Like it is

Dame Plum was the smaller of the two 12 week old pups. Ruby was larger, and spicier, something of a cheeky character. She’d never make good boss dog material. Plum on the other hand had a certain reserve about her character, you could see it, even at that young age. Ollie the mighty Bull Arab, loved both pups and took them under his wing.

Ollie trains the young pups in the finer points of dog chew ownership

It’s rare for two sisters from the same litter to be able to grow up together, and they enjoy each others company. At first I was a bit apprehensive as to whether Ollie would be a bit rough with the pups, but I needn’t have worried. The opposite was true, the pups were rough as bags with Ollie, and from time to time they’d hang off his ears or jowls. As a big dog, he’s already got a lot of jowls, and the antics of the two girls simply extended those bits of flesh. The trio would play and play, all day long, then crash out, sleeping the sleep of exhaustion. Ollie would watch over the two girls even in dreamland.

The active trio knocked each other out

I’ve long suspected that Ollie likes Ruby ever so slightly more than he likes Plum. All the same, most nights Plum and Ollie sleep snuggled up. They’ve done that ever since the earliest days.

Ollie and a very young Plum pup snuggle up and dream

Three and a half years on, and Plum is now Dame Plum. She earned the title. Killed every rat that she could get her paws and teeth on. Long term readers will recall the pogrom on rats, and the months of effort spent in excluding the rodents from the chicken enclosure, without resorting to poisons and bait. I took out two rats, but Dame Plum, well, I stopped counting after the dog exceeded my best efforts by a factor of ten. That’s what being outclassed looks like!

Dame Plum is the boss dog. Even today, she’ll ferret out any rats foolish enough to consider coming within range of her canine abilities. Rabbits are equally fearful. There’s a cost to the dog though, she keeps getting intestinal worms from regular contact with these wild animals. It’s a problem.

You can tell when a dog has worms, because they drag their itchy rear end on the rugs. Not so nice for us humans, nor for the other dogs. Dogs can also do that trick for other reasons, but you know it’s worms with Plum because she starts to get grumpy. And she expresses her unhappiness with the world. Irritable dogs aren’t a lot of fun.

Initially we’d dose her up on vermicide (worm killer) which you can buy at the local feedstore (they sell animal related products as well as feed). The dosage rate is pretty consistent between the various brands, which is around once every three months, depending. However, Plums regular interactions with rodents and rabbits means that she is coming into contact far more often than most dogs ever would. A bit of reading suggests that there is a loss of efficacy with the vermicide if you dose a dog too often.

Both Sandra and I, were scratching our heads and wondering what to do. We couldn’t do nothing, and we couldn’t up the dosage rate for the worming treatment either. At such times, we often look back over time to see what people used to do before you could buy treatments at the local feedstore. Turns out you can add crushed up pepitas (a green pumpkin seed) to the dogs feed. Apparently the chemicals inherent in the seeds, plus roughage, helps treat worms. The plants will even grow here. So, for a week each month, Dame Plum now gets five teaspoons of crushed up pepitas added to her breakfast. She enjoys them, and will eat all of it. And it’s working too. Plum’s a happy girl now, and she tells me: The war on rats is going well Brother Chris!

Dame Plum enjoys a quiet moment of reflection

I guess plenty of people would want to try a more complicated and expensive solution, that’s progress for you. But who can forget the time Old Fluffy was operated on to remove a wart? We could have just tried applying Castor Oil to the wart. I’m pretty sure that would have had a good chance of fixing it. It certainly worked on a young Ollie who had a wart on his forehead. Old Fluffy sure didn’t like the surgery though, because she died not long afterwards.

As a civilisation, we’re oddly fixated on moving forward. You can’t stand in the way of progress, I’ve been told. However, if progress involves layers and layers of additional complexity, eventually solving simple problems becomes way too costly. Maybe that’s when you need to stop, look backwards and see what used to work. And all I know is that that whilst worms may be plentiful, green pumpkin seeds are cost effective.

It’s been a truly amazing week of weather. We haven’t run the wood heater for the week. The sun has shone, the UV is moderate, the wind has been mild, and it has just been so pleasant. The plants are growing too, there are blossoms all over the early fruit trees. I’m hard pressed to recall a nicer spring week. We tried to spend as much time outdoors as we were able to.

Alas, despite the nice spring weather, Peak Rocks is real. We now have to create large rocks for the various projects by breaking apart huge rocks. A day was spent breaking apart just such a rock.

A huge rock!

This was perhaps our most ambitious rock yet, and we’re honing our technique with these monster chunks of granite. Part of what we are learning from this work, is how to read a rock. And we destroyed this rock! It was awesome when the rock split right down the middle.

We read this rock exactly!

The rock broke apart into five huge slabs. On the day, three of those slabs were then broken apart into many smaller, yet still large and heavy rocks.

We made five large rock slabs from the monster rock

The broken apart chunks of rock were hauled away. But before we finished work for the day with the huge rock, we separated out the remaining two slabs and will break them apart in a week or two.

The final two slabs of rock were then separated

All of the smaller rocks were hauled away back up the hill and installed on the new low gradient path project. The project involves a number of rock walls, but this particular rock wall is nearing completion. I suspect when we get around to breaking apart the two remaining slabs, that will provide enough chunks to complete the rock wall.

Looking uphill on the low gradient path project
Looking downhill on the low gradient path project

We’ve continued to get the garden beds ready for the growing season. The sapling fenced enclosure is now ready to go for the season.

The sapling fenced enclosure is ready to be planted out

The dozen posts for the new 600m2 (or 6,500ft2) citrus and vegetable enclosure were cemented into the post holes which were dug last week. We’re leaving the cement to cure properly for a week before we begin adding any fencing.

A dozen posts were cemented into the ground for a large vegetable / citrus enclosure

The weather was so nice this week that on Tuesday we started about half of the seasons seeds. The seeds enjoy good growing conditions in the greenhouse. And plenty of them have already germinated, radishes (Pink Lady Slipper variety) being the fastest of the lot.

Radish seeds are super fast to germinate

The warm week has spurred on the growth of the Asparagus, and we’ve been eating plenty of the spears. The beds they grow in were all given a very good feed of compost + coffee grounds + agricultural lime + gypsum + blood and bone meal. They’re happy plants, and we’ll add some rock salt later this week just prior to the forecast rain.

Plentiful Asparagus spears. Yum!
Fresh Asparagus is very tasty

The garden terraces have grown very strongly since we fed them with a similar mixture about two weeks ago.

It’s amazing what a good soil feed will do

Onto the flowers:

Aluminium Plant attracts the local honeyeaters
Forget me nots are feral, but so lovely. And they’re blue!
The Pears in the shady orchard near to the chickens are just so easy on the eye

The temperature outside now at about 10am is 20’C (68’F). So far this year there has been 647.8mm (25.5 inches) which is up from last weeks total of 647.6mm (25.5 inches)

33 thoughts on “Like it is”

  1. Chris

    Maybe you could do with one (or two) of these. Check out the inventors website as well. Will assist you in dealing with those pesky rocks. Also great for dealing with concrete slabs and tree roots. And useful for digging fence post holes. Mine has proven to be invaluable. Can purchase various add-on accessories if needed.

  2. Yo, Chris – Well, now I know why I stopped dragging my butt, across the rug! I throw a small handful of pumpkin seeds, in whatever I’m having for dinner, probably 5 times a week. Along with sunflower seeds and turmeric. I buy them 10 lbs. at a time, on line. Pumpkin seeds also (according to reports) keep men’s prostates ticking along.

    Onto bigger and better rocks! You need to put up a U-Tub video: “The Rock Whisperer.” 🙂

    The wombats really need to get their act together, for the spring offensive. If they were on the ball, they’d push over those posts, before they set. Just using it for a scratching post, boss!

    The enclosure and the garden terraces are looking really good. Here’s to bumper crops.

    Where’s the honeyeater? Where’s Waldo?

    My Forget-me-nots, are done and gone. But here and there, I’ve notice a second crop. I hope the chickens enjoy the view.

    Noticed an article, today, you might find interesting.

    Do you think of the Roman Empire, every day? I probably do. Mostly, the fall. The author and podcaster mentioned … if our Institution’s library wasn’t locked, I’d go down and see if the public library has any of his books. Guess it will just have to wait. Lew

  3. Hi Kezza,

    Thanks for the tool suggestions, and they all look like fine tools. The rock is granite. That’s tough stuff, and it requires drilling and an electric jackhammer to split. The jackhammer is about 2.5 horsepower, that’s more power than I could bring to hand tools. You’re welcome to prove me wrong though! 🙂 They had some great rakes for working with fire. The brigades use those sorts of rake-hoes.



  4. Hi Lewis,

    The mariners are down by two. Holy carp! I hadn’t heard of any ships sinking recently? Hope the families are well looked after. I’d never even heard of the card game cribbage before. Best not to be involved, unless you’re a part time card shark. Winning every game is notorious for ending such future invitations, permanently.

    I didn’t doubt you, I just have never had the need to perform the Heimlich thing on a dog, or a person for that matter. But who knows what the future holds in store for any of us?

    That’s probably how the thought processes went, but the bushfire building standard was introduced almost immediately after the 2009 Black Saturday bushfires. A record number of folks died, and something had to be done, so why not add another layer of complexity to the building process? In some ways, the standard works as a barrier to entry due to the bonkers cost of meeting it. People have been building houses for millennia, so history suggests that the process need not be as hard as we make it out to be.

    Hmm, you sent me on an interweb rabbit hole in relation to butter, and there were a few styles of butter which may have possibly have been dyed bright yellow. A canny person might use the butter pats in high-vis applications? But most butter seemed fairly normal looking.

    The author may possibly have stage fright after such an initial work which became widely known as his magnum opus? Peaking early in a career is a hard mistress. From such great heights, maybe the only way is down, down to the ground.

    All of Australia. And I’m really trying hard to understand it all, but details are very thin on the ground, which is an odd way to introduce such serious changes. It is possible the changes were introduced in this manner so as to produce a deliberate fail? Dunno.

    Yeah, there are plenty of native wasps and native bees, and I’m thinking about the mite threat, and what to do about it all. The surviving wild hives are generally small, so there is something in that which I have to think long and deeply about. Bumblebees are great aren’t they? I know what you mean about them being the B-52!

    They’re dropping like flies, as I’ve heard said. Mate, what do you do? Did the lady in question voluntarily check out on Friday? Have the local notables recovered their sensibilities over the incident?

    Haha! Thanks for the laughs about Young Sheldon and Radio Shack. Hey, I really enjoyed working retail, it was fun.

    It’s not just you who have heard that rumour about pumpkin seeds and prostate. Seems like serious people also mention it. Like you, I too add pepitas to my diet in the form of the toasted muesli mix, so I’m eating those suckers most days of the week. Seems only sensible. Had a look at what the symptoms are, and don’t have any of those, thankfully. Physical activity seems to be a good preventative too. Honestly, sometimes TV series can leave an indelible trace, but in Deadwood, the scene with the doctor and Al Swearengen with the wire inserted up his bits treating the enlarged prostate, kind of well, yeah, you know. Ouch!

    Hehe! That utoob rock job has already been taken locally by a bloke who goes by the name of demolition dave. Compared to him, I’m small fry.

    I am most certainly not mentioning such suggestions even quietly, anywhere within hearing distance of the local wombats. They’re like little armoured tanks those marsupials! Far out. Speaking of wildlife, Ollie chased off a couple of huge deer out of the orchard this morning. He’s got some courage that dog, and always chases them off from the rear.

    Thanks! Fingers crossed that the growing season is good. Everyone is having a freak out about El Nino (which hasn’t been called down here yet due to the atmosphere not playing along – yet). I’m just taking things a day at a time, and today was another stunning spring day. I’ll worry when I need to worry, and not a moment beforehand. At the moment, we’re simply hedging our bets with the way the garden rows and beds are being set-up for the growing season.

    Incidentally, I read an interesting article today on the El Nino / La Nina phenomenon and it suggested that with the increased temperatures of the oceans anyway due to global warming, the forecast models for the El Nino prediction are a little bit lost and in need of updating to reflect current conditions. A model is not the territory.

    Hehe! The honeyeater was elsewhere at the time. 🙂

    Forget-me-nots are such good plants, and they liven up a garden. I’m sure the bees and other pollinators are enjoying the flowers.

    Thanks for the article. I did find it to be interesting, and sweeping generalisation alert, word on the street is that regular thoughts of the Roman Empire are something of a sausage-fest according to TokTik. Strangely I’m uncertain as to why that may be, because history has a lot to teach us about the world we currently inhabit, and that impacts upon women as well as men. The fall of Rome I agree, has much to teach us, whether we have the common sense to learn from their errors, that’s a whole different question. Probably don’t though…

    Oh my, has the rubbish not been cleared from that room? What a nuisance and an abuse of the commons.

    Just did paid work today, as I have to. 🙂 Good enough for me.



  5. Hi Lewis cont…

    Almost forgot to mention. My personal nightmare, appears to have taken place: WorkSafe Victoria charges water tank manufacturer Polymaster after man dies, another seriously injured. Those really large water tanks, are very heavy, and a supplier lost one of them down the hill when delivering a very large plastic tank here. The entire episode seemed thoughtless, and I was just grateful that nobody was injured. We had the machines to assist with the unloading too, the driver seemed reckless.



  6. Hi Chris,
    Wow everything looks wonderful. So glad you’ve finally had a run of good weather. The pics of the fluffies are adorable. That is interesting about the pepitas. Both dogs are not too interested in catching rodents anymore so we don’t have to worry about worms as much.

    You asked last week about the bluebirds. At home we had four successful broods and at the conservation district site which I monitor they had seven. Obviously with quite a large acreage and a variety of habitats they are able to site the boxes in more open areas which the bluebirds prefer. Here with all the trees it’s not as easy so we get a lot of house wrens which is fine.

    When we were on our trip my cousin and his fiance came to the conclusion that they weren’t going to be able to save money for a traditional wedding. They had wanted my sister, Nora, to officiate. In case you didn’t know anyone can easily get the credentials to marry a couple online though requirements differ by state. In a moment of weakness she also offered her home for the wedding as well so with just two weeks notice she had their wedding on Saturday with 50 guests. It was pretty off the cuff but turned out well. Cecily stayed out at our house as my sister lives pretty close and she and I drove home in a driving rainstorm – a rare event around here. We ended up with a much need 1.5 inches but the drive home in the dark was not fun. Doug had gone separately as he usually likes to leave earlier than I do. We now refer to my sister as “priestess”.

    Good luck with the rocks.


  7. Yo, Chris – Lloyd’s of London went bankrupt over those two ships sinking. 🙂

    Cribbage is an old game, dating back to the 1700’s. Invented by an unfortunately named man, Sir John Suckling. I guess you can play it with pencil and paper, but NOOOOO, people need fancy boards and pegs.

    Can’t have just any riff raff building their own homes. That was an interesting (and tragic) story about the water tanks. I hope you have all you need. I’m sure another layer of rules and expense will be laid on.

    Well, I learn something new, every day. What we do here is, add amendments, to our Constitution. We’re up to 27, now. What I didn’t know is that the Bill of Rights, is the first ten amendments. I always thought maybe it was a separate document. There’s been some loose talk about having a Constitutional Convention. To change the basic fabric of our constitution. Of course, everyone has their favorite hobby horse, mostly social issues, that they think they’ll be able to ram into place. 2/3 of the States would have to call for a convention. 15 states have called for one. I think there was a state or two that called for one, and then cooler heads prevailed, and they changed their minds.

    I haven’t heard the status of the woman who was going to check herself out. But, I’ve been told her apartment is empty. And guess where all the carp in the library came from?

    You have to do a good job of chewing up the pumpkin seeds. 🙂

    Huge deer? Check out our Elk. Or, Moose.

    Yup. Just have to play it by ear, as far as El Nino and our growing seasons are concerned. The ocean temperatures are insane, in some parts of the world. Our east coast and the Gulf of Mexico. Warmer water powers more powerful hurricanes.

    Maybe because I knew so much about the major Roman players, early on, I’m a lot more interested in the common folk. I have a book on ancient libraries. There was a section on a Roman burial crypt, that they found, that was the burial society for one of the libraries that Augustus founded. Some were slave, some were free. There were a few head librarians. And, a doctor, on staff! Maybe, he floated between libraries. There were as many as 28 public libraries, in Rome. Reading about them, I felt a kind of connection.

    Our library is still locked up. We don’t have any fire axes, in the building. Which may be a good thing? The fire department has a battering ram, if necessary.

    The Master Gardeners, were here, this morning. I picked some green beans (12). There’s more coming on. Picked 4 red peppers. Habanero, I think. When I plant things, I plant them alphabetically, from left to right. Opps! It’s a Cayenne. The tag had sun bleached out. Should be more. I’ll string them. I dead headed Elinor’s Cosmos, and cut down a sunflower. It was a volunteer, a decorative species. But, it had reached the end of it’s life, and looked pretty sad. I cut off all the leaves and flowers, and then had to take my saw to the bottom of the stock. I’ll leave the roots in the ground, to rot out.

    I hacked back the grapes (again). There’s quite a few hidden in the vines. There seeded, so, if I decide to do anything with them. it will have to be jelly. Lew

  8. Hi Margaret,

    Despite all the bad news and dire predictions in regards to the climate, the past week or so of weather has been nothing short of excellent. Most of the seeds we started have germinated, and we ran out of forestry tubes, so I picked up more of them today. They’re quite good for vegetables because the root systems of the seedlings aren’t as disturbed as much when they’re planted out. They’re the deep pots the radish seedling in the photo grow in before being planted out.

    The Fluffies love the attention, and they were so tiny at 12 weeks of age. We’d never looked after puppies before, and they were lovely. You’re lucky in that regard with Leo and Salve, and honestly I just didn’t want to dose up Dame plum too heavily with the commercial treatments. Save those for when she really needs it.

    That’s great news about the bluebirds, particularly given how dry and hot your summer has been. I hear you about that. The same is true here too in that the smaller birds, and the wrens, robins and honeyeaters tend to stick closer to the house where they can amble through the garden beds at their leisure. I presume the much larger birds try and eat them if they get too far into the open forest or orchard? The wrens here look really similar to your house wrens, except the males are blue. They kind of stand out against the vegetation, but they must know what they’re doing. Maybe.

    Oh, nice thinking, and I’d had no idea the process was that simple in your country. Good stuff, hey you need to do a course down here called a Certificate IV in Celebrancy, or there’s another recognised qualification and a bond. Who knew? Sometimes less planning in such circumstances, may in fact work out better. I’ve known some people to have super-massive weddings, then separated. The couple in question may be better grounded in reality? Dunno, but time will tell. Good to hear that the event turned out well and I hope you enjoyed yourself.

    Rain on a wedding day is apparently good luck! Well that’s what I heard anyway. The rain sounded much needed in your part of the world, but yeah we have that too sometimes where the window wipers just don’t do the job. Best to slow down in such conditions, but I’m sure you’ve noticed that plenty of people don’t do so?



  9. Hi Lewis,

    Yes, it appears that oil prices are on the up. Always something of a risk for a nation dependent on imports (we’re 90% reliant, and that number is most likely going up). I’d be curious as to your perspective, but I see depletion issues coupled with messy geopolitics driving that price in the upward direction. I don’t know much, but I know the cost of mad cash (i.e. interest rates) will continue to also go up, as will inflation. It’s not a complicated story, although I’ve read that fingers are already being pointed.

    The bleach story is interesting. It’s a potent cleaner, oh yeah. You’d heard about the chlorine shortage though? That’s a major component of bleach, and the shortage has apparently been going on for a few years now.

    Forget about all that though. How cool was the pet surfing python? The bloke allegedly ended up in trouble something to do with having the permits to own the snake, but maybe not the permits to take the python out in public. If he was clever, he may claim that it wasn’t his python! 😉 This is not my python! It’s an impostor.

    Good thinking. Turns out that there are pythons in this state, but they live in the drier areas up north of the state around the Murray River. They can bite apparently which is meant to be painful, but not venomous (Inland Carpet Python).

    That’s funny! Bummer about insuring those sunk ships. Is that a case of sunk costs? 😉 They’re much more useful those things when they are afloat.

    Sir John Suckling was quite the character! He would have been a lot of fun to have at an extended dinner party. Very entertaining. Unfortunately, he backed the wrong team in the lead up to that civil war.

    That’s probably the prevailing opinion on who gets to build a home. The problem with capture of a trade or an industry or whatever, eventually it becomes so excloo, that they run out of people to do the actual work. The work being the whole point of the exercise in the first place. And you’re not wrong about the water tanks. What I’ve observed of that lot with the really big plastic tanks is that they don’t really have any easy way to off load them from the trailers, and the move them around. This is probably going to change the industry. We were looking at the big water tanks today and thinking that if they needed replacing, we’d install smaller tanks. It’s safer.

    I hadn’t known that either about the first ten amendments, and honestly based on what I’ve read of history, they’re good protections of the citizens, from none other than the goobermont itself. What does that tell you about how things used to roll? Yeah, most referendums (i.e. votes on changes to the constitution) here fail. The things are made deliberately hard to change, so as to stop naughty people from taking further power into their own hands. Again, history is a good guide as to how things actually work.

    Interestingly, they usually hold a constitutional convention prior to putting a referendum to the public, but for some reason, this time they have not done so. A mystery!

    No! You know, I wouldn’t have picked that outcome with all the stuff being chucked in that room, from that particular person. Anyway, not my circus. We’ve had to make a decision on a persons life, but the only thing keeping them alive were the machines, with zero possibility of recovery. All the same, it was not the sort of decision you want to come face to face with. Bummer about the ongoing lock down of your library, what a nuisance. Maybe someone needs to suggest that it is perhaps a fire hazard having all that stuff in there? That might get the stuff removed.

    Dame Plum has her pepitas blitzed up. 😉 Saves all that unnecessary chewing and still gets the same result.

    Yes, yes, of course, I’d forgotten about those large animals. They’re huge. Not sure what Ollie would make of an Elk or a Moose.

    The Bureau of Meteorology called it today. It’s an El Nino. Hope nobody goes in for one of those reveal parties what with all the fire risk and stuff. Mate, I’m taking things day by day, and week by week and will keep a close watch on the water reserves from here on until next winter. Right now, the water reserves are full, and there is a lot of moisture in the ground from three very wet years. And I agree, the ocean temperatures are off the historical charts and it may be dry, then we get some monster storms, then it will get dry again. I’ll try and capture as much rainfall as possible. You might have noticed the heavy use of mulch in the sapling fenced enclosure, well, we’re running the garden beds with dry weather in mind.

    It’s rather civilised for a society to use its excess wealth to construct and maintain libraries. 28 public libraries is an impressive achievement for an ancient city. Makes you wonder if the Roman’s ever came close to developing a printing press?

    Yum! Did you cook up the green beans? Dinner tonight was mostly from produce here. Devilled eggs + Asparagus + Greens + Potato salad + chunk of cheese. Very tasty. Habanero is a rather hot variety of pepper. Man, I’m not competent for such chili’s, and no longer eat them at night. They mess with my sleep. Ah, sorry, I see your correction, cayenne pepper’s are much more err, normal. We grow those too and they’re good, although I don’t eat them with dinner for much the same reasons. Leaving the roots of the sunflower is a great idea, and the worms will thank you for it.

    Ah, have the grapes achieved any size? The ones we grew here last year were a bit small, but that may have been due to the cold and wet summer.

    Went into the big smoke today, and got home late. Made a few stop offs on the way home, one being to wash the car in one of those bays with the high pressure hose. Up here with cars, if it’s not mud, it’ll be road dust. It’s almost a waste of time to wash the car, but sometimes the dirt mouse looks shabby. I could claim shabby chic and hold pretensions as to bohemian vehicle artistry, but no it was just filthy dirty.



  10. Yo, Chris – I keep a gallon of bleach around, but use it infrequently. Maybe a splash in a load of whites. That’s about it.

    The next week, we’re having 60F days, and nights into the low 40s. I think I’m going to start running a mix of ripe and green tomatoes, through my dehydrator. The green one’s are a bit tart, but not too tart.
    70% chance of rain, tonight. But I watered this morning, anyway.

    Our petrol prices may be up, now, but, if things follow their usual course, they’ll build up the strategic oil reserve, and then release a bunch, a few months before the election, to drive prices down. Nothing seems to effect an election, more than the price of gas.

    I see your pythons can get up to 14′ long. At least they don’t seem to be as much of a problem, as down in our state of Florida. The guy needs to sell t-shirts. “Not My Snake!” 🙂

    Sunk boats, sunk costs. I wonder if that’s where the phrase came from?

    I doubt the Puritans were “high” on cribbage. Or anything else that brought a bit of simple pleasure to the masses. Especially, since Sir Sucklings version used cards … which were beyond the pale.

    The gun nuts keep claiming the Second Amendment was put in place to make sure the government didn’t become over oppresive. As in, anything you disagree with. Your mileage may vary.

    That is a mystery. I’d say, someone is trying to slip something by (collective) you.

    One time, I was out working in a far flung library branch, in the boonies. Came around a corner of a country road, just as several Elk were hauling themselves out of an apple orchard, and crossing the road. Luckily, my brakes were pretty new. Came within inches. Their knees were even with the top of my hood.

    Wildfire: Saw this in yesterday’s local newspaper …,325738

    The Romans may have got around to printing, sooner or later. They did use stamps for a lot of things. There’s a theory that all that slave labor suppressed innovation.

    I’ve just been freezing the green beans, and tossing them in a freezer bag. See how much I’ve got by the end of the season. Might be enough to make a nice green bean casserole. Or bean salad. I do have a Habanero pepper, but it’s doing nada. The grapes are medium sized. I water them, every time I water the garden. And, have been cutting out a lot of runners, that might sap energy from the grapes.

    I also saw an local article on fixing things. Sounds promising …,325727

    Well, I’m a little miffed. I got an e-mail, this morning, from the auction. It went out to their whole mailing list. They’re having a “holiday” auction, combining Halloween and Christmas … the day after tomorrow. I could only see a couple of little thumbnail pics, but saw some of my stuff. I could go down to our library, and see all the pics … if it wasn’t still locked up. So, tomorrow I’ll swing by the public library, and take a look. I think they expect a big turn-out, as, there’s going to be a food truck. Which they do, when they expect a big turn out. Lew

  11. Chris,

    Hmmm, some of your questions from over the weekend get answers.

    On the pyrography project. Well, I saw this drawing of one dragon giving the other dragon the Heimlich, so that was my inspiration. But the project needed more than just the dragons, so I added a lot of background, a building, and other stuff. It looks more complete.

    Lemon to a Knife Fight? Found the “official video”. Very enjoyable. Extremely. Thanks for the idea.

    Cooler summer nights? Here? They used to be common. But that was when there might be 15 to 20 days over 32C over the entire summer. Nights can cool down well when the high was 32C or less most of the time. We might get 2 or 3 days over 38C every 3 years or so. Now that we routinely have 35 or more days over 32C and have at least 3 or 4 or more days around 38C or more every year, nights don’t cool too well. 27C or warmer after 11:30 p.m. doesn’t lend itself to cooling.

    If the snow cave is constructed correctly, clothes stay pretty dry. Ventilation is the key. Open doorway and a domed ceiling help. A LOT. I’ve never gotten wet clothes in a snow cave. The guys that did get wet had flat ceilings and placed tarps over the doorway.

    Thanks for the rock breaking pictures! Your pathway is coming together nicely. The historical Ollie and the Pups photos were fun, too. I even remembered seeing some of them before. Blasts from the past.

    Life has gotten complicated these past few days and smoky and dusty. I’m tired. More later.


  12. Hi DJ,

    Man, I hear you about that. The recent bout of warmer and dry weather dried up the road, and filled the air with both road dust and pollen from the centre of this continent. Fortunately, the winds swung around to origins in the Southern Ocean again, and bizarrely it’s only 7’C outside right now. We’d avoided running the wood heater for just over a week, and that is an amazing thing for this time of year. Sorry to hear that the smoke has returned for you.

    Your project sounds intriguing. Was your building from this age, or from an earlier epoch? For some reason a castle with crenulations was what my mind suggested, but the word building could mean anything. For all we know, the dragons may have been fighting over a small cottage in the forest, before combat activities were set aside whilst one dragon had to assist the other in an unexpected choking incident. 😉

    Glad you were inspired by The Wombats, and their music video. Turns out werewolves are more dangerous than the protagonists in the video expected. They were outmatched by a goodly margin. And I rather enjoyed the tennis ball sub plot, which was the hinge for the entire story. The car incidentally was something of a classic Ford Capri ripped straight from the late 70’s to early 1980’s UK series: The Professionals.

    I agree, 27’C at 11:30pm also makes me feel rather out of sorts. It happens. Spare a thought for us, we can get 10 days in excess of 40’C in an extreme summer, but more normally that hovers around the 3 days mark. Last year was so cool and wet that the highest reached was 39’C, and that was hot enough for me.

    Your snow cave design sounds counter intuitive which is I guess why some folks make them with flat roofs and place a tarp over the entrance. 😉 However if the construction doesn’t work, what good is it? Yours I’m guessing would also keep you out of the wind, and the wind chill factor would be something of a nightmare at such low temperatures. I presume the dome design combined with the ventilation means that condensation does not build up inside walls of the snow cave?

    Thanks! And the photos and story of the dogs early days was fun to write. Yup, a blast from the past man!

    Hope life settles down for you. I’m not much of a fan of too much drama, although one can’t always easily avoid such things.



  13. Hi Lewis,

    Thanks for mentioning the bleach shortage, and we’ve decided to now implement an entirely different system from the just-in-time supplies we were keeping. Mate, the entire thing is like playing a game of whack-a-mole, and you never know what you’ll miss out on.

    I really do owe you thanks. If anything, I’m enjoying the book ‘Joyland’, even more than ‘The Colorado Kid’ book. A truly delightful tale. Happy days are enjoying the pleasure of a good book.

    Autumn is fast approaching for you. And in handing-over-the-weather-batten breaking news, we had to run the wood heater tonight. It’s only 45’F outside right now which is a bit chilly. Can I have become summer soft after one brief week of warmer weather? It’s possible! 🙂

    It’s a good idea dehydrating some of the green tomatoes at this stage of the growing season, we did that too towards the end, but next year will probably hang more of the tomato plants and let them slowly ripen over winter. You might notice that many of them change colour during the drying process, although end up being a slightly different shade to the already red tomatoes. Still taste the same, and over winter, that’s what counts. That’s my theory anyway!

    Did you get the rain? There was a tiny bit of rain today, but mostly you could see the rain drifting along the freeway, as it does when the wind blows from that direction. The freeway runs through a minor valley.

    I’m not entirely sure how accurate my thoughts in that election matter work out to be, but I do wonder if goobermonts lose elections based on economic management more than most other factors? Ideology is nice and all, but when food and fuel is expensive, I tend to believe that people worry more about such issues. Inflation and interest rates are the twin dark horses there, and when you’re a net importer of energy, geopolitics comes to town to play poker. That oil story is a high stakes game, but then it has always been so.

    Yeah, people up north of the country seem OK with the pythons, although they can consume pets which would be a bit of a nuisance (the snakes, not the people 🙂 ). Interestingly, some of the states (like the one I’m in) ban snake catchers from sharing videos, so it is really difficult to get an idea as to how busy those folks are. Probably quite busy if I had to hazard a guess. Hehe! The t-shirt idea for that python bloke would work.

    I didn’t seem to get a handle on the origins of the term either. Hmm. It’s an economic term, that’s for sure. Interestingly, the term has wider applicability in other endeavours. I read a bit about plan continuation bias which I’ve noted over the years some folks have done. It’s a bit scary that. I’m sure you’ve seen your fair share of such incidents?

    Puritans, pah! May they never show their heads again. Hey, I’m still recovering from the lack of pies. Tiresome folks. It was all beyond the pale, yeah.

    Who knows, disagreement might be a problem for some folks? Ook! Hope we don’t meet them. Anywhoo. Hey, I was wondering what would have caused the amendment relating to ‘cruel and unusual punishments’? Something must have happened for that to be included. Plus I noticed that historically ‘fines’ must have been somewhat oppressive, for that amendment to have got across the line. Most of them seemed common sense enough.

    It is a mystery indeed. Also, if I may add, emotions are running high right now, and it seems like a solid metaphorical hill with which to die upon. Honestly, I’m left wondering why the process wasn’t trialled and pilot tested first before making changes to the constitution. After all, if they stuff it up, and politicians and track records, it will be very difficult to undo. By this time next month the entire affair will be resolved one way or the other.

    That would have been a very close shave with the Elk. You got very lucky there, and probably used up one of your nine lives then and there. There’s a reservoir down in the valley below, and near to there one day I came across a herd of deer. There may have been a dozen or so. And when they saw the car, as a group, they came to a halt, and what fascinated me about that was how the movement rippled perfectly and smoothly through the herd. It was amazing to see how co-ordinated the herd was.

    Hope those groups get their acts together and claim the funds for the wildfire defence works. The tribes probably have a pretty good idea as to land management using fire, if they’re allowed to implement the knowledge. I believe that there has been knowledge sharing between the indigenous folks here and in your part of the world on this issue.

    The theory about the Romans, slaves and innovation makes a lot of sense. I wonder if they had the volume of paper to justify printing en masse? Or enough wide spread literacy to justify the effort?

    Thanks for that. We can’t grow peppers outside of the greenhouse, so your Habanero doesn’t surprise me, although you do get the milder varieties growing. I’m still learning about grapes, and my efforts are producing similar results to what you’re describing.

    A friend of mine used to volunteer for one of those repair cafes doing that sort of work. It’s a great idea, and you know my thoughts on people chucking out items that could otherwise be easily repaired. 🙂 It happens, grrr! Hey, we’ve got all of the machines working in tip top condition, bar one machine. It needs a replacement clutch otherwise it will be a spare parts bin, and I need more hours in the day. Oh well.

    Did paid work today, and it was busy but not intense which I kind of appreciated. Some days are like that, aren’t they?

    Yikes! Makes you wonder what changed to make the auction folks combine the two auctions. Oh well, nothing you can do about it now. The day after tomorrow would be a good title for a zombie film don’t you reckon? 🙂 A big turn out + food truck suggests folks who want to spend some mad cash, possibly on your items. Fingers crossed and good luck for the results.



  14. Yo, Chris – Besides possible supply line problems, I’ve started stocking up enough of some things, to carry me through the holidays. As I’ve said before, during the holidays, no matter what you try to do, it takes twice as long. Because everyone else is nuts. (Lew ©) .

    “Joyland” was made into a TV mini-series, around 2018. Quit good, as I remember. But then, may be confusing it my mind with the TV mini-series, “Doctor Sleep.” Which was VERY good.

    I find I’m using my A/C, less and less. More geese went honking over, last night. Heading south. We did get a bit of rain, last night. I won’t have to water, this morning. The rest of the week should be nice, and maybe, more rain on the weekend.

    I just don’t have a good place to hang tomatoes. My apartment (even not using any heat), is too warm. There is the Master Gardeners storage room, but it is also heated (due to fire sprinkler stuff, running through there.) And, it smells strongly of garden chemicals.

    Maybe you’ve read all you want to read about your upcoming election. But the BBC (good ol’ Beeb), had this article, which is pretty clear.

    I noticed they mentioned the Sami (my people!), in Finland. I see out of 44 proposed amendments in your country, only 8 were passed. Our record is 33 proposed, 27 passed. Then there’s the old “law or custom?” Our federal laws still say that mari-hoche is illegal. But so many states have legalized it, that the Fed has really backed off from pursuit and prosecution. Domestic, that is. They still crack down on foreign trade, in the herb. Local governments still crack down on unregulated sale and production. Mostly, I think, due to the loss of tax revenue. 🙂

    I think you’re right. People pay less attention to inflation and interest rates, except when it slaps them in the face, as at the petrol pumps. Some wag was slapping stickers on petrol pumps, with a picture of our current president on it. “This is the guy responsible for high gas prices.” Whatever. Political theatre.

    Probably ban video of the snake hunters, so as not to whip the animal rights people into a froth 🙂 . Doesn’t seem to be a problem, here. I’ve seen many a picture of very large, very dead snakes.

    Plan continuation bias. (PCB… not to be confused with industrial chemicals. I don’t think.) There’s the sunk costs, plus, I think, just a lot of administrative ego. Sure. I saw a lot of that in Library Land. Then there’s PCB’s twin sister, confirmation bias. Whatever comes down the pike seems rational, as it already matches someone’s preconceived notions of whatever.

    Cruel and Unusual Punishments. Well, think back to the 1700s. Hung, drawn and quartered? Loop off a hand for stealing a loaf of bread? Or ship them off to Australia? 🙂 Duck a woman in a pond, because she was a “scold?” It gets trotted out now, from time to time, when execution methods go wrong. Or when prison conditions are abysmal.

    Movement through groups of animals is always interesting, and often, pretty. Birds, fish. The geese always fly in a “V” formation. PCB? Or, another lame reason, “We’ve always done it this way.” Never mind, one of the definitions of “crazy” is doing the same thing over and over, and expecting different results.

    Indigenous knowledge sharing. One of the books of essays I read about wildfires, talked about Australian and North American indigenous folks sharing wildfire management practice information. More in common, than different. With the easier spread of information, more indigenous folks are communicating with each other, world wide. There are often congresses and gatherings. Sometimes, there’s even an exploration of each other’s spiritual practices.

    I’m wondering if I should attempt growing peppers, inside. I’d probably have more luck, and, it would free up space in the garden. Hmmm….

    I’d guess the auction folks couldn’t pull enough stuff together, for a separate Halloween and Christmas tat auction. Zach, the auctioneer mentioned he really had to scramble to get together enough Halloween stuff, last year. Trotting out the food truck, is promising. The auction “viewing” starts at 4 and the actual auction, at 6. I think that might ease some people’s concerns about making the auction, and dinner. I noticed that they stated the food truck would be available, for an hour after the last bid. I just think the PR was a bit short. Two days?

    I was thinking $300 for each auction, for not particular reason 🙂 Psychic? Now I’m thinking $400, from the one. Well, no matter. Won’t know until I get the check, sometime after the first of the month. Lew

  15. Chris,

    The smoke mostly disappeared today. We had a storm front move through. There was a slight chance of a few rain showers with a total less than 2.5mm expected. It started raining when Avalanche and I were on our morning walk. After we got home, I got out the dryland grass seed and spread some seeds over the bare spots. Then it rained for another 2 hours. We got over 5mm. Did I mention that Avalanche had extra energy? Rain at +10C felt very nice to her.

    Crenulated castle, of course! As the dragons were eating knights therein, the building is named “Knight’s Diner”. I’ll email you a photo of it after I’ve finished it.

    Yes, the tennis ball made the entire video. Glad I was paying attention. Without the tennis ball, it would’ve been another video of stupid mortals poking the wrong werewolf at the wrong time. Getting the tennis ball returned was priceless.

    The first mildly domed snow cave had 3 of us inside. It was about -12C overnight and clear and dry. Condensation wasn’t an issue. It stayed below freezing within the cave.

    The other one, well, it was warmer, maybe -4C overnight, cloudy with some humidity. Didn’t take much to get the flat-ceilinged snow caves overheated and dripping. I dug the domed cave for 8 by myself. The ceiling was the highest point, but the door was also higher than the floor. I carved “benches” into the wall for our sleeping bags, the benches being a good half meter or more lower than the door. Poked 3 holes in the ceiling for more ventilation. Although it was +4C inside the dome, the melting snow ran along the walls and froze a half meter or more above the sleeping bag benches. In other words, your presumption was correct.

    The other guys had to sleep on tarps on the snow under the clouds and stars once their caves started dripping. When they asked me why our large group didn’t get dripped on in the dome, I replied with one word: “Physics.”

    Thanks. I hope things calm down also, at least to the usual level of dramas and unhealthy relatives and friends. Chop wood, carry water is a friend right now. 😉

    The carving club’s annual show is September 30 and October 1. Set up and judging are September 29. That should be an enjoyable weekend.


  16. Hi DJ,

    The late autumn months around here are bonkers. But I suspect the whole thing is simply a moment in time, maybe. Trust me in this though, those folks create repercussions for the local community. Maybe it is a coincidence that a couple of businesses serving the needs of the locals were put on the market after a few years of that onslaught, but then again maybe not. The area around here is simply not set up for massive hordes of tourists, and the event progressed here much like what the article reported over in Vermont did. Mostly the locals bear the cost, and the tourists get something of a free ride. It’s a problem.

    I’ll bet you’ll be feeling some relief at the lack of smoke today? That’s exactly how we get such broad scale seeds germinated – wait for the rain. The water does the trick, and your soil will still be warm. Dame Avalanche is a discerning young lady! 🙂

    Hehe! That’s funny about the name of the castle. I’ll look forward to seeing how the pyrography turns out. And it is an appropriate art form for depicting dragons.

    Did you notice that the tennis ball at one point was stuck under the accelerator pedal, and then became the nemesis of the unfortunate gentleman? Always an unfortunate thing to happen when dealing with werewolves. They don’t muck around!

    Candidly I’m having some troubles comprehending how -4’C could be warmer, but that’s a relative concept and we can forget about it for now. Brr! Good to hear the second snow cave, blitzed your expectations, and that would have been a rotten fate to have to use tarps on snow outside in such freezing conditions. Please tell me it wasn’t windy? Mate, I’d be whingeing if caught outside your properly constructed snow cave on such a night in those conditions. 🙂 Did you deduce the entire arrangement by considering the physics? Or did you also reconsider some aspects of your first snow cave?

    Well yes, that can be difficult, and remember to look after yourself during such times, and also to look after your lady as the emotional content would probably be experienced between you two.

    Are you one of the judges again this year? Is your dragon pyrography going to be entered?

    Broke up the remainder of the large rock today, then hauled all of the 14 chunks of rock back up the hill. Funnily enough installing all of the rocks in a rock wall, is the hardest part of the job. Especially when the heavy rock has to be only moved a few centimetres. We use a long steel wrecking bar for that work, but I still have to physically lift one side of the rock and move it into position so that it looks just right. Oh well, nobody said rock walls would be easy. Instead, they rock! 😉



  17. Hi Lewis,

    I like that about the holidays. Hey, to rip off an old line from a 1980’s film: During the holidays onslaught, nobody can hear you scream! 🙂

    Looks like the series adaption for Joyland has stalled. All very unfortunate, but with the backdrops and setting, I reckon it may have been an expensive production. Doctor Sleep is on the to-read list. Have you picked up the Holly book again?

    Winter is definitely on it’s way to your part of the world. It’s drizzling outside right now, and today was on the cooler side at 55’F, but at least it was dry earlier when we worked. We broke up the remaining slabs of rock into fourteen more easily moved rocks. Hauled them back up the hill, where they were installed on the low gradient path project. The project needs more soil now, and we’ve been discussing where that soil will come from. Peak soil? 🙂

    Yes, of course, I had not understood that aspect, and the tomatoes would most certainly pick up the smell from that shed. What a total waste. The heating would possibly get the tomatoes first though. I’m guessing you’d considered the idea, then have dismissed it already?

    If you get the chance, and are interested, I’d suggest you have a read of the Uluru Statement from the Heart (it’s a quick read). The use of the word, sovereignty was used twice, from memory. Most definitions refer to the ‘self governing’ aspects of that word, and this perhaps would be a major change of culture in this country. But basically the practical aspects of this change have not been explained, and that’s a bad way to sell an idea to the public, especially when such enormous powers are on the table and up for grabs. I have been wondering lately whether the idea was sold this way so as to deliberately fail? Always possible. Respects to the Sami.

    Talk about fun political theatre with that sticker on the gas pump. In some ways it highlights my point, people are fairly apathetic about such matters, until their self interest is hit hard by say, rising costs and/or shortages.

    Nah, I think the ban on snake footage is more a property price fear thing. There was footage from a suburb in the big smoke recently of a young child (the ban only relates to snake catchers) who’d picked up a baby eastern brown snake (second deadliest on the planet), and had not realised what it was. Even as a baby snake, a bite could kill. In some ways the baby snakes are more dangerous as they haven’t yet learned when to bite, and when not to bite. They also do something called a dry bite where they don’t inject the venom. It probably costs a snake quite a lot of effort to produce such deadly toxins.

    All very Kafka-esque. And confirmation bias is also something of a problem. Sometimes from on-high, people just ask for stuff, and it makes no sense whatsoever or can cause considerable difficulties, for little discernible benefit. Been there and done that. Read a short story about that very subject two or three weeks ago: Dodkin’s Job. A fun story, with an interesting and unexpected conclusion.

    I see, yes, that was a weird and unnecessarily cruel punishment. Now that you mention it, all of those official responses were rather extreme. Some people do have a rather sharp tongue and poor opinions of others and are unafraid to express those, but they probably don’t need to be dunked permanently in a pond. Seems a bit over the top as a response. Mate, you’ve convinced me, that amendment was actually necessary.

    If you ever discover a better definition of the word crazy than that one, please do let me know?

    I haven’t read anything about the sharing of spiritual practices, but most certainly the fire knowledge is being shared. Not a bad idea at all, especially given some of the west coast of your country shares a lot of parallels to the land here.

    Peppers are meant to be very low stress plants to grow, but I’ve noticed that they need the heat, so why not indoors? Garden space is always limited.

    Sorry, but I had to laugh as to the concerns about making the auction, and dinner. Historically speaking, if that is the worry of the day for some folks, things are pretty good. Although once I went to an event with a food truck (and nothing else to eat for miles around), and they were sold out. That was a hungry event. The people we went with decided that we’d get lunch and dinner at the event. Hmm. It takes a bit of fuel to run a Chris, just sayin! 🙂 Now I’m thinking about it further, that’s a serious worry about missing a meal. Although Blue Zone folks might be cheering the situation on.

    Can you watch the auction online to see how your stuff fares?

    Had a home made pizza for dinner this evening. I’d sharpened the pizza cutting wheel up earlier today and the Editor seemed underwhelmed with the results. Might have to go back to the drawing board and resharpen the thing. It’s a bit of a pain because of the round shape to the cutting edge. Oh well.



  18. Yo, Chris – A heads up, before I forget. A friend of mine went looking for cinnamon, the other day. She tried three stores. Nada. Finally found a little jar of sugar and cinnamon … for $8. Said the spice sections were looking kind of empty. I look for Turmeric, at the cheap food stores. Rarely find it. But as I’m well stocked up on other spices, I really didn’t notice the general running down of inventory. But on reflection, I think I did notice a lot of empty spaces. Anyway, what with the holiday baking season coming up, you might see if the situation is the same, down there.

    I really liked the book and mini-series, of “Doctor Sleep.” Although that may have a lot to do with the portrayal of addiction and 12 Step Programs. Which were spot on. That’s sad news about “Joyland.” I’m sure someone will get around to getting it filmed, sooner or later. Someone is probably sitting on the film rights, and not necessarily the author. I may take “Holly” back to the library. A lot on my plate right now, or, maybe, I’m just not in the mood.

    Oh, no! Not peak soil! 🙂 Well, you can either get around to digging out that root cellar / fire shelter. Or, maybe a pond. A dry moat around your place? You’ll come up with something.

    The Master Gardener’s don’t have a shed. It’s a room that’s part of the building, but there’s no access from inside. There’s an exterior door. It would be great for produce storage, as it’s on the cool side of the building.

    Our tribes here, are fairly autonomous. Within the reservations. I know there are tribal courts. DJ probably knows more about it, than I do.

    Brought to mind that during the Middle Ages, a large part of the population was clergy or clerics. The Church had it’s own court system, and reserved the right to try it’s own people in it’s own courts. In some cases, horrendous crimes were unpunished, or lightly punished. It was one of the things that brought about the Reformation.

    Dodkin has slipped into a temporal anomaly. 🙂 But from articles about the story, I get the gist. Sounds a lot like, “You will have nothing, and you will be happy.” Or else?

    Ah, I see. People get all in a froth, if something effects property prices. There’s a house down the street, that was on the market, about a year ago. It was in pretty rough shape. Well, someone bought it, and put a lot of work into it. Now, it’s listed for $400,000+. The houses in that area are really close together. Small lots, and it’s a big old house. I noticed the pictures are very carefully “staged.” I didn’t see any of the front of the house. The front yard is only about 12′ wide, and has an abrupt slope. If you fell off the sidewalk, you’d go through the front picture window. Also, right next door, is an under the radar, been there for years, day care center. Sure, I’d pay $400,000 + to listen to screaming children, all day.

    Oh, I don’t think there’s any swapping around of spiritual practices. You don’t mess with tradition. I think it’s more curiosity. Becoming aware of similarities.

    Well, the auction is tonight. I got by the public library, to look at their website. Found another thing that concerns me. There’s a drop down menu, of all the upcoming auctions. The auction for tonight, says nothing about it being a “holiday” auction. Just, “Chehalis Estate Auction.” When you click on it, and the page opens up, then it’s headlined as a holiday auction. The pictures are very good, and I saw a lot of my stuff. He’s done a good job breaking it up into lots.

    It won’t be an online auction. They seem to be doing less and less of those. I think because of all the shipping they would have to do. The one’s that go online, I’ve noticed, are small, easy to ship things.

    One of Elinor’s son-in-laws goes to the auction. But about all I can get out of him is, “People were spending too much money.” (Translation: I was outbid.) But, if I see him, I might be able to put the screws to him. Were there a lot of people there, and were they spending? Oh, well. I might as well lighten up. Nothing will be revealed, until the check comes in the mail.

    I started reading a book last night, “Returning Light: Thirty Years on the Island of Skellig Michael.” (Harris, 2022). Skellig Michael is an island, way off the coast of SW Ireland. Way back in the early, early Middle Ages, it was a small monastery. Some of those stone built, old beehive shaped monk’s cells. A small chapel. Incredible flights of steps. The island is also home to a lot of birds. It’s a pretty good read.

    I went out this morning and picked a big bowl of cherry tomatoes. Four trays are perking away in the dehydrator. Don’t know if I’ll get another batch. Our weather is turning, this weekend. Rain coming, and all through next week. I also harvested a handful of green beans and another yellow zucchini. Lew

  19. Hi Lewis,

    The country which true cinnamon originally derived from has been having a rather tough time of it lately. Something about converting to organic agriculture, with minimal preparation. Probably ended up being something of a dogs breakfast of a situation. There was a lot of news from that country, then nothing. Turns out that cinnamon is a bit of a substitution racket, and there are a number of higher and lower grade varieties of the plant. Coffee has a similar story. Also it reminds me of the oregano story where dried olive leaves were substituted into the mix so as to pad things out a bit. I should have known, and thanks for the wake up call. We keep a good supply of the sticks (who knows what variety), and keep some in ethanol so as to produce an extract to add flavouring to various foods, but notably the Anzac biscuits. The taste is good enough for me. Good luck on the spice hunt, hey it’s a worthy quest which has gone on for many millennia. 😉 You’re in good company!

    In the book ‘On Writing’, the author wrote about his struggles, and authors do incorporate part of who they are into their works, whether they actively choose to do so or not, so that hardly surprises me about the book ‘Doctor Sleep’. A bloke never knows what will cause him to come unstuck, and err, video games is a somewhat sad hill to overcome. Oh well. The Editor has that book, and loved the Shining. I’d bought someone’s mixed second hand collection of the authors works for a present a year or two back, which arrived in a large box. We’re both slowly working our way through this box of delights (plus adding to the collection), although the Editor has read more than I, and for far longer. My introduction to the author many long years ago was with “The Tommyknockers”, and it was a great read which kept me up at nights, but then wound up suddenly. An unsatisfying ending, I wasn’t entirely sure as to what to make about that.

    About almost two decades ago I tried a local cafe, and the coffee was not as good as I’d become accustomed too elsewhere. About six months later, I gave them a second chance, and the coffee was genius. Maybe it was me, maybe it was them, who knows, but I was just not expecting the outcome the first time around. These are the dudes that supply me with all of the coffee grounds. What can I say, it’s been a long and enjoyable association! 🙂

    I like how your brain works! Yeah, those are both good ideas for getting extra soil. The ground here is a little bit too warm on average for a root cellar to work properly. There is a plan to construct a much larger firewood shed, and that job should provide the extra soil, maybe. The local earthworks dude (now retired), once said to me: Chris, you never have as much soil as you think you will. He was right too, knows his job huh?

    It would be a good room to store produce. In my grandmothers house, there used to a dark room at the rear of the house which was in permanent shade. The root vegetables were kept in there in square timber bins lined with sheet metal. It worked, so your room would I reckon. The steel lining in the bins kept out the rodents. They’ve been known to chew through timber.

    How is it 39’F outside right now? Cue head spins! It was a nice day today here, although on the cooler side of things. We did a spring clean of the house. Long story… By late this afternoon I was getting a bit sick of cleaning! I know how you feel with those inspections. Oh yeah I’m feeling your pain.

    Yes, I recall reading about the different legal system for the clergy in the ‘Stick a Flag in it’ history book. Yes, nice for some.

    Hehe! Your summation of the plot line was about right. Spoiler alert! Tune out now if easily offended. The protagonist suffered from a stupid edict. Through sheer frustration with a side serve of rat cunning, he worked his way back through the instruction chain in a very bureaucratic society, only to discover an overlooked clerk who worked at a pivotal point in the long chain of instructions. Then he replaced the clerk, whilst considering what instructions he could err, modify to his personal advantage. We don’t know what happened next, but can only but imagine.

    Hey, at least the weekends would be quiet. However, if you ended up in such an unfortunate location, be prepared to be parked in during the drop off and pick up times. Don’t get stressed out. I’ll only be there for a minute or two! Sheez! Ask me how I know this? A rhetorical question, of course. I’d once lived too close to a primary school, and had not thought through the implications of that choice properly. It was a nightmare, and not just for us, but for all of the neighbours.

    I see, yes that makes sense about swapping notes on practices. Not generally done with the uninitiated, for obvious reasons.

    It’s exciting! And I hope you did well with the auction. Had a look at the offerings, and the colour and zing was something else. Hehe! Your translation was probably accurate given the stated facts. 🙂 Time will resolve the matter and your curiosity will then be sated, but until then – how do you reckon you went?

    Skellig Michael is a fascinating island, and I can see how a person would either love it, or hate it. There would be no in-between feelings about such a place. I’m genuinely wondering how the monks would have kept warm over the winter months, but sort of already know the answer. Those were hardy souls, doing what was required of them. I find it hard to see why the Vikings would have wasted their time raiding a place of such poverty. It sounds like an awesome read, and a delightful space with which to spend some time.

    On the other hand, unlike the Vikings, the quiet of such a place would appeal to me. Today I had to go to the local general store, which is also the local post office. And it was so busy, clearly with folks from outside of the area. It’s not right on the people who work there to be so smashed during a work day.

    Change is most certainly in the air, so I do hope you harvest as many tomatoes as you are able to do so. Plus I’ll be checking closely for scratches, dints, and undefined stains on the climate batten which should arrive in the next day or two from your part of the world. Hope for the best, expect the worst, and maybe it’ll be somewhere in between the two? 🙂

    There’s only so much cleaning a bloke can do…



  20. Hi, Chris!

    It’s so nice to see the baby pictures. They were extra-cute puppies. And Uncle Ollie. Yours is a fortunate household. As for the worm treatment – that is so excellent of you and the Editor to use pepitas for them. I grew some once, at least they were called that, and they were the kind that are so good to roast and eat; crispy, not tough.

    We’ve had an amazing week of weather, too. Here’s to tomorrow’s equinox!

    Never have I known anybody with so many boulders, especially granite boulders. Or anybody who has made so many do their bidding.

    The sapling fences are really nice.

    Are you going to transplant those radishes?

    Thanks for the flowers. The pear trees are heavenly.

    Back to chasing my tail . . .


  21. Yo, Chris – So, one has to pay attention to geo-politics, to insure one’s food supply? 🙂 So many supply lines. So much that can go wrong.

    I read (and saw the movie) of “Tommyknockers,” so long ago … But I remember it didn’t have a real satisfying ending. King was pretty deep in the weeds, about then. He also said once, that he doesn’t remember writing “Cujo,” at all. I watched a very amusing episode of “Young Sheldon,” last night. He and his grandmother encounter their first video game, and go off the deep end.

    I was looking at the soil in the garden beds, last night. Elinor, as it’s the route she goes, will need 6-8 bags of something, to top off her stock tank. Me, I’ll be adding leaves. And digging in kitchen scraps, all winter. I was looking at the lush foliage, on the Mammoth sunflower, and of course, will eventually cut up all the corn stocks (after they’ve served a stint, as decor).

    It’s going to start raining, tomorrow, and won’t stop. Fall rains are here. Prof. Mass had an interesting post about river valley fogs, this morning. We even got a mention. Though I saw no fogs, this morning. True autumn fogs have not arrived … yet.

    Yes, that’s the question. Who comes up with some of this stupid stuff. Hence, my frequent battle cry of, “I want names! I want heads to roll!” 🙂 Our library, here at the Institution, finally opened up again, last night. I read Mr. Greer’s post, this week. I think it applies.

    Not enough data, to predict the outcome of the auction. I’m thinking (wishing?) $400 – $600. Heard 3d hand that Elinor’s son-in-law didn’t stay long, as it was “just holiday stuff.” He has a fetish for cast iron cookware. And the occasional tool. So on closer investigation (rubber hose? waterboarding?), I may get a sense of if there was a good turnout. Were they spending? He probably didn’t stay long enough to get a fix, on that. Nice of you to check out the pics. When I realized the library was open again, late last night, I was going to take a last look at them. Bid a fond farewell, and all that. They had already been taken down. It was a good auction, lots of Halloween, Thanksgiving, Harvest, Christmas tat. To bad the PR left a lot to be desired.

    Yup. Skelling Michael is a pretty fascinating place. Who’s Bran? Which Bran? After I sorted out all the Game of Thrones pap, I figure you were referring to Bran the Blessed, or The Voyage of Bran. Also, some Arthurian connection.

    We had a primary school, right down the hill from the Institution. Pretty old. They built a new school, and the old one is surplus, now. No one seems to know what to do with it. But, the noise levels could be pretty bad. And the school buses. That’s all shifted away from us. Still noisy, but not quit as bad.

    We’re getting a food box, this morning. Any time now.

    Last night I watched “Transformer: Age of Extinction.” Made me want to rush right out and buy some action figures. 🙂 Worth a bowl of popcorn, though it was very long. And the car chases, went on and on. Spiked the popcorn with some of that wonderful, tasty, crumbly Australian sharp cheddar cheese. Lew

    PS: I see in the newspaper, there was a cougar sighting. Not too close to us, but between one of the cheap food stores I go to, and the auction house.

  22. Chris,

    Did I hear the phrase “peak soil” somewhere? Peak SOIL? Get out your shovel and dig. I bet you’ll find plenty of soil. If not, I know this great international company that will be glad to come and help you find some soil: Moats R Us. 😉

    The smoke came back Thursday for 2 hours and then disappeared just as mysteriously as it had appeared. Then a few sprinkles off and on Friday. We might get more real rain Wednesday. The cooler and cloudy weather is welcome.

    Yes, the tennis ball sticking stopping up the accelerator was hilarious. That’s when the opening scene of the dude playing with the tennis ball made sense. And if you’re gonna antagonize a werewolf, isn’t it best to shoot the werewolf when it is still in human form? Then when the werewolf tossed the ball back to the dude, all, ummmm, stained and discolored, the dude’s reaction was priceless: stare at it then carry on playing as before.

    Took Avalanche to see Killian today. Then I took Killian’s human to birthday lunch. Then played that Wombat video for her. She had a good laugh also.

    Oh, the difference between -4C and -12C is hard to explain. It’s a case of those who have experienced it a lot, know. It IS a relative thing for sure. I would call -4C “chilly” and -12C “coldish”. The next break is at -23C “Ok it IS cold now”. -34C is the coldest I’ve experienced. “Very cold” is a good description of that. As in “make sure that none of your skin is exposed to the air” cold. Frostbite occurs rapidly at that temperature.

    As for the domed cave design. Two ideas came together: physics and igloos. And there was absolutely no wind on that particular adventure. None at all. Come to think of it, there was no wind on any of the back country snow cave adventures I was on.

    Yes, the Heimlich Dragons will be entered in the show. And I will continue as a judge’s assistant. It’s fun and I learn a lot. There’s a form to fill out for every carving that is judged. The assistant makes sure that the judge covers all of the points on the form and also writes down any comments the judge has. Then the assistant signals one of the “ribbon runners” that another entry has been judged, at which time the ribbon runner obtains and places the appropriate ribbon, either blue or red. I had been an assistant at the Novice level for years. Last year was at the next level up, Intermediate. Very educational.

    I figured the hardest part of the rocks was placing them in the wall. Smaller movement of the rocks means that brute force won’t work, meaning it might be difficult to use much leverage. I’ve done a few similar things with smaller rocks than you use and have found that placing them is the hardest part by far.


  23. Hi Pam,

    They were lovely puppies indeed! Such great little personalities from day one, and we’ve never cared for puppies before. All the previous dogs were rescue dogs, although given where we bought the puppies from, that was something of a rescue too. Ollie was so good with the pups, despite them biting and generally harassing him, even today. He loves them.

    Mainly Dame Plum was the problem with with the worms, but the pepitas have transformed her. It’s been amazing. Who even knew about that treatment? The lack of more regular dosages was what set us off on this journey. I’m guessing most of those commercial treatments are a sort of middle ground approach, and it works for Ollie and Ruby, just not the adventurous Dame Plum. Hmm. Perhaps there is no ‘one size fits all’ approach here?

    That’s great to hear about how good the home grown pepitas are. Thanks! And you’ve inspired me to track down some seeds. We generally purchase bulk quantities of pepitas from some guys we know who run a store at a market selling such things.

    Pam, I’m blushing! But thanks! 🙂 The granite scattered around on the side of this long extinct volcano is really being put to some good use. Plus using the granite helps clean up the paddocks and orchards.

    Yes, the radishes will be planted out in an area I have set aside for them once they produce some adult leaves. Most of the seeds we started have germinated in the greenhouse. The weather has been nothing short of amazing.

    Happy equinox to you too! And I’m glad to hear that your weather has been superb.

    I’ll try and chuck in another photo of the pear trees this week. They’re even better this week.

    Hope you can enjoy some quiet down time soon, preferably with a coffee and a good book (or tea).



  24. Hi DJ,

    Thanks for that. Instead of the command ‘get thee to a monastery’, it becomes ‘get thee digging’! 🙂 A moat is not a bad idea to hold off the occasional Viking raid, sorry to put the stymie on your folks activities, but the soil here just doesn’t hold water above ground unless the dam is lined with bentonite or plastic. That’s one expensive moat we’re talking about here. A long bow might be cheaper…

    Are there still fires burning north of you? They’ve had a tough season up there. Still, it is good to hear that the rain is returning to your area (all that smoke in the atmosphere will assist matters). The weather here continues to be glorious. A tiny bit of rain, some cold days, and some warm days. A person could ask for more, they might not get it though!

    Yeah, a genuinely amusing conclusion, and absolutely the blokes face (he’s the lead singer) was priceless. I think they might describe the face as somewhat unperturbed?

    Happy birthday to Killian’s human. And hope the lunch was good? We had lunch at a local cidery today and sat outside next to the cider orchard in the warm spring sunshine. A quality cider was consumed and we shared a plate of nachos. Crashed out when we got home. Those nachos sure take a bit of energy to digest.

    Holy carp DJ! Where the heck did you encounter -34’C? Hey, did you read about the cold weather record down maybe a month or two ago at some high altitude base in Antarctica? It was something crazy like -80’C. So very wrong.

    It’s a great way to learn. Did the expectations get higher for you as assistant at the intermediate level? I assume you can employ what you learn in that capacity and include the knowledge in your works? Do they have a master level?

    Exactly, placing them is the hardest part of the hauling job. That’s the entire nub of the problem in a nutshell. The large movements are easy, the smaller ones not so much. Sandra is usually guiding me to move the large rocks a tiny bit in any direction so that the arrangement works visually. And if that goes on too long (i.e. more than two seconds!), we stop and she uses the wrecking bar to push the rock in the direction it needs to go using leverage, whilst I sort of lift one end of the rock, or give the thing a rocking motion so as to reduce friction. Being granite, the stuff is both dense and heavy.



  25. Hi Lewis,

    There’s a gentle art to cooking and eating what’s in season, and instead as a civilisation we kind of rely on long supply lines these days. I read recently that long supply lines were something Napoleon had more or less worked out, but mind you the eastern campaign ended pretty badly for him on that front, and probably much worse for the troops by all accounts. Horseflesh would soon get tiresome, and you might need the horses. It surprised me that the bloke seemed to have no troubles raising an army whenever required. And another chunk of weirdness is that I noticed daylight savings hours (next weekend here, we’ll spring forward an hour, and I’ll take a week to adjust to the lost hour) were introduced earlier during WWI and WWII, before then gaining wider acceptance in the early 1970’s. I could blame Woodstock and all that rock n’ roll music of the early 70’s, but the theory doesn’t extend to the much earlier war eras. There’s mystery there for sure.

    Ah, I see. I had not known about the authors travails during the writing of that book. Hope he was OK. Some journeys lead you into the fire, and then hopefully you make it through without too many burns. We all collect burns as we go through life, sad to say. Unfortunately, that really was my introduction to the authors works, but candidly, the book is better than any work of fiction that I could ever write! A man’s gotta know his limits. 🙂 It was the ending with that story, it just kind of quickly wrapped up. Yes, I recall that being mentioned in the ‘On Writing’ book about the authors experience during the writing of ‘Cujo’. A frightening tale.

    I just watched the Young Sheldon video game incident on utoob. Takes me back! 🙂 Far out, I had to laugh when the kid and his grandmother (MeeMaw?) were fighting a boss creature. I seriously recall spending a day at the computer on the turn based game Ultima VI, fighting my way down to the lowest dungeons, and then not working out how to finish the game after months of effort getting in there and equipping the crew to survive. It’s not like there was the interweb in those days which you could just ask the question. No. Defeated, and couldn’t go back after that. Went on to another game instead. I tell you man, those things eat your life. Press the A key!!!! Very funny.

    It’s quite uncanny to watch how the soil levels in the stock tanks disappear. I’m sure some of that is due to leaching, and some is due to compaction, but most of it is explained away by turning soil into plants. I hear you about the 6 to 8 bags of, something, being needed. Your option is a goodie, and you see some folks around these parts collecting oak leaves in the autumn months, although over the years that is less commonly seen. And the kitchen scraps are great, especially things like egg shells. So good for the plants all that calcium.

    The corn stalks as decor look really good. I thought you were kidding around about them, but no, it’s a thing. Truly, I run them through the chipper… 🙂 How are the cobs going?

    Good to hear that the rains have returned, although it kind of also suggests that the growing season is nearing an end. It was a glorious day of weather here today. Warm sunshine, cool air and no breeze to speak of. Did more cleaning this morning and finished at lunchtime. Headed off to a nearby cidery to enjoy a cider and some nachos (they even had a bit of what you’d probably call chilli sauce on them, which we’d call chilli con carne). It was quite pleasant and you ate the food at scattered rustic tables (made from old timber large cable reels) on a lush lawn next to the orchard. I could have fallen asleep out in the sunshine on the grass, but that may have been unwise move because there were some kids kicking a footy. Always chancy that. Real sorry we hit you with the ball whilst you were asleep in the sun! Best not to put yourself in harms way.

    Do you have any idea what happened to all the stuff that was in the library? At least the room is open now for use. I agree, the essay does apply. Most certainly!

    I’ve heard that cast iron cook wear does last a very long time, although have little experience with the material. Who knows, he may be getting ahead of the curve there? Extracting the finer details of the event, and seeking a confession, sorry, I meant to type err, what exactly took place, does require some persuasive techniques to be put to the use. 😉 I like the sound of that phrase: ‘to the use’. It makes no sense grammatically, but implies a certain sort of, things will go badly if you’re on the wrong end of that story. No worries, the photos looked great, and fingers crossed your lots do better than anticipated.

    Yes, that was the Bran I meant, of The Mabinogion fame I believe, although I’ve only ever read Evangaline Walton’s version and enjoyed it, although I’m guessing that there was some interpretation of the original words chucked in to suit the times and agenda. I’d forgotten that George RR Martin had used the same name for a central character. Seriously, the dude needs to get a ghost writer to finish the series off once and for all – no excuses. 🙂 I couldn’t bring myself to watch the series, although it was enormously popular. The books were so dense and complicated that I figured the series would miss a thing, or perhaps four thousand things given the bonkers page count of each book. A lot of things took place in those Dark Ages.

    Beware the dreaded drop off and pick up times. A lot of traffic and social manoeuvring.

    Hehe! Well, that will teach you to read the non fiction graphic book about films and their merchandisinge. 🙂 I’ve never seen a Transformers movie, and glad to hear that you enjoyed it – and the popcorn and cheese (yum!) It is funny you mention crumbly local cheddar.

    Surely the cougar wasn’t after the auction goods? Is that particularly brazen of the cougar to venture into such a place?



  26. Yo, Chris – Somewhere I read that the tunnels into the igloos had a trench dug, somewhere along their length. It was a “cold sink.”

    Well, happy equinox to you to! Here’s an article on everything you ever wanted to know about the equinox, and a lot of other stuff, too.

    “Napoleon’s Food Preservation Prize 1795.” But still, the long supply lines were a problem. The retreat from Russia debacle was mostly winter related. Seems like not six months go by, and some archaeologist discovers another burial pit, from that retreat.

    I can’t quit see rockers and hippies getting behind daylight savings time. Besides the wartime change, which kind of made sense, I think it was mostly farmers and parents pushing for the changes. Farmer’s had more daylight in the mornings. And little Bobby didn’t have to go to school in the dark! The horror, the horror. 🙂 When I had my astrological chart done, decades ago, it had to be adjusted, as Oregon was still on “war time.”

    The irony in King’s story, is that he had got himself pretty well cleaned up. Life was good. Then he’s hit and nearly killed by a drunk driver.

    Yup. Young Sheldon’s grandma is MeeMaw. Played by the wonderful Annie Potts. The series is just what I need, right now. I don’t know why, but the world seems kind of “dark” right now. I took “Holly” back to the library, this morning. Along with the newest “Walking Dead” series. Just not up for them. There’s been a couple of series I’ve been watching, that I’ve bailed on. Mostly, British mystery series. Even they’ve gone “dark,” in a lot of ways. But more importantly, did you save the princess? 🙂

    We get plenty of oak leaves, from the forest behind the Institution. But I go for the Maple leaves, from down by the library. There’s mixed reviews on using oak leaves, for mulch or compost. Pretty high acid. Our weather is about to take a radical change. We’re supposed to get some 25-30mph winds, tomorrow. When I got back from the Club, this morning, I tied down the corn and mammoth sunflowers. Better to do it today, rather than tomorrow when it’s bucketing down. And even though it wasn’t supposed to start raining, until after 2pm, it was beginning to come down this morning. While I was out there, I also picked another handful of green beans.

    Post before last, Prof. Mass was talking about our first real atmospheric river of the season. Should arrive on Tuesday. I wonder if we’ll lose some trees? They’re still in full leaf (to catch the wind), and haven’t begun to change color, yet. But as of now, the ground isn’t saturated. There was snow on the top of Mt. Rainier. But, our forecast overnight lows, for the next week, are well above freezing.

    Oh, we have chili con carne, here. Chili comes in so many forms. With beans, without beans, with meat (can even be turkey), without meat. Vegetarian, low fat, etc. etc..

    I was told one of the Inmates took a lot of the stuff to the local op-shop. Besides all the dreck, they were also re-doing the community outreach person’s office, as there had been water damage. So a lot of her office stuff, and records, were stored in there. In breaking news, because stuff was broken, once again, our elevator became out of service, and once again, on a Friday afternoon. Apparently, someone moving in or out bashed the control panel. It won’t get fixed until Monday, as a weekend call would coast $900. Ripple effect: Luckily the food box came, before the elevator went down. But a lot of the ladies can’t bring down what they don’t want for the swap table. But, I still managed to put together three bags, for the Club pantry. Took it in, this morning. And what a surprise. Someone had brought in about 40 cans of garbanzo beans! I brought home about 10 cans, as my personal stash was getting low.

    Our food box was a bit bland. A lot of bread. Which I took down to the swap table. It’s usually trembling on the edge of going bad, so I don’t take it to the Club. The only thing I kept for myself was a one pound bag of walnuts, and some diced tomatoes. The usual tinned stuff. But not much of it. As far as meat protean goes, a can of “ground pork and juices (?) and two small tins of tuna.

    No matter how rusty or dirty, a lot of elbow grease and cast iron cook ware (the old stuff) can be resurrected. Some people collect it, just for the decor. Griswold and Wagner companies are the most desired.

    Yes, all that orange, in the auction. “Pumpkin orange” is an actual color. I saw a headline, last night, “Outdoor Halloween Decorations That Will Make Your Neighbors Jealous.” Envy is one of the seven deadly sins. For a reason. Now that’s a feeling you want to inspire in your neighbors.

    As far as “Game of Thrones” goes, once I read “Seven Royal Houses,” I lost interest. I’d need a flow chart. I was slightly interested, as I’d like to see Peter Dinklage strut his stuff. But not enough to watch it.

    Not so much pick up and drop off, as enormous, slow moving buses that make frequent stops. Seems like if a kid lives more than a block from the school, buses are available. Didn’t happen when I was a kid.

    I occasionally get a “let’s run out and get an action figure” or other tat, twinge. But it’s usually something like “Nightmare Before Christmas.” 🙂 I resist, without too much problem.

    Probably a young cougar, pushed out of the prime real estate, by the oldies. I notice there was a primary school, close to where the cougar was sighted. 🙂

    Things were rather chaotic, at the Club, this morning. Mr. Bill, our Club manager was a no show. Later, I head he was in the hospital. I saw him one morning, this week, and he was not feeling well. As near as I could figure, anxiety.

    You might find this article from yesterdays local newspaper, interesting.,326023

    Sometimes, the news is more positive. Lew

  27. Hi Lewis,

    Nature loves its boom and bust cycles, and the squirrels will probably do it tough next year. I’ve observed that the fruit trees here have good and bad seasons, and it is best to plant out a wide diversity of trees if you want to get something each year. Although, trees within varieties tend to be consistent like those oaks. Some years will be bad for apricots for example, and you’ll get none. We had a good apple and pear production last year, but will it be the same this year? I think not. This year the stone fruits will do better as the weather is hotter and drier. Nature is unpredictable! 😉

    Man, I hope never to have to employ that knowledge of the igloos / ice caves. Way too cold for my preferences.

    My head is spinning as I’d not fully appreciated that there was an equilux. Whatever will they think of next? On the other hand, there is a great deal of good sense to knowing when exactly is the equinox. Lot’s of planting and sowing decisions can be made if you knew when exactly that date was. The Ancients were no fools.

    Yeah, the long retreat Napoleon and his army made was most certainly hampered by winter. From reading, I kind of had the impression that Napoleon and his troops had the vague idea that they’d live off the land as they fought their way north and east. Turns out, the people denied them the opportunity to do so. Always an option. That retreat would have been a brutal journey, so yeah I’m not surprised that burial pits along the way back have been discovered.

    Well, it was only a theory about the rockers and hippies getting behind the push for daylight savings time. Maybe they were otherwise occupied doing whatever it was they were doing? 🙂 That makes sense, although diary farmers would have had to get up physically earlier during the warmer season. The cows probably never cared much for clocks. Yes, being an hour out, may have quite the impact on your chart.

    What a horrid incident the author endured, and I can’t imagine that the recovery was easy. It is hard to shake the memory of the author noting that: ‘he’d been run over by a character from one of his own books’. You’d hope the bloke apologised, and was charged, at the very least?

    The actor played a very entertaining role as the receptionist in the Ghostbusters films. So good. I did rather enjoy the scene of her handing over the game controller to the young kid, then yelling at him as to how to control the game. Yes, it’s true, people lose perspective with those games.

    No, there was no princess to rescue in the game series. It was a dude! 🙂 The character was Lord British, and the end of the game involved ‘when he uses a red moongate to travel to the Isle of the Avatar’. So the ruler of the land was that bloke, and you played the Avatar and small crew trying to clean up the continual messes in the kingdom. A bit like how Merlin would have constantly been rescuing Arthur and his merry band of knights from the never ending troubles they seemed to get involved with.

    Things have gotten a bit dark, but perhaps that is people sensing change in the air. I’m my usual sunny disposition, because after all, things have been much darker. But maybe this is just my life experience? 😉 Mate, I’m sure you’ve seen darker days too.

    That doesn’t surprise me at all about oak leaves being higher in acidity. The soil eats all, sooner or later, but maybe add some calcium with the leaves.

    So, that’s where all our rain has gone? The weather here has been very nice indeed, and right now there is plenty of moisture in the soil after three wet years. Another two months of this weather, with extra sun energy, and I may be singing a different tune, but right now, things are good.

    Your elevator is a commons, and it makes me wonder if anyone fessed up to the damage?

    Nothing wrong with chickpeas, and they make a very tasty dip. So yeah, you scored well with those 10 cans. They’re actually a very good source of protein.

    Wise to be sceptical of the bread. Did the tin really proclaim the word ‘juices’? That’s very strange and can have many different meanings, some you’d probably not want to investigate too closely. The word ‘natural’ often gets misused in labelling, and after all – uranium is natural.

    True, and pride is another big no-no. I pass a sign in the big smoke proclaiming to be proud of some kiddies achievements in an particular educational facility. I was wondering if the marketing people were widely enough read to use that word? Of course, the fictional character Damien Omen, went to school somewhere. I always thought that the horror in that film was a bit petty.

    Exactly, Peter Dinklage, nuff said. 😉 His portrayal of the character was meant to be pretty awesome, but then I’d have to sit through the rest of the series. I so hear you.

    Stay strong, and continue to resist Brother Lewis! 🙂 Some characters are better than others, aren’t they?

    Nothing will get a cougar shot quicker than threatening the kiddies.

    The dude might be having heart troubles too? Hope he’s OK.

    Thanks, and it was very interesting. Those folks are doing the exact right thing. Yup. It is nice to see that they are being trusted to continue the good work. We’re into over 180 years of failure on that front, so you’d think the authoritas would let go of their hold? Maybe they need to fail some more? A mystery. All suppression seems to achieve is a much worse outcome in the long term.

    Cheers and better get writing!


  28. Yo, Chris – Saw an article last night, about your potential fire season. You probably already know all this, but there might be something new in the article …

    I started watching a newish series, last night. Got season one from the library, to see if it was any good. Well, I scarfed down the first five episodes, last night. 🙂 It’s called “Fire Country.” It’s fiction. About fighting wild land fires in Northern California. They use convict crews, along with the regular firefighters, down there. Besides all the fire stuff, there’s a lot of interpersonal drama. Worth a look, if you can find it on-line. I see there’s going to be a season two.

    Cosmic! Right now, on the island of Skellig Michael, a few days on either side of the equinox, light is touching the doorframe of the largest cell, where the monks probably gathered communally. Over a few days, it laps across the floor, and eventually lights up the whole interior of the space. A different light show, happens at the summer solstice. That is an amazing place. There are mysteries. But they figure a large bit of it was build, over a couple of hundred years, in the 7th and 8th centuries.

    “Scorched earth” policies can work both ways. Armies and civilians can retreat, and burn or destroy anything of use, behind them.

    “Lord British?” Sounds like imperialistic propaganda to keep colonials on board. 🙂

    “Add calcium to oak leaves.” Bone meal?

    I tied down my corn and Mammoth sunflowers, yesterday. It’s going to get pretty windy, starting this evening, and keeping up for about 24 hours. At least according to the forecast.

    No one fesses up to anything, around here. Who stole our night managers tomatoes. There are suspects ….

    Yes. Juices. So, anything touted as natural is radioactive? Yikes! 🙂

    I heard that Mr. Bill, our Club manager is in the hospital. You never know down there, if people get their stories straight, but he’s in for “chest congestion.” I do hope he pulls through, ok. He’s the glue that holds that place, together. We’ve lost club managers, before, for one reason and another. Someone has stepped up. Often someone unexpected.

    Well, as of 6 last night, biscuits and gravy are on for this morning. We’ll see. Last night, our usual chef was back, and Philly sandwiches were on offer. I don’t see what the big deal is. A long bun, sliced beef, horseradish sauce (which could have been sharper), fried onions and mozzarella cheese. Tasty. Lew

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