Just like a tractor

You stare at the intricate workings at the rear of the fire truck, and hope that nobody asks you to do anything. So that connection goes up there. And that valve operates the flow on that pipe. And does this connection flow into or out of the pump? It doesn’t seem obvious to me how this stuff works. One of the guys thoughtfully said that “you’ll get it. The thing works just like a tractor”. It was flattering to consider that they’d thought I knew how a tractor worked.

Even now, I have only the vaguest idea as to how a tractor works. A few years ago I did get to drive one, once. It was a mate’s quite large tractor, and it was a whole lot of fun. After a brief introduction to the controls, I took off. The machine was handy for moving mulch around the property using the front bucket. Except I moved more mulch than what my friend had perhaps intended, and so I was surreptitiously watching him via the mirrors whilst he was furiously signalling something or other. At such times it is wise to studiously avoid eye-contact and kind of act dumb. Sadly, the tractor eventually had to be returned. That one experience though hardly rates me as an expert.

It takes me a while to get a feel for how complicated systems work. It takes even more consistent effort to comprehend the intricacies involved with those systems. But mostly what it takes is years of installations, maintenance, modifications and repairs, before you can really say you know what is going on. And even then you can stuff things up. Far out!

Recently we’ve begun the process of maintaining and repairing all of the many farm machines used here. Most of the fossil fuelled machines have small engines ranging from 5hp all the way up to 21hp. There are also electrically powered machines. And don’t forget the hand tools. All of them require at least some regular care and attention. Most days I watch at least one YouTube video from a thoughtful person in the trade who has taken the time to post a video on their experiences.

You sure do learn a lot, and in my own methodical way I’m taking in a lot of information on all these machines and tools. And I learn stuff even when I already thought I knew all that there was to know on the subject. That means going over old knowledge and seeing what other people have to say.

About a decade ago, I spent two days out in the forest on a course with a crusty old dude who knew more about forestry practices than I’ll ever know. He taught me how to maintain and repair my chainsaw, and also how to use the thing so that I could be using it every day for years to come. People shouldn’t be let loose with such dangerous machines without that sort of training!

The bloke taking the course was ‘old school’, and I respect that. For years afterwards I’d sharpen the chain with a hand file. That’s hard work, and you have to make sure the file is clean and cuts the steel on the chains teeth using the correct method. A good sharpening always brings a chainsaw right back to life.

Then one fateful day, years ago, the sirens of the tool shop unsolicited marketing email sung a song of ‘Mains Electric Pro Chainsaw Sharpener’. The sirens call was too strong to resist. The sharpening machine was awesome. But trying to find the exact sharpening specifications for the particular chain I was using was a surprisingly difficult task. Need I mention that there are tables. A bewildering number of tables and chains.

As you do sometimes when the way forward is unclear, you take your best guess. And the electric sharpener worked a treat, except that towards the second half of a chains life, the saw didn’t quite cut as easily as it once did. As everyone knows, you should not have to force a sharp chainsaw through timber, theoretically the machine should pull itself through the timber. That’s the case even with the super hard and dense Australian hardwood species which grow here.

Turns out I was using an ever so slightly incorrect angle with the electric chainsaw sharpener. A bloke on YouTube said so, and then he went on to show and explain in considerable detail just how the teeth on the chain cut timber. I knew most of the story, but hadn’t appreciated the finer points. He even mentioned to throw the tables out because they confused him as well. Sure enough I threw the table out and checked on the state of the teeth on the chainsaw. The bloke was right. I was wrong, even though I thought I knew what I was doing. At least I now know.

How my chainsaw chain works

The repercussions are pretty minor, I simply have to re-sharpen all of the old chains. The good news is that they can all be brought back to almost as good-as-new condition. There’s a few of them though, and that work should drive the lesson home as they used to say.

Half a dozen old chains wait to be sharpened

A week and a half ago I received a comment (nod to Lewis) which linked to an article about the recent activities of one of the main folks behind the creation of credit default swaps on mortgage backed securities way back in about 2005. A book was written about those things (and the people), by the author Michael Lewis (no relation). There was even a film, you may have heard of it: The Big Short. Don’t know what a credit default swap on a mortgage backed security is, well you’re not alone. All I know is the outcome from all those financial shenanigans produced a whole world of pain back in 2008.

After reading the article, I made the decision then and there to re-read the book: The Big Short. It’s a great read, and I recommend the book highly. The article casually mentioned something along the lines that a large short bet had apparently been made by the same person. A short bet is a fancy way of saying that a person will make a heap of mad cash if something bad occurs, like say for a random example: a market crash. It’s not in my nature to provide unsolicited advice, and in this area I’m not allowed to do so anyway, but after re-reading the book again, these folks don’t seem to me like the sort of folks who’d use the slightly incorrect angle for their electric chainsaw sharpener if that was their special interest – at least not for long anyway! But heck, what do I know, I still don’t even know how a tractor works.

We had a mixed week of weather. A bit of sun, a bit of rain, a bit of fog. On the sunny days we worked outside and enjoyed the gentle early spring sunshine. The rocks which were split last week, were hauled back up the hill and installed in a rock wall for the new low gradient path project. Two rock walls have now met and form a junction.

The two rock walls now meet
The rock wall has travelled quite a distance

The path project will be continuing for a long time to come.

Not all of the rocks were hauled back up the hill. One of the rocks split last week was used to repair a mysterious second stone circle. This second stone circle is on contour with the original circle, and until a few days ago was missing a rock which left it with a gap. Some of the other rocks in the circle needed to be adjusted so that they formed a better looking circle, and we did that work with a large steel house wrecking bar.

The soil in the stone circle was then given a good feed of chicken manure, compost and mulch. An oak tree was planted into the centre of the circle.

The second stone circle has now been repaired and planted with an oak

All of the garden terraces have now been readied for the coming growing season. The soil in the rows in those garden terraces have been fed with lots of good compost and aged mulch.

The garden terraces have now all been fed and readied for the coming growing season

Half of the down hill row in the above photo was sown with snow peas as well as some other varieties of peas we’d had.

The pea seeds we’d saved from earlier years look viable

All of the pea seeds were soaked in warm water overnight before planting out. The soaking assists with speeding up the germination process.

Originally a gate, but now a pea climbing structure

An old gate I’d welded up a few years ago was even pressed into service as a structure for some of the peas to climb upon.

The highest two terraces have rows for Roses and Raspberries, and those varieties of plants were all given a good prune.

Dame Plum supervises the pruning work

About 95% of the strawberry plants were dug up from their enclosure. We’re trialling thinning the plants out to one every two feet. Last year, despite the many plants, they produced almost no berries, but a lot of runners (baby strawberry plants). The rows in the strawberry enclosure were then fed whilst a couple of bales of sugar cane mulch were spread out over the surface.

The restored and rejuvenated strawberry and grape enclosure

The latest citrus tree to ripen is a Mandarin. I now forget whether it is an Imperial or Emperor variety, but who cares, the fruit is small and tasty.

A Mandarin is producing ripe fruit

Our experiments with Alpine Strawberries continue and even now in late-winter or early-spring, they are producing berries.

More Alpine Strawberries. And they’re tasty

The plants in the greenhouse are growing well on the occasional days of sunny weather.

Ollie enjoys the warmth of the greenhouse chilli

In other signs of the coming growing season, some of the very early fruit trees are breaking their dormancy, like the Plumcott in the next image.

A Plumcott has produced a lot of blossoms

One of the earlier variety of Almonds has not only produced blossoms, but also early leaves.

An early Almond is leafing out

It is possible that the plants are still a bit low in protein compared to what the local forest critters would prefer, because after all it takes a tough, or hungry wombat to eat this:

That’s one tough wombat

Onto the flowers:

Forget me nots are a sure sign of spring
The Succulents have thrived in the warm and wet winter
Daffodils are weighed down by the rain

The temperature outside now at about 10am is 11’C (52’F). So far this year there has been 610.2mm (24.0 inches) which is up from last weeks total of 587.2mm (23.1 inches)

31 thoughts on “Just like a tractor”

  1. Yo, Chris – I got a good chuckle out of “…works just like a tractor.” Seems to assume every dude knows how to work a tractor. What with all the computerization, a lot of people, these days, who used to know how to work on a tractor, no longer do.

    Tractor? A horse seems a lot less complicated. Ditto a chain saw and an ax. There’s a lot of loose talk around the Club, about chain saws. Seems like a lot of them are bought, with the understanding that, “With a little bit of work…” I think there are broken chainsaw hoarders, out there.

    I think a lot of gentlemen farmers, and gardeners for that matter, don’t quit grasp maintenance, beyond weeding. The tools. I’m glad I took the Master Gardener seminar, on tool care and sharpening. It’s really pretty straightforward. A winter’s evening, and your good to go. And they also covered your household scissors and knives.

    What are we to do without U-Tub? I needed to replace a tail light on my 2004 Ranger. Which it turns out, involved removing the tail gate. Which was not covered in the truck manual. But, behold, there was a video, “How to remove a 2004 Ranger tailgate.” Quit easy when you know the trick. I still remember the early days of the Net, when sometimes, the information just wasn’t out there. The one that sticks in my mind was consumer ratings for hot tubs. 🙂

    Was there a small celebration, when the two rock walls met? 🙂 Do you think they’ll bump along, ok? High marks on the stone circle restoration. You can’t see them, but Ollie can see the Forest Folk. Or maybe, he sees a cougar …

    That looks like a mixed bag of peas. What kinds are there? The strawberry and grape enclosure look ready to produce. A bumper crop.

    How do you remove cactus spines, from a wombat? There’s probably a U-Tub video.

    The flowers and trees are all very pretty, and spring is just around your corner. Lew

  2. Hi Lewis,

    Who knows how those tractor things actually work or even how to repair them, it might have something to do with AI, whatever that is? 🙂 I tend to believe that the right to repair some machine or other is an expression of how resilience is at the other end of the continuum from efficient. There is also the point that the larger and more complicated the machine, the less folks there are to repair the things. All the small farm machines are mostly pretty basic devices, and parts and knowledge are plentiful – at this stage. If someone like me can go over a machine and work out what is wrong with it, the thing itself is well designed. Even the Editor is learning about them, and I’m holding her hand through the learning process.

    You ever met a horse? Those creatures have their own thoughts, and some of them have the will to express their thoughts. But I agree, they are easier to keep fuelled, as long as people don’t over stock – a common problem.

    Mate, I live in a rural area and it is hard not to notice that a few people collect machines on the off chance that one day they’ll get around to fixing them. It has been remarked upon elsewhere – and I reckon you’re alluding to this – that very often, one day never arrives. If you can get small machines on the absolute cheap, and know how to fix them, there is a ready market for the refurbished second hand items.

    Hehe! Maintenance beyond weeding the lawn – you’ve made a solid case there. I remember when you took that course on sharpening and tool care. Respect. You never really know a tool, until you have to learn to prolong its life as long as possible. I’ve heard people expressing pride in being able to use tools so hard that they break them, and err, pride, fall etc. And the old timers do advise to never lend tools. Makes you wonder how much otherwise useful stuff across the planet gets sent to landfill because people don’t understand how to maintain the things or perform simple repairs. Probably quite a lot, but I can’t say I’ve ever encountered anyone studying this matter. Interestingly, some dumpster divers and rubbish repairer folks probably have a really good feel for the situation. I’ve read of one bloke who recovers and repairs high end battery powered vacuum cleaners. Apparently people don’t clean the filters, and/or don’t know how to replace the batteries. The volume is staggering.

    Yeah, that’s exactly the sort of stuff I’m looking at, and there are tricks to know with these sorts of repairs such as what you did with your Ranger. It’s amazing that people take the time to teach others. The hot tub story sounds like it ended badly. 🙂 There have been times I’ve taken a gamble on a product and also should have checked the reviews, but then some folks whine a lot. For example the chainsaw which was recommended to me has worked great, but the reviews are a mixed bag. Some people have had horrendous experiences, but it does make you wonder how they treat the things.

    Oh, I hadn’t thought of a ribbon cutting ceremony when the two rock walls meet. Maybe next time. 🙂

    Thanks for writing that about the stone circle restoration. I took a lot more care with this one because it needed more work to make it right again. I still am unsure what the purpose for the things are. Too small to put forest litter in there to burn, and too big for cooking. A mystery. I do hope to never encounter a cougar, in the wilds. If I can spot such a big cat, the beast is probably hungry and looking for a meal.

    They’re mostly snow peas, but we chucked in a random collection of varieties for which we had seeds and were worried about the viability of the stored seeds. Probably didn’t need to worry. There was a purple variety which we didn’t plant out because they looked a little too close to the sweet pea variety and I believe those are not good for you.

    The wombat has been chewing the lower leaves on the Pomello / Grapefruit as well as knocking the fruit from the lower part of the tree and eating them. Rampaging youth! The wombat also happens to be digging a new burrow conveniently right next to the orchard at the base of a very large and old tree. I hope the wombat knows what it is doing there.

    Did you get a chance to check the cougar sighting map? Hopefully they never venture into your garden.

    All this talk of musicals and oh, dinner. Lovely. Evasive manoeuvre number five was just implemented. Dodged the catchy melodies and memorable hooks. Yes, I’m sure an anthem is heading at us. Do we really need this in our consciousness?

    It’s nice to give visiting dignitaries from higher up the food chain, something simple to: a) worry about; and b) check off their list. `I see you’ve met such folks in your time there?

    A wise move to leave out that data. From what I’ve seen, they do pour over the survey data. You should see the electshun count drawings. Some cheeky scamps have quite the artistic flair, usually involving phalluses for some reason. One form is almost three feet wide and it provides a lot of scope for such things. You can’t do that sort of thing with voting machines.

    Your return to the publisher strategy might be wasteful, but it’s also ingenious. The print-on-demand services these days get around such things. It’s still surprising to me that some books fall out of print, but I can understand the economic realities of the overall business.

    Your books wanted system was great. You got ahead of the market so to speak. Mate, I still recall the slower days of the print classifieds, and down here an entire weekly paper was devoted to those. All line advertisements, so you’d get good at reading between the lines as to the condition of whatever it was you wanted to buy.

    Hehe! Yes indeed, I’d neglected the dudes alleged motivations for thefting in the first place. Who does have those sorts of pretty pictures? Not the sort of thing you’d find hanging on the wall of your favourite deceased aunts estate. Maybe. Although old cars in amazing condition still do get found in barns from time to time.

    Did the loose talk regarding the taco and hot dog situation amount to any concrete action?

    Hope you enjoy the cookbook.

    Swapping the taps around would confuse a lot of people.

    It was a slack day yesterday, but alas not today. Did lots of paid work. Oh well, bills and stuff.

    Haha! Brother Bob and I are not cut from the same cloth in this regard. Organisation is next to godliness. It’s true. 🙂 Mate, nothing annoys me more than knowing I have some part or other, and not being able to locate it.

    Bummer about Elinor. Calmly surf the wave my friend, and hope H is enjoying a respite visit. I did say something about glasses. My thinking is that if the person was a trainee, they might hand back the wrong dog. This has happened to me. Now why the other folks took my dog is something that is very hard to explain.

    Candidly the birds don’t seem to want to co-operate in my writing endeavours, so the quills may be in shorter supply than what the plentiful parrots might lead us all to believe.



  3. Yo, Chris – Sometimes you wonder if people who design things, actually take them for a test drive. Or, pick out some John Q. Public, to see how it works in the real world.

    Yes, as you know, where I lived before, there was lots of stuff around that didn’t work, but was “too good to throw away.” Or, something. I think mentioned that there were at least three “dead” vacuum cleaners, when I moved in. Even with my limited mechanical abilities, I didn’t have a hard time getting them running, again.

    Speaking of my previous landlord, I happened to run into his widow, in the grocery store parking lot, last week. She sold off most of the 360 acres, except for 40. I guess she sold Bob and his mom’s place, as-is. A lot of mess, but probably some real treasure, there. My old place, she still owns, but there are no tenants. The evil stepson, well, he and his mother had a big blow out. He wanted $200,000 to get his girlfriend, from The Land of Stuff, citizenship. So he left, and they don’t speak. I guess the crazy grandsons are doing ok. Both educated and employed, one by The River. But that just might be “grandma” talk. So, I’d say she’s a wealthy widow. I hardly recognized her, and would guess she’s had a little “work” done. 🙂

    “…amazing that people take the time to teach others.” Might be hope for humanity, yet. Naaaaaw. 🙂 .

    The peas are quit colorful. Hmmm. I wonder if you could make a three or four pea salad. Like the bean salad? Hmmm.

    That wombat’s smart. Easy on, easy off, for a snatch and grab. Speaking of which, I saw an interesting article, this morning ….


    Nordstrom is a high end department store, that started in Seattle, way back when. They also had one of those mob looting, in one of their stores in a suburb of Los Angels. There are videos on U-Tub. “Topanga Nordstrom Snatch-and-Grab.”

    The district manager I had for the longest time, was tough as nails, but a lovely lady. Every store visit, I got dinged for my ceiling air vents. Before one of her trips down, I ran them through the dishwasher of a local cafe. When I got dinged, again, I told her that. She got out a ladder, climbed up, and said, “Oh, my gosh. You’ve got the only off-white vents in my district!” We had a good laugh over that one.

    Just recently two Rembrandt portraits were found stashed away in a Scottish castle. The last portraits in private hands. They had completely fallen off the scholarly radar. They brought 14 million, at auction. No information as to who they sold to. Seems like every six months or so, a “lost” painting turns up. You never know what you’ll find, where.

    Nothing has been officially sorted, as far as tacos / hot dogs, alternatives. It’s really up to our chef. 🙂 There was some loose talk about “Philly steak sandwiches.” Whatever it is, I’m sure it will be good.

    I lose stuff in a 500 square foot apartment. Drives me nuts.

    After I take H to the groomer, I tell people I swapped her for another dog.

    Late night, early morning. The auction people are just lovely. I managed to get all the Halloween stuff, together. 5 boxes. But didn’t make it to the Christmas stuff. No problems. I can take it in next Monday morning. We also talked about the New Year’s Day auction. They’ll have to send the truck, for that. Three deco cabinets, a rocker, a 3′ cobalt glass column, and probably 12-15 banana boxes of other tat. Including my dinnerware set. Gee, if all goes well, I’ll probably have enough filthy lucre to buy a new computer. 🙂 Lew

  4. Chris,

    “It works just like a tractor.” That is the motorized equivalent of “it tastes like chicken.” The first (and only) time I ever ate sushi, I was told, “You’ll like it. It tastes just like chicken!” It didn’t. Not even close. If somebody told me “Hey, it works just like a tractor”, I’d be in trouble. Like you, dunno how a tractor works.

    I DO know how complicated systems work: with a great deal of fragility. I know that you know that the more complicated the system, the more fragile it is. In another of my career limiting moves, on several occasions I pointed out to the engineers that there was a less complicated way to do something while pointing out the probable fails in their design. They didn’t like it when I did that. They liked it even less when I was right.

    How did we learn how to do anything before youtube?

    Hahaha! Credit default swaps. I remember those. I remember thinking that those things are so complicated that nothing good can come out of them. Too complicated for their own good. And they darned near brought down the entire economy. My suspicion is that something similar will happen with these cryptocurrency things. Too complicated and energy intensive.

    Careful. Be very careful. Two rock walls have united. If these join with more rock walls, there might be some type of revolution at Fernglade. Aren’t a lot of the rocks in the walls smaller pieces of large rocks and boulders that you’ve broken into pieces? If too many of these rock walls unite, won’t the rocks begin to realize what you’ve done to them? “Revenge of the Rocks: A True Australian Horror Story” might result. Hopefully the repair of the stone circle will appease the Elder Folk so the rocks don’t strike back.

    That IS a nice repair job on the stone circle. Keep up the good work. Maybe you could entitle your memoirs “Stone Circles and You – My Life Appeasing the Elder Folk”.

    I like that gate that is just standing there by itself. Future generations will excavate the ruins of Fernglade Farm and have many questions. “Why is there a staircase out here leading nowhere? Why is there a gate with no fencing nearby? Does it lead to anything special? Where did all these ferns come from?”

    Nastily hot again Monday. And hazy. And mildly smoky. However, the Medical Lake fire to the west is pretty tame. All of the evacuation levels have been removed. The Oregon fire to the north is slowing down. The heat today didn’t spark it back into life. Tuesday night and Wednesday have heavy rain in the forecast. We could get anywhere from 12mm to 25mm or more. All of the evacuation levels on the Oregon fire have been removed or downgraded to a level 1 – get ready. The rain this week, if we get it, should really knock this thing out.

    Dame Avalanche got extra treats today. She has an area where I let her dig and groom the ground. She lies in the dirt there, especially when it is in the shade. She noticed some hornets buzzing around in one of her holes. Then she started digging. Sure enough, the hornets were trying to build an underground nest right near the house and patio. Dame Avalanche changed their mind. Whereas I know the hornets serve many valuable purposes, adjacent to the patio, house and the heavily used brick path to the alley is NOT where I want them.


  5. Hi, Chris!

    It takes years – and years – and years, to learn quite a lot of things. Then hopefully we don’t forget them . . . I think of my daughter-in-law’s brother who was just here. He just started gardening this past spring and think how much he has to learn. But a delightful journey!

    You can pass on these things that you have learned, as you do here. I have heard some of these chainsaw stories. They are not for the weak or lazy. That stuff is so hard.

    I can really see how steep your place is in the path junction. And your terraces are all neat as a pin and ready to go. Nice!

    The only strawberries that I had this year were the alpine strawberries, as I never had a chance to plant strawberry plants in the new garden. The alpines are many years old and got put in pots when the garden was moved. I have never seen them make a runner, but they do spread out slowly, I guess by roots. I like them.

    That is one tough wombat. Better see your dentist, Fatso!

    My son informs me that an inspector is coming out to view his garden and nursery set-up for raising and selling fig trees. I had no idea, but you have to have a license to do such a thing. It seems pretty detailed, too. The inspector has to go over our property and the growing room upstairs (which he uses in the winter until he gets the greenhouse set up). You don’t just bunge some cuttings in pots and say that you have a business. Mama mia! Anyway, he is growing most of his fig plants propagated from air-layering.

    As you know, my son and his wife live with us, much to our joy and benefit. A friend of mine recently bought a house with her son and his wife (they had all been renting) as a cooperative venture. I see this happening more and more.

    I am finally at the age (66 1/2) to sign up for Social Security. Yay – to get something back! Never counted on it for sure, though.

    Thanks for the flowers, especially the forget-me-not. I tried for years to grow forget-me-nots from seed. Finally, this last spring, one came up in the clover field, where the garden had previously been and I saved it from the Mr. Weedwacker and moved it to the new garden, where it has made a lot of seeds.


  6. Hi DJ,

    You make a strong argument in relation to tractors, chickens and sushi. Teriyaki Chicken, now that actually does taste like chicken. Oh, sorry, that’s because it is chicken, but not as you know it. It’s better, and probably nicer than sushi. Although I don’t mind raw fish, mind you I enjoy raw fish much better with a dipping sauce of soy sauce with mixed in dyed green horseradish disguised as wasabi. Brain pain alert! That’s good to hear because it means that neither of us know how tractors work. Do we need to, that is the question!

    Yes, exactly such folks probably don’t enjoy candid reviews of their work, especially when you may have inadvertently pointed out a simpler way at lower cost. The solar enthusiasts I’ve communicated with over the years are just like that. On the other hand, I keep things simple, because when all else fails, simple works and has the side benefit of being comparatively more resilient.

    Ah! A fine question. We learned by forging relationships with people who know, books, and/or trial and error. That’s how. But utoob does save a lot of time and effort. 😉

    Reading the book on those esoteric financial instruments and the astute characters who bet against them, is in some ways like watching a car crash leading up to the fateful event. The problem with huge goobermont debts created out of thin air is that the stuff has to go somewhere other than products and services, or else it fuels inflation. It’s a problem, and probably condoned. And yes, I agree the whole digital thing must some sort of cosmic joke.

    Oh no! Yikes! Now, I’m starting to feel a little bit nervous about the rocks, but I kind of have this gut feeling that fixing up the stone circle and planting it out with an oak will counter balance the awful awfulness of the repercussions. Maybe. I should have included a before picture of the stone circle, but I didn’t think of doing that. Anyway, it was a bit of a mess, but you could see how it was meant to look. Not a bad book title either, our fortunes may be made there? Although the Elder Folk might want to remain unmolested, and so they’d no doubt take some unanticipated tricksey actions to thwart the book. Drats, foiled again.

    Hey, if all of us aren’t leaving mysteries for future archaeologists to ponder (of whatever species), I’d say we weren’t doing our jobs properly. Lately, I’ve come around to the perspective that this is what John Lennon was on about when he claimed he was the walrus. Noting that there may be a whole lot of other explanations, possibly chemical in nature. 😉

    At least the rain will put out the fires. That’s what it takes some years. Nothing else will even come close, other than actively managing the forests and land to reduce the risk – an unpalatable option for western civilisation, but one we’ll get to in time. Folks were wiser in the past. On Monday, the morning was bizarrely warm with thick fog, and bushfire smoke. I could taste the acrid smell in the air. A taste of things to come?

    Go Dame Avalanche! And, I noticed that there was no mention of her getting stung, so double respect to the lady. I wouldn’t want them there either. Way back in the day, when Dame Scritchy was stung by a bee or wasp, she’d puff up like a spiky football. I’d slip her a tiny chunk of anti histamine, then she’d sleep it off and once again resumed he more normal size.



  7. Hi Pam,

    Well that is the risk isn’t it? Didn’t the old timers say, if at first you don’t succeed, then practice heaps more? Oh wow, yes, he certainly does have a big and long journey ahead of him. Good luck! I tell you truly, I have regrets about not listening to my grandfather more attentively when he was espousing such knowledge. Sandra has expressed an interest in how to repair these small farm machines, and last weekend we identified the problem following a logical process of elimination. The part was put on order, and hopefully the part turns up in the mail over the next few days. It would be good to celebrate a success with our first combined small machine repair. It is a delightful journey the bloke has set himself upon.

    Oh yeah, the stuff is hard. The other evening I was watching a video of a bloke discussing chainsaw usage, and to make his point he showed a few short clips of people doing stupid things with them, like using them whilst high up ladders. I wish I had not seen those images, I heeded the original instructions.

    It is a steep block, and flat land is probably over rated! Maybe… You know what I mean. 🙂 Like you, I’m also experimenting with growing Alpine Strawberries, and if I must say, they do kind of suit my gardening style better. The thing with the clearing of the 95% of existing strawberry plants, how do I know I left the right ones? And I believe Alpine Strawberries also grow from seed, so they might adapt better to your particular environment than the more usual strawberries. That’s a guess though. Dunno. Do your new Alpine Strawberry plants grow true to type?

    Mama mia indeed! Who knew there was paperwork and inspections with all of that stuff. Hopefully it is not too onerous for your son. And I would so much appreciate that sort of arrangement, if you can make it work, it’s great. Alas one must play the hand they are dealt, and who knows it may just work out fine in the end. Sometimes the universe does not give us what we want, it gives us what we need. Hey, wouldn’t that be a great song title?

    Pam, the only good advice I ever got from my mother was to automatically deduct a decade from any lady’s age. So on that basis you may have missed out on the benefits. Sorry to so inform you! 😉 Regardless, well done you. I hold some doubts that I’ll be able to draw on such things, it’s still seventeen years away.

    Very good! Those plants are great, and they really love growing under the fruit trees. Frankly, they are a bit weedy, but I’m very forgiving of them because the flowers are very pleasing on the eye.



  8. Hi Lewis,

    You’ve got me wondering, are new cars tested out by the public before going into production? Turns out apparently they don’t, unless in the: ‘by the public’, includes select motoring journalists. Seeing the popularity of the overly large utility vehicles (you’d call them trucks) on the road these days I do wonder who sets the standard as to what is going to be flogged off onto the public? I mean does anyone really say to a car company: “Bigger!” Who is leading whom here? A mystery.

    Years ago I watched a documentary where a car maker had done just that with an electric vehicle, and people had to give them back, and I don’t believe many examples of the vehicle survived. The electric vehicle folks down here are getting upset about some sort of road use tax they’ll probably be levied. Road repair taxes are collected via a percentage of fuel costs, and with electric, they don’t seem to be paying that. Several articles have mentioned that those vehicles are often heavier than for an equivalent sized vehicle, and as such might cause more wear and tear on the roads.

    Man, I know and remember the stories of all that stuff and the constant whip cracking. Hard on the nerves if you asked me. Your experience there is probably beyond what most people think to do with basic repairs, and in this instance the facts speak for themselves. It’s funny to think the young bloke moved on after a falling out. That’s a lot of money. I often wonder when I hear such stories whether surely there would be easier paths to love than that choice? Sometimes the land itself becomes the retirement fund.

    Some people are born teachers and just need an outlet. Utoob is good for that, and I’m a good student when required.

    Before reading your comment this morning, I’d fed the left over peas to the chickens. Oops, hadn’t considered the salad option, but I don’t see why not. Had a salad for dinner, and thoroughly enjoyed it. We even chucked a few crushed walnuts and some boiled eggs into the salad. It hit the spot just right in the guts!

    The wombat will be fine, there are plenty of spiky native plants around here (Prickly Moses comes to mind) and the marsupials know what they’re doing, maybe.

    Department stores generally are doing it tough these days. But I’ve read some rumours about that particular city. They may even be true. I see, lot’s to unpack there. Probably why that part of your country can’t have nice things. Best not to be involved.

    When I was a young bloke the older folks (not my parents, but their parents) seemed to ooze a firm but fair response to the world. I don’t know what happened there, the parents kind of lost the plot, but it made me responsible as a consequence. With that view firmly in front of my experience, I looked further back for better guidance. But yes, I would have enjoyed working for such a person, and have in fact also done so over the years.

    Makes you wonder what else is hidden in that Scottish castle? I guess the buildings would cost a lot to maintain, and the paintings had to move on to their next journey. I’ll bet the art thief bloke possibly knows more about those paintings than the institution which bought them.

    Man, there’s a Philly Steak Sandwich restaurant near to the big smoke, in an inner suburb next to the CBD. I always assumed it was a reference to cheese and steak? I dunno about that, but maybe I need to get out more. I’m thinking steak would have a higher cost base than tacos or hot dogs. Has anyone in the Club mentioned more gourmet sausages like bratwurst or kransky’s? So tasty.

    Hehe! I hear you, but err, super organised. But the end point is much the same, and if stuff gets lost, well yeah, something, something, drives me nuts too.

    Very funny! H would enjoy the clip at this warmer time of year. has Elinor recovered from her fright at the sight of H?

    That’s a lot of stuff. Hey, for all you know, there might be a new computer hiding in there! 🙂

    Did paid work today. Had a brief chat with the young lady I speak with who raises chickens. We swapped stories of things going wrong in the world of chicken. Enjoyed a tasty muffin. Got my haircut on the way home. All’s good with the world, at least as far as I’m aware. They do say that it’s the things you don’t think about, that cause you to come unstuck!



  9. @ Pam – Don’t turn your back on the Forget-me-nots! 🙂 Chris mentioned they’re a bit weedy. I just needed more blue flowers, so, planted some of those, Love in the Mist, and Bachelor’s Buttons (aka Cornflowers.) The Love in the Mist and Forget Me Nots really took off, and self seed all over the place.

    The Forget Me Nots are easy to pull out. But the seeds stick to everything. Garden gloves … pants. But they sure are pretty! Lew

  10. Yo, Chris – DJ’s comment about the Rock Revolt, or, Rock Revolution (and I’m not talking music, here) reminded me of something …


    That movie? A classic! 🙂

    Maybe not electric cars, but John Q. Public strikes back!


    Your salad sounds really good. Last night I cubed up half a yellow zucchini, tossed in rice, seeds, garlic, peas. A little Swiss cheese on the top. Nuked. Tasty. Oh, well. When you’re peas start to ripen, I’ll try and remember to mention the salad, again.

    The Scottish castle might have needed it’s roof replaced. That much money might just cover it. Or, it might have been to cover estate taxes. Which is often the downfall of many great houses.

    No biscuits and gravy, this morning. The chef had a work schedule change, and I guess it’s to be Sunday morning, now. Elinor has a dental appointment, today, so I’ll have a sulky dog, all day long. I’m going to give her some of her dry food, yogurt and plumped up cranberries. That might mellow her out.

    “I go here, I go there. I do this, I do that.” A poem. Or a type of poem. There are days like that. Just ticking things off a list.

    We had over 30 fires, in the county, over the weekend. “…popping up left and right.” Mostly, from lightening. Though there was one that was caused by fireworks. But it was slapped down, quit quickly. I bet there will be a fine, for that. Last night I heard an odd sound, rather late. I thought it might be hail. Nope. Raindrops as big as horse apples. Garden looks ok, this morning. Didn’t have to water. Another corn stalk has tasttled, but still no sigh of cobs 🙁 . It’s supposed to rain, on and off, all week. I made a note on my calendar that this might be the start of our fall rains. Really early, if that’s the case. Lew

  11. Hi Lewis,

    How good was Galaxy Quest? The rock monster, err, rocked! I must say that Sir Alan Rickman stole the scene.

    The auto car thing is bonkers, and I reckon the hype exceeds the reality. Drones are similar vapourware, and in some ways fulfill an identical role. Years ago I used to work in a business that interacted with a lot of taxi drivers, and those dudes, and dudettes, they do the work because they need the mad cash. They’re not doing it for the enjoyment. If the tech behemoths of SF want the income flows of those taxi drivers for themselves, well what are the drivers then going to do for mad cash? And surely the tech can’t be cheaper than actual real live humans? Anyway, isn’t this the same city which has nascent war gangs looting and pillaging? Why aren’t those robots being put to better use producing stuff that’s what I want to know? Is consumption the best they’ve got? But yeah, it was a mighty good shot, and it is embarrassing how easily the things are taken out. The masked folks on bikes might be doing the tech lords a favour.

    We’re doing home made pizza tonight. The yoghurt maker machine is doing my head in. Three batches ago the yoghurt failed because the batch became contaminated. I thought at the time the bacteria we keep in the freezer had gone off, or become contaminated over time – always a possibility. Then I had to start off the culture all over again and the next batch worked. Then the next batch failed. After that, we eliminated every possibility only to discover that the temperature regulation on the slow cooker is failing. That would do it. Put another machine on order, and will dismantle this one and try and work out what went wrong. The thing is cooking the yoghurt way too hot at 50’C / 122’F. Killed off the bacteria. We’ve been running tests on the machine all day long in the background just to see what it’s doing. Imagine how much wrongness a self driving car can create? And this is a really simple machine.

    That’s your yellow zucchini, is it not? The additions do sound rather tasty. Yum! Are you getting much in the way of tomatoes from the garden?

    Do you have estate taxes in your part of the world? They aren’t in place down here, which does have the effect of transferring wealth from one generation to the next, unless you have parents like mine or the Editors. They took the whole spending the kids inheritence (!) meme seriously, despite themselves having enjoyed the benefits from the earlier generation. It’s a good metaphor for the sort of world people are leaving for their kids don’t you reckon? Not to stress, long ago I knew they were immature and irresponsible and countered the risk by working harder. What I’ve heard, and it’s only rumour, but in your part of the world charitable trusts are sometimes used to bypass such taxes and the kids probably sit on the board of trustees.

    Inheriting a castle on the other hand would be very cool, but most likely the maintenance costs would bankrupt the kingdom. Yikes! I can’t imagine there are DIY castle fix up folks?

    Bummer about the lack of biscuits and gravy. Hope H was not disappointed? Such things are hard to explain to our canine companions. Ah sulky dog syndrome is suggestive of a dog who missed out on her gravy. How did your solution work out? Was she placated by the offering?

    More paid work today. Finished late, and am glad that it’s just you and me here today, because I crashed out on the couch and just sort of shut down for about an hour after work. A complicated day, but that happens, and soon there will be home made pizza to fill the guts.

    It is a poem isn’t it? Perhaps the working title is the: ‘The mysterious activities of every day’. Do you reckon it works?

    Fortunately the rain stopped because the clouds parted and we got to see the super-moon. Nature puts on a good show, and it is very light outside tonight.

    Glad to hear the fires didn’t get out of control. Large rainfall is not something you want to experience outdoors. Hope the garden avoided damage from the heavy rain? You never know about the cobs because your growing season isn’t over yet. I wouldn’t save any seed from such plants though.

    Hope you get some heat along with the rains.



  12. Chris:

    Good for you and Sandra, in advance, on your engine repair adventure.

    I have tried growing the Alpine strawberries from seed, but had no luck, but perhaps that is what they are doing on their own – self-seeding.

    That would be a great song title: “Sometimes the universe does not give us what we want, it gives us what we need.”

    Somebody must have told me the same thing about deducting 10 years from a lady’s probable age, though it is even better not to guess at all.


  13. Yo, Chris – I also had to look up what a Philly Cheese steak, was. There was some talk about keeping the costs, low. After the hotdogs, I told our chef it was so good, and she should open a restaurant. Which was a joke, because she has owned restaurants, and, I think, a food truck. 🙂

    Used to be, at least in NY City, a taxi driver had to buy a “Medallion.” To be displayed in their cabs. The city only issued so many. They could be inherited or, bought. Toward the end of the Golden Age of Taxis, medallions went for thousands of dollars. Then came ride shares. Weaponized into companies, owned by the tech lords. An app, you see. The worth of medallions fell to nil. At least one cab driver set himself on fire, in front of city hall, as a protest.

    Wouldn’t want your yoghurt maker to burst into flames. Seems like new appliances have a tendency to do that. Our night manager had a practically new fridge, and the freezing section decided it was an oven. Just through sheer luck, he happened to open it, before going off to his day job.

    I went Eye-talian, last night, more or less. Cut up the rest of the yellow zucchini, rice, a can of diced tomatoes. Seeds. A good portion of Oregano. Seems like if you put Oregano in anything, it becomes “Eye-talian.” 🙂 Sweet Basil. Topped it with a bit of Ricotta cheese. Tasty. Looks like I can pick another round of tomatoes, tomorrow, for the dehydrator.

    Last night, I went out to pick blueberries. I went out about 2 hours before sunset, and the weather was just perfect. With my 2 1/2 quart bowl. From just the back of one bush, in the back of the Institution, I more than half filled it. That’s the cool side of the building. Strange though. There are 5 bushes back there, and three have NO blueberries on them, at all. I think they are early varieties, and the bees weren’t out. The blueberries “out front” (35 bushes) did not do well. They got a lot of water, this year, but I think those 100F days we had really impacted them. However, I found that at the back of the bushes, shaded by some evergreen ground cover, there were good berries. They’re all on trays in the freezer, right now. When I’m finished here, I’ll start plumping up the gallon bags, from the commercial berries I bought.

    We don’t have an income tax, in Washington State. Oregon does. We have sales tax … but Oregon doesn’t. We also have a B&O (Business and Occupation) tax, which varies. Sales tax is collected by businesses, and returned to the State. Monthly or quarterly, depending on how much business you do. We have no corporate income tax.

    There is a Federal estate tax. 18 – 40% on over 12.92 million dollars. If you have that much money, you have smart tax lawyers who get you out of most of it. Loopholes. Only available to the rich and initiated. 🙂 Every time attempts are made to change estate or income taxes on the rich, vast resources are brought into play, to scare the voters out of it. It’s either a.) some day you may be rich, and wouldn’t want to pay those taxes, or b.) they downplay the piddling amounts that the rich pay, and make it sound like they’re coming after grandma’s bit of cash in her cookie jar. If I were being nice, I’d say people are uninformed. But I’m more in the mood to say they’re just stupid.

    H got yogurt and cranberries, when we got home. She just woofed them down, and that seemed to mellow her out. She napped, most of the afternoon. Also, when she’s miffed at me, she won’t come to the door, when I go to take her for a walk. I have to go into Elinor’s apartment, and pry her out. But, last night she came right out when I called. So, I guess everything is OK between us. 🙂

    Better stock up. I see India is banning the export of rice. Keeping it for their own people. They provide 40% of the world’s export rice. Lew

  14. Chris,

    Tractors. Do you drive one? Do you work on them? Do I drive one and/or work on them? No. so as long as the people who DO use them and repair them understand them, then, well, “What, me worry?” 😉

    Teriyaki chicken is good stuff. Been awhile since I’ve had it, but I’ve always enjoyed it. Much better than raw fish.

    Rain. Lots of rain. 18mm or more here. Still a light drizzle and 15C Very pleasant change from the heat and the arid air. And the air has been cleaned of the smoke. Very nice out this evening.

    Repaired stone circle. Check. Planted an oak. Check. Elder Folk happier. Probably. Mess with a book with Elder Folk in the title. Your idea NOT to do that is likely best. Maybe find and repair more stone circles.

    Well, in my mind we had been seeing severe inflation outside of consumer goods for quite some time. All that “free money” seemed to go into the investment markets and real estate. Twas only a matter of time before it truly hit the grocery stores, etc.

    My brother was an only child,
    He thought he was a walrus.
    The albatross and the whale,
    They were his brothers also.
    Unlike the author of “Imagine”
    or Samuel Taylor Coleridge
    Some can compose doggerel
    With no chemicals to guide them.

    Correct, Dame Avalanche avoided hornet stings on this occasion. Easier that way.


  15. Hi DJ,

    You make a solid point there. On my one tractor outing, my friend kicked me off the thing, and that was it for experience with the machines. The land here is too steep for such machines anyway. And can you imagine even getting a tractor in your backyard? The apple would be toast. You’d hope the folks knew what they were doing. I do wonder if labour shortages are impacting upon tractor repair businesses. You may note that we’ve taken on-board most of the repair activities associated with the machines we use. Speaking of which, I hauled all of them out today and they were started and run and maintained where needed. The plan is to do that every two months from here onwards. Bizarrely, even with the cache of spare parts, it’s cheaper than sending them all in for an annual service.

    True, consuming food that is in a form which is unpalatable (for whatever reason) is what I’d describe as a wasted fooding opportunity. Anyway, the fish probably enjoyed the experience far less than you did! That’s my theory anyway. 🙂

    What a nice change in your weather, and we’re running about the same here. Rain and cold air. The news reports are full of warnings of impending hot weather, but it is yet to materialise. Mind you, there were some big storms further up north along the east coast of the continent. All part of life there.

    That’s an eerie thought! There may be other stone rings out there in the forest. I’m keeping my eyes open for such things. Only humans would create such a thing, but the question I always have is: why? It’s not like I found a rich ash bed in the centre of the stone circles. And the loggers seemed rather slack about where they dumped the tree stumps. A mystery. Possibly the indigenous folks used the stone circles of the fire pits to create resins from forest materials – that’s my best guess at this stage.

    It’s not just you, I’m seeing the inflation too. It’s a bit like trying to keep pet fish in one of those plastic bags they use for transporting them back from the store. Sure the bag holds for a while, but it won’t hold forever before the bag leaks, or the contents go bad.

    Wyvern’s, a problematic creature,
    Long of tooth,
    Sharp of claw,
    Many a questing great knight,
    Brought to an untimely end,
    Steel chest plates, matter not.
    Pikes, too short to be of use.
    Longbows, questionable.
    Where the greats fell,
    the humble walrus triumphed.
    Hubris leads to nemesis,
    This is known!

    Ha! Yeah that bloke did rather indulge in chemicals. Honestly, such things mostly lead to tragedy. Best avoided if you ask me. Hey, I enjoyed your doggerel, and reading about Coleridge reminded me of Wyvern’s, it seemed somehow appropriate. 🙂

    Go Dame Avalanche. The Editor has been stung by what you call yellow jackets, and we call European wasps, and that was nasty. I once put my hand over an apple which was teeming with those wasps, and strangely they didn’t nip me. I walked away from the apple tree slowly and carefully.



  16. Hi Pam,

    Thanks, and the replacement part arrived in the mail today. Maybe over the next few days we’ll try and get the dead mower going again. I’m enjoying the work, and interestingly, even with the cost of the small cache of spare parts, it’s a cheaper option. How’s your lawn tractor going?

    Got an old self propelled walk behind slasher working today. It had not been starting easily. Felt very pleased with the outcome. Had a day off paid work for all sorts of reasons, and used the hours to go over all of the rest of the machines. In front of the wood box heater tonight hangs a number of foam air filters (they’re drying off) which had been washed with soap and warm water. The filters smell a little bit of petrol (gasoline) whilst they dry which is making me not want to spend time near to the heater. Quite authentic don’t you reckon? 🙂

    You’ve got me there with the Alpine Strawberries because I purchased seedlings, and so have no idea whether they’ll spread by seed. That’s the theory though with the plants, because they’re meant to favour spreading by seeds over runners. I’ll keep an eye on what actually happens in the real world, but so far Alpine strawberries are winning the strawberry battle hands down.

    Our fortunes may be made there with the song title! Although, between you and I, writing lyrics and coming up with catchy melodies is not in my skill set. Hope you can do better in this regard? But most likely, our hopes as to easy fortunes are dwindling. Best get back to work then… 😉

    How is your garden growing this season now that it is in a new less shady location? Is it an improvement over previous years?

    Thank you for the advice, and I shall follow it. I must say, I once worked for a boss who was obsessive about peoples age (talk about insecure), anyway the bloke made birthday celebrations a most horrid and uncomfortable event – despite the yummy cakes (a person can sometimes be bought off!). But seriously, what a pain. Have you ever encountered anyone with that obsession? The age thing, not the cakes. Cakes are good.



  17. Hi Lewis,

    When people use the word: ‘cheesesteak’, it kind of brings to mind images of solid chunks of meat covered with cheese. But yeah, I’d never seen one of them either. In some ways they remind me of the tasty treat from the south east corner of your country, the : Po’ boy. Now those I’ve eaten and enjoyed, but the concept is similar. And I see what you mean about keeping costs down. Slow cooking is a great way to produce a tasty meal from a very cheap cut of meat. A lot of preparation though. A similar meal is available in this corner of the world and known as the Bánh mì. All variations on a tasty theme. Yum!

    Your Club is lucky to have access to a person with that particular skill set.

    Hey, the whole taxi license was a thing down here too. Years ago, I worked with a bloke who’s hard working dad had given him three of the things plus a house. Candidly, the young bloke seemed a bit entitled, but that’s another story. Anyway, we had the same trajectory here with those licenses, although I haven’t heard of anyone owning one for a very long time. To me it looked like ride shares (which I don’t use) broke the monopoly, but essentially the business outcomes might not be all that different except in relation to the concentration of flows from the actual work which goes on in the streets. Yeah, there were protests down here too, not to that extreme though. Yikes! If I had to posit an opinion, I reckon the flows from the licenses were probably spread around the community a bit better, despite the advantage gained by some. History may one day suggest that rocket ships were the equivalent of the 1920’s super yachts?

    Well yeah, the yoghurt maker bursting into flames would be something of a problem. The inside and outside walls of the house are actually fire rated for about 90 minutes of direct contact with flames, but do I need to put these materials to the test and find out whether the claims work out in reality? Hey, are you reading articles about battery fires? Some of the lithium batteries have chargers which are unregulated (meaning the charges don’t know when to stop charging), and people are also chucking them into the rubbish. There’s been a number of rubbish trucks catching fire due to the things. More efficient, but in some ways less resilient than earlier battery chemistry.

    Nice work with the dehydrator, and I hope you enjoy the aroma of the tomatoes (I quite enjoy it, but keep the machine outdoors). That sounds like a very tasty meal, oregano grows here like a weed in the summer months. Related to the mint family of plants. I don’t know that about the Italian food being heavy in oregano flavouring, although who can forget the awful awfulness of the days of shortages when dried olive leaves were substituted into the mix so as to err, possibly pad out supply? Whatever will they think of next. Anyway, where did oregano originate? Looks like the plant originated in the Mediterranean Basin and so is associated with many of the cuisines there. Seems like people also press the leaves so as to extract the oils. Who knew that went on?

    I tend to agree with your theory about the blueberries. They don’t respond well to 100’F days during summers down here either, and I can’t water those plants as much as they’d prefer. Interestingly, I’ve noticed that the Currawongs (a local bird) seemed to have acquired a taste for the blueberries. There’s a local blueberry farm a couple of properties further up the hill, and I do wonder how they cope with all of the birds? Top work too! Always pleasant to see the coffers filling up with in-season produce.

    Maybe it’s just how my mind works, but do people run the border into Oregon so as to purchase cheaper stuff? Sales tax down here is national and consistent so as to stop such monkey business. Out of curiosity is mail order stuff subject to sales tax? It is down here. ebuy has to collect it on each sale and hand it over to the goobermunt. The problem with sales taxes collected by businesses (and this came into effect around the year 2000 down here) is that it effectively turns all sorts of people into tax collectors. Most of the taxes down here are run by the feds, except for things like payroll tax (a % of the payroll gets paid over to the state) and stamp duty on property transfers (a lucrative feed trough by all accounts) and some other stuff. Even my little business has to collect tax and pass it on – almost every business does nowadays. Talk about collection on the cheap.

    12.92 is a lot of mad cash. I’m of the opinion that tax reform is very much needed, but it won’t happen (until it has too). And the reasons you cited are pretty much how it rolls. Bizarrely it was an issue in the federal election before the last one, and the party proposing the changes crashed an burned and probably decided to never mention the subject again. I thought they were a good idea, but like you, I’m in the minority here if the results were anything to go by. What’s weird about the whole story is that the current state of affairs run contrary to most peoples long term best interests. Hey, maybe you and I expect too much?

    Aren’t dogs wonderful creatures? You don’t have to worry what is going on in their heads, they’ll simply tell you! Go H!

    It was another cold and rainy day here today. I dodged paid work, just didn’t feel like it today, and headed down to give all of the farm machines a good once over. My aim is to do that task every two months so as to keep them ticking along. One of the old timer farm machine mechanics told me that if I did that and used fuel stabiliser, I wouldn’t need their work. Fuel is a very strange concoction these days, and appears to be getting more expensive too. My best guess is that if it was better quality, it’d probably be even more expensive!

    The spare parts I was waiting upon turned up in the mail today, although I didn’t receive them until much later in the day. Had a long nap on the couch this afternoon whilst the wood heater sent some heat into the house, and all was good with the world. You can ask for more in this here world, but you might not get it. 😉

    India is looking to Australia for our export rice. Those markets have long been closed off to our farmers. Everyone has a breaking point I guess. I believe that there were joint naval exercises recently. It’s nice to have friends.



  18. Yo, Chris – When I was a kid, you could get frozen po’boy sandwiches. Mom used to pick them up, for quick meals. Probably took ten years off my life. 🙂

    I’m pretty sure our fall rains are here. Prof. Mass says as much. This is the first day of the meteorological autumn, as opposed to the autumn equinox. A good thing too, per this local article about the fires in the county. Don’t feel bad about not knowing where these places are. Heck, I don’t know where more than half of them are.


    So, I guess a taxi license would be a stranded investment? That’s a good comparison, between the super yachts of the Gilded Age, and rocket ships. Sooner or later, someone will put some pretty fancy living quarters, in orbit.

    I went out and picked a big bowl of cherry tomatoes, this morning. In a half way between heavy mist and drizzle. I’m still damp. Oh, well, as our State motto says, “Won’t rust.” 🙂 At least I didn’t have to wash the tomatoes. So, there’s four trays perking away, in the dehydrator. Onto green beans, tomorrow. I’ll freeze those. I might try and grow some Oregano. I don’t use it often, but gosh knows how old that bottle in the cupboard, is. At least if I grew and dried my own, it would be switched out, yearly. And, exciting new from the garden. I’m pretty sure I detect three cobs, forming. Go, corn!

    So, you have a large metropolitan area, right on the Oregon / Washington border. With several bridges. Besides the disparities mentioned, for a long time, driver’s license plates were a lot cheaper in Oregon. Flat rate, instead of sliding scale depending on the lushness of your ride. Liquor and smokes were also cheaper in Oregon. If you lived in Washington, and were going to buy a high ticket item, say, an appliance, best have the Oregon address of a friend handy. So you didn’t have to pay the sales tax. Occasionally, there would be a blockade, looking for license scofflaws and contraband.

    Do we expect too much? Probably. John and Mary Q. Public are pretty stupid. It’s cold comfort, but at least we get to say, “Well, what did you expect?”

    An exciting thrift store find. One of my favorite artists, too.


    I have to spend more time hanging out in op shops. 🙂 I’d be more likely to be hit by lightening.

    I gave a call to the auction, this morning. We said I’d bring in the Christmas tat, on Monday. Well, it’s a holiday (Labor Day), and I wanted to make sure they took that into account. I certainly didn’t. But, yes, they’ll be there. I moved six boxes of Christmas tat, out of my bedroom closet, into the living room. That’s the staging area. Poked around a bit. That’s as far as I got.

    Making my regular weekly trip to the grocery, tonight. I must remember to check out their rice situation. I haven’t seen any long grain brown rice, at any of the cheap stores, lately. Might have to run up to the one store that carries a full line of Bob’s Red Mill, and see if they have any 25 pound sacks of rice. A good thing I’m making room in that closet! 🙂 Lew

  19. Chris,

    Repairing your own equipment is a good idea. It’s the way it used to be once. Also, another step on the “collapse now and avoid the rush” path. It is good to know how to do these things.

    Yes! More drizzle today. I was doing light yard work in the light drizzle. It has continued for over 4 hours. (The drizzle not the yard work.) At least an additional 3mm. Hot tomorrow, but not blistering like it had been.

    Avalanche was in heaven today. First, she went on a walk with me. She is MUCH better on the leash these days. Then cousin and Killian visited. The two dogs enjoyed romping around the yard together. Then I was putzing in the yard. She really likes it when I’m outside and active. Good day for Dame Avalanche.

    Yeah, inflation is here. An interesting thing about that…once upon a time chicken wings were by far the cheapest part of the chicken in grocery stores. Then bars discovered them and used them for cheap appetizers. Then restaurants. There are several chains that specialize in chicken wings. Now chicken wings are the most expensive part of the chicken, at least here.

    Meanwhile, a recent study has shown that about 10% of the USA population is responsible for 50% of the beef consumption. Another study also showed that the top 10% of USA incomes produce over 40% of the USA carbon emissions. https://www.cnn.com/2023/08/17/business/rich-americans-climate-footprint-emissions/index.html
    It’s not us peasants who are the biggest problems.

    Nice poem. Very well said. I especially enjoyed this:
    Where the greats fell,
    the humble walrus triumphed.
    Hubris leads to nemesis,
    This is known!


  20. Hi DJ,

    It’s a useful skill isn’t it? And the parts are really cheap. That aspect of the situation surprised me. Sooner or later all of the machines here require some sort of attention. Losing the relationship I’d built up with the farm machine repair dudes over a decade and a half, was a bit of a kick in the guts. But you know, carry on, and stiff upper lip etc. We’ll be fine.

    Nice to hear that the drizzle continued for you today. It was about the same here, not quite the pleasant day to be outside. Not a bad thing either because I’ve come down with you know what. Anyway, moving on, I’m telling you in case I write something stupid. The brain is candidly not the sharp tool it usually is. 🙂 Hope the drizzle puts out the fires?

    The good Professor had a very interesting essay on the recent storm front. Did you get much lightning? Being surrounded by tall forest, sometimes the strikes here are a bit close for comfort. Makes you jump when you hear that huge crack sound. The dogs aren’t fans of the sound either.

    Go Avalanche, and that sounds like a very fun day for her. Dame Plum has been keeping me company today, although they became nuisances after 5pm when Ruby goes on high dinner alert factor three. She never gets fed at 5pm, but that seems to be the time she has randomly chosen. They were disturbing my rest, which I needed. Lovely creatures.

    Ooo, that’s fascinating about the chicken wings. You know, in the late 19th century in your country it was possible to get a feed at a pub, as long as you purchased the drinks. I read that interesting chunk of information a few years ago in a book my grandfather gave me. Makes you sort of think that soil fertility has declined since then, and thus increased the cost of food. Well, that’s my take on things anyway.

    Well exactly, it’s hardly surprising. I don’t tell other folks what to do, but a few weeks ago a person I know started getting stuck into me about how I should care about the suffering being caused by climate change. And the only reply I could think of was ‘we’re all hypocrites in our own way’ (and I know that family had flown a huge distance to another country). I dunno man, the whole thing is weird. But yeah, those 10% folks could save everyone a lot of trouble by pulling their heads in. They won’t, but that’s another story. My take on the world is that just because a person has the resources to do something historically extraordinary like that, doesn’t mean that they should. Nobody listens to us though, hey? 🙂

    You’re a natural poet you know. I don’t really think of that art form, and then you’ll chuck in an amusing doggerel, and the next thing ideas are forming in my head – like the walrus. 🙂 As I wrote the poem, I could hear Inge’s voice in my head demanding: Concision! So I cut unnecessary words, and the result was pleasing. My usual mode is verbose and chatty! It’s a problem. I really appreciated your poem too.



  21. Hi Lewis,

    Oh yeah, there’s a whole lot wrong there, but my mother was a truly awful cook, so she would have loved those frozen po’boy sandwiches too. 🙂 Probably a step too far if I may say so. The po’boy sandwiches I’ve had were from a restaurant in a funky part of town, kind of a bit edgy if you know what I mean, and they’d slow cooked the pork for 24 hours. They were really good and tasty, but I reckon would have benefited with using higher quality bread. I don’t know about frozen bread because the stuff goes stale. I think ten years sounds about right to me. 🙂

    You may wonder why I began cooking meals for the family from about the age of twelve. It’s not a complicated story. The standard meal in those days was a lamb chop and boiled vegetables. I sucked that lamb bone dry, ate the marrow and fatty tail and loved it all. There was nothing else to eat. I don’t usually eat lamb nowadays. Dunno why.

    Oh man, I’m not whingeing but just letting you know in case I write something stupid. I’ve come down with you-know-what. My head is in fog today, and I’ve slept most of the day. Dame Plum kept me company. Anyway, it’s not the end of the world, outside today was cold and wet so I probably wouldn’t have been outside anyway. Mind you, ordinarily I might have been tempted on such a cold and wet day to grab a gourmet pie, but today I’m not up for any journeys. Oh well, moving on…

    They keep saying that it is going to be a hot and dry growing season, and who knows, the media might be correct. But looking outside on the official first day of spring, it’s anything but warm and dry.

    Thanks for mentioning the good Professors blog, it’s always a fascinating source of information. Hope the rains put out the many fires. It’s hard if fires get into thick or steep country. Not much you can do other than pray for rain.

    Ah, I appreciate the definition, and it sure sounds like that to me. You’re probably right, although orbital houses would be like the ultimate money pit. I remember the huge double wheeled space station in 2001 A Space Odyssey. Last I checked, we haven’t got around to building one of those. Hey, isn’t the ISS due to eventually re-enter the atmosphere? The Earth’s gravity claims it’s own, and some other stuff of course. It’s amazing to think how many meteors fall to Earth all the time.

    It’s a big call that motto. 🙂 The weather was much the same here today. Cold and wet. A good day to be inside.

    Go the corn! Hope the cobs fill out quickly, which I reckon they will. Those plants you’ve got are bonkers tall. Tidy work with the tomatoes and beans. For your interest, we dry beans and simply rehydrate them over night before cooking with them. It works. We’re hoping to store a lot more beans away this coming growing season, but dunno.

    You’re not wrong about the oregano maybe being a bit iffy. There was that olive leave substitution racket I mentioned. The plant is from the mint family so it is very weedy, and they die back here during the winter months only to turn up again the following summer. Such plants make it look like we know what we’re doing! 🙂

    Right, that makes a lot of sense about state border running. Hey, it sounds like an old spaghetti western plot line huh? We had a similar problem with a two large towns on the border up in the north east of the state. One town sits on one side of the river and the other is on the other side. The river is the state boundary. Albury – Wodonga are the two towns names, and I always forget which is on what side. Vehicle registration was cheaper on the more northerly side of the river. 🙂 It’s nice to see people taking advantage of such loopholes.

    Yeah, exactly: What did they expect? Sums it all up beautifully. People seem to want what they want and think it doesn’t matter. It does matter.

    What a find. And given how much lightning you’ve had of late, probably not wise to tempt the weather! The book has an amazing plot and covers a brutal time period of dislocation.

    Any progress on the sorting out of the Christmas tat?

    I agree, probably wise to have the extra stores. We’ve changed the amount of stuff we store too since you-know-what. Doesn’t hurt. Dude, I’m crashing, and sleep is calling me.



  22. Yo, Chris – My Mom also couldn’t cook worth crap. Strange that. Raised on a farm, and all. But, explainable. Youngest child, only girl … little princess. She did nail a few things down, but mostly it was cans and mixes.

    I had a sudden flash to the past. Hoards of people, me included, surging onto a dance floor. Strobe lights flashing and mirrored balls spinning. Before your time. 🙂


    Mom went back to work, and Dad often had “side jobs” in the evening. So, often it was up to me to get something to eat on the table. Nothing adventuresome. More cans and mixes, mostly. As I remember.

    I’m sorry your feeling punk. Are you sure it’s You Know What? Saw an article that there’s a lot of Man Flu going around, Australia. Well, if you lose your taste, you can clean out the pantry. Eat all those things you’ve been ignoring, due to lack of interest. 🙂 Seriously, do take care of yourself. Get a lot of rest. Chicken soup?

    We’re getting a two day break in the rain. 80 today, 87 tomorrow. Then back to drizzle and 70s.

    If NZ is lucky, the Tech Lords will remove themselves, and flee to lush digs, in orbit. No space stations, for them. That’s where the great unwashed live. The Proles. The Help.

    The motto is very true. Of course, they don’t mention the moss between your toes, and in your armpits.

    I worry a bit about the cheap off brands of herbs and spices. Especially, the Turmeric. But who can afford the high end stuff? Even on sale. It’s getting about as precious as it was during the Middle Ages.

    Or the plot of “Robots.” That sci-fi, rom-com, I saw recently.

    The Christmas tat is falling into order. Some of the boxes are pretty easy to label. Or work out a packing list. “Box 2 of _____, ornaments.” “Box 3 of ____, lights.” Other boxes are a bit more fiddly. “8 pieces of Fenton “Golden Pinecone,” and a “Westmoreland Glass blue covered candy dish, of Santa in his sleigh.”

    Did some shopping, last night. At the regular grocery, the rice section looked pretty thin. I did find some two pound bags of long grain, brown rice, toward the back of a shelf. Price worked out to $1.80 a pound, almost twice what it was a couple of months ago.

    Well, here’s an encouraging local article about teaching school kids about raising plants …


    Toledo is a pretty rural area. Programs like this have spread through elementary schools, around the country. Even in the inner cities. Spread that knowledge, around. Lew

  23. Yo, Chris – Speak of the Devil. Or, the Devil’s Turmeric?


    I didn’t listen to the podcast. Not a podcast kind of a guy.

    And, from the Vast Panorama of Nature: Peanut the Bantam hen has just set the world’s chicken longevity record. 21. Let’s lift a glass and eat a piece of cake, for Peanut.

    And, this just in from New York City. Contraceptives in rat bait, do not work. Don’t try that at home. Waste of money.

    I let you chase down the last two stories, if interested. A small challenge to keep your mental acuity, up to par, under present circumstances. 🙂 Lew

  24. Chris,

    The relationships you built with the repair guys were important. Losing that is sad with the trade-off of learning new skills. Yet, the older I get, the more it seems that relating to people, places, things, beings is more important than we thought when young. Yet, accept and adapt and move on is also a large part of life. To quote our favorite paranoid android, “Life! don’t talk to me about life!”

    The local fires are in mop up stage with still a bit of smoldering. It might take a week of cold rain or even blanket of snow to totally extinguish some of the interior hot spots. The recent system brought lightning also, and especially east of Lew and west of my brother-in-law several more fires have started. Ditto the southern half of the Oregon Cascade Mountains.

    Right exactly at our house there was some lightning but not overhead. There were some small fires started by that storm within 5 km of us. They were rapidly taken care of. The rains helped with that!

    Yeah that huge crack sound can be rather unnerving. I always got bothered more by the hairs on the back of my neck and arms suddenly waving around when outdoors during thunderstorms. That was called dive into the lowest place possible and hope it hits somewhere else.

    Sorry you caught something that we really don’t know the name of. Resting through it helps. (sarcasm alert) But yes, the lovely creatures can be very endearing when their empathy turns off and their “feed me now” urge kicks in. (sarcasm off)

    You mean, we should understand that there are such things as limits and ethics? You’re right, nobody listens to us much. In fact, I tended to get marginalized when suggesting things such as limits and ethics. Started to accept that as a badge of honor.

    Just finished a novel by C. J. Box. He’s one of our favorite modern authors. “Breaking Point” was the title. The Princess read it first. When I started it, I mentioned that this sounded like something that happened for real in tiny Nordman, Idaho maybe 15 years ago. That stuck in my mind because a business that I worked with regularly on my job got in serious trouble with a Federal agency. Had to go to the USA Supreme Court twice: once to “gain the right” to directly sue the Federal agency, then to have a decision made as to whether or not they were in violation of a Federal regulation. The main character in the book mentioned that Idaho incident a few times. Turns out that the Idaho incident inspired this book’s topic after the author had met with the Idaho people. And to think I knew the people before the author did! It’s sort of that “6 degrees of separation” idea, I guess.


  25. Hi DJ,

    Marvin the paranoid android sure knew his stuff. Yeah, there is a bit of a loss when a relationship ends, and it kind of connects to a persons rootedness to a place. Not something our culture actively encourages, if I may say so. But you’re right, the plus side of the story is learning new skills.

    Fixed the dead mower today, or at least I supervised whilst the Editor did the actual work. Turned out the ignition coil had too high a resistance. About 50% higher than it should be, thus no spark. Funnily enough the machine isn’t that old, and here’s the benefits of keeping records – I noticed that a year ago, the spark plug had also failed. The old timers used to say that one ignition problem, leads to another. Actually they probably didn’t… I’d have to suggest that either the original spark plug or ignition coil were faulty from the factory. After the fix, the thing started first pull, and the Editor actually did a little happy dance. And fixing it ourselves cost one tenth what it would have cost to send it to the shop. Just sayin… Plus I now know more about how these things work.

    Yikes! I was wondering whether all that lightning caused some fire problems. Hope the rain dampens the fires. That happens here, and it’s usually in very inaccessible country. Happened at the bottom of the property many years ago, and 600m away doesn’t sound like a long way away, until you have to get through thick bush. A lot of people were involved in that mess.

    Hope walkers in those areas know to keep a sharp look out for burning peat. That stuff is hot as and can be very hard to see. Some footwear is not made to encounter such things.

    Good to hear that the strikes weren’t closer and that the rain put out the fires. 5km is pretty close all things considered, especially if the wind picks up. Hey, we had a close strike here years and years ago. Something, something, tall trees. Anyway, the interweb modem had a couple of Yagi antennas on the roof, and bam! Induction fried the modem. That was an expensive strike. And I stopped using the Yagi’s for the modem, but still use one for the FM radio (which for some reason wasn’t affected, dunno why).

    Mate, I’ve never felt that and don’t really want too. Means you’re a bit close for comfort. I sense a story there? 🙂 If you felt that and did that, I reckon it would have been very close thing.

    Yeah, thanks. Slept over 20 hours yesterday, and just forced myself to eat and drink (lots of fluids). Then slept some more. Oh, and replied to you and Lewis. Then slept. Forced myself to do a slow boundary patrol check walk with Ollie and Dame Plum, they were a bit bored, but mostly supportive. Dogs… Then slept some more. Feeling better today, and forced myself out into the sunshine all day. It was a really lovely day, and giving all the machines a once over was easy work, had the tunes playing. Life is good. The alternative, well, candidly it’s a bit dark. 🙂

    Had to laugh about that. Yeah, so true. I don’t usually allow the dogs onto the bed, but yesterday was exceptional circumstances. So Ruby jumped up and kept me company. Had the window open, it 2’C outside, but err, running a hot temperature and stuff. So Ruby was fine, except when some animal decided to hop, or crawl on past the window. Then all hell broke loose. But when Ollie jumped onto the bed and licked me full-on on the mouth and I woke up to that, I’d had enough and kicked them all out. Yeah, empathy! Dogs can only take that so far. 😉

    It is a bit isn’t it? A dude’s gotta run his own race, and set his own goals. That’s what I reckon anyway. Hmm. You know the only time I’m inconsistent with the application of limits and ethics, is when I know people are trying to do something bad which might involve me. That’s when Sun Tzu becomes useful as a guide. What surprises me about that, is that people are surprised that there might be consequences.

    Wow! OK, that’s a heck of a plot. Yeah. Such things have happened down here too. You’ve piqued my interest. What a moral quandary, and of course few would even consider what the critters living there had to say. Hmm. There are probably better ways of dealing with such matters, like the EPA making the people who own the land legally responsible for the welfare of all the critters living in the wetlands as a permanent condition on the title with penalties. But as a civilisation, the dominant mode is to see ourselves as being separate from nature. I pointed out to someone years ago that where their house was, used to an open woodland. I pointed out to another person, that whatever they might think of me, their property was entirely fenced off from the forest critters and all they grew was a cypress hedge and grass. Doesn’t win your friends, but it makes the problem go away. Sun Tzu again… 🙂 Far out! What a story.



  26. Hi Lewis,

    Truly, I’m still struggling with the concept of people ordering turmeric chai lattes. That blows my mind, and sure enough, it does taste like turmeric. I thought it would be better, but no. Maybe needs some chocolate, or even maybe coffee, and perhaps no turmeric. That would work! 🙂

    You know, probably my addled brain, but I read that turmeric article was hosted by ‘Plant Money’ and I was thinking to myself, who makes money out of plants? All I can say is that running a lab and massive farma company possibly ain’t cheap! 🙂 Far out, whatever will they think of next? I didn’t listen to the podcast either. I didn’t know that about the traditional use of turmeric, but it’s a useful chunk of lore to file away. Never know when it might be handy.

    I just spilled water over my computer keyboard – again. I probably need to get one of those spill proof keyboards that the gamers use. If I had to suggest, as a group they’re probably easily distracted… Seem to have dried up the mess.

    Well done to Peanut the long lived chicken. And Peanut sure did get born into the right household. It was hard not to note that Peanut’s competitor was Muffy the 23 year old chicken. A lot can happen in two years.

    Wasn’t there some job ad recently for Rat Supremo in that big city? As an idea it was worth a shot, and the rats would have enjoyed the free feed. They’re such clever creatures, and take a bit more thought and action than one simple idea. That city would have so many hidey holes just perfect for rats, that it’s a no-win battle. The rats will always win, and even if the rat supremo’s won for a moment in time, the rats will still win in the end. My investment advice: Go long on rats! 🙂

    Mental acuity is far better today, thanks for providing me with the stimulating challenges.

    It was such a nice sunny spring day today. I spent most of the day outside, pottering around doing this and that, albeit at a very slow pace. The replacement part for the dead mower arrived in the mail on Thursday. So, today whilst seated and catching some healing rays, I supervised the Editor whilst she fixed the dead mower. And how is this for positive reinforcement? The machine started first pull. Neither of us expected that. I’m pretty sure I saw her do a happy dance.

    Did a deep dive on how the ignition coil (the failed part) worked, and why it may have failed. Given the machine is not that old, and otherwise in good condition, it was probably faulty from the factory and had been struggling for some time, before failing. What astounds me about the technology is that at heart it’s quite simple, but also bonkers complicated to reproduce at home. I remember when I was a kid that there used to be businesses which did coil and motor windings, but all the knowledge and experience for that work was shifted off shore long ago. A bit foolish if you ask me, and given the push for electric this and electric that, it was probably a really dumb idea to off shore all that work. But still, it’s just one dumb thing in a whole string of dumb ideas! Nobody asked my opinion. 😉 Ah, I so enjoyed that rant. See, I’m feeling better today. Yesterday, rants were out of order.

    Yeah, I don’t really know how things rolled in my mothers home (although her mum was actually crazy so that could explain a thing or two) but the Editors mum had the same problem too. From what I understand, her mother did all the cooking, and probably in some ways wanted her daughter (the Editors mother) to do something different with her life rather than what she herself had done. A very old friend of Italian heritage alerted me to that side of the story years ago. His family had given up on the tomato sauce making thing. It’s a big family event in some cultures. Anyway, his parents said to him to just go and buy the passata, it’s cheaper. I think that misses the point of the experience, but it also puts a monetary value on it as well which is quite demeaning, but I’ve long since guessed that that was the intention. But that’s only a hunch. What do you reckon about that – noting that motivations are hard to discern?

    Oh yeah, that song is a classic! Get funky! As a little bit of Aussie music trivia: Pseudo Echo – Funkytown. Massive, still funky, but with a serving of Aussie pub rock. That one was all over the airwaves in 1987. Can your ears forgive me? 🙂

    Respect. Hey, it was good that you were deemed trustworthy enough to even be in the kitchen doing meal prep at a young age. Man, one of the things that the past couple of days have rammed home, is that this house takes a lot of work to live in. Nothing is simple, and you’re always busy doing this or that. Which has meant that the Editor has done most of that work herself. Hmm. Oh well, life wasn’t meant to be easy.

    Am I sure? No. Point is I refuse to participate in that economy. People wear those test results like a badge of honour. I’m smart enough to know I’m sick, and this ain’t no normal cold. Could it be the flu, sure. What matters for me is getting better and staying home resting up. Thank you for the kind thoughts, and I still have taste, and am feeling heaps better today. Usually I barely even feel colds, they’re more nuisance than this. And I heal fast, although as you get older… Spent most of the day upright in the warm spring sunshine outside in the fresh air. The dogs were less bored today. When I was asleep yesterday, Ollie jumped onto the bed and I woke to find him licking my face and mouth. I may have cried out in horror and pushed him off. What had my life come to? 🙂 He was a bit freaked out that I wasn’t feeling well. Thanks for the chicken soup idea.

    Soon you’ll be missing the warm sunshine. Overnight it was 35’F outside, and I can assure that that is cold. Kept the window open though as it felt better.

    It’s not often spoken about, but NZ has a few problems with water. You wouldn’t imagine it would, but it is possibly a result of the huge scale of agriculture and the run off into the river systems. Possibly not quite so green as the claims. Anyway, I’m guessing in any Dystopian future, agricultural run-off would be all that much harder to achieve, so maybe it’s a good bet? The lush digs will be OK until the coil overloads. I did say that it was a bad idea to stop manufacturing such things locally. Well, yes, as the help I doubt we’d have access to the same orbital toilet facilities as that lot.

    A little bit of moss doesn’t hurt. Maybe. The old timers used to quip: A rolling stone gathers no moss.

    That stuff is going up in price down here too. We’ve begun purchasing them in larger order quantities and that brings the price down. You just have to have somewhere to store the excess until you need it. I doubt much of it will go off if stored dry and kept cool.

    I’d intended to watch a film yesterday, and that film is very much on the to-see list. Imagine treating one’s robots poorly and not expecting any consequence? Slept instead, most of the day in fact.

    Very good. I assume if you don’t categorise your tat, they’ll put it in as a err, what do they call those mixed collection auctions?

    Hmm, next time I’m at the store, I’ll check out the price of rice. It’s a major staple. Oh my! Just looked at a proxy figure, and the graph for rice futures over the past five years is err, illuminating as to what you are seeing on the shelves.

    That’s an enviable greenhouse. It’s not a bad idea to get started with the kids, although the kid in the image had the suggestive look of one who didn’t want to be in the photo. I could be wrong there. Junior program helping Glenlyon Rural Fire Brigade attract next generation of volunteers. Glenlyon is not far from here at all a bit over to the west. Now if they didn’t treat it like an unpaid job… But exactly, spread the knowledge around. Yup!



  27. Yo, Chris – As I’ve never had a latte, of any kind, Turmeric lattes will not haunt my dreams. 🙂 Sometimes, it pays to be poor and not get out much. I see you can make Turmeric tea, though, in large doses, some people are allergic to it.

    Money out of plants? Money trees, of course. One of the Club members wives sells hanging baskets, and such. Makes a tidy sum.

    Yes, New York City hired a Rat Czar. If the position opens again, Dame Plume should apply.

    Stimulating challenges: Better than word search.

    Who can forget “Peanut’s” Snoopy’s happy dance. The ultimate in happy dances.

    The dead mower. Planned obsolescence?

    Some of it might be an immigrant thing. “Real” Australians, and “Real” Americans don’t make things. They buy them. Why grow potatoes, when you can buy 5 pounds for less than a dollar. And, I’d guess, somewhere along the way, someone said, “Why do this, when you can buy the same, so cheaply.” Even off hand “throwing shade” can have a deep impact.

    The link to “Pseudo Echo,” was “Blocked in your country on copyright grounds.” But the same thing was in the side bar, and wasn’t blocked. Go figure. That was a great cover of the song. Even had the lyrics. Though I had a bit of a laugh. When the music only bridges came up, the subtitles said, (“Playful music.”) 🙂

    How pure. 🙂 So, you have Unspecified Cooties. Whatever. Lot’s of sleep, liquids … you’re doing the right stuff. You could probably skip the dog licking part.

    Every week, on-line, they have an “estate auction.” Which is a really mixed bag. But, they have “special” auctions, every once in awhile. They’ve got one up now that is jewelry. The big New Year’s Day auction is a mixed bag, but mostly old and / or collectible. The Halloween and Christmas auctions, will be specials, though I don’t know if they’ll have them on-line, or not.

    That’s a great program for the junior firefighters. Probably couldn’t do it here, due to liability. We still have 25 to 30 fires burning, in the county. Saw this article that should sound familiar, to you.


    Oh, no! I got a message, that our library system is getting a brand N*E*W website, in October. Why? I’m sure it won’t have the functionality of the old site, and will be missing some of the functions I rely on.

    So. I went out to pick green beans, yesterday. There were a total of 15 🙁 . Found another two, this morning, when I was watering. Oh, well. They’re on a plate, in the freezer. There are still blossoms, so, I figure they’ll dribble in until the first frost. Now what I can’t figure out is, I’ve got two 3′ runs of green beans, in different areas. The one has NO green beans on the vines. Don’t know what that’s all about, but I think it’s down to soil. Ah, well. I’ll work on that over the winter, and it will be better, next year. Lew

  28. Hi Lewis,

    The sketch was a great find, and I’d heard a similar tale of someone obtaining a genuine Picasso drawn upon a napkin at a long and extensive lunch way back in the day with the artist. Alas, neither you, nor I, were invited, but I reckon we might have enjoyed ourselves immensely – language barriers to the side. The world of Pooh is an area of arcane knowledge which is beyond my ken, although it is good to see a kangaroo with a joey in her pouch as part of the Pooh crew. I do know something about poop though, but I suspect that is an entirely different area of knowledge.

    Your misgivings of the World of Pooh are supporting my stance in this matter. 🙂

    Yeah, it’s OK for you, but I was cautiously testing out the waters, trying to ascertain what all the noise was about in relation to turmeric lattes, and the fricken thing tasted like turmeric. The horror! Truly, I had an attack of the vapours, and probably needed some smelling salts so as to recover properly. 😉 But the memory remains… I’d heard back in the late 20th century that all manner of oddments were substituted in as ‘coffee’, like: chicory root. I don’t know as I’d be easily fooled, or placated with such concoctions. There might even be a scene. But you know it won’t be good. No! Stop it. Really, turmeric tea? My mind is beginning to hurt from the awful information.

    Of course, money trees. I stand corrected. Not a bad idea to tap into such a market, especially if planting space is limited. Why not use the vertical space with hanging baskets? I joked long ago that western civ would one day run out of storage containers for food items, but it was eerie when there were all those weird supply issues a year or two back.

    I’m not forwarding on your rat Czar idea to Dame Plum on the basis that she may demand a higher regular stipend. She do the job too, but truly I’m not sure the so-called nice people there would like her approach of: Kill them, kill them all! Inevitably, some animal rights group would come out of the woodwork with a save the rodent campaign, and then there’d be a dirty smear campaign against Dame Plum. Can’t think what it would be, but they’d come up with something. Got any ideas?

    Thanks for the laughs! I’d forgotten the Snoopy Happy Dance. Lucy does her best to bring Snoopy down. World’s apparently coming apart or some such nonsense. Snoopy just keeps on dancing. Go Snoopy!

    That’s possible about the dead mower. We’ve got the tools now to determine whether the machine is worth fixing, and the rest of it was good. I dunno, but it is possible that the factory part, was just rubbish from day one. And it was an original part too, which people talk up. This stuff is easy to break, especially that component. The tolerances with this technology are pretty fine, and people sometimes lack the wonder that this stuff even works at all. And this is fairly simple tech. How the other stuff keeps working is way beyond my understanding, but few people seem to care about that aspect to the story.

    Yeah, true, there was a certain jettisoning of the older culture and assimilation of the new. Last growing season with the price per box of tomatoes going way up, there were plenty of woes about the end of that communal sauce making era. The funny thing was that I didn’t think the price of the boxes of tomatoes was that high.

    Ah, that blocking sometimes happens with me too. Hehe! Yeah, it is pretty funny isn’t it? Playful music. Wonder what bot came up with that?

    A man’s got his limits. 😉 I’m less interested in names, and more on getting better. And yeah, took today easier too. Just pottered around enjoying the sunshine. Taking it easy. It’s nature’s way of saying: Chill out, dude! So, I chilled out. Ollie, was very naughty, but he was a bit weirded out that I wasn’t well. Today, we just sat in the orchard side by side and watched the birds and enjoyed the spring sunshine. All is forgiven.

    Good luck with the auction. Did they pick the stuff up, or will that be tomorrow?

    The state gobermunt covers the liability for that lot, and given the parlous financial affairs, they must have deep pockets.

    The bloke is absolutely correct to have in place, and tested, back up systems. At the very least he can bucket from those huge plastic containers that people so love (they break down in the sun from what I’ve observed). I spotted the motor for the pump, and it looks like a Honda, or Honda knock-off (sorry probably TMI), and the fuel can vapourise when conditions get really hot during a big fire, but the bloke will probably be fine. At least he’s actively thinking about the risk, and I like how his mind worked.

    What? Didn’t they only get an upgrade a short while ago? Hopefully the good folks there know what they’re doing? Maybe…

    You’re probably right. Wasn’t all the soil disturbed recently? Anyway, my understanding is that beans and peas don’t really appreciate overly rich and fertile soil. Probably why you’re seeing lots of vine and not much in the way of beans. I’m growing peas and beans in the bed the kale stripped the guts out of the soil over the past two years. It’s like a barren wasteland in those beds. I noticed one pea had germinated today, but it’s only early days there.

    Cheers and better get writing. Might be a bit brief this week.


  29. Yo, Chris – Actually, coffee laced with chicory is a kind of gourmet thing, here. Has been since the 1960s. Probably, earlier. It was big in our SE, especially around New Orleans. Used as a coffee or sugar extender, during hard times.

    The rat animal rights group will be full of people who aren’t overrun with rats.

    Let’s see. There’s that whole something something of previous investment. Gee, didn’t find it in my glance into the rabbit hold, but noticed some other things I want to take a look at. “Sunk costs.” “Regret theory.” What I was looking for was some kind of nostalgia for previous prices.

    Well, the Christmas stuff I’ll deliver, as there are fees for pick up. But I’ll have so much stuff for the New Year’s Day auction, that I’ll arrange for pick up. As I can’t move some of it myself, and, really, given the way the weather is headed, will need covered transport. We’ll either set a date for that, tomorrow, or, a date to give them a call to set a date. Christmas tat is about whipped. Just a couple more labels and packing list to type up and print.

    I picked up a book from the library, yesterday. “The He-Man Effect: How American Toymakers Sold You Your Childhood.” (Brown, 2023). What I didn’t realize, is that it’s a hardback book, but instead of being a graphic novel, it’s a graphic non-fiction book. Interesting. Anyway, it’s about advertising and propaganda.

    Last night, at the Club, they had burgers. So, I thought I’d give the old Aussie beet root burger, a spin. Before going down, I checked out what goes on one of your burgers. Fried egg and pineapple? Finally, I found something sensible. Burger, lettuce, tomato, onion and beet root. I had a can of pickled beets, at home. So, I got the burger to go. It was pretty tasty, though it turned out my beets were rubbish. Too much sweet and not enough vinegar bite. No wonder. A look at the can indicates it had a lot of high fructose corn syrup in it.

    H and I are heading for the Club, this morning, as it’s the new day for biscuits and gravy.

    To me, the weather was pretty rubbish, yesterday. 90F, and it didn’t seem I could do much of anything without ending up wet and dripping. I don’t pay much attention to humidity reports, as I really don’t understand them. But, according to the weather history, the humidity was bouncing all over the place yesterday. From 27 – 88%, up and down, and everything in between. Lew

Comments are closed.