Never Be Like You

Years ago, I’d read that because of automatic teller machines, kids believed that money comes out of walls. It’s a pretty funny belief, but hardly any stupider than governments spending more than they earn, then appearing utterly baffled that the ever expanding money supply is leading to inflation. It’s possible the kids are smarter, and heaven help us all because a mate was telling me recently about some plan to replace physical mad cash with some sort of digital currency, whatever that means. It all sounds kooky to me.

Over the years I’ve been a customer in a few businesses where the little electronic credit card machines randomly stopped working, or their banksters had a monster computer crash (always makes the news of the day). I’m pretty sure the same situation would be a very difficult thing to navigate if physical mad cash were outlawed. Have these folks never encountered the blue screen of death which usually spells the end of computing fun times?

Anyway, back to the store with the dead credit card machine. Standing in a line of people waiting to be served at the err, cash register, the people in front of me looked a little bit lost and helpless whilst they waved around their credit cards with the intensity of a shaman attempting to invoke a transaction. You could feel the psychic wall of tension and stress from the person behind the counter as she pushed at buttons, and may have even shaken the little banking machine. Take that, ya pesky nuisance was probably what she thought. Seeing how the wind blew, I confidently stepped past the distraught and agitated folks in front of me. ‘Here’s the cash, keep the change‘, I said. Cool as a cucumber I took the chicken food and dog food with me and left the store. The other folks looked on green with envy, but that was their problem.

On the other hand, heaps of mad cash can be a real nightmare. Trust me in this. In the earlier days of my career when I was young and dumb, a prospective employer in an interview asked if I was looking for a challenge. They sure saw me coming, and enthusiastically I replied in the affirmative. As a much older and possibly wiser dude, my advice to younger folk would be that if anyone ever asks that challenge question in a job interview, don’t answer, just get up and walk out. You’ll thank me for it later. Anyway, the business dealt with heaps of mad cash. It also just happened to be located amongst the biggest crime district in the big smoke. The office couldn’t have been more poorly sited if they’d tried. It looked to me like drug deals were going on in the street, and into that mayhem every day at random times I had to send a couple of staff with a bag of mad cash to be deposited at the nearby bank. It was probably more luck than anything else that nothing bad ever happened.

Yeah, I guess there are some benefits with digital only mad cash, unless someone steals your identity, then you might have more than a few problems. You’d hope that trying to sort out those problems, you didn’t have to speak with one of those AI chatbot things. I’ve heard stories that they can get nasty with women, and there are plenty of bad AI characters in literature to fill your nightmares: HAL-9000 for the older folks, ED-209 for my generation, and who could forget the Terminator? Can you imagine having to ask a Terminator bot for your missing money, all you’d hear is: Your mad cash, give it to me!

Speaking of nefarious acts of theft, I don’t shop at supermarkets where you have to put a coin into the trolley in order for the thing to be released from some sort of locking device, but I’ve seen them. The very need for such a device is suggestive that there may be other problems going on in that area. But with no physical mad cash, how are you even going to work such a coin operated lock? What if the stupid machine demanded a credit card, had a malfunction, then ate your card? You’d have to take the trolley away, but then here’s the kicker, you’d be charged for a replacement trolley because the business would know who took the thing away. You’ve got to admit, it’d be an excellent scam for when the trolleys get too old or damaged by other frustrated customers.

Possibly other sectors of the economy will be out of a job, like the Tooth Fairy. Think about it for a bit, little Johnny loses a tooth from his face. Knowing he’ll score some overnight mad cash, he chucks the tooth into a glass before bedtime. Except little Johnny’s hand writing is so bad – kids aren’t taught to write clear cursive script these days – the Tooth Fairy can’t read the account number attached to the glass where the tooth sits. The fairy can’t just chuck down some coins and leave, there are none because everything is digital. The elder one may even mumble something like: I can’t make this account number out. Is that even a f!@#ing number? Little Johnny wakes up at the noise, and the fairy vanishes instantly. Everyone loses, and the fairy is out of a job.

There are times when physical mad cash is necessary. Like how’s a wishing well meant to work? You won’t be able to chuck your card into the thing whilst wishing for eternal love, or perhaps a divorce settlement in your favour. No. Swiping your credit card on some weird little machine on the side of the wishing well may in fact produce unintended consequences. After all, the deities hiding deep in the wishing well will think that you are trying to cheat them. They need mad cash too you know, and we’ve all read the stories of things going horribly wrong in dealings with that lot. You were warned.

An email turned up the other day from the banksters. Said something about limiting electronic transfers to around $10k per month to crypto accounts. There’s a part of me which says the limit is not a bad idea, especially given how many people seem to be easily parted with their mad cash through scams. There’s also another part of me that says that if people actively make a decision to muck around with crypto, isn’t it their mad cash? The whole going fully digital thing seems like a loss of control to me, and it might be a silly idea.

A couple of days ago I awoke to discover that it was 0’C / 32’F outside. It can get a bit colder here, but only by a little bit. Anyway, frosty ice covered everything outside and even the ground made strange crunching sounds when trod upon. Fortunately by mid-morning the sun shone and defrosted the place.

The Dirt Mouse Suzuki – frozen!

A few of the projects currently under way require large rocks, so we broke apart another boulder into more usefully sized large rocks. It’s such a good feeling when the rock initially cracks and splits. Before that moment, you’re never quite certain whether splitting the rock will be possible.

Another boulder was split apart into usefully sized rocks

We ran out of time to move the rocks, so maybe that will happen next week.

The low gradient path project not only requires rocks of the size in the above image, it also requires lots of soil. Fortunately, another project is providing plenty of soil.

Dame Plum sniffs the vegetation – rat or no rat activity is what she’s thinking

Regular readers will recall that last week, we removed soil from the path in the above image. This week, we removed more soil from that path. All of the soil was then hauled and used on the low gradient path project.

About a foot of soil has now been removed from this path

The plan with the path in the above image is to replace the rock wall with a far sturdier and larger rock wall. Observant readers will be able to note that during heavy rainfall, soil washes over the existing rock wall and builds up against the side of the shed.

Even more soil was removed from around the other side of the shed.

The original soil height has been lowered by about a foot here as well

All of the soil was loaded by shovel into a powered wheelbarrow. We then drove the many wheelbarrows around to the low gradient path project where it was dumped. Each load of soil was smoothed and compacted, old school style, which involves simply walking on the clay surface. After all the soil had been moved, and the gradient looked about right, a couple of loads of the crushed rock with lime was spread over the surface. Next week, we’ll hopefully move those split rocks (mentioned above) onto the downhill side rock wall of the path.

The gradient on this section of the path is now spot on

Most of the fruit trees are only beginning to break their winter dormancy. However, the citrus are the single exception to that. The Meyer lemon is full of fruit.

If you can grow citrus and you’re not, why aren’t you?

We’re trying an experiment with squash plants. We grow a variety called ‘Little Gem’ which we’ve nicknamed: ‘The Bomb’. As we get closer to spring, some of the squashes looked a little bit mouldy, so instead of chucking the fruit into the worm farm, we buried the squashes near to where we were going to grow them anyway. It will be very interesting to see whether any plants grow from these mouldy fruits. I hope so, it may save a lot of trouble and transplant shock for any seedlings we raise.

Mouldy squashes have been planted in the vague hope they produce seedlings

Yet again, we’ve thinned out the strawberry enclosure to about one plant every one to two feet. Hopefully we get some strawberries, because we didn’t last year, although it was a colder and wetter growing season. However, if the more usually expected strawberries don’t produce any berries, I’ll remove all of them and replace them with the Alpine strawberry plants I’m experimenting with. They’re much older varieties of the berries, they taste good and bear for a longer period of the growing season. The only downside is that the fruit is a bit seedy, which I don’t mind. What’s good about them though, is that despite it being late winter, they’re already producing berries.

It doesn’t get any better than this! Alpine strawberries, and tasty too

The other day I spotted Dame Plum stalking one of the local magpies. The birds watch the two Kelpies and mostly ignore Ollie. Those birds in particular are very smart and they’ll often tease the dogs. You would think that the dogs would learn, but no – they love the chase.

Dame Plum does not have a chance

A lot of bird life lives at the farm. The King Parrots are particularly attractive, despite them being caught consuming the blossoms on the Plumcott tree. Really, parrots?

The prettiest of them all, the King Parrot

Earlier today I was walking Ollie and also had the camera with me. I don’t normally walk around with the camera, but I’d forgotten to take a photo of the rock we’d split apart, and that was on the walk. Anyway, I thought the readers might enjoy what it looks like walking around under the tall trees and looking up towards the sky at the canopy far overhead.

A big tree, but a bit of a baby really

The tree in the image above is big, but probably only about 90 or so years old. All being well the tree will eventually live to about 400 years of age, double in height and get way girthier. The tall trees are part of the reason there is so much bird, sugar glider, and bat life here. The older the tree, the more likely there will be plenty of hollows in the tree trunks which makes for lots of housing for the forest critters. Younger forests are quiet places devoid of life.

Onto the flowers:

It’s definitely a yellow flower time of year…

A wallaby damaged edible tree fern with toxic Daffodils in the background
The first Rhodie of the season is about to bloom
The bottle brush flowers of the Silver Banksia
The understated flowers of the Blackwood (Acacia Melanoxylon)
The much brighter flowers of the Silver Wattle

The temperature outside now at about 9am is 11’C (52’F). So far this year there has been 587.2mm (23.1 inches) which is up from last weeks total of 584.0mm (23.0 inches)

47 thoughts on “Never Be Like You”

  1. I love the banksia!

    Here in northern California I’ve been growing a Eureka lemon for about eight years. This year it is loaded with more fruit than I can keep up with. But I neglected to feed it adequately over the last year and the fruit that will ripen next spring is of much less quantity. Do you feed your Meyer several times a year?

  2. Yo, Chris – I thought money grew on trees? Although thinking back, I suppose the idea the adults were trying to get across was that money didn’t grow on trees. I noticed something interesting, at the grocery self check out. It will actually take cash. And spit back change.

    When I was made manager of my first bookstore, in S. California, back in the early 70s, someone sitting in a corporate office on the east coast, picked the bank the store would use. “Oh, this looks close.” No. So, every night I had to make a 20 minute drive, carrying all that cash. To a night deposit that was lit by what, in hindsight, seemed like a flickering 15 watt bulb. Surrounded by dense jungle foliage. Meanwhile, right up the escalator, outside my store was a different bank’s branch. I couldn’t budge them, and finally sicked our district manager on them. Couldn’t get them to pay for bottled water, either … until someone from corporate came out, and I forced a glass of tap water, down their throats. Problem solved.

    Funny, I just read a story about the tooth fairy, yesterday. Some kid’s tooth came out, and he promptly swallowed it. While at school A lot of wailing, I guess. So, the principle sent home a note (on school stationary) to the tooth fairy, to explain the situation.

    That’s a cute little frost you have there. 🙂 . It was pretty smoky, today, and the setting sun was apocalyptic red. Could be worse. Could be in S. California. And to add insult to injury, they had an earthquake in north LA, today. A 5.1, followed by a couple of 3+ aftershocks. No injuries or damage, as far as known. Only lasted 20 seconds, but I guess it had a pretty good roll going. What’s next? Rain of frogs?

    You’ll care about those strawberry seeds, when you have dentures 🙂

    “A big tree…” Widow makers. I see widow makers.

    Nothing says spring like a whole bunch of yellow flowers. Burned out my eye retina, but no one said the internet was safe. You pay your money, and take your chances. Lew

  3. Hi Joanna,

    Hey, we’ve got a Eureka lemon growing here as well. My belief is that the Eureka is a better tasting lemon than the Meyer. It’s got a sharper zing, although they’re both good and equally hardy from my experience here.

    Hope you miss that storm being in a more northerly locale, they’re even talking about it in the news down here.

    With the fruit, after a while the tree does get a bit full (I hear you about that) and all the lemons get picked. Then I chuck them whole into the apple press and squeeze and collect the juice. It freezes well and when needed, you just scrape off a frozen chunk of lemon juice. It’s very useful with preserves and jam making to up the acidity. It’s one of the few preserving uses I put the small freezer to.

    Being a guy, it’s a bit easier for me to err, provide some regular nitrogen to the various citrus trees. This is something I don’t ask Sandra to do, whatever would the neighbours think? 😉 Anyway, every two months each tree will get a feed of coffee grounds + blood and bone meal + agricultural lime (Calcium Carbonate). Plus some wood ash from time to time. The trees seem to do well with that mixture and oh, that works out to a heaped shovel load every two months spread around under the drip line of the tree.

    What I’ve noticed about them is that they absolutely hate competition with grasses. And if other plants grow against the trunk of the citrus trees, I’ve spotted little roly poly’s (we call them slaters or wood lice) hiding, and they eat the bark, the little nuisances. Do you get them?

    You got me wondering because the citrus trees which do the best are adjacent to a driveway which has the crushed rock with lime surface, so I checked out a book on the subject (Ian Tolley + Bruce Morphett’s – Citrus A Gardeners Guide) and what they reckon is sandy loams are best with top soil to 50cm (I might struggle there) and a pH 6 to pH 8 which is more basic than usual – which is why they love being next to the driveway and the regular feed of Calcium Carbonate.

    Sorry for the metric, but what the book recommends for feeding is 5ml of urea or 10ml of sulphate of ammonia every month from March to August – for your northern hemisphere). They reckon to avoid feeding in autumn and winter because it may promote leaf growth which will be subject to frost damage.

    I reckon the tree will be fine, but now is a good time to give the tree a feed prior to autumn. I don’t seek to get maximum productivity from the fruit trees though. Everyone is different on that front.



  4. Hi Lewis,

    Where did that money on trees saying even originate? Well that was an interest interweb rabbit hole, and in between the vast echo chamber, there was mention of a much older ‘money-tree’ concept dating from around the time of first European settlement on this continent. For some reason people were shaking the money tree, and that was a much older expression which now makes little sense to me. Have you ever heard of such words?

    Fascinating. I am yet to see a self checkout which takes cash. The only machines which take cash down here which I’ve come across are ticket vending machines for the rail system, and automatic teller machines. And even the rail system prefers people using their prepaid smart cards. You should try living in a rural area and getting one of those smart cards. The machines don’t appear to dispense them. Talk about outsourcing their ticketing problems…

    Man, that story about you banking the mad cash was exactly like the sort of drama I too was dealing with. And like you, I was also wondering the hard questions: Have you idiots thought about just how hard it is to enact what you are asking mere employees to do? Talk about putting a target on your back. Since you didn’t mention it, I’m assuming that your travels with the heaps of mad cash also didn’t end badly? Mate, it was probably more luck than anything else. Those nine lives though aren’t an infinite resource you know! 😉 I remember the days when crims used to hold up restaurants, and was even caught myself as a young bloke in an armed hold up of mixed business that did the post office and lotto. That was an experience and a half. Far out.

    That’s not good about the water. The very occasional commenter ‘Gus’, who lives in the state to the west of this one has to put up with some pretty ordinary water quality. I’ve been to that part of the country and can confirm the rumours, it’s not good. That city also has the highest number of water tanks per household in the country. Anyway, I didn’t know that way south of you had ordinary tasting water. That’s what the experts describe as a hygiene issue. Nice solution though! 😉 Respect. However, that part of the world has probably had plenty of rainfall over the past day or so. Far out. Do your friends in Idaho worry if the storm will track that far north?

    Hehe! That’s funny about the Tooth Fairy, and yeah the note would be acceptable currency. 🙂 I presume the tears were shed and the wailing occurred for the economic loss rather than any pain? It’ll do the kid no harm I’d imagine, maybe. Puppies consume most of their baby teeth. The two Kelpies at twelve weeks old originally had sharp pointy pin teeth like those awful aliens on Barbarella.

    Very funny, yeah, yeah. Hey, that’s a big frost for us. Did you see that the doors of the Dirt Mouse had frozen to the body of the vehicle? Although candidly it wasn’t difficult to open the door. 🙂 The water in the bird watering bowl had frozen solid too. How good do those smoke filled sunsets look? Nature sure can put on an epic show. Since you asked, I’m guessing locusts before the rain of frogs. 🙂

    I’ll have to take you at your word about the seeds, and you have mentioned that undocumented side effect with the blackberries, which are also frankly a bit seedy. 🙂 Now raspberries, there’s a berry! They also make the best jams. Yum!

    Oh yeah, an old timer said to me once about the big trees around here: They never get smaller + Don’t grow them within dropping distance of the house. He could have probably added, don’t loiter underneath them. When the big branches go, you only have a few seconds.

    Hope your eyes recovered from the strain of all of those yellow flowers, or at least can you hold back from pursuing legal action? I hear it’s expensive. 😉 Thanks for the laughs, dude, I tell you I had fun writing that blog.

    Thanks for mentioning the trailer, oh that film looks like a lot of fun. The Editor and I were laughing at the trailer.

    Nah man, jokes aside, the olive oil press works, although it is on the smaller side of things. We’ll see though as to necessity because there are some pretty decent olive groves around this part of the world. The fruit tends to be on the smaller side on this property though, probably because we have cooler growing seasons.

    Exactly, with friends like that… The way I conducted myself in the Dojo with that episode was probably not good, but I was utterly unprepared for the possibility. It’s not like I was facing off against a stranger. Anyway, a hard way to learn, and I was pretty young back in those days, and it didn’t take long for the hassles to exceed the entertainment value. On the other hand, I met the Editor through that bloke, so it wasn’t all bad, and she was beginning to drift away from him too, for much the same reasons.

    I feel for you with the smoke from all those fires. All those smoke particles will bring a lot of rain in future years – at least your garden beds are mostly raised.

    They sure do chuck a lot into an engine bay these days. Far out, not much space is wasted. Machines were easier to work on back in the day. I learned tonight why fuel taps should be switched off with small engines. Who knew? I must say the utoob is quite good for this stuff. Even the farm machine repair dudes didn’t impart this much useful info as some of these videos. Discovered something wrong I was doing with using a grinder for chainsaw sharpening, and I thought I knew what I was doing there. My head is now spinning, but as they say, better late than not at all.

    Hmm, wow there are a huge number of things which can go wrong with corn. I haven’t seen what is going on with your lot, and you said they were hugely tall and green looking. Hmm. Did you plant them too close together and they’re suffering from too much competition – that was one possible suggestion. They do seem rather tall, but if they’re green I don’t reckon lack of nitrogen will be the issue – maybe. Have you thought of perhaps thinning the stalks and seeing what happens? On the other hand, you might just have a super tall variety and they haven’t gotten around to tasseling yet. I don’t really grow enough corn plants yet to be able to save seed reliably. Word on the street is that you really need at least a minimum of 50 plants and we would like to imagine that seed sellers were doing the right thing.

    Interesting. Your food pantry at the Club is like a window into how people are accommodating them and their families to the realities of inflation.

    Ouch! Stay strong, and I hope that you are keeping some items for yourself?

    Relax!!! What is this thing… 🙂 Sometimes life can deal people a rough blow, and The Goldfinch says ‘talent’. A sad tale. Was the book a good read? I’m about a third of the way through ‘The Big Short’ and it’s a fine read, the narrative really bangs along.



  5. Hello Chris
    I am still way behind and have just finished reading last week’s blog. I do hope that you have recovered from that bash to your head.
    Have just finished digging up some more of my incredible potato harvest, it really has been huge. Also I never want to see a runner bean again, even though I am giving half of them to Son.

    However, at last some tomatoes are ripening. Strangely they are all the yellow ones, the rest are still tiny and green
    Yesterday I was given a huge bag of ripe red and purple tomatoes by a neighbour. Incredible how a small access to more sun can make such a difference. Neighbour is within a far more open area.


  6. My father grew lemons and oranges commercially when I was a child, but he didn’t teach us about farming. So when I finally was able to get a lemon tree I consulted with my sister who still is in the business, growing mandarins and oranges. She and her husband told me to feed my lemon four times a year — and I have just this month, late summer, given the last feeding. As I only have the one tree, I just use a mix of organic products that comes in a bag of “Citrus Food” from the nursery.

    My father passed on to us a bias against Meyer lemons, because of their less lemony flavor and because they aren’t true lemons. But I receive the fruit as a gift anytime! When I tell my friends I have a lemon tree, they always ask me if it is a Meyer. Most people seem to favor them, I think just because they have a reputation for being nicer somehow. From the foodies I rarely see a recipe anymore that calls for plain lemons — they always stipulate Meyer lemons.

    Your method of harvesting and using your lemon juice does sound very practical and convenient — except that in my kitchen I value the rind almost more than the juice. 🙂 Thank you for telling me more about your orchard practices.

  7. Yo, Chris – Yes, I’ve heard “shake the money tree,” somewhere along the way. Ah, first heard in England in 1749. It’s a saying translated from Chinese. And, relates to a Chinese fairy tale. Makes sense, as about that time, Europe went Asia mad. See: chinoiserie.

    Those bank runs were to make deposits, and get change. Also did bank runs, when I worked at the Olympia bookstore. But that was just a few blocks away. We always tried to be cleaver, disguising the bank bags. At Christmas time (when deposits ran $28,000 to $35,000), two of us went. I’ve never experienced an armed robbery. Maybe I should put it on my bucket list? 🙂 I figure, lay on the floor, don’t move, and hope for the best.

    When we took our every-other-year vacation, out towards Nebraska and Montana, the water was pretty bad. But, bad, or just what we weren’t used to?

    My friends don’t seem worried, about the storm. But then, they don’t worry about a lot of stuff. Probably read a lot of Mad magazines, when they were young. The storm in California is pretty bad. I think there will be lot’s of contenders, for this year’s Darwin Award. I see pictures of cars and people out in the stuff and wonder, “What was so important?”

    Big news from the garden, this morning. One of the corn stalks is showing a tassel. And, the green beans are developing. I picked a big bowl of cherry tomatoes, and the dryer is full and humming along. Enough left over to have some for dinner.

    I finished the book on 17th century Dutch art, and the artist Fabritius. A couple of things I noticed. The world had fewer people in it, and, I think it was more likely that “famous” people were known to each other. Fabritius knew Leeuwenhoek (inventor of the microscope, more or less). He was the executor for a couple of family members. The artist Vermeer, lived just a few doors down, from Fabritius. His will stated that he had three of Fabritius’s paintings. But no info on which ones. So far, only 12 of Fabritius’s paintings have surfaced. Fabritius was a student, and worked in Rembrandt’s studio, for a few years. When “The Goldfinch,” and a self portrait were restored, blast damage was discovered.

    The Dutch were picture mad. “Somewhere between 1.3 and 1.4 million paintings were produced by between 600 and 700 painters in not quit two decades at the mid-century,according to scholarly calculations: though other estimates run as high as 8 million.” A printer has 70 paintings. A physician has 172. Two vicars and a church warden have 75. A proprietress of a local pub sells 52 to a local pharmacist, while an innkeeper has 102.

    Well, I enjoyed the book. Another of that new genre of book, the “I was trapped at home for a year, because of You Know What, and had a lot of time on my hands.” The only thing I didn’t like about the book is that, like a few other I’ve read recently, the author spends a bit of time working out her “daddy” issues. Not interested. Please get back to the topic, at hand. 🙂 Lew

  8. Hi Chris,

    You wouldn’t want to be here this week. I don’t want to be here this week. Right now it’s 92F and 70% relative humidity. Imagine your winter relative humidity, except on a hot summer day – and it doesn’t cool off much at night, maybe to 75-80F. The heat index, which is supposed to be a feels-like reading that combines the temperature and the relative humidity in some way, is at 112F. It’ll be like this at least through Thursday, and probably almost as bad on Friday. A cold front is then supposed to come through and drop us back to normal late-summer temperatures. I hope it does.

    The squirrels are leaving apples for us – so many apples I have to preserve some of them as there isn’t enough room in the refrigerator for all of them. We have a solar dehydrator. Last Friday we actually had blue skies all day, a rarity this summer, so I brought out the hand-cranked apple peeler and corer and used it to make rings of 18 apples to put on the screens of the solar dehydrator. They got a good start on dehydrating that day, but we haven’t had clear skies since then. We also have an electric food dehydrator, very simple, just a heating element, no fan, but it gets the job done. I set the dehydrator out on the back porch to not add heat and humidity inside the house, which would make the air conditioner work harder than it has to, and it’s now completing the drying of the apples I started drying in the solar dehydrator. At least once the apples are dry they don’t need any energy to keep them edible.

    I’m only working outside in the morning this week, and then only doing easy stuff like harvesting and a little weeding. Tomorrow I’ll harvest some more apples and try to fit them into the refrigerator, if they don’t rot in the heat first. We’ll give some away too and I’ll dehydrate some more.


  9. Chris,

    Ollie the softy. Funny that the kelpies won’t take the chew from him. Big Killian the Doberman is a softy. Avalanche has no problem taking whatever he is chewing away from him. Rather than taking it back or getting another chew (several are in an accessible pile), he will start whingeing and crying about it. Of course, Avalanche is rather fearless.

    No mad cash? Hmmm, could be a problem at times. Too much mad cash? Hmmm, could make you a target. The answer? Balance, grasshopper, balance.

    HAL -9000 and the Terminator. Unforgettable. Can you imagine if they got apprehended by the Infinite Improbability Drive and merged their personalities with that of Marvin the Paranoid Android? “Marvin, can you pick up that piece of paper?” “I’m sorry Zaphod, but I’m afraid I just can’t do that.” Or “I’ll be back with all the painful diodes down my left side.” Maybe “I have a brain the size of a small planet, but all they want me to do is violently terminate things.” Then there’s “Open the pod bay doors Hal!” “Sorry, Dave, but I’m feeling very depressed.”

    Things got beyond nasty the past few days. The two fires kept spreading slowly. Over 200 buildings, many of them homes, burned down. 2 people died. The smoke was too thick for airplanes and helicopters to see and assist by dumping water strategically. And the smoke got thick. Very thick.

    The air quality scale is interesting. I think it’s in parts per million.
    50 and below is “Good”
    51-100 is “Moderate”
    101-150 is “Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups”
    151-200 is “Unhealthy”
    201-300 is “Very Unhealthy”
    301-500 is “Hazardous”

    The readings were mostly between 190 and 450 Friday night and Saturday. For more than 10 hours Sunday, however, the readings were between 504 and 540. I could taste the smoke. I decided that readings over 500 are in the range of “Breathe Deep and Die, Sucka!”

    The Medical Lake fire suddenly quit spreading on its own with a lot of flare ups on the interior. Several highways, including the main Interstate 90, were closed. Fire was burning north of I90, south of I90 and in the median. Visibility was zero. But it has really slowed down. Evacuation levels have been reduced in some areas.

    The Princess was with her brother. She asked me for the route home. I said that she should use her normal route, then they would detour traffic on a smaller highway north to Highway 2 at Reardan, Washington. She knows the route home from there. She was stuck on that smaller highway, 50km distance, for 2 hours 47 minutes. The car’s CD player had quit. She could find one radio station that had a decent signal. It would play songs from Queen, Statler Brothers, other old hit songs. After 4 or 5 songs, a harsh male voice would say, “And Jesus said…” and give a 5-minute sermon. Followed by 4 or 5 songs, “And Jeusus said…” and another sermonette.

    Being hilly country, there was a lot of up and down the hills. She’d lose the radio signal in the bottoms. With traffic at a crawl, it took some time to get near the top of a hill and have the signal back. Every time the signal returned, it was to hear “And Jesus said…” followed by a sermonette. Every time. Some kind of conspiracy? About the time she got home, one of the closed roads got opened, which would have given her a more direct route home. Interstate 90 was opened about noon Monday.

    Meanwhile, the north fire, aka “Oregon Fire” (it started on Oregon Road) continues to grow. However, they were able to get air support Monday. And the forecast is for stronger winds, but from the south. Cooler temperatures. Perhaps some rain. It is a tail lashing from the tropical storm. The wind hit about 5:00 p.m. The air quality has gone from 277 to 51. Humidity has increased.

    My sister’s area near the Oregon Fire was upgraded to a Level 1 Evacuation Notice Monday afternoon. The wind change should stop that fire from progressing her direction. She and her husband were packed and ready to leave at the drop of a hat as of Saturday morning. Only need to put the horses in the trailer then go.

    Nicely frosted Dirt Mouse. Be grateful that you live where you do. What happened to this car is unlikely to happen to the Dirt Mouse.

    Oh, the air filters in the house have worked great. Avalanche mostly hunkered down and slept. I completed everything on the list of chores. Very GREY out with smoke everywhere, so your flower pictures were welcome color. The forget-me-nots have begun a second bloom of blue. The thyme began a second bloom before the smoke hit.


  10. Hi, Chris!

    What an extra fun post. I am the cash lady. I feel a little out-of-place sometimes when shopping as so few other people are paying with cash. But maybe that’s not true; it depends on the store. At my usual grocery store, a bit of a low-end place in a low-end shopping center, I do see quite a few people with cash, though also EBT cards that have taken the place of food stamps. I remember how shocked I was when people first started using cards for groceries. At first they were credit cards – an extra shock – now some are debit cards, but I wonder how many.

    I too have – quite a number of times – handed the cashier cash when the system is down and walked triumphantly away. But pride goeth before a fall, so I may get mine yet.

    I will not shop at a store that has coin trolleys. We only have one as far as I know. I could shop with a hand basket, but it seems to me that they are dissing the customer – who keeps their business alive – by behaving so. Now, I have seen a person come out of the store and hand over the trolley to someone else going in, after they unloaded it. And, my first and only time at our store that does that, a nice young gentleman saw me standing outside by the carts with dropped jaw and offered me a quarter so that I could get one. Which I did not take.

    I presume that the Tooth Fairy could leave little Johnny some candy (extra appropriate for a lost tooth) or perhaps a gift card . . .

    Nicely broken rocks. I see that a head bash was mentioned; perhaps that’s where you acquired it? What a nice, nice path.

    Gracious me, those trees are really tall and I did much enjoy viewing them from below.

    That tree fern, who was such a monster to start with, looks rather sad right now.

    We have had no rain for quite awhile and so are having to water alot. That’s where I am going now, then to finish getting ready for our next summer visitor, my daughter-in-law’s musician brother. Hope he’ll play something for us!

    Thanks for the flowers!


  11. Hi Chris,

    Do you think that there is a chance the upstairs business had something to do with the downstairs business or do I have peak rocks in my head? Actually, since you were cooking the books, don’t answer that! 🙂

    There are electronic automatic mad cash machines at shops over here. They are quite cool, quick and convenient actually. Still doesn’t solve the problem of what to do in a blackout but they are nice for speeding part the hoards at the manned register.

    I don’t think anyone in any western government is even pretending with the pretense of honest accounting and/or balancing the budget in today’s enlightened times. Over here the party supposedly in charge of the treasury has always supposedly been hyper fiscally conservative and they are currently running one of the highest deficits ever unless I am mistaken.

    Awesome lemons 🙂

  12. Hi Lewis,

    I see, that shake the money tree is not a saying I’ve ever heard, but I’d noticed the Asian origins of the phrase during the interweb rabbit hole deep dive and wondered about the cultural cross over. Interesting, and I must say that the Great Pagoda, Kew Gardens is an astounding looking building, probably built for the reason: Just because… Worth the effort if you ask me, although the more pragmatic side suggests that form is 10 out of 10, whilst function is probably 1 or maybe 2 out of 10. The restoration work looks very good indeed.

    Oh gawd, you would have had trouble both going to and from the bank – first with deposits, then back with till change. The change for the tills would have been less reward for nefarious folks, but still some might be desperate enough. And yeah, I always insisted on two staff members at all times, best not put temptation within some folks reach. It’s funny you mention disguising the bags, but in the mid to late 1990’s a business I worked for, used what the accounts ladies informed me was a colostomy bag for the bankings. I was a bit uncomfortable about that, and I was never quite sure, but I guessed that there was some weird power play between the accounts folks. One of the ladies was very prim and proper, and absolutely refused to use the bag. This tussle had been going on way before I arrived on the scene, and to me the whole thing looked stupid, and eventually I just raided the petty cash tin and got the lady with the issues to just go and buy a more suitable bag. Far out. I don’t even know how that bag (which for the record was unsoiled) came into use – some questions you don’t want the answers to.

    Yeah, yours is a good strategy. The Editor incidentally was closer to the door when they burst in, and once they were inside, she quickly she ducked out the door and ran across the road to the business there and got them to call the cops. I was deeper into the store, and just quietly moved closer to a lady who appeared quite zinged up and a little wild eyed. I was genuinely surprised they didn’t empty our pockets, and they were out the door again pretty quickly. They got caught rapidly, as someone got the registration plates of the get away vehicle (which was a stolen car), then followed them to their actual car and got that registration. I was grateful that they weren’t all that bright. Just trying not to be noticed is a wise strategy.

    Hmm, probably bad I’m guessing. Good water is reasonably neutral tasting. People can be a bit weirded out that we drink rainwater, but it seems OK to me.

    Good to hear. Are your friends in Idaho exhibiting what is known as sunny nihilism? I’m always fascinated by what people worry about – as a species we seem disinclined to consider bad news. We haven’t had a lot of reporting on the storm yet, it’s the sort of thing our news media would love though. And exactly, there are times that it is unwise to travel.

    It rained here again today, another half an inch. It was quite tropical for a while there.

    Go the tassel! And fingers crossed for more. You might just have a variety of super tall corn.

    Hehe! I’m pretty sure that one of the core themes of George Orwell’s book 1984 was how a society handles excess production, and heaps of master paintings isn’t necessarily a bad idea. The Dutch trade in spices would have provided enough spare income for that artistic activity.

    Yes, trapped at home for a year does provide a person with a lot of opportunity to write, but in some individuals I’ve observed that they also had a lot of time alone in their heads – or with a very limited social group. In some ways it would have been an odd initiation for folks not used to their own thoughts, but yeah, I’ve noticed mental health issues appear greater since those days. And daddy issues would be an outcome of that.



  13. Hi everyone,

    Oh my goodness, lot’s of lovely comments. But alas, this evening I got home late and am crashing out. A coffee and cake, plus a gourmet burger was involved. There was some coffee-flation and also some burger-flation in evidence, but the quality was good. Speak tomorrow!



  14. Hi Chris,
    Well I think you know my view about the move to eliminate cash. I’m glad to see more places charging a percentage for credit card use to cover the fee. Somewhat unrelated but last week at the bookstore a woman bought books that totaled $76.67. She asked if she could pay $60 in cash and the rest on a credit card to which I said certainly. Well when I quickly told her that her credit card charge would be $16.67 she was quite amazed that I could figure that without a calculator (sigh).

    Like Claire we’re in for a few very hot days. Can’t complain really as temperature wise it’s been a pleasant.

    We have a fifth clutch of bluebird eggs in one of our boxes. I am quite surprised as it’s late in the season.


  15. Yo, Chris – Why we have coin trolleys …

    The library had a copy of this, for awhile. So many fascinating forms… I have never run across a coin trolley.

    A bag full of rolled coin is ideal for really giving a crim a smack in the side of the head. Then they’d have to drill a hole to let the demons out. 🙂

    Did the colostomy bag have the bio hazard symbol on it?

    There are just no standards, anymore. Old time western trail robbers, always passed the hat, or bag, instructing the passengers to deposit any valuables. There was always someone who sometimes got shot, for quibbling over a wedding ring, or grand dad’s gold watch.

    The California hurricane has dropped out of the news. I guess there’s far more exciting things going on over in the Gulf of Mexico.

    74F, yesterday. We got a slight sprinkling of rain, this morning. But I still watered.

    My fortune is made! I’ll dry the tassels, sprinkle a little glitter on, attach alligator clips and flog them to ecdysiasts. 🙂 Just so you don’t fall in the rabbit hole, the word was coined by H. L. Mencken (journalist / cultural critic / satirist / anti-semite), in the early 1940s. it comes from the Greek word, “ekdysis” which means, “a stripping or casting off.” Someone at the Club suggested I sell them singly, as roach clips.

    Seems like Dutch painters were always broke, and in debt. Paintings were held (happily) as collateral. Rembrandt and Vermeer pretty much died bankrupt. There were estate inventories, that drive art historians crazy. They may say, “three Rembrandt’s, but which three?

    There was a wealthy brewer, who had 237 paintings. “In one room alone, there were sixty-four, plus twelve chairs, six bookcases, two writing desks, a cabinet and what is described as a prodigieously large table.” I am stricken with bookcase envy. I only have five.

    I had an odd thought. If you took all the Dutch paintings, from that era, and stitched them all together in a computer, you could literally walk around 17th century Holland.

    Odd news from Tacoma. Someone didn’t do a good job of cleaning out an ice cream machine, at a small family burger chain. The milk shakes were infected with Listeria. Killed three people and sent more to the hospital. I guess they didn’t use enough salt and sunshine. It’s bad enough crossing the street, but now, you take your life in your hands if you order a milk shake.

    On the way to get biscuits and gravy this morning (tasty. H is satisfied), I stopped by the veg store, for my weekly banana fix. They had a large bin, outside, full of dried Thai pepper bushes, loaded with peppers. $5 per. I have the odd pepper, here and there, but otherwise, no joy. Plenty of blossoms that refuse to open. Maybe they need a stern talking to. Lew

  16. Money, so they say, is the root of all evil today.
    But if you ask for a rise it’s no surprise that they’re giving none away.

    Well, the desire for money and all it can do does cause all manner of mischeif.

    Just heard one of the major fast food conglomerates is slow rolling a plan to only accept digital payment, no cold cash. I predict that will not go well.

    Hazelnut harvest in full bore now. Very busy. Just in time for the excess heat warnings 🙁

    Mother nature has her own timeline and agenda. Just gotta hang on for the ride.

    So far haven’t melted.

  17. Hi Steve,

    Man, those words are awesome. They’d make not just a good song, but a great song. 😉

    I tend to hold the opinion that because the money supply is increasing faster than the underlying wealth, there’s a lot of that stuff sloshing around the system seeking trouble – but same, same, it is mischief. Oh yeah.

    Down here, there are already some places which don’t accept cash and make a point of it. What did they used to say about exercising rights, even when it causes inconvenience?

    I look forward to hearing about your hazelnut harvest. And a couple of frosty mornings have caused some of the catkins to drop off the hazelnut bushes here – although that may be normal. Maybe?

    Stay cool – like literally. And when you can’t, there’s always rehydration solutions. 🙂



  18. Hi Margaret,

    I had your thoughts in this no-cash situation very much at the forefront of my mind, and I absolutely agree with you. We had a banking royal commission down here a few years ago, and I believe credit cards were being pushed onto people with intellectual disabilities – and both you and I know how that story went. It’s not right.

    Hehe! Well done you, and the kids call that ‘quick maths’! 🙂 Years ago I was shopping for fruit and vegetables at the Vic Market, and had a brain freeze when doing mental arithmetic. Afterwards I made a conscious effort to begin reconnecting with such mental tools, and it’s a good idea. It’s like all skills, it has to be taken out and exercised.

    Good to hear that you’re enjoying the late summer warmth. It won’t be long for you until autumn arrives. It was lovely and sunny here today, although still cool. The sun has a bit of bite to it now though, you can feel it. The summer UV gets very extreme, even on cool days.

    The birds, and animals and plants are the best judge as to when to do their stuff. And possibly the growing season will get longer. Hmm. Change, huh? There was no snow here this year – again.



  19. Hi Crow,

    You never know, the ownership of the business did eventually change, so who knows what was going on that day. But on the other hand, from time to time the bank systems do crash. The little swipee merchant machines are usually supplied linked to a particular bank, so it’s not like the businesses can change which bank the money goes to.

    Ha! I don’t think so dude. 🙂 I understand that the word ‘integrity’ refers not just to the reality, but also the perception of such.

    The blackout issue is probably not something which has been fully thought through. If I may dare posit an opinion here. I’ll bet the folks pushing this hobby horse will be saying (about this blackout issue): They’ll think of something. Just going with my gut feeling about that response, and what it’s telling me is no good. 🙂

    Yeah, you know, I find the co-ordination of that particular budgetary response to be really weird. It is very possible that economically all options were considered, and printing was chosen as the easy path, as well as: They’ll think of something. If you want to see the unpleasant near end point of this story look no further than Argentina.

    Last winter I planted out a much larger variety of citrus trees in the sunniest spot, and they’re struggling through the winter months, but are still alive. Citrus are an amazing tree to produce when no other fruit trees do. A lot more warming in your part of the world, and you never know. The Meyer Lemon is cold hardy (out of the wind) to -9’C. Just saying.



  20. Hi Pam,

    I tell you what Pam, when I was writing the blog, I put the metaphorical naughty hat on my head and asked the hard question: Do I write this line? The answer was inevitably: Why not? It was a lot of fun to write, and thank you for saying that.

    It’s not just you, although since you-know-what, I’m socially obliged in some businesses to pay by card. Hmm. And you’re right, I do wonder how many folks are paying interest. The pay-day loan sharks of yore were traditionally treated as social pariahs for good reason, but you know, the road to where we are today as a society was a long and winding road to err, perdition. Anyway, I agree and can recall the horror when unsolicited credit cards first arrived in the mail. I was so young, but I watched as horror turned into a viable option and the card got used. Hmm. It always took a bout of household economic trouble, and my mother used to complain that my dad missed maintenance payments, although a lot of things were said. I just didn’t get involved being a kid, but also don’t muck around with debt collection as an adult.

    I doubt debit cards are all that encouraged, but they are there.

    Ooo, you’re right there. Pride is the devil. I have this on good authority, and also in a bizarre side story (sorry, I do digress), the other day I did pass the advertisement billboard declaring to be ‘Proud’. Sends a shiver up the spine, that does.

    I totally understand where you are coming from there, and would probably have done the same. I tend to believe that when times are good, perhaps customers are not properly treated, and as a policy the businesses might get away with it, when times are good. But when things turn… That will sort the wheat from the chaff. Hey, it could have been some form of guerrilla marketing, your incident is how such things work.

    No, I’m hearing you, but in this particular instance Little Johnny was mercenary and nothing would do from the elder ones than cold hard mad cash. Dare they thwart the little unpleasant tykes will? Candy, sure, may have worked for a less committed youngster, but not in this instance. 🙂

    Those rocks are great, and hopefully over the next few days they get moved up to the low gradient path. The head was banged whilst grabbing a 20kg/44 pound bag of blood and bone meal. Hopefully the damage wasn’t permanent. If I begin saying stupid things, please do let me know?

    Glad to hear you enjoyed the photo of the tree. The trees are big, and will eventually double in height. Yikes!

    The wallaby did it. I’m beginning to sound like a three year old, but truly, the wallaby is to blame for the tree fern damage.

    Hope the music is good. Life goes better with good music.



  21. Hi Claire,

    You guessed right there! And you have my sympathy for the unpleasant conditions you’re both experiencing. The super hot weather here is a different experience, and 45’C with humidity in the low teens (percentage) and winds, are also an unpleasant experience. Once the temperature in the shade gets past body temperature, it is very difficult to lose any excess heat you’ve generated. Hope it cools down for you soon. How are your annual plants responding to such weather? And are you getting many insects?

    Those hand cranked apple peelers are great little devices aren’t they? So simple, and they just work. We’ve never tried preserving the apples other than via cider and vinegar. It’s interesting you mention the lack of sun (and I’ve seen how that affects a solar oven), but I am wondering if the increased moisture in the atmosphere won’t also increase cloud cover?

    And we also cook outside under the shade of the carport (which never gets used by cars) during the summer months. There is absolutely no point unnecessarily heating up the house. I tell you, we had three days in a row over 40’C a few years ago, and by about 6pm on the third day it was 30’C inside and even with the ceiling fans we just made the decision to let the fresh air in, despite the heat. What else do you? Even thick insulation can only do so much. On the other hand, it was a great growing season.

    Thanks also for writing about your experience with the power outage. Always interesting. If I’ve learned anything about that stuff, it’s that resilient is not efficient.

    Yum! Top work with the apples, and adapting to the conditions. I’ll tell you a little secret: At such times of the year – and despite hating to be up early – your experience is exactly what we do.



  22. Hi Joanna,

    The fertilising schedule sounds good to me, and it is always good to hear such things from people in the ‘know’. Hey, and it’s not just you, I wish I’d listened to my grandfather more closely when I was young. 🙂 But then who knows why the earlier generations didn’t teach us, I’m sure they had their reasons.

    With the citrus, the advice I read suggested to not feed them during the winter months less the flush of growth became frost damaged. On the other hand, I have fed them every two months, mostly because the soil was rather poor and in need.

    Interestingly, I’m finding that the costs of fertiliser are increasing most years. This stuff is not cheap. I’ve seen similar products to the citrus food sold down here. If it works, and the tree responds, then why not?

    You might be surprised to know, that in this part of the world, Meyer lemons are considered to be the poor cousins of the Eureka lemon (or also to a lesser extent the Lisbon variety). Either are fine with me, but for cooking, and zest, the Eureka is the superior tasting fruit – I hear you about that. I’m also trialling something known down here as a ‘bush lemon’, whatever that is. It is a remarkably thorny citrus tree. When it fruits, I’ll let you know. Sadly, the super wet weather a few years ago killed off the Eureka lemon. I have replaced it and planted the little tree in a sunny spot, but the tree is only just over a year old now.

    No worries at all, and if you’ve ever got questions, don’t hesitate. And those who know and appreciate the Eureka variety, know and appreciate the finer zing in life! 🙂



  23. Hi Inge,

    Fortunately for you in this regard, my word output is limited by err, work around the property, needing to earn cash, having a social life etc. 🙂 Glad to hear from you, and you have had a lot of visitors of late. Has the weather improved recently? It was a delightfully sunny here day today, but I was locked inside doing paid work. From time to time, the dogs reminded me as to just how nice a day it was outside (very thoughtful of them), but a person must not yield to temptation when there is paid work to be done. That’s the theory anyway, and today the theory stood tested! 🙂

    Thanks for asking, and the headache finally left me (mostly) on Saturday. Note to self: Be far more careful in future. With this head smack, it was entirely my fault. Accidents can happen rather rapidly, and without warning. You’ve probably noticed this?

    Your potato harvest sounds good. Out of curiosity, do you grow the potatoes in a patch set aside for them? And the larder only needs just so many runner beans, although we’re doubling the number of runner beans this year. I’m growing them (and snow peas) in the garden row where the excellent kale crop entirely wiped out all of the nitrogen in the soil. I’ve been doing my best to dodge crop rotation over many long years, and the finally fates moved against me in this regard. It’s a harsh cruel world sometimes! I’m sure your son will put the excess runner bean harvest to good use.

    Yay for the tomatoes! The little yellow tomatoes are the very first variety to ripen here as well. They’re a great tasting tomato too, although they’re a bit small for the dehydrator. Do you have any rough idea as to when the growing season for you will end? And shading is a problem here as well – the tree in the photo this week suggests as much (and there are taller trees here). I’d be very pleased if the neighbours wanted to buy me off with tasty home grown tomatoes. The sunlight issue surprises me too, but a person must make do, and sometimes when the summer is a drought horror story, the extra shade makes a positive difference.



  24. Hi DJ,

    Were you just giving suggestions to the two Kelpies in how to properly play Chew Wars. Hmm. We need a good theme for that idea, and receding titles set with a star field in the background, or a star destroyer – a stupid name for a spacecraft don’t you reckon? Could it destroy a star, I don’t think so. Heart of Gold is far more amusing, and at least the spaceship had a genuine people personality. Rather perky if I recall correctly. Maybe Killian the Doberman should be saying to Avalanche: Glad to be of service!

    True about balance, and master, one day I shall be ready to go out into the world – once I learn to how balance these here ledgers and leave no evidential marks. What a great show that was. I wonder if the show stands up well to time? Some shows don’t.

    Thanks for laughs! That was great, and you saved the best for last. I’m still chuckling at the thought of a depressed HAL-9000.

    Holy carp. Sorry to hear that about the fires and smoke. And dare I ask, but has the wind died down? And what does the forecast suggest for the near future? Those aircraft can’t operate at night either. Plus they can’t fly in all conditions. Hmm. The last big fire in 1983 here swept through at 10pm. A lot was destroyed. It’s never good when there is loss of life, and that includes people, animals, birds, insects, soil critters you name it. The costs are huge.

    The taste of thick smoke is quite acrid, and it’s not good. You’re not wrong about that, and I find it hard to even get a deep breath in those conditions. If the air gets hot enough, it can burn the insides of your lungs. Not a place you want scar tissue.

    I haven’t personally met the Big J, but he seems like a decent dude. And that’s nice and may even be a conspiracy (everything else seems to be nowadays – why doesn’t anyone first go for the it’s just stupid argument?) Anyway, did your lady decide to send them some mad cash? Always a risk there, and it’s never free to run a radio station. The transmitters must use an awful lot of electricity. Shame your lady didn’t have access to the national youth radio broadcaster from down under! She might become a fan, you never know? Speaking of Queen, the Editor was telling me yesterday that apparently their song: ‘fat bottomed girls’, has somehow become cancelled. Quite a rollicking song if you ask me, despite the dodgy content. And to think I was worried instead about gobarments apparent fiscal irresponsibility, fortunately there are other more serious things to fill our minds with, like cancelling the song. I must say that I’m very uncomfortable with attempts to re-write history, and folks who are cancelling that song should perhaps take the time to read the singers biography – they’d probably have an apoplexy (seriously, I just had to work that word in here somewhere today – the context fits though, winning!) Anyway, there’s a lot to unpack in that singers story. Far out is there or what.

    Good to hear that the wind has shifted around to the south, although admittedly there are a lot of Canadian lurkers reading along here, so yeah probably not so good for them. But yeah, a good thing for you, and you’re more vocal so I reckon that counts more in my books. 😉 Sometimes I do wonder who all these people reading along are, but does it even matter? Probably not. I can live with mystery, hope your lady is likewise comfortable with mystery? It could be a sign that radio business. But possibly it might also be a sign for you to wire in a better quality unit. Hmm. But this might also mean work for you, what a decision we have to make here! 🙂

    Good to hear that your sister and her husband were packed and ready to go. And also staying alert to the conditions. Respect. You’d be surprised at how uncommon a response that is.

    That image of the ice crusted (is it another red Dirt Mouse or what?) is just so wrong. So very, very wrong. I’ll bet the doors are frozen solid to the body of the car. Even touching the metal (or ice on metal) would hurt.

    Well done with the chores, and hope you and Avalanche enjoyed the final? That’s the response to take, the times call for it.



  25. Hi Lewis,

    Thanks for the laughs! A Guide to Field Identification indeed. Some people have a really great sense of the absurd. It was like the very enjoyable Goblin Proofing of the Chicken Run book. All very silly, but quite good at the same time. You’re right though, I have observed people thiefing off with shopping trolleys, possibly so as to save themselves the trouble of lugging the shopping a considerable distance. It may also be a political statement. Those anarchists, they don’t have a sense of humour, you know. The pain still lingers, it’s like mentioning possible bicycle technology, just don’t do it. Many years ago now on Mr Greer’s blog I amusingly mentioned that there is something quite absurd about an organised anarchists rally. And far out, they came out of the woodwork, and quite earnestly began berating me for my lack of knowledge. And then I decided to double down. That probably was an interweb mistake. Far out, people get really zinged up over minor matters.

    It’s funny actually, but I noticed that the rock band Queen has apparently had one of their songs cancelled. It’s all rather silly, and it’s not like I haven’t been hearing that song played all over the place since the 1970’s. Probably the anarchists had something to do with the cancellation, but then again, maybe not. The content is dodgy, however, have the people cancelling the song even stopped for one second to consider the biography of the singer? He allegedly got up to some mischief that bloke. I dunno, I’m not into cancel culture. There’s no rhyme or reason to it at all, it looks like a power trip to me.

    Go Holly! Oh she hit the miscreant good and proper with that bag, and he deserved it too, the little freak. I was bracing myself for max-carnage in that scene, and in some ways, that’s worse than the actuality. A very enjoyable read, and I’ll get to book two next. There was talk of a remarkable recovery near to the end of the book, perhaps involving terpanation? Hmm. 😉 I’d say just like Pet Semetary, some things you don’t want coming back.

    Well, that was the weird thing about the bag. I wouldn’t have known what such a bag would even have looked like. Gee, they made a whopping great big fuss over the bag, and I was so young to be managing people twice my age. Anyway, it was the mid to late 1990’s so there was an element of discretion in the packaging. Things maybe are different these days on such matters, and who can forget the South Park episode celebrating the Conjoined Fetus Lady? The episode obviously took things too far. Not easy to forget, I can assure you.

    And that’s exactly it, my tension levels dropped when the crims failed to follow the guide of those Westerns. And at such times it’s best not to be used as an example as to how others should act. Dead granddad’s gold watch isn’t worth it you know.

    Does your news have an east coast bias? There’s a long way yet to go for the hurricane season.

    Your weather sounds more pleasant than it has been. It was sunny and cool here today (although I spent all day in front of screens – not complaining, that’s life and bills are part of that story) Had almost an inch of rain yesterday. It was a bit wet outside this morning.

    Ha! I had to look up the meaning of that word. That’s very funny, and who knew? It makes the work sound all official and stuff, which of course the earnings from that trade which would be taxable down under at least, suggest is so.

    Man, some folks get a bee in their bonnet about crazy stuff. That’s a story I just don’t get, people it’s be known that some folks just like some other tribe to blame for their woes.

    Perhaps the painters spent too much mad cash with the same mercantile folks they were supplying their works too? Hmm. Possibly the economic realities for the artists suggest that supply exceeded demand by a considerable margin. Economics 101, this has the consequence of depressing prices. The depressed prices may not be improved through humour alone, that’s known.

    Sixty four paintings in one room, suggests to me that the publican was supplying his own wares in exchange for art works. You’d hope the goods were, err, good? Maybe not in those days from what I’ve taken away from historical accounts.

    I like how your brain works! And I reckon you’re right. It would create quite the montage (is that word grammatically correct in this sentence, I’d hope so, but aren’t quite certain in this instance).

    Oh, that’s nasty about the milkshakes. It’s quite commonly found in the environment that one. Nasty.

    Go H! And happy days for biscuits and gravy and a good chin-wag. The peppers are a great find. Hope they’re mild?



  26. Yo, Chris – Another reason for going cashless, according to some, is, clerks just can’t make change, these days. Another failure of the educational system. And, I suppose, it thwarts short change artists. Still, I’m with you. Cash doesn’t seem so mad when you’ve only got so much in your wallet, and have to fork it over.

    It’s the kind of book you see at POS (Point of sale) aka the cash wrap. Impulse sales.

    Shopping carts also come in handy, for the homeless, to truck around all their worldly possessions. And, any stray bottles or cans they run across, to turn in for mad cash. And, by the way, it’s no longer “correct” to call them homeless. They are the unhoused. Because even if they live under a blue tarp on a sidewalk, that’s “home.” I wonder if it’s tough getting mail delivery? And, who thinks up this stuff?

    Best to just tell the zinged up, “I don’t care.” If you’re silent, they think they’ve beaten you into submission, and that you’re silently wallowing in shame.

    Next up to be banned, is ZZ Tops, “She’s Got Legs.” As it’s offensive to the unlimbed. Now here’s a vision you won’t be able to get out of your head. Dozens of “women of size,” dancing naked around a bon fire, made up of Queen albums. 🙂 Whatever floats your boat.

    Is the news east coast centric? Oh, I don’t know. All news is slanted. Though the moving force seems to be, if it bleeds, it leads. Depends on where you are. Sometimes, I find even Prof. Mass’s blog posts to be a bit Seattle or ski centric. By the way, he has a new post that indicates that Thur & Fri, it will be hot, on this side of the mountains, with low humidity and a ripping east wind. A recipe for all kinds of mischief.

    I don’t know about the peppers. I didn’t buy any.

    I can see someone in those VR goggles, wandering around Holland and right into a canal. Darwin is awfully busy, this year. Lew

  27. Chris,

    No, not giving the Kelpies advice. They don’t need my help. I also have it on good authority from Avalanche via the International Canine Communication Agency that the Kelpies would consider the simple snatch and run to be too easy. Avalanche continues because she gets Killian into a good whinge.

    Chew Wars IS amusing. Careful…You might entice me into combining some Star Wars into Cew Wars with a Heart of Gold overlay. 😉

    I’ve seen the occasional rerun. As far as the Princess and I are concerned, it has aged well. Not everyone will agree.

    Glad you enjoyed those. The depressed HAL-9000 was my favorite.

    Relief. We got a big huge giant dose of relief! 10mm rain here, over 13mm on the fires. Medical Lake fire is pretty much over other than mopping up hot spots. They’ve reduced some Level 3 evacuations to Level 2 on the north fire. Sister is still in Level 1. The smoke has been scoured out from the urban area and air quality is VERY good. House including basement is airing out with the clean air, advantageous winds and cooler temperatures. Avalanche is appreciating being able to stay outdoors. Warming and drying trend starting tomorrow. Temperatures back to 35C for a couple days then probably cooling to the 24C to 27C range, which is very pleasant.

    A note on evacuations, at least from my interpretation.
    Level 1 – Get Ready
    Level 2 – Get Set
    Level 3 – GO NOW!

    I asked the Princess if she sent the radio preacher some mad cash. She laughed uproariously. She said that she did NOT, but that she is saving her money to spend on emergency “facility” alternatives.

    That was a good Queen song. Too many things are being disappeared in the name of somebody’s hurt feelings. The Prince of Wales is taking heat for doing an online message with his daughter to England’s team wishing them luck in the World Cup finals. Ditto David Beckham. The alleged problem? They didn’t include their sons and we all know that women athletes can be role models for boys so they needed to include the boys. Point #1: Seriously, what the blazes? Point 2: I am so glad that life, the universe and everything is so wonderful for all sentient and nonsentient beings that we have to worry about things like this. .

    Watching the final was fun. Good match. Avalanche slept through it. She does that when she thinks papa is being weird.


  28. Hi Chris,

    I have seen proud olive trees in this part of the world so a bit of citrus should be possible. Unless I am horribly mistaken, I thought some boutique bananas could grow on favorable spots in and around Heidelberg.

    If the power goes out then you can’t print any money anymore and so you have solved both problems. In that same part of the world near Heidelberg (Mainz) sits at least one of Gutenberg’s old printing presses. Perhaps we need to fire that baby up again!

    You said you got a gourmet burger? Would that not be from the local pub would it? Any good?

  29. Hi Crow,

    The local Diggers gardening club sells those boutique cool climate bananas. A few years ago I bought some red bananas, and they’re very tasty. If ever you see them for sale at a market, and they look good, I highly recommend them. Looks like Heidelberg has a similar climate (on average) to Melbourne, and I’ve seen bananas growing there, although the fruit candidly looked green. It depends really, the big smoke rarely suffers from frosts, unless you are on the outer edges. But when you’re up in the hills, sub tropical plants don’t really stand a chance, except maybe in the greenhouse. The Babaco continues to thrive and the fruit is hanging onto the trunk, so who knows? Those fruits take a year to ripen, and it might be too much hassle and take up too much space in the greenhouse – prized real estate, I can assure you.

    There is one variety of olive which is apparently hardy to -5’C (Arbequina variety, and also the French Picholine variety). It doesn’t get that cold here, thankfully. The trick with these sorts of plants which are on the edge of their limits I reckon is to keep them out of the wind.

    Ah, I presume the project Gutenberg is named after that printer? You never know, it might not be a bad idea.

    Strangely, the local pub doesn’t do a burger. They’re a much better pizza or parma kind of place. In an utter coincidence, a gourmet cheeseburger was consumed this evening at another local place. They’re very good, and it was a spontaneous decision to head there tonight. How’s the food going in your part of the world?



  30. Hi DJ,

    International Canine Communication Agency – Sender: Dame Plum + Receiver: Dame Avalanche. Transmission Commences: Greetings esteemed Board member. Respect for your good snatch and grab work with Killian. The independent reports have been favourable, and do you credit. The results have surpassed expectations. Big Dog whinge factor six, exceeds budgeted whinge factor five. Congratulations and keep up the good fight. May we suggest that now is the time for Killian tease plan three? Has worked with Ollie. Transmission Ends

    🙂 Thanks for the laughs. And Chew Wars is real, takes place every night here. Chewflation is also real. Interestingly, I received the order for the box of miscellaneous spare parts for the little Honda GX series engines, which seem ubiquitous with a lot of the small farm machines. Anyway, I was surprised at how cheap the parts are. Chews are expensive, small engine repair parts, cheap. My brain hurts thinking about this, and fortunately, what were we talking about again (the brain no longer hurts!)

    I see, perhaps it is a question of taste then with the re-runs. The original series was set in a Western setting, so a person could suggest that it was pre-aged.

    Yeah, the depressed HAL-9000 was a crack up. That was really good.

    Yay for the rain for you, and over the fires. Not much else can put out a large fire other than rain. Most people don’t really comprehend how unstoppable large fires are. Of course one of the other things people don’t tend to consider is that you can actually reduce the risk with a big fire. Big floods are an equal opportunity incident. Sounds like autumn is fast arriving. Before you know it, the leaves will be falling, and there will be ice and snow. And Avalanche camped out in front of the heater (or maybe wanting you to go and play with her for hours in the blizzard – huskies…)

    Hehe! Oh that’s a great response. Respect. For once I’m at a total loss for a witty reply.

    Hmm. Someone pulled that outraged trick on me a week or two back. I pointed out that they were a hypocrite. Yup, alienating people and making enemies, but at least I don’t have to put with listening to rubbish and accusations. 😉 Winning! My thinking in the matter is this: What would real furry creatures from Alpha Centauri do?

    Last I checked, it’s not weird to enjoy yourself! Avalanche may have other ideas though. Dame Plum sometimes gives me this look which says: Get off the computer and come and scratch that little bit behind my ears. Dogs. 🙂



  31. Hi Lewis,

    To be honest, it was with a touch of trepidation that I clicked on the link to the used coffee grounds as a substitute in concrete mix. Sure, self interest is on display here, and it is a little bit dirty too. Side note, that was the Uni I went to. Anyway, good to see them wondering about coffee grounds. Well done, they do look a little like sand, I’ll give them that. It was the heating them up to 350’C (660’F), then claiming to reduce emissions which baffled me. Probably I’m not smart enough to understand it all. Last I checked, sand didn’t need to be heated up. But anyway, what intrigued me about the article was the mention of: Australia alone produces 75 million kilograms of used coffee grounds each year, most of which ends up in landfills. That’s a lot of coffee grounds. I’m doing my bit to assist there, and where to get more of the stuff? The self interest is strong, master! 🙂

    You’re probably right about the mental arithmetic skills not being taught and having a wider impact. I wouldn’t have considered that aspect, but can see where you are coming from. In some ways, before you use a calculator, you have to understand at least approximately, what the answer will be, otherwise a person will simply accept any answer given, right or wrong. In some ways it reminds me of the problem with over reliance of GPS devices and mapping. Sure, they’re handy, but if you don’t have any rough idea as to where you’re intending to travel, you could end up anywhere. That happened the other day, and I was reading an article about it. Now, where was that article… … Here goes: Nurse stranded in desert without food, water after Google Maps gave her wrong directions Almost ended very badly.

    What is a short change artist? Well that’s a new one. Never heard of that scam before, although I acted carefully when in charge of the till, after all, I knew the end of day reconciliation cash to the till tape was going to take place. It makes you wonder whether if the nefarious scamsters were caught in the act (so to speak) that they’d pretend it was the cashiers fault? Probably. I’ve been in one work situation with a person sharing a very serious responsibility, and that other person lacked sufficient care to be doing that work. It was a bit annoying really, and I had to be even more diligent just to avoid the end of day hassles. What a pain that work was just because of that person – never again.

    That makes sense that the book might be placed near to the teller. Adds a kind of incentive for people to spend more time in queues looking at the stuff they can buy. Hmm. The head office folks and budget pressures would annoy me. The rest of the experience would be quite good. When I worked at Tandy Electronics way back in the day, the boss used to get me to arrange the stuff for sale in the windows. That was a fun job, but I didn’t have much in the way of responsibilities other than serving the customers, and being on time. Oooo, makes you wonder if employees are super loose about what time they turn up in retail these days?

    Yes, I agree and have seen shopping trolleys put to that exact use by the homeless. Would the store really want the trolleys back? The big two supermarket businesses have reported what is being described in the news as “bumper profits”, whatever that means. You’d really hope that they weren’t price gouging under the guise of inflationary pressures? I shop at the local independent.

    What do you mean it is not appropriate to call them homeless? Unhoused sounds a lot like ‘double plus ungood’ to me, and I clearly didn’t understand what that meant either! I knew a guy many years ago who was part of the circle of friends which I used to hang out with, and he couch surfed – that’s technically homeless. Yeah exactly, who does think up this stuff. It isn’t anyone I know doing that work at the Ministry of Truth. I’ll bet there are people living in those self storage sheds you see dotted about the landscape.

    That’s some sound advice. It’s also worth asking the zinged up: Why do you think I should care? They’ll soon have themselves tangled in logical knots. Another goodie I sometimes use is: What did you mean by that?

    A very good song too. Fun fact. The only dude in that band without impressive facial hair was I believe named: Mr Beard. Go figure that one out. Your image sounds like some sort of wiccan thing. Being a guy, I’m probably not allowed to attend! 😉 And what’s with burning those albums, surely there are more worthy rock bands whose body of work would be better to set fire too. The Editor was quite the fan of Queen when she was a younger lass. I think she even went to see them perform in the late 1980’s.

    It was such a lovely day here today. Blue skies, gentle sun and 56’F. Brought up all those rocks which were split last week, then installed them on the low gradient path project. Another chunk of the project has revealed itself to us. We weren’t entirely clear how to progress with the project, but when the final rock was put into place, the answer to the next stage was obvious.

    Also, in breaking rock news! (Cue serious sounding music) We used one of the rocks to fix up the gap in the second stone circle. I had to get the long house wrecking steel bar into the remaining rocks and wangle them around a bit so that the circle looked right. The idea at this stage is to plant an oak tree in the circle tomorrow. In preparation we pulled a power wheelbarrow load of the chickens deep litter mulch from their run. We’d take one rock up the hill at a time, and return with a load of chicken deep litter mulch and spread the stuff around the place. Makes the plants grow that stuff.

    And late this afternoon we did a run to the nursery. No, I didn’t bang my head again whilst there. That’s a good thing. Picked up the last bag of Agricultural Lime (and wanted two bags), and so had to also get a bag of Gypsum as well (that stuff includes Calcium and Sulphur). I figure it can’t hurt. The plan is also to finish up getting the garden terraces ready for the growing season. We’re soaking the snow peas over night. Might plant them out tomorrow. We should get about 300 pea seeds in the ground, that’s the plan anyway. We eat a lot of snow peas when in season.

    True as to your observation in relation to the news, and a very good read too. I know a bloke who is just like that reporter in Mr King’s novel. Avoid him like the plague too. You’ve previously mentioned that critique of the good professors work. Not good. Not good at all about the coming weather. Keep alert for any mischief those days.

    Oh! My presumption about the peppers.

    Darwin is probably about the same per capita busy, it’s just the numbers are up, so yeah, he’s busy.



  32. Chris:

    Ouch. It will probably make you even more brilliant.

    I think I saw the same billboard; it gave me shivers, too. That’s a road that ends badly unless one learns a lesson from it.

    The music is great. My daughter-in-law’s brother (what does one call him? A son-in-law once removed?) plays the saxophone (don’t remember if I mentioned that) and he has to practice every day, so we get free concerts. He’s a pretty young fellow, 37, and from Brooklyn.

    Tomatoes are finally ripening, gangbusters. And melons, too, though not that many. Lots of squash. We’ve gotten our biggest butternut ever, at 7 pounds (3.2kg), but I think there is an even bigger one. Am fighting the squirrels tooth and naiul over the ground cherries. They have better tooths and nails . . .

    Planting fall stuff now.


  33. Hello Chris
    Unfortunately it is raining again today.
    No, I don’t have a special patch for potatoes. They shouldn’t be grown in the same place 2 years running, so they are constantly shifted.
    Also one can never know when the growing season will end; this country has particularly unpredictable weather. Summer (if it arrives at all) can end at any time.


  34. Yo, Chris – I had a couple of thoughts, as to how you could heat up the coffee grounds, and still maintain some kind of energy balance. Maybe a shallow pan on top of your wood stove. Although then the whole house would smell like scorched coffee. A solar oven? You need a t-shirt. “Doing My Bit to Keep Australian Landfills Coffee Ground Free.” 🙂

    Speaking of all things enviromental … I watched a documentary, last night. “Eating Our Way to Extinction.” Narrated by Ms. Kate Winslet. Pretty grim prognosis. Turns out, agriculture (of one form and another), contributes far more green house gases (among other things), than even transportation. And, if the bulk of the population doesn’t move to a plant based diet, we’ll be toast by 2040-50. But not to worry. Things are trending, that way.

    I always counted back change, to the customer. And, at least once a week, someone would say, in wonder, “You count back change!” Later on, I could say, “Yeah, I’m old.” Short change artists are interesting creatures. I used to carry some periodicals, in my tat shop. One guy used to come in, once a month to get his “Maine Antiques Digest.” Every time, he would try and short change me. I realized, that he probably does it, in every situation. And, it had just become second nature to him. No thought involved, at all. Kind of took the fun out of it. He wasn’t even phased, when I blocked him, every time.

    We have a cash register at the Club. Luckily, a pretty simple one. No surplus off the Star Ship Enterprise. Anywho. Volunteer shifts are three or four hours, and tills are counted before and after. Sometimes, watching people count their tills is almost painful. 🙂

    Elinor is always whinging about her caretakers not showing up on time. Some volunteers at the Club don’t show up on time. So, yes, punctuality is a problem. Of course, it always has been. Though in the good old days, it had consequences. Three strikes, and your out!

    “Bumper,” back in the 19th century was a verb, that meant “to bulge.” And was usually applied to agriculture. “Bumper crop.” Now it’s used more as an adjective, and applied to lots of things.

    I think all this PC-ing around with the language, takes quit a bit of the zing out of it.

    I don’t know. “What did you mean by that?” invites long screeds on whatever. I’m old. I don’t have the time to indulge someone else’s fantasies.

    “Queen” did have some lovely tunes. “Killer Queen,” is a favorite, of mine.

    We’re in for a few warm days. It was pretty smoky last night. But must have been high, as I couldn’t smell it. The moon was blood red, until it disappeared, entirely. Mostly clear, today.

    It’s nice you’re restoring the stone circle. The Elder Folk should be pleased.

    I’m surprised the nursery didn’t have you sign a release form. “Chris insists on banging his head on the shelving, and it’s his look-out.” I can see where you’d bang your head on the shelving, due to frustration over only one bag of lime, when you wanted two. Then there’s the visuals. Head wounds seem to bleed, profusely.

    Well, the good Professor’s primary audience is up north. So, he’s playing to his audience.

    Time to go out and water the north 40. The morning water. Lew

  35. Yo, Chris – Trouble in retail land. There’s been several articles like this, lately.

    Last night, I bought black, printer ink. Not from The River, but from the other big on-line retailer. Cost me 1/4 what the local big box office supply store charges.

    And … I’ve heard an “The River” returns store, has opened, over in Centralia. They reduce the price on everything, daily. They have a table set up where you can test electronics.

    I forgot to tell you about the soft tacos, I made for dinner, last night. Guess I’ll save that for tomorrow. 🙂 Lew

  36. Chris,

    Dame Avalanche was attempting to reply to Dame Plum via the International Canine Communication Agency. Not wanting the forum to get hijacked by texting terriers, so to speak, I took her for a walk. She enjoyed it, I enjoyed it, and the internet is safe from the canine correspondence cartel for another day.

    Yes, so many things make no sense today. Pondering the ins and outs and whys and wherefores does no good. Headaches often result. Overly thinking about such stuff is distracting…beware lest you bash your head on something, er, oh, oops. 😉

    Avalanche in front of a heater in the winter? Surely you jest! The colder and snowier it gets, the more she likes being outside. Her concession to the cold is to ignore her igloo doghouse and to curl up in one of the large circular planters I use for gardening. They’re under the patio roof, off the ground and exactly the right size for her.

    I often find that I’m out of my league with the Princess and witticisms. I am forced to walk away if she and Killian’s owner are together. They gang up on me. I can’t keep up with either one of them one-on-one, so I stand no chance when they’re together. I’ve suggested that they’re trying to have a battle of wits with an unarmed man. They giggle, agree, and continue.

    That spot behind the ears. Yes, dogs love that.

    The Medical Lake fire is officially 58% contained, the northern Oregon Road fire 11%. Meaning that it will take something drastic and weird for them to take off again. That rain really knocked them down.

    The hand is feeling good. I’ve been able to get a bit of outdoor work done again. Easing into that, too. But it feels good being outdoors and active and doing something. Avalanche appreciates having papa outside with her. She did surprisingly well when we were “quarantined” indoors during the heat and then the smoke. She wasn’t happy, but she did what was asked of her. She is so much happier. Then to have me outside doing “routine” things helped her more.


  37. Hi DJ,

    A wise move. 😉 The underlying serious discussions here, are sometimes relieved by humour, and I was raised on a diet of Mad Magazine and Monty Python. Blame Alfred E Neumann, although I think we all know what the response will be.

    And that’s the thing, isn’t it? There is a lot of dodgy stuff going on these days, and yet, and yet, and yet, today was an absolute ripper of a day. We finished fertilising the garden terraces and they’re now ready for the growing season. The strawberry bed was thinned to about 5% of the original number of plants, and that too was fed and then mulched with sugar cane mulch. A couple of hundred pea seeds were planted out. An oak was planted out in the second stone circle. The sun shone gently, the wind was insignificant, and the day was cool at about 16’C. Just a really beautiful day, and I was glad to be outside hauling and spreading compost and mulch.

    The lesson here, is that action beats worry, hands down every time. And a garden in the spring sunshine plus hard work is good for a persons mental health. Why others don’t notice this fact is something of a mystery.

    Yeah, I was jesting, although Sir Poopy the Swedish Lapphund did sometimes enjoy the nearness of the wood heater on cold winter days in his latter years. Go Avalanche! A girlie dogs gotta know her perquisites. Messing around with a Dirty Harry quote about limits.

    Mate, we all get out classed from time to time. It happens, and all we can but do is look on and admire. On a serious note, one of the things I observed with long distance running as a younger fella, was that no matter how good you were, others are better. What counts in these instances is to even be in the race.

    Well that was unexpected. The authoritas down here don’t tend to give such precise statistics on whether a fire is contained or not. The whole messaging system was yet again changed recently, and made simpler.

    Advice – General information and developments.
    Watch and Act – a fire is approaching you. Conditions are changing and you need to start taking action now to protect your life and your family.
    Emergency Warning – You are in immediate danger and need to take action immediately. You will be impacted by the fire.

    They’re fairly unambiguous if I’d have to provide any commentary whatsoever. They even changed all the signage too, as to potential threats risks to four simple messages:

    Moderate – Plan and prepare
    High – Be ready to act
    Extreme – Take action now to protect your life and property
    Catastrophic – For your survival leave bushfire areas

    They used to say stupid stuff like the day will be a ‘Code Red’ day like anyone other than a bureaucrat would even know what that means. I’d imagine a lot of consultants came up with such obscure wording and earned heaps of mad cash. However, in dire moments, I’d have to suggest that simple just works.

    Good to hear that you’re easing back into using your hand. Wise to take things slowly. The old timers may have quipped: Know thyself, although many people these days might not actually know what the word ‘thyself’ even means. And I reckon Avalanche would have known that you were out of action. Dogs know such things, although a young dog may lack the patience of an older canine. Hope you’re enjoying the early morning sunshine! Just like I said dude, there’s a lot to feel good about.



  38. Hi Lewis,

    Well that was very interesting about the money tree biz. Candidly the article confused me. Was theft the problem, or a reduction in discretionary consumer spending the problem, or some weird mixture of the two? Beats me, and I read the article a second time, and am still no clearer on the matter, although this maybe is just me. The thing with theft is that if the store is so arranged as to have lots of shelving, and has minimal staffing, well those are the two options floating into my mind which may entice nefarious behaviour. There is little point physically arranging things in retail in such a way that customers feel that they don’t have to pay for the stuff – you might as well just write the customers a check, it will be cheaper in the long run. But the awfulness was mentioned in the article: People are purchasing what they need, and not what they want.

    The thing with bricks and mortar is that it’s more expensive. Way back in the old days, a person would have a relationship with the people in the bricks and mortar biz. Mate, this subject has been on my mind of late after the farm machine repair dude died last year. Recently I’ve been squirreling away spare parts because I now have to do the work myself. On Sunday, the plan is to put our skills to the test. Can we get this dead non-starting machine, back to life? I reckon we’ll be fine.

    Talk about everything including the squeak with that returns store. Returns are a nightmare for such retailers, and some folks scam such systems. Still, online is a risk for that sort of thing. A person can’t have a relationship with The River, and for them, that is a business risk.

    I look forward to hearing about the soft tacos. Yum! We’re having tortilla for dinner this evening. We have a lot of eggs now…

    The artists depiction was pretty close given he’d seen nothing other than a skin and presumably heard the recounted memories from Sir Joseph Banks. It’s impressive that the depiction was even as close to reality as what the artist produced. Of interest along similar lines is that the early artists depicted the landscape down here just as they saw it. It took my mind a little bit of adjustment to critically observe the early paintings of the trees, and compare that to what I see day to day in the forest. That was incidentally on my mind in this weeks blog when I included the photo of the base of the tree looking far up into the canopy. The canopy is very different looking from say traditional European, or even North American forest canopies.

    I like how your brain works with the coffee grounds, but trust me in this – they sometimes produce a stink in the car when I haul them back home. Heating them up to such temperatures in the house is beyond my skills, but who knows what might happen the next time a big fire rips through this way?

    I reckon economics will return our species diet to the longer term average, so yeah trending, and nothing really to see. Let the aristocrats enjoy their duck / goose / chicken / pheasant stuffed together whatever, and I’ll be happy with my lentils. One of the things which really annoyed me about travel in India was that everyone seemed to think I’d prefer a diet of super rich food, rather than just a plain old well prepared Dahl. There were queasy moments before I settled on a diet over there of plain old rice and cooked vegetables.

    Hehe! Yeah, counting change back was a thing, not to mention balancing a till. Far out. And the purchase and change calculations were performed in my head too. After a while the answer is just there. The till was only there to back up the mental arithmetic and provide a record of the days takings on the till tape / roll. That dude you mentioned was a bit odd, and perhaps he just thrived on duplicity? Very rarely, I’ve encountered a few souls like that, and never really knew what to make of them, but all the same, decided to avoid them.

    Over the long years I’ve trained plenty of people in my line of work, and the trick I reckon is getting people to understand as much of the story as their brains can take in. Watching someone balance a till and struggling, is kind of like that training exercise. It’s your job really to work out whether the person is simply learning the skills, or they can’t do such work ever as a lifestyle choice. There may be other reasons too! 😉

    The labour shortage is a real thing, and thus some slack is cut for punctuality these days. But you’re right, things were actually different. One bit of minor weirdness on that front during the recession we had to have in the 1990’s what with 10% unemployment and stuff, I noted that one employer in particular seemed to want to demand a fixed start time, and no fixed end time. Didn’t stay there very long. There is always the push and pull of power imbalances.

    Hmm, presumably the things ‘bulging’ with the use of the ‘bumper’ word, were the grain silos (or stores)? Maybe?

    I noticed a poster for the sequel for Eric Bana’s ‘The Dry’ film. It may have been titled “The Dry II – Force of Nature’. The original film was great, we went to see it at the cinema, and the trailer for the sequel has lots of tree ferns. Not so dry this time around perhaps…

    Yup about the PC-ing biz. One of the interesting things I’ve noticed is that books from a century or more ago contained dialogue which I would be unable to become involved in. We may think that we’re smarter these days, but reading, ‘riting, and ‘rithmetic skills appear somewhat underwhelming. I guess the old brains can only hold so much stuff? 🙂

    As a teenager, Queen’s greatest hits album was on regular rotation. And that was a good song. I quite liked Under Pressure, which was from around that time too. Heck of a voice.

    That would have been a very eerie moon. We’re socked in by fog tonight. It’s a real pea-souper out there. Tomorrow is meant to be colder again. Oh well, two steps forward, one back as they say. Planted out an oak tree in the stone circle today, and put a couple of hundred pea seeds in the ground. We soaked the seeds overnight, and they looked really good this morning, and seem to mostly be viable. Also finished off thinning out the strawberry enclosure today and then fed and mulched the soil with a couple of bales of sugar cane mulch. Hauled and spread a lot of compost and mulch today, and the stockpile is fast dwindling. Might have to do something about that.

    Interestingly, the aesthetic effects of this newly repaired stone circle is quite pleasing. We used the wrecking bar to ensure the circle has a good shape. Those rocks are heavy as. Hope the forest spirits are cool with the oak. I’m sure tricks will be played upon me if they’re not.

    Very funny about the head banging, and trust me on this, I’m being far more careful these days. Such a whack is a message from the universe to slow down and take more care.

    Hope things have cooled down a bit by now?



  39. Yo. Chris, Chris, Chris. Sometimes, you just can’t have things be all one way, or all another. 🙂 Black and white is all very comfortable, but sometimes, there’s gray. But, I’d say the retailers are playing up the “shrink,” a bit, to cover declining sales. Due to wants vs needs.

    Looking at the “Sirens” section, of the local newspaper (used to be called the Police Blotter,) they sure do pick up a lot of shoplifters. Mostly in all that retail down along the freeway. Easy on and off. Occasionally, there will be one or two people from out of town, who are nailed with a car full of loot. I’d guess the merchants contact each other, when a shoplifter is on the move. We used to do that on Tower Street. Get on the phone and spread the word.

    The easiest way to take the edge off of shoplifting is to greet the customer and make eye contact. “I see you.” That sorts out a lot of the amateurs from the professionals. Another tactic is to stick very close to the suspected shoplifter. Of course, these days, people are so brazen. So far, we haven’t had swarms of crims (shades of the zombie apocalypse), literally looting a store. But, I’m sure we will, sooner or later. That easy on and off the freeway, again.

    There have also been several articles about major CBD (Central Business District) stores, that have been there for generations, that are thinking of pulling out. Due to crime. But, the other part of that story is, due to work from home, the foot traffic in the CBDs is quit down. I’ve seen articles where all those small businesses that catered to office workers (food outlets, dry cleaners, shoe repair) are having a tough time of it. I’ve even seen articles where buildings are being converted from office space, to housing. Which will bring back foot traffic to a neighborhood, but the transition period will be rough.

    In the book biz, we had a firm policy that if you didn’t have a receipt, you got an exchange, or a credit. No cash. That cut down quit a bit on nonsense. Of course, some people would push it, bring in a credit, buy a low value item and expect cash back. Nope. Another credit, for the balance of the credit. Luckily, back in the day, we had enough coverage, to play that game all day long. 🙂

    I wanted black beans and rice, in my soft taco. For a start. No black beans! How did that happen? But, I used rice, refried beans, chopped onions, garlic, and fresh quartered cherry tomatoes. A splash of hot sauce and catsup. Mixed that all up, nuked it for a few minutes and then sprinkled grated mozzarella cheese over the top, rolled it up and nuked it for another minute and a half. Tasty. I had some of the stuffing left over, so last night, I did a repeat. Although instead of dragging out the grater, just smeared ricotta over the top of the warm soft tacos. Again, tasty.

    Speaking of food, I picked up an interesting baking book, from the library. “Baking Yesteryear: The Best Recipes from the 1900s to the 1980s.” (Hollis, 2023). He’s a young man, who, while trapped at home due to You Know What, started putting stuff on the net, just trying out this and that. Jazz, comedy routines. Now the fellow wasn’t much of a cook, but one day, he ran across a bizarre recipe (didn’t say which one), and as a joke, threw it up on the Net. Thousands of views. So, he started collecting old cookbooks, looking for off-beat recipes. And discovered some of them are pretty tasty. And, he’s funny.

    So, the book is divided into decades, which a bit of a social commentary lead in. There are some old standards, such as hot cross buns (who knew in Bermuda, where he’s from, they split them open and insert a salted cod cake?), ANZAC biscuits, and even the cheese product fudge. What he looks for is recipes, that just don’t sound like they should work, but do, and are tasty. He also has a small section of, “Worst of the Worst.” Pickle cheesecake? Roughage loaf? Jellied Meatloaf? Lots of good recipes, in there. Though one thing I noticed is that a lot of them call for just egg whites, or just egg yolks, and I wonder what you do with whatever is not used? I suppose you could wash your hair with it.

    Some of the Renaissance drawings and paintings of exotic animals, are a hoot. “I knew a guy, who knew a guy, who saw this strange animal, and it looked like this.” 🙂

    Flaming concrete steps would be a bummer.

    The most challenging training I had to do on a till, well, I began to think the kid was untrainable. Then it dawned on me that he was left handed. So, for him, the till was backwards. Once he grasped that concept, it was clear sailing. High employee turnover = bad business practices. Never mind the cost of training a new employee, every time you turn around.

    Yes, I’d say bulging storage bins. Silos, corn cribs, whatever.

    Yes, every once in awhile, I see something in an old movie, or read something in an old book, and think, “Well, that wouldn’t fly, today.” There’s a bit of a movement afoot, to remove smoking, from old movies. Where would Rick be, in “Casablanca,” without his fags? 🙂 There are actually outfits, in our bible belt, that alter movies, to take out the naughty bits. “Sanitized for You Protection.”

    Well, that was unexpected. It was raining like heck, and 59F. Had to dig out H’s coat from the bottom of the closet. The dust bunnies were making a power move. But, by the time we got outside, blue sky was rolling in, and it’s supposed to be 89F, by the end of the day. The moon last night wasn’t blood red, but had a decided pumpkin orange cast to it.

    Well, oaks are kind of mystic trees. The forest folk ought to like them.

    I kept H this morning, as, at 11 I’m taking her to the groomer. A good thing. Her coat hardly fit this morning, due to all her fur. Lew

  40. Chris,

    Mad Magazine. Monty Python. I’ll add a dose of Douglas Adams. Voila! Mad Douglas Python.

    Exactly. From the first Men in Black movie: “There’s always an Arquillian Battle Cruiser, or a Corillian Death Ray, or an intergalactic plague that is about to wipe out all life on this miserable little planet…” So us peasants are free not to worry about such things that are out of our control and are free to enjoy an absolute ripper of a day, or a nice afternoon nap, or a good cup of tea. Or an afternoon with the Princess doing errands, walking, browsing a bookstore and enjoying our favorite green enchiladas meal at our favorite restaurant.

    Bingo. A great antidote to the doldrums is what you’ve found. Get outdoors. Chop wood, carry water. Enjoy what is there.

    Being in the race. Running the race to improve your personal best. Enjoy the repartee even when you are the unarmed man in a battle of wits. It works. We have been watching the international Little League Baseball World Series. 10, 11 and 12 year olds. One team was getting slaughtered, had its final at bat, did score a bit but still got beaten badly. And they never quit laughing and having fun. Why play a game if you can’t enjoy it? Those kids were having fun even though they “lost”.

    A few of the neighborhood youngsters who like Avalanche asked me if I disliked cleaning up her poop because “poop stinks”. I replied that I actually enjoyed it: no matter how smelly and messy the poop, I smile when I smell it. Smelling it lets me know I’m alive and outside and active.

    We bought some grapes, cherries and watermelon Tuesday. The Princess and I noticed something very grave: every time we opened the refrigerator, it was noted that there were less grapes and cherries than the previous time the refrigerator door was opened. It was quite obviously the work of the dread Fruit Gremlins! Yes, we had an invasion of Fruit Gremlins this week. Then I overheard the Princess on the phone telling her brother, “I got hungry last night and finished the grapes.” The truth is out: the Princess is also a Fruit Gremlin. We need not mention that I also enjoyed the grapes and cherries. 😉


  41. Hi DJ,

    Oh yes, thanks for the correction. Douglas Adams had a gift for taking pop culture references and inserting them into a taken-to-logical-extremes sci-fi setting. So good, and yeah, they’re all to blame! Well at least that’s my excuse (and yours too).

    It is a truth universally acknowledged that a good cup of tea can solve all the worlds problems! And your day with your lady sounded lovely. Hope the green enchiladas were tasty (and not too spicy), and that your hunter gatherer foray into the book store yielded some juicy reading material?

    Went into the big smoke today to have lunch with friends and chat about “Life, the universe, and everything”. Had a nice panini with pork and rocket. Even included the crackling. Yum!

    For some reason I’m just not wired to be down, maybe one day (not tempting hubris), but not today. I casually mentioned that years ago I’d heard from a grandmaster who advised me: Before collapse, catch up with friends, drink beer. After collapse, catch up with friends, drink beer. They might think I’m a lush, but despite the amusing talk, I enjoy my vices in moderation. It’s nice to take the time to look around and appreciate the good things in life.

    Exactly, it’s enough to even be in the race. What I’ve observed is that the best are only the best for but a short while. The astute person would note that a pinnacle is a very pointy and uncomfortable place to be perched upon, and but a little push either here or there, will produce a topple.

    Years ago I wrote about the under 13’s Aussie rules football team I played for. We got smashed every game, the defeats were brutal. But I loved getting out there on a cold winters morning when the frosty moist air hung over the grass. And you’d aim to get at least some mud on you during the game. Afterwards you’d grab a pie from the clubs kiosk, and given we’d been the first of the day to play, you’d hope the pies were warm. Sometimes they were. What was the lesson here, dunno, because I was better at cricket, and changed to distance running during the winter months. A win does not signify enjoyment of the experience. 😉 Good for those kids.

    That’s true. Those kids would be horrified to spot the parrots chomping down on Ollie’s dump. The birds convert the err, feed, into guano. The cycle of life in action.

    Oh no! The truth is now out there. 🙂 Autumn is the time of plenty when the fruit is real fruit, and the refrigerator gets raided by the err, gremlins!



  42. Hi Lewis,

    🙂 I’ll take that binary smashing thought under advisement, and agree with you! My gut feeling suggested the same, and the reports were probably intended for an audience. Over the many years in business, the worst thefts were usually perpetrated by people wearing suits. I’ve worked in the aftermath of one such massive incident, and soon brought things to order out of the chaos whilst instituting rather boring things known in the trade as ‘internal controls’. The folks higher up the food chain probably never once considered that boring does not necessarily mean the same thing as unimportant. Mostly what I observed was that they were unaware of such things. I tend to believe that that is far worse.

    Sirens is an odd word in that it is both an announcement of intent, and a come-hither. Like the ancient seafarers of yore, it’s probably best not to be involved in the call. Between you and I, the word ‘blotter’ has a better sound to it don’t you reckon? Anyway, I’d never thought that such things went on with the roving folks seeking nefarious opportunities, but you’re probably right.

    If memory serves me correctly, the boss at the Tandy store used to send me out to greet the customer and ask if they needed any assistance. Hmm, I see why now, and it makes sense. But I was mostly always able to assist being something of an electronics geek, and had no hesitation directing elsewhere if needs be. In those days – and you probably had the same sort of trade books with lists, lot’s of lists, but under the counter – we could look up obscure parts and get them ordered. Most people seemed happy enough with that.

    The professionals, like that art thief bloke in the book, you don’t really stand much of a chance of stopping. They hit when things are busy, and probably look innocuous and know what they’re after. Didn’t the art thief dude pinch the authors laptop? You would think that the author would be more careful, but then again, probably not. 🙂 But gangs. Yeah, I could see that happening if enforcement ever became problematic. It would be like a swarm, and I would not want to be there.

    Foot traffic is down, no doubts about it. There’s been recent talk about converting empty office space in the big smoke to housing, and frankly there are a lot of considerable technical issues to overcome before that is even a possibility. The same thing sort of happened after the recession of the 1990’s, but the buildings were smaller to begin with, and as such I’m guessing they were more easily carved up into housing.

    When we stayed in the city back in March to go and see the gig, even I noticed that retail had concentrated into a smaller area, and foot traffic was down compared to pre-you-know-what.

    That’s a sensible policy. It’s bonkers to imagine it, but a book thief might attempt to swap said book for mad cash. I’m with you, such tactics would remove the nuisance opportunist. And yes, I can well understand that such folks could wear you out and waste your time. I’ve observed customers in shops cracking the sads, and it’s always a complicated experience.

    What, no black beans? Your innovations sound good to me, and we had a rice, vegie and egg dinner this evening. Went into the big smoke today to catch up with friends and yak. Enjoyed a very tasty panini with pork and rocket, and they even included some crackling. Yum! I have to be careful what I order there because they use a sun dried capsicum and the thing is stored in oil, but do they drain the oil before plonking it into the sandwich? No. It’s a problem, but no oil oozes out of the pork roll. Yummo!

    Speaking of ricotta, a batch of yoghurt failed. I’d been back slopping for a long while from one batch to the next, and finally met with abject failure. The curds and whey separated and I must say that yoghurt cheese is a little bit acidic tasting for my palate. The dogs and chickens did not complain. Had to start all over again, and have no idea what even happened. Another mystery.

    I hadn’t realised exactly where Bermuda was, but hmm, I see. It would have quite a lovely climate. Sounds like a fun book, and the 1970’s have a lot to answer for: 1970s potato chip cookies. Really? I’ll bet that they’re good. And I’m really struggling with the concept of inserting salted cod cake into a hot cross bun and it kind of makes my head spin, although sourdough hot cross buns are better than I’d imagined them to be so who knows? We might be missing out there, but I tend to think not. There’s a lot wrong with pickled cheesecake too, but I could be biased there.

    Hey, it was meant to be dry here today – they do keep saying that things are dry and warm. Yes, warm, but not yet dry. A fifth of an inch of rain fell this morning – and the forecast rainfall maps said nothing. Refund anyone? 😉

    I’m right handed, but it is not lost on me that many tools and devices are designed for use with the right hand in mind. Left handed folks would struggle with such things. I recall hearing about the days when hands were tied and kids beaten over such matters as using their left hand. It just doesn’t seem like all that big a deal to me, but back in the day, the folks in charge were bonkers about such things. Probably saw it as some sort of work of the devil or a moral failing or some such craziness. And that’s a problem if staff are constantly leaving, but I admit other folks see it differently, although I’m uncertain why. Under paid, Over worked, Micromanaged, Volatile emotional energy – there are plenty of reasons for turnover, and I’ve seen most of them over the decades. Used to have a boss who’d crack the sads and slam the door to his office. That was an odd workplace.

    What? Surely you are kidding me about editing out the smoking in classic movies bit? So weird. As to the other, I’d heard of that. Even Monty Python and The Life of Brian was banned in some locales because of the infamous “we’re all individuals nude scene”. It created quite the impression at the time on my young and impressionable mind! Little wonder my humour is so warped… Makes you wonder how people not knowing about the naughty bits get around to reproducing? Could be some problems there.

    Oh my goodness, did it get humid after the rain? Watch those dust bunnies, and you’re right, they’ve got plans.

    That’s the plan with the oak, and one can only hope to appease them. They’ve got a lot to be annoyed about.

    Stop it! True story, a lady once stopped me in the park to declare that my former now long deceased boss dog: Old Fluffy the Spitz, was fat. Truly, the old biddy just felt comfortable to say to me that: “You’re dog is fat”. I should have told her to f!@k off, but instead she caught me off guard (like who says that?) and I said to her that there was a lot of fur. And she doubled down and repeated the claim. The dog and I walked off. Some people, I dunno man.



  43. Yo, Chris – Something from our local newspaper …,324324

    You might not see them, but they can see you! 🙂 Pe Ell is about 30 miles, west of us. A cougar’s range is 600 square miles, so ….

    Have you bought your tickets, yet? I see they’re making a musical of “Back to the Future.” 🙂

    Binary thinking: We know you can’t help yourself. 🙂

    A lot of shrinkage is also due to employees. Sad, but true. “Internal Controls.” We used to have a huge, ring binder, “staff manual.” It was in a ring binder because in our weekly packet from the home office, there were always pages with instructions, such as, “Remove pages 83-A to 83-D, and replace with these updated pages.” A lot of it had to do with internal controls. The chain had over 500 stores. I theorized to my district manager, one time, that all the updates were due to someone, somewhere, screwing up. She agreed.

    What’s really funny about our “Sirens” section of the paper, is, they never name businesses, but only give the addresses. Privacy? Really silly. Almost daily, there’s a reference to “500 South Tower.” Well, everyone knows that’s the Fuller’s grocery store.

    The way it worked is, we had a “special order desk”, about half way back in the store. First we check the micro fiche of a couple of wholesalers. Those were updated, weekly. We could get things in about a week, as we did orders anytime we had 25 items (best discount) or more. We’d phone in the orders. Also used it for filling in stock in a timely manner. If someone wanted something really bizarre, we could do a publishers order. Which went to our home office, and was added to the publisher’s orders, for the store. Those were labor intensive, and no guarantees the book would finally show up. 6-8 weeks. We’d paint the grimmest picture, to the customer, we could. Often, (and we’d have to carefully look at the packing lists), it would come back, “Out of Stock.” Effectively, out of print. I’m sure everything is zippy and computerized, now.

    The art thief stole the author’s lap top as a demonstration.

    Office to housing. A lot of cities are loosening up their onerous building codes and zoning. High time.

    I don’t know how I slipped up and had no black beans, on hand. Probably because the brand we’ve been awash in, is a bit dodgy. Somehow, the warning that, “May contain stones,” does not inspire confidence. But the refried beans worked fine. So, I’ve had soft tacos four nights in a row, now. To use up that stuffing. Luckily, I heard we’re having hot dogs at the Club, tonight, and not tacos. 🙂

    Bermuda has an interesting history. A couple of ships with settlers to Jamestown, wrecked there. And weren’t rescued, for years. Although by that time, a lot of them had decided Bermuda wasn’t such a bad place. Shakespeare’s “The Tempest” may have been based on the incident.

    “Baking Yesteryear,” is a pretty good cookbook. I may have to get it. Most of the recipes have a short ingredients list. He has a little bit of the history (as near as he can figure out), at the beginning of each recipe. Especially in the 1930s (the Depression) and 1940s (war rationing), a lot of the recipes came about due to shortages of one kind or another. He makes the point that they were all about adaption. Lots of cleaver techniques, were developed. Sauerkraut chocolate cake. Tomato soup chocolate cake. Potatoes in a lot of things.

    My Dad was left handed. He was handy around the house, but it seems all our light switches and sink fixtures worked “backwards.” 🙂 He was a hard guy to get gifts for (has everything in your price range he could possibly want), but left handed tools were always worth a look. There are several clever t-shirts playing to left handed people. Such as: “Like Right-Handed People Only Cooler.”

    You’re exposure to “The Life of Bryan” at an impressionable age, probably is responsible for the infamous bubble bath photo. 🙂

    LOL. When I picked up H at the groomer’s, yesterday, well, she was skinned. They didn’t pay attention to anything I said. So, it was with trepidation, I took her home. Elinor must have taken one of her happy pills. She thought she looked just fine.

    So, I ran down to the Club for a cuppa, this morning. Swung by the library on the way home. Watered the south 40. It’s supposed to be 90+, today. By the way, there were several movies on the libraries “New” list, last night. “Asteroid City.” “Meg 2.” They’ll show up, sooner or later. They’re also getting a re-mastered copy of “Kwaidan.” Which is a collection of old Japanese ghost stories. I saw it years ago, and really liked it. Wonder if it will hold up? Lew

  44. Hi Lewis,

    Say, that’s a big cat, or four. Hopefully the big cats don’t require the additional feeding from near your place, or even the hapless jogger out for a leisurely run with their headphones blasting away. My money in this instance is on the big cat winning the bout. The image really captured the intelligence behind the eyes. Given enough time, the domestic cats which have gotten loose down here and established themselves in the forests around the country will grow that big, or more.

    I remain unconvinced about the musical, but there’s a part IV to the film franchise and there’s a trailer. Just to avoid the complexities the musical version might introduce into my brain, I dodged it. Might have to wipe the hard drive if such sounds and images entered, then we’d really be in trouble. 😉

    In such businesses, the staff have to be able to earn a living wage. What else would anyone expect? It takes a lot of underpaid staff and suppliers to pay for a rocket ship. Those things don’t come cheap. The question on my mind is: Did you ever read all the updates to the staff manual? I’m not sure I would have done so. I’ve had a subscription for a similar ring binder service but way back in the day. Now the updates go onto the interweb, and you’re not told about the changes – and that’s our problem.

    Ha! Yes, that is hardly anonymous if the address is given out. It’s like those surveys which ask so many demographics questions that the person providing the response could be pin-pointed. A dangerous thing to provide candid commentary on management and their performance via such surveys.

    Your special order details explained how we ended up with a discount for the Jack Vance print on demand set of books. I see the volume produced the discount, which the retailer gratefully handed on. They’re alright that place, and are one of the last big retail bookshops that I’m aware of. It always looks busy to me that store. It is weird isn’t it how some books, no matter how good, go out of print. Of course one of the upsides of the interweb is the ability to scan lots of retailers and sellers for second hand copies of books. You have to admit, things are better on that front for the customer. I have no idea how second hand bookshops back in the day used to handle those sorts of requests? Wise to provide a really grim assessment of the likelihood of a publishers order being fulfilled.

    Hehe! All the same, an excellent demonstration of the art thief’s skills. However the reality is that the author probably didn’t have enough stuff to be worthy of a good return on investment for the thief.

    I tend to agree with you. Things have been taken way too far in that regard with zoning. And even with all that red-tape, the outcomes aren’t all that good. So what are they even doing? Probably box ticking if I’d have to hazard an opinion.

    Is that warning label serious about the rocks? You’d have to imagine that it must have happened for there even to be such a label. Then the awful question is: why? Farmers are paid by weight, and rocks are heavier than beans – maybe? One of the machines here has a label which says something along the lines of: “Some experts suggest that using any device may be hazardous”. Hardly conducive of confident usage of the said machine. How did the hot dogs turn out? And was H invited along?

    There would be far worse places to be shipwrecked, and you sent me on an interweb rabbit hole into the depths of Shakespeare’s “The Tempest”. Shackleton’s mob ended up in a far more problematic part of the world, still they survived.

    Did you end up purchasing the cookbook? It does sound intriguing, and the ability to adapt to circumstances is generally the mark of a survival trait. Others may differ in that regard.

    That’s funny, and over the years I’ve worked with a lot of engineers and left handedness seems to be more highly represented with that group than what you’d normally encounter in the general population. Are you suggesting that your dad switched the hot and cold taps (hot is usually left and cold is usually on the right) left to right? I can’t even imagine how switchgear could be made to be backwards? Please do tell! 🙂

    Definitely The Life of Brian had something to do with it all. 😉

    Had a slack day today. Of note was that we began problem solving the non starting mower and have identified the culprit. May have to order some more spare parts. And am now thinking how to organise all these things. It’s no good having the spare parts, if you can’t easily find the spare parts. Dust bunnies fortunately are not spare parts, because they’re easily found! Oh, it was the ignition coil.

    You dodged a bullet there for sure. And H’s fur will grow back just in time for winter when she’ll need the fuzz to keep her warm. Out of curiosity did you swap Elinor’s glasses? That would be a power-move in such dire circumstances!

    Asteroid City isn’t that the latest Wes Anderson film? It’s only just been out at the cinemas down here. And Meg II, I’m thinking that based on the trailer, they went the dark path of The Evil Dead III. That was a very funny film, and just so wrong. Just watched the trailer of Kwaidan, and I reckon you’ll enjoy it, and the film probably holds up well.

    Better get writing!!!! Already 8pm here, and not one word yet put to pen, which of course would be rather difficult since I’m using a computer, but you get the gist. Yikes.



  45. Yo, Chris – I should check the state cougar sighting map. See if there’s anything nearby. It lists time and date of sightings. I’m hearing a lot of cougar sighting stories, floating around.

    If there’s a toe-tapping tune or two, you’ll be hearing it, everywhere. Maybe a stirring anthem.

    Sure, I read the updates. Or, at least skimmed them. When the district manager would make a store visit, she’d check to see the the most recent updates had been secured in the binder. Something to tic off her store visit list.

    They have, or had, occasional anonymous surveys, here at the Institution. But they ask for age and sex. Which I leave blank, being the only 74 year old male in the place.

    Things would often slide in and out of print. When it came to mass market paperbacks, and a prolific author (say, Agatha Christie), they generally didn’t keep everything in print, all the time. Also, if you special ordered a mass market paperback from the publisher, you had to order three copies, at a time. So, what if the other two copies didn’t sell? Tear the covers off and send them back for credit. Yes, all very wasteful.

    There used to be a magazine, about the size of a “Reader’s Digest,” that came out twice a month. Half was books wanted, and half was books for sale. Out of print books. When a book was remaindered, it was effectively out of print. We had piles of remaindered books, on tables. Often, a title would show up in the books wanted, of the AB Bookman. I made a bit of mad cash, on the side, flogging those books to the wanted books crowd. You’d send post cards. The buyer would pick out the lowest price, in the best condition. Sometimes, I’d get lucky.

    The author of “The Art Thief” didn’t have any pretty pictures. 🙂

    I suppose the machinery used to harvest the beans sweep up anything about the size and shape of a bean. I’m sure they try their best, to separate the wheat from the chaff (or, the beans from the rocks), but accidents do happen. I generally clean my canned beans in a colander, bounce them about a bit, and take a good look at them. I’ve never found a rock.

    The hot dogs were quit tasty. I had my usual chili / sauerkraut combo. Oh, H would be welcome, but there wouldn’t be all that much for her to eat. There’s some loose talk about moving beyond hot dogs and tacos. We’ll go down, this morning, and she’ll get to lick out a yogurt or cottage cheese container.

    There were a couple of novels, about the Bermuda shipwreck. So long ago, I don’t remember authors or titles.

    I’ll probably buy the baking cookbook. Not this month, maybe next.

    Yup. Reversed the hot and cold taps.

    Slack day? Cherish it. Spring is almost upon you.

    Brother Bob the Bachelor Farmer had a shed the size of a small barn, stuffed full of pieces and parts. Well, HE knew where everything was.

    And, off the happy pills! Elinor made the comment last night that the groomer who gave H her trim, must have been a trainee.

    Yes, hard to put a pen to paper. First you have to round up a goose, or a swan, and convince them to give up a few feathers … Lew

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