Muffin of the day

Watching the ongoing fluffy canine intrigue with the new (second hand) sheepskin bedding, has cause me to wonder about change. Can people change? Do they even want to change? And what does it mean when people fail to accept change? Ruby the Kelpie sure didn’t want the change involved in accepting the replacement sheepskin, but Ollie welcomed it.

As an update in the ongoing canine sheepskin saga:

Ruby accommodates herself to the realities of the replacement sheepskin

It took three weeks, but eventually Ruby now accepts that the old threadbare sheepskin bedding has been burned off. We didn’t give her any choice in the matter. Either accept the replacement, enjoy the dog couch, or sulk your socks off on the cold hard timber floor – choose. Winter nights can get cold for a girl, and no doubts, the sheepskin soon began looking like a good option.

Had to laugh about the dog bedding intrigues and power moves. The fluffies always keep me entertained. But it’s hard not to notice that we all adjust to change at a different pace. In her first adult job, Sandra used to work at a big firm. One of the senior folks quipped that they: ‘Refused to participate in the recession’. Turns out that reality proved tougher than stated beliefs. It happens.

Yeah, change. Always comes with a bit of pain attached. If change was less painful, people would be more likely to embrace it. Mostly people, just like Ruby, doggedly hang on. Years ago I read a study which surveyed peoples responses to the threat of bushfire. Bushfires down here can be serious natural disasters, and so as a threat, they’re worth taking seriously. The survey discovered that people were evenly split between three responses to the threat: Leaving well in advance of the threat; Taking a wait and see approach; and Clueless. You’d hope you weren’t in the last category, but clearly plenty of people are.

The official interest rates were lifted 0.25% last week. I’m pretty certain this increase in the cost of mad cash will be causing pain in many households right across the nation. Having lived through times of high unemployment, and crazy out of control costs for mad cash (i.e. high interest rates), I decided long ago to sit this exciting economic time out on the sidelines (Am I refusing to participate?) Only a few years ago when the cost of mad cash was bonkers cheap, my internal alarm bells were sounding klaxon sirens. All good things come to an end, and the story of cheap mad cash appears to have reached its concluding paragraph.

Basically the banksters will soon be taking more of a cut of household income. Loans down under are generally only at fixed interest rates for a few years. They then revert to the whatever the variable interest rate happens to be at the time. I don’t doubt that the people taking the wait and see approach have been renegotiating their debts. This may give them some certainty for a few more years, but then they’re back again on the carousel.

That lot will probably be fine, maybe. It’s the clueless I wonder about. Here’s an article citing current mortgage arrears down under: Mortgage borrowers are doing it even tougher than renters as interest rates surge. Ignoring the questionable headline, the article shows that statistics are a wonderful thing. 4% arrears doesn’t sound like much, until you realise that it means one in every twenty five houses in that suburb is in arrears. That’s a lot of households.

There’s a whole lot of economic trouble brewing. Increasing interest rates are being used as a tool to reduce the amount of mad cash that households with debt have. With less mad cash available, those households will most likely spend less. The theory is that with people spending less, prices won’t be as likely to rise. It’s a simple policy, and the results are playing out all around us. And blame gets directed at the banksters.

The only problem is, it’s probably not going to work as intended. The Federal Government I’d have to suggest, wants households to reduce their spending in the hope that upwards pressure on prices goes away. That lot just don’t seem to have accepted that this helpful suggestion applies equally to them as well. What do they care anyway? They can simply take on ever more debt to pay for almost any extra interest costs. It all gets down to accepting change really. That lot are one of the biggest spenders in the country, and if they can’t cut back on spending, how do they expect mere households to do so? Just like what Ruby faced with the new sheepskin, its probably best for everyone if they’re not given a choice, and that is indeed what is happening.

The long range forecast for the winter in this corner of the continent was for a dry and warm couple of months. If this week is anything to go by, they got the warm bit right. Three inches of rain fell over three days. It was very wet outside for a while there this week.

Fog pools in the valley below the mountain range

The little petrol generator had to be dragged out of hibernation and run for a few hours so as to get some charge back into the house batteries. One day produced 15 minutes of peak sunshine, and then the next day was the second worst on record at 10.3 minutes. That’s hardly enough solar derived electricity to run the components of the power system itself, let alone an industrial civilisation. Bonkers weather, but even greater bonkers beliefs are heaped on this technology.

By the end of the week, the sun had returned, and the timber order for the shed extension project arrived. I walked all of the timber down to the work site. The dogs loved running down and then back up the hill again multiple times. I walked.

Dame Plum admires the stack of treated timber

We began work on the roof carpentry for the shed extension project.

Work commenced on the carpentry for the roof of the shed extension

By the end of a long work day, the carpentry for the roof was completed.

A small electric chainsaw can be handy for carpentry work

After yet another long day of work, the steel bracing and also the mesh to keep the birds out of the shed were installed. Then we anchored all of the many corrugated steel sheets to the roof timbers.

Roof plumbing is hard work

After many hours clambering up and down ladders and acting as if I had the skills of a domestic cat, it felt nice to be back on the ground with the work finished for the day.

The shed extension project is coming along nicely

A couple of more days work, and the project will be completed. With all that going on, we still found some time to make sake (Japanese rice wine). We’re trialling a batch of organically grown rice which we haven’t used before, and it’s good. Very high in protein.

Sake making, down under style

The winter has been mild, if somewhat wet. Already Daffodils are pushing through the soil. From memory, this is rather early.

Daffodils push through the winter soil

The tree fern planted a few months ago continues to enjoy the wet conditions in the drainage basin.

Someone had a good drink this week!

The heavy rain and warm-ish conditions have produced a huge number of mushrooms. They’re most likely all very toxic.

There’s a lot of mushrooms out there

The family of Kookaburra’s (a variety of Kingfisher) living on the farm appear to have added to their family.

Kookaburras sit in the old gum tree

Onto the flowers:

The Hydrangeas are putting on an end of season show
Succulents are enjoying the warmer winter
The Succulent terraced garden is looking very lush

The temperature outside now at about 10am is 7’C (45’F). So far this year there has been 435.4mm (17.1 inches) which is up from last weeks total of 350.4mm (13.8 inches)

44 thoughts on “Muffin of the day”

  1. Yo, Chris – Change is always painful. Who knows why. Maybe our ancestors preferred the predictable? Genetically sorted for the predictable. As change is constant, doesn’t seem to be a very useful adaptation. I think, having a plan B, or even C, helps. Change comes, and you’ve got options. One of my mantras is “Life on life’s terms.” It helps, a bit.

    Sheepskin Sagas will be sung in your mead hall (with extension), for years to come. 🙂

    “I refuse to participate in the recession.” The Nazis are bombing the hell out of London, but it might all go away. Wait and see. Things might take a turn for the better (never the worse.)

    That was an interesting article about interest rates, and housing. Although they seemed to think renters have it better. But what if the owners of the rentals are faced with rising mortgage rates, on their rentals? I can see rents going up, to cover the costs of servicing the debt.

    For me, last month and this are … interesting. I seem to have less money to put in savings, and less “walking around” money. Hmmm. Why? My rent went up a bit, as did the electric bill. But really, not that much. Maybe I spent more walking around money, keeping the Club pantry stocked? Spent too much money on ice cream, at the regular grocery store? 🙂

    Weather is just getting more unpredictable. After some rain and pleasant temperatures, we’re back to 80+F, tomorrow. Then the temps are going back down again, and Prof. Mass is predicting rain for next weekend. So much for our “warmer and dryer” El Nino forecast. So far.

    My, you really banged along on the mead hall extension. The end is in sight.

    It’s nice your tree fern has little buddies to keep it company. 🙂 Wow, I took a look into the rabbit hole, to see how big a Kookaburra’s territory is. A family group has a territory of 16-244 hectares. However big that is. They keep the same mate, and can live for 20 years. The really interesting thing is, the adolescents hang out for up to three years, and, help incubate, feed and protect the new hatchlings. I think that’s pretty rare in the bird world. Multi-generational family groups.

    Our Hydrangeas are still in the bud stage. My second patch of green beans broke ground, today. I guess yelling “Grow!!!” at them, helped. I see that green beans germinate in 5-10 days, and corn in 10-21 days. So, there’s still hope for the corn. Lew

  2. “… merry, merry king of the bush is he.”

    What a beautiful extension of the shed. It is quite hard to expand roofed storage area, quite easy to expand monetary volumes.

    Thanks for connecting the dots between private and public spending. There is a strange and disturbing asymmetry between “expansionist” and “steered-slow-down” times in modern political finance.
    Whenever the “economy needs stimulus”, the money supply is expanded by additional lending and increasing the sheer volumes. However, when the “economy needs slowing down”, the only instrument in the toolbox seems to be the interest rate.

    As you point out, the public spending volume could also be reduced…

    However, short-termism in politics seems to overpower the age-old wisdom of living within the means.

    Here in Southern Sweden, we have a long dry spell. 30C and no rain. For the last two months, we had only 20 mm rain, which is 20% of average. It is great to see how large trees help with the local hydrology and create a moist microclimate anyway.
    From our farm, I can see 12 wind turbines, which tells you that our are is quite windy and there are few trees. Our neighbour farms even put the irrigation sprayers out for the hay meadows this year. This hay contains a lot of electricity…

    I was at a friend’s farm yesterday, some 30km away, where they have let lots of trees grow up during the last 100 years, and it was lush and vibrant of all the life. Amazing that so few other people look and learn. Of course it is a bit more work with smaller fields, but the resilience is vastly superior.

    The young walnut trees that we planted in March grow very well, already between 30-50 cm new growth. They love the sunshine.
    The hazel bushes have a tough time in the direct sun. I will plant many more protecting trees to give half-shadow to the hazel bushes in the coming years.


  3. Hi Göran,

    A person can only but do their best!

    We’ve been doing the infrastructure here incrementally over the past twelve years as funds and time allow. Mostly, it is the old story of the tortoise and the hare, but some weeks the infrastructure projects just fly along super-fast!

    And I agree, there may even come a point in time where expanded roof storage is worth more than mad cash. It’s possible, and has happened.

    Please forgive me for a moment whilst I geek-out on the shed. 😉 Most farm sheds are constructed entirely from sheet metal and they more or less work OK. However, with the shed I picked top quality local timbers. The corrugated steel sheeting is also very strong, and the whole lot will have a long life span – and be repairable over time. I’m not so sure about how those sheet metal only sheds will be in a decade or two’s time. I’ve seen some things over the years with them. Plus, the extra roof space increases the amount of rain I collect with each mm that falls from the sky. With roof catchment of rain water, every 1mm of rain which falls over 1 square metre of roof space = 1 Litre of water. It adds up over a year, and I fully intend to add on another two water tanks to the little tank storage farm already in place. Yes, the rains fail here too some years, and I may write about that soon. I feel your pain at the weather you are experiencing.

    Exactly, if the very people responsible for the size of the mad cash supply can’t get their acts together and set hard limits on their behaviour, how do they expect everyone else to do so? It’s a very real problem – which that lot have no desire to address.

    Yup, sure governments can stretch the reality of ‘living within one’s means’ for themselves, but they can do that trick only so far because all policies are subject to the law of diminishing returns. They’re basically selling off the future, and few people seem to want to notice.

    Nice one! As an observation, I’d also have to suggest that the soils near to the large old trees are less disturbed, and as such they may actually contain more water than the regularly disturbed soils of fields. It’s possible, not to mention that – as you clearly know – trees are giant water pumps. My understanding is that what is above ground, is mirrored below ground with trees, and you can imagine just how extensive the sort of root systems that huge old trees have. And also the effect that such extensive root systems have on the soils. So good, but not all that common.

    Plus, I’ve observed that fields are usually planted with shorter vegetation – annuals – and they don’t really shade the soil all that well. A lot of moisture gets lost to the atmosphere that way.

    Yikes! The wind also has a drying effect, sorry to say. It is a lot of electricity, and I assume the water may have its origins in the water table?

    I hear you, and also note that there is an inverse relationship between yields and resilience. It is something well worth considering.

    That’s fast growth for your walnut trees. And I may not have mentioned it before, but your aerial seed raising beds are an outstanding idea. I’ve trialled one on a very small scale in the greenhouse, and the improvement in the growth rate for leafy winter greens has become hard to ignore. Thanks for the idea.

    In hot and dry years, plant spacing and shading effects are your two variables you can alter so as to discover the optimal growth rates given the prevailing conditions. Not always easy to discover that point. Good luck!

    Hopefully the shed extension project will be completed within the next week or two.



  4. Hi Lewis,

    Yeah, I hear you. Hoping for predictability doesn’t seem to be much of an adaption to the environment – the facts do suggest otherwise. But then, if humans were too flighty, we might not have gotten to where we seem to be today. Hmm, is there balance in there somewhere? Dunno. That outcome of accepting change too readily is a problem as well, because when faced with sameness, people may want to head off into the wild blue yonder! My head is now spinning. It’s probably why the old timers used to quip that: ‘It takes a village to raise a child’. Your word ‘metastasising’ you used the other day probably sums it up nicely: A little bit of this, and a little bit of that and we’ll see where we end up. What do you reckon about that? I like your mantra, it makes complete sense to me.

    Yes, with the shed extension, the long mead tables, may get longerer! Jokes aside, I can’t imagine the average Viking warrior would have drank mead? Could they have? To do so suggests a vast apiary industry supporting the err, troops. I would have thought it more likely that they grew barley and oats in such cooler climates? Dunno. You’ve got me wondering about this subject.

    Hardly likely! A few months ago I took a long read into the subject of the Battle of Britain. Bizarrely it was almost a battle of attrition in terms of resources and energy – the usual European story of bonkers long supply lines. The home front always has a relative advantage, that is until the local resources and energy are depleted or destroyed.

    I know, the headline barely matched the details of the article. Renters are doing it tough, and you’re right, that’s how it will roll. There are delays in this action between one horrid point and the next. What do they say about passing the buck. Maybe it should instead say: Grabbing the buck? And demand is being artificially kept high, so as to keep up prices. We could actually have meaningful reforms, but nobody seems to want that, so here we go off and away!

    What you describe sounds to me on the spare mad cash front, is like the proverbial frog in the boiling water. At first, it wasn’t all that hot, and may in fact have been rather pleasant. Things cost heaps more for us here too. I’ve still got a few more infrastructure projects to complete before I can really get stuck into the garden. If building a castle, one first must ensure the walls are not easily breached. Just sayin… Was it pumpkin ice cream, that’s what I want to know? Probably worth it you know.

    The long term forecast is not entirely representing what I’m seeing here either. I note that the big frozen continent to the south of here seems to be fast losing it’s more usually expected sea ice. Exciting times. And once, dinosaurs roamed (and flew) there. They must have eaten something other than ice.

    Yeah, we don’t muck around. Those were two long work days. I kept making jokes to the Editor that if we worked until midnight, the shed extension would be soon finished. Fortunately, I was actually joking around. Another two days of work, and the project will actually be done. We might do something other than infrastructure works until August. It’s not that far away.

    You’re observant. 🙂 Respect! The little buddies in this case (to the top and right of the tree fern) are waiting to be planted out. Been a bit busy recently… When they’re all growing in the ground after a year or two, it’s going to look even cooler.

    Kookaburra’s are amazing birds, and that family more or less live on the property and rarely venture all that far. Must be plenty for them to eat. The Magpies are very similar too, yet probably more local than the Kookaburra’s. They have quite the extended family as well. Hmm.

    Well done, and I have no doubts the green beans quailed in fright at the use of your voice of command. I would! Also possibly they may have feared being replaced by ring-in seedlings. Always a risk. Corn grows fast, so its maybe OK. It’s been about two years since I’ve grown corn, mostly because I had to work out what to do with the harvest, something, something, corn flour. Do you manage to eat all of your corn harvest? It’s too much all at once for me (at this time).

    Hehe! It’s been a while since I’ve tried Yorkshire pudding. I remember thinking that just like a pie, it needed a filling. Whatever would Cromwell have said?

    I have even greater respect for your two Club cooks. 6am has never been anyone’s friend. 😉 That sounds like a few minor tweaks of the kitchen arrangement with the pancakes and things might go smoother. There’s a lot to getting that arrangement just right, and they do say that practice, plus adaption (there’s that change thingee again), makes perfect. Although as any right thinking person knows, perfection is over rated.

    Mate, that’s a problem. I’m of the opinion that there is no shame in failure. That’s life, not everything works out. I usually have ten projects on the go at any one time (don’t tell people I can multi-task, especially don’t tell the ladies, they might take advantage of my weakness) and eight of them are working out just fine, but two can be a total mess. I try not to fixate on the messes. What do you do? Life on life’s terms, perhaps? I do like that philosophy.

    Man, you’re getting me to reveal my inner most secrets of films with music which I’ve watched in the past. I like how your brain works. That film you mentioned with the awkward plane scene was ‘Almost famous’. Yes, it too had music. I’m losing street cred here by the minute. On the other hand, it was a very Lynyrd Skynyrd moment.

    I can see those perspectives, but NPR is wrong with respect to the future. I live with and rely upon the technology which they seem so excited about. If it’s that good, they should stop talking about it, and get in the ring. The two bonkers weather days I enjoyed this past week would leave them running for their momma in fright. 😉 Mr Greer is right, it just is what it is. Many long years ago I too believed otherwise and wanted to do better. Nowadays, I just want the stuff to work. Oh, how the mighty have fallen.

    That’s my thinking too. Ain’t it awful. The thing is, that lot will eventually run out of targets, or their leverage becomes worthless. That’s also equally possible.

    H was a very brave pooch to have suggested a 6am start. I’m a little bit awed. Ollie woke me up earlier in the week at that awful hour, and discovered that there were consequences. 😉



  5. Hi, Chris!

    Where’s my muffin?

    People can change! I have seen some drastic changes, but it is very hard work.

    Our house was in imminent danger from a small bushfire several years ago. All we could do – there were three of us home at the time – was fight it until help came. It took an hour for the fire department to get there and I was just about done in, but it was in time. If it hadn’t been – well, we would have run.

    I thought about suggesting that people pay down their loan with cash, if they are allowed – not all loans allow that. We did that with our mortgage. But I realize that we were not in a recession then and I know from my daily life that I can only afford about half of what I used to and in the article you linked they said:

    “Overall, mortgage costs as a share of income are at record highs since 1984, with a very sharp increase in the last two years, obviously related to sharp increases in interest rates but also higher average debt levels,”

    Of course the doggies run up and down the hill. If you had four legs instead of two and were their ages, then you would run, too.

    That’s a beautiful lot of shed work in one day. And another day. And another . . .

    That sounds WAY too early for daffodils.

    So nice to see the Kookies again.

    The hydrangeas appear to be blue in the face. The succulents, however, look wonderful. Thanks!


  6. Hi Pam,

    It might be a bit cold and stale by the time the muffin made it to you. Acceptance – it’s hard! 🙂 Anyway, you’ve got a kitchen. Fresh muffins, are just better.

    I agree, I too have seen drastic changes in people, including myself. Generally I’ve observed that people are willing to change when they hit their fifty five cents. So that phrase came about because I knew a bloke (not a client, more of an acquaintance) who’s net economic worth got that low before they acknowledged they had to do differently. At least the economic worth wasn’t negative, that’s always possible. The phrase stuck, because I always associate it with crisis. Hey, the flip side of which is… 🙂

    Oh my gawd! That story of yours is like my nightmare, except the difference being that they’ve told me they won’t come here during a bushfire (only one road in and out, and fair enough too). We’re on our own during such a crisis. Hey, adrenalin can dump you after such an incident. Oh yeah, best to stay cool. Good in theory.

    I’m not all that sure that people are all that debt shy. When I was a kid a newfangled credit card arrived in the mail – unsolicited. It was like someone had let out an epic belch at table. Well, eventually a need was found to use the evil thing. This story has been a long slow burn which may end messily, or with a whimper. End it will though, sooner or later.

    Affordability is a funny thing. The new Dirt Rat cost almost twice what the old Dirt Rat cost, and that was only 19 years ago. Would you call that progress? Still, even at twice the cost, relatively speaking it is a cheap vehicle. And in fact, if you go back almost three decades, the cost of the new Dirt Rat would buy you a two bedroom flat (what we call an apartment without a lift). No wonder your mad cash buys less these days. I’m not surprised.

    The four legged creatures sure can run fast. Me, err, not so much. Maybe once, long ago. Nowadays it is probably wise to emulate the tortoise. Nothing wrong with having a shell. Is there?

    Hehe! I told you the project would be quick. Two more days and done.

    My thoughts exactly. But what does it mean? That’s what I’m wondering. We haven’t had any snow here for the past two winters.

    They have a memorable laugh don’t they? I hear them at first light calling one to the other.

    The hydrangeas are nearing the end of the season, that’s for sure. The succulents sure are enjoying themselves in that terraced garden, which has spilled across to the other side of the path. Hmm.

    Had a public holiday here today. Cool, but drier weather. Don’t worry, rain is forecast for the next two days. How’s your weather going? Have you had any decent rain yet?



  7. Hi Chris;
    Still dry here, got me realizing I’ve got to move faster on expanding the water storage.

    These increasingly snaky and stalling Rossby waves will continue to become more common as climate change progresses. They can cause freezes in warmer climates in ty winter, and heat domes/droughts in the summer.

    We actually had a light frost this morning. Not completely unheard of, but very uncommon. Will check the tomatoes in a few minutes.

    One of our tanks draws from the south side of the pole barn, and I noted that it had not filled as well as the north side. Turns out a bird had built a nest in the gutter/downspout transition. Hadn’t noticed the nest since the roofline is about 14′ high, and had to pull out the “big ladder” to inspect and clean out.

    I then beefed up my cover that was meant to prevent such blockage. Now just need it to rain.

    The real economy is parting ways with the money economy, and since so much of the interaction dynamics are affected by human psychology and crowd behavior in addition to actual physics, it is hard to guess how things will unfold. Messy however you slice it.

  8. Yo, Chris – Some people (Here!) don’t accept change gracefully. Maybe not a bad thing to have a few people around, to put on the brakes. And sometimes, people en mass just decide not to participate. I was a bit tickled to read that bit over at “The Daily Impact” over the lack of interest in Social Media Boy’s, META. 🙂

    Then there are market forces, which are predictable, if one pays attention. The adult entertainment business decided to go with VHS, and that was the end of BETA. The powers that be, in that industry, also jumped on CDs. And that was the end of VHS. From what I read, that segment of industry is not enamored with VR. Unless they do, VR will languish. VR = Virtual Reality. Except maybe for gaming?

    Maybe the Vikings had vast apiaries? More likely, it was trotted out on special occasions. Or, mostly only served at the “high table.” I think they mostly swilled ales and beers, made from the grains you mentioned.

    The Nazis never did catch on to the oil wells in Sherwood Forest 🙂 .

    From what I hear, apartment rents, even in this out of the way place, are out of sight. I know a family, where he works full time. They can’t find housing. He’s with the two oldest kids at grandma’s, and she’s in a shelter with the baby.

    I won’t see any pumpkin pie ice cream, until October. But there are other flavors. Chocolate peanut butter. Mint chocolate chip. Salted Caramel. 🙂

    It’s forecast to be 87, today. Then, 71, tomorrow. Maybe rain by Friday.

    If not working til midnight, you could always get up at 6am. H tried that trick … once. There were consequences for her, to. 🙂

    So far, I’ve eaten all the corn that I’ve grown. Dried and ground. But, I just grind it, as I need it, so the task isn’t overwhelming. But then, due to space, I don’t grow all that much. It’s supplemented with the occasional bag of corn meal, that shows up in our boxes, or that I find at the cheap food stores. This morning, there were two little green spears, coming out of two of the corn hills. Might be corn. Might be a weed. A few days should tell the tale.

    Ahhh. “Almost Famous.” Which I must have seen. Now I wonder if I ever saw, “This is Spinal Tap?” Oh, probably. It’s just been so long.

    I think you’re right. Everything is up, but it’s almost unnoticed, when you consider it item by item. Unless it’s really outrageous, such as eggs a few months ago. Now the price is down, which feels like relief, though they’re still not as low as they were year before last. Lew

  9. Hi Chris,

    Yes, the solstices are rapidly approaching, with you at your lowest-sunshine time and me at my highest. I’m glad to say it hasn’t been too hot here so far. We haven’t turned on the air conditioner yet. Hope it works when the time comes – and it surely will – that summer’s usual heat and humidity descend on us.

    Until this past weekend we had had only 0.3 inches of rain all month. We were officially in moderate drought, closing in on severe drought. Then it actually rained to the tune of 2.0 inches this past Sunday. Yay for rain!! I don’t have to water the garden for at least another week!!

    I’m in awe of your excellent shed, and the speed with which you and Sandra have built the extension! (Watch out though; that extra space will tempt you to overfill it – nature abhors a vacuum, after all.)

    Even though it’s winter at your place it doesn’t look like the kind of winter I am used to. Way too many green leaves and green grass at your place. You’re definitely winter-soft. 😉


  10. Chris,

    I’m writing on my phone. It’s too nice out to stay in.

    I enjoyed the latest update to the Saga of the Sheepskins of Fernglade. Let’s hope this ends well for the Fluffies, as opposed to how the typical Icelandic saga was filled with doom.

    I saw last week that you mentioned your woes with visualizing. I dream in colour. Some days I can visualize things. Some days I can’t. It is an exceedingly rare day in which I can visualize in colour.

    Then there’s facial recognition. Can be difficult. On good days not a problem, but on tense days UGG. One very tense day I walked right by the Princess 3 times at the supermarket and didn’t recognize her. Ever since I try to remember what clothes she is wearing.

    We had nearly 20mm of rain over the weekend. A small thunderstorm is growling through the area now. It acts like a dry but noisy system.

    The funeral for the Princess’s sister went as well as can be expected. The Princess is with her brother for awhile, as he is
    not ready to be alone. I am home with Avalanche and am recovering from the whirlwind pace of the past 10 days.

    Got back from Omak and went straight to the medical clinic. Sore and swollen left middle finger. I now have a splint for it and have it taped to the ring finger. Options for what happened: 1) a hang nail got very bad. 2) Avalanche bit me and broke the finger. 3) The Princess bit me and broke the finger. 4) There was a catastrophe at the outdoor carving event that led to a Freaky Friday Fractured Finger.

    Meanwhile my car is going in for routine stuff Tuesday. Also, the electric garage door is not acting properly. The YouTube suggestions don’t work. Expert, recommended by the now retired chap who installed it, visits Tuesday afternoon.

    The correct answer is the 4th one. A freak carving thing occurred on Saturday of that event. Poetic license to allow for alliteration changed it to Friday. If I refrain from further stupidity it should be fine in a few weeks.

    Finally, Dame Avalanche caught a sparrow. She sends her greetings to the Fluffies and wishes that someone would buy her a sheepskin.


  11. Hi Steve,

    You’re not wrong. The best time to collect water from the sky is when it’s raining. Trust me on this. One horror summer was so bad all that was left in the water tanks was 25,000L (6,500 gallons). And that was it. Dry years scare me, although if you can provide water to the plants, they do grow faster.

    A long term reader here, who has not commented for a long while due to, I dunno why, but anyway, he (a good friend of mine) was telling me that in his day job up in the mines way out in the outback, his work he could detect the Coriolis effect in a plumb bob. It’s a long story. On this planet we spin through space, and the whole thing is probably stranger than our minds could ever take in.

    Rain arrives here in splats.

    Welcome to my world. When I had the chance to meet and speak with Joe Salatin when he was in this corner of the planet, he was mildly alarmed to note that frosts can occur in these parts at any time of the year. My neighbour has a photo of the local fire shed covered in light snow on a Christmas Day – which is only days after the summer solstice. I’ve seen that happen up in the high country at that time of year. Variability in climate is not a desirable thing.

    Hehe! Yeah, mate I have to clean out the gutters at least once per year, and the job is quicker if I do that at six month intervals. An electric blower machine does the job quickly, on a dry day.

    Covers are a very complex subject, and subject to much discussion and debate in this corner of the planet. Everyone has a theory, and I’ve noted that few examples are problem proof. If you do discover a system that works in any conditions, your fortune may be made!

    I agree wholeheartedly, mess it is, messy it shall be. 😉

    It sure is cold and wet here right now. Brr!



  12. Hi Claire,

    Good to hear, and candidly, despite my grumbling, it has been something of a mild winter. It’s 5’C and wet outside right now, and when I got home this evening the inside of the house was 14’C, which is not too bad given the outside temperature stayed more or less the same all day. I’m beginning to acclimate to the winter conditions. 🙂 However, I have noted that the more extreme conditions generally occur after the solstice – thermal inertia being what it is.

    Fingers crossed it isn’t too extreme, and that your soil warms to just the right temperature. The new larger greenhouse has been a real saviour this past growing season. And I look forward to hearing about your most excellent yields.

    Yay for rain! How did that tank of yours go this season? Rain tends to arrive in splats here too. It may be the way of the future, not much, then a lot. I don’t really know though. I’ll bet your garden is growing like a jungle after the rain?

    Hehe! And you guessed well. The space will be filled in no time at all. 😉 A couple of decades ago I had a friend who used to suggest that: ‘they don’t muck around at the crematorium’. Dark humour. Another two days and the project will be done.

    Yes, summer soft is the way of it. The forest here is evergreen, even when snow falls and settles, or frosts do their worst. The oils in the leaves which cause so much drama over summer, also reduce the freezing point of the leaves. I’m learning about the forest, and do hope that I’m guided well in that regard. Sooner or later, I’ll be put to the test.



  13. Hi DJ,

    Aren’t you flexible (how people drive and type on phones is something of an enduring mystery), and good to hear from you after your recent loss. Please accept my condolences and extend my sympathy to you and your lady.

    That’s an eerie thought. Yes, what would Odin do about the sheepskin wars? Does Odin need to be appeased with more mead? The very future hangs in the balance.

    Thanks for sharing your experience. It’s weird isn’t it, but mostly hasn’t seemed to be anything to worry about. But like you, my dreams are extraordinarily vivid. Just can’t draw on that skill during the daylight hours. Between you and I, I take an engineering approach to projects – as in, how do we get this here thing done. Works for me.

    Hehe! I hear you. During you-know-what, I wrote about my old friend who passed away. He was a cheeky bloke, and one day many years before that, the Editor and I were out for dinner, and he’d spotted us – and knew. So what he did was stand at the table acting like a waiter but acting weirdly quiet. And because he was out of context, I didn’t recognise him until I focused my mind. He thought it was hysterically funny. Yes, hmm, I hear you. 🙂

    At least the thunderstorm is occurring following on from the rain. We had a very close strike the other day. I reckon it peeled the fibrous bark off one of the trees, but the Editor reckons I’m wrong. I should put a photo in of the bark. Hmm. Not much else can explain a chunk of bark falling off that far up in the tree.

    It is a lovely thing that your lady can be with her brother at this time. There isn’t much you can do other than support and just be there.

    Did you end up needing stitches or a suture? Freaky carving accidents are err, not good. Glad to hear that the digit remains. Accidents, happen…

    Glad to hear that it wasn’t your lady who bit you, but rather some steel, probably carbon steel if I would hazard a guess. Go on, did you think about making a joke to the students: Don’t do this? Before then doing ‘this’ with the blade.

    Hey, it must be the time of year for such things. Have the moons aligned? Had the rear brake shoes on the Dirt Mouse replaced today. Made the mechanic laugh when I quipped: Mate, they must have been down to vapour! Which they were.

    Respect to Avalanche, and gather ’round for I’ll share a little secret with you both: Second hand sheepskins in good condition are as rare as hen’s teeth. Dame Plum is asleep on the skin right now. A true power move.



  14. Chris:

    Just trying to get out of cooking . . .

    55 cents – that’s pretty low; close enough to zero, these days.

    I wasn’t debt shy when I was much younger – then came the 55 cent moment – well, $200 – and I was in hot water. Made it to cool water, though, and it would be hard for me to swim in anything
    else, especially in a hot economic climate, and I don’t mean that in a bullish way.

    Every day I am grateful that I am not in a flat, or any rented home, for many reasons. All we have to do is keep up with the property taxes, and they are still reasonable.

    I have seen our box turtles really hop to it under certain circumstances . . .

    No decent rain for awhile. We are getting really dry.

    I am putting away my seed heat mats for the season, except for the last one which has one ground cherry plant that I broke when planting it outside, though I have gotten it to grow back from a cutting, and a few tiny baby oregano plants, and some extra sweet potato slips I am growing (we already have a whole lot planted out; these are to grow for just the leaves).


  15. Hi Lewis,

    The carpentry work at the Notre Dame rebuild is a real pleasure to see. Lovely work, and the overall effect of seeing the roof timbers sitting on the ground under that huge covered work area is really something else. I agree, the pictures are fascinating. I like how your brain works!!! Yes, the mega mead hall. 🙂 We do have tens of thousands of trees you know!

    The same is true here as well. Most people don’t readily embrace change, and I tend to believe that this is why bottom up (or what you’d call grass roots) movements, tend to work far better than top down directives. When at the top end of town, I could see that very thing in action, and also how it was roundly ignored. Wants can sometimes get in the way of what is actually possible, or even mildly rational. You see it happen all the time coming from that section of the community. Without even putting too many brain cells towards the problem, I can think of plenty of policies which are being pursued right now which have contradictory outcomes. It won’t end well, but does anyone listen to me. No. Candidly, I had a lot of trouble trying to stop such stupid stuff when working in those heady heights. Why don’t we just focus on the fundamentals of running the business? Sounds like common sense to me, but you’d be amazed. Oh well.

    Oh yeah, that one didn’t end so well. And I had no idea that the ending was possibly that bad. Has anyone been sacked as a result?

    Ah, I had not understood that about the whole VHS versus Beta thing. As a bit of a tech geek, I do recall strange articles about Beta being technically superior, but yeah, VHS won that round, then lost the next. Makes you wonder what the revenge of the analogue folks are up to on that front? Maybe a couple of years ago I’d read that there was renewed interest in Super 8 film. Sales of vinyl LP’s are not to be sneered at, and the enthusiasts love that stuff.

    Hehe! I’m really struggling to see the Vikings having a huge bee industry. Those winters would be hard on bees, and I’ve read that back in the day, the hives were destroyed in order to gain access to the honey. But that practice may not have been as widely spread as current bee keepers would have you believe. Oats, barley etc. would be much easier to harvest, and I’ve noted that hops (clearly with some efficacy if it can kill yeast), grows very well in temperate climates. A bit like a Triffid really.

    The oil wells of Sherwood Forest were a great story, and yes those cheeky scamps could well have struck that far inland. Did you see the news that there is a possibility that the remains of King Henry I have supposedly been located, by the same lady who found the remains of Richard III. If the lady is correct, then she has a gift, no getting around that. Of course there is also the possibility that the remains are someone else altogether. And perhaps the more elusive Arthur may need a bit of detective and digging work to discover.

    That’s the thing with the rents. Anyone falling between the cracks gets treated harshly. It’s not right, and more people are being encouraged to arrive. I’m not entirely certain where they’ll all reside, and sooner or later news will be sent home: Don’t come. Word gets around those informal intercontinental networks.

    Yum! Mint chocolate chip would be my pick. In the big smoke in the touristy areas you can find gelato shops where you can get frozen dollops of ice cream scooped into waffle cones. And there are all sorts of flavours. I’m salivating, the memories are just so good. Trade is slower over the winter months for those businesses, but summer is feral.

    Did it get that hot? 87’F is beginning to get up there, and the month after the summer solstice is always warmer. I’m reading a book of oral memories from people around these parts who survived the 1983 Ash Wednesday fires. It’s not light reading, and I may pick up a PG Wodehouse book next. One must refresh the reading palate don’t you reckon? What are you reading now? Hope it cools down soon for you. Surprise, surprise, it rained here today and outside now is 41’F.

    Man, I dunno about that theory. Like it sounds good in theory, but midnight just feels more natural. Most people seem to enjoy earlier starts to both bed and the morning, but then they might enjoy a lot of rules too. Hmm. Naughty H, and yes, wise to put a stop to that and nip it in the bud, otherwise you’ll be enjoying the early morning bird calls.

    Dried and ground corn. Yes, I can see that as an option. Might have to get a grinder for the corn. Any recommendations? I see, corn meal is different from corn flour. Never knew about that difference. Seems like wheat flour, the more hull, the faster the stuff goes off. Hope the two little green spears prove to be corn plants, and that you get more of them growing.

    Almost famous was a pretty good band film, and the plane emergency scene was funny. In some ways I found This is Spinal Tap not as amusing as other people seem to have. I kept thinking, isn’t this what they’re like? Of course the film was a whole bunch of sweeping generalisations. There are probably plenty of bands that treat their work like work, and show up on time, are in tune, and know their lines.

    I agree, that story is just like the petrol story. The price is all over the shop, but if a clever person with a solid grasp of statistics plotted a linear regression curve through the data, they’d spot a trend. Unfortunately, maths has never been my friend, although long ago I used to know how to calculate those linear regressions using paper and a calculator. All forgotten now, and spreadsheet programs do the brain work for free. Handy! But the underlying skills get rusty. What a conundrum.



  16. Hi Pam,

    Well, it’s worth a try. 🙂

    Near zero is a hard thing for some folks to face. Of course, like I mentioned some daredevils head into negative territory (and I pointed to one very large daredevil – unwise to muck around with such evil spirits don’t you reckon?). All a bit too much excitement for me. But if they want to do that, who are we to stop them. Waste of time to try.

    Yeah, it wasn’t just you either. Sometimes a person just has to learn the hard way on that front, but sadly the lesson can be enjoyed by much larger entities and institutions. After all, they’re just people.

    That’s my thinking too. The one bill you can’t get out of is property taxes. You’ve clearly put some brain cells towards this matter, as have I. It’s really odd that the reach of the system which we live in is so extensive.

    Do you get turtles? Cool. We don’t have turtles here, but you will get yabbies burrowing into the ground. They’re very tasty too.

    Ook. Sorry to hear that, and fingers crossed that it rains soon.

    Thanks for sharing your experience with the heat mats. I had no idea that sweet potato leaves were edible. Thanks for mentioning it. Never grown them here due to the sheer variability of the growing season climate. Oregano is a bit different here in that it self seeds, and doesn’t the leaves smell lovely when crushed on a warm summers day?

    It rained here again today. It’s very damp outside, and cold, although you’d probably laugh at what I consider to be a cold day. 🙂



  17. Hello Chris
    All very interesting as usual. I decided that I loved the second half of the 20th century followed by hating the insane 21st century from the Iraq war onwards.
    The temperature indoors today was 86F it is just starting to come down marginally, almost impossible to work or even think.
    I am another one who suffers with aphantasia. The serious problem is that I don’t recognise people. Someone will bounce up to greet me in town and I haven’t a clue who they are. Have had to learn to be very careful not to give this away in my conversation. It even happened with my next door neighbour. Son is used to me asking ‘who was that?’ when someone waves the truck down to speak to us.
    I believe that in the more extreme version people don’t dream visually. Thank goodness that is not me, I have wonderful visual dreams.


  18. Yo, Chris – I thought you’d like those pictures, and story. I’m glad they’re putting everything back, the way it was. There was some lose talk about “modernizing” Notre Dame. Luckily, cooler heads prevailed. I like that they call all that truss work, “the forest.”

    The Powers That Be, ignore the grassroots, for as long as possible. It’s pretty wild when 75% of the population doesn’t agree with a policy, but they just kick the can down the road. For one reason and another. Usually, because the politician’s big donors like things just as they are.

    Yeah, how about we just run the business? What a concept! Ground breaking! 🙂 Seems like every business has a mission statement. And I have never read (mostly) such a lot of airy-fairy swill.

    Hard to tell if anyone got sacked. There’s been huge lay-offs in many quarters of the tech industries.

    I had forgotten about Super 8. Then there were laser discs. Boy, those went nowhere fast. Though I knew someone who was heavily invested in the machine and discs. He used to throw movie nights, as I believe he was trying to sucker other’s into the technology.

    There were large Viking towns, they’re finding. There was a fabled, and semi-mythical Viking town, that archaeologists think they’ve just discovered. Silasthorp. It’s early days, yet. Still digging test holes and deploying ground penetrating radar. Maybe it was wild honey? Follow the bears. 🙂

    I recently read something that said, if you can’t figure out how to hull oats, don’t grow them. So, I took a look into the rabbit hole. Yup. Oats are hard to hull. And Barley is even harder. But there were suggestions. Bake the oats at 180F (80C) for an hour.

    No, I hadn’t heard about the possible discovery of Henry I. The woman who found Richard III, had a hard time getting anyone to listen to her. She had no credentials and the gate keepers were on guard. Showed them. 🙂 I’ve seen a few videos about her finding Richard III. And, strangely enough, I just picked up a DVD from the library, “The Lost King,” which is “based on a true story.” About her discovery. Haven’t watched it, yet. Review to follow. You think the Royals would keep better track of the bodies of their ancestors. 🙂

    It got to 86F, yesterday. And today’s forecast is for 20 degrees cooler. Just bonkers. Nice, but bonkers.

    Yes, one needs to mix it up with the reading. Same with movies. Something heavy, something light. Right now, I’m reading that book “Noble Ambitions: The Fall and Rise of the English Country House After World War II.” The author, Tinniswood, has a pretty good sense of humor. Hundreds of country houses were demolished. A lot were downsized. Social forces (and taxes) were in play.

    I alternate that with the book on private equity. Which is actually pretty readable. I ran across an interesting saying. “Karma has everyone’s address.” I wondered where that came from. It’s also, sometimes, “Karma never loses an address.” A look into the rabbit hole, and the earliest use I could find was back in 2017, by Deepak Chopra. Though I think it’s even older than that. Heck, you can get it on posters and coffee mugs. Maybe I should pick up a mug and “gift” it to the librarian that fired the long time employee? 🙂

    I’ve had my hand cranked, cast iron, nickel plated grinder, forever. I think it originally came from Lehman’s Amish Goods. That was 50 years ago, and they’re still around.

    The garden is looking good, except I’m pretty sure 1 (one) corn and 1 (one) green bean have sprouted. Maybe they’re advanced scouts?

    I made my bi-monthly visit to the chemist, last night. 4 items, $40. Well, one item was $8.50. When I returned home, I discovered I can get it for $5 per, free shipping, from the River. Lew

  19. Chris,

    Home the Princess hath arrived,
    Feast devoured, ales drunk.
    Favored hero her favorite coffee brewed;
    Special midweek hiatus beckons.


  20. Chris:

    Well, I figured that a yabby must be some flabby thing that lives in a hole, but I see that it is like our crawdads. I don’t like crawdads because once I caught one in the creek near us and cooked it and it tasted like mud, but I do like lobsters. Yum!

    I have been trying to think what 55 cents would buy nowadays. I remembered yesterday when I was in the Dollar Store: Seeds. They cost 25 cents per packet there and I have been buying them for years. They grow just as well – they are from a big seed company – as any other seeds. I bought two packets, a dill and a morning glory, and the total with tax was 53 cents.


  21. Hi Inge,

    Wars seem to be our common lot. History has more than its fair share you’d have to suggest. 🙂 I’ve observed a lot of decline over my life, but it isn’t all that bad. When I was a child, the household was quite poor, being a single mother household. Anyway, at the time I barely noticed that aspect. One interesting side effect of all of that is that I can do things and make things happen. I’m not really sure whether that is me, or a side effect of experiencing poverty first hand and having to do something about that from a very young age. Dunno, and it is almost impossible to discern the truth of the matter. You have a similar make-do attitude.

    Ouch. 86’F is as hot inside as I’ve ever seen, and that took three days of 104’F and greater weather. The housing stock in your country is not really well adapted to coping with heat waves, but then neither is the lot over here.

    Fascinating! I understand that, because people would get the wrong impression at your incomprehension of recognising the person. It’s good your son looks out for you. You know, until a few years ago, I had no idea that other peoples memory recollection was so visual. It was something of a surprise to discover this facet. Hasn’t seemed to be much of an issue.

    Oh my goodness, imagine having dreams with the other senses? Like you, my dreams are quite vivid.



  22. Hi Pam,

    Muddy fish is not a pleasant experience. I’ve never tasted a muddy yabby, even the ones we caught as a kid. Hmm. It is possible I had a less discerning palate back then? 🙂 I’ve heard of a technique where the err, crawdad is kept in fresh clean water for a few days before being consumed. Probably taste a whole bunch nicer. Yum! Lobster is very nice. Despite being a mostly vegetarian, I do quite enjoy seafood and river fish.

    Hehe! You win! It’s not low enough. 🙂 Honestly, you’d struggle purchasing seed for 53 cents down here, let alone two packets of the things. You might be surprised to know that dill grows here like a weed and happily sets seed. I chucked some in my lunch today, and it’s very good with chives, a bit of salt and pepper, and fresh tomatoes. Now chuck in a little bit of tasty cheese and some freshly baked bread, and seriously I’m salivating. Because of the greenhouse, we’re still consuming the tomatoes, but they won’t last much longer. How did I ever get by before without this thing?



  23. Hi DJ,

    Thanks for the poem, and hope your lady is doing OK.

    I see an Australian has come to a bad end near something called Bear Lake in country to the north of yours. Whilst walking the three fluffies (it felt powerful!) tonight, I was reflecting upon the practical benefits of not having bears roaming the forests here.



  24. Hi Lewis,

    I really did enjoy those photographs and the story behind the restorative work. I’ll bet those craftsmen are enjoying every step of the process? Although, lifting that roof into place would be a nightmare job. They might disassemble it on the ground and then reassemble it in place, some of those timber beams were epic. Oak has a similar density to the trees which grow around here – that’s heavy and dense.

    Makes you wonder if the folks will have some sort of access up into the forest of timbers? Probably worthwhile checking upon them every now and then. And exactly too, it really makes a lot of sense to rebuild the timbers as they used to be – that’s prudent given how long they were in place. I’d call that properly tested.

    It is pretty wild isn’t it? But then sometimes windows open, and change becomes possible. You’d hope that happens this time around, but it really is hard and too early to tell, and also there is the not insignificant risk of causing vast economic hardship to folks who weren’t really prepared for such an outcome.

    The final component for the battery room upgrades turned up in the mail this morning. Yay! I’ll be glad to have that project finished, it’s been in progress for almost a year now, and there are still some more upgrades to do, but those upgrades are all closer to the solar panels. One of the interesting things I’ve discovered with all this stuff is that it is very unwise to operate any of it in extremis, but try telling people that. And have redundancy, and ensure that that works and is ready to go. From what I hear of the grid these days, there are some days when there is little spare capacity and let’s not begin talking about spare components.

    Fads! Don’t talk to me about fads! Just joking, but there were times when I put my foot down and clearly stated: I don’t have enough time for this poop. More popular people simply trundle along with them, and that’s an option. The mission statements get written, plastered onto stationary, then forgotten about. A lot of effort for little result from what I’ve seen.

    Oh yeah, you’re probably right. I hadn’t thought of the lay-offs in that way, but yeah. Hmm.

    Laser disc was a bit of a flop, and I remember that technology well because of the very successful arcade game: Dragon’s Lair (1983 video game). It was successful in that it took a lot of my hard earned mad cash. I had a mate who had a projector screen and a room set aside for watching films. Hanging out involved watching films, and I soon tired of that. It is a bit of a justification for having that technology, yeah.

    Speaking of technology, apparently computers are going to bring John Lennon back from the dead. All sounds very exciting, but hey, Pet Sematary, just sayin…

    Hadn’t heard of Silasthorp before. That’s funny about the bears and sure, you go first. 🙂 They seem like easily annoyed critters that can do something about being annoyed. And an Australian has apparently come to a bad end near somewhere called Bear Lake. Koalas are grumpy enough, but not big enough to express their anger issues.

    Hmm. Yes I am aware of the difficulty with hulling those grains. But still, the old timers must have had their ways with the grains. Not everyone would have access to a grain mill.

    You’re not wrong, that lady sure did show the gate keepers. I’d call that a power move. I suspect that she has done her research, and the articles I read suggested that ground radar had found something. But why end up as a car park of all places? Hey, that lot might not want any more claims, and DNA testing being what it is these days – and people just splashing the results all over the interweb. Could be a problem.

    Large temperature swings in summer sure do your head in, I hear you. At least winter seems sort of consistent. The day began cold, stayed cold, and continues to be cold. There’s something to be said about consistency. 😉

    I like your thinking, but would any good come from the err, gift with a sting in the tail? I feel that such bad turns have a way of reflecting back upon the person who caused the mischief.

    Ah, To the Manor Born! Yes, of course, funds only go so far and those old piles would cost a heap to maintain. And squalor can only be taken so far as a declaration of a new bohemian splendour before the other notables notice that the family is broke. I was reading a story the other day about how an old pile had been restored. Looks like a labour of love, now where was it… … The Wilsons bought dilapidated Lamb House two years ago, now they’re just months away from moving in. It’s a beautiful building.

    Man, there really must have been a lot of lay offs in the tech biz. If I don’t get an offer to upgrade the interweb site or promote it every half hour, well they’re not doing their job are they? The offers are coming thick and fast, and I’m deleting all of them.

    Thanks for the recommendation, and that’s the sort of device I appreciate.

    You can only hope so, and maybe the other seeds are a bit slower to germinate? Sometimes you can get a bad batch of seeds – I’ve had that.

    Wise to shop around. Interestingly, things are getting quiet around here. It’s weird.



  25. @ Pam – Morning Glories. You’ll never get rid of them. There’s a blue variety, I always wanted to plant. So, I ended up growing them around my kitchen window … inside. Lew

  26. Yo, Chris – Oh, I’m sure there will be access to the forest of trusses. As there was in the past. But, I bet access will be pretty severely restricted. You’ll need a good reason to gain access. One of the documentaries I watched had a bit about any stone they had to replace. They did scientific analysis, of the stone, and then the hunt was on to find the original quarry. Turns out, some of it was “mined” deep beneath Paris, in the catacombs.

    Go, battery room upgrades! “In extremis.” I treat everything I have, very gently. From water faucets to electronics. No slamming doors or drawers, around here. You may remember the incident with the window blind, that our building manager managed to rip down. I never had a problem with it. Because I treated it gently.

    Every year, when I worked for the library, we’d have a day’s “training.” Usually, some new customer service / management theory, or another. I remember “Who Moved My Cheese.” From a book by the same name. Something about mice in mazes. Or, the tossing fish, thing. Based on something, something, the way the fish mongers, at the Seattle Public Market, sling around fish.

    Yes, I read about that John Lennon thing. I wonder if Yoko Ono gets a cut? 🙂

    Koalas. But those claws! And they can be quit grumpy. As you know.

    I watched “The Lost King,” last night. I quit enjoyed it, but, of course I had read her book. It was a bit woo-woo, in a paranormal sort of way, but those unexplainable things, did happen. So, why a car park. One of the characters explained that. After the Dissolution of the Monasteries (and churches), a lot of people were hesitant to build on what had been sacred ground. Especially, within the walls of those structures. Sure, a lot of the stone was robbed out, but what had been the interior spaces was kind of taboo. The character refers to that feeling, as superstitious. The academic gate keepers, in the film, are really nasty people. Taking credit for all that the author did, and trying to shuffle her into the background. Well worth a look.

    I read up a bit on the search for Henry I. There the Royals go again. Mislaying an ancestor.

    It was only 63F, here, yesterday. But pretty breezy. Wind gusts to 20mph. About the same, today. I saw an article this morning about some terrible weather in our New England, and upper New York State. They had a late frost in May, and lost a large part of their apple and grape crops.

    Funny, the book on English country houses has a chapter titled, “Keeping up Appearances.” There was also a chapter on the general feeling, that after a long string of ancestors, some of the most recent owners, “Didn’t want to be the one to let it go.” The article on Lamb House, was very interesting. Sounds like the family lost it, due to property taxes. A familiar story.

    The Master Gardeners were here, this morning. They had a big project going. I just puttered around. Dead headed Elinor’s Cosmos and planted some Bachelor Button seed, here, there, and everywhere. Then I weeded the strawberry patch. Why do weeds want to cozy up to the strawberries? It was like performing surgery. One poor strawberry, I had to completely uproot, to remove a Dandelion that had decided to take up residence, right in the middle. One thing good about the weeding is that I’ve noticed that bed has developed a bit of a crust. Weeding keeps it broken up. More green beans are coming up, from the second patch I planted. Still only one lone spear of corn.

    I read yesterday that Pyrex and Corning Ware are declaring bankruptcy. They were bought by a private equity firm, in 2017. Hmmm. Lew

  27. Chris,

    Thanks. The Princess is doing as well as could be expected.

    The place where that young lady died isn’t too far from here. Never been there, but we have spent some time in Bonners Ferry, Idaho, which is just across the international border. It is extremely rugged country there.

    Oh, no, I wasn’t driving while typing on the phone. I was sitting under the patio roof enjoying proper liquids for the heat. I don’t even touch my phone when I’m driving.

    Hehehe. Good one. I can just see each of the Fluffies making offerings to Odin in order to ensure success. He’d take the toughest one for Valhalla, leaving the other 2 behind to mourn and squabble. Or ignore them all and sit back to watch the family quarrel get out of hand.

    That visualization thing is interesting. I figure I’ve coped well enough. But facial recognition issues? Those who know us take advantage for their amusement at our expense, as your old friend did. Weird stuff.

    More rain this afternoon. Yes.

    The garage door got fixed. Some gizmo in the electric motor was shot. Whole unit was replaced. I could cope without the electric door opener, but the Princess wants it and prefers that I use it.

    No stitches were needed. However, I can get in to see the hand specialist Thursday. I suspect that surgery might be required judging from some symptoms. Ugh. Hope it’s not that serious. And unfortunately, I didn’t even get to demonstrate to students what not to do, as nobody signed up for my class. Had I been teaching, I wouldn’t have had that tool out, and…

    Oooohhh, the dreaded “vapour brakes”. Still somewhat better than the brake pedal that easily pushes to the floor and must be pumped several times rapidly just to get any stopping power. Had that happen on top of a curvy hill in winter back in 1979. Fortunately the car was a manual transmission, I was able shift to a lower gear so didn’t pick up too much speed. Twas a bit scary for a bit though.

    Good for Dame Plum. If she has claimed the sheepskin and decides to keep it, I doubt that Ollie and Ruby can take it from her. Never irritate the boss dog if you’re not the boss dog. Bad things can happen.


  28. Hi DJ,

    Time. But, even then.

    I checked out some of the images from Bear Lake across the border and it looks like very rugged terrain, and the word scree was mentioned. Not something you’d ordinarily encounter down under. There was an aerial interweb image of Bonners Ferry Idaho, and away from the river were mountain ranges – a whole bunch. Hmm. The news is reporting that the young lady allegedly slipped whilst hiking alone.

    Very wise, and candidly I also lack the competency to be able to use a mobile phone whilst driving. And hey, best we never let the ladies know that we can do more than one task at a time, even if it is true. Managing expectations is an art form. 🙂

    Odin is clearly wise to employ such a strategy, and I think we all know who of the fluffies would enjoy the mead halls of Valhalla. Speaking of which, she’s rather bored today because I had to do paid work. At the end of the work day, I took her out for an hours walk, so the ruffled fur has been somewhat soothed. Odin would be unwise to ignore Avalanche, but it’s an option, I guess. 🙂

    It was weird yeah, and out of context is just a problem, but whatever, if people seek amusement, they’ll get it. It bothers me not at all.

    Now you’re beginning to sound like Yoda. Respect! Raining it did, raining it shall. And hope you avoid a hot and dry summer what with everything that brings. I’m reading first hand accounts of the 1983 Ash Wednesday bushfires from people in this area, and I have to admit to closing the book during a late lunch this afternoon. The old brain can only take in so much emotional energy. But reading the accounts is a very useful exercise, and I’ve learned a thing or two. It astounds me how unprepared for a very likely possibility people were – and yet survived.

    Electric motors are very simple devices. Generally it is the controllers which fail. In times gone past, there even used to be businesses which re-wound motors and replaced brushes. My how times have changed since then. Mate, everything is a compromise, that’s life. And someone far smarter than I once suggested in the public sphere to: ‘not sweat the small stuff’. Now, if you work out how to do that, please let me know.

    There’s a lot of ifs in there man. I’m real sorry to hear how things turned out with your hand. Hope surgery can be avoided. The recovery will be long, and you may hear me forcefully suggesting to you on multiple occasions to do your rehab. People don’t listen, but that stuff is important.

    A mate asked me to drive his car, and it was only heading downhill that I discovered the brakes weren’t all that they should be. Fortunately, in 1989 there were less vehicles on the road, and I shot through an intersection that nowadays would have wiped me out. I was not happy. You were quite lucky as well.

    There has been new canine intrigue in relation to the sheepskin today.



  29. Hi Lewis,

    Stop! This is the Empire of the Dead. The mines for the limestone seem to have come first, then the catacombs. And it was something of a very pragmatic solution for all those bodies when Paris cemeteries in the 18th century were full and producing quite the odour, not to mention disease. The revolution at the time may also have sped that lack of real estate along. Talk about unintended consequences. I’m surprised that the stone used in the old cathedral was limestone. It has a reputation for being ever so slowly eroded by the weather. On the other hand, limestone is more easily worked than granite. And the cathedral has been around for a very long time.

    Thanks. The upgrades for the battery room have been a long time in the making, and all I know is that you can’t do this stuff on the cheap. It’s worth the try, but there is far greater risk with that strategy. I was trying to get to completing the job this afternoon, but paid work kept arriving at a constant rate, and I’m trying very hard to have next week off paid work. Blessed are the competent, for they shall be busy… 🙂

    I’m so with you in that. Yes, treat everything gently and it will last longer. Maybe about a decade and a half ago, I knew a bloke who boasted that he knew how hard to push machines (and people) because he was able to break them. I was not impressed, but for him it was an option. I tell you a funny thing about that bloke though, the people around him were suffering. It’s not hard to see why that was the case. He genuinely didn’t care though. Did the blind ever get fixed? Such incidents just add to costs.

    Yeah, who can forget the ‘push the cheese’ business. It may have been rather forgettable. Honestly, I didn’t even know what it was all about at the time, now getting back to the boring basics of running a business… Tossing fish indeed! 😉 Fortunately I was not subject to that experience, otherwise there may have been a demand for reparations. How does one’s mental health survive an awful fish tossing incident? It was OK, before the incident.

    That’s funny about Yoko. Yes, definitely a meme for the weekend spoiling girlfriend, who was possibly simply just bored. What I was wondering about was, do the computers get a cut?

    Hehe! Yeah, you’re right, the claws are not to be trifled with. One of the 1983 bushfire stories I was reading about was a local policeman just casually picking up a koala and chucking him in the passenger seat – using the seatbelt, of course. And driving the uncomplaining marsupial to safety, dropping the critter off and then things got even more complicated. It’s a heck of a read that book. And I have to ‘fess up to just quietly shutting the book over lunch. A bit too heavy, and I needed some time out. But, well, I’m learning things.

    I’d forgotten that you’d read the ladies book. Hey, it might be woo-woo, but the lady has the runs on the board. It was quite the find, and would have really annoyed the more learned folks. I can see that about not wanting to construct upon sacred ground, err, the Poltergeist story had that as a central theme, and that gave the film the extra creepy factor. Energy builds in such places, and people may not know, but they can probably feel it. Yeah, I’m not sure that I need that side story, someone took credit for something I’d done within the past week. When I discovered this, I raised it as an issue, but by then it was too late.

    Yes, but do they actually want the ancestor discovered? There may be secrets there.

    Youch! The New York state late frost will hurt. You already knew that such things happened here, and late last year the sudden cold snap wiped out half the fruit, although the apples and pears survived. Stone fruits were a total loss. At what point do producers realise that it is not a wise idea to plant only the single crop? And fruit trees take a huge number of years to produce – plus even with something like apples, they’ll all flower and fruit at slightly different times, so some may survive. Best to plant a wider variety. Yup, variability with the climate is the way of things here, so why not eventually elsewhere?

    Hehe! Yeah, keeping up appearances is the way of things. 🙂 I was reading an article this morning which was suggesting that there are a lot of households now spending far more than they earn. You can only do that trick at the household level for so long. On the interweb bankster thugee thing, I noticed today an advertisement for pre-approved loans. Yeah, no thanks. Property taxes are the one non-negotiable bill I believe. The others can be quietly dropped, at ever increasing scales of risk. But not that one. It is a familiar story. The recent history book I read suggested that the elites will do whatever they can, until they can’t.

    The wild flowers are a great idea. Insects need something to eat, and drink. I’ve got a little bird bath set up with water for the insects to get a drink. I hear you about strawberries and yeah. Very hard to weed. If it’s damp in your area, you might be able to dig the strawberry up and then replant it? I had an alpine strawberry today, and it was pretty good – but also quite incredible for a berry this close to the winter solstice. I agree, a bit of aeration is a good thing, as long as the crust didn’t form to save the plants from soil moisture loss? Always possible that. But generally I like to keep such soils light and fluffy.

    Yay for the beans. Have you considered getting some seedling corn plants? I know everyone baulks at the corn seedlings, but if it’s that or nothing…

    That’s not good about Pyrex. The last item I purchased of theirs seemed too cheap to be true, and the bowl has lasted. Dunno.



  30. @ Lew:

    These morning glories are blue and I wish you would have a talk with them. The ones I started with another pack of seeds look rather sickly. We do have wild morning glories here, beautiful white ones and, besides choking everything in sight, their roots go down to, er, Australia.


  31. Yo, Chris – There’s some evidence that the Romans mined under Paris. And, of course, that’s where Plaster of Paris comes from 🙂

    It might take awhile, but Karma has that bloke’s address.

    If the computers don’t get their cut, they might get a little raspy. Kill us all, or something.

    I’m sure the brushfire book is harrowing. But, if you pick up some good information, worth the ride. On a related, but more pleasant note, here’s something from our local newspaper.,320895

    And, look! Something to put in your new machine shed extension!

    Other people taking credit for your work, or ideas. Happened a lot, to me, in Library Land. Even happens here, from time to time 🙂 .

    Well, the English always claim to have the oldest running monarchy show, in the world. But, now, with DNA testing, what if, whoops!, there’s a break in the lineage?

    I took a spin out to the cheap food store, this morning. The one that looks like it should have rats. Things were very thin, and it looks like they took out a whole range of shelving. I only found two items. Laundry soap and a bottle of California olive oil. I wonder if they’re in competition with all the “dollar” stores, for stock? They’re springing up, all over the place. One chain opened four or five in our county, last year.

    I also got gas. Yikes! $5 per US gallon, for regular grade. Also, going out the highway, someone is building what looks like a big apartment complex. Duplex town houses. Looks like there’s at least 40 units. I bet they’ll be pricey.

    We have a birdbath, here at the Institution. I’ve got one of my Patriotic Petunia pots, sitting on it. So, every evening it gets flushed out. For the birds and bugs. I figure keeping it flushed out also keeps the mosquitoes down.

    There may be a second corn spear, coming up. I planted both seed I saved, and the new stuff, in each hill. Maybe, they’re battling for dominance, under ground. 🙂

    I read an article that said the flu is hitting you, down there. Hard. Does not bode well, for us, this fall.

    There was a neo-Nazi demonstration, over in Centralia, last weekend. Turns out they weren’t from around here. They call themselves a fight club, in order to lure in the young and the dumb. I guess they were out recruiting. Most of them kept their faces covered. Bold, that. Lew

  32. Hello Chris,

    You mentioned last week, I think, your hypothesis about tree roots being similar to above ground growth.
    There was a woman called Lore Kutschera who tested that hypothesis by digging out complete root systems with a small brush, and made drawings to scale. Of thousands of plants. Large and small.
    Many of the drawings are available here:
    She and some other researchers connected to the University of Vienna (Austria) published a “Wurtzelatlas” – a root-atlas.

    Many of the plants were mapped in mountainous areas, and it is quite interesting to see what slopes does to root systems. Maybe you can gain some insights that are useful for your future tree plantings?

    Yesterday I finally got my delivery of drip hoses and I set up a 100m feeder right away. What a wonderful relief to the dry roots in my dry and sandy soil.


  33. Hi Göran,

    The root atlas is a stunning work. Quite amazing.

    I’d been aware that in mountainous areas, really deep tap roots eventually die off due to lack of oxygen. So the depictions of the roots spreading just below the surface makes a lot of sense. And also is a timely reminder to consider spacing between trees.

    One of the largest trees growing in this state is the: Ada Tree. It is a very close relative of the tall trees here. Anyway, I read somewhere that the root system for that tree extends across several acres, and from memory, the number was five acres. Yes, big! Enjoy the many photos of the tree.

    With trees in an orchard setting, most trees eventually require pruning, which also works to reduce the size of the root system, whilst feeding the soil. Some of your nut trees may be the exception to that, but other than that, prune away.

    I recently was shown a photo of a very old apple orchard in Somerset in the UK. All the trees were huge and old, and had strong central leaders. Sheep were grazing the grass underneath – as you do. Something for us to aim for, but in the meantime, I try to reduce the size of the trees, whilst ensuring the root systems are deep enough so as to access water in dry years. It’s a real balancing act. Yes.

    Yes, new trees and annual plants require watering during dry years. I quite like the dripper hoses. Did the spacing of the holes in the dripper line match your planting? Those lines are very commonly used down under.

    Hope you get some rain soon.



  34. Hi Lewis,

    What? No way. That Great Fire of London really did send shock waves to distant lands and also far off and away into the future. It’s affected the house design here. Perhaps it was what I’ve been reading of late in relation to the 1983 fires, but in Paris, after the Great Fire of London, timber buildings were ordered to be covered in Plaster, of Paris origins – the mines we spoke of. Cool history. Makes sense, and I’d not previously known of the origins of that name.

    The problem with breaking people (and I don’t recommend doing that), is that sooner or later, they may want to break whoever broke them. So yeah, we’re in agreement in this matter.

    You may laugh, but who can forget the Terminator series of films? The computers seemed, annoyed, in those films. Surely it would have been easier and cheaper to get someone to impersonate John Lennon’s voice?

    You learn things from that collection of oral histories in strange ways. Those dudes look like they have some good equipment and I absolutely agree with their thinking. Yup, a little bit of forest maintenance will save a whole bunch of problems later. It’s problematic that such willpower wanes and waxes. Usually it takes a whole lot of pain for people before anyone considers doing that work. And I like the portable saw mill. The ones in use here generally don’t require the saw log to be lifted onto a platform. Instead the platform adapts around the saw log. One of the more popular local machines is the Lucas Mill. A very clever machine and requires less effort than the one in the pictures.

    Don’t laugh, I’d very much like one of those machines. 😉

    It does happen doesn’t it with hard work being pinched. I made an issue about it as I mentioned, but who knows where that will go – probably nowhere. I do wonder if you fared any better? And if you had any tips to share? Hey, on the other hand the funny thing about ideas is that sometimes people sow the seed of an idea, and then it roots and blooms. And on many an occasion, it can be hard to know if the idea was original thinking, or a seed chucked there by someone else. A complicated story that.

    Yeah, well, exactly! I doubt they really want to see the old dead dude again. Science, taking the fun out monarchy since way back… 🙂

    Fascinating. You know the opposite is happening here. The store is quite well stocked, but it’s quiet. The cheaper Germun chain shop across the road is probably busier. I tend to believe that food stuffs from that place taste strange. But did you spot any rats? That’s what I want to know.

    Holy carp, Lewis! That is a lot for you guys for a gallon of fuel. The disparity is weird, isn’t it?

    Oh, before I forget, the Editor sends you thanks for suggesting ‘Under the vines’. She thoroughly enjoyed the series, and is about to embark upon the series ‘Aftertaste’ series 2. Top work and you have good taste in series!

    I also tend to keep the birds and bugs water supply clean. Do petunia’s enjoy wet feet? I forget whether I mentioned a book from the mid 1960’s I read recently where one character suggested to another to use DDT to keep down the mosquitoes.

    Fingers crossed with the second corn spear. Corn cam tells no lies! Have you had any updates on the growth today?

    That happens every year. Sure, it’s getting around, and even you-know-what is getting around, but I’m not yet observing huge outbreaks.

    It was a beautiful spring, err, sorry winter day here today. 55’F and blue skies, but with a bit of wind. We installed both sides of the corrugated steel sheet cladding on the shed extension. Hopefully fingers crossed, the project will be completely done tomorrow. And don’t stress, the forecast is for rain late tomorrow. That’s a relief.

    Neo Nazi’s. Tiresome folks. I’m not into extremes, in either the left or the right. Visiting the killing fields in Cambodia a long time ago, and long before Cambodia became touristy, assured me that extreme anything, is generally a very bad idea.



  35. Chris,

    More canine intrigue about the sheepskin? Can’t wait to hear details. With 3, it can be entertaining yet frantic.

    The specialist took more x-rays. No fracture. He did other tests. Nerve damage. Surgery next week. If the nerve is intact, I go home and can’t use that hand for at least 2 weeks. Then wait for the feeling to eventually return. If he has to repair the nerve, then it is at least 2 weeks of not using that hand and wait for the feeling to return. So I have been busy yesterday and today doing the last of the heavy work on the landscaping project.

    The electric motor part that broke was, indeed, the controller. I remember the simpler electric motors similarly to how you do. I even remember watching my father mess with the brushes and rewind a small motor.

    Time to get back to work on the project.


  36. Yo, Chris – And, from the Wonderful World of Archaeology, new discoveries near Stonehenge.

    Early days. Probably more data to follow.

    Re: John Lennon. Such as, his son?

    I keep expecting to get an e-mail, from The Editor. Along the lines of, “Quit encouraging him!” 🙂

    One can get paid obituaries, in our local newspaper. Think I’ll write one up, and instruct my executor’s to publish it. First I’ll straighten out the Chehalis building library story, and a few other things. Vengeance is best served cold. And I’ll be very cold, by that point.

    I’m happy The Editor is enjoying the series. There’s also “One Lane Bridge.” Creepy. Very creepy. Maybe save that one for closer to Halloween.

    There’s a bit of a plateau, in the middle of the bird bath. So, the Petunias pot bottom, is up out of the water. I saw some footage from the 1950s, about DDT. So safe you can spray school kids, eating their lunch, outside! Would you like a dusting of DDT on that PB&J sandwich?

    More corn has come up. I think I’m up to about 6 spears. But …

    We’re in for some really cold weather. Prof. Mass says that there will be records broken, all over the Pacific Northwest. Winter conditions in the passes. The forecast, for Sunday night, here, is 42F. That’s only 10 degrees above freezing. He ends his post by saying “The tomatoes will not be happy.” I wonder how our gardens will fare, here at the Institution.

    Speaking of the Institution, the other late afternoon, our elevator broke down. Luckily, with no one in it (which has happened, before.) The night manage got right on it, called the troubleshooter, but nothing he did was any help. So, he had to punt to the building manager. Who did nothing until the next morning, as, an evening call would have been expensive. It was repaired around noon, the next day. I’d say about half the Inmates, are not able to navigate the stairways. I hauled one old ladies cart up to the second floor. One I like. She said she didn’t realize I was so strong. I told her to keep it to herself. 🙂

    Paranoiac hallucinations. I have a tire (or tyre) that always looks a little low, to me. But I’m always rushing off somewhere, when I think of it. But the other day, I actually had a dream about it. So, I finally got out the gage. The pressure is right where it’s supposed to be.

    There were no rats, that I’ve seen. But it looks like they should have rats. I’m surprised we haven’t had mouse or rat problems, at the Club. I keep an eye on the bagged dry stuff, but so far, so good. Last evening, I hit my credit union, the Dollar + store, the other cheap food store in the complex, stopped by the Club to drop off the groceries, and then did my weekly shopping, at the regular grocery. I had watered, before my expedition.

    That’s the last time I’ll be able to go shopping, for The Club, this month. Funds are low, unless I get some donations. But, we do have a food box, coming next Friday.

    Father’s Day is this Sunday. I have to remember to give the blueberries there second feeding. Lew

  37. Hi DJ,

    Yes, intrigue and lots of it. Hey, there must be some mathematically acceptable way to prove that three fluffies produce 42 times the mischief as a single fluffy? 42 of course being the universal magical number. And, earlier today I learned that on the evening that the final episode of the Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy was aired way back in 1983, was the same as the last big fire which ripped through this mountain range – the infamous 1983 Ash Wednesday bushfire. One of the oral histories from that night mentioned only watching half of the final epsiode before being rudely interrupted by nature. What a loss, but nature of course has the final say in that arrangement.

    Yikes! Mate, how did it come to this? Far out. I hope you recover speedily and yes, I will absolutely 100% nag you if I don’t hear that you are regularly doing your rehab. 🙂 Good luck! You were warned. No rehab = No whingeing! Rehab = Whingeing rights! It’s a simple formula, you’d hopefully agree. 😉

    Thought so. Controllers aren’t what they used to be. Back in the day, the things were simpler. I’ve got a similar issue with an electric log splitter. It’s a 12 tonne hydraulic unit so is worth rescuing. Stupidly the machine is quite good, despite the dead controller, and so I may replace all that messy relay business, with a slow start circuit. Very clever circuits those things. Been a bit busy on other projects thought.

    Man, there used to be businesses which did motor rewindings, although it is not all that hard to replace brushes. Your dad probably understood the length of the winding and the effect on the output. Nowadays I’m pretty sure that most such devices end up in landfill, or get recycled in the land of stuff.

    Hope the landscaping project is going well. Finished the shed extension earlier today.



  38. Hi Lewis,

    Seems like a good find, hope the bodies they found don’t mind being disturbed? There was a linked article which suggested that Stonehenge was simply a burial ground, and candidly it seems like a lot of effort to go to for a mere burial ground. Although the pyramids were a very extreme example of that type, or the Chinese emperors buried stone warriors. The National Gallery had an exhibition of those warriors when I was a kid, but they also had a Pompeii exhibition as well. Both exhibitions left lasting memories.

    Oh yeah, Julian Lennon. Yes, of course. Perhaps the performer fees for AI were cheaper?

    It sounds like a dark tale of intrigue all that straightening out of the library story, like a Neil Diamond song but gone horribly wrong. Well, after you are departed from this life, the remaining library folks would have a hard time suing for defamation – after all, dead folks don’t generally respond well to a summons to court. As a strategy, I must say that your idea has much to commend it. I agree, the temperature won’t be an issue for you, and say if you were dragged to court in that condition, the nice people there might need to air out the room. Always a problem. Do you think that there might be a risk that after publishing your vengeance, the surviving miscreants might dig you up like that Cromwell bloke? 😉 Of course, you could write a ‘tell all’ and our fortunes may be finally made?

    I’ll pass on your recommendation for ‘One Lane Bridge’ series.

    Ah, a clever adaption, like one of those islands in a farm dam (or pond in US parlance).

    Did they really? Ooo! Well, people spray around poisons and think as little about it nowadays. Can’t recall where I heard it said, but I read a good quote about that: I’d rather concentrate instead on growing plants, than killing things

    Good stuff with the corn, it should grow fast now, maybe, except for your horrendous cold snap. Are you sure we haven’t had a spatial anomaly, and some of the cold weather from here has ended up in your part of the world, like that blob thing, but down under style? Hashtag, just sayin, 55’F here today. You read it here first! 🙂 The tomatoes will be fine, maybe. They won’t like the cold weather at all, and hopefully the lows don’t get too near to freezing. Fingers crossed for you. And just in case you were worried, it’s raining outside right now.

    Me tired. We finished the shed extension project today and it was a long day. Did the carpentry for the front of it, hung the doors, installed the steel cladding and extended the drains on both sides of the shed. The Editor even acknowledged the need for the two extra water tanks. Prior to this afternoon, there had been some resistance to the idea. Everything went pretty smoothly today given that moving the front of the shed to it’s new location was something of a three dimensional problem.

    Glad to hear that nobody was caught inside the lift – what a nightmare. Respect for helping out, and also for being able to direct your assistance.

    Hey, it’s possible that the tyre isn’t made to the same specifications as your other tyres, and that maybe why it looks a bit ‘off’. Tell you a funny story on that front. A few years I purchased two pairs of jeans, a well known brand, and one size was different, despite the label. Hmm. It is possible that quality control is not quite what it once was.

    Man, cupboards are a simple technology which mostly excludes rodents. Unless of course they chew through the chipboard, which they can do. When I was a kid, root storage bins were timber but lined with sheet metal. Rats can’t get through that. How’s the food stored at the Club?

    Foodflation is real, but as you rightly point out, prices are all over the shop, so it is hard to grapple with.

    Hope the blueberries enjoy their feed.



  39. Yo, Chris – A couple of interesting articles, in our local newspaper. The first is on apples.,320965

    Never read the book or saw the movie, but, somehow or another am familiar with the story.

    And, an article about a dairy farm. Didn’t know we still had some, in this county.,320991

    Interesting about the push back, from her neighbors.

    In the article about the military veterans, and forest management, did you notice the goat? That’s what Fern Glade needs. A couple of goats. Lew

  40. Yo, Chris – Excalibur?

    It did seem to appear from nowhere. Or, had an earlier history. The Lady of the Lake must have picked it up, somewhere. Which reminds me, I have a book on my hold list, that is some sort of Arthurian novel. Sci-fi, I think.

    I found a little green nubbin, on one of my tomato plants, last night. Go, tomatoes! If it will ride out the cold snap, is the question. We’ll see. Maybe there’s a small black hole, sucking the cold out of Australia, and spraying it around us?

    Go shed extension! So, what’s up next, on the project list? 🙂 I think a break involving pies, is called for.

    I bought a pair of jeans, a couple of years ago, and the pockets didn’t feel right. I finally figures out they had been put in backwards. Quality control seems to have gone right out the window.

    Some of the dry bagged and boxed stuff, pasta, beans, cereals, are kept in an unused back office. Just on open shelves. We get way more of that than is used.

    I decided I needed a treat, so, shrimp nachos. Last week, I couldn’t bring myself to pay the price for the tinned stuff. And this week there was no tinned stuff left. But, I found some in the fresh meat and seafood section. Half a pound for $4. Now, what to put on the chips, besides shrimp? Mushrooms and garlic. Maybe some chives out of the garden. Swiss cheese, I think. Probably, tonight.

    I picked up a book from the library, that had been on my hold list, forever. Must have been a slow boat from Australia. “Baking Masterclass: The Ultimate Collection of Cakes, Biscuits & Slices.” From an outfit called It looks like they put out several cookbooks, but it’s hard to get a fix on exactly how many. You think their website … It’s an oversize paperback, with wall to wall color photos. And “how-to” pictures of any tricky parts. Also, tweaks to jazz up whatever is on offer. Was not impressed with the “alphabetical index.” Anzac biscuits and hot cross buns were indexed under “Traditional Anzac biscuits.” Ditto the buns. So, instead of finding them under “A” or “H” they were under “T.” A minor quibble. I see they also have a separate cookbook for pies 🙂

    Funny, we’re reading in the same vein. I also picked up “Fire Weather: A True Story from a Hotter World.” (Vaillant, 2023). It’s about the huge Fort McMurray fire, up in Alberta, Canada. Back in 2016. I didn’t realize it, until I picked up the book, but it’s the same author that wrote “The Golden Spruce,” which I read a couple of years back and thoroughly enjoyed. Must say, I’m skimming through some early parts of the book. The ecology of Alberta. The petrochemical industry. Can we get to the fire, please?

    The sunset last night, was quit nice. No defined clouds, as such. Just a kind of smear of clouds, from horizon to horizon. So they were turned all pink and violet. Looked like a watercolor wash painting. Lew

  41. Hi Lewis,

    I know, I’d already spotted the article on the bronze age sword. And far out, the sword looks amazing for it’s age. The smith who made that sword sure knew what he was doing, or got lucky with a high nickel content. The lady of the lake is the gift which keeps on giving. Well they do say that Arthur will return, so why not in a sci-fi? Nobody ever said when.

    The little green nubbin of a tomato will probably be fine, as will any fruit already on the fruit trees. Now, blossoms, that’s another thing altogether. They’re probably toast, as I guess some of the more marginal fruits will be. That’s the fun thing about planting out marginal fruits in cool temperate areas, sometimes it just works. Some years I’ve enjoyed buckets of apricots which preserve really well. Other years like the past three, I get to enjoy apples and pears and merely feel as if the earlier years of preserved apricots over winter, were but a dream. Fingers crossed that you’ll be fine. If you’re really worried, chuck a sheet over them during the night time. It’s not like sheets aren’t cheap.

    Yes, there is a black hole, and it is cold here. Brr! Hey, we went to visit the Tramway Heritage Centre today to have a poke around all the old trams. Yeah, the gate was locked and it was shut. Undeterred by the closure, we stopped by a nearby cidery for lunch and shared some yummy nachos. When I was a kid, I regularly used to use the trams to get around. Getting to the hippy dippy school required an annual pass and that gave me access to the trams, buses and train system. Back in those days the trams (and trains) were timber and had big comfy leather seats, which were seriously hot over the summer months. Air conditioning was a manual affair in those days – lower the windows and let the moving hot air in. Nowadays the things are locked up tight, like sardines in a can.

    You guessed it correctly, A break is called for before commencing the next big project. There’s a list. 😉 Got the wood heater going late this afternoon and then crashed out. A person does need to recharge their batteries.

    Hehe! Well, that’s a new one, and I also wouldn’t have checked on the pockets being sewn in backwards. But yeah, I can see how that was possible. Lot’s of stuff, but is it any good?

    There was an article about food boxes over in the south west of the state near to the coast line (and a relatively recent-ish volcano): Practical skills come in handy for both country kids and local charity Food Share. Pretty clever stuff.

    Yum! Shrimp nachos sounds very tasty to me. And um, interestingly I’ve read that with prices rising, seafood – which is usually seen as an expensive food choice – consumption has declined. Makes a weird sort of sense, and that’s probably why the fresh option was available. Seriously, those nachos sound good. And hey, it must have been the day for nachos? The moons were aligned! The one’s we got at lunchtime had what you’d call chili, and I usually know as chili con carne. It was an innovation, but so much salt. Everyone has their kryptonite. 🙂

    Yeah, that mob have been around for a while, and they’re kind of like an interweb version of those old recipe card boxes which used to be sold, except maybe with larger pictures of the meals. I’d be interested to hear what you have to say about the book, as most of the recipes I’ve tried have turned out quite good. Plus you get to read peoples reviews, and that can be a brutal audience. Hashtag – no filters! Far out…

    Has the book gotten to the fire yet? The earlier chapters may have been a bit of padding out.

    Lovely, and all that smoke from the fires produces some delightful sunsets. Nature can put on quite the show when she wants.

    The Lost Apple Project folks would sure have some fun, and also really good skills. At the apple course we went to a few weeks ago, I was surprised to learn that new root stocks are still being developed. Makes sense.

    Lupine is a good plant as it captures nitrogen from out of the atmosphere and fixes it into the soil. Years ago I met a couple of local blokes who had a large patch of lupins in bloom, and it looked really cool. I like those folks perspective on the world – it’s just the way we do things. And the push back is real, even I get push back for doing anything different. Absolutely bonkers given the history, but it doesn’t stop them. People often express that bonkers in the whole native versus introduced plants. Most folks who spruik such nonsense don’t have a long enough perspective on history. Plants are the ultimate hitch-hikers.

    I like goats, but we’re not at that stage, and other than the milk, the wildlife perform similar functions.

    Cheers and better get writing!


  42. Yo, Chris – I think that’s what the King Arthur novel, is about. Arthur returns, because we are so stuffed. 🙂 It’s been done, before, in sci-fi and fantasy books.

    Sheets aren’t cheap, if you use 1,500 thread count, 100% Egyptian cotton. Or, bamboo. 🙂 I’ll just take my chances. They knocked another degree off the forecast temperature, for tonight.

    So, trains were included in your pass? Were you ever tempted to just catch a train, and lark about the continent? I see enough old trains, watching British mysteries, set in previous times. The had a lot more … character. I read some articles, recently, where some bloke rediscovered some of the old coaches from the Orient Express. Rotting away on a siding in Albania, or somewhere. They’re being restored, and will be put back into service, on some kind of Orient Express run.

    That was an interesting article on the school kids and food banks. Similar things go on here and there, over here. Yes, it all boils down to labor and transportation. I also found the side bar article about small street libraries, converted to pantries, interesting.

    The shrimp nachos turned out well. Tasty. I have some shrimp left, and think tonight I’ll just do a rice, shrimp and veg mix. The cookbook looks pretty good, as it runs from simple, to not so simple recipes. Basic tasty fare, to more elaborate stuff when you really want to splash out. Holidays, and such. There’s even a section on easy, fast snacks.

    Read some more of the fire book, last night. Yup. We’re getting into the interesting parts. Had to force myself to get to bed at a decent hour. Fort McMurray was another situation, where there was only one road in and one road out. Same with their neighborhoods. Evacuation orders came late. It’s amazing there were so few fatalities, except for a traffic accident, or two.

    Lost plants hunters are so interesting. Lost apples. Lost roses. A good excuse to get out and tramp around, for a day. Lew

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