The Impression That I Get

The bloke was a bit taller than me, and maybe a few years older. Smoked like chimney. It would be nice if he didn’t smoke in the car. Probably my fault for bringing the complicated brake problem to his business. The windows down, which is fun in the winter weather, eventually sent the smoke stink to the magical land of elsewhere. But then again, maybe not. Sandra commented upon the stale smell.

But the dude fixed the brakes on the dirt mouse Suzuki. The machine is now out of warranty. Yes, it’s been that long. Strange mechanical issues are my problem to get sorted out. It was one of the worst sorts of problems too, being intermittent. The rear drivers side brake would sometimes make this weird clicking sound when the brake pedal was depressed. It’s not a sound which inspires confidence, although as anyone who has ridden a motorcycle knows, most of the braking force comes from the front brakes. So hopefully it wasn’t a big problem. Maybe. Anyway, that’s why you find cheaper drum brakes on the rear of some cars. And the Suzuki had those drum brakes.

When I was a young bloke, not being flush with mad cash, and it being a recession and all, I did all of the servicing and repairs on my second hand motor vehicles. And being far from new, with no computer thingamedoos to make adjustments on the fly, those machines sure needed a lot of work. There were times you’d just be grateful the thing started, let alone returning home again in one piece. In those days, drum brakes could be adjusted using a screwdriver shoved in a hole in the wheel drum. You’d fish around with the screwdriver until you found the gear which turned, and then either tightened or loosened the brakes. Simple enough, unless you stuffed it up – then you’d have no brakes. Always an exciting prospect.

The mechanic and I had a good chat about what went wrong with the Dirt Mouse Suzuki’s brakes. Turns out it was an intermittent fault with a component called the ‘wheel cylinder’, and that’s the thing which exerts the pressure. Anyway, he made an interesting comment. He said that back in the day, the component would have been reconditioned using a kit which supplied all the essential parts. Nowadays, the component gets chucked out and replaced. I remembered the earlier days too, and it makes you wonder what skills have been lost.

This issue has been on my mind of late, and hits a bit closer to home. Regular readers will recall that late last year the farm machine repair shop boss suddenly died. It’s hard to even imagine the difficulties the business, let alone his family must have gone through. The other day, Sandra and I dropped off a very complicated mower at the business for a minor service. There were new faces at the counter, they seemed nice enough, and a new owner. Being country, we had a chat to them and left the mower there. Four weeks wait time with twenty machines ahead in the queue. A bit of quick maths suggests that they’re doing roughly one complicated machine per business day. That was a surprise given winter is meant to be the quiet time of the year, and my gut feeling tells me not to look in the workshop. Nope, best not to get involved. Changes aplenty for sure.

Once back home again, after a brief discussion, we made the decision where possible to perform most of the servicing and basic repairs for the various farm machines we use here. It wasn’t a hard decision to make, and if you’ve been reading for more than a few months, you can see that we’d already been heading down that path. The machine inspection pit we constructed many months ago now, was built for a reason.

It’s an odd feeling to have had support for a decade and a half from the farm machine repair dudes, only for the support to suddenly evaporate. Most of the mechanics there were older blokes, and they’d been talking about retirement, and for all I know, that’s what happened. It makes you wonder at the skills which have been lost.

That’s been on my mind this week, and it’s a bit overwhelming to take on a new responsibility like that. I just have to factor in the time to do the work. It’s not hard, and we’re pretty easy on the farm machines, so it’s more maintenance than repair, but even still.

Did a bit of work on the other ‘lesser’ low centre of gravity ride on mower during the week. And that work took my mind off the chicken problems. The chickens have been eating eggs. We’ve been lucky to get any eggs over the past few months – they’re eating them, all of them. That kind of defeats the entire purpose of keeping chickens, and there is no way they could blame their diet. They get fed a very diverse and protein rich feed, let alone fresh greens, every day. This one has come down to a poultry mental health issue. And I guess over time, one chicken taught several others to eat eggs. Whatever will they think of next?

The chickens however should be far more worried about what I think of the issue. And what I think about the issue is not good. There are plenty of websites which will give you the nice, the good, the lovely folks advice as to how to thwart chickens egg eating tendencies. Then there’s reality. We’ve kept chickens for thirteen years, and some in this lot of chickens are dirty for the activity. It’s not right, they have to go. That’s the Chris school of advice with this problem.

Two chickens lost their heads last week. The egg eating continued, so one morning, we did a stake out on the hen house, CSI style. We stood to the side for an hour or two, and simply observed the goings on in the hen house where the eggs are laid. And when we finally caught the chicken doing the deed, we were both surprised. We hadn’t thought that particular chicken was doing the deed. There was no doubt though, and even less mucking around. A heavy knife did the deed, in front of the whole flock, and hopefully they got the message: Chris means business here, stop mucking around! And since then, there has only been one other eaten egg. Whoever did that is on notice, and perhaps they know that given there has only been one. I can only hope that this skill is now lost to them.

Caught in the act – technically known as unwise final move

The winter has been relatively mild, but humid and wet. Some days, you can see the humidity hanging in the air.

It’s been a mild and humid winter, so far

When feeling a bit overwhelmed, I like getting the environment around me in order. During the week, when there was the chance, I fixed up a lot of minor things about the place which needed attending to. And then there was the pile of mess left by the tree dudes. The tree dudes are a bunch of Pacific Islander blokes who do work around the place from time to time. They haven’t been here for over half a year because I had a problem with the boss of the crew, which arose when he asked for a loan. I’m not a bank.

Anyway, maybe three years ago, there was a huge wind storm which swept in from the north east. The prevailing winds don’t generally arrive from that direction, let alone at gale force. Trees grow and adapt their root systems to brace themselves against the prevailing winds. The plants require energy to perform this feat, so bracing for winds from unlikely directions is a bit of a weak point. As you’d imagine, right across the central highlands area of the state during that wind storm, trees toppled down all over the place. The damage was very minor here, but higher up in the mountain range, houses were squashed and some parts of the forest looked, and still do look, as though a giant had been playing matchsticks with the trees.

The damage here was fairly minor because the bulk of the mountain range protected us from the worst of the wind storm. Even so, three trees were left leaning on very strange angles. Quite dangerous angles really. One of those trees fell down a few years ago. The tree dudes dropped the other 35m (115ft) dangerous tree, and the least dangerous of the three is still leaning ponderously and most likely will fall over sooner or later.

A tall young tree, a funny angle

Observant readers will note that most of the trees in the above photo are pretty young. It’s likely they’re regrowth from the 1983 Ash Wednesday fires. The exception is the larger tree closer to Ollie, which is much older again and probably grew after the 1939 Black Friday fires. If you look closely at the trunk of the larger tree, the blackened marks are from the 1983 fires, which the tree survived. It’s worth noting that the larger tree stands alone, unlike the rest of the forest trees which are cheek-by-jowl, the most likely reason that tree alone survived.

Years ago I got the tree dudes to cut up the two fallen trees into discs so that I could split them into firewood at a later time. They also removed all of the smaller limbs and branches and chucked them into a pile. That’s not ideal, because the pile provides almost perfect snake housing. And we have the second deadliest snakes on the planet, so if the reptiles have any reason to be elsewhere than here, that’s cool. The pile had to go.

Dame Plum climbs the pile and surveys her domain

Fortunately we didn’t discover any snakes, and this is a good thing. The pile was burned off, but not where the tree dudes left the mess – it was too close to several trees for safety. Near to the pile was an old log left over by the loggers. I call those logs ‘Meg’s’, mostly because they’re big.

An inexplicable Meg was left by the loggers

The Meg had probably been there since before the 1983 fires, because the log is charred and blackened over it’s entire length. The Meg was cut up into lengths about four feet long, which is heavy, but easy enough to roll. They were then rolled into a spot near to the pile which was deemed safer for a burn off.

Cleaning up, is hard work

Despite how wet the logs and pile both were, the fire burned hot. You can only imagine how much hotter the fire would be in the summer months.

The burn off produced quite a lot of heat

About a dozen ferns were planted around the new low gradient path project. The recent rains, combined with some sun have produced a lot of growth in the ferns.

Several ferns were planted around the drainage basin
Heaps of ferns were planted in the new garden bed

We’re trialling a Red Wine Vinegar recipe, and also something known as a Kiwi Fruit Enzyme Extract. The extract is quite tasty.

Red Wine Vinegar and Kiwi Fruit Enzyme Extract

The signs of the coming Spring are all about the farm. The recently planted out Tree Fern, has even begun to produce another frond.

Tree Fern Cam tells no lies!

Onto the flowers:

A few shy Daisy flowers peek through the Sage leaves
The Leucodendrons are a splash of colour on winters days
Hellebores produce heaps of flowers and happily self seed
A close up of some Hellebore flowers display amazing detail

The temperature outside now at about 9am is 7’C (45’F). So far this year there has been 558.2mm (22.0 inches) which is up from last weeks total of 542.4mm (21.4 inches)

33 thoughts on “The Impression That I Get”

  1. Yo, Chris – As I told my neighbor Elinor, it’s a bad smell. It’s not mustard gas. 🙂 I think she’s hallucinating it, anyway.

    I know exactly how you feel, about the machine repair shop. I feel the same way, since Frank the mechanic shuffled off into the ether. I haven’t decided where exactly, I’m going to take my truck.

    You could keep bumping off chickens. Or, take them to auction and buy a new flock. Or, I did a little research. To get a simple mechanism, to whisk away eggs, search “Roll out,” or “roll-away egg…” I see there’s even a U-Tub video entitled, “DIY Roll Out Egg Box…”

    That we could so easily catch the cucumber thief, as you did the egg eater. But I’ll take a page out of your book. If we catch them, we’ll rally the Inmates, and make them watch the looping off of a hand, of the offender. That ought to send a message….

    The funny angle tree looks like it would make a good ship’s mast. Or, maybe a telephone pole. Silly me. Land lines are becoming a thing of the past. Maybe an electrical pole?

    No snakes were harmed in the cleaning of this pile. 🙂 That we’re aware of.

    The ferns look quit nice. And the daffodils behind them look about ready to pop. The new garden bed is a knockout. To think just a few short weeks ago (and a lot of work), it was kind of desolate. Go tree fern!

    The flowers are pretty. I’ve got Bachelor’s Buttons (aka Corn Flowers) growing here and there. Quit a few are in bud, and I saw my first open blossom, last night. Lew

  2. Hi Lewis,

    It’s hard to fathom that the great stink debate of 2023 between yourself and Elinor continues. 🙂 You’re probably right there though. Maybe you need to be a touch more mystical in your responses to Elinor? Here’s an example: rather than arguing the whole gas versus kitchen stink, say something amusing like: It’s six bats, you know. Then look inscrutable. The whole walrus thing worked for the Beatles, so why not? At the very least it will provide a few moments of amusement.

    Yeah, your situation with Frank is exactly what I’m facing with small machine repairs. Far out, if you work out what to do in this instance, don’t hesitate to let me know. I can do the work, but it’s just another thing to do. They do say that it takes a village to raise a crop, and I ain’t arguing with that wisdom.

    Very funny about the chickens. Honestly, I don’t really know whether someone already did that same trick to me, and I have no desire to hand the problem onto someone else. That’s not right if it’s unknowing. But seriously, how do I know that the chickens weren’t egg eaters already when I bought them? Mate, one day I’m going to have to attend to the process of breeding chickens. But at the moment we are considering moving to older varieties of chickens which don’t have the high protein diet requirements that some of the newer varieties seem to. And we really did spend a fair bit of time considering the egg laying needs of the chickens in light of this issue, and it is not as if it would be a difficult job to construct a laying box which rolled the eggs out of harms way. The thing is, we had laying boxes, and the chickens were more random about that activity than most people care to believe. Nope, we considered all the alternatives, and made the decision that best suited the conditions here.

    Well that would send a strong message with the hand removal, but I’d have to suggest that the authoritas would take a dim view of your actions. But then hey, you wouldn’t have to worry about semi-regular inspections where you’d be going, they’d be far more frequent, possibly most days at a guess. I’ve heard the food isn’t all that great! 😉

    A lot of the younger trees here would make good telephone poles. It’s funny, but your comment had me looking at the trees in the forest and comparing them with the electricity poles whilst on my dog walk this evening. In fact I believe the local tree species were used for that purpose, although I can’t now recall where I came across the reference, but in more recent times the species: alpine ash is used in preference. There are some stands of that tree in the slightly higher elevations in this mountain range.

    The tree fern is amazing, and obtaining the plant was a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it moment. Several wheelbarrow loads of compost and woody mulch were added to that garden bed too, prior to the many ferns getting planted out. And they’ve all grown heaps since then. A couple of the ferns were pot-bound.

    I’m also a fan of those Batchelor Button plants. We have a blue variety (!) and they self seed and grow in random spots in the paddock. Aren’t they pleasing on the eye? Your place would be jumping with life right now.

    Really? Bill wasn’t looking all that healthy in the first clip you linked too. A lot of blood there, but it was a good idea to pour on the spirits so as to keep the wound clean, and clearly the shot must have missed more than a few internal organs. No, I’m enjoying the clips, despite the house being overly large. Bill is a handy bloke, that’s for sure. Anyway, what did the comments to the clip mean, doesn’t everyone know how to fix all this small time stuff? 😉

    Thanks for the survival advice. Hmm. It probably is best to be elsewhere during such excitable moments in history. Mistakes can be made at such times. I guess what you are saying is that the war lords give their followers some err, leeway, for a short while, so as to prove a point to the population, before then reining them in? A brutal but effective strategy.

    Mate, I’ve got that Dale Carnegie book in the bookshelf, and have not yet read it. Time as always is in short supply and a person can only but do their best. Anyway, I’d like to imagine that I’m charming, but reality is probably not the same thing in this instance! 🙂

    Dialects are always fascinating, and in a news clip I mentioned to Inge a few days ago which showed footage of the 1983 epic dust storm (in the big smoke), the news presenters had a quasi Australian-English accent. You don’t hear that accent used these days. But if I went to a Mexican restaurant and asked for a ‘take-o’, they might hear the words ‘take-home’, which inevitably refers to the doggy bag left overs. There would be some confusion for sure. Taco down here is pronounced ‘tar-co’, with the two distinct syllables.

    Yeah, I’ve had both versions of the taco, and the soft version is a good choice, although I do have a fondness for corn chips. The only problem is that they seem to have a bit of salt in them, which makes my head spin. Not quite Exorcist style though. Your taco’s sounded pretty good, and I might be reaching for more than two there… 🙂

    Only a comedian would come up with a book title like that one. 😉 Fortunately the term ‘raw dog’, has been somewhat expanded to encompass a wider variety of situations than the original usage. Interestingly the first I heard that term was at a comedy show. For some reason unbeknownst to me, the Editor always demands to sit up in the front row. This is a problem for me, not for her. Anyway, there I was at the comedy show minding my own business and stuff when the comedian Nikky Britton, a very funny lady, pulls me out of the seat and gets me to turn a battery powered leaf blower on her. Here’s me blushing and unsuccessfully trying to return to my seat whilst my blowing performance is being reviewed in front of a mostly female crowd. Yes, all very amusing. How is this happening to me, was the thought. Hey, I dodged the entire comedy festival this year – winning!

    Good to hear that the author earned some decent laughs from you. The entire concept of bun integrity is a goodie! And mate, we’ve all been there with that. I hate the varieties that ooze and drip oil onto the plate. After a while I begin to feel queasy looking at the aftermath. Are you lot so busy in the kitchen that you can’t drain the fried food properly before serving it? They might be…



  3. Yo, Chris – Elinor keeps several dead horses, in her apartment, which she frequently beats. 🙂 The latest is, there seems to be some leakage, from an apartment, that’s getting into the top tier of mail boxes. One of which is hers. So her newspaper is slightly damp. She wants to know if it’s 1.) been fixed. 2.) Is it sink water or toilet water. If it’s toilet water, she wants her mail box sanitized, preferably with a flame thrower. To prevent an possible outbreak of Cholera. It could happen! I may have embroidered that last bit, a little.

    I’m still asking around, for a good mechanic. A few names keep floating to the top. Julia’s son is a good shade tree mechanic, but even my old 2004 needs the computer analysis stuff.

    Maybe your just chicken exhausted, due to the Great Rat Wars of 2023? That took up a lot of time and energy.

    Ted, the Master Gardener thinks with the cucumber thief, we should start with just a finger. I don’t know. Doesn’t make much of a statement. The general consensus, among the Master Gardeners, is that the Great Cucumber Theft of 2023 was due to deer. I think the whole thing was pretty surgical, for deer.

    Our telephone and electrical poles are dipped in creosote. Which comes from a plant, by the way. I saw an article where big cactus, in our SW are collapsing from the heat.

    Woody mulch probably keeps the ferns happy, as it replicates their woodland environment.

    Yes, I think I mentioned I managed to find a seed supplier that had an all blue packet of seeds. I saw this morning that a clump of the Bachelor’s Buttons are blooming.

    In passing, it was mentioned that Bill’s house had belonged to his mother. I’d guess it had been passed down through the generations. And I’d guess some of those generations had tribes of kids. Looking at the architecture, it was an old colonial. Some of the really nice furniture was also pretty obviously passed down. Bill was probably the last of his line. As happens.

    Rape and pillage was the coin of the realm 🙂 It was how warlords paid their mercenaries. If the promises didn’t pan out, it often went bad for the war lord.

    Well, Dale can’t hold a candle to Vance, Howard or King. 🙂 Ask the chickens, how charming you are.

    Here, it’s pronounced TAAH – co. That’s why when I want some chips, I break up Tostadas. They have very little salt, and sometimes I can find them baked, instead of deep fried. LOL. If I’m going to eat junk food, I might as well try and get it as healthy as I can.

    Could have been worse. You might have ended up at a Gallagher show. That’s the guy who smashed water melons. He passed away, now, so no danger there. Unless someone has taken up the mantle. Lew

  4. fixing things- yeh, the move to yanking the whole works out and replacing with a snap and a click will be ending soon of necessity I suspect.

    I’ve read about the amazing mechanical McGyvering that has been done in Cuba to keep cars going after Russia pulled out, but many of those cars were still designed to be repaired. Other places retain maintenance skills as well, but much less so here in the U.S.

    The cars now with dozens of chips and computers with software interlocks will be a pain to fix when the mechanics have all gone and supply chains wither.

    I have become competent at all manner of home fixit tasks, but am ashamed to say that cars have left me in the dust.

    Back when you could sandpaper the points, regap the plugs, and shoot some ether in the carburetor, I could keep an old car chugging, but it’s gotten too complicated.

    I would be happy to pay twice the going rate for all manner of kit that was made to last, and made to be repaired, but in general it’s not to be found.

    Leaning trees- ack! I hate that. Like a sword of Damocles just leaving you at constant unease.

    I had one smallish tree I had felled hang up on the adjacent tree, but it was small enough that I used a come along to yank it free. Big ones are another kettle of fish, and quite dangerous if meddled with by amateurs.

    So far I’ve not hung up any big ones.

    egg eaters- We’ve been lucky so far. Interestingly, if an egg gets dropped and broken, they all will swarm, but as long as the egg is just sitting there whole, they don’t touch it. Once in a while, some hen can’t make it to the nest box, and plops one right in the bedding of the coop. No one bothers or seems to notice it.

    Have you ever considered building a hugelkulture with some of the leftover logs and trimmings? It’s on my list, but have not yet assembled one. Supposedly another good way to retain moisture and build overall soil health.

  5. Hi Steve,

    Well spoken! And it’s a problem. New cars require computer diagnostic tools, and sure the vehicles are more reliable, and burn less fuel (if people remember to purchase a small vehicle – very often not the case) but the trade off has been a decreased ability to repair them. From memory, it was about the late 1990’s when I gave up on servicing and repairing my vehicles. Like you said, they were just too complicated. With the older vehicles, if you had the knowledge and experience, trouble shooting was a breeze. Spark, Fuel, Air and Compression, that’s what it takes.

    How is your Insight holding up?

    Those Cuban vehicles are like a freeze frame vehicle time capsule and like you say, they were designed to be repaired. And I’d imagine that there would be a lot of compromises with the repairs and maintenance. The former Dirt Rat Suzuki (the replacement is now one years old) was 18 years old, and it seemed like every second day something new went wrong. No show-stoppers, but the day was coming, that’s for sure.

    Years ago I read the book ‘Zen and the art of motorcycle maintenance’, and the author I guess was discussing the larger issue of quality in general terms. But he was also probably a self taught machinist (fitter and turner) and was making his own parts for the old BMW bike in what seemed like a backyard workshop. Pretty clever, but you know, I reckon tolerances nowadays are so fine that they have moved past that point.

    On a brighter note, the small farm machines are vastly easier to repair. With a bit of common sense and basic tools, a small Honda GX series carburettor can be stripped down and cleaned, then reassembled in half an hour. It’s not that hard. And right now, the parts are cheap. Yup. Makes you wonder what the future holds in store for us?

    Hey, I look for quality too. With the small engines, sometimes the knock off stuff is really good quality too. And I’ve seen some of those knock-off engines outperform and outlast the original spec engines. And an absolute necessity here is fuel stabiliser. Fuel is no longer what it once was.

    Thanks for the image of the sword of Damocles! Hopefully the forest doesn’t want exact justice? Makes a bloke a bit nervous, that thought! 🙂

    Even the folks who do the work for a living occasionally stuff things up. And I never watch them on the off chance that act puts them off their game. Over the years I’ve seen things go wrong, and experience is knowing what to do at such times. I trust older folks in that industry, because they have the experience to know, to will, and how to fix. Did I ever tell you about the time I employed the Champion Axeman? His business card claimed as much, and he was true to his word. Worth every cent. He did confide to me that the tree had kept him up half the night.

    Lucky you with the chickens. Mate, all it takes is one bad egg, sorry I meant to say, bad chook.

    Prior to this current batch, my experience matches yours. But it is like the old timer forestry workers, you have to know what to do when things go wrong. Most of the advice on the interweb in this egg eating matter seemed unrealistic and well intentioned to me. We’re getting about four eggs per day now.

    I tried hugelkultur many years ago, and a dry summer left a lot of highly flammable logs in the soil. The experiment was dismantled. I’ve had a long time to consider the matter, and what occurs to me is that the local soil flora and fauna first has to be established. You can’t break down super dense logs without all those critters. The establishment probably has to take place on a scale of a few decades. Tolkien once wrote: It’s the job which is not begun, that takes the longest.



  6. Hi Lewis,

    The poor horses, and I do hope that sooner or later Elinor gets around to burying them. It couldn’t hurt. My belief is that the horses would make for poor company. Anyway, whatever would visitors think of all those horses? So many questions… 🙂

    Who knows, but possibly the leak will be clean water, rather than sewage. On a serious note, plumbing systems generally have water under pressure, sewage however runs in much greater diameter pipes at low pressure. The higher the pressure, the more likely there’ll be a leak in the pipe. That’s not suggesting that Elinor’s concern is not possible, it’s just less likely. And nod of the hat to you for even considering mentioning the cholera risk. You’re a brave man there. Neighbours and friends in a time of cholera perhaps? Sounds like a good working title for a novel, and our fortunes might just be made, if we can somehow work out a good story around this title. What about, say: Elinor goes full zombie after coming into contact with the mysterious liquid. Scientists may have been involved. Mayhem ensues. Lewis with a garden fork (fortunately sharp) takes on the zombies single handedly, and barely survives to take down the boss zombie – little miss sunshine (the baddest of them all!) Like Woody in Zombieland II how he barely managed to survive the zombie onslaught. What do you reckon about that plot outline? Is it a bit clichéd?

    That’s a really lovely way to describe a backyard mechanic. But yes, we’re walking a similar path here. Over the last couple of days I’ve sat through several utoob clips on how to properly service the various machines we use here. Being something of a stickler for details, I have long tried my best to ensure they all run similar components and engines. Turns out that was probably a good idea. Anyway, I’ve ordered a few tools which I didn’t have, and will squirrel away some reconditioning kits. It’s not hard. Cost $100. This path will pay for itself. The question is now forming in my mind: why didn’t I do this before?

    Yeah, 2004 was the same age as the former Dirt Rat Suzuki. A lot of computers in them, but not nearly as many as there are in them nowadays. I’ll tell you a funny story too. The insurance renewal arrived in the mail, and the amount insured went up. Me being me, I phoned them up and queried that, and they said that the used market is bonkers. Not their exact words, but you get the idea.

    I had not considered that aspect of the chicken story, and I have no doubts your observation is perfectly valid. Yeah, maybe I only have so much energy to put into the chickens.

    Deer? From what I’ve observed of deer, they leave a lot of mess behind them, not to mention the distinctive calling cards of a neat piles of poop. Hard to ignore that. You never know, but cutting away the branches of the tomato plants does not suggest deer to me – they’d stomp them.

    I thought creosote came from wood and coal tar production? I’d never heard of the plant before, but wow, for a plant to survive those sorts of conditions is a serious achievement. It suggests that the area has been in a fairly stable climate for a very long time.

    Ferns grow well here, and despite what people suggest about indigenous plants and their greater abilities to survive poor soils, they do enjoy a feed.

    I remember you mentioning the guaranteed blue flowering variety of seeds, and I had wondered whether that was what you’d obtained. Lovely plants. What colours are blooming with those plants?

    Ah, that can happen when a line dwindles and fades. The Bill character in the series seemed like a very competent dude.

    Speaking of competence, or in this case, lack thereof, I added an entire chilli to my dinner last evening (the Editor went out for dinner with friends). I must have had about three hours of sleep before waking up in a sweat. A bit of reading today suggests that the fruits can increase a persons metabolism. Perhaps I took things too far? Anyway, I’m now on a chilli-detox diet and will stay off them for a few days to observe the difference. Then the challenge will be finding that middle ground.

    History is replete with examples. And yeah, if pay wasn’t forthcoming, the troops would seek their own opportunities. Makes sense.

    All great authors! 🙂 I’m getting to know Holly in this book. I had not met this fictional character before, but there is something in her vulnerability which is a marked difference to Mr King’s many other characters. Less assured in some ways. Holly is a very likeable character. Me on the other hand, the chickens probably have some strong opinions, and they’re probably not good. 😉 On the other hand, we’re now getting about four eggs a day.

    A double ‘AA’ in the taco word would add an emphasis. Out of curiosity, is the double AA, an extended Ahhh like sound? It ain’t junk food if it’s good for you! 🙂

    Where’s a Sledge-O-Matic when you need one? A handy bit of kit, and Robert E Howard would have known how to incorporate such a mojo-infused item into a story!



  7. Yo, Chris – What a morning. Whinge alert! So, I drove all the way over to the other side of Centralia, to get blueberries from the stand I do, every year. When we had the paper coupons. This year, it’s some kind of a card. They don’t have a reader. I wonder how much they were going to soak them for the reader. So, back to the Club. I did buy a flat of berries, however. Not knowing where and when in the future I may find some. Card or no.

    So, I stopped by the veg store, which is a fruit stand, and they can’t take the card, either. I knew that, at least. Which makes no sense as they take what used to be called food stamp cards. I think the reasoning is, the cards we got are good direct from farmers. The fruit stand buys from farmers.

    So, we had our biscuits and gravy, and a lovely visit with my friend Julia. And then headed home. I saw our Community Outreach Person (who arranges for the cards), and told her of my travails. And, the situation with the other fruit stand. Now, she’s a sweet little minister’s wife, but she gets things done! We’ll see if the situation is any better next year.

    So, after dropping off the dog and blueberries I headed down to our local Chehalis Farmer’s Market. Which is a nightmare. We have 3 main arterials, through town, all one way, or another. Parking is another nightmare. So, I ended up parking three long blocks away, but at least, in the shade. Did I mention it’s 80+ here, today.

    But first, I stuck my head in a used book store, that I seldom get to (see: impossible traffic flow and parking). Bought a book on baking and one on Celtic history.

    Then plunged into the market. Found a vendor that a.) takes the card and b.) had blueberries. At $10 a flat more than the first place I went. But, heck, it was mostly on the card. Small berries, light flat, but hey! they’re organic. Big whoop. So I darned near die, getting a flat and a half of blueberries back to my truck (uphill), with the books in a bag, banging against my hip. I won’t mention that when trying to take my shoes off, I got one lace in a knot. Why today? So, here I sit, still sweating like a pig.

    Reading opens up whole new worlds! I was reading “Raw Dog,” last night and came upon a chapter about the Wonderful World of Competitive Eating. I mean, I had heard of pie eating contests, and maybe, vaguely about hot dog eating contests. But there are contests for asparagus, cheesecake, chicken nuggets, chili, crab cakes, eggs, jambalaya, MoonPies, oysters, pizza, tacos, tater tots, and turducken. (?) You might do well at the Australian version of pies. Or, maybe there’s a Tiramisu eating contest? Oh, my gosh, there is! The Tiramisu World Cup in Italy. So, what’s the appeal, for the contestants? Sponsors. Pepto Bismol® is a big sponsor. 🙂 Many thousands of dollars are involved.

    But to your missive. “Zen and the Art of Motor Cycle Maintenance” was a great book. Read it years ago. There’s a few crusty old bikers, that hang out at the Club. They moan about the computerization of “hogs.” And the idea of electric bikes, is just beyond the pale. Most of them express the thought that they’re glad they’re old and won’t have to put up with this shite, much longer.

    Plot outline: keep your day job. 🙂

    Why didn’t you do it before? I can’t understand that either. What with all the time that hangs heavy on your hands. Between walking, chewing gum, eating pies and hauling rocks. 🙂

    Yes, I keep hearing outrageous things, about the used vehicle market. Such as, my old truck is worth what I paid for it. But try and find someone with cash in hand, who will pay that much. It’s kind of like when I was in the tat trade. “My sister-in-laws cousin, told me this worthless piece of tat will make me fabulously wealthy.” Yeah, but they weren’t waving any money around, were they?

    Oh, I think the Master Gardeners are sticking to the deer story, as they can’t quit believe the sweet little old ladies who live here, would stoop to such a nefarious crime. Little do they know …

    Bachelor’s Buttons usually are packed with blue, pink and white seed. Years ago, that was all I could find. So, as soon as a blossom showed pink or white, I nipped it off. And saved the seed from just the blue ones. The next year, I had all blue blossoms. But then I moved and …

    Chilies. You know, I had some problems getting up a lot at night. So, I did a little research. It was suggested I cut back on spicy foods. So, I cut back on my beloved Mexican hot sauce. It helped, quit a bit. Not so many trips to the bog, in the wee small hours. Oh, I still hit the sauce. Just not every day.

    Holly … really grows as a person.

    Yes, an Ahhh sound.

    Well, now that I’ve got two and a half flats of blueberries, I suppose I should do something with them. 🙂 I’ll start processing them, this evening. I can usually do two batches a day. I think I’ll still have to buy another flat, somewhere. Last year, I bought 3 1/2. Lew

  8. The Honda Insight- I still have it, but it’s in suspended animation in the garage. The battery died, and the dealers don’t want to mess with this old (2004) car that has not kept up with technology. The Insight was a very small run model, so OEM parts are hard to come by. A couple websites claim to do repairs, but not nearby, and one steps carefully in internet land. So I’ll hang on for a while, as a friend who DOES cars feels he can do the battery and wiring, but we are both busy with things higher on the list.

    Speaking of Honda- Yay for Honda small engines! Our BCS two wheel tractor has a Honda engine, and it’s a steady performer. Around eight years old now, and no issues.

    So we bought a used Prius- We found out that they actually make a four wheel drive version, and with our hills and snow, that was mandatory. We’ll see how it does this coming winter.

    I noted Lew mentioning blueberries- We stock up on them also. They freeze well, and there are two nearby berry farms that offer “you pick” at a reduced rate. We picked around 30 lbs ~14 kg and froze most of them. My experiment with Juneberries as a home grown alternative is going very slowly. With my intentional low input management approach, the plants take longer to produce, but I’m trialing various food crops for the low energy future. (Both global and personal).

  9. Chris,

    Back from the vacation. It was nice running into cooler temperatures for a week. It was very good to see my friend and having some fun travelling a bit and visiting some restaurants in his area.

    The best restaurant meal was at a Mexican restaurant. The food was most excellent. The most interesting restaurant is called the Grouchy Chef. One man operation. Literally. The owner makes your reservations, is the maître d, and the waiter and dishwasher and chef and cashier. He trained in France, or so goes the story. With only himself as staff, he serves superb meals at more than reasonable prices. The building is an old warehouse.

    There is a catch, if you want to call it that. All of his customers get THE soup of the day as the first course. All get THE salad of the day with that day’s salad dressing as the next course. The third course is the entree, for which there are several choices. The fourth course, dessert, is THE dessert of the day. He is very up front about “If you have food allergies or gluten issues, I don’t care. No substitutions. So toughen up and deal with it or eat somewhere else.” Interesting experience and very good food.

    There’s a largish fire near the northern Washington town of Oroville. The fire has jumped across the border into Canada and has caused havoc in the Canadian town of Osoyoos. I heard that the fire did not have a passport with which to enter Canada, so it may be getting treated as an illegal immigrant. 😉

    That area is desert. Dry and hot. Of course, Spokane is dry and hot now too.

    I, too, miss my old vehicles. I used to file the points and do what was necessary with the spark plug of my old Honda 175 motorcycle. Plus most of the maintenance of the family cars. Not any longer. Ugg.

    So, reading between the lines here…the chicken and the egg issue. Chickens have been executed. Have chicken dinners been a result of the executions?

    Nice photo of the tall young tree with the funny angle. Hope nobody is standing nearby when it decides to finish falling. That might hurt. A lot. As someone else mentioned, however, trying to do something about it is not a job for us amateurs. Complicating the situation via improper meddling could lead to getting a severely dented cranium.


  10. Hi Steve,

    Hmm. Your Insight battery issue piqued my interest. You’re not wrong about OEM batteries. They’re NiMh batteries too. I believe the Prius uses that battery chemistry as well, except for the newer machines which have a lithium chemistry (no further details on the exact nature). The NiMh chemistry has been tested by time, and bizarrely I’ve got a few next to me, but on the desk in a charger happily charging away. It looks like there are companies which sell complete replacement batteries. If it was me, I’d stump the extra cash for brand new cells, but with an old car it is still a risk of all the other components failing. Man, the problem becomes like the older timer saying: How long is a piece of string?

    I hold some doubts that your existing battery could be repaired, although it is not impossible. The thing is if you chuck new batteries in among an old pack (perhaps excluding LiFePO4 chemistry), the newer batteries do all the heavy lifting and can soon fail due to over use. If your friend is super-handy, they do sell reconditioning kits, but I’d replace all the cells within the battery, but that does mean cracking the battery case – and err, welcome to my world of late last year. Honestly, I felt like a safe cracker, and the job produced a bit of sweat. A risky task if I may say so, but more so with the battery chemistry I use. You know, the vehicle is at a point in time where you have to ask the hard question: Is it worth it? And grabbing another is the same decision I’d make. The Prius is a good car.

    Hehe! Yeah, go the small Honda GX series motors! Even the knock offs I’ve seen and used are equally amazing. Those BCS tractors are a very good bit of kit. You reminded me of the old Honda mower we originally had, and the motor was continuing to chug along, way after the rest of the mower had gone beyond the point of economic sense in relation to repairs.

    I’ll be interested to hear what you have to say about the machine in the winter months, and I had no idea that there was an on-demand four wheel drive model. Not a bad idea at all.

    Hey, we’re all headed there. Hope the experiments with the Juneberries goes well. I have to get to pruning the currants and jostaberries. Always something more to do. You’d be familiar with that. 🙂



  11. Hi DJ,

    Ah, they do say that a vacation is as good as a holiday! 😉

    Glad to read that you had fun over to the coast. It would be cooler too, although the locals, if asked, might not believe the claim.

    Go on tease me, food being an interest. What was the best Mexican dish you tried there?

    Hey, that guy is probably a bloke who has had enough experience in commercial kitchens to have decided that staff can be a mixed bag – says the bloke who also walked away from the big end of town, hashtag managing staff and stuff. 😉 That’s a really clever adaption to keep the menu excellent, but simple enough to manage by himself. Fascinating, and did you enjoy your meal there?

    Well, food allergies are a serious problem for people, but not every business can cater to those needs, and that’s life. Whether people can accept that reality, possibly that’s a mystery we’ll have to ponder at some length. With one minor exception, I accept the food as it arrives, and if it doesn’t agree with me, there are other places to go.

    Man, I’m amazed that the town of Osoyoos is so close to the coast, and yet dry. The images of the plants in the hills surrounding the town and lake, tell me everything that needs to be known. Incidentally, the fire was marked on the gargle maps. Not something you ever want to see anywhere near you. Certainly nobody consulted the local customs agents or locals about the idea of the fire. A bit of a problem that.

    How’s your new landscaping going in the hot and dry? It may need a good winter or two to settle down – at a guess. New garden beds here really need a couple of years before they start getting settled and productive.

    A Honda 175 is a venerable beast of an iron steed. Certainly easy at the bowser. Far out, winters are hard down here for motorcycles, but what the heck would they be like in your part of the world?

    How’s your hand going?

    Well, the chickens did provide a feast, for the worms. 😉 Don’t laugh but tonights dinner is pumpkin soup and a focaccia. The dogs are botting chunks of bread. I don’t see them offering to share their dinner or chews.

    That tree is a real risk. It’s hard to see in the photo, but at the base near to where it will inevitably fall, is a loggers upside down tree stump. What would happen if cut, the butt of the felled tree would hit the upside stump and kick back upwards. That is one dangerous tree. Oh yeah, it’ll fall when it’s good and ready. But it will fall.



  12. Hi Lewis,

    Thanks for the early whinge alert, otherwise I may have been triggered (whatever that means)! On a more personal note, it was a truly fine whinge, and it would have annoyed the daylights out of me too. What’s the point of providing a card, which can’t be used?

    You may be surprised to discover, but those card readers aren’t exactly cheap devices. The old school paper carbon copy embossed swipee credit card machines were not exactly cheap either. Do you remember those things? You’d press the card into the little holder. Chuck in a carbonised paper form, run the machine back and forth. Get a signature – and that was that. Once I forgot to give the customers card back. My boss got me to track the customer down via the phone book. And he was grateful to get the card back too. Not a mistake you repeat a second time! 😉

    That’s a good question about the reader, and candidly the whole system sounds a bit kooky to me. Have you figured it out yet? Given most folks buy from intermediaries like the fruit stand, why would you be forced to go directly to the farm gate?

    Good to see you eventually nabbed a tray or more of berries. The story sounds exhausting and unnecessarily problematic. You’d hope the folks don’t try and progress the card system… Mate, your words craftily avoided hubris, but with any system it’s a truth that things could get worse. You should see some of the bureaucratic systems I have to handle with paid work. I’m not sure I’d enjoy reading Kafka, he seemed a bit too tortured for reading enjoyment, but I could well be wrong there.

    So the biscuit and gravy folks recovered from you-know-what? Whatever the case, it’s a good thing that the gravy and biscuits were on, and I trust H was on her best behaviour, and scored heaps of leftovers?

    Summer will soon be a recent memory in your part of the world, but that doesn’t assist things for you right now. At least you found a park in the shade, and could presumably walk in the shade. I’d read in some parts of your country recently, people received significant burns due to contact with surfaces warmed by the very hot weather? 66’F here tomorrow, which is quite warm for this phase of winter. Not extraordinary, but hotter than you’d expect. Not to worry, rain is forecast for tomorrow night. I did notice that the Manchurian Pear has begun producing leaves and blossoms.

    Used book shops are always interesting places, and like you, I too find them hard to leave empty handed! 🙂 Hey, the Stephen King hard crime novels arrived in the mail today. A delightful box set, and the cover art is a hoot. Certainly the cover art might upset the local notables! I dunno why people have an issue about other people reading in public. They don’t know that I can tune them out if so needed. It’s a skill that, and far out, you get plenty of practice around these parts. For some, I’m sure it is a personal challenge to poke me whilst the nose is buried in a good book. I’m trying to imagine if you could read a book in a shady spot in the garden and not be harassed by your inmates? The other day I read an article about a couple of old fellas, being allegedly shot and killed over a hose dispute in a community garden. Seriously. Talk about a crime of passion.

    Have you done the taste test on those berries? Being smaller, they might have a bit more flavour than usual – at a wild guess. Dude, the forces of nature moved against you today. All we can hope is that tomorrow works out better and that the weather cools down. How’s your corn growing with all that heat?

    That’s some pretty crazy stuff those food competitive eating competitions. Far out, honestly I appreciate the suggestion, but I lack the competence. 🙂 Sometimes I am reaching for a dessert pie after an otherwise insubstantial pie, but you know there’s always the next meal. That’s the plan anyway. Is there really such a thing as a tiramisu world cup? No way, but so cool! They look serious and are having fun. Whatever will they think of next?

    Didn’t you watch that documentary following the electric motor bikes retracing their former gruelling journey? It had the actor in it. I recall vague discussions of the documentary with a certain sort of horror. I don’t see them either, but they do make more sense than an electric car. The batteries just weigh a lot relative to the energy stored. Imagine what farmers have to deal with when things go wrong on their tractors, and nobody else can service and repair the machines other than the manufacturer and agents? And I do wonder if they too are having troubles getting and keeping staff, just like everyone else. At best it would annoy you, at worst…

    Thanks for the critique. Fortunately I had no plans to give up the day job, so no problem there – that I’m aware of. The last disclaimer was an anti-hubris device, worthwhile to employ at crucial moments. Whilst I believe the blog is beneath the notice of the Elder Ones, don’t you think it is wise to avoid their notice all the same?

    Hehe! Yeah, been a bit busy. True. Mate, there are times I feel I’m only just ahead of the curve. I can feel it catching up with me, and if I but slow or stumble, things might go poorly. But on the other hand, if I can consider the option of repairing and servicing the machines, then I probably sort-of have the time to do so, maybe.

    I agree, and your point is absolutely rock solid. Only those who have tried to sell things, know the difficulty of finding cashed up buyers. I don’t have any reliance of peoples opinions of how much a thing is worth until they show me the money. But on the other hand insurance companies have a vested interest in talking down prices. The incident was weird.

    Exactly, it’s nice to be naive, then there is what actually goes on. There may be a difference! It has been my casual observation, that people come in various guises, and some of them aren’t very nice at all. And some of those not very nice at all folks, have many years to their names. I tend to judge based on actions. Anyway, unlike us and a good bottle, that not very nice lot don’t get better with age.

    That’s clever with removing the blossoms of the colours you didn’t want. I presume you’re beginning the process all over again?

    Nobody tells you these things about spicy foods impacting on sleep. As you can imagine, with the recent bumper harvest, we’d also been eating a lot of chili! And have come to the same conclusion. Oh well, might have modify behaviour. I hear you, all things in moderation!

    Holly as a character is growing on me. Quite competent in her own way.

    I forget, how do you process the blueberries prior to freezing them?



  13. Yo, Chris – Whinge alert. Providing safe spaces since things got silly. 🙂

    Oh, yes. If I had a nickel for every time I Ca-Chunked! the credit card Ca-Chunk machine, I wouldn’t be living in government subsidized housing. Or, given inflation, maybe a dime. You were probably chatting up the customer, and forgot to give them back their card. Up-selling, I hope. 🙂

    I dropped the whole thing in the Community Outreach Person’s lap. Of course, no changes will be apparent, until next year. She’s pretty competent.

    H got her usual left-overs. She could have had more, but, too much of a good thing …

    It was 82F, yesterday, but felt a lot hotter. Downtown heat island effect? Not a cloud in the sky. Same, today. Cliff Mass had a nice post about our clouds … which is how the sky looked last week. 84F, today, and a slow rise to 91 on Monday.

    Well, if you’re out in public reading King’s crime books, and they catch someone’s eye, try and look as pervy as possible. Maybe lick the cover. That will keep them at a distance.

    Yes, I can see a garden shot out, over a hose. Here, it would more likely involve garden implements. Which can be just as lethal. I’ll let you know when the corn hits 6′ tall. Any day now.

    Well, one of the Blue Zone things is that you only eat until you’re 80% full. I could have reached for those two more tacos, but thought better of it. There’s some mechanism in your stomach, that doesn’t tell you, you feel full, until 20 minutes after eating. Mileage may vary.

    First you make a local name for yourself in some eating contests. Then you find a sponsor. Might get you a free trip to Italy. You might want to consider changing your name to something Italian sounding. Then there’s the whole ginger thing. Although, in northern Italy, there are ginger inclined folk.

    I didn’t see that documentary. Can’t say it would attract my attention. The Right to Repair. Coming soon to a state near you. Farmers have a pretty good lobby, to agitate for that kind of thing.

    The Bachelor Button seed I bought are all blue. They did the hard yards. Not that expensive.

    I’ve got the blueberry assembly line, going. Wash up about 5 of those little cartons, run them through the salad spinner, arrange in a single layer in two colanders, let dry. Put them on trays, then into the freezer. Bag. The first batch is bagged in the freezer, and the second batch in the colanders. Moving right along …

    I was naughty. Elinor started banging on about the leak in the mail boxes, again. Heck, I don’t know. I don’t care. Above my pay grade. Not in my job description. So, I played the Cholera card. I don’t know why so many people around here think I’m The Answer Man.

    I see on the 17th, someone is coming from the Fire Department, to talk about fire safety. I won’t go, but I bet it will be entertaining.

    We get a food box, today, I think. The one with the produce. Wonders to behold. Lew

  14. Hi Chris,

    We had an “interesting” July, including three severe thunderstorms (on the 1st, 14th, and 29th) in which the wind knocked down trees and their large limbs, which fell on the electrical lines and resulted in loss of electricity for 5, 47, and 6 hours respectively. Just before the storms, our electrical utility was extolling its excellence in trimming the trees located close to the lines. Perhaps a bit of hubris under the circumstances. Only a few houses got damaged, one of them close enough to walk to and gawk at. The tree limb wiped off one wall of the porch.

    Our tree damage was limited compared to many people. One tree, a mulberry, lost one of its major limbs, which fell into our and the next door backyard. The other, a hickory, was stranger – about halfway up, the storm seems to have twisted the trunk so that it now hangs downward against the sun side of the tree, but is still attached in strips to the rest of the trunk. It’s still green. Both trees are in the back yard, neither are interfering with anything, and both will be left till winter to deal with so no one walks over the yellowjacket nest in the back yard.

    I’m on cautiously good terms with the yellowjackets. A couple of Sundays ago, I noticed them flying into and out of a hole in the ground just before I walked over it. After I backed off and watched them at work, I realized I had mowed the lawn right over their nest the day before – and they had refrained from stinging me. So I promised them that I would leave them alone and stay well away from their nest for the rest of the year. The nest isn’t too far from the garden, and I find them searching for food among the plants as I harvest. I am polite with them and give them room to work. They are predators, so they are helping to control potential garden pests.

    Speaking of the garden, it’s one of my major harvest periods, primarily tomatoes, peppers, and green beans, plus a few cucumbers. The zucchini plants died, alas. I got the autumn greens and roots bed planted earlier this week, and it rained on it last night and this morning and is cooler than normal besides. Should be good conditions for seed germination and growth.


  15. Chris,

    I had the chicken enchiladas with red sauce. Only because they didn’t offer green sauce. I prefer the green on my enchiladas. It is somewhat hotter and tastier than the red. But this red sauce was excellent. I also had a stuffed poblano chili. It was also very tasty. The meal came with rice and refried beans, of course, and they were prepared properly.

    And yes, the meal at the Grouchy Chef was very good also. The soup was lentil soup, which I typically like. There was more seasoning in it than I prefer, seeming somewhat overloaded with ginger. The remainder of the meal was superb. If not for the overly seasoned soup, I would’ve rated this higher than the enchilada meal. The salad was great, the entree was perfectly done (I had pork in mushroom sauce), and the dessert was spectacular.

    Osoyoos may be relatively close to the coast, but the Cascade Mountains are tall and block the sea air from the regions east of the mountains. East of the mountains is desert from Penticton, Canada (just north of Osoyoos) all through Washington, Oregon and California.

    The landscaping got put on the back burner due to the finger injury. I’m still under activity restrictions. The finger seems to be doing better. I make sure that I keep up with the physical therapy exercises. I’ll know more after I see the surgeon next Tuesday.

    I had the old Honda 175 over 40 years ago. Realistically, motorcycles hereabouts can be ridden with almost no threat of ice for 4 months, and for up to 6 or 8 months if the motorcycle is ridden after any frost has melted. I rode maybe 5 months out of the year. Got rid of the motorcycle after 2 years. Cars were consciously trying to run me and a friend off the road on several occasions. It was just a matter of time before something nasty happened.

    Pumpkin soup and focaccia sound good, actually. Was it good? We’re eating a lot of watermelon right now. Wet and cool and tasty. Perfect for the heat.

    Feeding the chickens to the worms probably made the worms happy. And that makes the soil happy.

    Days are sticking around 35C daily with 15% humidity. The storm systems that might roll through over the next few days don’t look to bring much rain. Lightning and wind are likely. Not a good combination.


  16. Hi DJ,

    Makes you wonder what exactly is the difference between a red and a green sauce? Tabasco has a red and a green sauce, but which was hotter? So many questions you’ve raised. Let’s see what the interweb has to say on this matter… … Hmm, I see. There’s a bit of controversy there, and also mixed opinions. Forget about all that though, this talk of tasty enchilada’s and stuffed poblano chili’s, sounds to me as if you landed in a most excellent place to eat. 🙂 However, can refried beans and rice not be prepared properly? I’ve never had such a dish served to me that I didn’t like. Just when you think there are no further routes of exploration, new vistas appear out of nowhere. Would the Amalgamated Union of Philosophers, Sages, Luminaries and Other Thinking Persons, approve of such lines of inquiry?

    Ah, here I agree with you. A little bit of seasoning is good, too much can spoil the broth. I dunno, maybe people freak out about lentils and feel the need to dress them up? Mostly lentils are rather tasty foodstuffs to me, despite the sort of hippy vibe which is attached to them. But yeah, ginger can be quite over-powering so I can understand that heavy handedness may have deducted a few points from the score of the overall meal. I prefer consistency over that of vast discrepancies, and that is where the Mexican feed prevailed. At least that is my best guess.

    It’s hard to explain, but why would that mountain range have a Wallaby Peak and a Kangaroo Ridge? Do they need some? We’ve got plenty to spare! It’s as weird as having the local hamlet here known after the Cherokee Tribe whom I doubt have ever visited these shores. The Great Dividing Range which traverses the east coast of this continent, but at much lower altitudes, has a similar effect on the weather west of the ranges.

    Fingers crossed that your finger health report card scores an A+. I suspect that you’ll ace the exam purely on the basis that your lady and I see eye-to-eye in the matter of: ‘Have you done your rehab today?’ 😉 Purely done out of care for your good self, and anyway none of us want to be exposed to the most awful report card: ‘DJ was a good student (note past tense), and whilst acknowledging he did try his best at physio exercises, he could have done better’. Man, wouldn’t want to be you if that was the report card. Things may go badly for you, just sayin’! Hehe!

    Mate, I get that about the motorcycle. For me it was almost a quarter of a century ago, and there were a few bikes which ended up with the beast of a Yamaha XV-750. But like you sort of hint at, the requisite nine lives were all used up. That was my experience too. You’d roar off from the lights just trying to get a bit of a safe space between yourself and the other cars on the road, and inevitably, the cars would catch up. Someone who worked in emergency services once told me that people drive at what they are looking at. A truly frightening thought, but I can’t dispute the opinion either. Sometimes it is wisdom to look into the future and ask the awful question: Where does this road lead? I recall being a young teenager and hearing my grandfather tell me just that, but I was too young to comprehend and thought he was discussing the physical landscape. Although the advice is equally applicable in that context. Hey, makes you wonder what else I missed? 😉

    Yes, the food was good, and the pumpkin was a local variety we’ve grown for many years known as a ‘Queensland blue pumpkin’. It’s more grey than blue if you ask me. But the innards have a sort of sweet taste and they grow well on this continent. When I was a kid, they were generally roasted and served with (equally roasted) lamb. Quite tasty.

    The soil here is very happy indeed! I slipped on some of the soil today. That’s what you get when you roll two new water tanks down the hill. Fortunately, my foot did not slip all that far and I was not run over by the said plastic water tank. Imagine that for an ignoble ending – it could happen for sure.

    Over the past decade, I often wonder what the farmers in the coffee plantations think of their beans, which end up as soil feed here. It’s a bit eerie really.

    Your summers are dry, and I’ve experienced 10% humidity (bonkers alert!) It’s not a good combination, yeah. The winds woke me up at 5.30am this morning as they slammed into the side of the house. Tomorrow is meant to produce even stronger gusts. It hardly surprises me that a tree lost its head. It can happen to the best of us.



  17. Hi Claire,

    That curse has some clout, which you clearly know. Not the sort of thing you want to ever hear! 😉 How did your freezer go in the 47 hours loss of power? Despite not being connected to the grid, over reliance on those freezing machines worries me. Still, if they’re a chest freezer and there is enough thermal mass contained in the device, it might be good for that length of time. We tend to rely on lower tech preserving methods.

    Oh no, absolutely! One must be careful never to poke the Gods through the misuse of hubris. The Elder ones will call for an accounting for sure. History is replete with many such examples. An old timer here once told me: Never let a tree grow within dropping distance of the house. And I tell you what, after the big wind storm from the (unexpected) north east a few years ago, that advice has proven to be correct.

    The strong winds here over the last twenty four hours brought down the remainder of what is possibly a large termite damaged head of a very tall tree. There’s a bit of a mess to clean up. Out of curiosity, can you deal with the fallen limb of the mulberry tree?

    Wow! I’ve seen that happen with the heads of trees, and time will sort out the problem. However, when the head finally falls to the ground due to gravity, it may strip a huge chunk of bark off the side of the tree along with it as it descends to the earth. All part of the cycle of life, and best keep your wits about you when near to the tree. The tree will recover just fine.

    Total respect for your accommodation with the yellow-jackets. They do also consume fruit, so that can make harvesting problematic. I once put my hand over a bunch of the insects feasting on an apple, and none of them stung me. More luck in my case than anything else. I will heed your good example when next I encounter a colony, and anyway, I do thank the forest for their harvest. That does mean an obligation, but the surrounding forest enjoys a decent feed.

    Thank you for taking the time to drop by and say hello during your harvest time. Hope the seeds germinate and grow strongly prior to the winter months. Do you have any idea why the zucchini may have died? I had one year when the cucumber seeds failed to germinate. Hmm. Things can go awry for sure.



  18. Hi, Chris!

    I have had my troubles with brakes, having had to drive several time, in different vehicles (known to me as “beaters”), when they have gone out. One time was driving down a steep mountain, coming back from our local ski resort, in my little station wagon. That was probably the hairiest ride of my life. Another was Mr. Musty the Toyota pickup truck in town traffic. I managed to coast into a strip mall. Then there was Mr. Dumpy the dump truck when he first moved in. It was my job to guide him into the space where he would be living while he was being worked on, down a steep hill, of course. I knew that he had no brakes, but what else could I do? I managed not to hit any trees and coasted him down onto the edge of the front yard or, let us say, only slightly onto it. He spent a long time there, with a Dumpy-sized tent over him. Yes – what must the neighbors have thought?

    I am hearing that the wait times for machine repairs around here are about the same as yours. Unless you know somebody like my son, of course. Luckily, I know my son. I guess there are not enough people who do that kind of work. One of our neighbors just got an administrative job at our local tech school. I know that they have a program for auto repairs, not sure about the other kinds. I am glad that you are going to do your own maintenance, but where is the time going to come from? Possibly there are more than 24 hours in the day?

    We raised chickens for 8 years and I don’t think I remember any of them eating eggs. Maybe you have too many of them? Or perhaps they have stress from viewing executions? You may end up with a Chook Revolution on your hands. Or maybe this is the revolution.

    We have had lots more of the Canadian wildfire smoke again. Each time it shows up I seem to feel worse. My husband wonders what is in that smoke.

    That is a stunning winter view of the valley. How far are you from the far mountains?

    Getting lots of small tasks done cheers me up alot, too.

    We call that tall young tree at a funny angle a hung tree and are very wary of such a one. Dame Plum on a pile of sticks is so funny; maybe she WAS avoiding snakes. Who’s Big Meg? I know of Long Meg. That’s once nice thing about living on a mountain – you can roll things downhill. And for the converse, you have a power wheelbarrow, which Ijohn deer cub cadet do not have, but I have my Mother’s Day present, Cubby the Cub Cadet, tiny baby tractor, who is being all reconditioned.

    Can’t have too many ferns at Fernglade! Daffies, too. The tree fern unfolding frond looks like it wants to punch someone in the nose. Watch out! Please explain Kiwi Fruit Enzyme Extract. Is that some form of spirits?

    Thanks for the flowers!


  19. Hi Lewis,

    Hehe! Yes, all very true, and forget about that, this is a delightful little corner of the interweb. 😉 Man, sometimes I head out on an epic-whinge-fest, and it always makes me feel better. Kind of like shaking off the bad mojo, don’t you reckon?

    That’s the exact sound. Yeah, ca-chunk! Hey, we’d both be doing financially better if that was the case. 🙂 Hehe! I seriously doubt that I’ll be able to retire. Some of the labour shortages these days is probably due to folks retiring from the workforce, I’m guessing. I did paid work today mostly because I’m snowed under with work right now. But there was some distractions. A lovely bloke delivered the two water tanks this morning. They’d been on order for quite a while now. We had a great chat. He was from Jaipur (originally anyway, now he could swear Aussie-as with the best of them, trust me on this) and having travelled there, we just talked about the changes over the years both here and there. His folks are still there and live on a small plot which produces enough for them and to sell.

    You know, when I used to work at Tandy Electronics (Radio Shack) as a teenager, I’d happily direct customers to other retailers if we hadn’t stocked the item they were looking for. Word gets around, and eventually people would just come into the store and ask. More often than not, they’d buy something. The interweb has kind of intermediated on that service, but I don’t worry about it – a moment in time really. Is it up-selling? Maybe. But anyway, yeah chatty can be a problem, one must ensure that the work gets done first and foremost. What did the ancient mystics say: Before chat, chop water, collect wood. After chat, chop water, collect wood Most metaphors can use a proper mucking up!

    Hope the card thing works out next year.

    That’s a problem for all of us, not just H! 🙂

    Far out, your weather is warming up. But then, the garden will enjoy the warmth. The good Professors blog was very interesting indeed in relation to the fires. The simple thing to do is to have a patchwork of earlier burned ground (usually cooler burns which doesn’t sterilise the soil), and then when the larger fires reach them, they run out of fuel. That accidentally took place in this mountain range during the epic 1983 Ash Wednesday bushfire. Generally this is not something that our culture wants to do, after all it is recognition of a reality.

    Hehe! I like how your brain works about licking the covers of the books, but memories around here are so long. It’s be a problem. Years ago I heard a story about someone doing something stupid in the 1970’s, and that was an alarming realisation. Everyone says stupid stuff every now and then, but to haunt the person that many decades later is a problem. With that knowledge in hand, I tend to say little, and express bland opinions. Unless people go out of their way here to annoy me, and some do. Sun Tzu here is my guide. Everyone needs a long dead master-strategist to guide them when in uncertain social waters. I have this hunch you’d favour the German, or was it Austrian bloke from the 19th century, he seems well regarded?

    Oh yeah, misuse and misappropriation of communal garden implements would create some bonkers emotional energy. Best not to be involved is my thinking. Is it an abuse of the commons, which few, here I’m guessing, would even recognise nowadays?

    Really? I’d read that about the 80% full thing, and also the delayed reaction to feeling full. We tend to settle on a sort of controlled portion size, and then stick to that for meals. My brain would otherwise get tricked with the delayed feelings. But honestly, my lot tend to keel over in their early 70’s, so the odds are against me making the tonne are not good. Who knows, you may well out-do me in this matter. All a person can do is their best. And I agree, mileage can vary.

    Haha! I don’t think so. I enjoy food, but if it became a competitive thing, that would be a problem for me. I dunno about you man, but deep down I’m just not a competitive kinda guy. My own goals are made without reference to others, and often nature around here informs me as to those goals. Too random to compete. A sponsor indeed! It’s possible, but I’d hope they didn’t try and exert creative control over content for marketing purposes. Imagine that! Yikes!

    I tend to believe that the farmers down here will also win that battle over the right to repair. Although your country is ahead of things in this matter. Cars used to suffer from that issue, and in order to maintain the warranty, you’d have to take the car to the dealer for servicing. But I guess, the model failed eventually due to an inability for the dealers to cope with it. Then things changed, for the better too.

    Thanks for the explanation as to the blueberry processing system. Oh, I must say, using a salad spinner to flick off the excess water is an amazing idea. Respect. I assume you still have more berries to process? Hey, do you reckon the contents in your chest freezer would stay frozen if the power went out for 48 hours?

    Holy carp! You are very naughty. Respect! Talk about bringing out the big guns in that debate. That disease used to be quite the killer back in the day. When we went to Nepal, I have this vague memory that we were vaccinated against that pesky disease. In the nineteenth century, it was a killer, and part of the reason the uber-wealthy retreated into the more fashionable western parts of this mountain range during the summer months so as to enjoy their hill stations. Get out of the miasma’s of the big smoke.

    Sure it is a metaphorical question, but then word has probably gotten around that you’re well read. I recall the protagonist Winston in George Orwell’s book 1984 was pestered to fix the broken screens of his fellows. I’d also seen Jack Vance use that plot device in his book Alastor: Wyst. I love that story, it is very funny, then serious. Then funny again. A great read.

    Hope the ladies don’t get into a lather about fire safety? I wonder about those stairs in the event of a fire. Hmm. Not navigable for everyone, let’s just put it that way.

    Did you score any top notch goodies in the food box?

    Five eggs today – hashtag, just sayin!



  20. Yo, Chris – Maybe like swearing, a whinge fest lowers blood pressure? There’s probably a Master’s dissertation in there, somewhere. Oodles of government or private money, to study the theory. 🙂

    That was interesting about the Delivery Dude’s folks having a small hold, that covers most of their needs. One forgets there are still a lot of those folks out there, just not here, or there. Your talking about moving the water tanks, down hill, reminded me of a lot of cartoons. Usually involving flattened cartoon characters and road roller compactors. Willy E. Coyote?

    One of the best times, in some ways, was when I worked for a big chain bookstore … and there was another companies big chain bookstore at the other end of the mall. Many a “problem” customer, was sent on the trek. 🙂 Of course, occasionally said customer would relate that they had been referred by the other bookstore … to us. In that case, if we couldn’t meet their needs, it was “Sorry, you’re SOL, beyond help, now leave.”

    Also fun to muck up titles. “Indiana Doom and the Temple of Jones.” Tolkien’s “Silly-marrilion.”

    It’s overcast this morning, and 64F. But it’s supposed to burn off and then we’ll get into the upper 80s. Not much wind, to speak of. 10mph, afternoon and evening.

    Some people think reality is highly over rated. They’re usually pretty unhappy people.

    Well, you have to carefully pick your targets, for cover licking. I bet you could substantially lower the incidence of leaf peepers. LOL. If you ever go to sell your set, in the interest of full disclosure as to condition, you’d have to say, “Lightly licked covers.” 🙂

    Abuse of the commons? More like not having a clue as to what the commons are, or any sense of civic responsibility. An aura of entitlement. Or, just plane stupid and thoughtless.

    Oh, I don’t know. The way you eat and the exercise you get, you might be up for a long haul. I’ve been seeing a lot of articles, lately. “Add this to your diet, and extend your life by 10 years!” “Don’t eat that, and extend you’re life by 12 years.” Do these two exercises, every day, and extend your life by 8 years.” So, if I add them all up, I should live to be about 150. Of course, the book “Raw Dog” says there’s a theory that every hot dog you eat, takes 36 minutes off your life. The author chooses to ignore it.

    I’m not competitive, either. Someone at the Club offered to teach me backgammon, the other day. No. We also have a pool table, that I steer clear of. As far as I’m concerned, pool tables are only good for one thing. Which I can’t get into, this being a family friendly blog. 🙂

    There are now 4 “light” gallons of blueberries, in the freezer. To be rounded out by whatever I can hunt and gather, here at the Institution. Another round is drying out in the colanders, and I’ll pop them on the trays, before I take my afternoon nap. I did sample a couple of the blueberries. Now about half of them are from up north of us. Large. The rest our from south of us, smaller and “organic.” I’m mixing them together. Both are sweet and tasty. But different. But I can’t put my finger on what the difference, is. Probably just the result of a different terroir.

    I did a bit of a walkabout, yesterday, to check out the blueberries, here at The Institution. Some should start ripening up, over the next week. Some bushes have NO berries on them. Probably early varieties that the bees didn’t get to.Other’s are fairly loaded. Overall, I think the crop is a bit lighter, then last year. Also something new this year. While cleaning the berries, I had to resort to my reading glasses. The indignities of old age.

    I also tied up a couple of errant tomato stems. Cut back some sunflower leaves, to give my zucchini more sun. One plant, the yellow one, has quit a few possible zucchini developing. The green zucchini look healthy, but haven’t put on any growth 🙁 . Don’t know why. I hit them with a big of ammonium sulfate and some liquid nitrogen.

    I also picked more currents, last night. Some have already dried on the bush, but there’s still plenty of plump ones. I had a vague thought of drying some, or maybe making some current butter biscuits. But then I ran across something interesting. I’m reading a new book, “The World of All Creatures Great & Small: Welcome to Skeldale House.” There was a reference to a large biscuit called a “Yorkshire Fat Rascal.” Well, the name alone sent me down the rabbit hole. The recipes were a bit on the long side, with endless lists of spices. But then I checked my “British Baking Book,” and there was a recipe, that simply stated, so much “pumpkin pie spice.” But currents are also part of the recipe. Now what I want to know is, when currents are called for, why do they never tell you if they’re talking about fresh, or dried? Does it make a difference?

    Yes, I shuddered when I read about Clair’s 48 hour power loss. I think my little chest freezer would be ok. As long as I don’t open it. It’s got a lot of frozen stuff in it (and more, once the blueberries are done) and two frozen gallons of water. My fridge freezer would probably go TU, but I don’t keep much in there. Mostly just veg I’m likely to use in the short term.

    I asked my fire department friend about our stairs. They have some kind of sled contraption, to get people down stairways. Soon to be an amusement ride at you’re local theme park.

    The food box wasn’t too bad. Cabbage and a bag of 6 white onions. Some nectarines. Three one pound bags of nuts (almonds, filberts and walnuts). An orange, a head of cauliflower. I have plenty of the first two, so took them to the Club. Keeping the walnuts, for me. Some frozen chicken. Cereal and shelf stable milk. Peanut butter. A gallon of “fruit” drink. Shelf stable packets of chili. To salty for my taste. Tins of low sodium spinach, corn, peaches. One tin each of chicken and pinto beans. A two pound brick of the “cheese product.” Plenty to take to the Club. Lew

  21. Hi Lewis,

    I reckon you’re onto something there, but there’s this awful line between venting a top notch whinge, and doing that gear all the time. Fortunately, neither you or I are in danger of this rhetorical error, but alas, they do walk among us. 🙂 I’m sure you’ve met a few? However, this talk of mad fat cash contracts does make me wonder if our fortunes are soon to be made investigating this social issue. But what if the it is the gobarmunt that seems to be doing all the whingeing? I don’t believe that we’ll be able to escape the pressure to produce a certain, dare I say it, pre-determined study result. As a bloke of integrity, I’d be duty bound to tell it like it is and then they’d hate on me. Drats, foiled again. Oh well, onto the next big thing!

    Had a day off any and all work today. A gourmet pie (Lamb and Rosemary) was demolished in the process. A fine lamington was smooshed down the gullet and into the guts. And there was also a taste test of an Oakwood sausage roll. Oakwood I believe is a small goods producer in a town to the north. I must say that it was very good. All very enjoyable. Got rained on a lot when outdoors, so mostly spent the time indoors. Had a nice nap in front of the fire this afternoon. Yeah, I’d say that it has been a lovely and relaxing day, and can only hope that your day was equally pleasant.

    They’re hard to find folks, the ones on small holdings. Yeah, that’s been my experience too. But they are around. I used to know a few of them around here through the local seed savers club, but then something, something, aprons. A strange time that. Anyway, I don’t know, maybe one day you head off into the wild blue yonder as a naive adventurer, then, if you survive, you eventually become the crusty old experienced dude? That’s my thinking about this journey. It smacks of the heroes tale doesn’t it, but there’s no heroes here, just a couple of folks attending to business. The plan is to work tomorrow. I might even begin pruning the fruit trees. My favourite timber hand tool local business sent me an email promoting their goods, and to my surprise they had a Japanese steel hand pruning saw. It’s now on order. It looks good, and most of their tools have been really high end. I’m trying to have a mix of tools: petrol + electric + hand. Something for every occasion! 😉 I’m not certain that other folks are thinking that far ahead.

    The water tank would have hurt, but probably not killed me. 🙂 Maybe. Rolling it back up the hill again would have hurt!

    Thanks for the laughs. Yeah! Silly-marrilion! I read the book years ago, and it was such a sad tale of one big long fall for the Elves.

    Yikes! Hey, did you see those winter temperatures over in South America, during winter? Did it make it into the upper 80’F degrees? It was about 50’F here today, and wet. All day it rained, except maybe for a brief burst of sunshine this morning, that was nice. The wind wasn’t as bad as yesterday.

    Do you think there might be a market for a book sticker: Warning Bio-Hazard. This cover has been licked. Our fortunes might be made here this time! What could possibly go wrong? 🙂 Speaking of books and dangerous incidents, I’m nearing the conclusion of Mr Mercedes. Things are going to end badly. Will read the Air Raid Book Club next.

    All three things when it comes to the concept of the commons and wider obligations. And maybe some other stuff as well.

    Maybe, but then I reckon the sausage roll I consumed earlier today, purely for research purposes, might have a similar 36 minute loss. The future, will be what it will be. And tomorrow I work + back to rabbit food. The author is probably enjoying life to disregard the advice, and from the images, I get the impression of a lady who appears to be doing just that.

    Lewis! I almost blushed there. 🙂 Next you might be talking about pockets and holes and other things. My mind was warped by a diet of 1970’s bawdy English comedy and let’s not forget Mad Magazine from your country. There’s nothing to be done for it you know, no cure.

    Yeah, different soils and even aspect to the sun, watering regimes, local climate, they all affect the quality of fruit. Respect for noticing it.

    That is a problem with early varieties of fruit. Unless the climate is spot on early in the growing season, things can then go very wrong. On the other hand, I’m not entirely sure I’d know how to cope with a very long and hot growing season. I noticed a couple of early pears and a plumcott (plum – apricot hybrid) have produced a few blossoms. It’s a bit early for that.

    Ah, the Editor likewise has to use her reading glasses for up close and personal tasks like that. Yup, age is rarely kind.

    Hope the zucchini respond to the extra feed. Hmm. Sometimes it’s hard to determine what is going on when a plant fails to produce. And zucchini should ordinarily be producing now for you, although they do grow rather quickly. Are they getting enough water?

    Ooo, the Yorkshire Fat Rascal is a great use of leftover products to produce something probably quite tasty. My gut feeling suggests dried currants, the fresh ones might pop during the baking process in the oven – at a guess. Are you going to give them a go and try out the recipe?

    It wasn’t just you who shuddered at that extended outage. I went and purchased a spare inverter a few months ago, with that fear very much in my mind. Thanks for your thoughts in this matter, and chest freezers are well made, but you’re right about the upright fridge/freezer. Toast. And when the power gets back on, a voltage spike could toast the electrics in the thing, probably not the chest freezer though as that might have a soft start function for the motor which I reckon will be bigger than the one in the upright combo machine.

    I’m not entirely convinced the ladies would enjoy the slippery slide. Hardly dignified, is it? 😉 H would love it.

    The food box did sound good, although the words ‘cheese product’ never fail to horrify me. 🙂



  22. Hi Pam,

    Beaters is a great word, and it just brings to mind a certain set of requirements for the vehicle. I’ve had more than my fair share of them too. Hey, you’re lucky you survived that journey back down the mountain. I’m assuming the car had an automatic gearbox? Yikes!

    A mate once long ago asked me to drive his old Austin 1800, but neglected to tell me to about the brakes. The first I learned of the dodgy brakes was sailing through an otherwise very busy intersection against the lights. It was pure luck that I wasn’t wiped out, and trams use that cross road too. Not happy, I can tell you.

    Hope that Mr Musty and Mr Dumpy have recovered from their ills? And glad that you also survived both incidents. I recall your story of rolling Mr Dumpy down the hill to a halt.

    Well, the neighbours will think what they will. The other day I spotted a neighbour – a young lady – digging out a tree stump, and I was just so impressed. When people do things, that’s a good thing, too often we are trained to do otherwise. Anyway, I’m learning as I go! I’m sure you know the feeling. 🙂

    That’s my suspicion too. There just aren’t enough people being trained in that area of work. You’re lucky you have that option, here in this regard, the buck stops with me. Over the past week, I’ve been watching heaps of utoob clips on how to fix this stuff up, and now I’m wondering why I ever sent the machines off to get someone else to do the work? I’ve done harder repair work. Although, I’ve had to pick up a few new tools and a hoard of spare parts. The stuff is bonkers cheap, because of all the cheapie rip-off motors.

    But you’re right, and you know it too, there are only 24 hours in the day, and sometimes I do need to sleep! 🙂 Is your mum doing OK?

    I agree, I’ve seen the occasional eaten egg over the past thirteen years, but nothing like this. Pam, it was feral. And since the last err, knife work, we’ve harvested thirty eggs. And it’s only been a week. It was so dirty. Yes, your point is valid and we have decided to permanently reduce the numbers of birds kept in the enclosure. That could have been a factor and I have wondered about it, but in the past we have had more chickens in there, but not by much. Hmm.

    Did they get stressed? Well yeah, that was the whole point of the exercise. As I may have mentioned, after the last execution, one egg was eaten. And that was it. I had this weird notion that the other chickens may have pulled the wayward chicken into line. Even came up with some chicken dialogue about the incident.

    Sorry to hear about the smoke, and hope that their fire season comes to a close soon. Particulate matter for a start, and probably some other stuff. It really messes with my sinuses too.

    Those mountains are probably about six to ten miles away. It is really hard to see in the photograph, but there is a smudge of grey which is the very distant Brisbane Ranges, and they’re about four times again as far. The view higher up in the mountain range is even more amazing, but you won’t find where to do that on any map.

    🙂 It is pleasing to put things to order. The chickens weighed on my soul last week, but what do you do? I did ask them nicely to stop it. They refused to listen.

    That’s a great description – a hung tree. Yeah, dangerous as. Dame Plum is lovely and a good companion about the farm. She sees things way before I do. Big Meg! That would be a reference to the film about the stupidly huge shark – The Meg. The sequel looked very amusing.

    Hope the reconditioning of the baby tractor goes well. You’ll love it, but err, remember to go up and down the slope, and avoid going across the slope. You’ll get a feel for the centre of gravity soon enough.

    Candidly, there are a lot of ferns here. And it rained again for most of the day today. It was no day to work outside. We went and got gourmet pies instead. Just the thing to do on a mild, but very wet winters day. 🙂

    A cautious person always treats an unfurling tree frond seriously. Noses don’t grow back you know.

    It’s a fermented kiwi fruit extract. Kind of like a tea with a big vitamin hit. If I had to suggest a comparison it would be a kombucha. Have you ever tried that stuff? Being fermented it will have the tinniest bit of alcohol. Almost insignificant, but still it is there. Mind you, that’s not the primary purpose of the extract.



  23. Yo, Chris – There’s a good occasional whinge, as opposed to whining 24/7. 🙂

    There’s a book I have that I haven’t taken a close look at, yet. “Baking Unplugged.” (Rees). It promises simple recipes, without too many ingredients, that you don’t have to haul out any machinery, to make. “Like grandma used to bake.” I have a few kitchen machines, that I got for free, when I cleaned out my landlord’s mom’s kitchen. Still with the manuals. Other than the Oster mixer, I haven’t used any of them. I could clear space, if I sent them to the op-shop. I occasionally use my hand held mixer. If a recipe calls for it.

    It was 84F, yesterday. Quit warm. But then in the evening, we got a nice breeze and the overnight low was 55F. Today it’s supposed to get up to 88F, and then a slow decline in daytime temperatures.

    The only suggestion I have, for making our fortunes, is maybe a sticker that says, “This item (object?) has been licked.” More flexible. you could slap it on anything.

    It’s not the pockets or the holes, it’s the ideal hight of the table for …

    I stopped into the veg store, this morning, and bought a 10 pound box of blueberries. Those will be the last I purchase. They didn’t have a ten pound box made up, so, we started emptying pippins (more on that, later), until we had a 10 lb. box made up. $44. I think that’s the way to go, for a couple of reasons. When we emptied on pippin, into the box, a bit of mold was discovered. Also, I thought the flat and a half I bought elsewhere, looked rather “light.” A look in the rabbit hole indicates a flat of fruit should be 8-10 lbs. A flat of blueberries should be 9 lbs. A flat has 12 pippins, and it took more than that to make up the 10 lbs.

    Pippin. Those little pressed cardboard containers, that make up a flat. But I wanted to make sure I had the term right. Well, I don’t know where I came up with it, but you have to go back to Middle English, to find that definition. “Small pot or container.” In the meantime, it’s fallen entirely out of use.

    I’ll probably give the Fat Rascal, a whirl. I picked up an orange, and a lemon, last night.

    What’s funny about the “cheese product,” in our commodities box, is that all us oldsters remember when it actually melted, and made quit nice toasted cheese sandwiches. Not any more. The stuff just doesn’t want to melt. Not even in the nuker.

    We had some more damage in the garden, the other night. Somebody pulled out a solar stake light, and tromped on it. Just one, among many. Why?

    Worry of the day: Clathrate Gun Hypothesis. 🙂 Lew

  24. Chris,

    Red sauce vs green sauce? With the standard Hatch chilis in new Mexico, as well as a lot of chillis and peppers (think bell peppers), a green chili is not ripe and has a stronger and hotter flavor. Red is ripe and milder and sometimes sweet. Very like a green apple from the tree rather than waiting for the apple to ripen and turn red. Or your tomatoes. So the green enchiladas will have a hotter flavor than the somewhat milder and sweeter red enchiladas.

    Meanwhile, tabasco sauce, for reasons I don’t understand, the red is hotter than the green. Also, I’ve had some horrid rice and iffy beans with Mexican food. Not often, and the rest of those meals was also of questionable quality. Inquiring into things of this nature, as well as the differences between red and green sauces, is definitely part and parcel of the duties of any active member of the Amalgamated Union. 🙂

    Lentils by themselves are rather bland to me. Cooked with some onion and leeks and the odd dash of other seasonings and they perk right up. They’re healthy, filling and easy to work with. Unless someone puts in way too much seasoning. The consistency of the meal, indeed, is why I preferred the Mexican food to the other excellent fare.

    Wallaby Peak and Kangaroo Ridge? Names like that in the Americas mystify me. I was always curious about your local Cherokee Range too. Questions like these also fall in the realm of the Amalgamated Union.

    Gawrsh! I can’t imagine getting one of those lengthy explanations attached to the grade for my finger’s health. MUCH easier to do all of the rehab things as prescribed. And the Princess can be, well, let’s just say it is best to remain on her good side. Visions of a tepee, scalp and a bald DJSpo come to mind. I enjoy having a full head of hair! 😉

    I’ve also heard that people steer at what they’re looking at when driving. Scary thought under some circumstances.

    “Sometimes it is wisdom to look into the future and ask the awful question: Where does this road lead?” Ahhh, your grandfather was onto something with that idea. I asked something along those lines in relation to the motorcycle. The older I get, the more I realize that this question has oodles more to do with things other than the physical. Wish I’d figured that out many years ago! Like you, I wonder what good lessons I missed by being an impatient young person.

    Slipping on the wet ground,
    The hill was treacherous:
    Round water tank rolls downhill.
    I’m flattened.

    So, a tree lost its head in the wind? Does that mean it is now a crazy tree, fit for the asylum???


  25. Hi DJ,

    Yeah, it was the Tabasco green versus red sauce issue which also caused me to hold: ‘reasons for which I don’t understand’. Chili sauces aren’t really seen down here, and even Sriracha is rarely encountered. Wasabi (dyed green horseradish) on the other hand is more commonly found. That stuff is genuinely quite eye watering, with a side serving of brain pain. I’ve never had the pleasure of testing out genuine wasabi sauce, but you get an idea as to what it might be like from the imitation stuff. I have a hunch that wasabi plant would grow rather well in the swale which absorbs the excess water which can’t be stored off the roof of the house. A couple of willow trees do their very best to absorb the majority of that water.

    I can see that about red chili’s being sweeter than the green variety as being more ripe, they’d have a higher percentage of sugar.

    Yeah, well that is interesting. I’ve never encountered horrid rice and iffy beans, but then as you would no doubt agree, that statement is perhaps tempting the food Gods? As things stand today, I’m guessing that it is hard to earn a living wage in a commercial kitchen even at minimum wage rates (around $23 an hour) what with housing costs being bonkers, and so food quality has dropped. This is an issue I have been pondering for quite a while now.

    Anyway, as a card carrying member of the Amalgamated Union, our brains are onto this matter. There may be vociferous disagreements… 😉

    Ah, sorry, yes you are correct we cook up lentils with those sorts of arrangements, for all the same reasons. And more sometimes, is not better in the case of flavourings. Too much salt or MSG for example, wipes me out. Not a fan. But yeah, I aim to support businesses that are consistent, rather than having the occasional genius day, then rubbish thereafter. If you go to any place often enough, eventually you’ll encounter a rubbish day, but if such things happen often enough, it becomes time to go elsewhere.

    Cherokee was named after some of the earlier timber getters who derived from your country. The local history I read said that they’d arrived during the gold rush era of the 1850’s to try their hand and luck in the fields to the north of here. Interestingly the history said that they’d arrived by way of the west coast, but that doesn’t seem credible given the name which derives from the east coast of your country. Anyway, lady luck wasn’t with them, and needing to earn a living, they turned to their earlier trade in this part of the mountain range. And probably struck gold doing that given the hunger for timber in the suddenly wealthy big smoke of the time. The name stuck due to the blokes suggesting that the forests in those days were similar to that of the Cherokee tribes lands. Given the trees here can grow to 90m, can you imagine what it must have looked like in those days? There are a few really big trees here and there about the mountain range, but most certainly it is not like it once was. The big trees here now are just babies compared to those!

    Hehe! Yes, heed the words of your lady is the wisest course of action (and thus retain your scalp – it may be of some importance, to you at least!) 🙂 Mate, even I have to do a good twenty minute stretch routine every single day. You get to a point in your life when age demands that this can no longer be ignored, although from what I see of the world around me, plenty of folks do just that and live with a lot of discomfit. Adaption here is the watchword!

    I spent most of the day in the shady orchard pruning the fruit trees and feeding the branches into the scary old wood chipper. That machine is a beast of a thing and the results are good.

    It’s a good question and something I too wonder about. However, given we weren’t listening at the time, we missed on all the good advice. Oh well, all we can now do is muddle through as best we may – and remember to keep that scalp of yours! Hashtag, don’t annoy your lady, she may be handy with a sharp knife!

    Hehe! That’s funny, and thanks for the laughs. I survived the treacherous ground. Kind of makes you recall the stories of the mighty warrior taken down by the effect of the noble steed slipping on uncertain ground. Fortunately that day, the noble steed was elsewhere.

    Ha! The tree now has a rather ragged looking haircut. Termites began the work, the wind finished the job. And I have to clean up the mess. You know what, they all got the fun bits in that story.



  26. Hi Lewis,

    Yeah, consider the wind. 🙂 A bit of wind every now and then is no hassle at all, unless it may be a minor tornado, and that is a hassle. But if the wind blew strongly every day, a person would soon get rather tired of the wind, and the garden would fast dry out. Whinges are like that, a little bit is good, too much and unflattering comparisons to that young adult novel which dare not be named may be made. I’m sure you’ve met a few folks like that in your travels?

    Got stuck into the shady orchard today. I may have mentioned the book on pruning I read maybe a month or two ago? Anyway, I began hacking and slashing many of the fruit trees there, and then fed all the cut limbs into the scary old wood chipper. I ended up producing a lot of mulch which got chucked onto the new garden bed with all the ferns. The funny thing about pruning is that previously this task has produced a certain sort of mysticism in people I’ve spoken to, but really, it’s a very practical thing: What do you want this tree to look like, and how will the tree respond to the pruning. There’s a time for mysticism, and pruning is not an appropriate task to apply that too.

    Then after lunch I got the line trimmer out and cleared away the grass which had grown around the fruit trees in the citrus orchard. Those trees don’t enjoy the competition from grasses. It’s funny, but you could see where the soil had been fertilised because the grass was just greener than the surrounding areas.

    Ah, that book sounds refreshing. I quite like the concept of an unplugged kitchen. It reminds me of the time I was harassed into getting a mixer machine, and discovered that I could mix doughs and biscuits far easier by hand. A person would have to go to commercial machines to make such tasks easier, and the cost exceeds any benefit from my perspective. We’ve mentioned in the past the plastic gears in certain well known brands and how they can strip their plastic teeth if the loads are too great. Hmm. I note the author has a very distinguished background, so that sounds like a most excellent book. I’ll be very interested to hear your thoughts as to the book. And yeah, we also use the hand held mixer from time to time when circumstances call for it. Like thickened cream for example, that machine makes the job easy. But dough or biscuit mixing, I dunno about that at the quantities we tend to bake. It’s not even worth the hassle for the weeks load of dog biscuits. Is there any pressure for the space? During you-know-what, we had to set aside an area for dry food storage, and continue the practice today, so you never know about the space.

    Our overnight temperatures are getting pretty close, although it seems like a warmer than usual winter to me, but not overly so. Today was cloudy as, but at least the wind had died down and the rain was elsewhere. Made it pleasant to be outside.

    Hmm, thinking about Inge’s earlier admonition for ‘concision’ when it comes to words, I’m thinking that line might be cut-down to a bare basics sticker: “This has been licked”. Adds a bit of air of mystery don’t you reckon? People may ask, what does that sticker mean? Get ’em talking. A long time ago I watched a film on the early origins of Faceplant. It had the actor ‘Neil Patrick Harris’ playing the role of the Napster dude who gave early advice. Apparently early on, the thing was called ‘The Faceplant’, and napster dude said to get rid of the ‘The’ and just call it Faceplant. Whenever I think of concision, I always recall the concept of that scene, just get rid of the extra word. Man, I don’t even know why I was watching that film, the subject matter didn’t interest me then, and still doesn’t matter now. I might have been visiting elsewhere and the film was playing in the background. It’s quite common that screens are playing in the background, and it always makes me think of the book 1984.

    The right height for a poker table? 🙂

    $44 for a 10 pound box of blueberries is about what you’d pay here for them too. You know, I’d heard that word ‘pippin’ used before and had realised the origins were in old English, but had not appreciated that it referred to a weight / container. As a word it is still used in relation to apple varieties. Like you’ll hear the variety: Cox’s Orange Pippin. That’s a variety which hails from the UK, and is mostly unknown down here. I’ve got one of those trees in the orchard. It may have had a haircut today! 😉 Last I checked the variety wasn’t orange, but you know, creative license and stuff. Hadn’t known what the word meant.

    I’ll be intrigued to hear what you have to say about the Fat Rascal biscuit. It could be good, and hopefully it’s not too intense. You can sometimes buy similar looking biscuits at bakeries around these parts, and they usually have a shortbread base.

    What do you mean the cheese like product doesn’t melt any more? Far out. How is that even possible? And then there is the awful question: What the heck even is it? A mate of mine amusingly introduced me to some of that stuff, and candidly I wasn’t a fan.

    There sure is some interesting stuff going on in the garden there. One thing is for sure: It ain’t nothing! I recommend a stake out. Whilst pruning the fruit trees today I discovered a pile of deer poop pellets in the shady orchard. Have you discovered any interesting scats in the garden? You never know, critters tend to leave calling cards.

    Who knows? Probably nothing to worry about in the short term there. I was reading that the ice sheets at times of ice ages were 3,000m in depth (10,000ft). That’s a lot of ice. The Earth is a very dynamic system, and we’re mucking around with it. Well done us! 🙂 The Earth will be fine, it’s dealt with worse, like that massive meteor hitting the shallow ocean 65 million years ago. Sucks to be you, if you were there that day – or the many days following. Kind of like surviving a zombie apocalypse – who has what it takes to keep going on after such a thing?



  27. Chris:

    So – you had you own moment of terror with the Austin. The car I was driving was an automatic. I don’t like those things, but I have to drive one now. I am not as skillful a driver with them.

    A couple of days ago I started for town and, as soon as I hit the real pavement of the two-lane country highway, the car started bucking like a bronco. I couldn’t turn it around till I got up to a spot with a side road and my nerves were not feeling so good. I did get headed home and as soon as I hit our dirt road, the bucking stopped. My son said a mouse had chewed some wires – again – and he fixed it while I borrowed his car.

    Got you about Cubby and the slope. Thanks!

    Good for that young lady and the stump. It heartens one.

    Wonderful utoob.

    My mother is quite well; thank you for asking.


  28. Yo, Chris – Where does this road lead? We have a thing in The Program, where if one feels an impulse toward a maybe, unhealthy behavior, one should think about “following the thought through to it’s logical conclusion.” Be it general feelings of guilt, a ride in the patrol car, or, the hospital. Gives one a momentary pause.

    Sriracha is in short supply, now. Read an article about it. Failure of the pepper crop, or something. Some people are offering to buy, or selling it, on-line for incredible amounts of money. Such devotion to a food product makes one wonder if there’s a 12 Step Program …

    Kind of like The Blues. A good wallow, once in awhile is fine. But one should not take up permanent residence. 🙂

    “A certain sort of mysticism.” Usually tedious, and sometimes results in cults.

    Well, that was a surprise. When I looked at the weather, yesterday morning, it said a clear week. Elinor mentioned last night, that we might get rain. However, one never knows from where she might have caught a weather forecast. Maybe they’d get a bit of rain, in France … But, this morning … rain. And the forecast changed. For the next five days, it’s “Slight chance or showers,” or “Slight Chance of Rain.”

    I could use the space. Get the bags of dog food and flour, out of the hallway.

    Poker tables work. In fact, I’ve seen them put to that use twice, recently. But, there’s something so substantial, about a pool table.

    Yes, when I was trying to run down if I was hallucinating about pippins as containers, I saw more listings for apples than I wanted to see.

    I don’t know what’s in the current cheese product, but I notice it has no expiration date. But even little squares of the stuff, on top of a casserole, in the nuker for 5 minutes, won’t melt. Popcorn? Don’t bother.

    No, I have not seen any interesting scat, about the garden. Just a lot of dog poo, left by people who are a.) poor citizens and b.) entitled.

    Last night, I harvested a small, yellow zucchini, from my garden. And there was a Tomatillo on the ground, and it was also ripe! So, I had some left over rice/beans/corn and tomato. I diced them up and added it to the dish. A bit of feta cheese, on top. They added another subtle layer of flavor.

    Went to the Club this morning, for pancakes. Took along half a fresh lemon. Quit tasty, and not as sharp as I thought it would be. Somehow, the pancake and sugar mellow out the tart of the lemon. But of course, my friend Julia had to ask me, “butter or no butter?” Got me. Didn’t think to ask.

    The blueberry saga continues. I thought about taking a day off, to do a round of dried tomatoes. But, the blueberries are on the soft side, and I figure I’d better stick with them to the bitter end. Lew

  29. I have come to the same conclusion you have about maintenance of various things around the house, except that I am at the opposite end of the spectrum to you re competence – I had to ask for instructions on how to use a socket set recently. But at least I know, now. I bought some DIY home maintenance books at the op-shop recently, and have been doing Research. It will be baby steps for quite some time, but even the most basic things, like house painting, which I always do myself, saves thousands.
    All your rock walls are looking magnificent. I am doing the same thing but on a much smaller scale.

  30. Hi Lewis,

    Yeah man, I so hear you about that. It can also translate into: Life doesn’t need to be this difficult, and knowing where the road humps are, and being able to act before hitting them (or act soon afterwards! 🙂 ) that sounds like the beginning of wisdom to me. Everything you’ve ever told me about the program sounds like good solid stuff. And yup, sometimes you have to know when to pause. It’s funny you mention this, but I was going to get the scary old rototiller out today and begin cleaning up the area near to where the fire was last week. The area is full of lumps and bumps left by the loggers (probably turning bulldozers at a guess). But I felt a bit off my game, dunno why, so went and did other work. That machine is genuinely a scary and dangerous beast, and things can go wrong quickly. Anyway, wasn’t feeling it, so took a pause for consideration, and it was just like the one you mentioned.

    Put the two new water tanks into place instead below the recent shed expansion. Had to dig out a flat site for them to sit on too. Strangely enough, it looks as if they’ve always been there. We’ve decided to construct a rock wall which retains the soil that all those water tanks sit on. The sods originally used were good, but they do compact a bit over time. A bit of tweaking of the systems has become necessary.

    Who knew about the great Sriracha shortage of the past couple of years? This is news to me. We had an awesome harvest of red jalapeño chilli, despite the cold and wet summer, so much so that the little blighters had been impacting upon my sleep, and they’ve been relegated to lunch-only status. They up your metabolism, you know, and I do not need this in my diet. Others experience may differ. Yup, a 12 step program is definitely on the cards in this instance.

    Exactly, life is rarely smooth, but to indulge in the blues is to waste the precious opportunity that is this here thing called life. Dunno about you, but I ain’t wired that way. And I’ve had more than my fair share of the school of hard knocks.

    Cults are only OK, if you’re the master. Then apparently the followers must do strange things like drinking of your bathwater. That’s what I heard anyway.

    Maybe your autumn weather has rolled in early this year? My February is usually warm to hot.

    Hehe! H wouldn’t appreciate it if you didn’t keep up your supply of dog food. So perhaps those bags of dog food in the hallway serve a far greater purpose? But the flour, oh, I hear you about those stores. Where would the biscuit supply be without the flour? Probably up the creek without a paddle!

    Very funny, yes a pool table can work wonders.

    Sorry, but that is the only time I’ve heard the word ‘pippin’ used. Now you’ve got me wondering, what does the word mean? And I have to write. My school report card may have stated: Chris was a good student, but easily distracted. And the teachers may have been right, maybe.

    What? No way? Five minutes in the nuker, and I’d be dead, or at least exploded just a little bit. Not suggesting that there is nothing in there not found in nature, but by way of comparison. Me exploded. The cheese thing, intact. Not good. Sometimes you just have to go with your gut feeling there.

    Double what? Why wouldn’t your fellow inmates just chuck the dog poop into the garden beds? Alright, a bit of a disclaimer here, if the beds were growing root vegetables or leafy greens, it’s probably a bad idea. But other than that, the stuff composts. And it is parrot food here. You clearly have a shortage of parrots. This can be fixed! Left laying around, it will attract rats, just saying.

    Good to hear the yellow zucchini produced some fruit. They’re good that variety too. I like them. Yum! We did a salad too last night, which wasn’t that much different, but maybe with some crushed up walnuts. So good.

    Respect for running the pancake experiment. I agree, the sugar does mellow out the tartness of the lemon juice. Hmm, you’ve got me hankering for such tasty treats. Yum! What a question Julia posed. I’d never trialled the combination with butter, but you might be onto something there.

    Ouch. If the berries are soft, they’re probably at the end of the season, sorry to say.

    Better run, and have to write. Holy carp, it’s already 8.30pm! Yikes. Warning, word rubbishery ahead…



  31. Hi Pam,

    Yup, only those who know, know about the brake issue. They’re kind of important if you ask me. It is genuinely an impressive achievement that we both survived our ordeals intact and unscathed. Dunno about you, but I must admit that my reaction to the loss of brakes was rather grumpy. Anyway, what do they say about old soldiers living to fight another day? It may be true and applicable here.

    I’ve driven a few cars with automatic gearboxes over the years (and never owned one), and what I noticed is that they don’t tend to slow down. It’s interesting you say that, but for a long time I’ve wondered if they affect driver behaviour. The absolute majority of cars sold nowadays have automatic gearboxes, despite them costing a heap of mad cash more.

    Holy carp! Glad you survived the bucking bronco of a vehicle. Yikes! And I tell you what, about say, the equivalent of your September here, the wild rodents go looking for a nice warm place to over winter. An engine bay is a very poor choice, but I can understand the appeal for the rodents. And yup, they’ve chewed through important things in vehicles here too. One rat many years ago blew itself up by chewing on a pressurised hose.

    It is heartening isn’t it? I was very impressed, and said so.

    Good to hear that your mum is doing ok.

    Cheers (and better get writing)


  32. Hi Jo,

    Lovely to hear from you and hope your winter garden produces lots of yummy edibles.

    Thanks, it’s been a long road. But, as Tolkien once put words to paper and remarked: It’s the journey which isn’t begun, as takes the longest to complete Maybe that was the words of Master Samwise Gamgee. 🙂 He seemed like a competent and stable hobbit. Respect too for asking how to use such a tool. They’re a very clever device those tools and multiply your efforts, but like you I also learn all the time. The road is long, and if I may suggest, the travel is necessitated by need.

    Painting is a great skill too, and getting someone else to do the job will mean a spray gun will inevitably be employed. As an interesting side story, I’ve only ever painted with a brush. It’s slower, but there is less mess. But you get a thicker coat of the stuff on. Always worth the effort, yup.

    Jo, this is a fave topic of mine! Rocks are great, and so useful in the garden, especially when one is on a sloping property. Last time I was in your neck of the woods, I don’t recall a whole bunch of flat land. 🙂 I dream of flat land, reality, well it’s a slope. Have you ever read Scott and Helen Nearing’s books? The good life, was quite enjoyable and those two knew the value of rocks in a garden too.



  33. Yo, Chris – I had a thought about the Cherokee place name. I’d guess our east coasters, tried their luck in our California gold rush. Around 1849. And then tried their luck in your gold rush. Maybe.

    Best listen to your inner voice. Maybe the land was doing you a good turn, and whispering in your ear.

    I know you swear by sod (oooh. Gotta save that one. “I swear by sod…” ) as to stability, but rock just seems more … permanent. Although, given an eon or two, it will all end up down at the bottom of the paddock, anyway. 🙂

    Prof. Mass actually said we’ve got an autumn weather pattern. Too early! Too early! Though, as I mentioned, in the last La Nina year (2019) we had the earliest frost I’ve recorded, so far. September 28th. We got enough rain, yesterday, that I didn’t feel the need to water the garden.

    I keep saying, you need to smuggle me some parrots. 🙂 The birds we get don’t seem interested in playing clean up crew. Speaking of animals, I see we’ve had a couple of cases of swine flu. Not local. Happened when people visited an agricultural show. Maybe they need to post signs. “Do Not Kiss The Pigs.”

    With butter seems a bit excessively fussy. 🙂 I did a bit of poking around. Taste .com .au has an entry for pancakes with lemon and sugar. They didn’t use any butter, on top. But I noticed something interesting. All the pictures (and the preparation methods) showed what I’d call, a crepe. And not just that one web site. Other web sites, too. Thinner and larger than what we call a pancake. Not that that effects the butter question. But I’d say, no butter necessary.

    Went to the Club and had a hotdog, last night. With chili and sauerkraut. Tasty. Will I miss that 36 minutes, off my life? 🙂 I don’t know if I’m going to finish the book, “Raw Dog.” The author is traveling with a boyfriend, and there’s a lot of heavy handed foreshadowing, that she’s going to dump him. Plus, her Dad is dying of cancer, and she keeps circling back, to that. I’m just here for the food. Read an essay recently, by someone complaining that too many food blogs are short on recipe, and long on background ruminations.
    Cut to the chase. Get to the bottom line.

    I think I’ve got one more round of blueberry prep, left. As far as the bought ones are concerned. Maybe. Then I can get onto drying the tomatoes. I’m thinking about cutting out some of the corn, in my patch. Nothing too major. I’ve got some sprouts, that are only about a foot and a half tall, and will never make the end of season. That would open the patch up, a bit. Less nutrients coming out of the ground. Lew

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