “I can pick you up and move you wherever I want.” That sticks … for awhile.

    Yes. During You Know What furniture and large appliances were pretty unobtainable. Well, if we made our own, instead of it all coming from the Land of Stuff, it wouldn’t have been such a problem. I keep thinking about that book, “Company Man” where about the last hold out of American furniture making, well, held out. I bet they did ok during the Furniture Hiatus, if they could get the stuff shipped around the country.

    Yes, it’s always ironic when apartment blocks and housing tracts are named after whatever they’ve swept away.

    Other than a few, I’ve always found animal and nature films, well, kind of boring. Body counts can be high, but there are usually few cool explosions. 🙂 Last night, I watched the new-ish “Shazam! Fury of the Gods.” Helen Mirren (which was kind of a hoot) and Lucy Liu as Greek goddesses on a mission of vengeance. No popcorn was harmed in the watching of that movie. Though large quantities of Chex mix, were consumed.

    I’ve never been partial to grapefruit. Unpalatable, unless you load it down with sugar.

    Oh, I was out of the Ranger, and walking across the parking lot, when Terry tried to run me down. Terry’s one of those old poops who I didn’t like at first, but am quit fond of, now. Retired fireman. Though I don’t see her often, his wife is also a delight. Occasionally, to send him up, I inquire, “Is she still married to you? The woman is a saint.” 🙂

    Price controls have often been trotted out, to control inflation. Didn’t work very well, for the Roman emperors. The only reason it worked (sort of) during WWII, is that there was a lot of rah, rah patriotism around. And it had a definite shelf life. “When the war is over.”

    “I’m busy. I’ve got to spend an hour + on the phone with customer service.”

    Actually, the few snatches of ads I’ve seen on commercial television are thick with ads from Big Pharma. The way they gallop through possible side effects, does take one’s breath away. Treading gently here. Family friendly, and all. And the strange maladies they come up with. A few months ago, it was all, “Do your male tender bits, veer off in strange directions? There’s a pill for that!” I kid you not.

    Yes, I remember when radioactive material went missing, over in Western Australia. A quick look into the rabbit hole reveals that radioactive and nuclear material, frequently go astray. It’s “suggested” that maybe shippers of such stuff might want to tag it, for tracking. There’s probably an app for your phone, that would act as a kind of Geiger counter, to avoid getting up close and personal with that stuff.

    Salsa and corn chips sound like a better reward, than a ringing bell.

    I’m glad you rode out the earthquake, OK. Now you can get the t-shirt. “I Survived the Quake of 2023.” Once things settle down, the PTSD wears off, after a few days. You were so close to the epicenter, I doubt you experienced the two waves. They were pretty distinct, in the one’s I’ve been through. But then, the epicenters were pretty far off. Lew

  7. Hi Steve,

    That result kind of says it all, it may not be possible to pay the debt off, or at least you’d have to suggest that there is not the will to do so. The graphs displaying the ever increasing forecasted interest payments over time are bonkers, and if interest rates climb, then it may get worse for the newer debt.

    Exactly! The natural world reflects the fundamentals of any debt story, but we’re discussing abstractions when talking about the debt. That’s different, and the trick becomes, how long can we all pretend that fundamentals don’t matter. I’d suggest that they have always mattered, but then you and I are probably very old school in this regard.

    Glad to hear that the risk of frost is now in the past, and that you’ve planted out your seedlings. I’ve never trialled bush habit beans, and have only ever grown the climbing variety. There’s an interesting climbing bean variety sold by the local gardening club with origins from near to your part of the world (the story which is briefly mentioned is a bit scary): Bean ‘Cherokee Trail Of Tears’ (Organic)

    Hehe! Waste not, want not – that’s what the old timers used to say. And it’s true. Nice work, we also reuse as many materials as we can on projects.

    Really? I would have imagined this year would be cooler and wetter for you. That’s what the long term forecasts were suggesting. Still, it’s early days, and who knows what the future holds. Candidly, I’m soon to obtain a couple more water tanks. Probably prudent to have a bit more reserve.

    Hope you’re enjoying observing that solar power. You can learn a lot just by tracking how the system works. 🙂

    Rabbits have no place here either, although we have no fencing in most of the garden. Rabbits are nervous here though, and for good reason. Yep, the mice and rats can perform similar mischief, especially if you’re in something of a dry season. There’s always something. I’m amazed the old timers didn’t starve given all the crop predation which goes on. Fingers crossed, and try saying to them: “You shall not pass!” Didn’t work for me, but it’s at least worth a try?



  8. Hi, Chris!

    I didn’t know about your earthquake until Inge mentioned it here. I am glad that all seems to be well at your place. We’ve had a couple, too, in the past. I never dreamed that such things could happen in the land of the Old Dominion; what a shock. One of them made a lot of noise and shook the house really hard; things fell off of the shelves. The five dogs and one cat and I were inside and I tried so hard to get them all to go outside in case the roof caved in, but all they did was run in circles and up and down the stairs. Luckily, the way log houses are sort of tied together, the house stood firm and we had no damage but a tiny crack in the basement foundation. Mother Nature does what she wants.

    That couch was a good score. I did not remember, however, that you had barely missed a lockdown in acquiring it. Good for the Editor!

    Maybe Ruby was using her perogative to act like a baby: You took away her security blanket, so she had a tantrum. I think Ruby wanted Plum and Ollie to break the new skin in to be sure that it was safe, and not boobytrapped, and to give it a nice doggy odor over the “fragrance”. My money’s on that being a smart move.

    Ruby, in front of your loggers’ mess, says: “See – it’s me, Ruby – the smart one.” And that is how she got the job as fire warden. How nice the cleared area looks now.

    In reference to someone in your state: “Dame Plum would simply bite him.” Ha, ha!

    Cleaning “fragrances” are the bane of my life. I just plain don’t like them; besides, they give me headaches. And I can’t smell the natural smells around me. I buy my clothes and linens seconhand and they invariably come absolutely soaked in “fragrance”. It can take me weeks of washing and leaving them on the clothesline to get the smell out. Sometimes books I have ordered come that way, also, and have to be left outside on the porch, which is not good for books.

    I tell you what – where you live sometimes looks like Transylvania, at least as in the Dracula movie versions. Though I am sure that Transylvania is a lovely place a lot of the time.

    Thanks for the flowers! They go on and on.


  9. @ Lew:

    “I told him I didn’t flinch, as I had nothing to live for.” Lew – you are such a rascal!


  10. Hi Lewis,

    Unsettling is definitely a good way to describe the feeling. The official report upgraded the rating to a 4.0, and there has been a bit of chatter about how shallow the quake was compared to the more usual much deeper quakes. I’m not fussed about the water tanks and the panels, but the batteries. Hmm. Might have to add an anchor point from the shelving unit to the wall. That would be a prudent action.

    Mate, being under the house during such an event might have been a very personal and upfront experience, what with being on the ground and having the house looming above. Many, many years ago I was underneath a house repairing the footings, and a stump holding up the corner of the house fell over. A quick retreat to safety, but the house just hung up in the air. You hear of people dying doing that work when the house falls onto them. I guess the timber stump had become rotten where it was in contact with the soil.

    I wouldn’t have the presence of mind to put my ear to the ground either. However, I can assure you that this time, the earthquake was very loud and it wasn’t just the noise of the house flexing with the ground. Like the a roar of a helicopter.

    🙂 Australia, coming to a continent near you! That was very amusing about the guest room. Thanks for the laughs.

    Don’t you sometimes wonder at how society ended up with this sort of learned helplessness? I don’t get it, and can’t see any advantage for people caught in that trap. Maybe, that’s just me though?

    Hehe! Mate, that is the downside of a dog as big as Ollie. If he has his own ideas which run contrary to mine, he might get to err, follow his dream. H has less options on that front, but I hear you, training with dogs never stops.

    That’s the thing isn’t it? Like your country, it wasn’t all that long ago we used to manufacture such items as furniture. The problem with cheap transport, is that it’s cheap to ship stuff from say, the land of stuff, where the wage arbitrage story is hard to ignore. Plenty of the furniture we own is locally made, but that is mostly because it was all purchased second hand. Truth to tell, I can of felt bad for the lady who sold us the couch, but then she must have understood the risk she ran, maybe, probably not. It would have been a strange four months for her. The funny thing was that at the time people were telling me that ‘nah, they won’t lock the state down again’. Sure. And we just made plans which assumed the worst. I note that one of the state premiers from the far west of the country resigned. Someone said to me that after a visit to the land of stuff, he proposed holding a national cabinet over there. I must say that the suggestion sounded very odd. That’s local politics for you.

    It is very heavy irony that naming process. A nearby one example near to the epicentre of the quake has the name of a vineyard. Houses consume grapes, they might not necessarily produce them.

    A total shame about the lack of explosive visual effects, but now that I really think deeply upon the subject, they don’t seem to be part of that genre. Hang on a second here, maybe we can invent a new film genre: Animal action films (featuring lots of explosions). Our fortunes might just be made!

    Oh no! Terry sounds alright, probably his crusty outer demeanour is used as an idiot filter. I’ve met people like that, and usually after you get to know them, they’re OK. Hehe! That’s funny, he says as he jots down the good one liner.

    True, price controls sound good in theory. I’d have to suggest that there’s a bit of both going on: genuine increase in the costs of inputs + price gouging. There really is no common vision as to what we’re trying to achieve as a society. It doesn’t surprise me that after all the mess, we’ll settle at a level where everyone is known to each other, like in a feudal system. I hear you about the shelf life.

    Do you know the moons aligned yesterday? When I read your comment about being on hold to customer service, I’d actually been on and off hold for an hour and a half fixing up a weird situation. Lewis, I have to be nice to these people, otherwise they hang up on me. Hmm. Sometimes they’re not nice.

    I don’t doubt you, and am super alarmed to learn that such a thing can even happen! Yikes! Where’s that pill? Might be good to have a stash, just in case. 🙂 Far out… Hehe! Oh man, it would be funny, if they weren’t serious.

    The first I’d ever heard about such a serious missing dangerous material issue, I mentioned to a person I knew in the area where the stuff was found, and asked the hard question: Do you think this will impact upon your organic certification? I was just being amusing in an awful situation. Nobody seemed to think it was funny. You see what I have to deal with here? Given the carelessness with which the stuff is stored, none of any of this subject surprises me. Tagging would simply add to the costs, and the stuff will still go missing.

    That’s a good point, they would be better. 🙂 The experiment would cost more with the salsa and corn chip option, over the ringing bell. The bloke must have fed the dogs occasionally, otherwise they would have cracked the sads and refused to participate?

    You’re right, I didn’t feel the waves as being separate and distinct, and oddly enough I don’t recall the second aftershock. Hey, who says the PTSD is over? There might be a pay out for victims of the 2023 earthquake. I did make it hard to get to sleep that night. I missed at least half an hour whilst I came down off the adrenalin. That’s gotta be worth something, don’t you reckon? 😉



  11. Hi Pam,

    Thanks, and it was yet another exciting experience of the power of Mother Nature. This one was a 4.0 quake, and the one two years ago was much further away and deeper in the earth, but biggerer at 5.9. Both quakes shook the house, and the roar from this last one was rather loud.

    Yikes! Your description of the dogs and cat made me think of the old line: “Like herding cats”. Glad to hear that there was very little damage, and I reckon timber houses are much better for surviving such extreme flexing. Nobody ever wants to encounter a masonry wall flexing! Probably wouldn’t last all that long.

    Pam, it was so weird, the dogs didn’t even seem remotely upset by the quake. How does that work? During the much bigger quake two years ago, they refused to leave the house and just looked out at us through a window. They had a sort of curious expression on their faces too: “Look at what the stupid humans are up to now. Aren’t they funny?”

    I’ll bet if Dame Scritchy were now alive, she would have predicted the earthquake hours beforehand. Although I might have imagined she was predicting a storm.

    Yeah, we made that couch nab by a couple of hours. The lock down begun that afternoon. It was a close thing.

    🙂 Ruby was having a tanty! Yeah, maybe. Hehe! Your money is safe, and I reckon that is what Ruby was doing too. I do wish cleaning chemicals didn’t contain such extreme fragrances. We use a lot of natural cleaning products and none of those have strong fragrances, but they do the job, sometimes better as in the case of vinegar. I appreciate you noticing this aspect of the story.

    Thanks! A clean area, is an easier to maintain area. Do you have rabbits in your garden?

    Hehe! She would too, you know. I can’t work out whether it is foolishness or a lack of prudence, or maybe even both with that bloke. But yes, Dame Plum would have some definite thoughts in this matter.

    Yay! Sorry, but yes, I feel exactly the same. Revolting things. I just don’t get it. You probably already know that white vinegar can remove a lot of those smells? But sometimes it just takes a lot of washes too. I’m of the opinion that these chemicals which people are very thoughtlessly using, are at the core of a number of health issues within the wider community. Hmm. But if people think they’re necessary, fine, just get them away from me. I so hear you.

    And yes, books can be a mixed bag. In the past year or so a second book arrived from a household which were clearly heavy smokers. Like your example, the book stayed outside for a few days to air off. What else do you do?

    I’m sure Transylvania is a lovely place as well! Just avoid the eerie castles… Hehe! No vampires around here, that I know of.



  12. Yo, Chris – The Sunset book publishing company (of garden books fame … they also do a good line of cooking books) have / had one called “Earthquake Country.” Everything you ever wanted to know about earthquakes and what to do before, during and after such an event. They’d run articles in their monthly periodical, from time to time. Of course, they are based in California, so, it made sense.

    Emergency Management Agencies often put out flyers. Heck, the phone book (remember those?), usually had a page of useful information. Basically, strap in any large appliances. Water heaters. Bookcases. Most hardware stores (where you take long romantic walks 🙂 have strapping kits. Childproof catches on kitchen cabinets, to keep them from popping open and spewing the contents all over the floor. The list goes on and on.

    Yes, having a house fall on you is not healthy. Just ask the Wicked Witch of the East. Oh, never mind. You can’t. She’s dead. Dorothy’s house fell on her.

    When we lived in Portland, in the early 1960s, we had two sharp earthquakes, about a year to the day, apart. For one, I was in our partially finished basement, laying on a cot, reading a book. I think I set a land speed record for shooting up the stairs, and out the back door.

    Learned helplessness. Other people do things for you, and you’re not responsible for much of anything. Seems to work for some people. Until someone (like me) tells them “No.” Sads are cracked. Don’t care.

    No two ways about it, Ollie is a big dog. Some animals seem to be early warning systems for earthquakes, but it’s just not consistent enough to be very useful. Someone new moved in, and they have a small black dog, with a very pointy nose. Looks like a rat on a leash. You hear these urban legends … Emotional support rat?

    Speaking of movies, last night I watched “Meet Cute.” Which, as you can imagine, is a sort of rom-com. It’s about a young woman, who has a perfect date night, and acquires access to a time traveling tanning bed. Well, if you can have time traveling hot tubes, why not a time traveling tanning bed. When I think about it, there’s also the time traveling phone booths, police boxes and cars. Maybe Hollywood was running out of options? But I digress … So, she decides to relive the perfect date night, over and over. Right from the get-go, I thought the chick had a disturbing “Fatal Attraction” vibe, about her. Which on some levels played out. So, can I recommend it? Oh, I don’t know. I didn’t fast forward through any parts of it.

    Re: Radioactive stuff vs organic farmers. Some people have no sense of humor.

    Might be worth a whirl to see if there’s any government compensation for earthquake PTSD. If you didn’t get PTSD from the earthquake, I’m sure the paperwork will give you PTSD.

    H and I are headed to the Club. It’s Biscuits and Gravy Day! She’s also getting a bath, late this afternoon. Little does she know. Lew

  13. Garden predators- We have a couple of barn cats that have noticeably lowered the rabbit population, but they are not all gone. We don’t have a dog to take the day shift, so the rabbits are still a thing to deal with. We also get some random digging, not sure if it’s moles, voles, ground squirrels or whatnot, but usually not enough to cause major issues. The fence was originally built for the deer, which will also lay waste to our neat rows of tender delectables if not blocked.

    Beans- Our Hidatsa, also a native American developed variety, came from Seed Savers as well. We have been growing black turtle beans, but have not yet tried the Cherokee Trail of Tears, which are also black. Now that we’ve gone in on pole type beans, maybe they will be on the agenda next year.

    There are still many reminders of the dark stains on our nation’s soul, but folks usually try to avoid the discomfort of acknowledging what happened. The Trail of Tears is just one episode in the overall confiscation and eradication that we USAnians all have benefitted from.

    Rain- even without climate change, droughts and weather extremes happen. It’s why one should keep as many food options going as possible. And water options, as you so ably demonstrate.

  14. Chris,

    Glad you survived the shaking. Hearing the roar of the waves approaching? Dude! We had a zillion very shallow earthquakes centered 5km from here one year. Every one of them had a roar as a warning. None were big, but they sure scared some people and a lot of animals.

    We were in southern California in June 1992. There was a largish earthquake about 5:30 a.m. The Princess was tossed out of bed. She thought I’d pushed her out, stood up in a fighting stance, then realized she couldn’t stand as the ground was moving. A second one hit 45 minutes later. I said that we were “all shook up.” She still says that she was “shaken, not stirred”.

    That’s the same trip in which we went to Huntington Beach, which is where our family would hang out when we lived there seemingly centuries ago. I was waist high in the surf about 75 meters offshore. A little voice reached my ears as my arm was tugged, “Mister, that lady needs you.” I got back to shore to find a scared and crying Princess. She had stepped in a hole and the water was at her chin. And higher. The boy who found me told her, “Lady, step back.” She did. To this day whenever she hears the name “Huntington Beach”, she asks, “Isn’t that where you tried to drown me?” It was an eventful trip.

    The neighbors had a diseased birch tree removed Saturday. Its removal has opened up some interesting sights in the maple tree that it was partially hiding. Where branches and leaves leave openings to peer at the sky, well, one such opening is an almost perfect oval and two are heart shaped. I’m enjoying the new perspective.

    Thanks for the dog story. Even the smartest of dogs can act stupid sometimes. Hmmm, true about people, too. Good on Ollie for making the best of the situation and moving to the new sheepskin, at least until Ruby found it to be desirable.

    The landscaping project slowly moves along. I’ve been transplanting “hens and chicks” and other succulents. The smaller variety of sage has also been moved. I’ve begun moving the heather plants. The heather that has been moved quickly perked up in its new home after being liberally supplied with large quantities of water. I tell you, transplanting these things is MUCH easier than was digging up those large sage plants. Busy the next few days, so the project will not be continued until next week. I might be able to complete the bulk of it then. After that is a few minor things to dig up and discard (compost) and start seeding and overseeding with the dryland grasses and flowers.

    Meanwhile, round 2 of allergy season is upon us. The evenings are nice, the nights cool, but the windows remain closed. Running the furnace fan and its good filter has helped some. I had to break out the box fan with its smoke-eating filter today. After a couple hours, we both felt much better. That fan will remain in operation indefinitely. You know allergy season is BAD when the Princess gets gobsmacked by it.

    I followed the link to that “Trail of Tears” bean. The history it gave there, bone chilling as it is, isn’t even the tip of the iceberg about that event. Or series of events. Nasty piece of history that can lead to a rabbit hole of unfathomable depths.


  15. Hi Steve,

    Ah, so the barn cats are able to take down a rabbit? A fearsome creature, which I’m glad to hear is on your side. Cats earn their keep. That’s funny, we’ve got the flip side of that dilemma, the rabbits dare not show their faces during the day due to the dogs, but at night, it depends if the foxes are around. They roam, so it’s not every night you’ll see a fox. And the rabbits replace their population at an alarming rate. The place is getting harder for them though, but rabbits are also very fast.

    So many critters dig, even down here that’s common behaviour, so the only way to work out who is doing what, is to observe the miscreants at their activities.

    And deer are a nightmare. Someone around here culls them and keeps the population in check. There is no season for deer here.

    Interesting that the Hidatsa are described as a semi-climbing bean. A bigger plant generally means a bigger root system, and those are better able to withstand climate shocks. I do wonder what our ancestors would have made of the mollycoddled annual plants we grow nowadays.

    Every nation is built upon displacement sorry to say, whether that be the previous human inhabitants, or a vast change in the ecosystem. I’m pretty sure the megafauna down here were consumed, it’s too much of a coincidence. And as a civilisation we’ve gone into overdrive on that front now and of course taken that policy way further. A lot of costs are building up behind those choices, and sooner or later, should energy per capita decline (as it is), the bill will come due.

    Until we as a species accept the reality of living within our means, there will always be dark stains. My gut feeling suggests that we’ll have to endure a lot of pain to get to that state of acceptance. Always was it thus.

    Exactly, in our future, specialisation (which has worked really well to date) has gone past it’s ‘best before’ date. Yup. Admittedly, it is very difficult to be across a wide variety of plants. The pruning book arrived in the mail today, and it looks good, but also looks like a lot of work. Oh well, nobody said life would be easy. 😉



  16. Hi DJ,

    The roar from the earthquake had a ‘doppler effect’ both before and afterwards, and you knew something bad was coming – soon. Then it hit. Did anyone work out why you had so many shakes originating from one particular area? For your interest, the 5.9 big one about two years ago was interesting because a new fault line was discovered. Spare a thought for the dudes working in the gold mine not far from the epicentre of that one. Yikes!

    For your interest, the current trio of dogs were unconcerned by either of the quakes. Dame Scritchy, if she’d been alive, would have been impossible to extract from under the bed for a few hours prior to the quake, but she had a gift for early warnings of such sorts. Makes you wonder if any dogs in Pompeii sounded the early alarm for their Roman owners? Has Avalanche ever detected any storms?

    You’ve mentioned that epic ’92 quake before, and your lady’s response. Adrenalin can produce such a rapid response, and it is hard wired in to stop us humans from being consumed by large predators. Wakefulness, without the coffee! Where’s that firebrand when you need it to wave around at some huge toothy critter? 😉

    That’s funny too. I was going a bit more Elvis, with: ‘I’m all shook up’, whatever that means. 🙂

    Your beach trip is way too much excitement for my tastes. A dune collapsed a month or two back which produced a similar outcome. Not good. Sand is not solid ground: Apollo Bay locals rescue six-year-old buried by collapsed sand dune at Mothers Beach. Otherwise, that is a very lovely part of the planet. The photos of the erosion match my recollections. If I were to ever head to the beach, that’s where I’d go, but the beach is disappearing. I’ve long been drawn to that area and have visited it since a young bloke. I’m not sure that I like the changes there.

    Even the great trees eventually pass on to the next stage of their journey. It’s always interesting to see the changes in the environment, and we humans treat things as a constant at our peril. The majority of trees down here are evergreen, but there are enough deciduous trees that at this time of year, vistas like what you described, decide to show themselves. I hear you.

    Ollie is an adaptable and considerate canine. He spent his first few months being shuttled from one uncaring foster home to another, then he landed at his home. The two Kelpies on the other hand have not known travail having arrived here at 12 weeks of age, and it shows. There is a lesson in there, although I’m not entirely certain as to what it is! 😉 Dame Plum enjoys the sheepskin, and it was at that point that Ruby decided that things weren’t all that bad.

    Ah! I see, you’re planting succulents in the area (the hens and chicks). We grow very similar looking succulents, which might be the exact same plant. A wise choice. Hehe! Well, transplanting at this time of year for you, does require a lot of watering. That’s life. I moved some fruit trees during last summer, and even then I had to keep the ground around them moist. If you get a big storm, the seeding and over seeding might produce some really interesting outcomes. Fingers crossed, and I reckon hope is not out of the question.

    Sorry to hear about the allergies for both you and your lady. Mate, there are some summer months when the air here is thick with both pollen and smoke. Yikes! If I may dare suggest the same assistance that I mentioned a week or two ago with Avalanche. Chris’s crazy combination of fresh leafy greens – as freshly picked as you can. Ook! Good luck. They have a lot of anti-inflammatory properties and will help.

    I agree, the recount of the event was sanitised so as not to upset the kiddies. The truth could be read behind the words. It’s dark, and a stain rebounded and stuck. There will be a price to pay. It embarrasses me, but when I was young I really wanted to believe that things were otherwise, but age can bring knowledge, or maybe it’s more appropriate to say that knowledge seeks. My lot would have displaced the Picts, then been displaced themselves in the enclosures. Having learned no empathy other than their needs, they then in turn displaced the indigenous peoples here. A year or two ago I read an historical account about a great indigenous philosopher. In the early days of the colony, he came down out of the mountains at the bequest of his people, but he refused to talk to the government bloke. Although it was not stated, I had the weird feeling that he measured his soul, then knew. It’s a good metaphor. We’re never really all that far from the past.


  17. Chris:

    I believe you about Dame Scritchy and her probable prediction of the earthquake. Before the 5.8 quake that we had, Bob the Tailless went crazy. As his other name was Super Crazy, I did not pay attention. That dog was right.

    Long ago we had one Australian Shepherd and five cats. She did her very best to herd those cats. It never worked.

    We did have rabbits earlier this spring, but I have not seen any since. I see that Steve mentioned barn cats, and I assume that the rabbits are not showing up because our cat, Mr. Baby, is now sent out early in the morning so that he will become very tired by nighttime. Mr. Baby likes to wake people up at night, but can’t stay outside after dark because of coyotes and foxes. He won’t let me tell you his real name as it is even more embarrassing than “Mr. Baby”.

    I think that one reason my parents developed dementia is because literally everything they used was laced with strong chemical fragrances. They sprayed heavily scented room sprays constantly, too. Not good for the brain cells.


  18. Hi Lewis,

    That’s good advice about the book recommendation given how things are err, progressing down here. They have very good reason to be concerned in that part of the world. Apparently, we get at least 100 quakes above a magnitude of 3.0 down under annually. Yikes! And I thought that things were deadly quiet on that front. Turns out, I was wrong. What causes earthquakes in Victoria? And why did the Sunbury tremors feel so strong?

    Yeah, I remember those books. Made looking up peoples phone numbers easier. Now it’s all something of a mystery, unless you happen to be a politician and/or religious institution. They seem to have some sort of weird exemption, although I’d hang up on such robots. They don’t get offended, they’re robots, why would they? But yeah, they used to have a page describing why using the phone line during a thunderstorm was a very bad idea. I’ve since learned that long DC cables can act like antennas. Probably not a good thing to be zapped when you just wanted to phone someone. I wonder if anyone has actually been zapped when using a phone in a thunderstorm, or is it an urban legend? I didn’t get to the bottom of that story, however I found a really cool short read on the subject: Lightning Myths. It’s probably a bad thing being hit by lightning.

    As to your suggestion about the child proof anti-tip-over straps. Yup, I have been thinking along these lines with the shelving unit that holds the batteries. I can’t even begin to imagine the mess which may result if that shelf falls over and spills the batteries during an earthquake. A bit of a worry.

    Hehe! Dare I say it, but the Wicked Witch of the East probably brought that house down on her own head. 😉 She may have been the baddest of them all, and the adventurous Dorothy was saved a lot of trouble.

    Far out! I can see what you mean about decamping from the basement in record time. Hoping someone digs you out of a basement before you die of injuries, dehydration, starvation etc. after an earthquake, is a chancy prospect at best. Are you feeling lucky? Probably not, best to leave the building. That last big quake in, was it LA, and there just happened to be a sports event which meant that the roads were quiet, I dunno man, gambling on luck can have any outcome.

    Mate, I wouldn’t have been able to get out from crawling around under the house that quickly. Fortunately I wasn’t there.

    It is weird that learned helplessness. I don’t get it, but it must mean something. Like you, I’ve also found a refusal, no matter how polite, tends to offend. People are easily offended, it doesn’t change my mind though – and no doubt your mind also remains unchanged. I had to learn the hard way as to how to switch off to such heavy emotional loads. Some people use that energy so as to take advantage of others. Not a fan.

    Hehe! Ollie is happy with being a big dog, although it does present some challenges. Hopefully other big dogs don’t want to challenge him, but it’s possible. He’s not the only big dog around here, and some folks let theirs wander. Well, what will be, will be.

    No! Nobody has an emotional support rat, do they? Oh no, it’s true. Possibly that animated film ‘Rattatoulie’ started all this. Whatever will they think of next? Imagine one of those huge Black Bears as an emotional support animal! Yikes. Can you imagine someone saying to you: ‘My bear doesn’t like the look of you’. Frightening!!!!

    Ooo, a rom-com. That’s got my interest. It’s an intriguing plot line, and is on the to-see list. The Editor will be very pleased to hear of a rom-com. Yes, hopefully you never encounter a bunny-boiler in the flesh. Things could end badly.

    Hehe! Yes, that’s exactly what I thought about the dangerous materials matter. It’s not like the person was involved. Far out. Mate, it is hard, you come up with a genius pithy line, deliver it with perfection – and it just falls flat. Pah! I’m sure you’ve been there as well?

    Oh, I see you’ve also had to prepare paperwork for these people? Of course, your form you filled out a few weeks ago had a similar vibe. You know I didn’t mention it, but as part of a work request, I had to set up an account with the big bureaucracy – then discovered that I was unable to complete the request as I didn’t have the correct authority. That was a relief, but then, I can’t delete the account, and I had to hand over a lot of identity paperwork. How weird is that?

    Hope the gravy was nice, and that H was well behaved.



  19. Hi Pam,

    Thanks for the lovely comment, and I’m intrigued to know the real name, but won’t ask thus sparing the moggie any embarrassment. Sorry, but it’s late and I’m crashing out. Speak tomorrow!



  20. @ DJ – I lived in Huntington Beach, for a couple of years, in the early 1970s. Maybe half a mile from the ocean, just off Beach Boulevard. South of the San Diego freeway. I worked at the Huntington Beach Mall, for awhile, in a Waldenbooks store. Then hopped over to the Westminster Mall, to manage the store there, when it first opened. Lew

  21. Yo, Chris – I’m taking a brief break, as, Ted the Master Gardener is off to buy some hog wire, to complete my trellis. The saga continues … 🙂 So, I thought I’d grab a quick nosh, and catch you up on the news of the world …

    “AI Industry and Researchers Sign Statement Warning of Extinction Risk.” “The Daily Impact” had an interesting post on AI.

    In Britain, they kicked around the idea of capping food prices. Didn’t get much traction.

    Also from Britain, two enormous Roman heads were found up in Cumbria. Each was big enough to fill a wheel barrow. They were “decor” from a Roman bath, along a Roman road. I thought they had a Celtic “feel” to them.

    The cruise ship, “Carnival Sunshine,” almost went down, off the east coast of America. Exterior doors and windows were smashed by the waves, water rushed in and corridors and cabins were awash. Lifeboats? The weather was so bad, they couldn’t have launched them, anyway.

    FYI – The new “Mission Impossible” movie is being released in two parts. One this summer, one next. Talk about cliff-hangers….

    Interesting article about a guy who just passed away. Why interesting? Because he was spreading the gospel of sustainable agriculture, i.e.: no-till farming.

    A white buffalo was born in the State of Wyoming. Either a happy omen, or, an omen of the end of the world. Depends on who you talk to.

    I see they found some 107 million year old Pterosaur bones, in your neck of the woods. Big flying toothy reptiles.

    I was talking to my Idaho friends, last night. About earthquakes. She quipped that they call it a “P” wave, because you wet your pants. And they call it an “S” wave, because you mess your shorts.

    Now we return to the Master Gardeners. Lew

  22. Yo, Chris – That was an interesting article on your earthquake. But what if the two earthquakes you’ve had, are mere foreshocks? Scientists can’t tell the difference between aftershocks and foreshocks.

    Well, I do have a funny story, I heard, about phones and thunderstorms. This story happened, when land lines were more in use. Two local sisters, who were kind of religious nuts, were talking on the phone. During a thunderstorm, the each got a slight zap, down the wires. They both started screaming, “It’s the rapture! It’s the rapture!” They were so disappointed … That was a good article, on thunderstorms. I learned a few things.

    Or, you’re trapped in a basement, and a water main bursts, and you drown. Didn’t see that coming.

    That was the Loma Prieta earthquake of 1989, in San Francisco. It hit during the 3d game of that year’s baseball World Series. It’s the same earthquake that brought down the double decker freeway, over in Oakland, CA.. I still had TV then. I spent hours glued to the tube.

    I still think I should go for an emotional support chicken. 🙂

    It’s a rom-com with a high body count.

    I have more hits, than misses, with my one liners. But then, I’ve got decades more experience, than you. Then again, maybe I’m not that funny. Maybe people are just humoring me. Naaaaw.

    Yes, you think when they ask for a number, they could at least specify net or gross.

    H is pretty well behaved, at the Club. She’s finally got through her head, that it takes a certain amount of time, before she gets to clean the plate. So now she just lays on the floor, and patiently waits. She got a bath, yesterday afternoon. All clean and shinny.

    Well, the trellis is finished. Hog fencing up. Ted added some braces, here and there. The thing is solid. I’ll be able to hand it down to my grandchildren. If I had grandchildren. Lew

  23. Hi Pam,

    Yeah, that’s the problem with being thought of as super-crazy, when Bob the Tailless was being super-rational, nobody notices. I would not have paid attention either. When Dame Scritchy dived under the bed and refused to exit, I knew something was arriving, but what?

    They’re lovely dogs, with ginger and white coats, and good sense to boot. But can they herd cats? Your description suggests that this was not the case. I’ve had dogs who’ve bonded strongly with the house cat, and the cat was sometimes just naughty, and yet they’d snuggle up together for warmth on cold nights. When the dog eventually died, the cat followed a few weeks later – of a broken heart.

    That’s a fun name for a cat, and I must add that it is a brave move waking the household of an evening – presumably for no apparent purpose. The dogs were just barking, so I went out to investigate and it turns out that there was a fox way down below in the paddock. I left the fox alone to do whatever it was doing. Ollie had to be also let outside to do his thing, the air in here had become far from fresh. Dogs…

    Pam, who knows what they do, but those chemicals, far out! All you can do is limit your exposure, and hope for the best. There are heaps of alternatives which don’t involve high quantities of fragrant stench, and plenty of those you can make yourself. Over the years we’ve reduced exposure, and this is a matter that few seem concerned about.



  24. Hi Lewis,

    I hadn’t known that about earthquakes, but over the next week or so I’ll securely anchor the steel shelving holding the house batteries, to the wall. If the wall collapses, I’ve got bigger problems than what will happen to the batteries. But these sorts of quakes might be something of an ongoing nuisance, and probably best to adapt in situ. Two is a pattern as far as I’m concerned.

    Hey, it wasn’t just you, I learned a few things too. And who knew that convertibles would be more problematic with thunderstorms than hard tops? See, it doesn’t pay to advertise that you’re having fun in a top-down convertible! Reminded me of the early 1980’s soft top Suzuki Jimny / Sierra I used to own. It was all fun and games, until the car radio got constantly stolen. I eventually settled on a car radio that was so rubbish, thieves took one look and went elsewhere. As a strategy, that works! A bit like constantly harping on about the hard work, hey? 😉

    Can’t say for sure why anybody would be excited by the rapture. Heaven would bore me. And the two sisters may have had tickets on themselves. As far as I understand that story, you don’t get to pick who gets a ticket on that particular ride. The odds of getting a ticket are frankly not good, so I’m thinking that there are easier credos to follow, but that’s me, other people can do what they want on that front. 😉 Would you want to go on that train?

    Oh no! I hadn’t considered broken plumbing filling the basement with water. Not good, and you’d watch the ending coming slowly. Almost like a Mr King story, with a dire ending. You’re right, I hadn’t seen that coming. It’s even worse with off grid, because the power to the pump keeps on going.

    Yeah, that was the one. I’d looked up a photo of the collapsed bridge of the double decker freeway, after you’d mentioned the quake. I can understand your reaction, and I did a similar thing after 9/11, except I was at work. That day I’d arrived early and the marketing lady told me that WWIII had begun, and we were glued to the screens. I may have sent everyone home early.

    I dunno man, people will look at me real funny like! 🙂 You don’t tend to see people with emotional support animals down here. I’m sure it happens, I just don’t see it.

    The Editor was more than intrigued by the rom-com you spoke of, and has made plans. A time travelling sun lounge is kind of hard to explain. But it works. I’d seen a similar-ish plot, with less spookiness in an Adam Sandler film: 50 first dates. It’s a good film.

    Hey, maybe people are just humouring the both of us? Hehe! I’m still waiting for the chance to say to someone: “I don’t need a big car to make my phallus feel big”. The Editor cautions against using this line due to the potential physical risk of a negative reaction, but I dunno, if I get the timing right, maybe it’ll work out. Have any of your one liners ever been poorly received?

    Well yeah, there’s something of a difference between net and gross, but then, it gives you a: ‘get out of jail free card’. Maybe just tell them what they want to hear based on the best case scenario? It’s not your problem that the questionnaire wasn’t supplied with either an explanatory memorandum and/or glossary. I’ve used that strategy to good effect once long ago! Don’t knock it, if it works.

    Good to hear that H has stopped wheedling for food, and just accepted her dues. It’s a good outcome, and respect for your training – or probably not feeding the worst aspects of her personality.

    Candidly, I share the same problem, but don’t worry about such matters. Something will work out. Good to hear that the trellis is sturdy.

    Thanks for mentioning the essay on AI, and I read that one. Yeah, it’s been something of a flop to say the least. It astounds me that so much mad cash can be lost, yet did anyone lose their jobs? If it was me, I’d probably get the ‘don’t come Monday lecture!’ That lot probably got a bonus to assuage their hurt feelings at the humongous loss. Hope they feel better soon.

    The volunteers had an exceptional find on that dig, proving that the volunteers are more than worthwhile. I can see what you mean about the heads. They did have a rather rough finish for Roman gods. However, it also amuses me that the find was near to a cricket ground.

    Those cruises are my idea of the perfect nightmare. There’s no escape. What did they expect, it was a hurricane, surely it would have been easier to sail around the thing. I’ve been in some rough seas, and that’s when you just have to hand over care, and hope they know what they’re doing. Not always the case…

    David Brandt sounds like a really lovely bloke. I would have enjoyed his company. Well, it’s up to others to do the heavy lifting.

    I’m not wired for those sorts of endings, I’m thinking it’s a good omen. 😉

    That’s been all over the news. What was interesting was that at the time, the continent was in the Antarctic circle and the flying dinosaur would have had to deal with a few months of darkness. The planet must have been far warmer in those days.

    🙂 Thanks for the P and S waves concept. Report to follow, after the next one.

    It’s been millions of years in the making. Thousands have been sacrificed. Outrageous hurdles have been overcome, and indeed smashed. (Cue epic music, possibly by Strauss, that bloke seemed to know a thing or two.) The extension of the mead hall shed was begun today. Well, that’s not entirely correct. Last Monday I picked up some materials for the job. But today, we cemented in six more posts for that project. Ta Da! Dom, dom, dom, dom! Ta Da! Feels good. Two more posts to go, maybe Sunday. It’s hard to imagine, but we’d run out of space in the mead hall shed, something, something about no further purchases – whatever that means? 😉



  25. Yo, Chris – Yes, I always thought one would be safer if you laid flat on the ground. Maybe up against a curb. Best just stay indoors … forever.

    I feel fairly secure that my truck won’t be stolen, as I have a standard transmission. Which has been known to stymie the new crop of car thieves. What are they teaching them, these days?

    Yes, heaven never sounded like much fun, to me. Holy women, virgins, and lots of saints. “For a Good Time Call 666-HELL.” Christopher Moore wrote a funny book or two, about a young lady who ends up below.

    Emotional support animals. Because Australians have more sense. So far … 🙂

    Or, they don’t need a big car (or truck) because they’ve got BDE. You’ll have to look it up. Family friendly, and all. 🙂

    Hmmm. Poorly received one liners? Well, no one has ever knocked me on my can. A few groans, eye rolls or, maybe the dreaded dead silence. But sometimes, you know you’ve hit the mark if you get a groan AND and the eye roll.

    Roman provincial art could be quit … naive. Some of it quit laughable. See: Rudston Venus mosaic. I can imagine crazy rich provincial Romans, trying to out villa, one another. “Yes. We imported the wall painters and mosaic layers, from Rome.”

    Cruise ships. You pay your money and take your chances.

    Maybe the flying dinosaurs migrated out of the dark, for a few months each year? Our modern birds must have gotten the idea from somewhere. Or maybe, they hibernated.

    Or maybe Sousa on kazoos? I tried to find a good clip of that. They’re out there. But the sound quality is not very good. “And what do you collect, Chris?” “Big machines that make a lot of noise.” 🙂

    We have lift off! Cue up the theme from “2001”. A couple of my green bean seeds have broke ground. Lew

  26. @ Lew,

    I know the mall you worked at back in the day. we did the “driveby thing” there when on the way to the water. On Beach Boulevard, of course, aka a portion of Highway 39. I was a numbers guy by the time I was 4, so remember the numbers better.

    Mom’s family had a lot of gatherings at the old Knott’s Berry Farm a bit farther from the ocean on Beach Boulevard. Back before they turned it into an amusement park.


  27. Chris,

    Today was setting up for the club’s outdoor event. After I got home and was starting to reply to you, the Princess said that there were some errands for us to run. Then it was dinner and a pint. The day turned into a Midweek Hiatus. We had fun. The event is the next several days. I’ll catch up next week.


  28. Hi DJ,

    Thanks for dropping by and saying hello, and best wishes for the Club event. Hope you weren’t required to take two sessions, but then, you’ll probably have heaps of fun.

    I’ve been doing a bit of carpentry myself. 🙂 Speak next week.



  29. @ Lew:

    I missed seeing you by a bit when I lived in San Diego in the late fifties as a baby; my father was in the Navy. I don’t remember much except for the beach. Probably why I’ve always loved beaches.

    Thanks for the David Brandt article.


  30. @ Lew:

    And thanks for the reference to The Daily Impact’s article on AI. I just read it. Excellent.


  31. Hi Lewis,

    The swearing article suggests that it ain’t all that easy to read the social context prior to dropping an F-bomb. We’ve all been there. An old timer farmer around here said to me many years ago that in general he hated swearing, but he’d noticed that when I swore it was an expression of frustration, rather than directed at anyone. He was a thoughtful bloke, who you could share a laugh with.

    There was a bit of mirth in that article, but also truth. At the top end of town I worked for this really wealthy bloke, who mostly left me alone to do what needed doing, except when he wanted to meddle. He was alright that bloke, but anyway, one day I was talking to my offsider and may have said something along the lines of: “Why the f..k, would they have done that? Is there something f….g wrong with them? I just don’t get how this could have f…..g happened.” I certainly felt better about the situation, however I looked up from this expletive filled colloquy (which was not my usual mode of business communication) and straight into the bemused face of the wealthy bloke. I’d like to believe that he found my straight talking, no nonsense approach refreshing, and certainly he said he slept better when I was at the helm, but the only possible response which came to mind was: “Oh! Hi Tony. How are you?” The offsider I had working for me there was amazing, and I’ve been really lucky to have worked with a few such people over the years. I’m training someone at the moment who reminds me of that person. A real Radar O’Reilly character, which I can kind of relate to. 😉 I’ll bet you had the full gamut of personalities with the staff at the book store which you had to deal with?

    Lowering your blood pressure is always a good thing, unless it gets too low, then that is most definitely a bad thing! But by all means, feel free to express yourself! Unfortunately, there’s a lot of kids and ladies reading so we might have to tone it down a bit here and talk in err, the sort of roundabout language used in the 1970’s as seen on BBC shows such as “Are you Being Served?” It’s kind of fun in some ways.

    Haha! I don’t think so, and tend to wonder if the epidemic of myopia is related to way too much time indoors. Probably is. I like to spend as much time outdoors as possible, but those caveman genetics are almost impossible to shake – as you probably also know! 😉

    Imagine critiquing a crims efforts at driving a stick shift for the first time. Dude, you’re bunny hopping the clutch. Be more careful. You just stalled it, are you stupid, or what? No, you start in first gear. Whaddya reckon you do? I’m just guessing that is how the conversation would go. But yeah, I agree, it’s a wise choice for that reason alone, and have never owned a vehicle with an automatic transmission. I feel disconnected with the experience when there is only a stop and go button to push. And they don’t engine brake – and that feels weird. We’re in the minority here.

    My thoughts exactly! Surrounded by nice people all the time, I’d start to feel inadequate, although candidly I’d probably enjoy the company of Saint Francis of Assisi, he sounded OK to me. Thanks for the book reference. The pruning book arrived the other day, so my ‘to-read’ list is sadly piling up. And there are only so many hours in the day.

    Speaking of which, we took half the day off work today. Half you may say? Well it’s true. Had to work this morning, but when we’re not working, we’re not working. It’s hard for some people to understand that concept, but it ain’t difficult, it’s called switching the phone and emails off. Went to lunch at a nearby pub. It was very good, and I’d ordered the cheeseburger. The Editor was stirring me up about the choice, but I won that round. The burger arrived with a dark rye bun, which kind of surprised me as my brain had skipped that detail on the menu. On first sight, my brain screamed that they’d burned the bun, but no. It was really good and very tasty with a very large pickle. We’ll definitely go back. With the dramas at the local, we had to do something different, so we headed out a little bit further into the countryside. Probably representative of my ‘fall back’ strategy!

    I’d like to think so, but your culture eventually filters down over the years, but different like. You’d probably enjoy yourself down here.

    That’s funny! Yes, maybe that is what is at the root of it! 🙂

    Good shot with the double groan AND the eye roll combo. Respect. Haven’t achieved that yet. Clearly I need to hone these techniques. Some people have hair trigger reactions, and I’m alert for those sorts.

    The mosaic had a delightful rustic quality to it, and out of curiosity, what would be the room function such a mosaic would have been found in? I can’t imagine it would have been the baths? Imagine discovering that mosaic in your field?

    Not a fan. Wouldn’t go.

    Ah of course! That makes a lot of sense, and if flight is an option, no doubts those dinosaurs flew to better locales during the Antarctic winter months. Still, for them to have even been there in the first place, it must have been far warmer than it is today. What would Shackleton say about that!

    Hehe! It’s true, and who give a wazoo for the kazoo?

    Yay for your green beans, and I do hope the plants appreciate the sturdy structure they now have to climb upon. The thanks will be in a decent harvest I’d have to suggest. Plants sometimes express their appreciation that way.



  32. @ DJ – We went to S. California on a family vacation, when I was about 8. Did the whole thing. Disneyland, Marine Land and, Knott’s Berry Farm. So that was in the late 1950s.

    When I lived in Orange County, in the early 70s, didn’t hit any of the tourist things, at all. Had a few drinking buddy’s who worked for Disney. They called it, “The Tragic Kingdom.” 🙂 So, what did I do when I lived there? I did hit a couple of museums, up in LA. Kicked around the mission grounds at San Juan Capistrano (which were deserted, most of the time) and, of course, the beaches.

    Ya’all have a good time at the carving event. Lew

  33. @ Pam – I don’t know why, but I never made if much south of San Clemente and San Onofre. Never made it to San Diego. I really liked Long Beach. Lived there, for about a year. Unlike a lot of S. California, it had a sense of “place.” A real downtown, and neighborhoods.

    With luck, AI will be just a gizmo flash in the pan. Lew

  34. Yo, Chris – General rule is, don’t swear within earshot of ladies. I was in an op-shop, a few years back, and two young, barely teen-age boys were dropping F-bombs, very loudly. I finally turned around and said the standard: “Do you eat with that mouth? Do you kiss your mother with that mouth.” I don’t think I’d try it, these days. But I must have looked scary enough, that they shut up.

    I take my cue from you, as to what’s family friendly, and what isn’t. Works mostly, unless I stumble across a difference in culture, thing.

    Oh, yeah. Plenty of characters I worked with, in bookstores and libraries. The first that came to mind was a young lady, who was a big fan of the dancer, Fred Astaire. She occasionally channeled him. Come Halloween, she broke out her top hat and tails. 🙂

    We’re just outliers. Or, just stuck in the past. 🙂

    I have a great black and white lithograph, of St. Francis “Sermon to the Birds.” Found it, but couldn’t link to it. It’s fairly modern. Only 40 or 50 years old. There seem to be two versions. I’ve got the back view.

    Better a half day, than no day. Lucky you didn’t send it back. There would have been laughter, from the kitchen. The burger sounds yummy.

    What with all the movies and series I watch, set in Australia, yes, I’d probably enjoy it there.

    The Venus mosaic was in the largest room of the villa. Probably a reception room, or, maybe a large dinning room. Somewhere it could be seen, and shown off, to guests.

    I’ll be planting some corn, more green beans, and Mammoth sunflower seeds, today. I set them to soak, overnight. I picked up a small packet of Jimmy Red Corn, but I also saved some. So, I’ll mix up the genetics, a bit. I’m hoping soaking the seed will give the a leg up. I’m catching just the tail end of a waxing moon. 🙂 Also, I’ve had problems with corn seed, popping out of the ground, when I water. Maybe this will take care of the problem?

    I think it’s going to be a popcorn night. Picked up a new disaster flick, from the library.

    “Supercell.” Don’t know what the problem was, but only half the trailer played. Maybe you’ll have better luck. Lew

  35. Hi Ann,

    The findings don’t particularly surprise me. We evolved to spend time outdoors, so it’s probably not a bad idea to regularly spend time outdoors. 🙂

    The summer sun is pretty harsh down here, what with the orbit of the planet bringing the southern hemisphere physically closer to the sun during the summer months (when compared to northern hemisphere summers). There’s issues with that for sure, but I still reckon spending time outdoors is far better than the alternative.



  36. Hi Lewis,

    Candidly, I’ve spoken with ladies who are more fluent in the finer arts of cussing than I. Almost makes you blush to hear them so speak. I tend to hold my tongue during such encounters, and let the verbiage fall wherever it may.

    Good shot with those two young teenagers. They were most likely looking for a reaction, and pushing at boundaries. A tiresome experience, and you called them out on their rubbish. Back in the day, you could open the doors on moving trains (nowadays they’re locked). The Editor is fond of recounting a story of a couple of similar youngsters creating a fuss on the commuter train. A bloke opened the door, and kicked their schoolbags off the train – and received a standing ovation for his efforts. It’s an extreme reaction, but I doubt those kids caused a ruckus after that point in time. It all comes down to consequences, and Fight Club, of course.

    Thanks. Yeah, I’m just kind of making it up as I go along. Inevitably there will be pitfalls and stumbles with the whole family friendly biz, but overall the intentions are honourable. The details however, may occasionally flounder. 😉

    Cool. Some folks have talents, and who’s to say where the talents originated? Channelling is as good a reason as any. That’s funny about the tap dancing, and I’m assuming the lady was good? I used to enforce a no-singing policy, not for any real reason, it just gave the staff a harmless boundary to push against. And over the years some of them were pretty good. It had entertainment value too.

    I’d like to believe that we’re outliers, yeah. 😉

    Today was a bit busy. Had to do heaps of chores around the house, and that involved using a lot of electricity, which isn’t always there in the three weeks either side of the winter solstice danger zone – which we’re now in. Today, despite the early tropical rainfall and bizarrely warm conditions, we managed to use heaps of electricity, yet still charge the house batteries. Yay for us. Anyway, I also mounted the spare inverter (that’s the machine which converts battery power to mains power) on the wall in the battery room. That thing is heavy as, so it was a bit of a juggling act. Anyway, got there in the end. I’ll probably switch it on and test the thing out on Tuesday, so if there is no comment from me that day, well, I stuffed something up and it ended badly. Oh well, let’s just hope for the best, and take some sensible precautions, such as switching everything off before doing anything. And err, fingers crossed and stuff.

    Makes you wonder what St Francis would make of today’s events and general goings on?

    Hehe! Yeah, the folks in the kitchen would have had quite the laugh at my expense if I sent the burger back. Interestingly, that was the second reference to a dark rye bread within 24 hours. Something must definitely be going on to achieve that level of weirdness. And yeah, the burger was good. You could taste that they’d made the patty themselves. Food is such a joy.

    Have you picked up any new food related books lately?

    I’m not much of a fan of the population pressure being applied so as to keep wages down and house prices up, but you don’t have to travel far here to enjoy quiet spaces. The tourists tend to congregate and mass in certain areas, and all you can hope is that you’re not involved in their business.

    Ah, many thanks for the explanation. The mosaic was house bling. I see. 🙂

    Hey, I forget, did your sunflowers produce seed last year? Wise to mix up your genetics of corn, the minimum number of plants is at least 50 with that highly bred plant. Did you know that you inspired me to track down some Jimmy Red varieties of corn? The thing my brain has trouble with is that plant tends to produce all at once, and so I haven’t quite figured out how to preserve the corn harvest in any meaningful way. Probably corn flour would be the obvious answer, but yeah, been busy and stuff. Do you generally consume all of your corn? Yes, the moon is indeed waxing here too. 😉 It was quite bright last night, although this evening is socked in thick with fog.

    Your corn seed experiment is always worth a shot. On a serious note, depending on soil temperature and moisture, they can be planted quite deep.

    Looks intense. Was the film good? The supercells I’ve experienced were a pretty crazy lightning show, combined with a lot of rain. They happen often enough, I don’t need to go chasing them – they’ll find me sooner or later.

    The full trailer showed here.

    I read the new Daily Impact essay. The house disappearing into the ocean was something else. You don’t see that every day. But then who knows what the future holds in store.



  37. @ Ann and others

    Myopia is wonderful. I have had it from the age of 13. Was told that it was due to the fact that I read a book a day during my childhood. Now, at the age of 88, I don’t need reading glasses!


  38. Yo, Chris – LOL. My Dad was a painter, and when he did the bathrooms at the plant, he always said the graffiti in the women’s restrooms was far, far more raunchy then the men’s. 🙂

    Great story about the school bags. I can see why they’re locking the doors, these days. I just watched a Agatha Christie, Miss Marple, titled “The 4:50 from Paddington.” A body went out the door. The first mystery was finding the body, in the first place. “Throw Mama from the Train?” A great film, as I remember.

    As I remember, she was a great tap dancer. Clever of you to set up ersatz boundaries, just to keep the folks occupied.

    Our sunset time is now 9:01PM. I haven’t commented much on the weather, as it’s been in the low to mid 70s. But, next Tuesday and Wednesday, it will bounce up into the mid 80s. The tomatoes and peppers will love it.

    Good luck with the inverter. Seemed like a good idea. What could possibly go wrong? 🙂

    As crazy as the world is getting, these days, St. Francis would probably spend more time, in the wilderness, than in past.

    I’ve got a few food related books, on my holds list. But nothing has shown up, recently. I seem to have fallen out of the habit of buying tat … or books. Who knows why. Changing priorities? Have enough of this and that?

    Last night, I took a smallish patch, and threw some compost on it. And, a sprinkling of lime, blood meal and stove ash. Dug it in. Only had enough room for 12 hills of corn, but I planted 4 seeds in each hill. I can always thin them out, a bit, if they all come up. It’s advised to plant corn in “blocks.” I also planted another small round of green beans. And, a Mammoth sunflower. Last year, my sunflower went moldy. And, the seeds were rather small. More green beans have appeared, in the first patch. It will be interesting to see if the soaked seeds break ground, sooner, than the dry seeds.

    “Supercell” was a pretty good movie. Well worth a bowl of popcorn (with melted Swiss cheese!) The photography was spectacular. I looked at the DVD extras, and the director said he used as little CGI as possible. He was able to source a lot of film, from a well known storm chaser. It was also a bit of a family drama. It also talked about how storm chasers, in some ways, do it for the adrenalin rush. Which wears off after a time, and they take greater and greater risks. These days, with apps and lap tops, there are hundreds of storm chaser “tours”, in the Mid-west. You think leaf pepper tourists are a pain …

    Haven’t seen the “Daily Impact” post, yet. On my computer, it’s slipped into a temporal rift. But I can see it on the computer down in our library. I’ll try and check it out, tonight. Over here, houses slipping into the ocean seems to be a frequent event. East Coast, West Coast, Puget Sound. I see THE major insurance company, here, has stopped writing policies, in California.

    Next Saturday, The Club is going to trial something new. A pancake feed. 4 pancakes with scrambled eggs for $5. Plenty of maple syrup, jam and butter on hand. I’ll give it a whirl. Lew

  39. Hi Chris,

    Once again the picture of Ollie on the sheepskin reminds me of Leo who always seeks out comfort. He really really wants to sleep in a bed for humans but that’s not allowed here. When Carla was here watching over the house when we were gone we allowed her dog, Ruth on our bed as she is used to sleeping on a bed and it was cause quite a problem. Well when we returned Carla said she had to confess something. Apparently Leo was so persistent about getting into the bed she relented and he spent every night in comfort with Carla and Ruth. He knows Carla is a soft touch. When we returned he knew the jig was up and didn’t even try to get in the bed.

    Like Steve we are suffering from drought conditions though we got a quarter inch of rain on Thursday. Been near 90 quite warm for early June but will cool down this week.

    On another note, when I was confirmed I picked Francis as my confirmation name and St. Francis as my patron saint.

    The earthquake sounds like it was rather unsettling to say the least. Glad everything was OK for you.


  40. @Lew
    Love “roundabout of death”. I really don’t like them and they are reproducing like crazy around here.


  41. Hi Lewis,

    The 6 foot machine looks like a goodie, and I’ve only heard good things about those no-till seed drills. I noticed the discs at the back of the machine would lift the soil a bit, and that would be a good thing for the new seeds. That stuff works. And it’s a cheap rental.

    The shed will already be full by the time the extension project is completed. 😉 But everything will be less packed in unlike what it is now. That’s a good thing too, because some of the machines I struggle to get out. It’s like playing a game of tetris in there. We did a bit more on that job today and cemented in the two door posts at the front (an moved an unfeasible amount of large rocks). It was such a nice winters day. Blue skies, no wind and 61’F. That’s crazy warm for this time of year, but don’t worry the tropical winter will return err, tomorrow and a lot of rain is forecast to fall over the next week. Some days, it’s like the Amazon jungle out there. I’ve been there so I know what it feels like.

    Yes, perhaps this graffiti is indicative that the ladies have a superior command of the English language? Take for example the phrase: “We are not amused!” Like what does that even mean, and even worse, would you want to hear that being said about some sort of mischief either you or I were up to? And would we survive the incident? So many questions, so few answers!

    Throw Momma from the Train sounds like a fun film. It interests me that the critics mostly panned the film, but it did well at the box office. Shows you what the critics might know. Those two actors were pretty good. I remember Danny DeVito playing a corporate take over specialist – basically an asset stripping operation. Before then, it never occurred to me that some folks would tear down something which is otherwise working, for mad cash.

    Well yes, best not to provide a forum for dodgy performances. And thanks, you could kind of sense, the staff just wanted some outlet. Why deny them their opportunity to annoy me and receive their expected consequence? And some like your tap dancer, were actually pretty good, and they enjoyed more air time. Sun Tzu advised to look after the champions. He was right too.

    Isn’t that the downsides of summer? The plants need the heat to grow, but need it be all that hot? Probably. Makes it hard for us folks who enjoy cooler climates.

    Hehe! I’ll let you know how it goes on Tuesday night after the work is done. It should be fine, maybe…

    It’s not a bad option to spend time out in the wilderness. There’s a middle ground in there – somewhere – though. You can get lost out in the forest. And I mean that in a metaphorical sense, rather than the literal meaning of the words. Keeping engaged with people and events is part of my life. Dunno, I think I’d lose something if I retreated too far, although I have absolutely no idea what the loss would be. Probably a bad thing to find out, don’t you reckon?

    Possibly with the tat and other books. I dunno what that means actually, but maybe you’re keeping your options open? Look, it’s not a bad idea if only because there is a lot of uncertainty at the moment. Mate, even I’ll have to as they say ‘pull my head in’, if things go south economically. Things are moving pretty fast right now, so I have no clarity as to where they are going.

    Your fertilising mix is good, really good actually, and the plants will love it. Hopefully you’ll see the difference in the growth this growing season? Hey, we do that too with the thinning of seedlings. It’s easier and less stressful on the plants to thin them, than it is to plant them out in the first place as seedlings. I’ve never been able to grow a sunflower, something, something bonkers cool climate. 🙂 I’ll be interested to hear how your plants grow as the season progresses.

    Yeah, I’ll be interested to hear how they germinate too, although my money is on the soaked seeds germinating first.

    That chasing of the rush is also known as ‘chasing the dragon’ in some circles. It’s a bit of a problem which I encountered with long distance running. You’d get the endorphin hit after a long run, but I’d known enough older runners with ailing this and that, to know what a use-by date looked like. And eventually reaching that point myself meant saying goodbye to the hit. I dunno man, I don’t think that the older runners were very honest with themselves as to their motivations. You’ve probably seen that in some newer Club folks?

    Funnily enough, I don’t get that endorphin hit from doing the work around here. Maybe, it’s just not competitive, or something like that? I really don’t know. But mostly I try not to push too hard with the work. It’s the only way to make it all sustainable over the longer term, and isn’t that ageing thing a pesky little critter? 😉

    My mind boggles at the thought of storm chasing tours. What could possibly go wrong? You’d hope that local resources didn’t get tied up rescuing a bunch of sightseers during such an extreme weather event?

    Watch out for the eerie spatial anomalies. You might get sucked into one, then who knows what might happen? Hmm. You could end up whisked away and arrive in some dodgy English pub and enjoy a proper Steak and Guiness pie? And you might just like it. 😉 Better than being confronted with a plate of haggis, I’m not convinced about them… Have you ever consumed one of those?

    Far out! That’s good value. I’d probably be cool with 2 pancakes, although how big are we talking about here? When I was a kid, pancakes used to be flattish and the size of a dinner plate. Freshly squeezed lemon juice with sugar was the topping of choice. And you’d mop up the essential pan juices too. Yum! Hope the idea with the Club takes off, I’d try it.

    A bit of a moment of truth here. I wrote the blog yesterday. I know, I’m shamed. The Editor said something about time machines and tanning beds, but I have no idea what that is all about. Truth to tell, a little bit of blame can be allocated to your direction. No, I won’t hear of it, it’s only fair. You started this! 😉 Report to follow tomorrow. What can I say, she’s dirty for rom-coms. I’m mere collateral damage in this story! Hehe!



  42. Hi Inge,

    The Editor has to wear reading glasses nowadays. I had no idea about that happy side effect of myopia, and yes, it would make the delight of reading, even more delightful.

    My eyesight is pretty good, but as I’m getting older, I’m starting to wonder why some labels are printed in tiny 1 point font. It’s just wear and tear over time, and I have to force the focus to read the tiny labels. Really, just because the technology is there to do that, and there are of course the legal need for such tiny product disclaimers, but still, why print something which is so tiny that it is remarkably difficult to read? So many questions there.

    How does myopia work with those sorts of tiny labels?

    And just thought I’d say it again, reading is a special pleasure to be enjoyed!



  43. Hi Margaret,

    In breaking sheepskin news. (Cue dramatic music.) Dame Plum has performed a power move and taken to the sheepskin rug like a fish to water. They love the thing, although Ruby remains mildly dubious – and may even have torn a few chunks out this morning. Hard words were had with young Ruby, I can assure you. It’s not every day you can nab a second hand sheepskin rug which hasn’t been barfed up all over. This thing was almost in perfect condition, other than the over powering destinking agent used by the former owners.

    Hehe! Leo can rest assured that Ollie is also most definitely not allowed on the bed, and neither are Ruby or Dame Plum.

    Go Carla! Well, what would a proper fluffy say in these circumstances? Fluffy Rule Number One is that: It’s not my fault, it’s yours! And who can argue with such sagacity?

    On the other hand, Leo displays extraordinary intelligence when he knew the game was up. A lesser dog might try to repeat the behaviour on the basis of it being a new normal.

    A quarter of an inch of rain in late Spring – early Summer is good, but yeah, more would be better. Hope the weather cools and you enjoy some well timed rain. I get nervous if things get too dry around here, which can happen. It’s not good.

    How did the garden go whilst you were away?

    Well done, if I had to pick a Saint, he’d be my choice too. He was alright that bloke.

    Thanks, we square edge joined all the plaster in the house (i.e. no cornice), so after two of those earthquakes in as many years, some of the joins in the corners need to be repaired as they have fine hairline cracks. But we’re a bit busy at the moment to attend to the house, so it will be a while until I get to them. I do hope that things settle down on that earthquake front. Like tornadoes, I have a new found respect for the sheer destructive power of nature.

    Do you get any earthquakes at your place?



  44. Hello Chris
    I can read the tiny labels okay but agree that they have become ridiculously small. Son has to reach for his reading glasses. You do realise of course that they don’t want you to read those tiny labels, hence the size. They are simply complying with the law.


  45. Yo, Chris – As they say, “room to turn around.” Or, as others say, “Not enough room to swing a dead cat.” 🙂 The CLF (Cat Liberation Front) might have something to say about that.

    Would we survive the incident? Depends on the reign, I suppose.

    Maybe the critics had Momma issues?

    Was “Happy Birthday” exempt from the office singing ban? I never liked office birthday parties. But, it seems there was always one ra-ra person, who was really into them. We have birthday parties, here at The Institution. Though you can opt out. Which I did.

    Yes, I’d say the initial endorphin rush started many of the Club members, down the road to perdition.

    Can’t say Haggis is on my bucket list of foods to try. I also wondered that about the pancakes. How big? Lemon juice and sugar on pancakes? Hmmm. Must be one of those weird Australian things. Like pickled beets on hamburgers. Though that one sounds pretty good, and I’ll get around to trying it, sooner or later.

    I started watching season two of that New Zealand series “Under the Vines.” In the first few minutes, they had an earthquake. And then, another.

    H and I are heading for our usual Sunday morning Old Duffers Coffee Klatch, at the Club.

    Picked up a couple of popcorn worthy movies, at the library, yesterday. But, as one can’t (or shouldn’t) have popcorn (with melted Swiss cheese!), every night, they’ll have to wait a few days. Title reveal and reviews to follow. 🙂 Lew

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