On the Borderline

There’s an old Russian fable about a scorpion and a frog. The scorpion wants to cross the river, and a hesitant frog falls for the assurance that if the scorpion stings, they would both drown. And drowning is exactly what happened midway through the river crossing. The story goes that the dying frog was told: “I am sorry, but I couldn’t resist the urge. It’s in my nature.” Yeah, real nice, and best to not be involved with such nasty plans. There’s an even older Persian fable which tells a similar tale involving a scorpion and a turtle. This time the turtle survives due to its tough shell, and offers the advice: “Truly have the sages said that to cherish a base character is to give one’s honour to the wind, and to involve one’s own self in embarrassment.” Wise words indeed. I’ve been the tortoise.

The final conversation I had with my mother was: “Come and pick up your cat, or I’ll get her put down.” Not the sort of conversation you’d normally imagine having with your mum, that’s for sure. Except things were never normal. It wasn’t a joke either, and the cats life really did hang in the balance. The cat was an innocent party to the story, and so was duly saved. The cheeky minx got to enjoy a few more happy years lording it over the dogs, whilst teaching the other cat (who’d previously thought it was a dog, and as such was mild mannered and pleasant) all the tricksey feline ways.

My mother was a really difficult lady. Volatile. Loved a drink. Went through a few marriages. You’d see the difference with other families, and you’d know. After school camp, all the other parents picked their kids up. You’d wait a bit. Then wait a bit more. You’d be the last person there. Then reality would kick in, you’d jump on the bus, catch the connecting bus, and make your way home. Food and shelter were kind of important to survival, but I kept my distance from them all, and still do.

At one point she married an even more volatile bloke. It didn’t end well, as you’d expect. All I recall now was blood and tears, and my grandfather stepping in and taking us kids for a while, then we never saw the volatile bloke again. It was good to be rid of him anyway, because he’d turned the house against me. He clearly had some issues. My older sisters saw the way the wind was blowing, and decided that it was either Chris, or them. For a couple of years, maybe around the age of eight or nine, the household collectively decided that I was gay, and weren’t afraid to tell me about it. It was a strange couple of years that, and when people ask me nowadays: Surely you miss your family? The only reasonable reply is: What the f..k? Have you met them?

As part of keeping my distance from them, I always had a good network of friends and acquaintances. Observing how their families were frankly more functional was kind of nice, and most of them made me feel welcome. You got the impression that they knew. However, it was always difficult having friends visit. An old friend used to tell me that my mother used to say to him: “If you don’t eat your vegetables, you’ll get bowel cancer and die!” Like, who says that to kids? On the other hand, it’s worth noting that her mother was institutionalised, so perhaps things could have been worse. The things I’ve seen! But a bloke learns how to be a decent person by watching just how wrong things can go.

When there wasn’t another bloke in the house (usually something of a relief), that meant the adult bloke activities fell onto my shoulders. Even as a young teenager, if the car needed servicing, just for one example, I had to organise that. My mother would ask me pointedly, ‘How did you know how to do that?’ And there was no answer to that question, but it hardly surprises me that I turned into a responsible adult. The adults weren’t being adults.

My mother put me into a very hippy dippy school for disadvantaged kids between years seven and eight. It wasn’t a bad high school, you just got the impression that the authorities were happy if the kids simply turned up. Wasn’t much of an education though, and when my grandfather learned of this, he stumped the mad cash to send me to a more English than the English grammar school. It was a bit of a mind trip going from hippy dippy to ultra formal, although the education was significantly better.

Despite living in a volatile house, the after school organised fights between the grammar school kids were a surprise. No doubts the ultra formal school environment breeds pressures. Not knowing the first thing about fighting, but seeing how things rolled, I took myself to the local Dojo and trained for many years under a truly accomplished Sensei. He scared me a bit, but was always fair and just, unlike my family. Despite it all, it’s been my fortune to have come into the presence of some very strong male role models who have taught me much. And it doesn’t take too many wins in the after school organised fights for the other kids to realise that you’re trouble, and you then get left alone.

Sadly, those skills had to be turned on my mother. Maybe when I was about fifteen, I was sitting at the kitchen table doing my homework. She was in a foul mood, you could tell she was looking for an outlet. As a kid you learn to read the room, mostly as a self defence tool, and the room sure wasn’t hard to read that day. I now don’t even recall the discussion, but she’d been drinking, and unwisely took a whack at my head. The funny thing about a roundhouse blow is that on the receiving end you have plenty of warning. Shields!!! A quick block of the swing deflected the energy of the blow. To her surprise her arm was then locked and she found herself pushed against the refrigerator. “I wouldn’t do that again if I were you” she was warned. And she never did. Much later she said how proud she was of my actions and “that made a man of me”. I wasn’t much into that perspective.

Once employed in a full time job, I left home, never to look back. Some of my hard earned mad cash went into getting some help to deal with the experience, and that was a good thing. But I made the decision to keep my distance from them all.

Many years later, and just prior to our marriage, Sandra tried to reconnect with all of them, even my dead beat father. It was an impressive effort based on pure altruism. The reality was much closer to those awful videos of sealer’s clubbing beautiful little baby harp seals to death on the beach in some remote locale for their fur. Far out. And once they had an angle back into my life, the family went all out to completely ruin the wedding day with their antics. It was utterly bonkers. Sandra came away from the experience with a deeper understanding of the realities of the situation.

I really never did look back. An inheritance was dangled at me as a proverbial carrot. Ignored. My mother died maybe five or six years ago. For me, the death had occurred many long years beforehand. I’d had plenty of time to grieve, and even more time to learn. My best guess is that she had what is known as undiagnosed ‘Borderline Personality Disorder’, but I’m no professional in that field, I just had lot’s of first hand experience and observation. That monster can travel in families too. My understanding is that at the core of the disorder, is a dislike of oneself. And if such a person can’t like themselves, then they’ll seriously hate anyone who has a relationship with them. It really is a no-win situation, and the best thing you can do when encountering such a person is to run like f..k. After all, they’re scorpions!

If you’ve made it this far, respect!

A few weeks ago we finally managed to crack apart the large wedge shaped rock which had previously defeated our efforts. This week, we broke apart the final few chunks of that rock so that they could be more easily moved. Even broken into smaller chunks, they’re still heavy rocks and a take fair bit of effort to relocate. Still, the effort is worthwhile because the rocks are being used in the low gradient path project.

A rotary hammer drill is a potent rock drilling tool

As a reminder, we drill 18mm / 0.7 inch holes into the rock in a line. Then an electric jackhammer is used to force pointy bits into the holes. That has the result of splitting the rock apart along the line of the drill holes. It’s the same process that the Romans used two millennia ago, without the electric tools of course.

This beast of a machine hauls the heavy rocks back up the hill

A serious beast of a power wheelbarrow is then used to walk the heavy rocks back up the hill. I’m not at all sure I could move the rocks in a human powered wheelbarrow! Getting them into the bucket is far harder than dumping them out at the other end of the journey.

And all those large rocks are being used as retaining walls on the new low gradient path project. That project is only about a third of the way through, but there’s no hurry with it. It will take a lot of rocks to complete.

The low gradient path project is progressing nicely, but requires more rocks

We’re also continuing to clean up the old loggers mess. There’s enough fallen timber for a few decades of firewood down there. I’ve given up wondering what was in their minds, and instead am spending that energy on cleaning it up. We do one little area at a time. The fallen trees get cut into three foot lengths and stacked to dry out. In a few weeks time, we’ll cut them into firewood lengths, then split them. The firewood will then be stored out in the sun to further dry out. You want to get firewood down to about 14% moisture content, otherwise the steam and acids produced on combustion will damage the steel in wood heaters.

There are also a lot of left over tree stumps just laying around. The soil gets removed from them, and we roll the stumps into a pile and burn them off. Winter is a great time to do this work, because no matter how cold the day is, you get very hot. It’s hard work.

Tree stumps get burned off and the fallen timber gets converted to firewood

Observant readers will note that in the above image, the moisture can be seen in the core of the tree logs. It will dry out just fine. And there are a couple of examples of old randomly dropped trees.

In that area is another of the mystery stone circles, which sit on contour with the other stone circle. I’m really not certain what the stone circles were used for. Certainly they’re not natural. This stone circle is missing a stone, which we’ll correct sooner or later. I’ll probably fill the circle with soil and plant an oak tree. That’s what my gut feeling tells me to do.

Another stone circle

Near to that stone circle, we took a good look at a very large rock. I like the look of this large rock because it has many cracks and fissures. This is a good sign that this may provide us with a whole lot of smaller yet still large rocks for the low gradient path project. It even has a bit of water weeping from a fissure.

This large rock may provide us with a good supply of smaller, yet still large rocks

Interestingly, there is a wide diversity of ferns growing here on the property, and during this work we discovered a very large patch of the common maidenhair fern (Adiantum aethiopicum).

We discovered a large patch of the Common maidenhair fern (Adiantum aethiopicum)

Onto the flowers:

Leucodendron look superb at this time of year
The recent spell of warm weather may have confused this Gazania
Another variety of Daisy has also produced flowers
Hellebores really love this wintry time of year
Hellebores are known as the winter rose, and they’re super-hardy

The temperature outside now at about 10am is 7’C (44’F). So far this year there has been 496.8mm (19.6 inches) which is up from last weeks total of 488.5mm (19.2 inches)

65 thoughts on “On the Borderline”

  1. FYI, those baby seals aren’t on any beaches, they are on the floating ice, where their blood really shows up. Yes, awful imagery, and glad to have only seen it on TV about the time we put an end to that particular ‘harvest’
    Certainly an image of your wedding being a ‘trial by fire’

  2. Yo, Chris – I won’t roll out the old Tolstoy chestnut, again. Or maybe I should. Maybe some of your Constant Readers, aren’t as constant as we suppose. 🙂 “All happy families are alike; each unhappy family is unhappy in it’s own way.”

    People always look a bit shocked, when I say I’m so happy to be an orphan. But, boy, the stories I hear at the Club, and in meetings … Drama, drama, drama. Of course, we’re dealing with a bit of a skewed sampling. Pretty dysfunctional people to begin with. But are they more dysfunctional than the general run of the population? Maybe a bit. But maybe not all that much.

    Well, look at it this way. If you hadn’t had such a hard upbringing, would you be your present pillar of the community 🙂 and have the lovely helpmate you have today. Your rudder. Your ballast. Dickens would have a field day. Ignoble beginnings, good endings.

    You know, you might think about spending a bit more mad cash, for a little tune up. As the old ad used to say, “Just two, two week followups.” Of course, that was referring to a “recovery” program that involved the application of the drug Antibuse and then pouring liquor down you. The “treatment” rooms are all tile, I’ve been told, as they have to be hosed out. Their “recover” rate doesn’t seem to be any better than a lot of other, less invasive, programs around. But my point is, you’ve had a lot of time to mull this all over, and maybe another large chunk of discomfort, could be laid to rest. Just a suggestion.

    I think you included the “…requires more rocks” photo, just to show off your kiwis. 🙂 With the leaves off the vines, it makes your low gradient ramp look like it’s been there, forever. As if it has some real age to it. Quit nice looking.

    No, you haven’t given up on wondering what was on the logger’s minds. Beat that horse, again. 🙂 The fire picture really gives a feel to your beautiful and well established forest.

    Well, if you’re gut is telling you to plant an oak, in the rock ring, than by all means. Not a sugar maple? Not a walnut? Arthur’s knights slept beneath mighty oaks, in that book I recently read.

    Maybe that large rock is corking a spring? Next up: hydropower! Or at least a spring house. I used to know a fellow, out in our east county, who had solar, hydro and wind power. Seemed like a bit of overkill. 🙂

    The flowers are lovely. Given our winters, we don’t see many flowers here, in winter. Lew

  3. Hi Andy,

    Thanks for the correction. The seals are sweet looking creatures in a very harsh environment. Man, like you I also saw the harvesting footage and asked the hard question: Do I really need to take in such images? Best to not be involved with that trade in any form, and a lack of customers will do far more to protect the seals than any protests ever could.

    Harvesting of products from animals is always a complicated and fraught process, and I dunno about other people, but we chose here to try and find a middle ground between obtaining a harvest which will support us, and allowing some of the forest critters to also enjoy that harvest. It’s all an experiment, but each year we obtain more produce, and there’s also more life. I believe that is a worthwhile outcome, yeah.

    Oh yeah, the Editor had a rough time of it way back then. I’d advised her not to trust them, but you know, hard won experience is always preferable to direct control – and control is not my style anyway. It was a hard lesson to learn though, I’ll tell you. The drama provided some interesting background colour to the day. Oh well, it is what it is.



  4. Hi Claire,

    Ah, the same is true down here with property taxes. Instead of a county, we have the local council, but same, same. There might be a few minor differences in that the police is paid for and run at the state level, rather than the county level. I’m not sure how things roll with that in your part of the world, but I have the impression that’s a county matter. Dunno.

    I’m reading articles of folks who aren’t keeping up with property taxes, and like insurances, they’re one of those costs that get hidden. When in the big smoke, we used to live next door to a pilot, and he told me that just prior to a well known airline financially collapsing, maintenance was skipped. Hmm. There might be a bit of that going around these days.

    Insurance is the same arrangement down here too. That’s an interesting question you’ve raised. Some of the premiums are rising at a rate of 20% per annum, and that is not a sustainable proposition. Hope the increases aren’t as steep in your part of the world?



  5. Chris;
    I respect your open sharing. Hope it helps.
    My dad was an alcoholic, a bit more subtle, and only verbally abusive, but the dysfunction affected us all (I’m oldest of 10). The old line “We didn’t know we were poor” is only true if all around you are in the same boat.

    Since we lived on a farm in the country, I only saw other kids in a school setting, and so it took me a while to understand what “normal” was.

    We all did instinctively learn the lesson of ignoring the elephant in the room, and not talking about it. Some of my siblings have not moved past it very well. So it goes.

    On to other things-
    I finally noticed that you are among the elite group the Albert Bates has labelled “fellow ne’er-do -wells”. Congratulations and you are in good company. I have been slowly accumulating materials to make my own small scale biochar retort, and continue to hope his message goes viral, as he has facts on his side. Occasionally, facts win the day. Not much time left.

    We are still in drought here, and have to water the garden quite a bit. Some plants are dealing, others are lethargic, one more reason to plant diverse food crops. ~25 different veggies in our garden, and of course , all the food trees that can get through a drought much better than annuals.

    Squarish, blocky rocks are to be valued. More stable, stackable, tidy looking. Whatever shape, rocks in a wheelbarrow are decidedly heavier when moving them uphill. When I am gathering firewood in our place, some good candidate trees are not used as they are an uphill haul to the house. It’s ok, they will eventually add to the soil and continue the nutrient cycle.

    Your rock circles took a good bit of effort to assemble, enquiring mind want to know the story. I hope you find out. Any historical museum nearby?

  6. Hi Lewis,

    The Tolstoy quote from Anna Karenina is worth repeating, mostly because it is true. You’re right though, the constant readers will have heard it before, the newer readers, not so much. I also really liked the quote from the even older Persian fable – it suggests that the association with the bad eggs will reflect upon yourself, whilst also using up your energy. That can happen.

    Hehe! Blessed are the orphans, for they are free! 🙂 The Big J may have been heard to say that, but those pesky medieval scribes took that bit out. That’s what I heard anyway. Maybe a bit more dysfunctional, true, but I hold some doubts that your Club folks would be too far from the statistical mean. And it is worthwhile mentioning, that they’re seeking support – what about the one’s who aren’t doing so? Hmm. But yeah, I hear you, who needs the drama?

    Thanks! And I like to believe that the same applies to your good self as well. 🙂 That’s also true about the Editor, although part of getting support way back when was because I wasn’t entirely pleased with the people I’d surrounded myself with. That was something I had to deal with. Probably there are 12 steps for such circumstances. Dickens was a complicated dude, I prefer a simpler life than he.

    Thanks for the suggestion, and I’m always considering how the past influenced my present and working out ways to do better. It’s like a process of continual improvement for me. Sometimes I make mistakes too, and you know, there’s things to be learned there as well. Mate, I have no baseline to compare to, and simply run my own race. However, I ask for support and assistance when needed, I just don’t talk about it much. This was penned for a specific reason. They know, and that’s enough for me.

    There sure are a lot of kiwi fruit, and they’re almost ripe. I’m really enjoying the look of that path project. In a few weeks the new rock lined garden bed on the lowest side will be planted out with ferns. Truth to tell, I’m kind of glad that we’ve hit Peak Rocks because there only so many of those monsters you want to move on any one day. A comment the farmer / author Gene Logsdon wrote many years ago has stuck with me about farms being more aesthetic in the past. All the fruit trees you see in that image produce edibles of one sort or another.

    Down on the edge of the forest is a nice place to spend some time. And as we do the clean up work, you can see the health of the tall trees improve. Well established is a great way to describe them all. And there is a good understory community of plants growing there too. I’ve visited a century old Redwood forest a couple of hours drive to the south west of here. A lovely place, and there’s something about really old tall trees. The ones in the photo are some of the younger trees too. I reckon they date back to the 1983 bushfires, and would have germinated in the rich ash beds once the rains returned.

    Yeah, my gut feeling tells me oak, so it will be an oak which gets planted in the stone circle. You’d think there’d be an ash bed within the circle of rocks, but no. We’ve got sugar maples and walnuts growing elsewhere. The walnut tree was really hard to get established, but seems like it’s doing fine now.

    Hydropower would be nice if there was enough water! You have to go a fair way down into the valley before the creek flows. And right in the very bottom of the valley – which may be a volcanic crater, there is a huge dam (pond). The creek runs into that. Not on our land. I should send them a bill for all the water we’re getting back into the ground.

    The Hellebores are an unusual flower in that they survive and thrive in really shady conditions.

    Hey, remember ‘The Good Life’ series from the 1970’s? I loved that show, and I recall the bloke there had created a methane digester using pig poop. And I’d heard about that with the hot water. Some French bloke designed a way to extract hot water from a compost pile using a heat exchanger – basically a series of pipes within the compost. The deep litter in the chicken run provides the chooks with some much needed winter heat. It works.

    There was some sort of soft plastics recycling collection system, which failed the economic test of reality. Most of the stuff may have ended up in landfill. A mate works in the plastics recycling business (or did) and he was telling me that the stuff has only a couple of cycles in it before the recycled products become brittle. If we were serious about recycling, there’d be more standardisation of products and materials.

    But exactly, and well said! When did human poop become a bad thing? Way back in the day down here we had the night soil carts which used to supposedly return the poop to agricultural areas. Flushing it is convenient, but as a process, it’s a bit too easy. That’s a fascinating point, and did we in the west have a culture of widely recognising the value of the minerals in human poop? It’s possible that the use wasn’t all that widespread? I’d read that small holdings used animals for their poop, and did that imply a difference, or was the history cooked up for present sensibilities?

    Speaking of crimes, the Editor has begun reading the Mr Mercedes trilogy. So good. And have you noticed the outrageous behaviour of tourists over in Italy?

    Hehe! Mate, I’ve been working on him for years about this issue. Next we catch up, I intend to ask him whether the theory still holds. He might be reading this.

    Oh yeah, you’ve got the big holiday. Happy fourth! 🙂 That would reduce numbers for the hot dogs, and yes defeat can be snatched from the jaws of victory – but not in that particular case! Yeah, mate, we’ve all been there on the receiving end of that story. A couple of extra bucks upfront, and people will be more enthusiastic about the results, although I am biased in this manner. Those are pretty good condiments. Never thought of cream cheese on a hot dog. Like slices of beets on a burger, it might not fly with me that concept.

    Those would be my choices as well, but I might be inclined to repeat the mustard over the tomato sauce option. The Editor stuck three chili’s in tonight’s dinner. I must say, the guts are still roiling. Probably two would be better than three in this case.

    Was the dumpster picked up?

    I was not familiar with the Lizzie Borden mystery. That’s a real rats nest of a tale. The zombie theory makes as much sense as any other. And the entire sordid mess is a cry for better investigation of crime scenes. Just saying! But I’m thinking zombies now, and it was clearly an act of altruism. 🙂 Can we work Triffids into the story? Perhaps Triffid venom was what caused the earlier poisonings? But aren’t fairy tales replete with wicked step mothers? Hmm.



  7. Hi Steve,

    Yes, it does. And thank you for recounting your experiences. Words are weapons, of that I have no doubts, and they can cut. That’s equally true here, I never knew about being poor until the comparisons to other families became too great to ignore. Then you know. Mate, way back in the day, I’d see other kids families, but it didn’t really sink in what it all meant until I became more involved with girlfriends families. The normality of it all was something of a sting.

    I hear you about that, and that’s how it rolls and you never can tell what the outcomes will be for different people in a family under these sorts of circumstances. It’s funny isn’t it in a bleak sort of a way. Dunno, but as a young bloke I made the decision not to indulge the past, and get some help. That was a good thing too. I watched one of my older sisters go off the rails, and I had this eerie feeling that the adults were really good with that outcome. Certainly it gave them all something to focus their energies upon. Taking myself out of that environment and never looking back, was probably the only way forward.

    Respect to you.

    Albert Bates is an interesting bloke. Hadn’t heard of him before, but I really like his approach to waste, in fact using outputs from one system as inputs into another redefines what waste even is. That’s what we do here. And growing mixed forest, a very clever bloke indeed. decentralized, idiosyncratic plans based on local conditions I’d have to suggest he’s onto something there, and those words are how things have rolled in the past. Building the soils is one of the ways we can invest in the future. Yup. 😉

    Are you observing which trees are dealing better with the drier conditions? Some fruit trees here shrug off such dry conditions, and I’ve seen very hot not to mention months long dry conditions here. With limited water reserves, you have to really be careful where water is used. It can get a bit scary really, especially as such years are bad for fires. We’ve got two additional water tanks on order. A bit more storage doesn’t hurt. And I agree, annuals do it tough in such conditions.

    Hehe! Only someone with experience with wheelbarrows will know the value of a powered wheelbarrow when on a slope. 🙂 That yellow machine is a beast. It’ll move 500kg on the flat, and probably about half that weight up hill. The motor was made in your country too.

    The mineral cycle here is a bit broken. The trees have been down for a few decades, and they’re still good firewood. It’s a problem. I’m guessing it wasn’t always that way, but it doesn’t take too many big bushfires to sterilise the soil. And there’s been been a few of them over the past 190 years. The land was better managed before that time. Do you notice in the photo near to the fire that there is very little plant life? We’ll spread the ash around (not to mention the potent coffee ground mixture) and that will get things started again. Life is on the move what with all the forest critters around here, sometimes you’ve just got to give it a little helping hand.

    It’s possible the stone circles were used to concentrate energy for the production of resins from forest materials. That’s one plausible theory. I’m not entirely sure the loggers made them, because they simply removed the tree stumps using a bulldozer and cables, then left them all over the place. They didn’t collect them and burn them off, which they easily could have done with those machines. It’s a mess. And if it was a campfire, why so large and with the circle nearby on contour? Sooner or later, I’ll hopefully find out. It’s a mystery.



  8. @ Inge – One of the spellings of my last name I ran across was Hambourgh. That’s the way my grandfather used to pronounce it. Almost a guttural at the end. Sounded like hacking out a hard “K”. As I remember, sounded like “Bork.” Lew

  9. Yo, Chris – I ran across an interesting article on earthquakes, insurance, or the lack there of.


    “Association with bad eggs.” “You’re known by the company you keep.” Or, the more pithy, “Lie down with dogs, get up with fleas.”

    Probably, a lot like “The Life of Brian.” The shouters in the crowd, passing on the message … and not getting it quit right. With all the tech, these days, it’s amazing (and sometimes amusing) how much old texts were fiddled with.

    Not so much Dickens life, which was a mess, as his characters who mostly, eventually “won” through. Maybe it was all wishful thinking, on his part?

    So, you’re a work in progress? 🙂 That’s one of my “character defects.” I have a problem, asking for support and assistance. It’s a guy thing.

    Maybe the smaller stone circle, off a bit, was for “the help.” 🙂

    “The Good Life,” was a great series. On one hand, it really sent up the “back to the land” movement. On the other, I think it gave people … ideas. Yes, plastic becomes brittle. Then it becomes micro plastic. Which ends up all around, and in us.

    Maybe … well, germ theory was all well and good, but some people carry it to extremes. Plus, the smell. I must say, I do enjoy the smell of fresh cow manure, in the morning! In moderation. Elinor is always moaning about how she can smell cigarette smoke (or, mara-hochie,) in her bathroom. Not that anyone else can detect it. I finally got tired of it, and got a little snippy with her. Told her it was a bad smell, not mustard gas.

    Here, small holdings used to have out houses, of course. When the hole approached full, they’d dig another hole and move the little house. Fill in whatever room was left in the old hole, and plant a tree on it.

    CNN had a long article on naughty tourists in Europe, the other day. Why we can’t have nice things.

    Seattle dogs. Yes, let’s take something that’s pretty fatty, and throw more fat on it. Because we just don’t get enough fat.

    Yes, our dumpster got emptied. Life is good. Until the next time. Usually, it’s not weight. It’s just too much stuff that overflows. Particularly bad when someone moves out. At least our last two maintenance guys, have taken their construction debris with them. Unlike Lazy Shiftless Jack. People just don’t seem to “get” that we have a perfectly good landfill transfer station.

    “Lizzie Borden took an ax, gave her father forty whacks, when she saw what she had done, gave her mother forty-one.” A skip-rope rhyme. Sung to the tune of “Ta-ra-ra-boom-te-a.” Really old. Dates back to the time of the trial.

    Our temperatures have been running around 80F. They’re going to slowly rise to around 90+, around Wednesday, Thursday. Then slowly decline. According to Prof. Mass, we’re gong to get a couple of days of the Canadian smoke. Those Covid masks might come in handy. 🙂

    I had a minor score, yesterday. I’ve been looking for a small end table, for next to my chair. Haven’t found what I had in mind. But someone left one, downstairs, with a “free sign” on it. Not exactly what I had in mind, but it will do. 22″x22″x24″. Glass top. Nice flat black satin finish. Slated lower shelf. It’s loose in a couple of the joints, but a bit of wood glue, and a cloth joint, ought to fix it right up.

    I’ve been a bit under the weather. Had a sore throat. Well, that’s gone, but whatever it is moved into my lungs. No problems breathing, but I think it’s in deep. Every once in awhile, I give a few good hacks, to clear things out. I feel tired, though. Took a four hour nap, yesterday. Got up and walked the dog. Slept another three hours. I was going to go get some wood glue, and stop by the Club for a cuppa. But thought better of it. Just sit tight, another day. Biscuits and gravy, tomorrow morning. Maybe. Holiday, and all. Lew

  10. Hi Chris,
    Thank you for sharing the story of your youth. Talk about the school of hard knocks. But as Lew said, it made you who you are today.

    I don’t know if it’s more common with women but we talk a lot about relatives past and present. It brings more understanding why we are the way we are. The more you understand about your past the more you come to understand yourself.

    I’m glad you had the good sense to seek some help as what you went through could have really messed you up. Cecily who is going through a very difficult time right now has been fortunate to find a good counselor. Right now there is such a great need for counseling services it’s very difficult to find one and then it’s a bit of a crap shoot whether or not they’re any good.

    We are also still suffering from drought conditions though the 2 inch rain last weekend helped a lot. Yesterday we were supposed to get rain but it went south. Daughter, Carla, who lives in the city said they got seven inches! So it was back to watering today. The Japanese beetles are back sadly.

    You asked about the bookstore last week. It seems to be doing quite well. It is probably the most enjoyable volunteer position I’ve ever had plus I can borrow any book.


  11. Chris,

    Thanks for the personal history. Tough stuff. Severing family ties early is sometimes what must be done. It sounds as if Sandra found that out the hard way. Ugg.

    Many employers advertise, either on the company website or during the job interview, that their business is one big family. My response would be along these lines: “One big family? So we only have to see each other twice a year, and we all drink heavily and fight on those two occasions?” Family.

    Lightning. Triffids. Frankenstein monsters. Mutant space goats. I’m trying to imagine what a mash-up of these would look like. Maybe I don’t want to know.

    I see that Claire explained the property tax with no mortgage thing. I get to pay the annual tax in 2 installments, half by April 30, half by October 31. No interest. However, if I don’t pay it all, the next year it accrues interest and a penalty. After 3 years of missed property tax payments, the County can foreclose on the property. My cynical view is that I do NOT own my home. I purchased the right to a lease of unspecified duration as long as I pay annual rent to the true owner, the local government.

    Avalanche and the afternoon heat…If I am on the patio under the canopy, she will be in the shade on the grass under a tree. Once I go indoors, she moves into the breezeway between the house and garage, lying in shade on shaded concrete, much of which never has the sun on it.

    Another stone circle? Cool! Hope you find out what they were for.

    That’s a nice rock you found. Looks like it can be broken more easily than some of the others. A large, well-fissured rock is a rare find at your place.

    The thyme plants are in spectacularly full bloom right now. I’m enjoying the tiny purple flowers. The succulents are blooming also.


  12. Hi Margaret,

    Yeah, thanks. It was a pretty crazy time, and I for one am glad to have it in the past. All of the adults in that story are now departed too. Time has a funny way of dealing with such matters.

    It did shape me though. To put the trauma into some context, when I was a young adult, maybe about 19, therapy was a lot like the experience of the character Hawkeye in the final episode of the Mash series portrayed. You know you have to go and do the work, but you’re not quite sure why, or what it even means. Then suddenly, you know what it all means. It’s like a dam bursting really. Then you’ve got to deal with the outcome, and the why you got to that point – and then change to avoid such issues arising in the future. It’s hard work, which is why most people I’ve spoken to avoid it. Candidly, at the time, I was probably a bit of a nuisance for my friends, but they were really supportive and good listeners, especially after a few drinks. They were a good crew really, and we’d sit up late into the night talking rubbish. Good for the brain and personality. 🙂

    I tend to agree with you in that subject is more of a female thing. Guys tend to be a bit more taciturn in regards to that particular subject. Having been through a bit of therapy, it’s a subject I’ll happily talk about. 🙂 One of the interesting things I’ve noted, is that in families, trauma can be handed on from one generation to the next. So, like you I also look at predecessors actions and motivations. Some of it is pretty grubby.

    Yeah, thanks very much, I think I’ve done pretty well all things considered. Getting onto the problem a bit over three decades ago was a power move, such things don’t get better as we age if not dealt with. Hmm.

    Good to hear that Cecily is on the right track, you’ve mentioned her trials of late. Best wishes, and I absolutely agree with you there. Not everyone working in that industry is the right person to work with, I hear you about that. It’s a bit like rehab and stretching though, Cecily will have to do the work in between sessions. The sessions themselves are not an end point, but rather a beginning. Well, that’s my take on it anyway. And um, she is very lucky to have you to lean upon. And (please stop me if I’m going on too much), remember to look after yourself, it’s not cost free for you either. 🙂

    What a waste of perfectly good rain having seven inches fall upon a city. Oh well. Dry years are hard like that and watching rain fall just out of reach when you’re on the land can be hard. I remember one dry year here, and I’d watch rainfall travel from west to east along the valley and simply miss the mountain range. The water tank reserves got low that year. I think only 6,000 gallons were left at the lowest point.

    Take that ye pesky beetles! Maybe… Good luck, and hope they leave your choicest plants alone.

    🙂 That’s really lovely to hear. Good stuff. So many books would be fun.



  13. Hi DJ,

    Thanks, and sometimes there are no-win scenarios, and the good general beats a hasty (hopefully orderly) retreat from the field. No shame in running, is how I see things. A couple of days before my grandfather passed on (I was about 25 then), he asked me to fix the situation – without offering any resources I’ll add, the cheeky scamp. 🙂 I may have remarked that it was a big call, then we had a frank discussion of things as they are. Usually I get eerie insights into peoples motivations, but he was hard to read that bloke, and I still don’t know whether he was serious, or was simply curious as to what I was intending to do in the future. Not sure at all. He left me nothing material that bloke, but he always gave me his time, and that was a more valuable thing I reckon.

    Hehe! DJ, that’s really funny in a warped way – our minds have clearly been impacted by some of the amusing fiction we’ve both read over the years. But yeah, that can be how things roll. I work with a lot of family businesses, and of course there is drama, everyone has to deal with that because ultimately tragedy is everyone’s companion in life, but when the families work together as a cohesive unit, it’s really sweet. Whether they all then get together and fight at Christmas, who knows? Fortunately I don’t get to see that, and this is a good thing. 🙂 I doubt they do though, maybehaps.

    Ooo, what a question. Yes, what would Dr Frankenstein do with a mutant space goat and his creation? To be honest, the good Dr seemed like a bit of an idiot to me. Now Dracula, there’s a fine story! Hey, we didn’t mention vampires, or zombies for that matter.

    If it looks like a banshee, screams like a banshee, it might just be a banshee. I’d never quite thought of property taxes like that, but you might be right. Hmm. The instalments here are quarterly, but the same sort of rules apply. Interestingly, the council I believe has had to make the claim that they will not foreclose, but will recover the unpaid amounts from either the estate, or the next time the property is transferred. The land here had unpaid property taxes when we bought it, and we had to settle those.

    Ah, Avalanche follows the way of the Sir Poopy in summer conditions. Hey, did Avalanche ever get around to being titled? Dame Avalanche has a nice ring to it I reckon.

    The stone circles are mysteries. And there is what I reckon a canoe tree not all that far away. A very old tree that one. A wombat has been attempting to dig a new abode at the base of that old tree.

    It’s really hard to know why some rocks have fissures whilst others don’t. For some reason I’d imagine that they would have been more consistent.

    Sandra just took away Ollie’s rawhide chew. With chewflation being a real thing, he just ate $4 of chew. The dogs got expensive habits…

    DJ, you’re in a really nice time of year, and thanks for mentioning the flowers. Hey, it’s getting closer to D-Day, or is it R-Day (removal)? Good luck, and you do your rehab young man! There’ll be no television until you’ve done your rehab. 🙂



  14. Hi Lewis,

    Thanks for the link to the article on earthquakes and insurance. I noted the ‘bolt and brace’ requirement for houses to be attached to their foundations. A sensible precaution, and one I’ve done here – everything is tied together with steel and anchored to lots of concrete. I had been wondering how the houses in the article slid off the foundations and can see that, and why it may have occurred. Being the crafty bloke I am, it was hard for me not to note that both houses despite being on the ground, looked fairly square, and the timber bearers looked strong and not weather damaged (that I could see from the photos). I’d remove the flooring on the lowest level of the house, then lift the house up evenly – you can do that with lots of bottle jacks and heavy duty sleepers – and then as quick as humanly possible, dig new deeper foundations, probably concrete stumps with lots of cement and steel anchors. Not as difficult as you’d imagine, although it is risky due to the ongoing seismic activity. That’s how I’d do the fix up, but that’s me.

    Ah, that’s a great line about laying down with dogs and ending up with fleas. 🙂 Hadn’t heard that one before, it’s good. Paints a striking image if I may say so.

    It is amusing isn’t it? I had a weird notion in my mind when reading Beowulf, that some of the very early on scribes were a bit fast and loose with additions to the text. Lot’s of praising, which seemed to grate with the surrounding text. Mind you, those additions may have been the cost of getting the text through the millennia? What do you reckon about that? Plus, there were always the amusing killer rabbits. Before you mentioned reality of them, I thought it was some sort of joke, which it kind of is.

    🙂 Yeah, that is a guy thing, but then hey, the Club, is that not a form of asking? Maybe? Dunno. As a young adult, the issues facing me were bigger than the skill set which I could bring to bear upon the matter. Funnily enough, I didn’t have to face reality and get some help, but I could see that not doing so was producing real world problems for me and the people around me. It was hard man, but I just kind of rolled the dice and booked an appointment and see where it took me. It was a bit nerve wracking, and a wild ride. I reckon you’d see that too with newbies with the Club? In my reply to Margaret, I sort of mentioned the journey wasn’t all that different from what the character Hawkeye in the final episode of MASH went through. It was reasonably realistic depiction of the process. Far out, that series did a lot of episodes and it was one of the shows which I always made time for as a young bloke. Who knew they had troubles with a laugh track and the production company? What’s funny about field surgery?

    That’s funny, yes, maybe the latest stone circle was for that purpose? I’d imagine loggers camps back in the day were reasonably ordered mini-societies. The work was too dangerous to risk having an idiot element within the group. I’d read an anecdote years ago that they usually enjoyed long life spans too.

    It was a good series, yeah. Oh, I hadn’t looked at it that way about sending up the ‘back to the land’ folks, but yeah. True. But then, did the series feed ideas into my head? Always possible what you’re saying there. And who knows who else has been influenced by the ideas?

    Micro plastics are a real bummer. No doubts we’ll leave a layer of them in the surface for future archaeologists of whatever species to ponder.

    Well yeah, any good idea can be taken too far. And I personally am not fond of using serious chemical cleaners in the house. Does my health no good that stuff. That smell thing is something which annoys the daylights out of me. Does this product really need to stink so badly – usually the unfortunate love child of what chemists believe flowers smell like combined with whatever cheap rubbish they needed to get rid of out of the lab vats. It’s a potent stink. Yuk!

    Well it’s not possible to control other people. Good luck!

    Yes out houses were common here too, although generally they were upgraded and connected to the sewerage system. I’ve known plenty of houses to use outhouses. The dunny down the back of the property. Would have made for some cold night walks in your part of the world.

    The tourists did appear to have ruffled some feathers – and they got tracked down too. The time may come when a public example will be made.

    You’d have to suggest that the dumpster is probably a bit of an easy choice, which is why.

    The skip-rope rhyme is pretty good. I was always fond of:

    Ring-a-ring o’ roses,
    A pocket full of posies.
    A-tishoo! A-tishoo!
    We all fall down!

    A dark tale.

    The ongoing smoke is a real bummer, but the spell of warm weather will be further trouble for the fires. It’s early days in the fire season too, sorry to say. I’ll check out the good professors words next. 🙂 The masks will help against the smoke particles, that’s for sure.

    Nice score with the table. And you’re displaying your deft skills with furniture repair. Do you miss that work?

    Not good, and hope you feel better soon. The gunk will have to be brought up sooner or later. Man, it’s going around so look after yourself, and good to hear that you’re getting plenty of rest. Keep up the fluids too, maybe try a rehydration solution too. I’ve been hearing some ripper lung rattling coughs around the place of late.

    Oh, it rained here again today. 20 minutes of peak sunshine today. Not good, despite what peoples models may suggest.



  15. @ Lew, consider the possibility that you have a form of pneumonia if you aren’t feeling better by now – which I hope you are!


  16. Hi Chris,

    A harrowing tale, that. I join in commending you for getting away from the situation as soon as you could and doing something much better with your life.

    I found myself in counseling for a year when I was 30. Nothing so extreme as you had to deal with, but the toll on me from my family moving house three times in 4 years when I was a teenager (I attended two different junior highs and two different high schools in three different states) was added to by the stresses of college and grad school and the final move to St. Louis. Many people don’t have trouble with moving around, some thrive on it, but I’m not one of them. I really need to be rooted, at least in the same town, preferably in the same house. The stress surfaced in poor relationship choices. By age 30 I’d made enough of them to recognize that and that I needed help to heal from it. The year of therapy was hard, and I had to work on the issues outside of the time in therapy as well as during it. It was a good thing that I was was still in therapy when I met Mike, so I didn’t make the same mistakes with him that I had with others.

    After neglecting weeding for weeks due to a very busy spring and early summer, I’m finally digging out the huge weeds in between the vegetable plants. I’m amazed that the vegetables haven’t been that badly affected by the weeds sucking up sunlight and minerals so close to them. I picked the first ripe tomato, a paste tomato, and three green beans yesterday, and I picked the first four zucchinis last week.


  17. Yo, Chris – Did you see our FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) has ok’d a flying car? $300,000. And the thing is the ugliest vehicle I’ve ever seen. What could possibly go wrong? 🙂

    Yes, the repair you outlined would restore a house. Of course, a certified job, blessed by the Building Departments, would be more than the insurance companies are willing to pay, and few home owner’s could support. Sure, a handy homeowner could do it themselves. Or, perhaps have a skillful friend or relative help out, on the cheap. But again, the Building Departments. When will civilization finally collapse far enough, that those annoying people will go away? 🙂

    Scribal errors. Some are by accident, some intentional, to reflect changing… politics? dogma? I’ve read and watched documentaries, about, mostly, the New Testament. Mostly analysis of text, rather than actual manuscripts. Though sometimes they relate. For instance, they can analyze Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, and figure out the approximate order they were written in, sometimes, where they were written, and if just one, or more persons wrote them. The “Letters of St. Paul,” are another example. A large chunk of them appear to have been written by St. Paul. Or, at least by one person. The others, no. I can’t say my interest has anything particular to do with my faith, but I just find it … interesting.

    Oh, when I was younger, I did therapy a few times. But, after 40, AA filled any of that need. I often say that it’s the cheapest therapy around. Buck in the basket. If you can afford it. Otherwise, a free ride. I must say that, oh, maybe five years in, I was subjected to a crushing depression. Came out of nowhere, that I could figure out. Oh, sure, I’d had bouts, before, but they passed. Emotional life got more predictable. But this one went on week, after week. No matter how many meetings I went to. I finally got to the point that I thought, “OK, if this last another week, I’m going to go see someone.” Must have scared it off. 🙂 It lifted. Or more likely, in the fullness of time, it passed.

    Ideas are funny things. I developed a nefarious plot, that worked. We have cans of spaghetti sauce, that no one touches. Also, lots of pasta. So I had the genius idea, of putting them on the pantry shelf, next to each other. They’ve started to move! I may try the same thing with tinned green beans (which don’t move) and cream of mushroom soup. Makes an easy, tasty casserole.

    No cold walks. There was the chamber pot. Which could be a political statement.


    No fear. There were also pots with George III or George Washington, in the bottom. Napoleon.

    Ah, yes. The Black Death skip-rope rhyme. Funny how kids pass those things down, but they sometimes lose their meaning. “I had a little bird, her name was Enza. I opened up the window and in-flu-enza.”

    It’s a little hazy, but not bad, so far. And most of that could be from the fireworks. And, lots of people will be firing up the old barbie, today. Most of this part of our state is under a wildfire, red flag warning. The authorities are begging people to be careful.

    Do I miss furniture repair work? Hmmm. Well, you need a lot of space, and many different kinds of tools. Most of which I’ve let go. So I guess it’s more, it’s not possible, so why miss it? Life as it is, not as I’d like it to be. 🙂 It will be satisfying, to repair the little table. One thing that bothers me though. I’ll have to go out and buy a tube of wood glue. And, it will go bad before I ever use it again! The waste bothers me. Maybe I can figure out someone to pass it onto. Or figure out some more small minor repairs.

    It’s going to be over 90F, today. And tomatoes won’t pollinate over 85F. But, in a couple of days, we’ll be back in the mid 70s. There are already tomatoes developing. Some of the corn I replanted is coming up. Both kinds of zucchini are sprouting, But I won’t breath easy, til they get some secondary leaves. The first batch of green beans are beginning to twine through the chicken wire. Bachelor’s Buttons (aka Cornflowers) are sprouting here and there.

    H and I had our biscuits and gravy, this morning. Someone else stepped in to do the deed, and did a good job. Lew

  18. Chris,

    Hehehe. Warped humor is something I can usually find. Better than no humor at all.

    Vampires? Aren’t they the people who stick a needle in your arm and draw blood for blood tests?

    The local taxing authority always gets its property taxes one way or another. Always. Properties foreclosed on by the County go to an auction. The desirable properties always sell, some of selling at rather high prices due to bidding wars. The unsold properties go into another program that tries to sell them. Minimum bid in either sales scenario is either owed taxes or fair market value, whichever is higher. Meaning that the taxing authority can foreclose on say $15,000 of unpaid taxes and penalties, then sell to the highest bidder for $300,000 or more.

    Yes, Dame Avalanche earned her title when she caught a squirrel. By that time, she was keeping the mice mostly out of our yard.

    Those cute harp seals you mentioned? My sister had a large poster with a picture of a baby harp seal. Adorable. Then the girl I was dating at the time saw it and blurted, “Hey, they just told us about this poster at school! Right after taking that picture, the guy clubbed it to death.” Let’s just say that my sister was not amused. In fact, she was rather happy when that relationship fizzled out.

    Chewflation? If it weren’t such an extreme thing, the term would be funny. Those things are expensive here too.

    Yup, R-Day is on my Wednesday! Looking forward to it. “There’ll be no television until you’ve done your rehab.” Funny! And don’t go outside in the snow without a coat. And no playing with green bug-eyed monsters. Yeah, I get it. 😉


  19. Hi Claire,

    Thank you for saying those words. From watching my immediate family, I’d observed a sibling fall apart, whilst the other appeared to have absorbed some of the characteristics. Those options frankly weren’t good, so seeking the ternary path meant doing something entirely different.

    Ouch, instability is pretty hard at that age. Those are formative years too. And you have my understanding, the reality being that at that age, moving around you lose all of your friends and support networks. And my experience was that it was an uphill battle to get into new friendship groups. It takes a toll, I hear you about that. And glad to hear that you understood yourself well enough to know when it was time to get some assistance. It’s hard to not notice that in your story, you reach St Louis and set down roots. Lovely to hear that it ended well.

    I get that about the poor relationship choices, and travelled a really similar journey too. Hey, it was what prodded me into doing something about the inner workings of my mind as well. It was such a painful (I hear you about that) but ultimately fulfilling journey. I also found that the work in between sessions, and the wide reading after I could no longer afford the sessions (recessionary economic pressures!) was where most of the benefits took place. Dunno how you feel about the matter, but I’m of the opinion that maybe these sorts of travels in the wilderness of the mind and the soul are what we are here for this time around.

    Out of curiosity, do you chuck the weeds into the compost pile? Every day, Sandra weeds a bit of the property and dumps the weeds into the chickens enclosure. We used to leave the weeding job, but like you infer, it is a massive undertaking if left unattended too. Plus it’s good for the health of the chickens.

    It’s a mystery. If it’s been a bit hot and dry, the large weeds may have given some of the annuals a bit of afternoon shade from the summer sun? Dunno. I’m in awe of how early your summer vegetables begin to produce.



  20. Hi Lewis,

    Rather unusual styling not to my taste that’s for sure. They do say beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Somehow the visuals I spotted suggest to me that the manufacturer has possibly spent an awful lot of mad cash on snake skins. Yes, yes, flying, but anyway, how does the thing drive?

    🙂 The funny thing is that I have jacked up a house using bottle jacks. It’s not hard, you just have to be super careful, and best to go through the floor so the thing has less chance of killing you if it slips off the bottle jacks. Always a risk, and sometimes happens. You’re probably right though, the building-in-charge-folks might want the house in the exact spot where it only once was. Now that would be a difficult proposition. Imagine the discussion: Now we could only get the thing 21 inches to the east. Yes, I know it was 22 inches, but that’s too hard. Whaddya mean it has to be exactly 22 inches, no more no less? And so it may go. Bizarrely, jacking it up and putting in proper foundations wouldn’t cost all that much, and the more stumps which went in, the lower the risk of something going horribly wrong. But I hear you.

    OK, so that was plan A. Plan B, well there are an awful lot of building materials in that house, and as I mentioned previously, it looked pretty square – from the photos at least. So Plan B (always need a plan B), slow demolition of the house. Recover all the materials, and then rebuild the thing – you could even do it in a different format. Does it need to be that large? Put in proper foundations, and away you go. Not hard, but that would be my plan B.

    My gut feeling suggests that if things get bad enough, those folks will disappear. People have been making their own houses for millennia. It’s not hard, we just make it that way. And I suspect that if those folks did go away, we might just create some really funky housing stock. Or it could be a total disaster. 🙂 But wouldn’t it be interesting? What do you think about that aspect of the story?

    That doesn’t surprise me by what you wrote about St Paul. From my understanding of the bloke, he was reasonably well educated and influential, so I have no doubts some of the writings originated from him. The Robert E Howard Collected Conan stories leather bound book (it’s got heft that book and would be useful in a bar fight, as befits the protagonist) were presented in the order in which they were written. I had the sneaking suspicion that one or two of the final stories were completed by someone else. Dunno, but I could no longer hear the author in the words, and the choice of words just seemed a bit different to me. Have you ever come across that effect in a book?

    Cool, and that’s what I sort of thought about how the Club fitted into your life. Hehe! That’s genuinely funny, and true. Mate, I leaned on my friends a lot in the early days, and that was cheap therapy too. Interesting, and thanks for mentioning your bout, which you fought and won. Life can send you places, that’s for sure, and your strategy was sound. You sent a strong message doing that.

    Top notch thinking! Product association. They do that in supermarkets too. Isn’t it a bit eerie to consider that we might be taking in a whole bunch of subliminal information, you know the stuff you discern which lays just below the conscious level? I’ve never had a green bean and cream of mushroom soup casserole, but yeah, that would work. Slow cooked. Maybe a bit of onion in there too. And some chili’s – sorry we’re going through a chili phase. A bit of rice would add something to the overall composition. Yum! If people get hungry enough, that stuff will move for sure.

    Poor Ben Franklin to have been so used unwittingly. It does seem to have been an equal opportunity kind of thing. Not an item you’d want to bring out should such folks drop in all unannounced and stuff. 😉 Honestly, maybe it is just me, but I’m left wondering if older houses were less sealed and had greater airflow? Imagine being the poor chamber maid having to deal with that lot everyday? Although, I did read in the amusing history book ‘Stick a Flag in it’ that the role of the Kings Privy was sought after.

    That’s pretty clever that enza doggerel.

    Holy carp! Mate, such warnings don’t seem to make an impact upon say, I dunno, gender reveal parties? One of those caused a big fire a few years back in your country. Never been to one, don’t want to go, and a refusal is meant to offend. 🙂 How did the day go? Hopefully there were few if any fires?

    True, life is as it is. A solid philosophical underpinning if I may be bold as to say so. Fingers crossed Mr Wodehouse does not rub off on me. The dialogue is first rate, no getting around that. The characters, well, what interests me about them is that they all appear to be rather well off, but are always angling for something for nothing from their peers. There is something in that, but it seems like a consistent motivation with the characters. Maybe I’m reading too much into the story?

    As a suggestion, the epoxy glues which come in two parts are usually less wasteful, but even those do go off. And I prefer the separate tubes to the squeezy injector sort of arrangement. We bought some Araldite the other day, and yes, the previous pack had gone off. It was rather old. You never know what may need repairing. Now that I have the large mead hall shed under control, I’m slowly attending to the different machines which need a bit of care and attention. The 12 tonne electric log splitter for one example is next up. The starter control circuit is dead, and I’ve put a soft start controller on order. It really needed one of those devices. Seriously, a $20 device (that’s retail) would have made the machine easier on the electricity systems. But no, let’s save some money and make the device useless and challenging. Anyway, I intend to make the thing better than it was. I do wonder how much stuff gets chucked out that with a little bit of tweaking, would just work far better? Like that table of yours. Hey, you too can sing the theme song: ‘The Table Bunch’! 🙂 That was a fun blog essay that one. It’s an ear worm too.

    What? I didn’t know that. Hmm. Yikes. Tomatoes are mostly reliable. Great news that the corn is beginning to come up. Hope the addition of the sulphur helped things? Exactly, they need adult leaves before they get hardier to the conditions. At least your area is fairly frost free at this time of year.

    Hopefully your cornflowers are blue?

    Good stuff! And I trust that H was on her best behaviour and was rewarded with some tasty gravy?

    Not much to report from here today. Just did paid work from sun up to sun down (although it is less impressive when you recall that the days are short at this time of year). This week I’ve been super busy with paid work – new financial year and stuff.



  21. Hi DJ,

    🙂 Plus warped humour is just fun. Not saying it was all the Mad Magazines, but it kind of looks that way to me.

    Oh, you’ve met them have you? 🙂 Had to laugh about that. One of the local doctors has been in the area for many decades. A lovely bloke. The last time I went in, he asked me about if there were any other health matters (the Editor had sent me in to get some moles checked – always a skin cancer risk down here)? I replied, if I was feeling sick and unsure of what was going on, I’d visit, but other than that… And he’d been around long enough to share a chuckle. The younger ones always want blood. And I ain’t giving them the pleasure.

    Speaking of this stuff. How the heck did you go? Are you feeling OK?

    Mate the same is true here, except I believe they have the powers to recover the unremitted property taxes (we call them rates, but same, same) that way, but have decided not to use those powers. Seriously, it is one of those bills which must be paid, and it’s about the only one which carries that particular risk. As part of moving up into the bush, we did consider ongoing bills. They always draw you back into the monetary economy and there is no real escape from that.

    Ah yes, who could forget Squirrel-gate? I’d heard it said that a covey nefarious squirrel’s had broken into some hotel attempting to sequester some documents or other, and Dame Avalanche brought an end to their little snub nosed business. Respect to Dame Avalanche!

    Your sister may have been correct in this instance. Your earlier girlfriend clearly had what may have been described elsewhere (but not here) as an acerbic wit. To be honest, I prefer a calmer lady as I don’t much enjoy lots of emotional stimulation.

    We purchase the chews in bulk quantities too. The cost is bonkers, but their teeth are good, and I don’t have to fill up the freezer with bones.

    Yes, particularly the green eyed monsters. You have been told! 🙂

    Cheers and hope you’re doing well today.


  22. Hello Chris
    Goodness, I wouldn’t know where to begin. The mother of my honorary sons was a sadist and I won’t put on the internet, some of the things she did.
    Assuming that one manages to become a decent human being, then a hard childhood does prepare one for the hits that life can chuck at one. Idyllic childhoods do not prepare one for life. Obviously there is a good middle of the road here, if one is lucky.
    The family have left and I am now trying to get a whole lot of things done. Actually my grandson did a great deal of outside work while he was here, both for me and for Son. He seemed to enjoy my company and on the last day I had to finally send him to his bed at about 1am. I enjoyed his extreme intelligence.
    My elder daughter arrives at the end of August, she will be in the country for 2 months, six weeks on the Island.
    A huge tree has crashed down somewhere on my land yesterday, it made a heck of a noise. Son couldn’t find it but I have now told him where I think it is. The clue is a sudden area of light where it was dark before.


  23. Hi, Chris!

    I love both tales, the Russian and the Persian. Both teach something crucial.

    It seems to me that perhaps the incident with your cat was when you had to realize inexorably that you would never be able to trust your mother, maybe even more so than the knock upside the head. She appears to have never had your interests at heart. Some parents are like that. So – you learned to count on outsiders – with caution – and you learned more about people than I will ever know. I am so glad that you found your Sensei.

    Live and learn, Sandra. Still, I guess it was worth one last try. I have made one last try, via mail, with my blacksheep brother in Tokyo. I hope I don’t regret it. And respect to you, Chris.

    I was thinking of asking you how you get those rocks into the bucket, but I am assuming that it may take two aching backs?

    A few decades of firewood in the FBC makes you the richest depositor. And it means that never, ever for the rest of your life can you say – not that you ever could say this – that you don’t have anything to do.

    Those stone circles may always be a mystery. It gives you lots of room for speculation.

    I think that I have seen Maidenhair Fern here. Ferns are one of the few things that the deer don’t eat.

    Funny Gazania. Thanks for all the flowers.


  24. @ Lew
    I hope that you soon feel better; of course it might be that which shall not be named.
    Somewhat irrelevant, but I remember that my aunt’s father-in-law spoke in the Hamburger dialect and I couldn’t understand a single word.


  25. @ Claire
    How different we all can be. I was at my 7th school by the time that I was 11. I love moving home and would like to do it again but am now far too old. A shame because I also like selling and buying property and don’t find it at all stressful.


  26. @ Claire – Yeah, might be. I’m hoping for third stage lung cancer. Straight to hospice … 🙂 Lew

  27. Yo, Chris – Somewhere along the way, I’ve seen bottle jacks, in use. I’ve heard of people doing slow renovations, to avoid the notice of building departments or property tax people. Harder to do, these days, what with satellite photos, and such.

    There was some interesting housing stock, back in the hippy dippy days. There were books of photos. “Handmade Houses: A Guide to the Wood Butcher’s Art.” And, “Cottages by the Sea.” Though those were mostly stone, a lot older, and the result of an early artist colony in Carmel, California. Back in even the early 1970s, building departments were a lot more relaxed, especially in rural areas. If you wanted to build something a bit different, it was your look out.

    Can’t say I’ve noticed a change of authorship, in author’s later books. Though I’m sure it’s real. There are unfinished novels. Sometimes, when it’s a successful series, and they go on after the author dies, I do wonder. I think I mentioned that my theory is, they’ve got the author’s brain in a vat, hooked up to a computer. 🙂

    Ah! Product association. The term I couldn’t remember. I just wish those subliminal prods, would surface sooner. Green bean casserole was one of those inventions of the soup companies, to push product. Seems like someone always shows up with one, to potlucks. Yup. Better with fried onions. Sometimes, they have a topping of those canned fried onions, or canned “Chinese” noodles. Sometimes, a bit of fried ground meat, is added.

    Well, the spasm of civic woo-woo is over for another year. Although loud booms will tail off over the next few days. Luckily, H isn’t much bothered by the fireworks. I noticed the fireworks pretty much quit, around midnight. I think there’s a local law, been passed. I have a ring side seat, but, after about 5 minutes, I get bored and wander off to do something else.

    I wondered at that. It occurred to me, that maybe it’s because there are so few blue fireworks. Is that a real thing? So down the rabbit hole I went. I might as well ask for blue roses.


    I haven’t heard of any fires, nearby. But down in south Skamania County, they’ve got a rip snorter on the go. The north end of Skamania County, is close to our counties SE corner. Here’s a fairly recent report.


    That’s going to be a tough one, to put out. Rugged terrain, and the Gorge is one big wind tunnel. But, some must have there big houses, in the woods, with river view. Over 50 years ago, I visited a hippie commune, up in that area. A bunch of people had bought shares in a chunk of land. Don’t know what finally happened. Already, there were problems with what to do if someone wanted to be bought out.

    I haven’t seen our Master Gardeners, today. Might be the heat. Or the smoke. Or, I doubt our building manager was very tactful when it came to the dumpster Snafu.

    Read enough Wodehouse, and you’re likely to feel the urge for a wardrobe upgrade. 🙂

    The secondary leaves are also less likely to suffer insect damage. Three little sprouts out of one of my corn hills were nipped off. I’m sure by bugs.

    Cornflowers come in blue, pink and white. And that’s the way most of the seed packs are. But there is one seed company, that has packets of only blue. One of our local nurseries carries it.

    Oh, yes. H got her usual helping of gravy, with a few chunks of ground sausage. It probably fortified her for all the noise. 🙂 Lew

  28. Hi Chris,
    Yes, Cecily has been doing much work on her own and the results are showing but it’s a long process. I’ll share this quote from Stephen Harrod Buhner:

    “Grief demands an obsessive review of past events, over and over and over again, always to the point where friends and family just want to scream. What outside observers don’t understand is that this obsessive review is essential to both emotional acceptance and the rebuilding of the self. And of necessity, it occurs one incredibly slow step at a time.”

    This is a very complicated situation which been going on for way too long. As I remind her, I can listen and be supportive but only she can fix/change her life.

    On a different note, five or six days ago the farmer sprayed his soybean field next to our property, well actually almost the entire road which is owned by him and his family, with roundup (I’m assuming). It was a fairly windy day from the south and I watched the spray drift over onto our property. Unfortunately the vegetable garden is pretty close to the field as it’s the only sunny spot of any size. Several days later I saw the damage. About half the garden plants have been affected. I will let him know but doubt it will change anything. I’ve decided to downsize and find a adequate spot much farther from the farm field. The last two years the corn borer beetles from his corn did quite a job on most blossoms affecting the harvest. I guess the writings on the wall that a garden where it is just isn’t going to work.

    We’re supposed to get rain in a few hours.


  29. Chris,

    Warped humor. Good stuff. Like the old Fractured Fairy Tales from Rocky and Bullwinkle.

    Met the vampires? Yes, and not only met them, one of them who works for the doctor we see lives nearby. When we see one another when walking our dogs, I always say “Good morning. How’s my favorite vampire today?” She always laughs.

    The post operation visit went great! The occupational therapist removed the splint and wrapping and dressing and stitches. All 42 divided by 8.4 stitches. 😉 Basically, surgeon debrided material that would have interfered with the tendon, but no tendon damage. Nerve repair went great. So well, in fact, that I do NOT need a lesser splint! I have more range of motion than is usual at this point in recovery. I have to heat the hand 2 or 3 times per day, do a series of exercises every 2 hours daily. And fairly normal activities with some limits. 2.5 kg max with that hand. No weight bearing stuff with that hand. Pretty much normal light use. See the occupational therapist in 2 weeks, then in August I see both the surgeon and the therapist.

    And I DID a set of finger exercises a few minutes before writing this, while avoiding strange, green bug-eyed monsters.

    The Princess worked at Gonzaga University once upon a year. One day, walking the 300 meters from her office to the car park, a rogue squirrel ran down a tree, ran across 30 meters of lawn and up the Princess’s pant leg to her waist, then reversed course until arriving back in the tree. Ever since, whenever a squirrel gets too close to her, she growls at it and calls it the Dread Gonzaga Killer Attack Squirrel.

    My sister was entirely correct regarding that girl. And it wasn’t really an acerbic wit. More like whatever thought happened to appear in her brain immediately proceeded from her mouth. Sometimes the consequences were, ummm, not good for her.

    Fireworks are illegal in Spokane. Nevertheless, the holiday sounded like a war zone. Many brush fires were started by the fireworks. While not terribly upset by the noise, Avalanche was irritated by it and wanted in for the night 90 minutes earlier than normal, promptly falling asleep. It seemed like a good idea, so the 2 humans soon followed her example.


  30. Hi Inge,

    No need to do so.

    I agree with you there, although there is a fine line which can easily be crossed where the level of trauma exceeds the bounds of normality. And that’s then a problem for the kids.

    Mention of idyllic childhoods paints a picture, but is generally lacking in specifics, so I can’t really comprehend what you mean by that phrase. If I may be so bold, I’ve observed that overly permissive parenting can produce outcomes as poor as the sort of thing I had to deal with. As you note, the middle ground is a worthwhile place to reach.

    Yeah, kids love contributing from what I’ve observed, and that sounds as though you both had a lovely time.

    The wind and rain are in play here right now, and I noticed a lot of forest materials on the ground down in the valley below. I tend to keep things fairly clean in the forest due to the fire risk, and it’s a big job processing a fallen tree. Fortunately your trees will feed the soils in due course.



  31. Hi Pam,

    The stories were both pretty good, and wasn’t it interesting that they came at the same problem from a different direction and ending?

    No, the relationship had soured many long years before I ever got that call about the cat. It was a very sweet cat too, and lived to about 16 years of age. Actually, it was the last verbal contact we ever had. I wrote to her a few years later, and the reply was curt.

    That’s my understanding of the relationship dynamics too. It happens, and you know, I do say that you have to play the hand that you are dealt. In some ways I’ve been rather fortunate to have had some strong male role models. My father was not good, and I barely recall him.

    It’s hard to know how such things will go. Good luck, and have you ever considered simply asking the question: Why? Although, you also have to put in place sensible precautions. I never mended the broken bonds with my older sisters, there was nothing there really, but neither have they reached out. There was an inheritance, you see.

    I did a photo series many months ago at the request of Steve as to how we got the rocks into the bucket. I’ll see if I can track it down. Maybe at a guess it was sometime after June 22. I’m very careful of injuries, but they can happen.

    🙂 What’s all this loose talk of nothing to do? Far out! Fancy that? Does it actually happen? Funnily enough, in the past nine and a bit years of blogging, that has never been the case.

    It’s the same plant I believe, the distribution over the planet is quite astounding.

    🙂 The flowers send your flowers cordial greetings!



  32. Hi Margaret,

    Glad to hear that Cecily is doing the work, and it’s a long journey. Thank you so much for the quote. The bloke has a face which says he is full of the exuberance of life. I’d heard of some of his books too. Have you read any of them?

    As a young adult, some of my friends did mention that I was going on about the subject a lot, so he has a solid point there. My friends at the time were by and large pretty good about it all.

    And I absolutely agree with you. There’s a great quote from Bob Marley (who may have repeated it from an earlier dude): ‘Emancipate yourselves from mental slavery. None but ourselves can free our minds.’ I tend to believe that this is also true in the context we are discussing. You can point people in the right direction. You can suggest them to go there. You can ready them for the path. But only they can undertake the rigours of the journey. And that can be hard sometimes to stand back from.

    That’s awful to hear. And your response is realistic, sorry to say. Looking into my crystal ball, at some point in the future, such heavy applications of spray will become too expensive. I don’t believe that point is all that far into the future. It’s a bit funny to think that economics resolves what protests never could.



  33. Hi DJ,

    Fractured Fairy Tales. 🙂 How good were they? I used to really enjoy the warped nature of the Rocky and Bullwinkle show. So much is all now explained!!!

    DJ, clearly it is your Viking blood to speak thus to a vampire. The next time you are under the vampires gentle ministrations, the lady may in fact have difficulties finding exactly the right spot to insert the leech. Oops! That’s not the right spot. Let’s try over here. Nope. Maybe over there. You were warned, vampires are tricksy beasts.

    Ah, a bit of quick maths suggests the number 5 was the way of it. Glad to hear that the procedure went well and you are healing way better than expected. It’s that Viking blood again flowing in your veins.

    Very good to hear about the finger stretches. There may be random reminders about this matter. Hopefully the green bug-eyed monsters were duly respectful of your hand. Hey, are you going to visit your carving club soon?

    I’d heard that squirrels were mischievous creatures, but had not realised they were so unafraid of humans. Wow, what a story. And your lady is correct to remind that feral population of the consequences of misbehaviour.

    Mate, yikes! Sorry I had to laugh, but yes, we’ve all experienced such folks. The kids nowadays say that is a hashtag-no-filters. That would be amusing at first, then slowly wear me down, then be downright uncomfortable and awkward. Run, DJ, run! Exactly, consequences. Hmm.

    A wise option to sleep out the mayhem. Sounds like my new years eve celebrations these days! 🙂



  34. Hello Chris
    I wouldn’t know the specifics of an ideal childhood either. I had a friend who claimed that that was what he had. The result was that he spent his adulthood longing to be back there, which didn’t sound good to me.
    I am back longing for face to face conversation because there is so much that I could say then. I am particularly interested in why shutting it all away works for some people while therapy works for others.
    My grandson is 21 this month, so not a kid any longer. I enjoyed meeting him now as an adult and he was superbly useful outdoors.


  35. Hi Lewis,

    Bottle jacks are amazing devices. They can lift extraordinary weights too. Maybe it is just me, but I’d try and save those houses, or at least re-purpose all the materials. I’m of the opinion that people would notice a previously earthquake damaged house being lifted up onto new foundations. We’re a really wasteful society when it comes to buildings.

    I’ve heard that story of satellite and aircraft photos, and I can assure you that the systems are there. I’ve seen the images. But whether they are used, well, it all depends.

    Yeah, the old hippy houses are really interesting. Many long years ago we used to visit an annual mud brick house tour up north east of the big smoke, and that was a great day. Here you go (they do a virtual tour as well): Mudbrick Tour History. I always enjoyed seeing all the houses. Given the bushfire building regulations here, mud brick was not an option, although it might do relatively well I’m guessing. The houses are a really interesting post and frame design (not dissimilar structurally from what we do with the sheds). People tend to think that heavy timbers will burn quickly in a bushfire, but that isn’t the case, heavy dense timber burns slowly – e.g. firewood.

    I like stone houses, they have a really nice feel to them. Solid in a way brick just doesn’t seem to match. Who can forget the Nearings top notch work with stone? So good.

    And that was how I saw things roll too. Over the years I’ve spoken to a few hippy back to the land folks (always interesting) and they often just built their house with minimal plans. We’ve taken things way too far these days, and I’m not convinced the outcomes are better.

    Dare I say that is a dead-give-away with series continuing on after the author has died? Sorry for the bad taste pun, but the situation was demanding it, maybe. Hopefully the authors brain doesn’t mind being chucked into a vat and connected up to a lot of wires. Not much they would be able to do about it! Thanks for the laughs.

    The meal might be a US thing, because I’ve never heard of the casserole. And interestingly, pot lucks just aren’t a thing down here either. Maybe, it’s me, and nobody has ever invited me to such an event? But I don’t think so. Generally when heading to a friends place for lunch, or dinner, a specific dish might get requested to be brought along. Usually the request includes a list of beverages to accompany the guests. Fried onions always helps a dish, as long as it isn’t dessert.

    H is made of stoic stuff to so ignore fireworks. The experience of fireworks often makes me wonder how far away will the nice Triffids be from making a local visit. Fair enough too, how much novelty can be provided from several hours of fireworks?

    The blue firework mystery has now been made clear. Hey, it’s good conversation fodder for the next time I encounter a pyrotechnician. You never know. And blue roses, they do seem rather mauve to my eye.

    The gorge did look rather steep from the images, so the fire might just continue to burn. And talk of only being 5% contained, despite what was it, 550 acres in size, is rather a risky should the wind pick up and change direction.

    We looked at a hippy commune a long, long time ago, and I hold some serious doubts I could navigate such murky social waters – let alone answering such questions as to the selling of the shares. They’re one of those things which are good in theory. Mind you, some of them have been long established, so they must have fleshed out how to sort out such thorny matters.

    Overloading the dumpster would not have won any friends for the master gardeners. Surely they could have added a bit every week instead of dumping it all at once.

    Is that where that idea to upgrade my wardrobe came from? Standards, Lewis, standards! 🙂

    True about the secondary leaves, and you have those rolly polly’s. They say that they don’t consume seedling shoots, but I dunno about that.

    Cornflowers are great plants (and the local gardening club likewise supplies seeds of just blue flowering plants) and they’ve naturalised here. They seem super hardy and the insects enjoy them. And they’re blue!

    I’ve got this image of H in a food coma during the fireworks. 🙂



  36. Chris:

    Why? It was all my fault, and the fault of everyone else in the family. This is not true. This is a person who does not want to accept personal responsibility. Also, drugs and alcohol used to be involved (don’t know anymore).


  37. Hi Inge,

    I see, and thanks for the further details. Hmm, yes, it hardly seems like a desire for independence and to engage with the wider world.

    It’s funny, but now you mention it, I don’t have any friends who make the claim that their best days were in their youth. What they may think in private is something I’m not privy too, but certainly that wistful longing is not something I’ve heard expressed aloud. Not sure what I’d make of those words.

    Always true, and this is a public forum. At a public bar, over a pint, a deeper conversation can be had, yes.

    When you say shutting it all away works, that depends upon the effect such a person has on the people around them. I’ve known of some folks who thought that they were quite alright, but then as a casual observer of the human condition, it was hard not to note the difficulty they had with their interactions between other people. Us humans do have a wonderful capacity for self delusion.

    Apologies for suggesting that. Yes, he is a child no longer. And I’m particularly pleased to hear how much he enjoyed his time outdoors being active and useful at your place. Rather fulfilling I’d have to suggest.



  38. Hi Pam,

    Oh my! Well that is a difficult belief to encounter. What do you do? And respect for reaching out, possibly again.

    I’ve encountered people with such beliefs, and what troubled me was the escalation. I mean, you pop your head up to check in, and it provides a target for their emotions. It’s not really a situation I could come to terms with. Hmm.

    Thanks for the elucidation, and perhaps it was my poor choice of words in the previous comment, but I meant for you to ask them, not for you to provide me with the details. Apologies for the confusion and hope that clarifies the matter?

    It’s raining again, what a surprise.



  39. Hello Chris
    I have known people who never talked about their harrowing past and yet had good marriages and reared okay families. One example being an ex Japanese prisoner of war (hard to imagine anything much worse).
    My mother and her sister had a very hard childhood, beaten every day. Both managed okay lives in completely different ways. We can’t generalise, humans come in an infinite variety, I think.


  40. Hello Chris
    Have just heard another tree come crashing down. It is getting dangerous out there!


  41. Hi Chris,

    Yes I have several of his books. The quote came from his second to last book, “Earth Grief”. Another favorite of mine is” The Lost Language of Plants “. He died a few months ago.


  42. @ Margaret – Yes, I discovered that after a breakup, everyone got tired of hearing about it, after about two weeks. Always good to have at least one friend, able to put up with the extended boo-hoo-hoo. Who will, at the appropriate time say, “Time to let go, and move on.” Lew

  43. @ Inge – No, I don’t think it’s You Know What. Not the right symptoms. I think it’s easing up, a bit. The hot, dry weather seems to help.

    Once upon a time, we had a lot of regional dialects, here in the States. Some I found quit pleasant. Not so much, anymore.

    I just read an Orwell essay (written in the 30’s, I think), that talked about how the English could place a person, as far as speech went. Not only geographically, but class-wise. A single slip of the tongue, and the game was up. Lew

  44. Yo, Chris – Our county land records and property tax website has links to the satellite photos. Pretty interesting. I wonder how often they update them?

    Sadly, the mud brick tour link has slipped into a temporal anomaly. I’ve been doing some basic research on a new computer. But it may involve a trip to Olympia. Always a fraught adventure. Or, as it appears my computer may have no trade-in value, I may just order it by mail.

    I finally am getting into the Sam Neill autobiography. I mention it here, as he was quit fond of stone walls, due to his formative years in Ireland. And even though they are of little use, he builds several around his New Zealand farm / vineyard. Just likes seeing them, and the feeling they give him. So, how is the autobiography? Well, I’m enjoying it, but it may not be for everyone. I thought a bit about how to describe it, and I finally settled on, “Very bloke-ish.” 🙂 His language is not for the faint of heart. Nor are some of the situations.

    Deserts using fried onions? I accepted the challenge, and took a glance into the rabbit hole. I didn’t go any further, but there was a link to “Onion Deserts are the Future,” and “Savory Deserts with Onions.” I got a craving, and made up a big bowl of bean salad, last night. I didn’t have some of the ingredients, but has that ever stopped me? I wanted four kinds of beans, but only had three. So, I tossed in a can of diced tomatoes, instead. I didn’t have some of the ingredients for the “sauce,” but substituted, this and that. Whatever it is, it turned out pretty tasty.

    Sigh. There are no blue roses. No matter what is claimed. Just mauve, as you mentioned, and lavender.

    Yes, our rolly polly’s seem to have developed a taste for seedling shoots. Our Night Manager had quit the time, with them. I’ve been fairly lucky. Maybe because I started mine, a bit later?

    I was surprised I didn’t get any cornflowers that self seeded, this year. The Love-in-the-Mist and Forget-me-nots, are all over the place. But not a single bachelor button. I’ll remember to save seed, this year. And I’ve planted them in a lot more places, where they may self seed.

    Here’s a fairly recent report on the Tunnel 5 fire.


    Prof. Mass has an interesting post on air quality and fireworks. Speaking of fireworks, it seems there’s pyro-flation. My friend’s in Idaho’s daughter, is on the Chamber of Commerce, in that little town of 850 people. My friend asked her, how much they were spending on the town fireworks display. $10,000. Last year, a box of commercial fireworks was $100. This year, a box is $195.

    It was over 90F, yesterday. For the next 3 days, it’s supposed to be in the low 80s. Then, into the 70s.

    I read a review of two new novels, about bookstores. Don’t know if I’ll read them. I’m tried of reading about other people’s successful bookstores :-). But there was a great (I thought) quote: “… literature helps open up emotionally constipated people…” Lew

  45. Hi Inge,

    🙂 Everyone responds differently to extreme incidents, and you never know. It’s a bit like discovering that you can get addicted to something as puerile as video games. The thing is, you never know what extreme incidents will cause you to come a cropper in life, and so I tend to favour the policy of prudence and caution. Not indulging, but neither causing harm to others either. That’s the middle ground I worked out, and how other people cope with life is a real mystery to me. There may be better paths, but I dunno.

    Yes, I agree, it is hard to imagine anything worse, and the Japanese were by and large terrible with POW’s. Incidentally, their own soldiers weren’t treated that much better. If I may add, it has been my observation that fanaticism is rarely an effective or long term strategy.

    I agree, we cannot generalise. But neither can we suggest that if the incidents you refer to had not occurred, what heady heights may have been achieved. Clipping the wings of birds is an act which is so designed as to hamper the birds flight abilities. Reality is something that we have to deal with. What may have been, lives in the land of speculation.

    I don’t know the people involved, or the circumstances, but it has been my observation that such acts are generally based firmly in the realm of fear. Again, that is merely my observation and not a critique of the events or people.

    I must say, of late, it has rained here an awful lot. How is your garden going? Have you had any warmer weather?

    Yikes! Keep away from the underneath of large old trees in such conditions. I tell you what, the wind has really picked up here, and the forecast suggests worse is to come tomorrow. I hope that the trees bend with the winds, certainly they’ve been given every opportunity to do so.



  46. Hi Pam,

    Oh my! We’ve long discussed the possibility that the software which drives this here interweb juggernaut may one day get hungry. I’m sorry to say, but it looks like the day has finally arrived, and the software has consumed your comment. And left no trace.

    It’s awful, isn’t it?

    Still, as far as I’m aware, you retain your fingers and toes. Things could have been worse, the software may have taken a finger or toe, just for a little taste. What a horrid bit of coding. Naughty code. Yes, bad code.

    However, given your extremities are still intact from the incident, I’d have to say that things aren’t all that bad. 🙂

    Pam, I tell you truly, the chilli plants in the greenhouse have not died, we’re still consuming fresh chilli’s in the depths of winter, and all is good with the world. Who knew the little blighters could survive this long?



  47. Chris:

    I see that you did get my comment, at #36. They are just behaving strangely when I click on “post comment” as they just disappear without that “you have 5 minutes to change your comment” countdown.

    As you say – I still have all my extremities!


  48. Hello Chris
    On the whole I agree with you, certainly a middle path is usually advisable.
    We are having a stunningly good Summer so far; hurrah for global warming (now I am in trouble).


  49. @ Lew
    The Orwell essay is still spot on. I can have fun with language by surprising people. Actually I tend to automatically adjust to the company I am in.


  50. Hi Lewis,

    Well, the interweb behemoth Gargle tends provide such free images via the Gargle Earth interweb site. Candidly, I feel that such things are a touch invasive, but that’s me. I’d read somewhere a few years ago that a lady spotted the gargle vehicle taking 3D photos of her street and decided to err, display some of her finer points of anatomy for all posterity. What can I say, some things sound like a good idea at the time. The words ‘bucket list’ may even have been mentioned. But anyway, as you’d imagine the party poopers took umbrage to the display, then things went poorly. All I can say is that if you are taking photographs in public without seeking prior approval (and down here that is legal I believe), a person must expect the unexpected. Near to us is a now departed dog which used to specialise in surprising drivers by lunging at the cars. It’s there recorded on the street view. As an interesting side story, the dog survived all of the vehicle frights, but was finally undone by a very large kangaroo. Thus proving risk is an unknown factor in life.

    Ah, very unfortunate. Your computer was clearly hungry and demanded feeding. 🙂 Probably for the best. As someone who lives in a remote area, there is something to be said about mail order service. I feel very fondly towards the local post office / general store. Mate, if you’re not in a hurry, it’s not a bad option. And from all you’ve said about that venerable steed over the years, outside of collectors, it may not be worth much. I once sold an old video game console to a collector for a decent price. As you’d know, collectors can have fickle tastes.

    When I need new computer parts, I tend to head an hours drive north further inland to the next big city of Bendigo (about twice the size of Olympia and then some). We’re about half way-ish between the big smoke and that town, so it’s easier going to the big inland town instead.

    Stone walls and stone fencing look great. You may have noticed over the years that we’re rather fond of employing the local rocks in all manner of useful ways about the property. Sam Neill being in a more recent volcanically active area, he probably has access to even more rocks. I get that, rocks lend a certain solidity to a landscape – or a house. When I was a younger bloke, and looking at old houses to fix up/restore and then re-sell. I almost purchased a house made from bluestone (that’s the preferred granite choice for buildings in this part of the world). A similar (but not quite the same) mineral to that used in Stonehenge. I’d had this idea in my head that houses made from bluestones would have been cooler in the summer months – thermal mass and stuff. But I’ve never been able to put the theory to the test.

    Bloke-ish, yeah I can see that. Would an Errol Flynn biography read as bloke-ish? Or perhaps more of a ripping yarn?

    Almost finished the Wodehouse book. It’s really quite delightful, but I enjoyed the amusing dialogue and interplay between the characters. Would I want them in my life, well it’s a bit like having those Seinfeld characters in your life – things are gonna get complicated. Maybe next, I may begin reading the ‘root cellar’ book.

    Onion Deserts are the Future Run Lewis, run! 🙂 Mate, like you I too remain somewhat dubious as to that claim. It seems like a very big call to me.

    No, don’t be stopped. That’s the point where innovation enters the kitchen, and you may even discover a true joy. Of course, the meal may taste poorly, and a person has to accept the risks. My favourite bean salad is the ye-olde-KFC three bean salad of my youth. A lot of people seem to have re-engineered this delicacy. Our extensive testing over the years suggests that the beans have to be mildly fermented overnight in the mixture. When first made (prior to the fermentation), the taste is not good. A modern miracle of nature perhaps? Your salad sounds quite tasty. Yum! We had the fun meal of sliders this evening. I say fun, because you eat the things with your hands. That’s food you can feel.

    Yeah, don’t believe the hype. Blue roses… Even we fell for that claptrap. Turns out they’re – as you correctly suggest: mauve or lilac.

    The little blighters perform the same trick here with seedlings. I’ve read serious people suggesting that this could not be, yet they do seem to be in the area at the time of the seedling munching. I agree, timing is everything with that matter. If the conditions are right, then the seedlings grow quickly and are soon beyond the reach of those pesky rolly polly things. Of course your night manager may not have provided the seedlings with optimal growing conditions. How’s the corn seedlings going anyway?

    Forget me nots are pretty weedy here. What a super-tough plant. But love in the mist and granny bonnets, I wouldn’t be unhappy if they gained a solid toe-hold, but no such luck. A few self seed, but they lack the vigour of forget me nots. That’s interesting about the cornflowers. Tell you what I’ve noticed about those, they tend to self seed in unlikely spots in the paddock. Based on that, I’m guessing they prefer less fertile soils? But I don’t really know for sure. What do you reckon about that?

    Yikes, that fire is not good, and how do you get resources up into such steep country? I noted in many of the images, trees grow right up to the houses. That’s probably not good in my opinion. The old timers used to say: No fuel, no fire. And the forests looked pretty thick there too. What will put out such a beast. Rain I’m guessing.

    Wow! OK, it’s hard to imagine that the combined efforts of all those fireworks could produce so much particulate matter in the atmosphere. The photos of the air on the good professors blog were almost as bad as what I’ve seen during the worst bushfires. Wow! Hope there’s not too much nasty chemicals in all that smoke.

    Thus proving that pyro-flation is real. Hey, we headed north today to restock our honey stores. The place has the best honey around. And prices had risen too. $35 for 3kg / 6.6 pounds. We usually pick up three lots of that. It’s not like the stuff goes off. I was wondering when they’d increase their prices, and now they have.

    Glad to hear that the weather has cooled a bit for you. It rained again here today, and the winds have picked up. Tomorrow the winds are meant to be feral – and get this. A late thunderstorm is forecast. We usually only get thunderstorms during the warmer months. Winter is an unusual time for such a storm.

    Mate, I so hear you! Perhaps why I don’t read books about people’s successful forays in the top end of town! 😉 Hey, that’s a great quote. Thanks. So true. Not saying I enjoy a similar relationship to music, but yeah, maybe. 🙂



  51. Hi Inge,

    🙂 Good to hear!

    What’s this about you being in trouble? Hehe! I believe it may not even be possible. 😉

    I’ll let you in on a little secret. We got the best harvest ever during the 2019-2020 Black Summer of bonkers bushfires. Hmm. With global warming, there will be winners and losers. Of course, a bushfire could have equally have wiped us out that year too, and that would be an unfortunate incident.



  52. Hi Pam,

    Thanks for sorting that out. I was a bit worried, as we haven’t lost a patient yet, and an unblemished record was about to be tarnished. A bad thing.

    Well, you may note that I did in fact reply to 36 at position number 38.

    I believe the disappearing act is because the spam and naughty word filter ate your comment. The comment is still there of course. Now, not to be offended, but the filter is overly zealous and eats many an otherwise innocuous comment. Why it chose to consume 36, we’ll never know, or certainly I have no idea why. It’s a mystery, and is impervious to being spoken to harshly. The software thing does not care, thus proving that we should not put too much trust into computers. Plus you must have seen the Terminator film. Computers…

    Yes! You survived intact. A good thing. 🙂



  53. @ Inge – I’m a good mimic. Quiet by accident. If I’m around people with different accents, I pick them up. LOL. I’ve occasionally had to explain that it’s not conscience. Maybe it’s because the Pacific Northwest is considered the most accent-less place, in America. So, maybe, I’m a blank canvas 🙂 Lew

  54. Yo, Chris – The Gargle street views are really handy for looking at real estate. Though a bit hard to navigate.And, there are links to satellite views, that you can zoom in on. When I was thinking about moving to Idaho, it really came in handy for getting a feel for a neighborhood. I caught a little bit of a movie, or something, at the Club, the other day. Two teenagers had been street photographed, when they were not looking their best. So, they were trying to get the photographer, to reshoot that section of geography. Don’t know how it turned out. Yes, I agree, it is invasive … until it becomes useful 🙂 .

    The United Computer Fruit Company rebuilds some old computers. And sells them at a deep discount. But, from what I see, there may be a wait. I think mine may even be beyond that. I’ll see. I want to also visit a local computer store that’s been around for a long time. I heard they have one guy working there, who specializes in the company I patronize.

    Stone (and brick) have their appeal. Maybe we were all indoctrinated, at a much too early age, by repeated exposure to “The Three Little Pigs?” 🙂

    Read more of the Sam Neill auto-bio. My, he does skip around a lot. Like a magpie. But I’m still enjoying it. I’ve seen a lot of his movies, over the years, but had completely forgotten that he was in some of them. He played Charles II, in “Restoration!” I might look at the library catalog, tonight, and see how many of his movies they have on tap.

    I’m watching the remake of the series, “All Creatures Great and Small.” Set in rural England, in the late 1930s. I’m quit enjoying it. The sets, the costumes, the food.

    Hmmm. Caramelized onions are reported to be quit sweet. Maybe on vanilla ice cream?

    KFC is pretty good. Not that I’d buy it myself. But show up to a potluck with it, and I dive right in. Not only is there bean salad good, but also the cole slaw. It was finally determined that the secret was buttermilk.

    Getting back to potlucks, they can take a lot of forms. Some are fairly formal. The Club has done some, where they provide the main dish, and there’s a sign up sheet for deserts, salads, sides. So that everyone doesn’t show up with salad. Or, desert. Insures variety.

    Ah, tomorrow is pancakes in the morning, and hot dogs for dinner. At the Club. With luck.

    I gave H a bath, yesterday, and took her out about 6 to dry out, a bit. The weather was just about perfect. Lower temperatures and a good breeze from the ocean. So, I worked out there for a couple of hours. Tied up the tomatoes (tomatoes in bondage!), as they were beginning to sprawl, a bit. Beat the green beans back from the tomatoes. Cut down the volunteer potato. It’s begun to flower, so, I’ll do some digging around in the next few day. It was crowding the corn and a couple of peppers. Two of the corn stocks are up just over a foot. The rest are not far behind. I did a bit of weeding. Much to my surprise, there’s a little volunteer tomato, next to the largest corn plant. I’ll let it go for awhile, just to see what it might do. Usually, though, they’re from hybrid plants, from last year. So, sometimes, not very good. There is also a tomato volunteer in my Patriotic Petunia hanging basket. I’ll let that one go for awhile, too.

    The Love-in-the-Mist pods kind of explode, and shot seeds everywhere. I discovered the Forget-Me-Not seeds are sticky, and get about by sticking to everything. My garden gloves were covered with seeds, after I pulled a few.

    The garden hose is driving me to distraction. I can’t seem to water without getting my shoes wet. There are gaskets, so it’s not that. Tried a newer sprayer, and no luck. Then I remembered, I have two new pair of rubber boots, in my closet. Had them at the old place.

    More of the Tunnel 5 Fire has been contained. There’s more crew. The evacuation area has been expanded. At least the Columbia River is right there, and I’m sure they’re scooping water out of it, to dump on the fire. Lew

  55. Chris,

    Yes, watching Rocky and Bullwinkle can lead to a warped sense of humor. I also grew up watching the old Bugs Bunny cartoons. The way they warped classical music, especially operas, also had a large contribution, I’m sure. Add good doses of Monty Python and Douglas Adams and warped humor can’t help but be the result.

    Ah, but the local vampire has also met the Princess. The Princess does NOT like needles and tells any vampire new to her a story of when a vampire was abusing her arm. She warned the vampire, who didn’t listen. Vampire was in a chair with wheels and quickly found herself and her chair on the far side of the room from the Princess. Princess was escorted out and told to return when she was calmer. Naturally, she replied that if the vampire was competent, she wouldn’t have gotten upset. Hence, the local vampire knows to treat both of us very well. 😉

    Yup. 5 stitches. I told you I’d work 42 into the number of stitches somehow. The surgical group thinks my finger’s recovery is ahead of the usual because of the surgeon’s skill. (He is said to be the best hand surgeon in the region.) When I go in for my next visit, Ill mention my Viking ancestry as the reason for the quick recovery and see what they say.

    The Princess gave me a notebook in March when I had the unmentionable. I had to periodically write down symptoms as well as when I took any meds. I kept that notebook current with pain relievers following finger surgery. Now I’m making entries each and every time I do any of the required therapy. I heat the hand for 20 minutes 3 times daily. These get entered. The 8 times a day that I do the exercises get entered too. Today began massaging the incision areas 3 times daily. Also entered in the book. The Princess periodically looks at the book to make sure I’m on track. If I don’t do the exercises, the Princess might dole out severe pain. Ditto if I forget to put entries in the notebook. But occasional reminders from others are welcome. Rehab very important.

    Oh, yeah, when that girl’s true colors began to show, I distanced myself rather quickly. Ran even. I’ve run into her or her ex on occasion over the years. Her life turned into one full blown disaster after another. She (and 2 of her siblings) live in the same tiny development as their parents. I call that development the Disaster Area.


  56. Chris,

    Forgot to mention. Carving club. I haven’t missed a meeting since the injury. I just can’t carve. But I can run the meetings and visit. Next meeting is July 15. I should be there.


  57. Hi DJ,

    Our early humour diets were much the same. It explains a lot don’t you reckon! 🙂 The old Warner Brothers cartoons were really fun, and I got to enjoy many of them at the Saturday matinee on the big screen. They were either shown prior to the film, or as an (never seen nowadays) intermission. I agree, surely that lot are to blame!

    Yeah, exactly, who does like needles? Rotten things, and your lady’s reaction was understandable. Skills are not equal with such folks. We used to go and donate blood which is a volunteer thing down under. No payment, unless you believe that a tiny party pie and a milkshake is worth your while. We gave up donating because the centres seemed under staffed and there were a few times the process took many hours. It may have been that they forgot that we were volunteering for the leeching. Anyway, one of the folks was wiggling the needle around in the Editors arm trying to get a better flow, and the experience was uncomfortable enough that she passed out. Yes, competency is not equal.

    You were as good as your word, and worked 42 into the stitches story. Respect. Your Viking claim will certainly get a few chuckles. Glad to hear that you are on the mend.

    Wise to avoid your lady’s martial arts skills, she might have a wicked right hand jab for all we know. Do you want to find out this possibility by mucking around with your rehab? I’d caution you against this possibility, but you’ve got Viking blood, which may run hot from time to time, and also send you on quests to distant shores so as to avoid rehab. I think we all know that there would be dire consequences for you.

    The notebook is a good way to focus your mind on getting better.

    Oh man, that’s a rough story. Glad to hear that you dodged that bullet. The Persian quote from this week is suggestive of the outcome.

    Hey, I spent today fixing up some of the machines we use around here. People believe that all they must do is purchase. Au contraire, they must also maintain, and awfully repair. So I took apart the control box for the 3000W 12 tonne electric log splitter, and turns out the motor starter capacitor was not feeling well. I’ve got a new one now on order, but will modify the circuit so as to add a soft starter and thus reduce the in-rush current. I mean, if the capacitor has died once, something needs to change. They only have a limited life anyway, but still, it needn’t be that short a lifespan.

    And the spindle bolt on the compound saw had stuck solid. I eventually removed the thing, but it has a left hand thread, as you do. Ah, the things sent to try us.

    Glad to hear that you’re keeping up with the carving club duties. Good stuff. The axe handle billet is still drying out. I may get to carving it soon, we’ll see. I still dream of bandsaws…



  58. Hi Lewis,

    Yes, I agree, the views are handy for checking out locales prior to visiting them. And you never know what you’ll see when at your leisure. That’s funny about those two teenagers, and it may be a wake-up call for them to consider their appearance prior to leaving the house? You never know. People used to consider such matters, now I’m not so sure. Does the Club put on films? That’s a great idea.

    Don’t laugh, but a long time ago I used to know a bloke who was really unhappy about a single article produced in gargle search results. It made an interesting claim about the bloke, and he had the resources to do something about it. So he tried to get the article removed from the search results. All I remember was that he was thwarted in his efforts. So, I’m guessing the teenagers quest did not end well.

    As an option it’s not a bad one with Fruit Incorporated. But with electronics, not all components degrade at the same rate, so you never really know what components they’ve restored. And such devices are only as good as the weakest link.

    This is very topical actually. The weather was filthy today with wind and almost two thirds of an inch of rain, so I headed down to the mead hall and attended to the care and attention of many of the machines we use here. I’m trialling solid tyres on one machine and I’ve never used them before. The tubes had failed on the tyres of that machine – and the tyres were cracked. I’d have thought the original tyres would have a longer life span, but no. Did a lot of other minor work on other machines today too.

    Hope the local computer dudes sort you out. It’s truly commendable that your computer has run as long as it has. The things are not constructed to last.

    Hehe! Yes, those three little pigs have a lot to answer for in terms of cultural programming. I’m of the opinion that stone and brick buildings don’t work all that well in warm to hot climates.

    The actor has enjoyed a long and successful career. And playing the fun Charles, would have been fun. The historical character probably had a good time of it, except for maybe the early bit where he escaped into exile in France. I doubt he was doing it tough there.

    Lewis, you press a hard bargain. Mate, I really enjoyed the earlier series and if the recent re-make is as good as you say. It might make it on the to-watch list.

    Oh, I began reading the ‘Root Cellar’ book today at lunch. Looks really interesting.

    I don’t think so. My mind just can’t seem to go there with the dessert onions. A step too far perhaps? Although we might be missing out here?

    Oh yeah, that lots coleslaw probably does contain buttermilk. I can see that. Not so much of a secret huh? 🙂

    Wise to direct the various dishes in a potluck. I had wondered how that worked. It would be no good as you say, if everyone turned up with a salad. I could make an exception if it was various takes on tiramisu. So good, so yum! But then some folks might do the recipe on the cheap and use – shock, gasp! – mock cream – whatever that stuff is.

    Did you get the pancakes with eggs? Just the thing for a weekend morning feed.

    Glad to hear that the weather has cooled a bit for you. On that note, the planet has achieved some dubious average overall temperature records this week. The thunderstorm did not eventuate, but at times today, the rain was feral. The naughty tomatoes, no doubts they’ve done something bad to deserve that? 😉 Incidentally I was looking at a utoob video last night of some dude using string to tie up the tomatoes. Is this what you do?

    Yes, it is hard to know in advance whether the tomato seedling will be any good. It might be.

    Wonder what is going on with the garden hose to do that? It’s a pretty simple (and super-useful) technology. The rubber boots though avoids the issues altogether. Didn’t you mention that someone had been mucking around with the hose system?

    I noticed the river in the fire photos and videos. It reminded me a bit of Fire Monks when they were able to draw water from the err, was it a creek or river I forget, to tackle the fire. They did have a pretty decent pump. The thing we’ve got to do on that front is not use all of our water reserves. Even the fire trucks have to manage that too – they won’t commit all of their water in case the crew needs it to save themselves. And they can get into trouble and have the fire flash over and under the fire trucks. Hope the fire gets contained, and that the weather plays nice until the rains return. Sooner or later, they may have to clear, or burn fire breaks – especially if the forecast winds prove unfavourable. Let’s hope that things slowly tick along as they have been.



  59. Yo, Chris – No, I caught that little bit on the Club TV. It’s a big screen. Used to be, it was all sports, all the time. But, the volunteer counter crew has changed a bit, so now it’s either off, or not quit so sports-centric. But that is a good idea. Maybe have movie night, as a fund raiser. I’ll mention it to our Club manager, and see if they want to kick it around.

    Pretty much anything that gets out on the net, gets stuck there. In one form or another. Of course, the lack of response from internet companies is … notorious. They’re still banging on about “We only provide a platform.” But, you don’t hear that quit so much, anymore. They’re getting more pressure, from a lot of angles. Now it’s more “Fine, but you’re responsible for the content of your platform.” Of course, moderators are a real human being, sitting in front of a screen. They try and do that on the cheap, as much as possible. Algorithms have been tried, but usually people trying to get out dodgy information, figure work arounds, so as not to trigger them. And once something gets shared across several platforms, well ….

    That’s what I found with wheelbarrows. Once the tube tire goes, just get a solid tire. It’s a lot less grief, in the long run.

    Hmmm. I always thought brick and stone houses were cooler in warm to hot climates. If they have enough mass. And small or no windows on their south sides.

    Sam Neill was very sick, but is now on the mend. Some kind of rare blood cancer. I see he’s back to work. But, my gosh, the man’s older than I am! 🙂 The library has quit a few of his movies, but most I’ve already seen. The one’s I’d like to see, they don’t have. But there was one that sounded interesting. Can’t remember the title. I put it on my hold list.

    My, he does have stories to tell. I must say, even when he worked with an actor that he didn’t get on with, he always cuts them a lot of slack. One of his best mates is Bryan Brown. Oh, my. Do those two send each other up. He also talks a lot about music. But after 1975 or so, I’m pretty adrift.

    Oh, it wasn’t a recommendation, just something I mentioned in passing. 🙂 I didn’t know a series like that would interest you. I didn’t watch any of the original series. Never read any of the books. I was in the book biz, when they came out, one per year. And, put up with the usual, “Is it in paperback, yet?” Tedious. I felt like I was spending half my time, educating the public on how the book business worked.

    What with books, and now the internet, just about every food “secret” is out there. A sign up sheet for large potlucks is helpful. Though they’re rather informal. Just something to generally make sure there’s a bit of a spread across dish types. Some people are better at salads, than deserts. Some just go out and buy store bought. And there are pleasant surprises. Such as, the cheese whip brownies. Who knew they’d be so tasty? Back before it was a “thing” I took a big bowl of Tabouli to a potluck. fully expecting to have a lot to take home. Not a grain of bulgar, was left.

    No pancakes this morning 🙁 . Oh, well. There’s still the possibility of hot dogs, later on. Apparently, the young lady who was doing it, has just got her two kids back. At least that’s the rumor, going ’round. Well, when you’re dealing with volunteers, one must be flexible.

    I used the brown jute string, to corral the tomatoes. Just threw a big loop of it around the sprawling branches, pulled them upright, and tied them off to one of the t-posts. The Basil, peppers, green beans, Marigolds and Zucchini, can now breath free. And get a little sun. I’ll have to ride herd on the beans, as they keep attempting to strangle the tomatoes. But, they’re far enough along I can thread the runners, through the chicken wire, and get them moving in the right direction.

    Yes, I think that’s part of the problem. Too many people using the hoses, and everyone has a different idea about an optimum configuration. Everyone seems to have their favorite spray attachment. I wonder if a bit of plumbers tape, would help?

    Here’s the latest on the fire …


    Up to 35% containment. When they’re scooping water out of the Columbia River, I wonder if any Salmon end up in the scoops? Flame broiled Salmon? Lew

  60. Hey Chris,

    The “joys” of family. Family can seem to draw out the worst in people. I guess it’s because, unlike friends and colleagues, family members can’t leave as easily. As for weddings, half my family doesn’t talk to each other over an incident at a wedding. Meanwhile, my father still complains that a couple of his brothers stole most of the beer from his wedding reception and went and had their own party somewhere else. That’s family for you.


  61. Hi Lewis,

    Ah, that sort of screen. I see. There was a local pub which used to do a very good feed. The feed was possibly subsidised by the haul from the pokie machines (one arm bandits). Anyway, after a renovation they installed screens on every wall, so no matter where you sat or looked your eyes would be distracted by moving images. I have no time for such things and so stopped going. But the weird thing about the screens was that there was no volume, so you had the images, but no sound. I know it meant something, I just have no idea what. So yeah, never returned, despite the good food. Have you got any idea as to what it means? I was baffled by it.

    A movie night is a great idea. Popcorn sales too, don’t forget them.

    It’s funny, but since you mention algorithms, there was an article today discussing the difficulties local bands have had since the introduction of streaming services for music content. The algorithms weighting towards the more established – and actually older – musicians, rather than favouring newer content. Of course you may have your own opinions in this matter, and I continue to enjoy the national youth music broadcaster. But the algorithms sway the outcome, how could they not?

    Yeah, I’ll be really interested to see how long the solid tyres last, but if they last longer than the cracked tyres with flat tubes, that’s gotta be a good thing. I reckon the quality of tyres has declined of late.

    Depends just how hot, and you may not have enjoyed a tropical, or super hot environment. It also depends if there is a diurnal differential between day temperatures and night temperatures. I tend to consider the issue of thermal mass in dwellings in the light of cave systems. Seriously. Depending on the latitude of the cave, the ambient air temperature can be quite horrendous. Some caves I’ve visited in tropical areas are horrid places to be. The traditional houses in those areas tend to be of lighter construction allowing cross flow of air.

    Despite the illness, he looks pretty well preserved. Might have a ring of power there? Dunno. Sometimes to amusingly annoy my New Zealand friends, I claim such folks as Australians. They get really upset about that. Probably not good to do, but we can’t be good all the time, can we.

    Fair enough about the music. There’s been a bit of research into your perspective on music recently.

    No, feel free to mention in passing. I catch whatever fish which seem to appeal, so you never know. For example, I thoroughly enjoyed the ‘Stick a Flag in it’ history which you mentioned. At the moment I’ve begun reading the ‘root cellaring’ book. The first edition was penned in 1979, and the words have such a delightfully earnest mindset. Shame few were listening to the message, and that pretty much everything got thrown under the bus in order to continue business as usual. I would have quite enjoyed the company of the back to the land folks, and the one’s I’ve met over the years have been really lovely. They knew.

    I can understand your frustration with the public, and hey, I’d asked equally annoying questions at the speciality book shop ‘Minotaur’ I used to frequent as a young adult. When’s the book due to be published? What about the trade paperback? Can you get such and such a book? Why not? etc. You’ve heard all those stories, and more. The problem with making the purchasing easier as it is nowadays, the economic viability of bookshops has declined.

    Lewis, you sent me on an interweb rabbit hole with that loose talk about ‘cheese whip brownies’. I have to write, and now I’m salivating. OK, they look tasty.

    Oh well, volunteering can sometimes be an unpaid job, an if what you say is the case, well, you have to cut the lady some slack. Did you get any hot dogs later in the day? And I agree, volunteers don’t get paid, so it can be a bit hit or miss. The film night is not a bad idea though, and simpler.

    Ah, well here is a difference between your country and down under (including our friends across the Tasman Sea). We don’t have T-posts, they have a Y-shape down under. And for some reason get referred to by the name ‘star picket’. They’re very tough chunks of steel, and can be very hard to remove from the ground, although I have a tool which can do that job.

    Plumbers tape always helps with leaks, but maybe not for hose connections. I don’t generally have such problems, but then unlike your experience, I don’t let other people muck around with the hoses, tanks and pumps here. Good luck!

    Hey, we watched the final episode of MASH last night. I quite enjoyed the film length episode, and was surprised to find just how much I disliked the Hawkeye character, played by Alan Alda. The character was very good at providing one-liners, but would I have such a person in my life as a friend. No way. The funny thing was that when I was a kid, I’d had a different perspective on the character. Time, huh?

    Speaking of which, time is running out and I better get writing.

    Hehe! I don’t believe that the experience would be very good for the salmon. I recall a CSI episode where a diver had been sucked up by such a system, although it sounded like a bit of an urban myth.

    Cheers and better get writing!

    PS: Broke up a large-ish rock today, always fun. And the sun was shining, and compared to yesterday, it felt quite nice at 50’F. Spring is not far away, maybe…


  62. Hi Simon,

    🙂 Yes, there is an old saying about weddings and funerals ‘bringing out the best and worst in people’. Not generally something I want to see, I’m happy with good enough. Extremes are less desirable because they come with their own complications.

    Having lived in a number of share houses over the years, I tend to believe that there may be more to that story about being able to leave as easily. It occurs to me that family will tolerate behaviour which outsiders won’t.

    Funny you mention that about leaving as easily. Years ago we were at a wedding, and this was back in the day when people could smoke indoors. Anyway, the bride and groom smoked like chimneys at the reception (possibly a sign of nerves? 🙂 ). And Sandra and I had bad colds that night. It was a brutal experience, and we stayed as long as we could, then decided to skip on home (feeling pretty ill and all – and how funny is that given the past few years?). Anyway, because we were a touch naive, we made our apologies to the couple, and far out, what a drama ensued. Apparently being sick in those days was a different thing to these enlightened days, and was not enough of an excuse. So much drama went from that point. Nowadays I’d skip out quietly and not make a fuss – that’s wisdom for you. 😉

    But yeah, that is family. Please excuse me here, and noting that the brothers actions were probably a bit outside the goal posts of normality, but did they end up having the better party?

    Like my story this week, there’s a lot to unpack there.



  63. Yo, Chris – I’m sure owner’s would say something like, “It’s what people asked for.” Yeah, sure. Probably reflects more of the owner’s interests. Or, the employees. I also probably causes more people to linger, than it drives away. If we want people to linger, just throw some salted nuts on the bar. 🙂 I’ve noticed places where you might get “stuck” often have TVs. Tire (or, tyre) dealerships. Automotive repair. Banks. A pile of year old magazines used to suffice. Now people seem to expect to be entertained. At least at the Club, the TV sits on top of a large soft drinks cooler … well above eye level. Sports events do seem to turn out a bit of a crowd, and it’s often a food / fund raiser, for the Club.

    Here at the Institution, they’ve started a movie / popcorn / pajama night, once a month. I have no idea what they show, but I’d guess it’s pretty tame stuff. Probably, no cool explosions. I don’t have any idea how good of a turnout, they have. I steer well clear. Some things you see, you can’t unsee 🙂 .

    Sam Neill has the funniest expression on his face, on the cover of the book. I can’t quit put my finger on what it is. Tentative? “Please like me?” I know you probably don’t buy much wine, due to making your own spirits. But you might keep your eye out for “Two Paddocks.” That’s his brand. Mostly, Pinot Noir. Organic, by the way.

    Oh, you’re one of THOSE bookstore customers. 🙂

    It was at a Club potluck that some old duffer showed up with the brownies. Urged me to taste them, before he revealed the “secret” ingredient. Said it was a recipe of his mother’s. It was really tasty. I did a little research later, and I’m pretty sure it was one of those 1950s recipes. Probably created by the Cheeze Whip company, and published in many a “women’s” magazine. A lot of those 50s recipes were pretty awful. But every once in awhile, there was a winner.

    Yes, hot dogs were on offer, last night. I had two of my usual. Chili, sauerkraut, fried onions and mustard and catsup. Quit tasty.

    I think I watched quit a bit of “MASH,” back in the day. I don’t remember if I ever caught the final episode. It was a long time ago, and I was probably working. Lew

Comments are closed.