Not cheaper by the metre

Time has this habit of sweeping you along a journey. Inevitably there’ll be storms, droughts and hard times, that’s life. There’ll also be lessons learned and good times. Although you’d hope there were more of the later, and less of the former. Not always the case.

The land here was cheap, there’s no point talking that story up. In 2005, nobody wanted a basic bush block, that was also steep. Aren’t you worried about bushfires, they’d say. What soil had been there, had been either taken, or washed away. A concrete hard clay pan meant any rain washed down the hill, and the sun baked the remains. The tall trees were hanging in there, but they weren’t what you’d call healthy. The land looked pretty rubbish.

The price suited the budget, the rest were details. We never really intended to live on the land, but just like life, it kind of happened. Mostly I drove that change. There’s only so far you can go in the inner city, my career had peaked, and life was unsatisfying. Economics spread my friends to the distant corners of the city. They disappeared into online games, and one of those storms had arrived. When the wind is blowing, sails can be hoisted and the call to adventure can be heard. Doesn’t always work out, sometimes the sirens gnaw upon your sun bleached bones. Always something of a risk.

The plan was to build a small cheap house, and get out of debt, and stay out of debt. Plans are nice and all. These were the exciting days of the 2008 Global Financial Crisis. Selling a house that year was a challenging event. We eventually walked away from the city with a slush fund. During the building permit application process we got to experience the 2009 Black Saturday bushfires. A lot of people died that day. The government introduced new building standards, and the expected cost of the small cheap house, doubled. We got our permits to build.

We’d intended to get a builder to do the majority of the works. With the sudden unexpected increase in costs, funds were looking grim, so we made the decision to build the house ourselves. It wasn’t a hard decision to make, just a painful one. The house took eighteen months to build from commencement to getting the occupancy paperwork. Of course, we’d moved in to the unfinished house months beforehand.

During construction we sold our old refrigerator. We had reasonable doubts that the solar power system wouldn’t be able to handle the load, so we bought a replacement unit which required much less energy to run. The old machine was sold, and a bloke working for a charity bought it for $80. A bit of a bargain really. This was during construction of the house, and Sandra must have looked pretty rough from all the hard work. Anyway, the bloke said to Sandra, “Take the $80 and get yourself something nice”. Talk about being charitable. We were doing something nice, he just couldn’t see it.

March 2010 and the timber house frame is almost finished

There’s a real beauty to carpentry when it all neatly lines up. Not to mention it’s great when the timber is well tied together and anchored. After completing last week’s blog, we went to bed, and that was when a 4.0 magnitude earthquake shook the house. The roar from the bucking Earth was loud. The epicentre of the quake was not far from here in the nearest large town of Sunbury. Two years ago a 5.9 magnitude earthquake shook the house even harder. I’m getting a bit nervous about those things. Anyway, the house held together with only a few minor plaster join cracks in the corners and ceiling. Easily enough fixed.

A bit of rough back of the envelope calculations suggests that there would be maybe around 3,000 lineal metres of timber in that house frame. That’s a lot of timber for a small, and no longer cheap house. Timber was fortunately cheaper in those days. And constructing the house took almost all of our slush fund.

Costs for materials have been going up and up every year. Back in 1996 during the recession that we had to have, we had a builder construct the shell of a house for about $45,000. Nowadays I’d imagine the same arrangement would be at least ten times that, and it was an exact reproduction of a Victorian era single story workers cottage, which were plentiful in that area, and it blended in nicely. However, I guess it means that we’re workers, and even nowadays we provide all the labour with the work we do around here. There’s not much you can do about materials prices though. As a very clever lady once quipped: “It costs a lot to look this cheap”.

We’re extending the large shed. Projects are done when we can afford them, and by afford, that refers to our time, as well as the mad cash aspect. Our time is limited. Sometimes the projects which get done here, are the best we can do with the time we have available to us, then we have to revisit them later. Don’t let the perfect, be the enemy of the good, is always worthwhile to recall.

As part of the shed project, we had to purchase materials from the timber yard. The posts are Cypress Pine (Callitris species) which is a lovely smelling termite resistant timber from an indigenous conifer species.

Native Cypress Pine posts for use in the shed extension

The posts were cemented into the ground. If kept dry, the timber will enjoy many decades of life. Concrete is a highly variable product depending on the ratio of materials used. I tend to favour using a mixture which provides a fairly water tight finish. Of course, using this mixture costs a little bit more up front, but is probably cheaper in the long run.

The timber posts for the extension were cemented into the ground

Interestingly, in sourcing the timber for the project, I had to travel to a few local timber yards. Not all the timber required or other materials were available at one business. Anyway, the long treated pine beams used for holding up the roof cost $55 each. That cost was a surprise, and it really drove home to me, that costs for materials are just going up. Inflation has been bad, but inflation in the building industry has perhaps been the baddest of them all.

Those long bits of treated pine were expensive

Due to my day job, I keep a rough track of how much all this stuff costs. The shed project with a couple of extra water tanks, will eventually work out to around $250 a square metre. We do things cheap, a house would easily cost ten times that amount per square metre, probably with a very basic fit-out too. And the cost of a custom house would just frighten the kiddies (especially a house which adheres to bushfire standards)!

We began this shed project, mostly because we’d run out of soil for the new low gradient path project. The post holes which I dug by hand provided a lot of soil which was added to the path, but really, it still needs much more. The construction project will hopefully take about five days of work to complete.

The new low gradient path needs more soil

As well as a 4.0 magnitude earthquake, we also had a minor frost. An exciting week!

A minor frost left ice on the roof of the Dirt Rat Suzuki

Winters here are really humid. For half the year, the humidity will exceed 90%. Given we’re less than three weeks out from the winter solstice, it’s been on average remarkably warm, but also very humid. The minor frost was the spatial anomaly.

A very humid and warm winters day

For those who are concerned, there have been a lot of canine power moves with the new (second hand) sheepskin rug. This week, Dame Plum has taken pride of place, and she at least has the decency to look mildly guilty.

Dame Plum looks mildly guilty

The winter has been fairly mild, and we’re still getting some produce from the gardens. Lunch today included an artichoke:

A tasty Globe Artichoke

The tomato vines died weeks ago, however we’ve trialled an experiment whereby the tomato vines are stripped of leaves, the roots cleaned, and the vines hung upside down in the greenhouse. And the tomatoes are ripening. They don’t taste as good as what you’d expect from a summer sun ripened freshly picked garden grown tomato. But they’re better than anything you’d expect to get in a supermarket. As an experiment, I’d call that a success.

Tomatoes in winter. Who’d have thunk it?

Onto the flowers:

Geraniums are a super reliable plant
This self seeded variety of Lavender continues to bloom
The Roses were given a feed a months or two ago, and they continue to bloom
The Roses with two colours are very attractive

The temperature outside now at about 9am is 12’C (54’F). So far this year there has been 350.4mm (13.8 inches) which is up from last weeks total of 338.8mm (13.3 inches)

33 thoughts on “Not cheaper by the metre”

  1. Like your perfectionist approach to building, Chris. Btw: Do you have a power auger?
    Multiple uses you can put it to. A real time-saver. I have a Stihl BT130; expensive and lots of imitators, but by far the best in my estimation. Starts first pull so long as I’ve primed and choked it properly. I’ve also tried a couple of battery-powered ones; gutless.



  2. @ Margaret – From last week. Talk about timing … I was watching a sit-com the other night, and someone was dumping on the French. An Englishman, naturally. His parting shot was, “The French invented roundabouts!” 🙂 A glance into the rabbit hole reveals, yes they did. So I can blame the French. Lew

  3. Yo, Chris – Yes, but, are they cheaper by the dozen? 🙂

    Your post this week is a very nice retrospect of Fern Glade Farm. But tell me. Is a bush block a standard unit of measure? Here in the U.S., we have “sections.” A section is one square mile (or, 2.6 square kilometers, for the metrically inclined.) This works out to 640 acres. 36 sections equal one township. “Townships” get pretty murky, and can be a number of things.

    “Didn’t intend to live on the land.” What were you going to do with it? Hold it as an investment? Build the house on spec? Back when I was 15 (mid 1960s) my folks bought a house out in the (then) boondocks of Vancouver, Wa.. The idea (according to my father) was to fix it up, resell it, or rent it out. Surprise, surprise! We ended up moving there. Much to my mother’s chagrin.

    So what did the charity guy expect The Editor to do with the $80? Buy a new frock? Maybe a pair of Jimmy Choo shoes? (Given a dollar was worth more, back then.) Treat herself to a day at a spa? Here, we’re so awash in stuff, you give things like that, to charity. Might even have to pay them to haul it away. 🙂

    If you’d had the means to really splash out on the house, the old timers in your area probably wouldn’t have given you the time of day. And though the sweat equity was hard, it probably gained you lots of local points.

    The picture of Ollie and you is quit nice. The background looks like a watercolor. Or, maybe, and old movie painted flat. CGI? Anywho. It’s a really nice picture with a painterly feel to it. A pitchfork in your hand, and we could call it, “Australian Bush Gothic.” 🙂

    I wonder if the timber yards are also going to a more “just in time” type of inventory? I read “The Daily Impact,” and it named the insurance company I was referring to, that no longer writes new policies, in California. If people can’t get insurance, they won’t be able to get loans, for new builds. At least, not beyond land value. Construction will slow. I think it’s going to have all kinds of strange effects.

    Earthquakes, frost. Which of the ten plagues of Egypt are up next? Plagues of locusts?

    I think Dame Plume has earned her sheepskin, in rats.

    The artichoke looks like it’s begging to be eaten. Good going with the tomatoes. Although “better than supermarket tomatoes” is not a high bar. Some wag referred to them as being “strip mined in Texas.”

    Geraniums and Lavender. The gifts that keep on giving. So were the pictures of the roses, pre or post frost? Lew

  4. Hi Inge,

    Thank you for your reply. Yes, it’s crazy how small the disclaimers have become, and I am well aware of that side of the story.

    Commercial law was without doubt, one of the saddest subjects which I have ever had the misfortune to study. I must add that the subject informed me as to some of the darker sides of our species behaviour. And in many cases, the parties were far from arms length. Ook!



  5. Hi Kezza,

    🙂 I wouldn’t necessarily say that I’m a perfectionist. Far from it actually.

    Believe it or not, I use a 250mm (10 inches diameter) hand turned manual auger to dig holes. As you’d imagine it takes a bit of effort to turn, but it’s a remarkably effective hand tool. It can dig pretty deep holes too up to about 1,000mm or over 3 foot deep. Not for everyone though, that’s for sure. It won’t remove rocks, and an electric jackhammer with rock breaker bit makes short work of those chunks of granite. Gym’s, what are these things? 😉

    Those are awesome bits of kit. And Stihl makes good stuff which I support. I agree with you about the ease of starting, although I’m not sure about where you are on the planet, but the fuel here is going bad faster than in earlier years, so err, fuel stabiliser does make for easier starting of those machines. Off fuel stinks, you can smell it.



  6. Hi Lewis,

    Well I’d like to think so about the cheaper by the dozen, although the facts on the ground suggest otherwise. Have to laugh though, getting an almost 18ft chunk of timber home on the back of the trailer was an interesting experience.

    You’ve got a point there, the term is meaningless outside of this country. Bush block basically refers to a block of land, out beyond the sticks or boondocks, with no current permit for a dwelling (although the zoning may suggest that is possible – as in the case here). Bearing in mind that maths at ain’t my thing, so a section is 2.6km2, so the property here is 0.09km2. Candidly, it’s a lot of land.

    What were going to do with the land? What weren’t we going to do with it! 🙂 Mate, I’d run out of land to grow stuff in the inner city house. The neighbours were pretty annoyed with me growing vegetables in the front yard, and they wouldn’t let me pick the fruit from their well established fruit trees – they much preferred to allow the fruit bats to eat the stuff, then complained about the noise, mess and bat poop. Then in the final act of indignity a neighbour was granted permission for 25ft high wall on the northern boundary (i.e. the sunny side, your southern side) of a narrow terrace house block of land. Nobody seemed to feel that this was a problem. The thing loomed over the backyard creating shade for a big chunk of the year. We were like square pegs trying to fit into a round hole. We reminded them of what they’d given up and were something of an embarrassment to their more progressed selves. Mate, sometimes you can find yourself at utter odds with people around you who you previously were on reasonable terms with.

    The funny thing is my friends kept saying: you should subdivide the land, or build a house and flip it – like they’d know about such things. All bonkers, we wanted the land to grow stuff.

    Your mother probably had quite the shock at that unexpected turn of events. How did it work out for her in the end? Did she acclimate to the local environment? I’ve heard people saying that bit about ‘social isolation’, but seriously people are more socially isolated in the city. Far out. The Editor enjoys a very good social life, and gets out with friends more now, than when we lived in the big smoke. I have a hunch that the inner city abode engendered some jealousy. If they’d seen the bare brick shell we fixed up, and the bizarre living conditions, I doubt they would have felt that way, but it created something of a wedge because, you know, economics was dividing the friendship group. For whatever reason, our society has decided upon a path of physically stratifying it’s inhabitants based on economics. It’s a bonkers strategy, and I’d have to say almost historically unprecedented. I wouldn’t choose this path, but nobody asked me, and I don’t recall that you’ve mentioned that your opinion in this was sought? It’s less so up in the bush, but over time.

    I reckon your guesses were all about spot on. And there’s physically less stuff down here. I recall selling a couch during the recession and one leg had been replaced by a brick. That didn’t stop the couch from finding a buyer.

    You’re right, the actions get noticed in some corners, usually by the old timers. One local farmer remarked that his dad did similar work back in the day, and it was said respectfully. I generally get along well with the old timers. Someone once told me, the house wasn’t a posh house, you know like so and so’s! 🙂

    Oh my goodness, you’ve got a sharp eye. Respect. You know, I thought the exact same thing about the photo, but couldn’t really put the feelings into words. It was more the background really, which stole the photo. It took me a while to put a finger on where I’d seen something similar. Early landscape paintings had a similar quality to the trees, so I’m genuinely impressed you spotted that. It means something, that’s for sure.

    Don’t laugh, but early in the blog’s life someone made the suggestion that I must have spent the week photo shopping the photos. Like, I have time for such things. Bonkers.

    It is possible about the ‘just in time’ going on at the timber yards. It’s expensive for me, it must be so for them to hold as inventory too. Hey, that was mentioned in our news down here about that company. Hmm, not good, and I agree it will be likely a very strange set of circumstances to come. Insurance is required for loans down here, although that is rarely checked. Things can change at short notice and without warning.

    Locusts, yeah been there and done that, and the local birds enjoyed every minute of the plague. It was an epic protein hit for them. How could frogs be one of the ten plagues? My reading of history suggests that many communicable diseases took hold in that ancient land.

    Ollie and Dame Plum are splitting the sheepskin between them. Ruby wonders what she is missing out on.

    That’s funny about the tomatoes, and it is winter so any fresh tomatoes are pretty well received.

    The photos of the Roses were taken post frost, so they’re doing really well. Don’t be surprised, but it is raining outside, and has been for hours, and will continue off and on again for days to come.

    Hehe! You don’t hear that said about cats any more! Don’t laugh, but I got into trouble once for thoughtlessly saying: “There’s plenty of ways to skin a cat.” The other person looked at me kind of funny and demanded to know why I’d ever know such things. They were serious too. Crashed and burned badly. It’s an old saying was apparently no excuse, and I don’t hear anyone saying that in these more enlightened days. There’s some robust discussions on the origin of that phrase. It’s been around longer than wokeness, that phrase.

    True, it does depend upon who is at the helm, and some of them seemed rather quick to lop a head, whilst others sounded to me as if they enjoyed the spectacle. Like an afternoon matinee, but more gruesome.

    Man, I’ve got a soft spot for cakes, so birthdays were in, minus the singing. That wasn’t required, fortunately the cake was so required. But like you I’d also dodge those birthday parties, but maybe try and work out who bakes the best cakes, grab a slice, hang around for at least ten seconds to say you were then, then run! You just reminded me, I’ve worked for someone who was obsessed by peoples age relative to his own. I’ve never encountered such a thing before, and hope to never do so again. It was really creepy, although the cakes were good. I’m so torn here… But yes, dodge the parties. I’m sure you’ve been to some shocker birthday parties, but I reckon for me the worst was when a friend invited me to come and hang out at his kids first birthday party. Never again. I was so naive.

    Hmm, thought so. Thanks for confirming my suspicions. You know it kept the older blokes running, long after they had serious injuries from the distance running. But if it weren’t for their example and advice, I probably might have ended up following them.

    You’ll find out how big with the pancakes pretty soon. I guess your Club crew will work out quick enough if four is too much, if people are dumping the uneaten ones in the bin. Lemon juice over sugar was a very traditional pancake topping. We didn’t really have maple syrup down under, and most of the stuff you see called by that name down here is actually I believe Golden Syrup which is different again. The trees grow well enough here.

    Hehe! That’s funny. Now onto the film. I really enjoyed it, I think if we had to give it a genre, we’d call it a ‘dark or even gothic rom-com’. Yeah. Sheila was hard work, and probably a bit intense for a first date. Run, yeah, run! But the actress, she could really express emotions which moved correctly through the timeline, and the story was excellent. I thought it was really interesting when the June character made the point that Sheila had never asked about her. Thanks for recommending it. By and large I get the impression that New Yourk City is full of very complicated people with quite a lot of issues.

    Hope you enjoyed your Coffee Klatch, and probably not a good idea to share caffeine with H. 😉



  7. Yo, Chris – Oh, yes. I remember the Great Wall of Whatever, that was about the last straw. LOL. Face it. You were ahead of your time. I’d say 95% of the population wouldn’t “get it.” But I think the 5% is edging up, all the time. I think more people are getting “woke.” In a good way. 🙂

    I think there’s a lot of armchair theorists out there, who read a lot of stuff about tract development and house flipping, on the internet, and decide it’s a good way to sit on their bums and rake it in. If they dug a little deeper, and kept their ears open, they’d realize that it takes a certain talent, and so much can go wrong. The same goes for property rentals. People think, “I’ll get a couple of rentals, and just sit back and rake it in.”

    Case in point: My friend Julia has a couple of rentals, up in Tacoma. Her son was going to power wash and paint one of them. But, needed access to power and water. So, she left a couple of messages for the renter. Then more messages. The renter, had fallen into radio silence. And this was a long time renter, with no previous problems. But she was about to the stage of registered letters and eviction notices when … turns out, the renter had succumbed to You Know What and had been in hospital for a month. But, now everything is back on track. I’ve mentioned my Uncle Larry tried to manage the other half of the duplex he lived in and owned, and finally threw up his hands and let a property management outfit take care of that end of things.

    Well, Mum cried for a couple of weeks, until one morning she glanced out the kitchen window, and saw a deer in the yard. 🙂 The major problem with her was, she didn’t know how to drive. And, her (very) extended family were all in Portland. Dad didn’t have the patience to teach her how to drive. But, she eventually made friends with a neighbor, across the road, who did drive. And taught her how to drive.

    I don’t know. Sometimes I think I should have gotten out of this small town, at some previous date. Moved back to Portland. It gets lonely here, for me, sometimes. But, given what’s going on in the cities, these days, overall, I’m probably better off here. And, actually, I’ve got a pretty good support system, here.

    Was it a nice brick? 🙂

    I’ve noticed some DVD and book covers have a more “painterly” look. Obviously, photographs that have been run through some kind of computer filter, to get the effect. I really quit like it. But then I’m partial to “realism,” in art. And actually, it’s not such a new thing. One movement in modern “art” was “photorealism.” Which was really just a far, far older form of art, taken to extremes. And that’s “trompe l’oeil.” Which even the Romans were pretty good at, in both wall paintings and mosaics. The French. What can I say. Give it a French name, and it sounds all “insider” and la-de-da. LOL. I always giggle a bit, when I run across “plein air” painting. So what is this mysterious and artsy-fartsy thing? It means the artist painted it, outside. 🙂 So endeth the art history lesson, for today.

    I think, eventually, more people are going to have to “go naked,” as far as insurance is concerned. It’s not like insurance covers much, anymore. Not like Ye Olde Days. The Daily Impact gave me a bit of a pause, as it pretty much outlined possible mass casualty events, which are becoming more and more in the realm of possibility.

    There’s been a few scientific speculations on how the 10 plagues of Egypt, could have come about. Not necessarily in the order or time frame of The Book.

    We’re going to have three days of 80+F weather. Now here’s something I haven’t seen, before …

    I think our fire boys (and girls?) are going to be pretty busy, the next few days. If you click on “Centralia”, you get the forecast for our next five days.

    “…been around longer than wokeness…” Oh, I like that. Heck, I’ve been around longer than wokeness.

    So, did any of your minions pick up on your fondness for cakes? In the Office Wars, that could be leveraged in their favor 🙂 .

    We were talking about the pancakes at the Old Duffer’s Coffee Klatch, and I mentioned your custom of lemon and sugar as a topping. “A hush fell on the crowd.” Crocodile Dundee, lost points. Then I mentioned the pickled beets on burgers. That had a slightly more open reception. Slightly. Of course, these are the folks that acted as if I’d suggested shooting the Dali Lama, when I stated that I thought the biscuits and gravy would be better, with a handful of fried onions, tossed in. No sense of adventure. 🙂 .

    “Crazy Girlfriend Rom-Com?” It’s often a plot point, or trope, in movies and books. That the employers don’t have a clue about the lives of the “help” or service people. On the other hand, I’ve always been of the opinion that over the top personal problems belong at home, not in the workplace. But I’m in two minds, there. I think one should be kind, and show a certain amount of interest. I think it’s a fine line. And most employers would rather not think about it, at all.
    Interesting fact for the next pub quiz. Pete Davidson’s father was a fireman, who died in the Twin Towers, on 9/11.

    Someone gave H a couple of small pieces of pepperoni stick, down at the Club. Gave the rest to me to take home. So, I shoved in in my shirt pocket. She rides in my lap, when I drive. Likes to look out the window. I forgot it was in my pocket, and she about ripped it off, trying to get to it. A sharp “No!” took care of that. But she spent the rest of the trip home, sulking on the truck floorboards. She doesn’t realize you can OD on those things. 🙂 Lew

  8. Hi Lewis,

    Yes, the great wall of almost year ’round shade. The wall was half again as high, as the block was wide. It was the last straw. You know, the funny thing was that the young lady next door had the wall built, then moved on. I remember looking up and seeing three air-conditioning compressor machines and wondering if the new tall build was everything she expected it to be. Probably not. 😉 I tend to agree, people are waking from this nonsense. And the price of money continues its inexorable climb back to reality. Sooner or later, probably sooner the folks benefiting from the expansion of the money supply will also have to take a cut. That’s just how it rolls.

    Far out, you’re not wrong. And something always goes wrong with those stories. Years ago I had lunch with some lovely folks who ran a short term accommodation thingee for holiday makers, and they told me that most months something was either broken or stolen. The profit just isn’t there. Unfortunately, arm chair theorists abound.

    Speaking of bounding, Ollie spotted a wombat tonight and despite my explicit instructions, he headed off on a chase. He came back after a minute, but he is in for some remedial training over the next few weeks, and he’s not going to like it.

    The folks who hold the title (the owners may oftimes be the banksters) are too close to the story, like what you mentioned of Uncle Larry. It’s too personal. Best to pay someone to provide some distance. Although, that lot can sometimes do whatever is easiest.

    That’s a lot of crying. 😉 The deer would have been lovely to see. That’s what neighbours used to be for. Things have changed since those days. Had to laugh about that, my mum refused to take me on driving lessons, and so I had to pay for an instructor, and due to like working and stuff, did the lessons in the city. I was always trying to spin the wheels in that car, probably why my mother refused. The instructor had dual controls and put an end to my fast and furious ambitions… No fun. Private vehicles and the suburbs or ex-urbs go hand in hand.

    Hey, they paid for the brick as well. 😉 An old red if you must know the details. The funny thing is most people forget what 10% unemployment looks like, and it ain’t pretty. And clearly bricks had value.

    Fascinating, and it makes me wonder if Pop Art had its origins in the world of the sci-fi cover, or what was it called? Something like good girl art, although candidly I’ve never come across such a person. Probably all marketing and spin. Photorealism is amazing. Thank you for the lesson, and don’t all artists head into the great outdoors?

    That’s my thinking too in relation to insurance. We face annual increases of 20% and that is unsustainable. What might end up happening, is that we could be put in a position where the house has to be defended against a bushfire, or other disaster for that matter. And that’s just how it is. We’re putting serious thought and effort into that possibility, but I won’t argue with you – most people will eventually be naked on that risk. Honestly, I’m unsure how the banksters will respond to having their assets uninsured? They don’t seem to want to take on much risk themselves that lot. Hmm.

    Say, that’s a lot of red flags. Hope things stay cool.

    Haven’t we all? 😉 The whole thing seems pretty stupid to me. It’ll disappear eventually, but I do wonder if something strangerer, will take it’s place?

    Cakes. Yes, I’m cheap. They knew. But the cakes were so good. And you said it, they nailed it.

    That’s funny, but possibly you guys are missing out neglecting that topping on pancakes? Of course, it does have shock value, but was quite common back in the day. And I seriously enjoyed it. Ah, I see the origins of this intriguing – and did I mention also tasty pancake topping – are in the UK. Makes sense. Now Blimey makes sense in relation to citrus, but Lemy’s sounds like the big guy in ‘Of Mice and Men’. Doesn’t quite have the same ring to it. Hehe! Possibly your friends at the Club lack a certain sort of willingness to innovate? The onions would work. They sell hot dogs down here with cheese, mustard and fried onions. Before things got strange a few years ago, there was: Oniongate – Bunnings’ sausage sizzle sparks public outcry . It was real, from memory, even the most senior politicians weighed in to the matter. But truly, one quote stood out heads and tails above the rest: going so far as to question if the onions are really present at all if they’re concealed by a sausage? There’s logic to that logic.

    I too share that opinion and keep things business like in the workplace when things are going down and a little bit out of control. I’ve noticed over the years that plenty of people can’t seem to get with that program. And yes, it is a fine line. Sometimes things can go too far the other way, and it’s pretty uncaring. I remember spending the night with someone who died, and that was pretty upsetting, but then I helped out a workplace the next day because they were getting smashed with work – and they were seriously asking me why I didn’t get to work on time, despite knowing what had happened. Hmm. A red flag, and I quit. Life is too short for such graceless curs. They were just young and dumb, and probably had never experienced loss and grief. But I had no desire to spend time with them after that.

    Pete is a complicated guy, but also talented. No doubts about it. Some folks can turn tragedy into energy and life.

    Err, please close your ears for the next few moments, I’ve got something to say to H.

    Go H! But little lady, you missed out there. Lewis is holding out on you. Next time, act faster. You know what to do.

    Sorry about that, err, what were we talking about again? Oh pepperoni stick, yes, awful that, and H has to be faster, sorry I meant to say more sneaky. Oh shoot! Where did all that come from? Oh well, moving on.

    Hope the weather doesn’t get too hot for you. It’s still raining here. We enjoyed at least 15 minutes of peak sunshine today, I’ve got the records to prove it.



  9. Wait a minute- you built a shed extension just to get some dirt?? 🙂
    And 18 foot lumber?? How in the heck did you rig that for the trip? Photos or it didn’t happen…..

    No wonder the wood was expensive. A couple ten footers wouldn’t have worked?

    homesteaders and farmers can never have enough covered storage. We went big with our initial pole barn, so it took a while to fill. Hence the garden shed I’m still puttering with. I assume you already have the contents in mind for the addition?

    I’m sure we’ll see progress photos, but how will the transition go? Will you keep a wall and door between, or move and reinstall the end wall and nice looking doors?

    OK, enough questions.

    The drought here continues, and the forecast is not looking good. The trees and perennials get through these spells, but the tender and highly domesticated veggies in the garden need frequent watering. Last year we hardly watered at all, with only slightly above normal rainfall. The darn thing about garden veggies, is that you can nurse them from seed to to sprout, to healthy looking seedling, for weeks or months, but miss watering for too long, and all that effort goes for naught.

    I’m also worried that the pollinator apocalypse may be upon us. Our cherry trees had all the normal blooms this spring, but set hardly any fruit. I’m still no expert on cherry trees, so don’t know what other variables might be in play, but probably no cherry pie this year. (birds get most of them anyway)

    All the wild blackberries were in bloom this past week, but in dry years, the berries are very small, so probably no berry pie either! (I like pie).

  10. Yo, Chris – Oh, well. Karma, or hubris, or nemesis will catch up with Miss Build a Wall, sooner or later. Maybe you should have painted a mural on your side? A jungle scene! With dinosaurs! Or just a chunk of the bush, with kangaroos, wallabies, wombats, camels, and lots and lots of parrots. Maybe Ayers Rock, off in the misty distance? 🙂

    Speaking of real estate, there was this in the local paper …,320387

    A sad day, sort of. People are already getting misty eyed and relating Yard Bird’s stories.

    Poor Ollie! Poor Chris! Are you going to use that old saw, “This is going to hurt me, more than you?” 🙂

    Back in the distant mists of time, when I was in high school, we had the option of half a year of state history, and half a year of driver’s training. Taught by an old drunk, with an enormous red nose and a bottle in his desk. Also, one could get a “learner’s permit.” You could drive, anywhere, as long as you had a licensed driver along.

    The economists are rather in a quandary, over here. There’s all this talk of recession, and there’s a lot of huge lay offs … but the job market is on fire. There are theories.

    GGA (Good Girl Art.) They’re not a figment of the artists’s imagination. Those ladies are out there. And, given the time period. Think Gina Lolobrigida, Sophia Loren, Jane Mansfield, etc. etc.. Pop art actually came out of …. advertising. 🙂

    Quit a few artists were studio bound. Although, they often did rough sketches or even watercolors, out in the wild. And then retreated to their studios, to refine and commit to oils. But some would drag easel, paints, brushes, and canvas, out into the wild. Van Gogh did. So did Winslow Homer. And so many others. An assistant to pack all that stuff, came in handy.

    Fires. So far, so good. A few house fires, but nothing major. But the air is looking pretty hazy.

    If they continue the pancakes, after a few weeks I think I’ll show up with a lemon and my sugar bowl. Seriously. Just to see the reactions.
    Pancakes are also called “flapjacks,” here.

    The link to the Onion Gate story, had slipped into a temporal anomaly. But, I took a look into the rabbit hole, and found TWO Australian Onion Gates. There was your Lord High Grand Poo Bah (Abbot?), galloping through ag fairs and taking huge bites out of onions. Must have been desperate for PR, not involving scantily clad girls or boys. And then the whole hardware store snafu. Yes, how do we know there’s really onions under that sausage? Or in the same quantity, that would have been on top. My favorite line was from the Abbot story. “An onion a day keeps the dingoes at bay.” 🙂

    I was disappointed that not once did Pete Davidson get to display his extensive collection of tattoos. 🙁

    Speaking of movies, last night was a popcorn night. With melted Swiss cheese! I watched “65”. 65 million years ago, there was a space faring race (Funny. They look just like us!) A fellow (Adam Driver) is ferrying a bunch of settlers (all in suspended animation) across the stars. An unexpected astroid storm, causes the ship to have to crash land on a planet. Ta-da! It’s earth, 65 million years ago. And, of course, it’s crawling with dinosaurs. There is one other survivor of the crash, a young girl. So, she and Driver must cross 15km of woods, to reach an escape pod. It was a thrill a minute, and well worth a bowl of popcorn.

    Ooops! Pepperoni sticks are very, very bad for dogs. Who knew?

    One of my tomatoes has started to get blossoms. The red cherry tomato. No action yet, from the corn / green bean patch.

    I went hunting and gathering, last night. I took in three bags of groceries, last night. Some was gone, by this morning. Todays biscuits and gravy, were very good. H approved. Lew

  11. Hi Steve,

    Now that you put it that way, it kinda looks like that. 🙂

    There’s a natural sort of order to the projects we’ve got on the drawing board, and this shed business had to take place first before the other project which will yield much more soil, can take place.

    What? That’s outrageous! Well done. No photo, mostly because I didn’t think of it. 🙂 The trailer is a 5×7 foot, and at least maybe 5 feet could hang forward over the A frame. A bit of quick maths leaves, a whole heap of timber hanging over the back of the trailer. It was well anchored, but was subject to a bit of wobbling on the crusty local roads. Things are quieter here. Hey, I didn’t think of doing that. Where were you when I was at the timber yard? They do tell me that good help is hard to find. And it’s true! Hehe! The longer beams will be stronger, although nailing plates are very good.

    So true, and yours is the wiser path. There is never enough shed space. It doesn’t matter how much shed space you have, more is better. Oh yeah! Frankly, the construction of the house had seriously depleted the coffers. Not much was left after that. So we had to do things the hard way, save up again, and do most of the work ourselves. Your assumption is spot on. Have you still got free and unallocated space under cover at your place?

    That’s an astute question, and yup, I intend to keep the existing framing of the front as a sort of extra sideways bracing for the shed. It doesn’t hurt and will actually provide a bit of extra wall space. Handy stuff, and I intend to nab a second hand set of spare solar panels – just in case. You need somewhere to store such things out of the weather. And despite the warm and dry winter, it was warm today, but over an inch of rain has fallen – and continues to fall. It’s bonkers wet out there.

    The barn doors will be relocated to the new front of the shed. No sense making another set.

    Yikes! Droughts are like my nightmare, although too much rain is almost as bad, minus the fire risk. I find the same thing here, the mollycoddled annuals we enjoy are perhaps mildly over bred and could stand being taken down a notch or two – and hopefully they become more resilient? I’m working towards that goal with seed saving, but it is a complicated story. And sometimes, I’m at a total loss as to what went wrong. The winter kale crop mostly disappeared this year. Did the parrots eat all of the seeds, is that even possible? Dunno.

    Hope the rain returns for you soon.

    Birds get most of the cherries here too – and I rely on a local cherry farm. They have commercial scale netting. It’s hard to know, some trees produce biennial, but if you observed the usual amount of blossoms, either a late frost or lack of pollinators is an issue. I keep pollinators here, but don’t harvest their winter food stores because that’s not what they’re here for. My money would be on a late cold snap knocking the blossoms off. Even a 2’C brief cold spell with wind can do that.

    Maybe so, but blackberries here will produce berries in the worst conditions when other less sturdy berries quail in fright. And, on those years watch for the ones in the shade, they do well. But overall the flavour in dry years is stronger, and that’s something of a consolation.



  12. Hi Lewis,

    I read the article on property insurance, and some of the findings don’t surprise me. A couple of decades ago I became aware of insurance issues after having bought a policy off an insurer that promptly went broke, within a day. An exciting experience which was something of a surprise, but at least they issued a certificate of currency for the policy. Whether anyone could make a claim against the policy is subject to debate, actually, not really. My gut feeling suggests that they wouldn’t be able to. All I needed was that bit of paper from them. The policy requirement was daylight robbery.

    My business is relatively low risk, but even so I’m required to hold certain policies. The cynic in me suggests that I’m subsidising some of the larger and perhaps more risky operators. Some of them have been in the media, for all the wrong reasons: What is the PwC tax scandal? Who is Peter-John Collins? Who knew about it? Why does it matter?. At best, it’s not a good look.

    And oh yeah, it may not be the mortgages which unhinges the housing bubble.

    Well, you can only hope so about Miss Build A Wall. The house probably wasn’t very satisfying given she moved out not long after completion. She was hard work that one.

    Lewis, those are all good suggestions with the mural, it’s just cheaper for me to walk outside and check out the wildlife. Spare a thought for them too. It was raining when I awoke this morning, and has not stopped all day. You can hear the wet stuff pounding upon the roof right now. About an inch and a half have fallen. Bonkers. They predicted that we’re in for a dry and warm winter, but I ain’t seeing that. At least they got the warm bit right. 😉 Oh well. Two out of three ain’t bad, was a good song, but perhaps not a technically correct way to review the long term climate forecast.

    Do you reckon anyone might save the big bird? There was some loose talk about flood plains. Hardly an exciting prospect, but that’s just me.

    No! Ollie has to get with the program. Sure, he did what he did, but that’s outside the program. I don’t mind training the dogs, it just takes a lot of work and consistency. They want to learn, and dogs want people to be the boss.

    Ah, the learners permit worked the same here too, except you had to pass a test to obtain the permit and pay for lessons (if your mother didn’t trust you, or was unwilling to assist – both equally possible). My driving instructor was more sober than yours and from memory his nose was probably large, but not overly so. He had this weird disinclination to allow me to spin the wheels. Occasionally we’d have a lesson on a wet day, and I could blame the wet paint markings – or the dreaded tram lines (try those on a motor bike! Yikes!) – and my moment of thuggery in the wet had arrived. Thank you Lord!, I’d say quietly to myself, and then hit that accelerator and drop the clutch a little bit quicker than usual. Hehe! So as you’d imagine, I eventually had a head on crash which I walked away from unharmed, as did everyone else. After that I purchased the slowest vehicle on the road I could find – a 1982 Suzuki Jimny with a 61 cubic inch engine and four speed. And overnight I lost my thuggery and began to enjoy the scenery instead and began a long slow dance of mutual affection with a very quirky range of vehicles. Now some people may say I haven’t changed, and they might have something there, but they can also naff off and keep their opinions to themselves! 🙂 Have you ever had your share of life changing moments like that?

    I hear you about that, and there are economic theories, some of them fit the facts on the ground, others, not so much.

    Ah! How obvious about the art. Thanks for clarifying the origins of the Pop Art. To my mind, art is art and should be evaluated on the merits of the production, but that maybe an unpopular perspective?

    Makes you wonder what the assistants to those great painters witnessed of the artistry being performed?

    Ook! Hope your area avoids any and all fires. I mentioned a while ago that the last big one ripped through here forty years ago in 1983. A local historian went out into the community around the mountain range and put the oral histories of people’s memories of that time who were there, into words. I noted the book for sale the other day, and it was the last copy, so I nabbed it. An interesting read, that’s for sure. Local history always has much to inform.

    That’ll be fun! Shock the locals with a traditional Aussie pancake topping. People applied both lemon juice and sugar liberally. My advice, pour with a liberal hand! Hehe! Good luck! I like the taste of it, but then I was raised on that stuff. Oh, flapjacks, I can see that. So do they make them raise slightly, or are they the traditional flat variety?

    The onion thing was weird. Hard to explain really, unless the bloke didn’t know what an onion was and had adapted to consuming all manner of unpleasant food stuffs? Everyone loves a good redemption tale, and that bloke (a highly educated bloke incidentally) was a strange choice for the role, but ended up alright only after he was sacked from that role. No, true story. So we had the big black summer of fires in the summer of 2019-2020 and he was a long term volunteer fire fighter, and not someone sitting up in a command centre, but out on the truck working for and talking to affected locals. Seriously he made the incumbent person in that role look really bad. Can you imagine one of your ex-Presidents doing that volunteer work? What a fine joke that would be. What do you mean this is dangerous with no security detail?, they may well ask! 😉 An onion a day keeps the dingoes at bay, is a real hoot! Thanks for the laughs.

    Some people go hard on the tatts. It’s another form of art really.

    Just watched the trailer for the film. Adam Driver is a great actor, and the trailer pumped. So did they make it to the escape pod? 15km, be there in a couple of hours…

    Salt toxicosis, never heard of it, but I hate too much salt in food. Apparently dogs are even more sensitive to excess salt. Apparently it is the seasonings, fat and preservatives which aren’t all that good.

    Go the tomato! That’s an early variety, although the upside of your hot weather is that the tomatoes and other annuals will grow faster.

    It’s still raining, and did I mention that today the solar conditions were somehow worse than yesterday and only slight better than the worst day I’ve ever experienced. 10.5 minutes of peak sunlight today. A true achievement of utter awfulness. Anyone betting industrial civilisation on this technology, needs their head read. Oh, and it’s still raining.

    Yummo for biscuits and gravy. Sounds good. I had rice with veg and a fried egg with some greens from the garden for dinner. Yum!



  13. Yo, Chris – That was quit a story about trading on inside information. I’m sure, many pockets were lined. Consultants seemed to have come into fashion, as a bum covering maneuver. The line that I noticed was “As for why private companies are doing what was once the job of public service … ” Yes, why is that? The big company will lawyer up, and this will drag on, for years. Many minions may be thrown under the bus.

    Well, you couldn’t wander around the city, and see a lot of wildlife. Hence, the wall mural. 🙂

    Here’s another article about another big development, in the same area as Yardbirds.,320260

    Let’s see if I can describe the layout. There are two major roads, between our two cities. One runs one way north, the other one way south. Yardbirds, and the Lewis County Mall both lie between the two roads. They are separated by about 1/4 mile of low swampy ground. It holds a lot of water, in flood time, but never enough. All that has flooded, several times, in the past. Also along those roads are Sunbirds, the Club, several restaurants and fast food places, my veg store, etc. etc..

    The Lewis County Mall is what brought me here. To manage the bookstore. It was a real happening place, back in the day. Three major “anchors” and numerous small shops, between. A shoe store, two jewelers, fabric shop, record store, music store, national deli, upscale women’s clothing store, a restaurant and a bar. Once things started being built up on the freeway, all that disappeared. Now, there’s nothing there but a multiplex theatre and a gun store.

    Same thing happened with Yardbirds. It was a collection of small businesses, including a large grocery store. All that vanished and it became a flea market / swap meet. I don’t know what will happen to the Big Bird. A smaller bird has been moved to our local county museum.

    There’s a test for a learner’s permit, here, also.

    Life changing events? Well, no near death experiences come to mind. 🙂

    They caught a woman setting fires, over in Centralia. Nothing major. But there is a brush fire, out in the eastern county, that’s 8 acres and growing.

    Flapjacks have no rising agent. But, you often hear pancakes and flapjacks used interchangeably. So which goes on first? The lemon juice or the sugar?

    On presidential volunteers? Jimmy Carter. Habitat for Humanity.

    Do they reach the escape pod? Spoilers … 🙂

    Well, my dinner last night was pretty junky. I broke some Tostadas into 1/4’s. Put a bit of mustard on each piece. Ditto, a small piece of Swiss Cheese. Nuke for 15 seconds. Top with a dollop of plane yogurt. Then I finished off the Chex mix.

    It was 82F (27.8C), yesterday. Forecast to go into the low 90sF, today. Master Gardeners were here, this morning. I spent my time weeding the patch where I want to put the Tomatillos. There’s some garlic and iris, in there, so it was a bit of a surgical operation. It’s my guerilla gardening, patch. Next to the grapes. I’m establishing a cordon sanitaire, around it. Weeds shall not pass. I’ve been bush whacking, in behind it. All kinds of stuff has taken root there. Between it and the Rhodies. Lemon Balm, ivy, and walnut (thank you squirrels.) And other unidentifiable plants.

    We’re getting a couple of food boxes, today. The one with the produce.

    My friend Julia, has an interesting story. She has a hen, who hatched one egg. And, rejected the chick. Another hen took the chick to heart. Then Julia had four chickens, she was raising inside. Once they started getting their feathers, she put them outside. One of her dogs killed three of them. The last chick wandered around bereft. Moma chicken also took it under her wing. That hen has real maternal instincts. 🙂 Lew

  14. Hi, Chris!

    There you are, all bundled up, while I sit in my shorts.

    We are not allowed to move into a house until it has a certificate of occupancy. At that point, the house has to be pretty well finished. It was frustrating because we would have moved in well before that to save all the driving back and forth from our rental house (besides having to pay rent longer).

    It’s great that you took photos of the house-building process. We did that, too, and it is so much fun to look back on. Who said: “It costs a lot to look this cheap”?

    I don’t know what timber costs are here right now, we haven’t bought any in awhile, but I know that the cost of a load of gravel/crushed rock for the garden paths has gone up. And though it looks like a mighty big pile, it doesn’t go as far as one thinks.

    Five days of construction on the extension sounds very quick to me. I am sure you are doing others things, also.

    Somebody up top may have mentioned the smoke from the Nova Scotia wildfires on our east coast. It reached all the way down to us in Charlottesville, Virginia several days ago. Everything is in a haze and for awhile I could see it hanging in the streets, not to mention that the mountains have disappeared. You can see that the sun would like to be out, but is behind a curtain.

    You have scored one cozy rug, Dame Plum. I daresay no-one will try to take it away from you.

    I would definitely call your hanging tomatoes a success.

    My summer geraniums say “hello” to your winter geraniums. G’day, mate! And thanks for the rest of the flowers.


  15. Hi Pam,

    🙂 I’m enjoying the warmth of your part of the world vicariously. Although so far, this winter has been remarkably mild. Except this morning, it was warmish 48’F and a small chunk of ice falling out of the sky hit my head, then it rained. Hopefully there was no permanent damage to my brain! So far, 3 inches of rain in three days. Quite the achievement, and the roads are quite muddy, as you’d imagine.

    Yeah, we’re not allowed either, I just didn’t care. 🙂 Let’s just say that I was on good terms with the builder. Sandra who was the named builder, was not likely to kick me out – that I’m aware of. Hehe! The rental market down here is feral, and it was bad in those days when we built the house, but it has recently been described as: ‘the hunger games’. Paints a picture of low vacancy rates and rising prices and bonkers level of competition. Your son and his lady are very lucky to be able to live in your place. It’s a great idea, and a sane response to the times.

    It is fun to look back on those photos and think just how far we’ve all come. And that we made it happen. Oh yeah, there’s something in that don’t you reckon?

    That’s great news, and during the winter months, you won’t regret that crushed rock. Well done. No, that’s always something of a problem, and it’s not like we didn’t run out of soil for the new path project.

    Well, it’s an estimate with a bit of fat in it, so it’s possible. After the rain over the past few days, we can see the need to extend the groundwater drains on the up hill side. There’s always unexpected things in any project, as you probably also know all too well.

    It’s no good when the sun tries to hide. All that smoke will have an impact on your weather over the next few years. Probably increase the rainfall I reckon. It’s a lot of smoke, and what you’re seeing was even reported in our news. Hard to not breathe the stuff in, and I have experienced that level of smoke from time to time.

    Oh no! Pam. Don’t speak too soon. The sheepskin rug is full of canine intrigue and machinations.

    Have you ever tried the hanging of tomato vines at the end of the season? You’re summers are probably more reliable weather wise than the crazy variability here? But dunno, it might be the same?

    G’day Pam and flowers! That was from the geraniums. Aren’t they nice? 🙂



  16. Hi Lewis,

    Yeah, there is a lot of weirdness to that story. At face value it appears like a pretty black and white failure. It’s been said before that a fish rots from the top, and that story stinks of rot. Sending some of the main players to the slammer for a few years, would send a strong message, but whether that will happen or not, remains to be seen.

    The mural is a good idea, the great wall of brick was asking to be adorned with art. Silo art is a bit of a thing in some rural areas up north and west in the state where it is drier. I honestly don’t quite know how the artists can see their work in advance, or plan it out on such a huge canvas as a silo. Makes you wonder doesn’t it?

    I read the article about the mall, and did wonder what the bloke has against dinosaurs? It’s a big site though, at 12 acres. It interests me that the big box retail stores appear to have abandoned the mall, and not just your book lot, but also Radio Shack. Here I have to ask you a dumb question: How does retail build up on the freeway? I assume that there is some sort of exit off the freeway to like some sort of retail and/or industrial complex?

    Isn’t it odd how retail moved from strip strops, to malls, to the sort of big box behemoths that are around nowadays? I fully expect things to revert as population mobility declines as a function of the available energy per capita, if there is the even the capital and/or returns from such changes. I’m not so sure about that, but we’ll find out sooner or later. I do hope that the big bird gets saved. That sort of thing reflects local character and as such is a visible point of differentiation. There is a real push in society for sameness, and it’s frankly quite a dull option.

    The wind has picked up tonight. We’ve had over three inches of rain, in three days. At least there was a bit of sun today. It’s still warm-ish tonight for this time of year. Bonkers weather. And last night heading to bed, I stepped outside to grab some firewood and the night sky lit up and there was a very close crack of thunder. Loud enough to make me start in fright at the sudden sound. We don’t usually get thunderstorms during the winter months. Wild stormy Vic night with record rain. 660,000 recorded lightning strikes can’t be wrong!

    Always wise to get the yoof knowing the road rules, before they get behind the wheel. Sure, I hear you! 🙂 Hey, I had a bad attitude and really had to get into the grubbier aspects of err, me, and let a whole bunch of things go in the process. And one of those things was thinking like a driving hoon. I’m quietly grateful to have learned from the incident. Things could have been worse.

    Ooo. Arsonists are mostly a strange bunch. Compulsive, yeah. A very dangerous group. 8 acres isn’t too bad, and hope the wind doesn’t pick up in that area. And also that the weather cools and you get some of that wet stuff which falls out of the sky. A chunk of ice falling out of the sky hit me in the head this morning, then it rained. Can’t say I was enjoying the walk with Ollie, and he ditched me and ran back to the veranda to wait for me to let him back in. Not his usual style.

    Great question. You really are going to try this. I like your style. So the sugar goes on first and you sprinkle it onto the freshly cooked pancake – it should still be warm. Then you drizzle the lemon juice onto the sugar. Consume the pancake using a knife and fork, and mop up the essential pan juices on the plate for good effect. I usually used raw sugar rather than white sugar because it tends to be a bit more granular than the finer refined white sugar. The combination of tastes are intriguing. Maybe try it at home first in case you don’t like it. At the Club, your friends might push you in an act of bravado, to consume the lot – and if you don’t like it, well there’s a lot of cameras around these days. And do you want to go viral on the interweb? Probably not a good thing!

    Of course. Thanks for the correction. Mr Carter is not your usual run of the mill President. Gee, he was an outstanding orator.

    A person can only but ask! 😉

    That sounds pretty tasty. I took the Editor out to dinner this evening. Had a risotto with three large prawns and described as a seafood risotto. It was more of a paella, but possibly people might not know what that dish is. I’d read recently that with the ever increasing cost of mad cash (aka interest rates), sales of seafood have fallen. People are still in the adaption phase. Still, I can sort of understand peoples mindset in this matter – Mad cash was mispriced for so long, that people believed this was the new normal, a dare I say it, permanent nadir? They were wrong to believe that story, and here we are today. I’m observing some very strange adaptions.

    Lemon balm is feral, but volunteer walnuts would be well received. Weeding rarely stops, I so hear you. Tell you an odd gardening story, three patches of daffodils have broken ground. That is way too early by a couple of months. Please do keep your squirrels.

    Chickens and dogs are a difficult mix. My lot here would chase the chickens to death, so they don’t get the opportunity to try. Chickens are really variable like that, and it is hard to tell. I’ve never bred chickens, but what with chookflation, there is a future need. Julia is onto something there.

    Oh man, I’ve been reading the pruning book, and am considering the pruning job ahead of me. Might have to crank out the scary old wood chipper machine and munch up some pruning material. Should be fun.

    Got an interesting day ahead of me tomorrow. Hmm.



  17. Yo, Chris – How did Michelangelo paint the Sistine Chapel? 🙂 . Their are several murals, on the outsides of building, around Centralia. Mostly historic, this and that. Information signs point to the murals, in the CBD.

    Anywhere there’s a cloverleaf, on a Freeway, retail begins to cluster. Then it metastasizes, outwards, like cancer. The streets leading to, from and through those areas are a nightmare. And they’re always tinkering with them, to “improve” traffic flow. Back in the freeway building days, there was always a lot of land speculation, as to where the freeway were going to be, and where the cloverleafs were going to be. As bad as the railroads, back in the 1800s. Fast food outlets, strip malls. We even have factory outlet complexes, on either side of the freeway.

    Yes, I’ve seen it all. Changes in retail, that is. Back when I lived in LA, it seems like there was a new mall going up, somewhere in the LA basin, every month. Lloyd Center, in Portland, was interesting. It was one of the first malls, and at first it wasn’t covered, or enclosed. Then they put in “rain guards” which partially closed the roof. Then finally, enclosed the whole thing with glass / roof. There was another mall in south Portland, that had very low ceilings (for a mall). I remember the noise was incredible.

    Sounds like you had a bit of weather 🙂 . The flood warnings were interesting. For some reason, I see east of our mountains, there are huge areas under flood warnings. I didn’t realize they were getting that much rain, over that way. Prof. Mass made a brief mention, and he’ll probably have more to say about it. Yesterday, it didn’t get as hot as predicted, only up to 84F. Still felt pretty warm, but I only had to water once. I keep an eye on the Jerusalem Artichokes. They are the first things to show stress. The rest of the week, is 70s. When I got up this morning, it was overcast, and I thought it might be smoke. Nope. Just overcast.

    The news says the fire in our east county is still at 8 acres. 110 people are working on it.

    Got it. Sugar, than lemon. Any butter in the mix? Risotto / Paella. Tomatoe / tomatoo, Potatoe / patatoo. 🙂 Last night I cut up the pepperoni stick H couldn’t have, into small pieces. Threw it in with rice, garlic, seeds, a can of diced tomatoes. Mushrooms. A squirt of catsup and a splash of hot sauce. Tasty.

    That is odd, about the daffodils. The walnut volunteers are never in the right spot. We also get oak volunteers, out of the forest. Darned squirrels.

    Part of the “weeding” I did, was pruning back the grapes. They go feral. Looks like we might have a lot, but it’s early days. And I tried to stay away from the branches with developing clusters. Still no action in the corn / green bean patch.

    I hope your “interesting day,” isn’t in the spirit of that old Land of Stuff saying, “May you live in interesting times.” Which is a curse. Things could be worse. My friend Ron, over in Idaho, is having a colonoscopy, today. His maiden voyage. 🙂

    I watched a pretty good movie, last night. “Dungeons and Dragons: Honor Among Thieves.” Chris Pine. Now, fantasy isn’t really my schtick, but it was a lot more fun than Tolkien … and not as long.

    Our food boxes came yesterday. Nothing too startling. Some frozen chicken. The usual canned stuff, with way too many green beans and black beans. A can of salmon and some canned chicken. Cereal and shelf stable milk. Tinned apricots. The produce was a bag of apples, 4 baking potatoes and two yellow onions. Four long green things that may either be cucumbers … or something else. A very sad head of iceberg lettuce. There was a pack of some kind of multi-grain, round flat bread. I’ve had it before. Just the right size for a fried egg. The bread is very tasty. Lew

  18. Hi Lewis,

    It’s a good question isn’t it? 🙂 I have little visual memory so would probably make a massive hash of the job. How would you go? Everyone is different on that front. The funny thing about projects like the shed extension, I don’t see in my minds eye how it will look upon completion. Instead the details of the steps required to get the job done all the way to the end point are all there instead. It’s a different way of looking at the world, but works for me.

    The funny thing is I’ve been contemplating this issue because the pruning book sort of suggests visualising how the fruit tree should look upon maturity. Yeah, right, well, that’s an option which won’t work. Instead I’ve had to read all of the goals for pruning, then the details for the individual tree species, and will just give it a go. I’ll start that pruning work over the next few weeks. Truth is, I’ve been slack on that front over the past decade. And I reckon the actions of the vandals, I meant to say, err, wallabies, have slowed the growth of many of the fruit trees. It doesn’t matter now though as most of the trees are big enough to survive the worst the hopping mad marsupials can throw at them.

    Hey, have you checked out the trailer for The Meg II? Looks pretty silly and fun, but the trailer indicates the story line owns that aspect. Not a bad way to go for a sequel. Who can forget the Evil Dead III? What a fun film.

    Interestingly, we don’t seem to get that retail / freeway effect down here which is why I asked the question. Thanks for the explanation too. Hmm. The retail is usually at a distance from the freeway, like in either strip shops, malls, or in long runs of big box stores (with the ubiquitous parking out front). The box stores are usually along major secondary roads instead.

    One of the manufacturers I used to work for had a factory outlet shop. After the manufacturing ended, the local council moved quickly to shut down the factory outlet shop. Revenge? Maybe. Something to do with zoning issues and/or cheaper property rates (taxes).

    Yeah, the railroads produced similar speculative outcomes down here, but usually in relation to housing. The tramways also did the same thing in the late 1800’s. The tramways were more profitable than some of the railroads though. I used to live near to one of those abandoned railroads, and it had been converted into a bike track. Inner Circle railway line, which was closed in 1981. The very serious depression during the 1890’s put an end to further railway expansion. It took maybe 80 years before further investment in new rail lines took place, and it’s slow these days. They did such infrastructure things much faster back in the day.

    Of more personal interest, the Editor’s parents moved from the inner city to a far distant and way out on the city edge suburb in the late 1970’s. The Editor tells me that her parents used to quip that the area was really nice until it became built up, and they had a quarter acre site with a ‘so 1970’s that it hurt’ brick veneer house. Complete with the distinctive and very German yellow bottle glass (popular at the time) – which I’ve seen. Anywhoo, when her parents purchased the property and new house, the real estate agent promised them that the country rail line would soon be electrified. Forty and a bit years later, there’s still much talk about that rail line being electrified. Hmm. The Editor tells me that her parents used to be baffled that the real estate would have lied about such a thing. Candidly, there is a lot to unpack there. 😉

    Oh yeah, the noise from that mall with the low ceiling would have been unpleasant. Hard surfaces and low ceilings make for awful acoustics. Some restaurants I’ve eaten at over the long years have been dreadful. You have to yell at the people on the other side of the table just to be heard.

    It is weird isn’t it that profusion of malls? I tend to wonder at what point will supply exceed demand, and what if such places run out of happy shoppers? I’ll bet you’ve seen some changes in retail over your life.

    My point exactly. One person with compulsive tendencies ties up the resources of how many people again? 110 did you say?

    Ah, you’re an innovator! 😉 Well done and respect. But I don’t recall any butter being used in the recipe. Hmm. Wonder what other folks are saying… … OK. So, in the traditional recipes the butter is used in the fry pan so as to slightly brown the pancakes whilst they’re frying, which of course also have to be flipped. That makes sense and is how I would use the butter, otherwise the pancake would stick to the frying pan as it is being cooked.

    Hehe! Hey, your dinner wasn’t far off what the risotto ended up looking like. Same, same, but different. How good is that dinner? Instead of pepperoni stick, they used chorizo (talk about a useless spell checker). Probably the same stuff with a fancier name.

    The daffodils were relocated today, and I was amazed at how long the stems were and how deep the bulbs were planted. There were four clumps of them. The squirrels perhaps plant with their own needs in mind? Now, if we could just train them. Imagine that?

    I agree, grape vines grow feral as and need to be cut back. They’re long lived those plants, so don’t count your grape clusters until they’re picked. I’ve recently read the suggestion that the clusters of grapes themselves can be thinned – by cutting them and removing the lower half. Never tried it myself, but may in the future.

    Yikes! I’d expect to see corn seedlings by now, and none of the self sown bean seeds direct sown germinated here last year. But in the greenhouse, the same seeds germinated really well. The peas were the exact opposite. Beats me.

    No, nothing that drastic. The materials for the shed were slated to arrive today, and they did. You never know these days. One of the local timber yards are really great to deal with and super reliable. The bloke who delivered the materials did the same run when we got the materials for the greenhouse. We had a bit of a chat. It took an hour and a bit for me to walk all of the individual materials down to the site of the shed. Had the Kelpie’s with me and walking them down, and then back up the hill dozens of times knocked them out. I walked, they ran. Best to tire those dogs out. Had a delightful late lunch, then took the dogs for another long walk. A very pleasant day.

    Finally there was a bit of sun today and the house batteries almost reached full charge. Sadly I had to crank out the generator and run it for a few hours over the past couple of days. It’s something of a conundrum because if I didn’t have to earn a living I could just cut back and work entirely around the sun, but you know, I’m required to perform work at certain times, and that requires electricity. Used the electricity from the sun today to vacuum and bake some Anzac biscuits. At this time of year, the sun is not a guaranteed thing.

    Is it just me or am I hearing of more than just a few folks getting camera’s put up their rear? As a procedure it does not sound like an overly pleasant way to spend one’s day. Sometimes that lot push certain procedures. Hmm. Was it really necessary? Very amusing too. Yes, maiden voyage indeed! It’s not a fast recovery from what I hear, but if people want that gear… Lewis, truly, one day will be the end, and I’m cool with that. Not sure how others feel about such finality. You’re right, things could be worse. 😉

    Good to hear that you enjoyed that film. It’s on my to-see list. And talk about long, try sitting through the three directors cut versions one after the other. The pain of that day, has not yet abated! 🙂 I’m not made for sitting still for that long.

    Nothing wrong with green or black beans. Actually, I reckon your food box was pretty good. Although the four long green things may be Triffid seeds. Be careful there. The iceberg lettuce would not be good. Whatever were they thinking with that inclusion? The bread however does sound good. We’re having sliders for dinner. Vegie patties. Home made freshly baked buns. A bit of chili (fresh). And tasty cheese with two fried eggs. It’s what I’d call a fun meal, because it’s fun to eat.

    More sun tomorrow. Will head down below and get stuck into the carpentry for the shed extension. And it’s a long weekend with a public holiday on Monday celebrating King Chuck III. I don’t see the politicians and their loose talk of ‘labour productivity’ throwing us a public holiday. Long live the King! 😉



  19. Chris:

    Being in a forest on a slope with its back to the sun, like you, by September – early fall – the sun is not hitting the garden much and what is left has a hard time ripening, By that point, we do bring the tomatoes in the house and hang them by their tootsies. I have always left the leaves on as I thought I was fooling them into thinking they were still on the vine, though they probably wonder why their world has turned upside down . . . It does work.

    Thanks, and have a sunny day, Geraniums.


  20. Hi Pam,

    Yes, that’s exactly the case here too, except maybe a month later, my April and your October. By late April, the season is done. We still get some direct sunlight during the winter, but it’s brief and the air is cold.

    Interesting. Hanging by the tootsies (! thanks for that word) does seem to work for the fruit. Although we have not done the experiment of leaving the leaves (that sounds weird doesn’t it?) on the vine. Some of the hanging tomatoes have gone mouldy, which isn’t all that good, but most are doing well. You know what’s really weird? Some of the milder chili plants are still growing in the greenhouse. We’ve been drying some, hanging some and leaving some in the ground, and so far, they’re all doing OK. Yum!

    The mild varieties have become our go-to replacement for capsicums (you might call them peppers). Same, same just easier to grow.

    You’d hope the plants didn’t wonder about why their world had turned suddenly upside down. The plants maybe able to call upon the plant shock troops – Triffids. Those evil plants might ask hard questions. 😉

    Fingers crossed the sun continues to shine, we need the power. Less than five weeks to go until the sun gets higher in the sky again.

    Hope the smoke situation has improved?



  21. @ Lew:

    Ah – the charming and lovely Dolly Parton. I like her. Did you know that she and the same fellow have been married for 57 years? A good example for all.


  22. Hi Lewis,

    You got me wondering about visual memories. Man, they’re giving me nothing. Apparently it is called Aphantasia. Well I’m glad that’s sorted, moving on… Hasn’t seemed to be any real drama. Not sure what I’d do with those memories anyway. And hope that I dodge those forensic folks who ask for a description of the perp and try and draw them. I’d tell them: I dunno.



  23. @ Pam – Yup. Ms. Parton is a very cool lady, and I’ve always enjoyed her music and what she has to say. I wish she had done a bit more acting. She’s really good! She also has a reading program, for kids.

    Yup. Old Carl just kind of goes his own way, with his asphalt paving business. Lew

  24. Yo, Chris – Aphantasia. Well, aren’t you special. 🙂 Only 1-3% of the population is afflicted. Talk about an outlier. I figure it’s caused by you being at the bottom of the world, and all the blood rushing to your head. “… individuals have no “minds eye,” or their imagination is essentially blind.” Sounds a bit unkind. On the plus side, people with this have a higher IQ. Read that to The Editor, if you want to get a good snort out of her. 🙂 “Less affected by scary stories.” But what about reading? Or, dreams? There’s probably a pill for this. Or, an app.

    “Meg II,” does look like a lot of fun.

    And never any shade in those parking lots. A really good series about the building of the transcontinental railroad is “Hell on Wheels.” A lot of the plot has to do with land speculation, backdoor, underhanded dealings, etc.. Colm Meany (Star Trek), plays a very slimy and underhanded railroad baron.

    Tramways aka street cars. Once upon a time, every little town had it’s streetcar system. Where one ended, the next town picked up. Once upon a time, by jumping from system to system, you could travel half way across the U.S.. Yes, that was the beginning of suburbia. Street cars. Their demise, and the rise of cars, is an interesting story.

    Malls are pretty well played out.

    Another thing, not mentioned, is that they used to be real social places, particularly for teen-agers. Now, they just get on-line.

    I asked about butter, because here, butter is smeared on hot pancakes. They’re either eaten just like that, or, syrups or jams are smeared on top of the butter. Butter on top of hot pancakes, then sugar, then lemon juice. Well, at least I won’t have to worry about scurvy. 🙂

    Cutting off the bottom bits of immature grape clusters sounds rather … labor intensive. I suppose you get larger grapes. I finally got around to planting my poor languishing Tomatillos, last night. I paid particular attention, to the hole. Plenty of compost, crushed egg shell and blood meal. Wet down the hole before planting, wet down the plants roots ball. Well watered when complete. Oh, it’s been less than a week since I planted the corn and beans. I’m just antsy. Will they or won’t they?

    I had an interesting gardening thought, yesterday. The plants all look good, but, they’re just kind of fiddling around doing not much of anything. Developing roots? But I started to wonder … if once we get past the solstice, and the days start shortening, if plants sense that and start “chasing the sun.” Kicks them into high gear?

    From our “Well, that was unexpected,” department. It rained, is raining. Even Prof. Mass said, “…not particularly well forecast.” No poop, Sherlock. 🙂 I won’t have to water, tonight.

    I had a colonoscopy when I was 50. There are a few amusing stories, around that adventure, but a.) keeping it family friendly and b.) TMI (Too Much Information.) So, I’ll leave it at that. Yes, I wonder about how they push that test. There have been less invasive tests developed to detect if anything unusual is going on. Although, I guess that taking a look around is best for detecting pre-cancerous conditions.

    Well, green beans and black beans are all well and good, but when you have 30 tins (of each) on the swap table. Well, it’s kind of overkill. Lew

  25. Hi Lewis,

    Thanks for the article on English food. There’s some tasty delicacies in there, and I’ve consumed all of those meals with the exception of ‘toad in the hole’ and ‘black pudding’. When I was a kid, you used to be confronted by ‘steak and kidney pies’, and they’re OK, except I never really developed a taste for the kidney. It has a strong iron and almost dry taste, which doesn’t appeal. But it was traditional, oh yeah. Rice pudding is a whole lot nicer than the article made it out to sound, and in the big smoke near to where I used to reside there was a Singaporean restaurant. It’s still there and from memory was called ‘Raffles Place’, after I guess the famous hotel. They used to do a really tasty rice dessert, but added coconut milk and golden syrup as an Asian spin on traditional English Rice Pudding. So good. Yum. And scones, the odd historical folks may well have been arguing about whether the jam went on first or the cream (the jam), but I draw the line at microwaved scones. Life is too short, but that gear is common. A sad state of gastronomic affairs. Have you ever consumed a freshly baked scone with proper tasty jam and real cream?

    Yeah, the lack of visual memory thing was such a disability that it never even occurred to me that it was an issue. 🙂 Hehe! The Editor is the same on that front. It sounds a bit weird, but when I was a young bloke I just kept trying different girlfriends to see what they were like to interact with. Man, I had to do something different, the thought of ending up with a partner with the same personality type as my mother, scared the living daylights out of me. And I tell you truly, the early on ones had shades of that personality type. Hey, there’s probably a dissertation in there somewhere? 😉 IQ is a funny thing, I reckon. It’s not everything, and the Editor scores way better on that front. I can’t dispute that. On the other hand, if the Gordian knot needs cutting, that’s my area. We bring different tools to the table, and more or less muddle along, making heaps of mistakes along the way and sort of learning as we go. I’m sure that other folks have an easier time of it than us, but do they have as much fun? I think not. I dunno, mate, life is complicated.

    Hehe! There’s no money in studying this issue. I ain’t paying, mostly because I don’t care. But surely someone will come up with an app? Outsourcing your brain, what could possibly go wrong? You know the Editor enjoys Mr King’s most excellent scary stories.

    Yeah, fun was the word that came to mind when viewing that trailer. I particularly enjoyed the young lady’s surprise: something, something, Meg proof. I don’t think so man. 🙂 There were some good laughs in there.

    Yup, black asphalt produces an astounding heat effect. I’ve had the stand on my old motorcycle sink into asphalt on a hot day. Bikes are not meant to be parked on their side.

    Colm is most certainly one of those actors who like you’ve suggested in the past: ‘turn up on time, and know their lines’. Plus he’s just good. One musical he was in that I quite enjoyed was the ‘Commitments’. Now, don’t hold that against me for being inconsistent, it’s a great film – have you seen it? Lewis, you may not forgive me for this, but here goes anyway, I’ve never watched Deep Space Nine. People tell me it was the best, and that may be true…

    I agree, it is an interesting story, and will one day revert, but faster this time. How could it not?

    It’s certainly possible about the malls. Who can forget Mall Rats?

    Really? I hadn’t heard of that with the butter spread onto pancakes, but it wouldn’t be all that different from spreading butter onto hot toast. Oh yeah, scurvy need not apply if the diet included those tasty pancakes. See, you could say you were trying out the lemon and sugar pancakes for health reasons.

    You called it correctly, and that’s the thing with yields, sometimes getting more produce, requires a whole bunch more effort. I’m really trying to reach a middle ground with this stuff. The birds do a lot of the thinning, but I don’t really know if that happens in your part of the world? That sort of thing worries me too. Are these seeds ever going to germinate? Maybe not.

    Oh yeah, I reckon so. Plants grow exponentially, which is why it helps to get them off to a good start. The more leaves they have and if they also have the water and minerals, then they’ll grow faster. Not always easy to achieve though. Hey, I’ve slowed the watering down in the greenhouse, and the leafy greens are growing faster. Hmm. Always something to learn.

    Hehe! Where did that no poop Sherlock quote originate? You’ve got me thinking about it, every time I see that wheelbarrow. Thanks for the laughs.

    Thank you, and yes a) and b) – probably wise. You’re right, it is being pushed, but then that particular cancer is very common in blokes.

    30 tins? Holy carp! That’s a lot of beans. Brings to mind that infamous scene in Blazing Saddles. 🙂

    Worked on the shed extension today. Did all the carpentry for the roof, and it’s looking good. Might try to put some roof sheets up tomorrow, but there’s a bit of work to do before getting to that. Bird proof mesh, gutters and steel bracing for the roof timber (earthquakes, tornadoes and stuff err, happen).



  26. Yo, Chris – I’ve made Toad in the Hole. Basically, it’s just Yorkshire pudding, and you throw in sausage and let it bake around it. Nope. Never had fresh baked scones.

    Well, I went down for pancakes, this morning. LOL. It was a real poop show. But, first run, and all that. Sausage (ground pork patties) and pancakes were up, but I had to go back for the scrambled eggs. They opted out of the maple syrup, due to price. So only had the fructose stuff, which is just colored brown, and has “artificial butter flavoring.” Pass. I just went with straight butter. Mashed up with the sausage, it was tasty. There are three major pancake mixes you can get, and they did use the best. Of course, maybe they shouldn’t have overcomplicated things by offering a.) plane pancakes b.) pancakes with chocolate bits and c.) pancakes with chocolate bits and peanut butter. I stuck with the plane. I helped a bit with the washing up. When all was said and done, I asked if they were going to do it again, next week. Before she could answer, I said, “Give it a few days, and think about it, before you decide.” Made $50 for the Club. I can see it maybe being a once or twice a month, thing.

    LOL. Young men never think to take a good hard look at their girlfriend’s mothers. 🙂

    Who cares, if you can get a little fun out of it.

    Last night, I watched “Mafia Momma.” A comedy, with Toni Collette. A New Jersey housewife gets a call, that her grandfather in Italy, has died. Who she really didn’t know. The family wants her to come, as she’s in the will. Turns out, he’s a Mafia Don, and has left her his empire. Very funny with a high and inventive body count.

    I’ll let you off the hook, over “The Commitments.” It’s really not a musical, it’s more a music biography. Not a true story, but based on a lot of groups, from that time period. Colim has range. Acting range. I did watch a bit of “Deep Space 9,” but it really wasn’t a favorite. It just moved too darned slow.

    Well, it drizzled all day yesterday, and into this morning. Didn’t and don’t have to water. The sunflowers (which I planted at the same time as the beans and corn) have broken ground.

    Well, maybe you do (or don’t) know I cleaned up the Sherlock phrase, just to keep it family friendly 🙂 The original was first noted in “Little Shop of Horrors,” (1986), but some people remember it being used earlier. Then there’s this … WARNING!!! Not family friendly.

    But funny as heck. I’m going to have to watch more of these.

    1/3 of all men will have some form of cancer, in their lives. Not very good odds.

    And then we have … oil.

    Rationing by price and inventory?

    I started reading “These Are the Plunderers: How Private Equity Runs – and Wrecks – America.” (Morgenson & Rosner, 2023.) The authors have pretty good bona fides. Wonder if anyone will pay attention. And, for a bit of relief, I also started “Noble Ambitions: The Fall and Rise of the English Country House After World War II.” (Tinniswood, 2021.) I see by the index, that there’s quit a section on Woburn Abbey. When I was nine, I saw a traveling show of their treasures. The first time I had seen real “art” up close and personal. After that, I was lost 🙂 Lew

  27. Hello Chris
    I have only just managed to read this week’s blog but was interrupted before I could start on the comments. The weather is glorious here and the garden plus e-mails, phone calls and visitors is engulfing me.
    Anyhow, I found this week’s blog extremely interesting and also want to add something that I haven’t mentioned before. I find the weekly interchange between you and Lew, always very interesting. You both add a lot to my week.


  28. Hi Inge,

    Thanks for taking the time to drop by and say hello. And glad to hear of your summer weather, I’m enjoying it vicariously. 🙂 It’s been a very wet winter week here, and strangely warm. 3 inches of rain fell, so as you can imagine, things are rather damp.

    Glad to hear that you are enjoying the exchange, and I do too.



  29. Hi Lewis,

    Makes sense, and I was trying to work out where in a meal are Yorkshire puddings served. Seems like a first course sort of meal. Toad in the hole would be more of a main meal don’t you reckon? Fair enough about the scones. They’re good, but other things are good too, so… I could bake them here, and may try that on some visitors – see what they say. Hmm.

    Man, that sentence read to my brain like: “What went down at the pancakes.” Sounds like some gritty true crime story involving pancakes. Ah well, they do have to start somewhere, as you suggest. Could have been worse. Did you have the cook who is prone to spontaneous melt downs, or the bloke who worked in commercial kitchens and seemed super-chill? Ah, I see, no need to answer that one – all is clear.

    Real maple syrup is bonkers expensive down under, so we mostly see the stuff you referred too. I don’t mind that stuff, but it is a big sugar hit. Is “artificial butter flavouring” code words for nothing found in nature?

    Wise advice about waiting before deciding on continuing with the pancakes. Once a month sounds more manageable to me, and I’ve noticed restaurants with simpler menus are generally businesses which are more sustainable and overall seem lower stress. Commercial kitchens would struggle with too many options.

    You can get caught up in the moment, and ignore such details – at first, anyway. Dunno how other folks roll on that front, but it seemed like a big decision, so I treated it seriously and considered the longer term implications. Half of all marriages end in divorce (and some should, but don’t), so objectively looking at the wreckage of my mothers life and suffering the consequences, probably cleared away any thoughts of unicorns. Others may feel differently, and I’m cool with that.

    Exactly, who cares? Are we not entertained?

    Toni Collette is a great character actor. Sounds like a fun film, with an albeit high body count. It happens…

    Thanks. I really appreciate that about ‘The Commitments’ film and giving me an out. 😉 Sun Tzu would nod in respect. It’s always been something of an aberration for me that particular film, like This is Spinal Tap. And I may not have mentioned it, but I watched it at the cinema by sheer chance well before any publicity plugged it. It was a good film to see on the big screen with the huge sound system blaring away. When Andrew Strong toured way back in the day, I went to see him perform. He’s got a heck of a set of lungs, and appeared grateful to have been able to tour – despite the on screen actor personality.

    I agree with your analysis, and watched a few episodes, yawned, and went off and did something else with my life. The problem is, that particular series has some ‘true believers’. Trust me on this, I’ve encountered them. It always ended badly. 😉

    Yay for the sunflowers! And rain. It was a dry and warm day today, so I put up all the steel roof sheets and capping on the shed extension project. Me tired. I’d not intended to work that hard today, but when the winter weather gods do you a solid, don’t complain, just get on with it. But me tired now. The roof is now all done.

    Well that clears everything up about the old saying. I quite enjoyed Drunk History. I see that there is more to watch, shame about having to write this evening.

    Yes, true the odds are candidly not good.

    I read the article this morning on oil, and was it just me, or did you get a certain sense that perhaps a decline in output in the face of high prices was being spun as a good thing? An act of prudence perhaps? It was a really good article. Reality however suggests that well decline rates are kind of steep, and it impressed me that a lack of good drill sites was spun as being a good thing. Truly, I was impressed by the article, and can only hope that with a few more years I can hopefully pump out as much, whatever. I’m not worthy. 😉

    It’s a rational option, but is it sane? And I’ve seen businesses get loaded up with debt and then flogged off to an unsuspecting public. I’m more interested in running a business, but that’s something of a personal weakness.

    Better get writing, and I am seriously pooped this evening. Oh well, nobody said life would be easy. On the other hand, tomorrow is a public holiday for King Chuck. I’m good with that.



  30. Yo, Chris – I think the appropriate place for a Yorkshire pudding, in a meal, is anytime I’m hungry and wander into the kitchen. 🙂 Yes, but what kind of scones? A glance into the rabbit hole reveals posts like, “25 Different Kinds of Scones.” And, “18 Easy Scone Recipes.” I wonder if there’s a field guide?

    There were actually two cooks. But it was quit harmonious, between them. I’ve thought of a few things that might make things go smoother. Start preparations, earlier. My suggestion of 6am, did not go over very well. 🙂 There were also a lot of people milling about, in the cooking area (I wouldn’t call it a kitchen.) A couple of strategically placed tables, would take care of that. Although that would also limit access from cooking area to sink. Hmmm.

    That’s right. Not found in nature.

    Marriage and divorce. I think my folks fell into the group of, “should have divorced but didn’t.”

    Well, you’ve worked very, very hard this week, so I thought I’d give you a pass, on “The Commitments.” 🙂 “This is Spinal Tap,” was a great movie. I don’t remember seeing it in the theatre, so, I probably saw it on video tape. My favorite scene is where they think their plane is going down …

    “True Believers” (of all stripes) are generally tedious, and to be avoided.

    Given the outlet the end of oil article came from, yes, I’d say they were spinning it as a good thing. Of course, I think Mr. Greer does the same thing, but has a different take on it. Let’s see if I can explain my take on it. NPR thinks the end of oil is a good thing, as it will save the planet from climate disaster. From their point of view, we’re going to enter some paradise of alternative energy. Which we all know is pretty silly. Mr. Greer … Hmmm. What his is take on it? Well, certainly not that it’s a bad thing. Not good, not bad, just is. Deal. Prepare.

    I read a bit more of the private equity book, last night. They do work in the shadows. And, being “private,” it’s really hard to parse out what they’re up to. I don’t know if the book will make a lot of difference. Although the author’s have a lot of “creed” in the world of economics. Might just be another case of “ain’t it awful.”

    H and I are off to the Club, for our usual Sunday morning social outing. I’m sure there will be a lot of discussion of the pancake feed. Lew

Comments are closed.