A moment of regret

There comes a time in everyone’s life when they do something truly stupid. It happens to everyone. It can happen in but a single moment.

Late this afternoon, all was good with the world. The weekend had been quite lovely. After a very wet start to the week, the weekend had been sunny, dry and cool. Sadly, as can be expected, the weekend was nearing the end point. I began thinking about sitting down and writing this weeks blog.

The modem and router were switched on. For some reason the internet connection was slow. Like way back to the mid 1990’s dial up speed kind of slow. Hmm. That wasn’t good. But oh yeah, now I remember. The nice telco sent a text message earlier saying that they were upgrading the mobile (cell) phone towers in the local area.

Just on the off chance that the telco had completed the work (they had), I took a look into what was going on inside the obscure workings of the modem. Turns out, the modem demanded a firmware update. Nothing makes me happier than being ordered around by a machine to do something, or face the consequences (kind of a bit like the horrid ED-209 robot). Anywhoo, I got the update process going, which ate up precious writing time. The update fixed everything. The internet was back to its usual crazy fast speeds again. Honestly, I don’t really require such fast speeds.

Then just for good measure, my computer started acting weird. Tech geeks have an old saying, I’m sure you’ve heard it: Have you switched the computer off, then turned it back on again? And that’s what (as they say) gone and done it. Unlike the modem and router, the computer didn’t switch back on again normally. Instead I was faced with a delightful shade of blue on the screen with a number of options, none of which worked. Even restoring from the Windows system image didn’t work. The evening had just then become a total disaster.

Who knew that the computer was writing crucial files to memory when I switched it off?

Oh well, there was nothing for it. A nice shot of rum soothed the frayed consciousness, and steeled the nerves against the epic amount of reinstalling of software which took place over the next few hours. Sadly, instead of writing an entertaining essay, you, lovely readers, are listening to me whinge about the downsides of computer technology. Trust me, I’d rather be writing entertaining essays about bubbles, than reinstalling software.

Fear not though! No crucial data was lost in crash. Just a lot of software bit the bullet. I’d be interested to hear how everyone out there backs up their computer devices so that the things can be restored quickly and easily in the face of computer trauma? So if you have any helpful suggestions, now is not the time to be shy.

A months worth of rain fell earlier this week. Spot the rainbow

Almost 80mm (over 3 inches) of rain fell earlier in the week. By Friday the rain had eased off. It was so wet outside that we decided to have a burn off of some of the forest litter. Basically, that’s the stuff that trees have dropped onto the ground over many decades, and it also happens to be the material which will fuel super-hot bushfires. It’s hard work cutting and hauling forest litter, and we were at that task for two days. But at least the days were cool, and the recent rain meant that there was no possibility of the fire getting away from us.

The author pushes the fire together. Where’s Waldo?

During the clean up, we spotted a very nice rock which would look good added to the rock walls we’ve been making on the new low gradient path project. We rolled the rock into the bucket of the power wheelbarrow, then drove it back up the hill.

A large boulder is brought back up the hill

Dumping the boulder out of the bucket is a much easier job than getting the rock in there in the first place.

A very nice addition to the new rock wall

A bit of work with the six foot steel wrecking bar, and the rock was moved into position. They do say that with the right lever, you could move the planet. I’d just hope to never see such a lever because that would be 100% pure apocalyptic!

The boulder was added to the rock wall

The decent rainfall was a real boon to the plants. The ferns in particular enjoyed the big drink from the sky.

Mother Shield ferns have enjoyed the wet weather
The Tree fern is going off!

A little baby Echidna has been mooching around the shady orchard. I’ve had to train the dogs to leave it alone, and mostly they have done so. I quite like Echidna’s because they eat ants, and the enemy of my enemy, is my friend!

A little baby Echidna has visited the shady orchard

Onto the flowers:

Blueberries are flowering this week
The Canary Island Foxgloves have produced lots of flowers during the week
It’s Rhodie time!
The Rhododendrons are very showy

The temperature outside now at about 11am is 12’C (54’F). So far this year there has been 731.0mm (28.8 inches) which is up from last weeks total of 651.4mm (25.6 inches)

43 thoughts on “A moment of regret”

  1. Yo, Chris – Oh, no! Not the Blue Screen of Death! My fruit computer has a spinning, rainbow beach ball, of death. Back up? What’s that? 🙂 I’m glad you got most of your computer problems sorted. Yes, a healthy shot of fortitude files off the rough edges. So, could you say your computer has driven you to drink? 🙂

    That’s a lot of rain, for you. Prof. Mass said that some of our mountain areas, are due for 10″.

    Where’s Waldo? To the left of your bum, in the background?

    Chauffered rocks. What will you think of, next.

    Is it safe to uncover the tree fern? Parrots, and all. The Echidna is so cute, I’m sure it’s next up to be the pet du’jour. Not a kind of pet you can cuddle. As with, a goldfish.

    I hope the bees visit your blueberries (but not, the parrots.) Unlike our bees, which were a no show, early in the season. The slackers!

    Your Rhodies are so pretty. We won’t see the like, for months.

    No worries about your coffee supply. Star Bogs is on the case …


    I really didn’t realize they were so … diversified. Laboratories, and stuff.

    No biscuits and gravy 🙁 . And, I heard a rumor the Saturday night nosh, will come to an end. But then one hears a lot of rumors, around the Club. Lew

  2. Hi Lewis,

    Mate, it’s been a long, long time since I’ve been confronted by the blue screen of death, and been bested by the mighty beast. It took me down and lay me low. Other sub cultures might suggest: Wipe out! And to think I was confident at first when confronting that blue horror. No! It’s too much to consider multi-coloured beach balls of death. It’s the same thing, but dressed up differently.

    I spent much of last night and today recovering the loss. And as of this moment, it seems like everything bar one program has been recovered. Feeling mildly pleased, but a touch brain dead. Think of zombies clamouring for brains, then multiply that by a factor of two. Seriously, bubbles are better. 😉

    You win! 10″ of rain is a bonkers amount that will cause massive flooding downstream. The creeks and rivers here flow into the Maribyrnong River which runs in the big smoke. 6″ last year caused monster flooding in the big smoke.

    Hehe! Yes, Ollie was hiding there. It wasn’t as hard as the photo on last week’s blog. Ruby was lurching through the garden beds in the greenhouse, and nobody spotted her. Look for the black furred shape.

    The rocks appreciated the efforts, and if I must say, they look better in the rock wall than strewn randomly arond the property. We discovered a rock which the earthworks dude rolled down the hill during the initial construction phase, and it looks rather precarious. I’ll try and chuck in a photo on the next blog. It was like playing boulder pinball.

    It’s not just you wondering about the unveiling of the tree fern. We’ll see. It’s not the little red and blue parrots, it’s the really big green and orange parrots. I’ve asked them to behave themselves, but candidly, I’m worried.

    The bees have been out and about for about two months. The blueberries will be pollinated. Unfortunately we have Currawongs who are smart enough to know a good feed when they see one. Remember the book ‘Hollow Kingdom’? Well S-T is a smaller relative of those birds.

    Spotted the parent of all these Echidna’s this evening. And earlier today, Ollie alerted me to another baby Echidna. Not saying that we have a lot of Echidna’s but it is beginning to look that way. They’re super armoured against most creatures, fluffies included, so I’m calling it: they’re the bush-master. Those spikes are super-sharp.

    I’d been reading about the problems with coffee plants. Did you know that there are quite a number of wild coffee varieties growing. As you’d imagine, they don’t taste as good (from my perspective). Anywhoo, I’m looking into tea camellia’s which at least have a decent chance of surviving here. My fave quote was: Nature “adapts faster than the laboratory science does.

    Listen to the rumours, observe the actuality. Live with good enough. What do you reckon? It seems like a workable philosohpy!

    I appreciate the kind words of condolence at the loss of an operating system.

    Your weather is sounding more and more like the weird sort of autumn we enjoy. Autumn is getting less relevant as a distinct season. But that’s merely my observation. It may surprise you how quickly winter arrives!

    Thanks for the review of the series. Blowing away cobwebs after a day which began at the dentist and only went downhill from there. The young lady in the image looks like she knows how to wield a fire poker. Prepare to be poked! Probably leave quite the dent in ones head. Yes, it would hurt, permanently. 🙂

    Be careful what you wish for! A friend of mine was a bit grouchy about the politics in the Barbie film. When mirrors are broken, the glass can cut. That’s my thinking there. The Editor went to see the film with her friends, and enjoyed it. It tells a solid tale, and Margot Robbie is a truly great character actor.

    Pencils were described as lead when I was a kid, but then they used to happily chuck the metal in fuels, and it didn’t hurt me none. 😉 Well, maybe just a bit. Maybe a bit more than that. Oh well, back then nobody thought about such stuff. Might explain a thing or two, huh?

    Ha! I like your style. Cheap computers haven’t been around that long. Paper is cheaper for accounting work, and in some ways more resilient. I’m waiting for a huge interweb server to pack it in one day. It’ll happen sooner or later.

    Nah man, I left such opportunities well alone. Although years ago I knew a lady who used to say that the very best gardeners were thieves. It may be true, and if that is the case there is still much to learn. Hey, I can see that about dial-a-firey.

    So, I’ve long been getting the impression that Gene was a bit of a d@ck. Sir Patrick possibly wouldn’t have been the first to have made that observation. The gentleman sounds very well grounded to me. Respect to the good Sir. A person has to find the balance between enjoying a surplus and not squandering their good fortune. One never quite knows where the future is headed.

    I get that about retaining the items that bring memories or you have attachment too. One needn’t live the life of austerity, but then there is a middle ground between there and having way too much stuff.

    Hope your first frost is delyaed somewhat whilst the remaining tomatoes do something.

    Yeah, I read the bear article, and noticed the used can of bear spray. Sometimes hikers need a bit more authority, like what the group who discovered the bodies had. Anything less, might be a touch risky, despite the marketing claims.



  3. Hi Pam,

    It is a lovely machine, and they’ve been making them the same for a couple of decades now, which I reckon is a sign the folks got it right. Or maybe, nobody told them to stop making the thing. 😉 It’s probably the former, maybe! Hehe! What’s really good about it, is how repairable the machine is. I suspect that aspect was designed into it.

    Inflation is a bit of a problem, but I dunno, frankly it’s just a bit of a mess. That doesn’t really say much, but as a civilisation if we were truly going to do something about the economic ill winds, things would look rather different than how they do. All you and I can do is make our places more resilient by being productive. It is those who only know how to consume I’m guessing, who will hurt the most.

    The numbers don’t lie there. High oil prices equal crises, followed by a reduction in demand, mostly due to people not being able to afford to buy stuff. It’s happened often enough that it surprises me that serious folks are surprised by the outcome.

    Pam, fencing is so hard. The other day I watched one of the Kelpies slink under the gate. I wouldn’t have thought it possible, but they went and did it all the same. Deer are much harder to fence out, and I wouldn’t mind if they were a tad less destructive. Oh well. And please, no ground hogs. I saw that movie with Bill Murray and know what the little critters are capable of. Exhibit A: The music from the opening scene to the film could get stuck in your head on an endless loop. You were warned! 😉

    Sorry for your loss of the spicy Charlene, and may junior live up to the memory. Perhaps it is early days for the youngster? But then, sometimes you just know how things will turn out. It is possible though you may encounter and even more cheeky scamp of a character? I seem to have some spare Echidna’s right now which may fill the void? No? Oh well.

    Good spotting. Nobody spotted Ruby the previous week, although it was a lot harder.

    Oh yummo! What do you intend to do with the figs?

    Thanks for the kind thoughts. I got smashed by a titanic computer smooshing. Whatever that means, but you get the impression.



  4. Hi Margaret,

    Maybe it is just me, but I dunno. It seems like there have been more than just a few things breaking of late, and I have no idea why. Oh well. Mostly I notice this because we fix the items ourselves and have been feeling that burden recently. Still, we don’t tend to keep what we can’t repair. Hmm, you’ve just reminded me.

    No worries at all, and I always appreciate your thoughtful dialogue. I’d kind of figured that many folks in your part of the world recently are in the process of battening down the hatches for the winter months.

    Oh my, that’s a heck of a temperature swing to endure, and it’s especially hard on farm animals who lack shelter in their paddocks. That sort of variability is the kind of bonkers weather we have to regularly deal with. It’s not an enviable achievement if I may say so. Is it normal to have such sudden drops in temperature where you are? We get weather coming in from all sorts of directions so that is why things aren’t all that stable here – as last week proved. 3 inches of rain. Hmm.

    Yeah, willows and dogwoods likewise grow around these parts, and I reckon they’re great trees (but have to say that softly because people are a bit weird about the err, non native aspect of those plants). Willows in particular have many interesting uses.

    Sorry to hear that, it’s an unfortunate end for all of the birds. I had a look at the building design and couldn’t quite understand how the birds crashed into it.

    Thanks. There is an idea for a second greenhouse. The building earns its keep.

    Margaret, it’s a total morning nightmare situation! Who knows where the day could go if a coffee emergency got out of hand! 🙂 Glad to hear that you have a coffee plan B, always wise.

    Hey, do you recall your recent holidays now? Hope Doug has the firewood in for the winter season.

    I’m back up and running with the computer stuff. Yay. A lot of work and a massive headache.



  5. Yo, Chris – Speaking of that, here’s a blast from the past …


    Interesting. I was reading in “Status and Culture”, last night, and the author was talking about how “fashion” spreads. Fashion meaning many things. He was talking about how surfing long boards, used to be all the rage. Then short boards made an appearance (back in the 1960s), and they swiftly took over the surfing world.

    As far as ideas go there are: “1.) High-status adoption of new convention – for distinction 2.) Early adopters’ embrace of that convention- as emulation of their status superiors 3.) Early majority reinvention and simplification – to follow an emerging social norm 4.) Late majority imitation – to avoid losing normal status 5.) Laggards’ passive adoption – without intention.” My thoughts are, early adopters’ should be hunted down and neutralized. 🙂 I guess I’m a laggard. After being stung by the Beta / VHS electronics, I’m slow to take up the new and shiny.

    You have my complete sympathy, with your computer problems. Lord knows, I have enough of those kinds of problems, of my own. And I’m am not looking forward to getting a new computer, after the first of the year. I’m too old for steep learning curves.

    Well, 10″ of rain, for us, at this time of the year, won’t be bad. The ground isn’t entirely saturated, yet. And our rivers and streams are deep. Even though we’ve had some nice days, the last two Mondays have been very wet. No Master Gardeners. I didn’t see them when I walked the dog, earlier. I’ll wander out, after I’m through here, and see if they made an appearance. Looking at the weather radar, it looks pretty grim.

    It’s an Echidna stampede! “The Trouble with Tribbles.” Or, Shmoos. Do they taste like chicken? 🙂

    My dad always said, on eating this food or that, that it would “Put lead in your pencil.” If you get my drift. Probably related to the old, “That will put hair on your chest.”

    There was an earthquake, last evening. Didn’t feel it, down here. Seemed to be mostly Seattle and north. A 4 something.

    Ran out of rice, so dinner was more of a challenge. Took a piece of Naan bread, heaped it with diced tomatoes from the garden. Seeds, garlic, spices and herbs. Fried up some eggs, diced them, and heaped it on. Topped with Swiss cheese. 3 minutes in the nuker. Tasty. I made up another big bowl of rice, this morning.

    It’s a national holiday, today. So, no postie. Columbus Day. Which used to be a big deal when I was a kid, but not so much anymore. I think the discovery that the Vikings were here, long before Columbus, took some of the bloom off the rose. And then there’s the whole impact on the indigenous folks. Some are now calling it Indigenous People’s Day. A day of mourning. Lew

  6. Must not make Windows joke…
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    Must not make Windows joke…
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    Press Cancel to Quit

  7. Hi Simon,

    Thanks for the laughs! 🙂 And yeah, that was pretty much how things rolled Sunday evening.

    Hey, who even knew that the blue screen of death still existed, lurking quietly away in the background for some unsuspecting poor soul (i.e. me), to discover it? Not a fan.



  8. Hi Lewis,

    Those guys rock. The addition of Max Weinberg gave the performance a real kind of ‘dueling drummers’ feel. Without going overly into too much detail, that was the bands 30th anniversary, and they did a great rendition of the theme from Hawaii Five O. Man, what stands out to me from the video was just how much the band were enjoying themselves. You could see it in their faces, and they were tight – that’s what you call experience. I don’t reckon they missed a single beat or note either. One good turn, deserves another (as they say): Mark Knopfler – Going Home Marginally fewer beats per minute, plus a string section, but you can see the enjoyment of artists in their prime.

    Respect too for getting the music reference. Hehe! I note that Simon made an amusing addition to the discussion, he who has notably chided me in the past for my disdain for the world of fruit. Both you and he, may be right – just this time. 😉 Try not to get a big head, either of you. Anyway, the household I was in as a kid, got behind VHS, so yeah, the old adage of you win some, you lose some, is probably more true than we’ll ever admit.

    I won’t argue with you about the early adopter biz, but someone has to put themselves out there. Don’t they? Whatever. In relation to item 1), what if there is little status to be gained in a path that may be valid, yet is widely ignored due to the unappealing nature of the option? History suggests that for the majority of human experience, we were an energy poor species and had to make do. That meant that 9 out of every `10 people were involved in the chancy prospect of subsistence agriculture.

    As a dumb question, what does the first of the year have to do with a new computer? Old dogs can learn new tricks. It’s true. You’d be amazed at how much information my poor already over loaded brain has had to take in with the farm machine repairs. Mind you, I’m over the initial learning hump, and at least grew up working on cars – out of economic necessity. Makes you wonder how folks without that background would take up such challenges. Does the status book talk about just what it takes for people to venture out on a new path? That’s an interesting subject.

    Only an environment regularly faced by the prospect of 10″ of rain, adapts to such challenging conditions. 😉 It would be a major whinge-fest here! However, I’ve experienced those conditions here once. That was enough for me. The good professor suggests that similar weather as to what we enjoyed last week is heading your way – 3 inches. That’s wet! And it’s going to rain all day Thursday here. Oh well, it’s good to reduce the fire risk and grow the garden.

    Incidentally, speaking of fire risk, I spotted an article featuring a very interesting bloke (I’ve read a book of his, and it has influenced my perceptions of the world about me): More cultural burns needed ahead of bushfire season, Indigenous practitioner warns. He’s right too.

    Given all those wickedly sharp spikes, Echidna’s probably are tasty. Three of them is probably a bit much.

    Some big film crew is down in the valley below (the Barringo valley). Trucks, equipment and people are everywhere. That never happens. They had huge fans (which I could hear) and from what I could see here they were creating a lot of smoke. I presume that it is some sort of bushfire scene next to an old Victorian era farm house.

    Yes, I do get your drift. It’s a very 1960’s English saying. I grew up watching such naughtiness, and can recognise it from a 100 yards. 🙂

    There is a school of thought which suggests that if you didn’t feel the earthquake, did it even happen?

    Dinner sounds good to me. We had a salad with greens and vegetables from the garden, eggs, peanuts and a bit of tuna. All very tasty. Turns out the refrigerator was not set cold enough. Cheese was a dead give away. Hope this is not the end for that valiant and hard working machine?

    Happy Columbus Day! You’re probably right. Columbus may even have heard of the Viking rumours before setting out? It takes energy to project an vision and dominate. What you find when energy declines, is that competing visions rise to the surface. There’s an old Klingon saying that: “Oppositions don’t win elections. Government’s lose them”. And it’s more true than they may realise.



  9. Yo, Chris – The Mark Kaupfler set was very nice. Not quit the Battle of the Bands (or, Battle of the drum kits) vibe, as the Ventures, but very nice. Just speaking of music, in general, I have two new DVDs from the library, about Lou Reed and the Velvet Underground. I watched one of them, last night. I also watched two of the ghost stories, from the Japanese “Kwaidan.” It’s held up remarkably well, over the years. Everything moves at a rather slow pace, but I didn’t resort to the fast forward button. It has the stately grace of a Noh drama, or Kabuki. And there’s so much to look at, along the way. The whole thing was filmed inside studios, so even what should be exterior scenes look artificial, but in a good way. Of course, the tales take place in “old” Japan, so the architecture is all very interesting. As I’ve said before, I still felt that I was missing out on some symbolism.

    I knew I liked Simon for some reason … 🙂 .

    Why? Why does someone have to put themselves out there? To gain status and make money.

    Sometime in humanities future, 9 our of 10 people (who are left), will once again be involved in agriculture.

    First of the year = the big New Year’s Day auction. Holding out for that so I don’t deplete my savings, too much.

    The rain held off til evening, so the Master Gardeners did show up, yesterday. One of them, Ted, was back from Ireland. LOL. He looked rather startled when I asked if he had seen Skellig Michael. Yes, he had. They didn’t go out to it, but saw it on a tour, from the mainland.

    They might be filming “The Desert King.” A “hot, dusty, sexy outback western with guns and helicopters.” You’ll hear about it, eventually. Might be a good time to hit your local.

    On reflection, I might have felt the earthquake. About that time, I was sitting in my chair, and felt three small jolts. But, that often happens in this building, from slamming doors, or whatever. It was mild enough that I didn’t think “earthquake.”

    Last night, I kept dinner simple. Rice, garbanzo beans. A handful of tomatoes from the garden. Mushrooms. The usual trimmings. Tasty.

    Oh, there were rumors floating around Europe, that there was some land mass, out west. Portuguese cod fishermen regularly traveled to the Newfoundland Banks, to fish.

    Something ate one of my small zucchini. Mouse? Rat? Squirrel? Who knows. Lew

  10. One of my comments when things go sideways: Rust never sleeps.

    We push and push against entropy, and then there is design for short term profit, so things will fail. When one is used to the older forms of failure, it was intuitive stuff, like friction, rust, overstressed material, etc… ,but the way electronic things fail is not intuitive at all. Besides that one random capacitor that slowly and surely finally pops, or that nano flaw on a chip finally melts, there are also software bugs that are so hidden, so rarely triggered, that when they finally happen, it will be when you have done exactly the same thing you’ve done a thousand times, but this time, lockup, blue screen, spinning beachball, whatever.

    And of course, being so used to the routine, contingency and time cushion have been trimmed over time, and thus the glitch will occur right at deadline.

    In my case, cussing ensues. Luckily, I don’t do paid work on my computer any more, and don’t push it’s capabilities at all, so it’s been pretty smooth for a few years. ( yes, I tempt fate all the time). I’m on a Mac that is about ten years old, but I have no idea how it stacks up MTBF compared to other brands.

    Getting our first frost this week, leaves are falling, and I’m scrambling to finish closing in the greenhouse. It’s not my design, and there are issues, so it’s been improvise/modify as I go.

    Opened the first bottle from the cider batch I made this fall, and oops! I put too much corn sugar in for carbonation. I’m surprised we haven’t had any bottles explode. Made a mess, and only got about a fourth of it in the glass, so we’ll be prepared and alter our procedure for the next one.

    The recipes usually say a scant teaspoon per bottle, but I might have been in a bit of hurry, and got sloppy. It tasted good though! At bottling, the ABV was around 7%, ( usually it’s around 9 or 10) so I wonder if I bottled too quickly, and the little beasties were still working on the initial sugars?

    We live and learn.

  11. Chris,

    Nice echidna picture. Thanks.

    Sorry to hear about your bad Windows experience. We’ve all been there, or at least very close to it. Such is life with Micros**t.

    I read that somebody leaked some information from Micros**t. Remember when Windows 10 was advertised as the FINAL version of Windows ever needed? Ha! The leak is that Micros**t will be releasing Windows 12 sometime in 2024. And it will NOT be a free upgrade for current Windows users with appropriate microprocessors. Nope. Twill be a monthly subscription service. UGG.

    Anyhoo, my method of preparedness for such Micros**t mayhem that you experienced is to have a backup hard drive separate from the computer. It gets updated several times per year.  

    Stihl Sunday went as I had hoped. A lot of dead branches were removed from the hawthorn trees. They look a lot better and happier. The Princess interrupted me while I was working. Dame Avalanche had caught a squirrel and was trying to feast on it. I disposed of the squirrel and gave Dame Avalanche extra treats.

    Think about it from that squirrel’s viewpoint. First, a cat had chased it in the alley and gotten the squirrel to climb a utility pole. Avalanche and I chased the cat away. There may have been a garden hose, nozzle, some water and a wet cat involved. 😉

    An hour later, Dame Avalanche had cornered the squirrel in one of the red twigged dogwood bushes. As the squirrel could easily hop onto either of 2 fences, clamber over and escape, I left the situation alone.

    Then the squirrel navigated improperly, got, umm, “huskied”. Poor critter had a very bad and disastrous day!

    We consider Monday to be Indigenous People’s Day in our home. After all, the Princess is Indigenous and I’ve got a bit of Indigenous ancestry. The day was spent doing odds and ends. Then my phone rang late afternoon.

    Ugg. Twas my friend’s wife. He took a major downward turn over the weekend. She said it was just a matter of time.

    Tuesday we ran a lot of errands. We eventually stopped for a pint and a feed. We call the food we ate “drunken chicken and potatoes”. The eatery calls it “broached chicken and jo-jos”. We were enjoying our brews. My phone rang. Twas a friend of my friend. My friend passed early Monday evening. UGG

    We are both reeling right now. Avalanche knows something is abnormal and is spending extra time slinking up to us and giving the humans some extra attention.


  12. Hi DJ,

    In the past week we’ve spotted three Echidna’s roaming around the place. The other only critter in their family tree is the platypus, and they’ve got poisoned spurs. Wouldn’t Ollie get a surprise if he encountered one of those creatures?

    For a second there I thought you were about to type: Microsnot. You have to admit, that works! 😉 Oh my gawd! As it is the machine is hassling me to upgrade to Windows 11. Like I’m some sort of trailblazer. I don’t think so. Stay strong DJ, and avoid the upgrade temptation, at least until the bugs are all sorted out. Ugg indeed! A lot of software is headed that way, IT folks ain’t cheap. The thing is, there actually are diminishing returns for software improvements.

    Thank you for your backup system. And that is what we do too with a mirrored removable drive, but also do a full backup once per week just to be safe. It’s a business after all. I do wonder about the security of leaving data on some remote server. Sometimes, you are the product! (as I read long ago)

    A little Stihl, goes a long way! 😉 Glad to hear that the day went well. Hope you avoided the spiky thorns on those Hawthorn shrubs? They make great fences, and were originally grown as a living farm animal fence.

    All depends upon perspective with such matters, and dogs are, dogs, and they’ll do whatever it is that dogs do. The unsuspecting squirrel may not have heard the old adage about leaving sleeping dogs lay? Incidentally, your story sent me on a mathematical quest! Just how many lives did the squirrel squander that sad afternoon? I’m estimating the doomed squirrel burned through three lives that day. How does that work with your tally of the events? Also acknowledging that you were closer to the action.

    Years ago I used to have a cat who thought that he was a dog. The cat was raised by ‘Old Fat’ the Dorgi (a Dachshund / Corgi cross, a breed inadvertently created by an accident in the Queens kennels). Anywhoo, eventually the cat came across a monster tom-cat, as you do. The confused cat-dog was no match for the street fighting prowess of a large orange tomcat. The stripes on the fur were earned, let’s put it that way. An ear was split down the middle, and healed that way. And one day I caught the monster tom cat on the fence, and just like you turned the garden hose on the beast. Can you believe the huge cat had the temerity to sit on the fence and wee into our backyard? Talk about audacious behaviour. The vet couldn’t sow the ear back together because the skin was too thin. Sadly, the cat died of a broken heart at the age of ten years when the Dorgi passed away. They were really good mates those two. The household went into a tail spin for a few weeks afterwards, and that was when Toothy joined. He brightened up the vibe with a total mixture of sheer naughtiness.

    Respect. If I may add an observation, the current state of affairs will not continue. How could they? The Elder ones always knew this to be the case, but I tell ya, who listens in these enlightened times?

    DJ, life is a journey where things drop out and away from our reach, despite our best efforts. I’m so sorry for you for the loss of your friend. How long have you known your friend? Where did you two meet? Ugg.

    Dogs can read the vibe. Listen to Avalanche, attend the funeral (if possible), and remember.

    With condolences.


  13. Hi Steve,

    Entropy is a hungry monster, oh yeah, I hear you about that. It’s a good saying too! It seems as if every other week I’m repairing some system around here that needs attention. Tomorrow will be a very wet day, so there are plans to replace the clutch on one of the chainsaws. Plus a few other machines need some attention. Never a dull moment, that’s for sure.

    That’s true about short term profit over riding an ability to simply produce longer lasting machines. It’s bonkers really, but it is the world in which we live. And I agree, a random capacitor failure can ruin a machine (not to mention transistor failure). The discharge in a circuit following that can sadly ruin the other less easily replaced items, such as proprietary chips. You’re not wrong, the failure will occur when least expected. What’s curious is that some of the older school electronic devices which I’ve restored, are getting much harder to find now. Hmm.

    Hehe! What was weird about the glitch (thanks for that word), was that I’d worked extra on the Friday so as to get a buffer. I’d intended to have a slack day on the following Monday. Yeah, well that didn’t work out so well, but at least there was some slack to lose. I dunno about you, but I do try not to be at capacity all of the time. There has to be some room for when things go horribly wrong, like they did.

    Cussing is a fine response! And there were some choice words used here, rest assured. 🙂 Ha! And to think that my first response was that you’d used an appropriate cuss filled acronym, but no, Mean time between failures is an awesome concept. Imagine the sheer fear that would have if you were in space and there were only limited parts available? Ten years is a laudable outcome, but I reckon it depends on how hot the device has gotten in those years. Heat is the killer with that stuff. There may be life left in the machine.

    I get that, and you know, don’t let perfect be the enemy of the good enough. And maybe if the plastic tears away one day in a storm, it’s a good excuse to construct a new greenhouse using what you’ve learned? My mum said I was a bad influence, but I dunno what she was talking about! 😉 Hope you dodge the frost for a few weeks to come.

    Hehe! Your cider was like that scene of the exploding bottles in Breaking Bad. That’s a fine brew to achieve that result. Out of curiosity, do you measure the specific gravity during the process, or do you have some other method of measurement?



  14. Hi Lewis,

    The music was a bit more chill, yeah. And glad that you enjoyed it. Those two dudes on the drum kits were having a blast, as was the rest of the band. You could see it in their faces that the smiles were genuine. There’d be some up-tight people in rock and roll, and that could be a real downer.

    Did anyone even understand the Velvet Underground? I must say though, that I have always enjoyed Lou Reed’s song Dirty Blvd. The song tells a story, and paints a picture, that’s for sure. Gritty and real. It stinks of the streets. Oh yeah, I’d forgotten that you had the Japanese classic ghost film on hold. It’s good that the film held up the years and your expectations. Sometimes, it can be painful to go back and revisit old stories, at least that has been my experience. On the other hand, you piqued my interest with this loose talk of Picard season III. Watched a few shorts, and hmm. Looks like fun, and strangely artificial like the Japanese classic film.

    The film is the product of a different culture, so my gut feeling is that you’d see far more of the symbolism than I, probably having read more on that culture. I’m not mucking around, but some of the word symbolism in Beowulf was entirely lost on me, and without Professor Tolkien’s guiding hand through the story… So yeah, I absolutely hear you about that. Makes you wonder what a person a century in the future would make of the original Star Wars film. Wasn’t there an earlier Japanese film which sort of had a similar plot?

    Simon is good value. And also a rather insightful person, if I may say so.

    The problem with chasing status all comes down to the ‘Fuse Bible’. That book stares at me, like it gives off this sort of metaphorical stench. You may have smelled that before, and the closest analog would be the stink of hubris for sure. The dark book thing sits there on the desk, and it is such a good reminder that a person can get stuff wrong, without even knowing that is the case. So my general thesis is this: They don’t know what they’re doin’ chasin’ status – how could they? Is it really about the money? Maybe.

    I agree, history suggests this outcome that 9 in 10 will be working at that. Also that there will possibly be only 1 in 10 of us at that time too. Oil is now back on the up again. And diesel is a very interesting story.

    Hey, that’s great that the master gardeners showed up, and that the rain held off. Hehe! It always amuses me too when people under estimate. 🙂 Good shot too.

    Very funny. Haven’t heard anything on the local grapevine as to what the filming was all about. I like your version of events, although it’s quite green down there in the valley. Like Mad Max III, such desert films probably have to be filmed in a desert, although I’m told they can do wonderful things with computers these days. And it may be true. Apparently when they went to film that in the outback, the season was too green.

    Hmm. When the 4.0 hit here a few months ago, you could really feel the house shaking – and hear the accompanying roar. Not as bad as the 5.9, but enough to make a person a tad nervous. I recommend the experience, purely for the purposes of clarity! Nah, just kidding, best avoided. Far out.

    Simple dinners work best. I’m finding that smaller dinners work better with me nowadays. We had a similar meal this evening. Nothing fancy, just good solid food – and fresh. Hey, mushrooms are cheap down here now, mostly because of the incident. I have theories, and they may be true, or not as the case may be.

    We planted out beans, peas, silver beet, radishes and beetroot this evening. The ground is warm, and a decent amount of rain is forecast to arrive tomorrow.

    Who is this John Cabot bloke? Turns out that there were Europeans all over the shop. Who knew? They did, probably. I’d read about the closure of those fisheries in the early 1990’s. It won’t be the first, and I doubt it will be the last to achieve such infamy. I remember as a kid, fish and chips used to refer to ‘flake’ which is shark meat. Quite tasty, but rarely seen nowadays.

    Rats will be looking for winter hidey-holes at your time of year. Hey, something broke a few more of the new fronds off the tree fern last night. You were right there.



  15. Yo, Chris – Well … “Velvet Underground.” They had some pretty far out musical theories, involving droning sounds. Apparently, a running refrigerator had the perfect drone. 🙂 People either “got” the Underground, or they didn’t. And they had a rather scathing opinion of the people who didn’t. “Status and Culture” mentions that people who have status, due to being “insiders,” often erect high walls to keep out the punters.

    I finished watching “Kwaidan,” last night. I saved my favorite ghost story, “Hoichi the Earless,” for last. Hoichi is a blind biwa player, who is renowned for his rendition of a tale of two warring houses, who had a final sea battle, nearby. 200 years, earlier. He lives in a Buddhist monastery. He doesn’t realize that the ghosts are luring him out, nightly, to play for them.

    OK. I’m calling it. Korean zombie movies are an official film genre. I also watched “Gangnam Zombie,” last night. Popcorn was had, with the last of the Aussie Gold, cheese. I guess the film was OK. There’s getting to be a kind of a sameness, to those films. Have Korean zombie movies jumped the shark? Or, jumped the zombie? And all the action of this one, takes place in one office building. Pretty much.

    I’m winding up the book, “Status and Culture.” I think it all boils down to change being brought about by the chase for status or money. Money being a status marker, in itself. I’m getting into a chapter on retro trends.

    The author references James Laver, who in 1937 did a rather tongue in check chart of how some things return to favor.


    Looks like “The Desert King,” is going to be a mini-series. Maybe parts of the story, take place in greener parts of Australia?

    The earthquakes epicenter was way up by the Canadian border. They felt it a bit in Seattle, but this far south, not so much.

    LOL. Don’t get me started on mushrooms. Every week, I buy some Shiitake. Up til now, a container of whole Shiitake was $4. If sliced, $6. I can slice my own mushrooms, thanks. But when I went to the store, last week, whole mushrooms were up to $6. I passed. There are usually loose Shittake available, so I got those. Still reasonable (to me) if you bag and slice your own.

    Still no frost in our forecast. Some overnight lows, over the next week are in the 50sF. I had an odd thought, this morning. You hear about “the year without a summer.” I wonder what “a year without a frost” would be like?

    I read some more of the Sir Patrick Stewart autobiography. I thought I’d be taking it back, but it is pretty interesting. When he was a teenager, he did a lot of local amateur theatre. But never really thought of it as a career. When offered some paths to the footlights, a few times early on, he turned it down as, “acting is not for the likes of us.” Being Britain, there were a number of times where he was painfully class conscious.

    He also found out something interesting about his family. His father never talked about Stewart’s grandfather. When he started touring, he was summoned by his father’s mother. A rather formidable old lady, who he had only met a time or two. She spilled the beans. His grandfather had worked in a theater, as a kind of handyman. But one night, was pushed in front of the footlights (the show must go on), and developed a taste for it. Abandoned his wife and four kids, ran off to London, a did quit a bit of acting. John Law showed up, to get him to support his family. He fled to America, and that was the last anyone ever heard of him. Did he change his name, and continue acting? It’s a mystery. Lew

  16. Hello Chris,

    Maybe I don’t really understand the title of this weeks essay. I missed what you regretted and had done in a stupid way? The Micros**t blue screen was probably not due to anything stupid that you had done.
    Anyways, I switched over to Linux for home computing twenty years ago (and since three years professionally as well). The main advantage of using these slightly oldish opensource packages is that they are robust and easy to reinstall.
    We have all data on a Synology NAS, which I backup every month. A few times per year, I place a copy at a trusted friend’s place, to reduce the catastrophe if our place burns down or if everything at home gets stolen.

    The only two things that are not so easy to automatically backup are the Thunderbird address book and the browser favourites.
    I wonder how come there is no good standard for address books?!

    Here in Sweden, walnut harvest is game on. M and me have harvested at least 30 kg walnuts from a single tree in a garden some 10 km from here. We have been looking for nut trees in our vicinity for the last year and called at the door to ask people if we could help them to harvest. The lady of this place was happy to get 3 kg for their own Christmas consumption, and the rest we have collected with “nut rollers” twice.
    I store 1000 seeds to sow, and the rest we dry to use for consumption. The weight loss is quite large for walnuts.
    Almost 50% is lost when drying, and another 50% when shelling, so in the end we will have something like 7kg of kernels.

    We have collected something like 100kg of apples in other people’s gardens. So many different delicious varieties!

    In November tree sales start up for real and I am a little bit nervous how this tree sale season will work out. Every year, I am a little anxious and fear that nobody will show up to purchase trees. And every year (so far!) I have not had enough trees for everybody… 😉

    We are rounding off the growing season, and collecting hoses and drip lines for winter storage. A time to accept that many small farm projects will get a second chance next year…


  17. Hi Göran,

    Ah yes, well, perhaps I had not emphasised that aspect of the operating system meltdown. For some unknown reason, Windows had frozen. I don’t know whether it was a software, or hardware issue, and that was when I physically switched the computer off, except turning the machine back on, that was when the dreaded blue screen of death reared its head. Clearly Windows was writing to the SSD drive at the moment where the power was disconnected. Perhaps I was overly hasty in my actions, thus the title. I can’t say for sure either, but it’s all recovered now.

    I’ve only ever heard good things about Linux as an operating system. I use a lot of business software, which was written for the Windows operating system, and so my hands are tied in this matter. And I agree, when it comes to robustness, Linux is the goods. I believe that the core originated as Unix, which has been around for decades.

    Thanks for providing your experience with backing up data. I must say that a NAS drive has a lot to recommend it. Incidentally, our external copies of data are encrypted with 128 bit encryption, which is a worthwhile thing to do if your data physically exists elsewhere. And total respect for avoiding the cloud. Is it safe up there, maybe? But do we want to find out the hard way if the data is safe up there?

    I like Thunderbird, it’s as good a mail client as you’re likely to find. Nice choice. A person must copy the entire folder for a mail profile.

    Hehe! Yeah, it does make a person wonder, doesn’t it? I suspect that IT doesn’t generally encourage portability of data between platforms.

    Well done, and that’s a great arrangement. 30kg of fresh walnuts is really an impressive achievement. Sadly, people are a bit weird about that down here, and I have no idea why. Most fruit and nuts are like that as they dehydrate. Do you have to do anything special to the walnuts you saved as seeds? I assume you’ll add them to your elevated seed raising beds? I look forward to seeing the photos.

    Who needs to buy apples, when you can do that? Around these parts there are wild apples, and they’re very good and usually tasty. Although every single apple has a purpose.

    Fingers crossed that you have a good tree sale, and the times call for such more fruit and nut trees. Good luck! Business can be a nerve wracking experience at times. Yup. Your product is good.

    You do get to that time of year, don’t you? Incidentally, that happens for us about mid-spring. At that time of the year, you know that you’ve run out of time to do that project which was on the drawing board due to the growing season. We’ve got 300 fruit trees in the ground, and jobs like pruning can take up a fair bit of time, not to mention everyting else.

    Over the past few months we’ve taken on repairing and servicing all of the machines we use, and even today I was working on replacing the fuel tank on the chipper and the clutch on the chainsaw. It never ends, but that is what next season is for – that project you had in the planning stage! 😉



  18. Hi Lewis,

    Maybe I just don’t think of refrigerator compressor noises that way? 🙂 Obviously, this may be something we both need to work on, don’t you reckon? Makes me wonder what the band would think of the screaming exhaust notes from the chainsaw? Hey, we replaced the clutch on that machine today. All was going well, until the rope we’d stuffed into the cylinder to stop the motor turning, frayed and broke. Cleaning up that added another hours work to the job. Incidentally, I put on order a proper tool to do that job. It was $13. Hmm. Sometimes you can do jobs too cheaply. 🙂 Oh well, it’s a learning experience. Also replaced the leaking fuel tank on the wood chipper. It took two months to arrive from the land of stuff, but nobody anywhere down under was selling the things. And even then I had to fabricate a steel bracket to get the new fuel tank to sit properly on the machine. All done now.

    Some artists can cultivate a sense of ins and outs. One aspect of that band was that they were critically acclaimed, and feted, but could they make a living? The articles I read kind of suggested that that was something of a problem. Lou Reed seems to have done better financially after he went solo, although he also appears to have had his share of the ups and downs.

    Barriers to entry are sometimes something a rear guard action, but our society is full of that gear.

    Isn’t it great that Japanese society would have a role for Hoichi the earless? Rabbit hole dead ahead! 🙂 Placating the spirits of the long dead naval warriors would have been in the biwa players day to day line of work. Out of curiosity, did Hoichi discover the truth at the end of the tale?

    If the talk on the web is anything to go by, you’re right. It is an official genre. It’s not a bad premise at all that film. Quite amusing really. Some of the reviews I read suggested that there was better fare to be consumed in that genre. Ride the wave!

    Did the author of the status book cover any aspects of people falling from status? Or was the book only concerned with a search for status?

    James Laver was astoundingly insightful. How have we not heard of this before? And did you notice early on in the bell shaped curve that there was a large element of ‘shock yo momma’ to it all?

    Thanks for the correction too. Honestly, I thought you were joking about ‘The Desert King’, so please accept my apologies. The series looks pretty good, and the scenery will surely be epic. It looks like it’s filmed in the state of South Australia and parts of the Northern Territory. Farm succession is rarely handled well. People try to dodge such issues probably because they don’t want to be the bad guy, but that doesn’t make them go away. I’ll be very interested to hear your thoughts on the series when it is released.

    Don’t get me started on mushrooms either. It was OK, before the incident. 😉 At least they’re cheap now, but I’ll bet the mushroom growers are reeling at the financial consequences. Hmm. Out of curiosity, how much does the container weigh? Your basic portobello mushroom will be around $17 per 2.2 pounds. I’d reckon that Shitake would be more expensive than that.

    Just for something different, it rained today. Made me glad we got the seedlings planted out last night. They’ve had a decent watering in today. Went to the pub tonight for a pint and half a pizza. The Editor was discussing home brew with the lovely folks there. She may have some interesting news on that front soon.

    Fingers crossed that you dodge the frost for a bit longer. Always nice if the growing season gets extended, unless it is extreme weather. Don’t laugh about that, we have had some years that were close to ‘no frost’ years. The old timers used to say that warm winters, were wet winters, and they’re right. If you bump up the cloud cover, it’s like chucking a big blanket over your area. Keeps winters warmer. People start whining about mould in their houses during such years. It’s a fungus, what do they expect?

    Even down here class can be an issue, if you move in the right circles that is. Yes, there are gradings. We do so pretend that we live in a society of social and economic mobility, but I’m not so sure about that. I’m getting the distinct impression that Sir Patrick is a very cool dude. I noticed that in the clips for Season III, Worf had some very amusing lines. “It’s good, I thought today we would survive!”

    A formidable matriarch can make quite the impression, although I much preferred the kindly, but very firm grandmother to the distant one (who ultimately came to a bad end). I’ll bet Sir Patrick had some trepidation at that meeting! It is a mystery isn’t it? Still, if the mystery remains unsolved now, we may never know the fascinating conclusion. I tell you, all that DNA testing people love to do sometimes uncovers all manner of interesting things – and it’s not like the data remains confidential. Far from it actually. Bonkers.



  19. I wrote up a brief comment, but apparently closed the tab before sending.

    Fermentation- I brew in a fermentation bucket, and check SG with a hydrometer just before pitching the yeast. After two or three weeks, I check SG, and if all is well, bottle. So far, all has gone well except for this extra carbonation batch.

    I opened another bottle last night, but very very slowly, and in the sink.

    Got most of the cider, but wow there was a lot of CO2 adding to climate change.

    Addition: I noticed Goran’s comment about gleaning walnuts and fruit. It is absolutely bonkers all the nut trees in town that residents feel are a nuisance when the nuts fall in their carefully manicured lawn. There are pleas each year asking if anyone wants them. We are lucky to have mature trees here on our homestead, but when we lived in the suburbs, I would make a round of the neighborhood and load up each fall.

    I’ll admit that black walnuts have a stronger taste than the Persian variety, but they are free and plentiful, ( and survive our cold winters) and of course, when one is actually hungry, taste is a bit less of an issue. We happen to like them so we gather lots.

    I have mostly planted white oak here, as it is one of the original climax trees, and plan to learn how to process and eat the acorns, should I still be alive when they start bearing. Deer and other wildlife love ’em too. Tannins are easily leached, and I understand it was a staple for the original inhabitants of north america.

  20. Hi, Chris!

    Sorry you were smooshed. You must have figured something out, because here you are. I was running a scan on my laptop and saw something that I didn’t pay much attention to about “Backups”. Maybe I should have.

    I can’t eat raw figs because of the ficin. Once we have enough, I plan to cook some and see if that mitigates the effects some.

    At least it was a Kelpie under the gate; a fortunate warning.

    A month’s worth of rain is a bit much. Plants do love it though. I think it’s the extra nitrogen.

    That is a very nice rock.

    Do we not bother the Echidna? I think it is a cross between a hedgehog and a porcupine?

    I love rhodie time. We don’t have any, but the neighbors do.

    It is now three-blanket weather.


  21. Yo, Chris – More on the tree up on Hadrian’s wall.


    I really don’t understand why they’re banging on about multiple stems. Pick the best and cut the other suckers (multiple meanings, there), out.

    Artists of all sorts, have their financial ups and downs. Mostly downs. Amazing how many have a downfall, when the taxman comes calling. You think they’d have a good accountant. 🙂

    I forgot to mention (cause you asked), I do think “Star Wars” was inspired by some Japanese films. Also, several westerns. And, many of the Japanese films were inspired by … Shakespeare. In Hoichi, the Abbot figures out there’s something up. As Hoichi seems to be draining of health and vigor. He sends two minions to follow Hoichi (in one of the funniest scenes in the film), and they discover what’s up. Sooooo … Hoichi is painted, head to toe in sutras, to make him invisible to the ghost. But they forget to do his ears. That’s all the ghost can see, so he rips Hoichi’s ears off, and that’s Hoichi’s origin story.

    Sounds like you had a real machineries maintenance day. At least now, you have plenty of cover to work under.

    Korean zombies, lunch and op shops. There is a point to this rambling story. 🙂 I went down to the deli, to have lunch. I went early, so, was the only one in the place. And, of course, I suffered sticker shock. $10.00 for a half Reuben sandwich with coffee. Tasty, but small. I had asked my friend from the Club if they had bagels and lox. And she said it wasn’t “that kind of a deli.” So, I was looking at the menu, and it all looks like pretty standard cafe fare, to me. So, with clearly too much time on my hands, I wondered about the difference between deli and cafe. The penny finally dropped. They don’t do any kind of breakfast fare. That seems to be the major difference.

    Any-who. After lunch, I hit an op-shop, across the street. Hadn’t been in that one, in a couple of years. I’m looking for a good reading lamp. I want something that’s adjustable, and maybe looks a bit vintage. No joy. Though I passed on one that was Barbie pink. I may regret that, after seeing the movie. 🙂 Stopped by another op-shop on the way home, and no joy there, either. But, they had a rack of Halloween DVDs. There were several trailers, at the beginning of the Korean zombie movie, I watched. And one of the films was “Day Zero.” And, there it was, on the rack. So, I bought it, but probably won’t get to it for awhile. Too much stuff stacked up, from the library. I might just save it for Halloween night.

    Oh, there’s plenty in the book “Status and Culture” on people loosing status. Either they don’t “keep up,” or over reach. Get above themselves. 🙂 I’d never heard of Laver, either. Of course, the trick would be, to figure out what’s going to come around again. Warehouse the stuff and make a killing. Back in the 1960s, Tiffany lamps were cheap. Now they go for thousands. Of course, of such a move are hoarders made.

    Succession seems to be getting a big play in movies and TV series. In fact, I think there’s a series called “Succession.” Not that I’ve watched any of them. Family infighting seems, to me, boring. Even if Augustus couldn’t even get it right. Succession was a major flaw, built into the Roman empire.

    I don’t have one handy, but I think the containers of mushrooms are 8oz. The loose Shiitake are around $12 a pound, currently.

    We had a couple of real gully washers, yesterday. There was even a bit of street flooding. Mostly due to leaves in the drains. But we’re going to have two nice days. When I walked the dog, this morning, I found a handful of green beans. But, they’re beginning to die off. I had a thought about what it would be like, if we had a year with no frost. Quit a few plants need a frost, for their seeds to germinate, the next year.

    There was quit a bit of discussion, over if Sir Patrick should answer the matriarch’s summons. But curiosity got the best of them. I don’t think he enlightened them to the content of the visit. Just made up something benign. Rather than opening that whole can of worms, with his father. Lew

  22. Chris,

    I can imagine Ollie meeting a platypus: “What is that thing. Woof! Ohhh it has to be wimpy! It crawls on the ground, sort of. Hey Hey Hey Chris! (Woof Woof Woof Woof) Hahaha! Look at that ducky bill snout thingy. Can’t do it much good. I’m gonna roust it.” Attack by dog ensues. “Yipe Yipe Yipe! That hurts! YIIIIPE. My leg is inflamed where it stung me! Owowowowow! Chrissss!”

    Windows 11. When my computer fizzled into ickiness last year, the only computers I could buy had Windows 11 installed on them unless I wanted to spend a fortune via Apple. Windows 11 is okay, I guess. It has a zillion features we will never use. Ever. Had the guys at the store show me how to make it work like a computer and not a smart phone. Apparently, I ‘m getting too old to “appreciate” the totally dumbed down versions of computers. I mention DOS to the youngsters, and they stare at me like I’m a monster from an alien planet or something. I miss playing in DOS.

    I very carefully (mostly) avoided the thorns. No nasty pokes at least. And yes, hawthorns make great hedges. I had a bunch of hawthorn suckers 20 years ago. Coworker wanted to try to transplant them, so I dug a lot of them up. Most of them took and spread. Turned into a beautiful hedge which is what was desired.

    If memory serves, the “first Anglo-Saxon” tiny kingdom that morphed into Northumbria wasn’t protected by a wall or anything. Nope, twas protected by a hedge. From wikipedia’s entry on Ida of Bernicia ‘The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, under the year 547 states: “In this year Ida assumed the kingdom, from whom arose the royal race of the Northumbrians, and reigned twelve years, and he built Bebanburh (Bamborough), which was at first inclosed by a hedge, and afterwards by a wall.”‘

    I, too, counted 3 squirrel lives by that one squirrel on Stihl Sunday. He apparently needed more. 😉

    Ah yes, dogs are dogs. We’re back in doggy school. Beginner’s class again due to the layover from my hand injury. Which is ok, because what Avalanche and I need to learn can be learned in that class quite well. Anyhow, it was mentioned that Avalanche had had a good week, including catching a squirrel and then obeying papa when he said “Drop it! Leave it!” which are commands to be learned next week in the class. People were a bit upset that she had killed a squirrel. I mentioned that that was the nature of huskies. One of the instructors reiterated that and expounded on the idea that you have to adapt to the basic nature of your dog: some breeds will hunt smaller animals, some will bark at what they consider to be an intruder, others will try to herd everybody including humans.

    Large tomcats. UGG. And I totally believe that said large tom decided to wee in your yard whilst being sprayed with the hose. They do things like that. I think it is part of their intrinsic nature to irritate humans. Large tomcats are NOT native to earth but were stranded here by advanced alien civilizations who didn’t know what to do with them, so they gave them to our ancient ancestors as a “gift”. 😉

    Thanks for the condolences. Met my friend at university in 1982. I was sitting in a dining area studying and drinking coffee. A friend of mine and this Other Bloke sat at my table. They needed help with some math that I had taken years before. I helped friend and the Other Bloke. Later I noticed that Other Bloke lived not too far from me. We ran into one another occasionally, then Other Bloke started taking physics classes so the random “visitations” became more numerous. Then we got a summer job together, rode our bicycles to the job and everywhere and well, we’ve been friends ever since.

    Totally listening to Avalanche with this. And the Princess. They are bother smarter than I am, especially about this type of thing.


  23. Hi Steve,

    The interweb can be hungry for words. At least you can rest comfortably knowing that an AI has not eaten your words! 🙂 Your computer ate them instead.

    Ah, thanks. Those fermenting buckets are a great idea, and we use a version of them too. The lid screws onto the carboy and there is a tap near to the bottom of the bucket. The lees get caught below the tap. Looking up what constitutes a fermentation bucket, it was hard not to notice the stainless steel versions. Hmm, we’ve never used a hydrometer, but total respect, the device gives an exact reading. As always, you’ve given me much to consider.

    🙂 Mate, we had a massive clean up and burn off today, so yeah, carbon does get into the atmosphere. It happens, one way or another.

    Yeah, that is so weird. I don’t get it at all. I’m not mucking around, I’ve had neighbours (when I was in the city) complaining about the mess a fruit tree produced, the marsupial fruit bats were all over it every night, and yet they refused to allow us to harvest the fruit for them and us. Bonkers. I left the city. Made no sense to me. Years ago a friend moved interstate, and before they left, they gave me a huge bucket of super tasty plumcotts (an apricot / plum hybrid). Why didn’t they eat them? So many questions left unanswered.

    I’d consume the black walnuts too. And that’s the thing, as a civilisation, we’re not hungry enough.

    Thanks for mentioning the oak tree. The local gardening club has them, so why not? Are we talking about the Swamp White Oak
    Quercus bicolor? The tree down here is reputedly hardy to occasional dry conditions. Oaks are very adaptable.



  24. Hi Pam,

    Trust me in this – nobody ever wants to be smooshed. It hurt! And I spent probably six hours (which I didn’t have to spare), restoring the machine back to where it only once was. Whatever, it was a good test as to whether the data was backed up OK. But at the same time, it was a lot of hassle.

    As to whether the message was of any great import, that depends upon what is stored upon the computer. Photos are hard to replace, but then do we actually ever look at old photos? I can’t say for sure how other people are with them? I have an odd hunch that photos are taken so that we may forget. I’ve watched people searching for images on their phones (so as to show me), and mostly they don’t seem to be able to find them. One day I may be surprised in that regard, but to date, it hasn’t happened. I don’t keep photos on a phone.

    Yikes! Yes, best avoided if you have any reactions. Hey, you never know what will cause you to come unstuck, and serious people tell me that I should not have any reaction to mono sodium glutamate, yet I do, so yeah, nah. Experimentation with the stuff is a good way to go, and for all you know, the jam may not affect you.

    Kelpies… Both are in the dog house this evening for different reasons. Ollie is now favourite dog as his record today stands unblemished! A guy we know who uses the dogs for work says that sooner or later, they’ll let you down. He’s right too.

    Thanks for mentioning the rainwater and nitrogen because you sent me on a rabbit hole. I’d known about lightning and nitrogen, but there’s more: I’ve Always Wondered: is rain better than tap water for plants?. Dr Karl is a pretty cool dude. He’s on the youth national broadcaster and has been for decades.

    Pam, we recovered a whole lot of rocks today. Me tired.

    An Echidna is a marsupial ant-eater. There seems to be a lot of them about right now (it’s the warmer weather).

    Hang tight, there’ll be more rhodies this week.

    You’re handing over the weather batten. It was a three blanket night last night here too (and probably will be again this evening). A five blanket night can be very cold. Brr! It always amazes me to discover that people put no value on pure wool blankets. If you had to point to a specific sign that our civilisation was bonkers, that would be it don’t you reckon? 😉



  25. Hi DJ,

    Fortunately the local creek at the bottom of the property is porbably too far for Ollie to travel too. He likes his creature comforts, and I’m guessing wouldn’t enjoying getting wet and muddy in the creek chasing a platypus (although I doubt any are in this part of the mountain range). It is sort of possible that they may be in the creek over in the more fashionable end of the mountain range. A lady was stung by a poisoned spur the other day. It’s a rare occurrence. Now, where was that article… …. Here goes: Woman spurred by platypus continues rescue mission, then undergoes surgery. There is a photo of the inflammation. I’ll bet it hurt, and continues to do so. Ouch! That’s funny, and yes Ollie would be in a world of hurt after such an encounter. Ook! It would go like that too.

    Thanks for the tip about the operating system wanting to work like a smart phone. Those things are not intuitive. When I first encountered one, I attempted the Commodore 64’s user trick – just push every button and poke the screen a lot to see what happens. Turns out, you can’t learn how to use the thing that. As someone who is reliant on that technique, I must say that I was mildly distressed. Hey, DOS worked. I was there too. No matter how sophisticated the machines appear to be, underneath them all, they’re still just bits and bytes and peeks and pokes. I imagine you’ve had to do some FORTRAN work back in the day?

    Good to hear that you dodged the thorns. Those things are wicked sharp as. Oh yeah, the suckers would create a great hedge. In one part of the garden we have Black Locust come back every year. Have you ever done any wood carving with Black Locust? It’s got a nice straight clean grain from what I’ve seen. Many of the Acacia species are kind of similar. Super hard timber.

    Had a massive clean up and burn off today. Me tired. I’m almost so tired I originally typed: ‘me tried’. I’m now left wondering what that might even mean? Got any suggestions? Recovered a lot of rocks from the area too.

    Didn’t discover any references to the thorny hedges, but it was hard not to notice that Northumbria and the South West (Arthur’s area) vaguely held back the Vikings and enjoyed some measure of independence, until the Norman’s arrived and took on any and all comers.

    Yes, three lives were all that were alloted that day.

    Yeah, it is in the nature of huskies, and other more ‘free independent thinking’ dogs such as Kelpies and not to mention the Spitz families. Hmm. They do so have their own opinions, and we walk a fine balance when we introduce basically wild animals into our lives. I look at Dame Plum some days, and you can see the intelligence in there, and you know she is thinking: Once we were wolves. People are like that too, I’ve seen some seriously base behaviour over the years and know that civilisation is an overlay on the more basic hard wired programming. I’m amazed that things work as well as they do!

    Hehe! What a fine gift. Can we return the gift and get a refund? 😉

    Thank you for recounting the story of your friend. I’m presuming that he shared your sense of humour? Nothing brightens my day more than the thought of a world which has killer rabbits. 🙂 Wise to listen, and also wise to know when to talk.

    Me tried, whatever that means! 😉



  26. Hi Lewis,

    The tree intrigue continues. What I’ve been wondering about is, what motivated the young bloke to allegedly do what he did? The papers kind of gloss over that issue. Was there a local backlash to all of the tourists traipsing around the landscape? Was it something more sinister, such as demonic possession (always possible)? Or had the young bloke decided to take up a career in forestry, and needed to get some practice in – and there were no other trees in the area? So many questions, so few answers! We may never find out given the fickle attention span of reporters these days.

    On the other hand, I’d have the tree mess cleaned up in a day – easy. Happy to help, and you know, if all those experts could spend a little bit more energy on something more useful, like say getting more trees growing in that area. Far out, they might not, you know. And I’m with you. Exactly, pick the best stem and simply let the tree regrow. Given the size of existing root system, the tree will re-grow super fast. But can the experts let be, I dunno? If budgets are unlimited, they do have things like advanced trees for sale. It’s not that hard and would send a strong message… And oh yeah, a whole lot of suckers that’s for sure. Thanks for that!

    Yes, true. But can artists be told? That’s what I’m wondering about? Anyway, there is an old Vulcan saying that: “People who have problems with the taxman, generally have good income.” If you’re broke, the taxman doesn’t want to know about you. Hey, I’m amazed how many artists get ripped off by their managers.

    Hmm, thanks and I can see that. Star Wars recounted the classic ‘heroes journey’. I was blown away by the film back in the mid to late 1970’s. The film started with a bang with John Williams directing that orchestral boom as the credits rolled up the screen and you were left with the mystery (what happened to episodes one to three, and were they important?) And ended with the explosion of the Death Star. Such a waste of the Empire’s treasury. If they were smart, the rebels would have captured the Death Star, and used it to wipe out the evil Empire. That’s how you do things proper like. 😉 I still reckon The Empire Strikes Back was the best film of the series. And we’ve discussed the teddy bears before… Am I holding on too tight here?

    Well that’s new to me. The Bard’s work knows no boundaries. Thank you for the origin story for Hoichi.

    Put the machines to work today doing a massive clean up and burn off. Me tired tonight, but we did some solid work, and the area is looking good. Plus, we recovered a lot of rocks of all shapes and sizes. You may laugh, but rocks are very useful items around here. Tomorrow I need to attend to the machines again, after using them today.

    Hehe! The introductory sentence was great, and paints a picture of your day. The Reuben sandwich is a fine choice (and would cost $18 without the coffee). Out of curiosity, do you recall whether the roll used in the Reuben was a brioche? No, that’s an important question to ponder, and thanks for your thoughts in the matter. For your interest, a deli here would not serve prepared food, but more cold cuts of meat and cheese and that sort of stuff at a supermarket or market. I’d heard references of deli’s in your part of the world and had not really know what they were talking about.

    Day Zero looks intense. At first I thought that it was in the Korean zombie film genre, but no. I look forward to reading your review. I noticed that the film ‘Train to Busan’ of that genre is widely acclaimed. Dude, they even had zom-coms where some family was trying to make a profit out of their patriarch suddenly going undead, as you do. Who comes up with this stuff? It’s awesome.

    We’ve all been there! 😉 That happens down here with some items too. Like the first car I drove came from wreckers, and I restored it, and now the thing would be worth a mint, if it hadn’t ended up back at the wreckers. But could I hang onto the car in all the intervening years whilst it appreciated in price? Probably not.

    Yeah, I agree and I too have seen the references to the succession series, and it may be a bit yawny for my tastes likewise. Give me Grand Designs UK any day in preference. It’s up to season 24, hashtag just sayin… I might be onto something there, but then I can’t get you to even remotely consider watching that film – you know the one.

    Just had to do the maths for the weight conversion. Yes, go the loose shitake. Youch!

    You see that down here too in autumn. The leaves block up the drains, but it soon passes, maybe. Incidentally, that’s the same process with the water tank inlet filters, and you get the same results.

    I tend to believe that plants are readily adaptable. Say for example the frost, and that’s true too with the germination (and conversion of starches to sugars as well in leaves), but chilling hours and stratification of seeds can work at higher temperatures than freezing. It may be around 45’F, but hey, some parts of the world it doesn’t get that cold for the required number of hours each year. Hmm.

    Mate, some people are just so cool. Not wanting to open a can of worms is a great response to the situation. No good could come of it. I’m starting to get rather intrigued by the book.



  27. Chris:

    I take photos to remember; that means they are only photos of pleasant things. A few I have had printed out (Charlene, memorably). I need to have more done. I do have photos on my phone. I would be at a great disadvantage when someone else whips out pictures of their grandchildren (I don’t have any) and I couldn’t bring forth: Look what the cat did today! Yeah, yeah . . .

    MSG makes me sick; my husband, too.

    Dogs are only human . . .

    Dr. Karl knows (thanks)! Our well/bore water is not salty. We are lucky there.

    I haven’t gotten the wool out yet; don’t need it yet. My synthetic blankets are heavenly soft. Ahhh . . . No frost yet, nor for at least another week and a half.

    I heard an interesting conversation yesterday. I was sitting in my car after finishing my grocery shopping and had a bit of time before I went over to my mother’s assisted living place for the afternoon, so I was lookng at my phone. My car windows were down because it was a really nice day. A young woman (maybe 25) got into her car parked next to me. She rolled her windows down, too. She got on her phone and I could hear her – it was unavoidable – telling someone that she wanted to consolidate her credit cards. I could tell what they were asking her by her answers. She mentioned that they added up to about $45,000. Then she said that she was the sole provider of her family and that she worked at Food Lion (the grocery store). I didn’t want to turn on the engine and cause noise, but eventually had to. How on earth could she be that much in debt with credit cards? Perhaps a medical bill? Those have bankrupted many people. Just imagine, she might also have a car payment, and certainly rent, etc.


  28. Yo, Chris – Yeah, you think the tree might want some friends. 🙂 There was some old duffer involved, but I don’t know if we’ll ever get the whole story.

    I thought that was an old Ferengi saying. 🙂

    The western film, “Magnificent Seven”, was based on a Japanese film, “The Seven Samurai.” Which I saw a long time ago. When I was just a wee small lad, the local “educational” TV station ran foreign films, every Saturday night. I think that’s where I first saw “Kwaidan,” and “Seven Samurai.” Portland had a lot of “art” theaters, and the local art museum had a film study center. Also saw a lot when I was going to Uni in Seattle. Now the local library has a steady stream of foreign films.

    Peak rocks is a myth. I think you’re just trying to drive up the price. 🙂

    The Reuben was served on rye. Which is as it should be. My local veg store also has cold cuts of meat, various sea food and cheese. So, I guess they could call themselves a deli. Seems to be a loose term, which can cover a multitude of sins.

    “Train to Busan” pretty much kicked off the whole Korean zombie movie genre. There may have been earlier films, but that got the most worldwide circulation. Ah! I think “Day Zero” might be a Filipino zombie movie.

    I went to the store, last night, and there were no Shiitake mushrooms in containers. So, I went with the loose ones. They were $12.99 a pound. Hmm. That’s interesting. I bought 0.24 pounds, which filled up the little plastic container, I held onto. Cost me $3.12.

    I’m going out and harvesting some zucchini. And, the peppers. I think they’ve done about all they are going to do, which isn’t much. Lew

  29. Hi Chris,
    Glad the computer problem is fixed. If that happened to me I’d be off the the computer repair shop. Fortunately we have quite a good one not too far away.

    There continues to be family drama. The worst is due to my Aunt, the one who I often visit in California. Trying to keep this somewhat short, about 2 years ago she had relatively minor brain surgery (as if any brain surgery is minor) due to terribly painful trigeminal neuralgia – so painful she could barely eat. It didn’t go as easily as was advertised but did solve the issue. However, not too long afterwards she had a soft lump at the base of her skill that seemed to be filled with fluid. She had it checked out (so she said) and the surgeon told her it was nothing to worry about. Fast forward about two years later and she is losing her balance, has had several falls and has developed some memory loss as well. Additionally she has become very frail and isn’t eating much. So back in July she goes to California to visit her daughter and son-in-law and they are very alarmed at her condition. She is told that the fluid has been pressing on her brain all this time and this is due to the original surgery. She has a shunt put in to drain the fluid but doesn’t seem to have improved much. In the meantime she has become extremely combative with her daughter and son-in-law claiming they are trying to control her. They couldn’t leave her alone when they worked as she was a fall risk and also wasn’t eating and drinking much. I’ve lost count of how many times she’s been back in the hospital, the last time due to a fall where she broke two ribs. She ended up briefly in a subpar nursing home and was supposed to go temporarily to an assisted living facility to gain her strength. Well she has refused and her son-in-law is bringing her back home as I write. Her daughter has done everything possible to help her and really wanted her to stay in California so she could watch out for her. My aunt is a different person now. We think she has permanent brain damage but there is nothing anyone can do to keep her from returning and living alone. This will only end badly I’m afraid. I’ve tried talking to her on numerous occasions to no avail. I can’t believe how much havoc one person can cause.

    Poor Marty – his apartment has flooded six times now due to some kind of sewer backup. His complex has a new management company which is pretty bad. His is not the only apartment flooding. My sister and I are trying to help him out along with his case worker. He wants to move but he is fortunate to have a Section 8 voucher for low income people as there is a ten year waiting list I think. He really doesn’t have many options as far as moving but try explaining that to him.

    A bit below normal here and raining today. We had a light frost but plants are still OK. It’s been cold enough to have fires in the evening some nights.


  30. Chris,

    Thanks for the platypus article. It was very spurring, er stirring. 😉 The injured person would probably try to pick up “stray” koala bears too. Or come to the USA, visit Yellowstone Park, and try to pet the bison. I learned at an early age not to touch wild critters (or even allegedly tame critters that aren’t yours). Never forgotten that lesson either. The lady that got spurred, wow, her hand looks bad. Very bad.

    FORTRAN? Yup. Took a class in it. Wrote the occasional program in it. Then I hit petroleum engineering graduate school a few years after trying physics graduate school. One class was “Mathematical Methods of Petroleum Engineering”. Nasty hideous equations involving partial differential equations (PDE). “Mathematical Methods of Physics” had run into these also and beat us over the head with having to solve them to the bitter end. In petroleum, however, all we had to do was take them to the point where the maths got extremely hard. Then, there were “approximation methods” to get numerical solutions to the PDE.  Then it was time to write a computer program. In FORTRAN. I found that to be much easier than the more theoretical methods we had to use in physics.

    Nope, no carving in black locust. Or the honey locust that is common here. I did one project years ago in butternut. Otherwise, all of my carving work has been in bass wood, aka linden. Oh, wait. I’ve carved two castles in cottonwood bark. Very interesting wood to work with.

    You found and recovered a lot of rocks during clean up? What about “peak rocks”? Next we’ll find that Australia has oil fields that dwarf those of Saudi Arabia. 😉 Some neighbors recently had a contractor perform a lot of landscaping work. The rock that was brought in was extremely expensive per one of the neighbors. The neighbor had asked about the high price and was told: “Rocks are getting scarce worldwide. We watch these things carefully on the interweb. A key area is in Australia a couple hours outside Melbourne. This guy that lives there, an area that used to be chock full of rocks, has been forced to drill and break up giant “moby rocks” and haul them uphill. Yes, peak rocks is upon us and is driving the price up.”

    Ugg. The Normans. Mean nasty fighters even for that era. I have it on reasonably good authority that the Normans were troublesome folks on some alien planet and were dropped onto earth to rid the other planet of them.

    No refunds on the tomcats from the other aliens. However, I think that we should send the cats to the aliens who gave us the Normans. That’d serve them right.

    Oh yeah, I watch Avalanche. I can see the thought process churning: “Silly human. You can’t fool me with that. I’m descended from WOLVES. You Viking descendants are basically Cro-Magnon descendants. Not fit for consorting with WOLVES. Not smart enough. Not fast enough to keep up with us.” I see a lot of wolf behavior in her. I could see other aspects in Cheyenne the Finnish Spitz. And different aspects in Rakhi the Samoyed. In other words, body language things and a large dose of ‘free independent thinking’. If your Kelpies are similar to that at all, well, maybe saying “Me tried” is more fitting than “Me tired”.

    Similar senses of humor, yes. However, he really didn’t care for Monty Python. Similar tastes in music made up for that lack in his upbringing.


  31. Hi Pam,

    My memory is not good with images. I get nothing on that memory front (that lack of visual imagery is called aphantasia, not that it seems to be any big deal). So I use photos just like you do so as to remember, my hunch was more about how other people use recorded images. And that is so true. I have very occasionally encountered people who have shared images of unpleasant things (nothing dodgy, just unpleasant), and that’s a major red flag for me – and I then avoid those people.

    Charlene the white squirrel is of course very much in the lovely category. She earned her peace and rest, and if I may, she was once Queen of the squirrels in her realm. An enviable title.

    Well as to that, one never knows what the future holds in store for those two. 🙂 Looking into my crystal ball with this matter… Hmm, I could tell you something that will make you feel happy, or I could provide some unsolicited good advice (I’m always wary of doing that, but since you brought the subject up! 😉 ). At the risk of totally pissing you off, I chose the latter option. Always dangerous and risky. Anywhoo, people will raise children if the environment surrounding them is conducive for that activity. Your mission if you chose to accept it is… And love will prevail where cajoling fails. Sorry, I do have an occasional tendency towards the mystic. It’s a personal failing… 🙂

    MSG in my opinion is an absolute horror. We are of one mind here.

    You’re lucky that your well water is not salty. Did you know, that this continent is so old, that there is a theory being chucked around that the salt in the ground water did not originate from any inland sea, but instead from rainfall over such an epic period of time? Dr Karl is a very cool dude, something of a true polymath.

    Synthetic is nice, but just don’t get it too close to a flame. Wool blankets here are good barriers to wildfire. Fingers crossed with the frost.

    Holy carp! It isn’t just you, I over hear such conversations too. And then get an attack of the vapours! A local bloke who asked me for help on that front (not a client, just some dude), recently returned from an extended trip overseas. You see now why I don’t help? They don’t want help, they want stuff and experiences, ‘cept that ain’t cheap.

    I feel good now about your main concern. That’s your task, providing a supportive environment and making sure that is understood (that may be the sticking point).



  32. Hi Margaret,

    I hear you about taking the computer off to the nearest computer repair shop and it’s a great choice. However, I’ve got this double whammy of a problem because my hands are tied due to the client confidentiality issues. So, say I take the machine down to the computer shop and they repair it, and then perhaps curiousity over comes their best intentions and the dudes start poking around client data. That’s a big problem for me, so yeah, nah. Easier to simply fix the issue myself. It’s a bit of a burden, huh?

    How’s the volunteer work in the bookshop going? Have you read any interesting books from there lately? I tell you truly, working in such a place would be a constant source of temptation! So many lovely books, so little reading time. 🙂

    Margaret, I’d never even heard of trigeminal neuralgia before, and just for the record, it isn’t something that anyone would ever want to experience. Perhaps the truth with such invasive procedures is that there is both a mixture of benefits and costs. I observe people heading into that system, and then coming out the other side with a mixed bag of outcomes.

    Hmm, I’ve met a few people who as they got older, and I’d like to think that we’re like a good bottle of wine and will only get better as we age, but some folks… I’ve observed some older folks who get a bit of dementia, and they turn nasty. Dunno really what you’re seeing, but I’ve seen that, and it’s base. Nothing you can do for it really. What do you reckon, could there be some sort of brain issues going on?

    Far out. That’s a drama, and probably not much good for Marty’s health. Ten year lists are not easily gotten around, sorry to say, and conditions could be worse.

    Your winter is gaining momentum, and winter seems to have extended its grip here too. Cold and occasionally wet here today. Some parts of this continent are baking hot though, just not here.

    Enjoy your firewood! 🙂 Nothing finer than the heat from a few choice seasoned firewood logs.



  33. Hi DJ,

    That’s funny! Spare a moment for the poor lady who thought that she was rescuing the monotreme, who may have been just going about its business in the drain. The photo of the inflammed hand spoke to me. You feel it, don’t you? Years earlier, with less exposure to the bites, the local bullants could produce such a reaction. Ouch! But at least that was over in a couple of days, unlike the poisoned spur.

    Incidentally I hadn’t know that they could walk across land looking for new waters to swim in? A solid survival strategy given the difficulty of rainfall in this corner of the planet. Some of our other critters can also do that trick like the yabbies (a crustacean). They are so tasty. Yum. During the last drought I found the carcass of a yabbie who’d walked all the way up to here looking for water. I suspect a Kookaburra ate it. But they can also live buried in the ground for years. Things must have been grim indeed to send the yabby on that journey.

    Hehe! I had this vague feeling that you would have known about the Fortran language. Back in the day, those sorts of computer languages, were real computer languages. 😉 Machine language wasn’t that much different. My mind baulked at the talk of ‘partial differential equations’, not sure why. Petroleum engineering is probably quite a useful application of knowledge. Your words ’til the bitter end’, strikes fear into my guts. Respect for discovering that good enough was indeed good enough, and perhaps the professors themselves could not discern the difference? Maybe…

    Ah, linden trees. I like those, and had not been aware (or forgotten) the timber qualities of those trees. There is a truly enormous linden tree growing near to the top of the mountain range…


    It’s big!

    Hey, Peak Rocks is real! 🙂 But yes, as of today, there does appear to be a decent supply, for the moment. Sadly it will soon all be exhausted. Most of the oil fields down here are light and sweet crude, so they don’t yield the heavier oils like diesel and the horrid stuff they burn in container ships. We do seem to have a lot of gas, but I do blame all that hot air on the politicians – they deserve it.

    Speaking of which, you may read in the newspapers (maybe not, I don’t know how much world coverage your media has), but they may be saying that Australian’s are the most racist people on the planet. This is simply not true. The referendum for the Indigenous voice to parliament was held today, and defeated. As a bit of commentary, the idea is good, the execution of the idea was awful. Basically, the entire adult population (voting is compulsory down under) was asked to vote upon introducing an idea to the constitution, and the politicians provided no details whatsoever as to how it was going to work. Then they set no limits on the reach of the unspecified group. We didn’t even know how many people would be representing the 500 tribes, or whether the people would be elected, or for how long. Nothing. It was hard to even know whether outcomes on the ground would even be improved. And so the proposal got shot down. The cynic in me suggests that if you wanted an idea to be shot down, this is the way to do it. And already I’m reading articles saying that indigenous people aren’t recognised, which is simply not true. I’m so embarrassed for our leaders, all of them. I dunno what else to say mate…

    Ugg indeed! The Normans were sent to hone the locals fighting skills. After all, at one point that lot did control almost a third of the planets land surface. Not any more though… What the Normans may not have understood, and I don’t reckon the English picked up on either, is that eventually the land takes back and subsumes. It’s happening.

    I like how your brain works, and that would be a satisfying outcome. Probably well deserved too.

    I fancy I’ve probably got quite a lot of Neanderthall! Respect. 😉 They’re all wilfull! What can you do, other than try to make sure that their canine interests align with ours? There is a constant battle of wills going on with the dogs. Oh well, it keeps a person sharp, huh?

    Ah well, yes, that could be an issue, but then there is the groan factor you may enjoy by recounting killer rabbit jokes? I’ve always suspected the groan factor is an indulgence kind of thing, rather than a disparaging sound. Music, are we talking 70’s Deep Purple, Led Zepplin kind of music? Or indi folk music? I’m guessing one of those two genres.



  34. Trees- The county land conservation dept. sells bare root seedlings for a pretty nominal price. Usually around half a meter tall.

    They offer red, white, swamp white and burr oaks, as well as sugar maple and a few other species.

    I’ve planted white oak so far, but both are native to the area. Our land is mostly ridge top, so the white oak will do a bit better. I might do some burr oak, as they do well in fire managed landscapes, and have large acorns. Again, I might not get any acorns myself, but as they say, the best time to plant a tree is 20 years ago, the second best time is today.

  35. Hi Lewis,

    That’s been my entire issue, all the way along with that tree story. Yes, the tree is special and important, but it could do with some friends. We were talking long ago about the book, what was it again, err, ‘the secret life of trees’. Anywhoo, trees have networks, just different to us mammals. One day, the people of that island will rue not having enough trees.

    I’d read about the alleged involvement of the ‘old duffer’. And last I checked, an arrest was made, but apparently no charges had been laid. Or had they? You know, there hasn’t been any updates in the media regarding the story. I wonder if there is some deep unpalatability to the story? Although the wheels of justice do turn slowly.

    Yes! Oh my, yes! So true, that would be just like that lot to say such a thing, whilst trying to hide the evidence of improper accounts record keeping. Maybe a bit like that bloke who ran the crypto thing. Hey, I noticed in the link that Michael Lewis has written a book on the subject. May have to get that. If anyone would know the intricate ins and outs and be able to recount a ripping good yarn on an otherwise dull but important subject (youse lot got ripped off by an apparent idjit!), he’d be the author. 🙂

    No way. I hadn’t known that about The Magnificent Seven film. A great film. It’s good to get an insight into other cultures via their stories. One of the national broadcasters down here is a hybrid funded (part government 80%, part commercial 20%) multi-lingual, foreign media arrangement. They’ve got a decent on-demand service. Anyway, you’re getting a bit of Aussie here, as I’m getting a dose of US culture. Pretty similar, but I must say that I do so admire your rights under the constitution, even when one or two have unpredictable outcomes. After all, during you-know-what, the cops could have simply walked in and hauled me off. Or I can’t say what I would like to say, oh no, very litigous.

    Hehe! As I was explaining to DJ, at each new find, we may temporarily delay the dreaded Peak Rocks, but this in no way implies that Peak Rocks is not real. 😉 In fact, the new supplies, are further away from where they’re used. Hmm. I appreciate the cheeky stir!

    The referendum down here was held today on the Indigenous Voice to Parliament idea. It was resoundingly defeated across the nation. As an observation, it was the shittest way to conduct a campaign that I’ve witnessed, since maybe the previous referendum where the politicians wanted to switch us over from a constitutional monarchy to a republic. In both cases, the politicians greedily kept the powers to themselves. As you do when you’re stupid. This time around we were given no details whatsoever, and the entire sell seemed to come down to an emotional ‘trust us’ and if you don’t support this, you’re a racist. What if there is a large majority of the population who have lost faith in the goobermunt to get things done? Outside of the very inner urban areas of the country, there was a resounding no vote. What does that tell you?

    Man, I’m blown away. This is why I didn’t like the Reuben sandwich that I’d ordered. The thing was served on a sugary Brioche bun. No wonder. The sandwich on toasted rye would be awesome.

    That wasn’t immediately obvious about the Day Zero film. Who knew? The trailer I watched was very gritty and dark.

    Wise to watch the cents with those mushrooms. It ain’t just you doing that either. One thing which has become obvious to me about all of the farm machine repairs, is that even with the purchase of the tools, and extra spares, it’s cheaper. And in some cases, quicker. Oooo, I could see that bigggerer farmers could get quite irate about the ‘right to repair’ their machines.

    Had a quieter day today. Consumed a gourmet pie. Chicken, leek and bacon. It was quiet with all the referendum going on – voting is compulsory for the adult population. You get fined if you don’t. It’s cheaper to go and vote.

    I’d say you’d be at the end of your growing season now. If the seasons were suddenly flipped, that would be my experience too. There’s little energy left in your sunshine. Some, but not enough for peppers. Hey, the zucchini seedlings have doubled in size over the week. Should I be nervous that they’re actually Triffids? And could we make any mad cash if they were? Those plants seem a touch risky, and not for the careless.



  36. Hi Steve,

    Some of the services you have access to in your country amaze me. That’s a great service, and I’d be taking advantage of that. In the meantime, I’ll collect acorns for replanting. 🙂

    For your info a tiny white oak seedling would be about $16 here. Acorns are cheaper… When the wallabies destroy trees, I may make light of it, but it does annoy me.

    Ah, I see, being at the ridge top, you’d get a bit more wind, and it may be a bit more prone to drying out. But then, you would have better drainage, and that is no small thing in super wet years.

    I agree, the best time to plant a tree is 20 years ago, and the second best time to plant is today! Thanks for the saying.

    For your interest, I’d seen oak trees in the bonkers 2009 Black Saturday bushfires, and they did really well. Sure parts of the tree facing the fire burned, however the halves not facing the fire tended to be less affected. And they’ve mostly recovered from what I’ve observed. The local gardening club has an article on the subject of which oak species perform well, but alas it is behind a paywall. If you’re interested I can provide some of the species lists from that for the oaks which do well in slowing the spread and impact of fires?



  37. Hi Chris,
    Cecily reported on the condition of my aunt and it’s not good. She said she was much frailer than before she left and thinner as well. She almost fell in her condo but caught herself on the couch. My cousin who lives in the city removed all the wine befor

    e my aunt returned home but she’ll order more for delivery. I definitely think she has some dementia now – maybe caused by the fluid pressing on her brain for so long. Her son-in-law brought her but had to turn around today to go back to California. We’re going to try to have someone check on her at least by phone in case she’s fallen but at the same time we don’t want to enable her too much so she’ll realize that she really shouldn’t be living alone which was what the doctors she saw in California recommended.

    I forgot to tell you that last Monday there was a very large explosion near the bookstore which is located on the square.

    The bookstore was closed the next day as well as many other businesses. Luckily no one was hurt badly. The blast damaged many other homes and businesses. It was caused by a contractor hitting a gas main.

    I read between five and ten books a month depending on the length and depth of the book. My reading tends to be pretty eclectic. In the past couple months I’ve read “The Poisonwood Bible” by Barbara Kingsolver, “O, Pioneers” Willa Cather, “The Myth of Normal” Gabor Mate, “The Road Back to Nature” Masanobu Fukuoka, “Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance” Robert Persig among others. Right now I’m reading “A Short History of Everything” by Bill Bryson, one of my favorite authors.

    Some of the books our book club reads aren’t that great. Many of the women are widows and it’s more of a social thing. Another member and I had a long discussion about the quality of the books and plan to get in some books with a little more depth.

    I can see why you wouldn’t want to take your computer in for repair. There’s not really much on ours as they are mostly used for email and reading news, blogs etc. along with the occasional document that needs attention. I did get a new moderately priced laptop as so many things are on Zoom now and nothing else in this house supports it as every other device is quite old.

    We’ve gotten over 3 inches of rain in the last two days which is good.
    There’s still such a deficit.

    Loved the picture of the Linden tree.


  38. @ Pam – That is one big slug. But if you want the stuff of nightmares, check out our banana slugs. 🙂


    Hmmm. I wonder why they don’t call them yellow Zucchini slugs? Luckily, they seem to prefer the deep forests. Even when I lived way out of town, I never saw one.

    I hunt down the slugs with a flashlight and a spray bottle of ammonia. The ammonia is good for the soil, and, I’ve even sprayed it directly on plants, and it’s never hurt them.

    But, the hunting isn’t near as good, as it used to be. One of our Master Gardeners is slug bait happy. Which has also done in our small colony of snails, which I quit like. But I did see Sam the Snail (they’re all Sam the Snail,) the other night.

    Every little town around here has some yearly spasm of civic who-who. There’s the Bear Festival, Cheese Days, Egg Days, Logger’s Jubilee, etc. etc.. Apparently, Elma, Washington, was asleep at the switch, and all the good festivals were taken. So, they have their yearly Slug Fest. 🙂 Lew

  39. Yo, Chris – And, in news of the world, a DeLorean was found in a Wisconsin barn. With only 977 miles on it. We had an eclipse this morning, not that it was noticeable. We were supposed to get 80% coverage. I was out and about, at that time, but bupkis. It was overcast, but you could tell where the sun was.

    News cycles so fast these days. We’ll probably never hear the end of the story, unless one goes digging for it. I noticed the tree was REALLY close to the wall. I’d guess they keep the brush from around, or on it. So, no potential friends for the tree. I’m about finished with “Status and Culture.” Into the chapter about how the web has effected status. Again, things come and go so quickly, that’s it’s really hard for something to gain a foothold. And anybody, can buy just about anything (or appear to.) Information used to have a certain status and cachet. But now every Tom, Dick and Mary, can sit at home and become a reasonable expert, on just about anything.

    I find the whole crypto thing, a big yawn and a bore. I can barely grasp the ins and outs of the stock market, though I must say Lewis made what happened more understandable. Or, I should say the movie based on Lewis’s book, made it all more understandable. 🙂

    So when you discover more rocks, it’s kind of like discovering North Sea oil. Runs out eventually, but puts off the inevitable, for awhile.

    I saw an article or two, on your referendum. I agree with you. Wouldn’t want to buy a pig in a poke. For once you did, you couldn’t put lipstick on that pig. Or make a silk purse out of a sows ear. So, until there’s more transparency, it’s a no go. Or, until pigs fly. 🙂

    Apparently, the Reuben sandwich was lost in translation. I had a choice of dressings. Mayo or 1,000 Island dressing. I went with the 1,000, though I don’t know which is more authentic. Because authenticity is SOOOO important. At least to some people. Not to me. Taste wins hands down, over authenticity.

    It’s official. No more biscuits and gravy, at the Club. Sigh. It was good while it lasted. I wonder what’s on the menu, for this evening?

    I pretty much wound up the garden, yesterday. Three good sized Zucchini, two green beans, and the peppers. Managed to get a handful of cherry tomatoes, but they’re done. So, I had those with rice, frozen veg and a couple of diced up eggs, for dinner. A bit of Swiss cheese, on top. The Mammoth Sunflower is a lost cause. The birds found it. Next year, maybe cover it with a cheese cloth bag, once the bees are done with it.

    Well. Big changes coming. Saw an article in our paper, yesterday, about a “hydrogen hub,” that’s going in out at the old steam plant and coal mine. There’s an Australian connection.


    The part that concerns me is the bit about thousands of people coming in, to work there. Maybe it’s a good thing that there was also this article, about a new housing project.


    This plot is between our two towns, near the fairgrounds. I don’t care what they say about flood mitigation, this area always floods. Salzer Valley creek runs right through it. During one of our floods, the Chehalis River (which Salzer Valley Creek runs into), was higher than Salzer Valley. And the creek ran backwards. I see there’s also to be an HOA (Homeowners Association), which can be a pain in the …. ear. I bet there won’t be any front yards, turned to growing vegetables.

    Speaking of dogs (we were, weren’t we?), I picked up a new documentary series, from the library. “The Human Footprint.” The first episode was on invasive species. Something we’ve talked about. So, there was a bit about the pythons in Florida, and the Starlings. And, Hawaii. If you take the long view, everything in Hawaii is from somewhere else. Being it’s only been fairly stable, for about 5 million years. And, we’re back to pigs again. People brought pigs to Hawaii, about 1,000 years ago. Some people think they’re an invasive species. Others think not, as they are so interwoven with the culture. But the series, pretty much leaves it an open question.

    The second episode was about hunting. The impacts we’ve had on various animal populations.

    Now, onto the dogs. The third episode was about dogs. How much have we changed them … and how much have they changed us? Again, studies and experts galore, but left an open question. A pretty good series, as it lets you make up your own mind, on different things. Lew

  40. Hi Lewis,

    It’s amazing what turns up in old barns. Makes you wonder what the old dude was thinking as he parked the De Lorean in there with only 977 miles on the clock? Looks like the car was purchased by a serious collector and restorer. Talk about original condition, the photos looked good.

    The eclipse sounded like a bit of a fizzer, but then it’s often cloudy in your part of the world (as it is here as well).

    Looking at the photos of the tree, you could sort of see that the soil at the base of the tree had been rather compacted and in parts looked like bare clay, which means there were probably a lot of people walking around the tree. That would have also reduced the chance of seedlings from striking. But with only the single tree in the area (from what I could see), would any seeds even be viable? Maybe a few. I’ve noticed that there are quite a number of Japanese maples popping up about the place over the past few weeks. I probably should pot them up and relocate them.

    It is possible that the interweb is how they used to say it: A flash in the pan. The amount of energy required to run the thing is bonkers. That’ll probably resolve the status and culture issues of it. I must say that I liked the addition of the words “or appear to”! There’s a huge difference between having actual knowledge you can implement and just knowing about something. I’m finding that with many of the machinery repairs we’re doing nowadays. Some things just trip you up. We chucked a fuel filter on a machine the other day, and the barbed connectors were a bit odd. We found out why after the fuel tank slowly emptied itself. Oh well, it’s fixed now. There’s a lot of experts around nowadays. Hmm.

    I really enjoyed Mr Lewis’s book (re-read it recently), and I loved the film on that subject. It’s a fave film, but I never could get my head around the fact that nobody ended up in the slammer, but then if you ignore everything except what happened, that may be a feature of the system.

    Yeah, like that North Slope business. A whole lotta rocks, but we use them up, and then have to find some more. It looks like the area had some sort of rock shelf which may have been an old lava flow? Dunno. Spent another couple of hours pulling rocks out of the ground. That’s hard work because some of them are rather heavy.

    Exactly, the politicians went to the people with the message ‘trust us’. My mother rarely gave me any advice, good or otherwise, but she was most definite about what was meant when someone asked her to: ‘trust us’. She had a very colourful vocabulary, and it would probably break the limits I’ve set here by mentioning the actual quote. What I’m guessing by reading between the lines, is that the politicians don’t trust the general population, that’s why they wanted so badly to reserve the power to themselves. They did the same thing for the republic referendum.

    Now you’ve got me wondering. Which dressing is the most authentic. I reckon you made a good choice given the two options, and hey it was the authentic choice. There’s also a dressing from the land of the bear, and I’d have to suggest that option may be out of favour right now? Seems rather contentious as to who dreamt the tasty treat up in the first place.

    Bummer for both you and H. Mate, my world is a bit like that, sorry to say. Kind of why I now spend time fixing all of the machines. Maybe you might make up a small batch of biscuits and gravy, although it is a less social experience?

    As your garden winds up, things are taking off here. And for a change, it rained this afternoon. The radishes and zucchini are growing fast.

    That hydrogen hub sounds exciting. Back when I first learned of Peak Oil, hydrogen as a fuel source sounded promising. There are a just a lot of technical downsides and difficulties, but don’t let me stop them. Go hard! They may learn something new. I’m not much of a believer in that option.

    I didn’t quite understand the article on the housing development. Hope it works! 🙂 When we built this house, we rented in a nearby town in a housing estate which was located on an old creek bed. I can assure you that on one occasion when a super cell hit the mountain range, the water came right up to the front door, and it certainly got into the garage. It’s an old creek bed. That’s what occasionally happens.

    We’re always talking dogs! Yeah, people talk invasive species without actually comprehending that long ago, crocodiles were found far to the north and south of where they live today. Species move in accordance with shifts in the climate. It’s only us modern humans who believe that the ecology is static. The evidence suggests that things are otherwise. The same thing is true down here when Dingoes (a coyote / dog equivalent) were brought to the mainland – probably through trade with Indonesia, just sayin… They displaced some of the marsupial equivalents and then they themselves adapted to the environment. There’s an alpine dingo for example.

    Nice to see that the series wasn’t trying to ram an answer down your throat!

    Cheers and better get writing.


  41. Yo, Chris – I wonder why the DeLorean was parked in the first place? I wonder if there was some social pressure involved. Maybe the owner had gotten a bit above himself 🙂 .

    Maybe whoever is responsible for the tree, should be charged with tree abuse.

    Last night’s on offer, at the Club, was cold meatloaf sandwiches. Although just about everyone who ordered one, wanted the meat warmed, thanks. Served with tomato, lettuce, mayo and catsup. On Wonder bread. 🙂 Well, that certainly makes it 1950s authentic!

    Only two more offerings, and then the chef is taking a couple of months off. She gets all wound up in the holidays. See? They just spoil everything. She was kicking around ideas for what to make next week. Reubens might be a possibility. Chicken fried steak was also kicked around. I was asked about it, and I told her that it’s not anything I’d walk into a restaurant and order. But if that’s what was on offer, I’d eat it, (and be happy.) 🙂 That dressing from the Land of the Bear is a bit watery, for a sandwich.

    It’s a lot of money, that’s going to be dropped in our little county. Happy days are here again! 🙂

    I finished up watching “The Human Footprint.” There was a chapter called “Replacements.” Pretty much how we’ve ignored a lot of species, to elevate, or choose a very few. Corn was one example. We only grow one or two varieties (on an industrial scale) when there are a lot of other varieties out there. There was a visit to a corn seed bank, outside Mexico City, that was pretty interesting. Chickens being selected and industrialized, over other forms of meat.

    The other episode was about the urban ecosystem. How some animals have adapted to city living. There’s a company in New York City, that uses small dogs, to control rats. Dame Plume would be right at home. There was some rather brutal footage of a night time rat hunt. There was a segment on Singapore, and how it’s become a garden city. By law. Lew

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