We got this

On a dreary spring day, with rain sweeping across the mountain range, Sandra and I were in the shed looking at the partially disassembled chainsaw. I may have remarked that the clutch we’d ordered, didn’t look anything like what was facing us in the machine. The videos on the interweb made the job look super easy, except with a gruntier and biggerer chainsaw there were a whole lot more components. Who knew? A few ungentlemanly words may have escaped my mouth. We downed tools and went off to lunch.

With a tasty Bánh mì and coffee up my guts, the world suddenly seemed clearer and nicer somehow. Food is a wonderful cure-all, and just the thing when you’re faced with a super-horrid machine problem. So we went back and had a second look. We’d been almost at the giving up stage and sending the thing off for repair, when inspiration struck. Even more components were removed from the chainsaw, and there it was, the clutch was hidden away. The original part was stuffed. That’s the technical term for not working properly.

The new clutch fitted straight in, then we put everything back together again. Fortunately there were no left over parts. Always something of a worry. And bam, the machine fired up first time, and even better, it now worked properly. Three issues with the saw that were fixed that day. A happy dance ensued!

The chainsaw now sports a new clutch and some other new parts
The old chain guard doesn’t look as good as the new one…

The farm machine repair boss died almost a year ago today. He was a good bloke, and we had many a good chat over the past fourteen years. He sold us quite a bit of machinery over that time too. And now he’s gone, we repair most of the machines ourselves. Life is kind of like that sometimes.

He’s particularly associated in my mind with the scary old second hand wood chipper he sold me. Two years ago, I’d been thinking about getting a chipper. The farm machine bloke sold some decent brand new machines. I asked him about them, and instead he shows me this crusty old 8hp unit and said it’s better than the new machines. Then he trusts me enough to send me off with the thing to use for a week or two before making a decision on the purchase. Turns out, the scary old machine is a little ripper. He was right, and nowadays without his guidance, we have to learn all this stuff for ourselves. However, it’s amazing what you can learn if you put your mind to it and just give things a go.

The leaking fuel tank was replaced on the scary old wood chipper

It’s been something of a week of anniversaries. We’ve been living in this house for almost thirteen years to the day. As someone who grew up in a less than optimal home situation, living in the same place for thirteen years is quite the achievement. Stability is good, yeah.

But far out, we’ve had to learn some things over the years, and not just on the farm. With the last house in the inner suburbs of the big smoke, in order to get the permit to do the work, the neighbour insisted on us using brick. I’d never used bricks in construction before, but then why not, the builder would sort it all out.

Except it turned out that site access was so bad that nobody wanted to touch the job, at any price. And then the neighbour sold their house, and the permit meant we were committed to brick. Oh well, we’d just have to give it a go ourselves. The five foot deep and very long trench for the concrete foundations had to be dug by hand. By that stage realisation dawned on me as to why nobody wanted to touch the job. Anywhoo, the trench got dug and backfilled with concrete. Lot’s of concrete, all which had to be moved by hand – those site access issues and stuff again. Tell ya what though, that house isn’t going anywhere – ever.

Century old recycled red bricks look great, but every single one of them is ever so slightly different. They all require a bit more care and attention than simply plonking in brand new bricks. And whilst they were solid, they showed their age, so you’d have to examine each of them and pick the best facing side, which faced the new neighbours kitchen and living room windows. I reckon the finished brick wall looked awesome, however the new neighbour absolutely hated my guts because I was totally invading their privacy. But having to do everything by hand, all I could lay was a couple of hundred bricks a day. And there were thousands of these things to lay. That wall took about a month to complete, and every day the neighbour glared at me. Fortunately for me, looks can’t kill, or I wouldn’t be here today!

Getting the permit for this house on the farm was no easy process either. I had to run the gauntlet with the permit application process every step of the way. This time around, we probably could have got a builder to construct the house, we just couldn’t afford it. The bushfire building regulations introducing during the permit application process were both unexpected and eye wateringly expensive. And nobody really knows whether or not the bushfire requirements will be effective when put to the ultimate test. To this day there are articles in the newspaper recounting the economic horror people experience when faced with those bushfire building regulations. It’s not just horror movies that can be scary.

To some folks, all that may sound like hardship. In reality, they’re all just things to be tried. Life is pretty comfortable in the big city, unless maybe your neighbour is inadvertently invading your privacy for a month. Comfort however, is not what I seek, and now I couldn’t see myself living anywhere else.

Yet again, it was a real mixed bag of weather this week. Earlier in the week was sunny and cool, whilst the latter half was wet and cool. Fortunately it didn’t rain as much as last week, but all the same, it is very damp about the property.

The big frozen continent to the south provided some decent rain this week

Usually at this time of year, having a burn off is a risky proposition. However, with it currently being so damp about the property, the chance of a fire getting away from us was quite low. In other words, nature was telling us to clean up the property by giving us the right conditions to do so. We collected a huge amount of fallen forest materials and burned them off. Trees do burn during a bushfire, but the aged and dry materials on the ground is what drives the intensity of a bushfire.

Dame Plum maintains a respectful distance from the burn off

During the clean up work, we recovered a lot of rocks. Those rocks generally stick out of the ground and are a mow hazard. Steel blades hitting a rock can cause sparks which in drier conditions can ignite a fire very quickly. Best if the rocks are removed, and we need lots of rocks for the various projects around the farm.

Some of the rocks were quite large

There are now piles of rocks all about the area waiting to be relocated. Where they get used, depends on the size of the rock. And there are still plenty more rocks in the ground in that area, although all the easy to extract rocks have been removed. The ones left will need to be drilled and split, but that’s work for another week.

A number of seedlings were planted out, and even with the cooler conditions this week, they’ve grown. We’re trialling a variety of radish ‘Pink Lady Slipper’ and it’s growing very fast, as is the zucchini. Both have almost doubled in size this week. The bulk of the radishes are grown in a garden row on the terraces, but we keep one or two near to the kitchen in a raised bed so as to observe the plant.

The Zucchini and Radish have doubled in size this week

The previous three growing seasons yielded almost no apricots. This year, so far, has been kinder weather wise, and it may be a bumper crop.

The Apricots are getting bigger each week

We ran a trial test of Alpine strawberries, and despite them being seeder, they outperform the more usually expected strawberry varieties. The plants have even begun to produce some tiny new self seeded plants.

Alpine Strawberries deliver the goods

The Meyer Lemon is producing a substantial quantity of fruit. It seems hard to believe that it wasn’t all that long ago that the tree had been succumbing to a disease. You wouldn’t know it now, although the recovery has required a lot of care and attention on my part.

The Meyer Lemon is looking really healthy

Whilst we were working on repairs to the chainsaw, Sandra happened to notice that there was a very large grey kangaroo in the orchard. He’s a big fella. We left him alone. Usually Kangaroos live in mobs, but this one may have been ousted by a younger bull.

A large bull Grey Kangaroo visited the orchard

I don’t mind the Kangaroos because they’ll happily consume the grass, and there’s plenty of it for them. Their cousins, the slightly smaller Wallabies on the other hand are foragers, and vandals. They’re tolerated. The Wallabies have been again ripping fronds off the new Tree Fern we planted during winter in the drainage basin. I’m not entirely sure how much damage the Tree Fern can cope with, so we chucked a couple of tree cages around the base of the fern. Hopefully the cages keep the wallabies at a bit of a distance from the developing fronds. We’ll see.

Steel chicken wire cages are placed at the bottom of the Tree Fern

Onto the flowers:

The insects are all over these Echium flowers
This steep garden bed is full of Borage and Forget me Nots with a developing over story of Japanese Maples
The Rhododendrons are just beginning to hit their stride
The flowers on this Succulent are amazing

The temperature outside now at about 8am is 5’C (41’F). So far this year there has been 743.2mm (29.3 inches) which is up from last weeks total of 731.0mm (28.8 inches)

32 thoughts on “We got this”

  1. Yo, Chris – As with chainsaws, so go cars. I hear these horror stories about car repairs, and it’s gaining access to the problem, that’s the problem. Even with all the right tools, experience, etc., vast amounts of time are eaten up, just getting at something. Massive labor costs to replace one small, inexpensive gizmo.

    That’s why I love old trucks, and if the owner is affable, I ask to look under the hood. What do I see? The ground. Some of them even provide a comfy front fender, to rest your nethers on, while taking a look under the hood and tinkering.

    Looks like that old chain saw guard, guarded you against … something 🙂 .

    Your brick and concrete story: there it is again. Access. There’s an old American saying, from New England. “You can’t get there, from here.” More or less, no direct route. Our state capitol, Olympia, to our north, is like that. I’ve often puzzled over maps, trying to figure out how to get from point A to point B.

    Might as well burn, while you have the chance. S’more season is almost over.

    Tomorrow is Monday, and I’m afraid our Master Gardeners might be washed out, again. 100% chance of rain. The forecast is for “Showers Then Showers Likely.” Who writes these things?

    Once upon a time, my Zucchini, looked just like your Zucchini. Now they’re all harvested and I’m about to do in the plants. All that bio mass will be turned into the soil.

    Your apricots look promising. But has something already taken a nibble out of one? Parrots do taste like chicken. 🙂

    That Grey Kangaroo is a big fellow. Why do I have a sudden hankering for a nice savory haunch? Must be time for dinner. There are reports that Grey Kangaroos also taste like chicken. Your mileage may vary.

    Maybe prayer would help your tree fern? I’ll give it a go. I really like your rustic fence. I saw a lot of those in that Japanese movie, “Kwaidan.”

    I think succulents arrived from some strange foreign planet. They always look like something a set dresser from “Star Trek,” would think up. But just to be clear, appealing in their strangeness.

    Oh, no! It’s the beginning of the end!


    Oh, well. Glad I’m old. There’s probably still enough DVDs kicking around, to entertain me to the end. I asked at the library, recently, if there was any loose talk about getting rid of the DVDs. I was told that, no, as they were the leading type of material, checked out. And libraries are all about numbers, these days. But you never know when some bright young thing, with a little power, will decide they’re old fashioned and passe. Like me. Lew

  2. Hi Lewis,

    As someone who’s worked on cars in the late 1980’s to late 1990’s (when it all suddenly became too complicated), yeah I can only but agree with your sentiment. Earlier vehicles had more room under the bonnet, and they certainly didn’t weigh in at the heavy weight class they seem to be today. Sometimes the cynic in me knows that all of the advances in engine technologies and stream-lining were handed over to basically manufacture heavier cars. People seem to want that. The vehicles on the roads today are a lot bigger than the things driving around during the oil crisis of the 1970’s. We may live to regret that choice. I wanted no part of it, thus the choices we made. Yup, you don’t see the ground from that view these days.

    Hehe! Yeah, that chain guard earned it’s keep. But just to ease your mind, I also wear safety chaps, helmet, leather gloves, and safety glasses when using that dangerous machine. The crusty old forestry dude who trained me, pointed out the obvious risk with the softest part of a blokes anatomy. That’s called hard earned wisdom. 🙂

    That’s a great saying! There are a number of gorges and folds in the land around here, so the same is very true. And I may add that just because there is a road, does not imply that the road will be passable. Sometimes those GPS map devices people outsource their brains too, send them in the wrong direction and down the wrong tracks. Not good.

    What does that even mean? “Showers Then Showers Likely” could mean simply that there will be showers, and when? That’s what I want to know.

    Ah, the wheel turns full circle! How do you get all that zucchini stem and leaf matter back into the soil?

    Yes, the cheeky parrots have been sampling the unripe apricots. Clearly, the birds have discovered that unripe apricots taste like dog barf, and they’re leaving them alone. But must they constantly sample the wares? Hopefully, there is enough developing fruit to sate the worst of their appetites. Maybe there is?

    Kangaroo is a very tasty meat, if not over cooked. It gets a bit dry and tough if cooked that way, in some ways it’s kind of like how turkey can be over cooked, and you know how that ends up being very dry. Not nice. And if you think that dogs can challenge a big bull roo, well, I don’t think so: Viral internet video shows Mildura man fight off a kangaroo to save his dog . This is why we leave them well alone!

    Thanks, we like that fence too. It’s got quite the rustic charm about it, but is also very functional and sturdy. Makes you wonder how the Japanese would have constructed those style of fences? Hmm… Interesting indeed, thanks for mentioning this, as it is not an idea I’d known about. Certainly, it would be possible with the materials around here. Hmm. See, you learn something new every single day. 🙂

    The Editor has quite the collection of succulent plants, and seems to be adding to them. They seem to survive the winters here which quite surprises me. There is a very spiky cactus growing in one of the garden beds which has been more or less out grown. However, despite that, the plant is still there and continuing to grow. The dogs may have an interesting experience should they inadvertently encounter it. All part of the experience!

    Sorry to hear that about the DVD’s. Maybe a new market will emerge? I can’t see how the return of analogue will be part of that, but you never know. Vinyl made a come back.

    You might be right about the former owner of the DeLorean batting outside his league with the purchase. Being cool means to display a certain level of indifference, and that could be hard to maintain with systemic social pressure. Yeah, you’re probably right. But the old bloke had the last laugh.

    Did anyone offer the young bloke with the chainsaw a job to keep him out of future trouble? There is a part of me that would want to see him publicly complete the work on that tree he started.

    Far out, are you entirely certain that chef hadn’t gotten the DeLorean with that 1950’s era sandwich? Apparently, I heard that they can travel through time. I saw the movie. 😉 I reckon the Reuben sandwich would work better. I like your style, people can get overly fussy with food. Picky eaters can make for awkward food experiences.

    Hope the money rains down, or more likely, the project gets shelved. There are a plenty of actual engineering issues with the gas, but who knows what they might think up. I’m sure those folks who went down in the submersible were super-excited about pushing the boundaries of materials technologies. Do I need to let that one go? Yeah, maybe… 🙂

    Yeah, exactly! We really do specialise in only a few varieties, when there is a whole world of foods out there. It’s weird isn’t it?

    Dame Plum would soon tire of so many rodents. And the worms! Yikes!

    For a change, it rained here today.



  3. Hi Margaret,

    Yikes. Falls are a bad sign, but fingers crossed. It’s hard to know such things, but sometimes all you have to go on is the way things are playing out. And some people can get really nasty with dementia. It changes them.

    The very traditional community green (Woodstock Square) looks great. I often wonder why housing developments don’t incorporate such green spaces. There are quite a few of those in the older areas of Melbourne. You’ve got a delightful environment to work in, except for the occasional accidental explosion. That’s not good, but great to hear to nobody was injured too badly.

    Lucky you! I like people who take books seriously, and books are such a joy. Out of curiosity, did you enjoy the book: “Zen and the art…”? And would you recommend Masanobu Fukuoka’s book? We’ve got quite a number of Dr Bryson’s books, he recounts an engaging tale. How funny was the down under book? 🙂

    I’ll be very interested to hear how things go with the book club if the books with more depth get across the line. Have you considered maybe interspersing such books slowly into the reading materials?

    Thanks, yeah, taking the computer down to the local shop is not an option due to client confidentiality issues. It’s not that I don’t trust them, my hands are kind of tied, and if anything escapes, it’s my head on the chopping block. Had to laugh, it’s not just you that had to do that with the laptop. Because of you-know-what, the number of video calls went up drammatically, and yeah, a new laptop. Hmm. Oh well.

    That much rain will start soaking into the ground. Hopefully you get more rain before the really freezing winter weather begins. The climate is a bit bonkers down here too. It’s very cold in this corner of the continent, whilst a large swath of it is baking hot. Summer could be very interesting, but I take such things on a day by day basis. Plus there is a lot of ground water, around here at least.

    Yeah, the Linden tree is great. It’s hard to see in that photo, but the trunk is as wide as I’m tall.

    It rained here again today.



  4. Yo, Chris – Yup. It’s bucketing down, this morning. I didn’t see the Master Gardeners, when I took the dog out. I’ll check again, when I’m done here. We’re supposed to get a few nice days, later in the week. I found three more green beans, on my way in.

    Parrots may have a taste for other dog “products,” besides poo. 🙂

    Kangaroo: long and slow with a lot of liquid and basting. Or, well sealed.

    I’ve seen plans for several styles of Japanese fences, usually in gardening books. Lots of bamboo, but also rustic “found” wood.

    I’ll get very zen, with the Zucchini. 🙂 The big leaves I’ll just chop up with the tip of a shovel. The hollow stems I’ll cut up into small pieces, with my pruning shears. Then just turn the whole mess, into the soil.

    Speaking of DVDs, I’m watching season two of “Sister Boniface Mysteries.” It’s a spin off from the “Father Brown Mysteries.” Takes place in Britain, in the swingin’ 60s. Small English village and convent. It’s pretty entertaining. The Sister is a quit smart young nun, who was Oxford educated in chemistry, and such. For a change, the local police are quit grateful for her help. I think it’s going to be a popcorn night. Another “Transformers” movie, on tap.

    Picky eaters will not be invited back. 🙂 I noticed the deli had notices that there were “No Substitutions.” That burger chain that promised that the customer could “Have it Your Way,” did a lot of damage to the American culinary landscape. I pretty much eat what’s put in front of me. And get pretty inventive, on the Home Front. After having the meat loaf sandwich, late that evening I got a bit peckish, but didn’t want to wade into a full dinner. So, I got a couple of soft wheat tortilla, smeared them down the middle with some good peanut butter and a couple of dollops of plain yogurt. Rolled it up. A snack, but not too unhealthy. The tacos only had 110 calories, per. I found it tasty, but, I suppose some wouldn’t even give it a flyer. Oh, well. More for me. Lew

  5. Hi Lewis,

    Reading the good professors essay on your forecast extreme weather, made me wonder: How bad was the rain? I note that there has been trouble there on campus. Not good, oh well. Surly the master gardeners are made of sterner stuff than that and not to be frightened by a mere drizzle? 🙂 Your rain seems to be the way things are going lately. Not much, then a whole bunch.

    Look at the cute and colourful parrots! Well don’t be fooled by their smashing good looks and playful antics. The habits of those birds are rather filthy. They follow Ollie around, and know his habits. They wait. Opportunity.

    Ah very good. I see that you’ve sampled the marsupial, and know it’s true measure. 🙂 It’s actually pretty good meat, and very low stress on the environment from a number of aspects. If people were really serious about their committment to the environment, they’d eat more of that meat, and less cow. The Human Footprint documentary you spoke about the other day, discussed the preference for one type of food stuff over another. You can only really do that option when you’re not hungry enough.

    The rustic wood fences were the ones that intrigued me the most. I’m not mucking around by suggesting that the bamboo fences displayed an extraordinary level of skill to make. Probably it would take more skill to develop than I have time and resources available. Now the found wood fences, they were really something else and a bit more achieveable due to the more rustic and less perfect finish. Hmm.

    Thanks for explaining the zen-like 🙂 process of chipping up your zucchini leaves and stems and chucking them back onto the soil. We do a similar thing, except chuck the organic matter into garden beds so as to give them a boost. Your system is probably a better practice. One of the interesting things I’ve observed over the years is that in the paddocks, when we cut them, and just drop the organic matter where it is cut and falls, the soil fertility in that area begins to improve incrementally. And the organic matter also gets consumed faster over time. It’s a very interesting process to observe of the years. I suspect you’re probably seeing the same process play out in your garden beds. Maybe?

    The series sounds very charming. Although, it’s probably been said before elsewhere, that things can get rather dangerous in Great Slaughter. Unfortunately for the perpertrators of such mischief, they’re dealing with folks who know stuff. Are you still watching All Creatures Great and Small? I recommended that series to the Editor.

    Hope the latest Transformers film lives up to the recent example?

    I didn’t mention the weather. Last night was very cold here at 39’F outside and we let the fire go out early the previous evening. The inside the house was 59’F this morning and that was a four blanket night. Alas, woe is me, for I’d only thought to line up three blankets, and suffered a disturbed nights sleep. Oh well, moving on. The past couple of nights have been very cold.

    Yeah, I’m with them, that’s how things should be done. How a commercial kitchen can accommodate so many individual food preferences over and above the standard fare, and not stuff it up whilst providing food at a reasonable cost, is something of a mystery. What’s really hard about that situation is that there are people who have genuine food allergies, and that can be a very risky thing for them. The others, they’re probably just being picky.

    Ah, that lot. Right, I don’t eat there. Used to when I was much younger, but in my opinion, there are better options. I don’t make a fuss over food either. It is, what it is.

    Your food innovation might take off. 🙂

    Went into the big smoke today for work, and it was good. I like a day where nothing interesting happened. There’s much to recommend that option.



  6. Yo, Chris – Yes, we had a couple of real gully washers. There were even some flooded streets, here and there. Caused by leaves in the drains. I noticed the city had trucks out, this morning, scooping up leaves in the gutters. But, we’re to have a few nice days, coming up. The past few mornings have been chilly, when I get up. I just throw on a jumper. By early evening, I usually have to open a window, and kick on the A/C for an hour or so. The Master Gardeners were a no-show. It was pretty nasty on Monday. They have turned out in foul weather. Just not as foul as it was the other day.

    Parrots, if given a chance, will also take your finger off. I had a Quaker parrot, one time, and he was a nasty tempered bird. I finally donated him to science 🙂 .

    I’d give Kangaroo a whirl. At least once. I’ve had horse meat (very lean) and whale (oily and very fishy). Once each. Tried Escargot, twice. Once it was truly awful, once really good. That’s why I keep Sam the Snail, around. If things get bad, he’s on the menu.

    I thought the documentary, “The Human Footprint,” was quit good. If they got into controversial territory, they presented both sides and let you draw your own conclusion. Yes, in a number of food areas, we’ve got all our eggs in one basket.

    You’ve probably seen pictures of bamboo used as scaffolding on high rise buildings. After a lot of research, I planted some running bamboo, once. It’s really easy to manage. Drove by the place not long ago, and now there’s a bamboo thicket, there. Someone didn’t manage it, very well 🙂 .

    I’m waiting on season three, of “All Creatures…” It ought to show up any time, on the new library list. I took a look at the new library catalog. Seems like they’re moving in the direction of a social media site. As if we need more of those. But, the important bits in my account, seem to function O.K.. I had to re-register. So, after registering, I got an email, that said to activate my account, I needed to reply to the e-mail. I did. My account came up, but there was a message that “Something Went Wrong!” Everything seems to work, but, when I swing by the drive in window, tomorrow, I’ll see if there’s a problem. I found the “new” list. Now my question is, will it be at a particular time during the week, or will the titles just dribble in now and again? They want feedback. Boy will I give them feedback.

    I watched “Transformers: Rise of the Beasts,” last night. Worth a bowl of popcorn. Great car chases and lots of cool explosions. Turns out the one I watched last week, was and old one, and this one is the newest.

    I finished “Status and Culture,” last night. A good read. Though the author had some rather complex ideas, he used examples that any reasonably intelligent person, could follow. The last bit was about “Retromania vs. Neomania.” It relates to the rise of the internet. It also kind of explains why nothing seems new anymore, and everything seems to be a remake of something from the past. And, it seems to be age based a bit. The constant pace of change, has driven older (and not so old) people back to more predictable cultural artifacts. (Yup, that’s what he called them … movies, music, TV) but “digital natives” who grew up with the internet, are in quest of the new. Even if it’s a re-imagining or rehash, of the old. As long as they perceive it as new, it’s desirable. But things move so fast, these days, not much really sticks.

    Getting back to that “predictable,” it wasn’t something the author mentioned, but, nationwide food chains are successful, because if you walk into one in Maine, or California, you know exactly what you’re getting. There’s no risk.

    Sometimes, “interesting things,” can be a mixed bag. 🙂

    I took H down to the Club, this morning, and when we got home, tossed her in the tub. She’s got a spot on her back, near her tail, that Elinor is convinced is a tick. I think it’s a hot spot, but I’m not even going to bother bringing up possible treatments. Pointless, once she gets an idea in her head.

    And, in news of the world … We have three major chemist chains, here. They’re about to close a couple of thousand of their stores. One is right down the hill from us, and they have another branch over in Centralia. I’d guess, between the two, it would be ours on the chopping block. Lew

  7. Chris,

    Thanks for the picture of the large linden tree. It is a true giant tree!

    Aren’t politicians wonderful? Put together something for the public to vote on in which A) it passes and the fact that it was a half-baked idea means it will be an unwieldly mess. or B) it is defeated which makes the voters look like a bunch of racist numpties. Only a true politician could draft potential legislation like that.

    Oh, Hayden Lake, Idaho, once home of the Aryan Nations led by Richard Butler, is just up the road from here. Those were real racists. I ‘ve also met other extreme racists. Your election results don’t make Australians a bunch of racists. Politicians a bunch of dolts, however…

    Music? My friend and I could listen to Jimmy Buffett for hours. Or listen to Linda Ronstadt’s “Heart Like a Wheel” album endlessly. Or some of the lesser known tracks from Eagles albums whilst discussing various classical music songs and composers. I was a vocalist, while he played baritone saxophone in school. His school’s jazz orchestra somehow landed Maynard Ferguson as a guest artist/guest conductor two years in a row. They were getting ready for rehearsal the 2nd year, Maynard walked in, looked at my friend, said ” Hey, Steve, still playing that mean Barry Sax?” Nice compliment to my friend!

    Banh mi and coffee for lunch? Respect! That is a wonderful meal that I’ve had several times. I also like your technical term “stuffed”. Sums up a lot of mechanical issues.

    Ya know what’s scary about repairs and leftover parts when you put it back together? If it works just fine even though there are leftover parts. I’ve done that a few times and it always has me wondering a lot of different things. The obvious is “Will this thing quit working and/or explode because it’s missing the leftover parts?” Or the other side “Hmmm, why did they include those parts initially if they really aren’t necessary?” Those questions often led me to the grand finale question: “If I repair enough different types of gadgets, and if I have lots of leftover parts, will I be able to build a new gadget from nothing but leftover parts that actually does something useful? And will it be able to find all of my missing ballpoint pens and unmatched socks?”

    Late in life, my dad owned a scary machine. Not scary like your chipper, but scary as in it could have starred in a horror movie. It was an old 20 inch box fan. Dad had taken the outer shell off of it so as to clean the blades and grease the bearings. Then he either lost some of the parts or got lazy and never put the outer shell back together. The old box fan was now not enclosed, leaving the blades out in the open where many potentially horrific things could ensue. My sister named it “Blade”. Since dad was mentally losing it about then, sister took him and mom for an outing. Then I snuck in and left them a brand-new box fan and somehow “Blade” was never seen again. What we told dad was that Blade had mysteriously regrown its “box”. Stephen King could have written a good novel about Blade once upon a year. Or maybe a series of movies could’ve been made: “Beware of the Living Blade” or “Blade Meets Chucky: A Halloween Extravaganza” or maybe “Blade Versus the Texas Chainsaw: A Competition”.

    We had some rain Monday. Not a lot, but somewhat more than was expected. Then it rained for an hour Monday night. It was supposed to be clear. I’ll take the rain whenever we can get it this time of year.

    Walking Avalanche has been spectacular the past several days. Leaves are changing color in this neighborhood. It is one of the better leaf displays in recent years.


  8. Hi DJ,

    It could be remarked upon that conditions for the massive Linden tree up there on the mountain ridge, are fluffy optimal. 😉 Truly the trunk is as wide as I’m tall. Near to that large tree is also the very old tree with the face in the bark. You noticed it when I posted the photo. The face had been staring at me and the camera, and I missed it, but it was there staring back. The world is a much more interesting place than most people assume it to be.

    Mate, I’m embarrassed for the feeding frenzy that is taking place in the media now in the aftermath. To be so sure of one’s righteousness can only but bring down the wrath of the Gods. Old Odin one eye would probably have some thoughts in that regard, don’t you reckon? Every excuse under the sun is being trotted out, except that the politicians utterly stuffed it up. The cynic in me suggests that this may have been the goal. Given that actuality however, to me that system looks like a hill to die upon. My response is to disentangle from it and look to the future possibilities – and how I live my life displays those values. I can’t really say for sure how other folks will read the message sent from it all, and then navigate those uncertain waters. It is not for me to set their sails and man the tiller.

    Oh my, yeah those folks sound like the real deal. Makes you wonder what they were hiding from to have acted so. At a wild guess, I’d say their thoughts in the wee-hours of the night. The land there was stronger in the end, and ousted them. It amuses me to consider that the land ended up becoming a public park for the benefit of all.

    Isn’t it always surprising how diverse peoples tastes in music can be? So, it’s amazing to meet with people like your mate who you shared a common set of interests. And vocalist too, this is a new side to you if I may say so. 🙂 Hmm, all good choices. Sandra was a big fan of The Eagles back in the day. They were very good musicians and I liked their earlier stuff. Glenn Frey played one of his last gigs over at Hanging Rock in 2015 – that’s just over the other side of the mountain range. There was a big storm that night. A similar story played out for Leonard Cohen, just sayin. It’s always good when someone else recognises achievements, your friend must have been quite the saxophonist. Did he ever play in a band, although I reckon he must have to have been remembered by another muso.

    The world may be messed up, but a good Banh mi and coffee can soothe the nerves and restore some energy. Have you ever had one of those Vietnamese coffees which use condensed milk. I’ve never been so brave, but Sandra tells me that they’re good.

    That’s funny. But like you, I also wonder whether the repaired item will self destruct at some future moment without warning. Always a possibility. There are so many things here that require maintenance, not to mention care and attention, that when I first begin repairing the machine, I do wonder how long the thing will last, even if I get the repairs spot on. How does anyone know how long anything will last? I’ve remarked before that I’ll know, when the item is stuffed beyond economical repair, but before then it’s a mystery?

    You are super cheeky! I’ve just finished reading a trio of Mr King’s hard case novels and they were excellent. There were times work was calling, but the power of the book is strong with that one. Well, your strategy with the dreaded blade monster has much to commend it – such as being a workable solution. I quite enjoyed the Chucky series, the little psychopathic possessed kids doll made quite the impression, and who can forget the buzz line: “He’s your friend ’til the end” You’d hope not.

    All the rain at this stage of the year for you would promote a sort of mini-spring. How’s the new grass growing? And because we haven’t mentioned it for a while, how’s the hand?

    It was a beautiful day here today. The sun shone, we’re now at Very High UV and you can feel the energy from that big fusion reactor up in the sky. Alas, woe is me, I worked inside all day, until late. I didn’t finish up much before 8pm this evening. My brain was frazzled, so we took the dogs for a walk, and Dame Plum decided that she was strong enough to pull me along for about 1.6km. I honestly don’t know what that dog is thinking. As you can imagine, she is wiped out now. How has Avalanche adjusted to the lead?

    Shh, be careful saying such things. There are tourists looking for such things. Trust me in this. I’ve read that over in Vermont, things have come to a head in that regard.



  9. Hi Lewis,

    I like your use of the words ‘gully washers’, it paints a picture of bouts of heavy rain. Down here, you’d hear people saying: “Mate, it’s absolutely pissing down out there!” That roughly translates to: There’s rather a lot of heavy rain outside right now (and there is the implied advice not to venture out into the general dampness). I have to laugh, if leaves blocked up one of the drains here during an epic rain event, we’d be on our own and just have to deal. Those trucks that can sweep up the leaves are amazing with their brooms made of thin chunks of sheet metal.

    I do apologise for doubting the master gardeners courage in the face of bad weather. Truth to tell, when it’s filthy weather outside, I have no desire to head out an experience a drenching. We’re probably having similar weather. Cold nights and warmer days. I did note in the paperwork that the weather batten had only the usual wear and tear expected! 😉 Today here was really lovely, blue skies, warm sun (but not too hot) and no wind. And I was lamentably stuck inside working until very late. Oh well, a dude’s gotta pay the bills, and working seems to be the path to achieving that goal.

    Oh yeah, parrots will do that. Their beaks are strong as. When we had the original chicken enclosure, sometimes the parrots would attempt a smash and grab on the chickens grains. Except that the parrots would get stuck inside the chicken enclosure, and they did express some definite opinions as to my efforts to release them. You would think that there would be a certain gratitude for the service rendered? But no. After the first bite (and yeah, you know how that would feel), I wore leather riggers gloves and used a thick towel to capture them. You’ve just reminded me. There’s an old saying about not biting the hand that feeds you. Did you attempt to rationalise with the Quaker Parrot? 🙂 I like your style with the end of that story. There was a minor sub plot in the book Robinson Caruso regarding rationalising with parrots. They didn’t muck around in those days. Makes you wonder if the animal rights folks will attempt to cancel the book?

    You’ve got an adventurous palate, and you’ve hit upon a truism with cooking: Don’t assume that people know what they’re doing. After all, I’ve read Jason Sheehan’s book ‘Cooking Dirty’, and that guides my thoughts upon the activities going on in commercial kitchens. All true, there may come a time when fussy eaters go hungry.

    The documentary is like old school journalism. What is the subject, provide a bit of background, then present the various differing perspectives so that people can make up their own minds. I’d have to suggest that the public was far more educated in those days. Hey, that stuff has been gone for a long while, although some sources are better than others.

    Hehe! Yeah, a bamboo thicket indeed! There is a local bamboo nursery which I’ve never been to. Might need to do something about that.

    Really? You’d hope somebody on the library interweb site moderates the comments and book reviews, otherwise it will quickly go wrong. There are times I feel like the tech folks go in search of brave new worlds and features, just because it is financially a good choice for them. Nice for some… I began re-reading Jack Vance’s epic fantasy trilogy “Lyonesse”. The book was suggested to have been an inspiration to George RR Martin (he who doth not conclude his epic tale) and for me it’s like a good solid chat with an old friend.

    Go hard with the feedback, they did ask for it! 🙂

    How did the newest instalment of the film stack up to the earlier? A popcorn rating is very suggestive that you enjoyed it.

    Ooo, had some Globe Artichokes today, and after the soil feed from a few weeks ago, they’re really pumping along and producing. I might have to thin the plants a bit. Hmm. The green mustards are beginning to bolt to seed. Hopefully the rocket will be ready soon to take over leafy green duties.

    Yeah, that has been my impression as well. Things move so fast that nothing quite sticks. I can see that. But then, providing constant novelty is probably quite a difficult task to keep up at. Sooner or later a culture becomes creatively bankrupt. Hmm. Speaking of such things, there are moves afoot to reign in the size of vehicles if you but read between the lines. About time too.

    I can see that about the ‘devoid of risk’ status for those prepared foods. But then in many ways they’re devoid of charm because anything individual is removed from the equation. It’s kind of like a sort of race to the most easily achieved average result. But if people want that, who am I to argue? I’d have to be especially hungry to eat at such a place, and even then. It’s not that I’m a snob with such matters, it’s more of a lost opportunity to do better.

    True, but I always have a touch of trepidation regarding novelty. You can win big sure, but just as easily you can lose through the agency of that option.

    Is the spot three dimensional? You can feel ticks. Nasty little things. Hey, on a bright note, there has not yet been any discussion of blame for the supposed tick. See, always some small mercy to be grateful for.

    I would have imagined that chemist chains would be a license to print money. One of the wealthiest dudes down under owns one of those things. Wow! That is a lot of stores. I’m pretty sure that with the wealth, those folks have a greater social obligation. Oh well, you know, some people need to learn the hard way. Hope your area is not left in a void, but your words of assessment are not reassuring.

    The nearest branch for the one of the banks closed down, and it’s now half an hour away. I doubt the banksters care.



  10. Yo, Chris – Seems like there’s a lot of terms for “a lot of rain.” Being a family friendly blog, I often use the benign “Raining cats and dogs.” Or the even more benign, “Raining puppies and kittens.” 🙂

    LOL. Parrots. One of the episodes of “Sister Boniface” I watched, the murder du jour was solved by a talking parrot. Some parrots are well behaved. Some not. As “Robinson Caruso” is in the public domain, I’m sure there are versions floating around out there, that have been “sanitized for your protection.” Oh, heck. Just publish a trigger warning, up front, in big bold letters, and publish the original text. And then there’s the whole can of worms of Caruso’s relationship to “his man Friday.” 🙂

    The topic of fussy eaters reminded me of that series, “The 1910 House.” Part of the family was a youngish boy, and everyone was in a froth about him only consenting to eat bread and cheese. Everything else available in 1910 was not to his taste. As I remember, the little porker could lose a few pounds. If you’re going to go on an adventure like that, leave the kids and angsty teens, behind. But, I suppose it provides some dramatic tension.

    Oh, I think the public was a lot more educated, back in the day. Not just book learnin’ but just daily living. Maybe it’s the time of year, but there seems to be a lot of reminiscing, around the Club, about how many hundreds of jars of produce mom or grandma “put up.” Usually, from their own gardens.

    Bamboo is interesting stuff. One could fall down the rabbit hole 🙂 . Worth trying to get a variety that has edible shoots. Mine did, but as it was getting established, I never gave them a try. “Panda enters a bar. Eats, shoots and leaves.” “Panda enters a bar. Eats shoots and leaves.” That’s actually the name of a book on language. What a difference a comma makes.

    Oh, I’m sure the library will just try and use algorithms and filters to ride herd on the comments and reviews. I had a brief thought, to get on board. But, I have better things to do with my time. And isn’t it just status seeking? 🙂

    Yes, the “Transformers” movie was good, and not as long as the other one I watched. But I think I’m Transformered, out. I see the “Barbie” movie, is in transit, to me. I suppose I’ll pick it up, either this afternoon, or the weekend. Another popcorn night.

    OK by me, if they reign in the size of vehicles. Parking it getting to be a problem, here at the Institution. My theory is, we’re getting a younger crowd, given demographics and all that. Seems like they’re the SUV generation. And, they can’t seem to get the knack of parking between the lines.

    Yes, why put up with the mediocre and predictable, when there are other more interesting places to eat? Some of it’s economics. But I think more a lack of sense of adventure.

    Oh, H has had that spot on her back, near her tail, since I’ve known here. It’s either a nervous habit, like chewing your nails, or, a garden variety hot spot. I gave it a good clean, when she had her bath. Just some dried skin flakes. If Elinor is so worried about a tick, she should have let me give H the flea and tick pill. But, no. She got it in her head that the pill might be bad for the dog. In some universe, far, far away.

    Well, we just got a new chemist, just a block down the hill. Local folks. Their second store. If you live in rural areas, or small towns, you just won’t get the medical care. Fact of life. Deal. There’s been articles about how rural hospitals are closing, left and right. And some are closing out departments. Such as maternity wards. My friends in Idaho have had to make three trips to the emergency ward, in McCall, in the last week. Once for the husband, twice for the son-in-law. That’s an hour away, in good weather.

    We’re going to have three nice days. I’ll let everything dry out, today, and then get out in the garden and do …. something. Lew

  11. Chris,

    Faces in trees are cool. I’ve seen them occasionally, especially in old growth forests. Also in the winter when cross country skiing. Some firs and spruces, when totally covered with snow, look an awful lot like people. Twilight can be exciting at those places, as one can feel watched by all of the snowy tree people.

    “The cynic in me suggests that this may have been the goal.” I had that thought too. Our politicians seem to stuff things up a lot on purpose then blame everybody and everything else. When the simplest explanation is that politicians purposely screwed it up and all other “explanations” are exceedingly complex, well, didn’t Occam have a Razor? 😉

    Living by one’s values in the face of political flummery, well, that’s sort of the only option. Might that be another side of “collapse now and avoid the rush”?

    Those Aryan Nations folks were nasty. They used to hand out their “literature” on the local college campuses. Back in the 1980s that was not welcome. Nor was it considered to be “free speech”.

    One of the local television stations arranged to have an interview with their leader at their compound. The station made sure that the camera was rolling when they got to the compound’s gate. The cameraman was African-American. (Good man. I tutored him in physics for a term or so.) Guards wouldn’t let them in. Finally one of the leaders showed up and blatantly said they could enter if they left the &#% guy at the gate. Having gotten on film what they wanted, the camera crew and news people returned to Spokane and aired the film unedited. Well, they DID bleep out the nasty word.

    Yeah, the earlier Eagles stuff was great. At some point in the late 1970s they lost their edge or something. Sometime after Hotel California.

    Milk of any type does not belong in my coffee. So, no, never had the Vietnamese version with condensed milk.

    “But like you, I also wonder whether the repaired item will self destruct at some future moment without warning.” Maybe that’s what was really going on with Mission Impossible. Somebody had repaired the tape recorders or whatevers and left some parts out. Message given and then they self destructed due to the parts issue. “Your mission, if you choose to accept it…” is to learn how to repair this stuff correctly without naggy leftover parts.

    Surprisingly, after bringing Chucky into the discussion, I’ve never watched a Chucky movie. I don’t care for that genre. That confessed, I think that a movie along the lines of “Bride of Chucky Meets Bride of Frankenstein” could be entertaining.

    The new grass is doing mostly well. Not all of the seeds sprouted. Yet. More new grass is still appearing nearly every day though. After a few more days here of 22C weather, we have our first frost forecast in about a week. And the storm system that appears with the cold front? Well, the s-n-o-w word popped up in the forecast, meaning perhaps a few snow showers before it warms up and rains.

    The hand is doing very well. Slowly getting more feeling in it where there hasn’t been feeling. Still doing the exercises and other rehab things several times a day. The more work I do like yard work and minor household maintenance projects, the faster the finger is recovering.

    Avalanche does pretty well on the lead. She does much better when I use a harness, the type that the lead can clip to the front of rather than on her back. The doggy school people call this “front range”. She is NOT in control when on that harness. So during obedience school today, she got quiet and was lying down. Then I looked at her and saw that she had chewed through the nylon harness. Need to get a new one tomorrow.

    Oh, the poor leaf tourists. If they were to show up in my part of town now, they would be disappointed. Leaves are beginning to drop from the trees. Peak color has been achieved.

    Seriously, there are better parts of town for leaves. There’s a large park south of downtown. It has a LOT of deciduous trees and a lot of color every year. A lot of people visit that park for the colorful leaves.


  12. Hi DJ,

    Twilight has long had an ominous reputation for such things. You sent me off on a rabbit hole looking for the photo of the face in the tree, and the search yielded nothing. Perhaps the elder ones now want to remain hidden. I went back over the past four years of photos too. A mystery, don’t you reckon?

    There’s an old saying about if something looks like a banshee, then it might be a banshee. Mind you, they’re not something that you actually want to ever encounter at close range. Big pointy teeth, scratchy claws and stuff. And that is very true about Occam’s Razor. The whole thing looks that way to me, the rest of the explanations are a smokescreen. My thinking in the matter is that to engage with such a system at this time in history, might produce some good results, but it could also consume a lot of energy, and there are now competing possibilities for that energy, some of which may yield more fruit. One possibility is disengaging and heading off and doing something different. Hmm.

    I have no time for such hatred as that, and those emotions display a sort of weird fixation. They do say that what people contemplate, they imitate, and I tend to believe that it is true for such people. Free speech is not something that I’m at all familiar with. Down here, there are hard limits on that, and a person can land in hot water very easily. During you-know-what, I recall a young lady being dragged from her house just for saying things on the interweb that the authorities frowned upon. I’m not at all free to say what I would like to, but as you correctly point out, there should be some limits to free speech. As always there is a middle ground, and we are not anywhere near that nice space down here. I suspect that in your country, you are closer to that mid-point.

    One of the interesting things I’ve learned over the years both here and overseas is that the vast majority of people I’ve met just want to get on with their lives. Of course, history suggests that our culture is very big into the divide and conquer strategy. That’s a very old game they play. It’s a dangerous game.

    Sandra’s favourite Eagles album was Desperado. 🙂 How do you rate that one? All bands follow the inverted bell shaped curve in terms of popularity. No matter how good, or great too. I’d imagine that the pressure to progress would be impossible to sustain? I’m sure sooner or later people will say, the blog used to be better back in the day – like before the Fonz actually jumped the shark. No matter, I’m here for the chat. A person more sensitive than myself might worry that since last weekend, reader stats have dropped off by a quarter. Sends a strong message, but are those lurkers up for the chat? I doubt it. Maybe I should write about Oil next week? That’s a standing joke in this household.

    Oh! Well that is a controversial opinion in relation to coffee. 😉 I’m quite partial to the cappuccino. A person hears things about coffee in your country, but that is outside my personal experience. Outside of New Zealand, I’ve never travelled to another western country. All of our travel was a bit off the beaten track.

    That’s funny, yeah the tape recorder in that series probably did require some repairs. You know, I’ve never seen one of those Mission Impossible films. But the by-line is a cultural classic. Instantly recognisable. Wonder if they use digital recordings these days?

    You’re not missing much, the Chucky films were pretty silly. Horror films give me nightmares, and although I don’t have any visual memory, the feelings those movies leave, remains long afterwards. Life can be rough enough without seeking to be deliberately scared. Books for some reason don’t have the same effect on me, dunno why. Sadly the nightmares from those are all too visual – don’t want or need them.

    Good to hear that the native grass is sprouting. You planted at a pretty good time. The plants might not like the frost, but you never know with grass species as they can be a mixed bag. Mostly they survive frost here, but where you are, frosts it may be said, are real frosts. 🙂

    Hey, we planted some grass seed the other day, and just before the rain, I spread some wood ash over the seeds. And that really helped germination and growth.

    Hope you dodge the snow for a bit longer. Although you may be looking forward to it given the summer you just experienced.

    Good to hear with the hand. And that doesn’t surprise me that the work you’re doing is assisting, although as in other areas of life, more is not necessarily better. 😉 I knocked a mattock handle onto my forearm the other day, and was hoping there was no fracture. It hurt then, but isn’t throbbing at night and hasn’t given me any grief since. Injuries… They happen quickly and without warning. Hey, where are these warnings?

    Go Avalanche, and nice chew shot on the harness. I’m not telling the dogs here that is possible. Her breed of canine are known for having their own opinions and thoughts. Out of curiosity, does the dog obedience school take long? Maybe the fluffies here would benefit from such an experience. Do you recommend it?

    Like your style with the leaf tourism misdirection. Sure. Hehe!

    Had an admin day today. I honestly don’t know how other people cope with the admin required by just simple day to day activities. It consumes one’s energy. And it doesn’t help that the local bank branch has closed. Hmm. On a positive note, the order for the replacement kitchen cupboard doors turned up today. So, talk about crapification, when we installed the kitchen thirteen years ago, money was beyond tight. The coffers had been bombed by the house construction. We put in a cheap kitchen, which does the job, but let’s just say that it wouldn’t win awards. So the vinyl wrap on the doors off gassed (probably not good) over the years and they’ve all faded at different rates. Some of the doors are now a smoky yellow colour. Hmm.

    Anyhoo, we looked into removing the vinyl wrap, and that is not impossible, but yeah, it is probably not possible. Turns out you can buy the doors with no colour in raw MDF heaps cheaper, and so we’ll paint up the replacements. I want nothing to do with that vinyl wrap stuff. Some of it is fine, but clearly there is a lot of inconsistency. Paint on the other hand, well you can change your mind if need be.



  13. Hi Lewis,

    I’m feeling true fear from reading that article on the world’s hottest pepper. People worry about climate change and stuff. I’m worried about ever encountering one of those things. I was uncomfortably laughing at the blokes description of the effect the peppers have on him following on from consumption. And he developed the previous record holder, the Carolina Reaper. Nooooo!!!! Save us!!!!

    You’re not wrong, and in some cases, perhaps looks can kill. 😉

    Thanks for the timely reminder, and I was providing a direct quote in relation to heavy rain for the purposes of providing authenticity. People seem to want authentic experiences these days, whatever that means. “Raining cats and dogs” is a more polite way to say pretty much the same thing. You’d hope the dogs don’t bite and the cats don’t scratch? I’ve been attacked by a couple of feral cats years ago, and they were not very nice at all. You wouldn’t stand much chance against a big cat.

    Parrots are just like people in that regard. Dogs have remarkably diverse personalities as well. I’m with you about the publishing the book as it was written. We do ourselves a cultural disservice by pretending that things were otherwise. You’re not wrong about Man Friday. When Mr Caruso made it back to England, I had the distinct impression that the Editors or Publishers at the time may have spoken to the author about that section of the book and asked the tough question: ‘What happened to Man Friday?’ Oh yeah, him – may have been the authors reply. The wind up chapters were a bit of an after thought.

    Ah, the 1900 house. Right. What? How could you even contemplate such a situation and be a picky eater? I’ll bet they were horrified by the outside loo! 🙂 I’ve lived in plenty of houses where they were the potty du jour! Winters can be cold, spiders are many, but at least there is no need for a fan – there’s plenty of fresh bracing air. I’m sure you’ve seen your fair share of such out buildings? Had to laugh, I was so busy as a teenager between working, video games, chores, school, friends, sport and study, that there was no time to be angsty.

    I absolutely agree with you. Sorry to bring the conversation back to the Bronte Sisters, but I recall a dialogue between Jane Eyre and Mr Rochester, and honestly I was struggling to comprehend the brief discussion on philosophy the two characters were having. Who knows what those two may have been intellectually jousting over? It could have been important. In order to survive the modern world what with the constant onslaught on our beleaguered senses, something has to give – my best guess. And I suspect that the culture has declined. Just a theory I’ve got banging around my head. I could be wrong, and maybe we’re just poorly educated these days? I do hear stories about what teaching is like. That experience sounds a bit feral to my thinking.

    And yes, you could write a film on that issue: Once we were creators.

    Thanks for the rabbit hole trigger alert! Respect, and someone here commenting months ago was urging me to plant bamboo. I’ll get there, just not this week, bit busy and stuff. That’s good advice too about the edible shoots. What a lovely title for a book. Yes, a comma does make a world of difference to the meaning. Hope nobody was injured by the Panda attack? 😉 You know, I reckon a lot of people would miss that subtlety of that comma addition. It’s quite an amusing title for a book on language.

    Hmm. Was that an interweb rabbit hole? I don’t recall ever reading a text book on language. Even at High School during English lessons. Although truth to tell, I still have not let go about the whole creative essay horror in those days. Is there a group to help me with this? What was that book on writing style again, err Strunk, or something like that? Have you read that book? Would you recommend it?

    Maybe the library will do that. Hey on that note and also a super creepy alert! All hands brace for impact! You’ve heard of drop-shipping, no doubts? Anyway, so a business doing just that cancelled an order of mine using a chat bot. Now interestingly, the chat bot failed to provide a refund, and instead offered the (barely literate) advice to place a new order. I don’t think so. Sent off a reply to the chat bot, which replied again and eventually organised the refund. What was really intriguing about the programs response, was that it used language which was probably deemed socially unacceptable. A more sensitive person would have taken offence and had an attack of the vapours. Oh yeah. It is possible that all those writers and actors on strike have far less to fear from such programs than they imagine. However, another school of thought suggests that perhaps the programmers speak that way, or the program was written in a language other than English, or perhaps it is a vast exercise in distilling down the needs of the most vocal proponents of language in the community? Dunno, but it was an intriguing response from software.

    I’ll be fascinated to hear what you have to say about the Barbie film. The thing is a juggernaut. I mentioned this to the Editor (who went to see the film with her friends), and she looked thoughtful about the film, although she did say that she enjoyed it. I couldn’t coax anything further on the subject. Might have to make up my own mind there?

    Peak Oil will sort out the whole messy problem. But then finances can do it as well, and perhaps in a far quicker time period. If people can’t afford the things, they won’t be buying them. I was reading an article today on sort of this subject about a young bloke who’d purchased his first car. The thing was over two decades old. Here goes: Ever been sold a lemon? There are calls for car dealers to pay penalties if they don’t fix dodgy vehicles. Hmm. Perhaps my expectations are lower, because I’m just amazed the thing is still going after over two decades of continuous service. It’s an impressive achievement in my books, but again, lower expectations of how long machines can last. And yeah, I have troubles seeing past and around all these huge vehicles.

    I agree, the flight to safety and away from adventure does indicate a certain sense of fear.

    If the spot stays the same, yeah it’s probably nothing to worry about. Some dogs can get bored and chew upon themselves. I mean, a household can be a bit of an unnatural environment for a dog to exist in, although they do readily adapt.

    Interestingly, I’m beginning to notice a slow trickle of people away from rural areas. And yes, I agree with you – that is part of the reason, I’m guessing. You get what you get up in the bush.

    Three emergency trips and I’d be having a major freak out. I don’t remember any week like that. Holy carp! Out of curiosity, where the trips entirely necessary, or is it possible they were dodging the more local services?

    Doing something, sounds like you have a plan! Unfortunately the word ‘plan’ has been ruined for me (in a good way). Need I mention Sean of the Dead? And the pep-talk scene in the electronics store. I’ve got plans. Yeah, like what? And unfortunately, that is what I think of now, every single time I hear or read that word! It’s good isn’t it? So, yeah like what plans? 😉



  14. Hi, Chris!

    Isn’t food great? I know that sounds trite, but we are so lucky to have so much of it, and of such variety. And when it is fresh and homegrown – is there anything better? Just pondering over the day what I might have for lunch and dinner makes me happy. Breakfast has already made me happy.

    I am so glad that you found where the crafty clutch was hiding. I tell you, some of those parts are devious. My husband has always said: “Parts is parts.” I’m not sure what that means, but I think that it means that they are trouble. He and my son are now rebuilding my Cubby the Cub Cadet’s engine. The body is all done and it is beautiful.

    My goodness, digging a long 5 foot deep trench by hand is nothing to sneeze at. Just you and the Editor, I assume? And you have had your fair share of crummy neighbors.

    My Alpines never produce new plants. I can’t figure it out. The Meyer lemon is a gorgeous specimen, Dr. Chris.

    I ran into a partial peak rock problem the other day. I was planting daffodils in the family graveyard on the property, as I do every fall, and some that I had planted a couple of days before had been dug up by squirrels. I assume that they were just curious about the soft earth, possibly for burying nuts, except did they have to dig 6 inches down and pull the things up? They can’t eat them; they are poisonous. So I replanted and put chcken wire over them. Then I needed some heavy rocks to hold it down or they might climb under it. There were no rocks around! That is seldom a problem, but I guess we had cleared all the above-ground rocks from that area. I had to import some in buckets from elsewhere. I did pout some . . .

    For five days recently I could not find my inbox on my laptop. I knew it was there somewhere because it came up on my phone. I much prefer my laptop. I finally decided I’d better chat with Microsoft about it and I got a human being, not a chatbot. The person was very patient and it is solved. Duh, just like I expected, it was very simple. I have written it down.

    My son is all certified by the state now to do the business of selling his fig trees. Business is booming! I think he is just selling bare root plants right now. It is often my job, as I am in town everyday for my mother, to take them to UPS.

    Thanks for the flowers, especially the borage and forget-me-nots.


  15. Yo, Chris – I hear the guy who developed the peppers, has been drafted into doing government weapons research. 🙂 .

    Raining cats and dogs. Call the animal defense league! Sounds like a clear case of abuse, to me. And what about that rain of toads, in the movie “Magnolia?” A true classic scene. I read something the other day, can’t remember where. Cats are attached to places. Dogs are attached to people.

    Oh, I’ve seen (and smelled) some truly foul outside loos. They can be kept up. I think the problem is, overuse in crowd situations. Consider the Port-a-Potty. Or, not. I watched an episode of “Young Sheldon,” last night. A long story, but the high school principle was trying to get on Sheldon’s good side, and bribed him with the key to the staff loo. “It gets cleaned every night. Not just once a week.” 🙂

    Oh, I have no problem with the Bronte sisters, or their output. Fascinating bunch of people. And their books made some great movies. Victorian fiction can be so elliptical, that it’s opaque. Did they or didn’t they? 🙂 I think part of the problem is that reading a book, you can’t see facial expressions or read body language. Long lingering looks? An intentional flash of ankle? A trembling lip?

    When Pandas attack! Pand-nado?

    No, that was the inter-dweeb rabbit hole. 🙂 “Elements of Style,” Strunk and White. I think I’ve got a copy, kicking around my bookshelves, somewhere. I don’t remember it being very useful. Perhaps I should take another look at it. I remember lessons in spelling and grammar, but can’t really think of any emphasis on language. In general.

    So, you got a chat bot with potty mouth? 🙂 The only one I’ve run across so far, is the insurance company. It’s a male voice, that always sounds very “upbeat.” I think I’d tire of his company, after awhile.

    Picked up the “Barbie” movie, yesterday. Probably won’t watch it for a few nights, as, popcorn will be consumed. And I try to space out my junk food binges.

    That was an interesting story about lemon cars (and I’m not talking about the color.). Here we have “lemon laws.” At least, 7 states do. But in another place, it said all 50 states have some form of lemon law. But that, “…the application of these laws is very limiting and rarely helps.” “Caveat Emptor.” Buyer beware. In some areas, we have pretty good consumer protection. But frankly, their effectiveness really depends on which party is in power. Defunding this and that, is an effective weapon.

    Speaking of cars, I read something the other day, that was so startling I followed up on it. A certain brand of luxury car, had seat warmers, built in. But, to get them activated, you had to pay a subscription fee of $18 a month. Yup, it was a true story, but the car maker abandoned it, as “…customers balked at the idea of paying extra to unlock existing features in their cars.” Good for them. Hold the line.

    I also found the side story about the Wiggles, interesting. 🙂 I wondered who was responsible, for them.

    The town my friends live in, has a clinic. But, it has limited hours, and only in the daytime. These trips were night visits. And, in both cases, pretty serious and involving lots of pain. My friends husband has been having some problems, related to not eating enough pumpkin seeds (you figure it out.) They were dealing with that, but one night, he couldn’t urinate, at all. He’s back home, and doing well, but they’re following up. The son-in-law was in that terrible accident, where the tree fell on him and broke about every bone in is body, except his head. But it also did injury to his internal organs. They think he had a blockage in his small colon. Another backup, of another kind, and lots of pain.

    And, lastly, ’tis the season. I picked up a book from the library, called “Mexican.” A big coffee table book on Mexican design and style. Not what I expected. Most of the photo spreads were layouts that looked like they came out of the magazine, “Architectural Digest.” There were no page numbers. And no captions on the photos. So, in the back of the book, were small thumbnail photos, of each page, with a very sketchy description. But this caught my attention and interest.


    It’s a wall painting, by and artist named Pedro Martinez, and was done in the 1930s. Very Stephen King. 🙂 Lew

  16. Chris,

    Not surprising that you couldn’t find the face in the tree photo. The Elder Folk have their ways to stay hidden. This now includes tampering with computers. 😉

    Yup, some things just aren’t worth engaging with. I spend some time occasionally thinking about how to adapt to changes – the type of things the politicians throw at us.

    I’m not sure that we are at a happy medium regarding free speech. Hate speech was once considered taboo. Now some groups think that hate speech is protected via the free speech idea, and some of the courts are okay with that. However, I AM free to say what I want about that with no repercussions. These things go in cycles. Tis another thing that I sometimes contemplate so that possible adaptations might come to mind.

    I’ve had the same experience with people from overseas, other parts of this country, even some locals who view life very differently than I do. Most just want to get on with living. As you also suggested, our cultural predilection for divide and conquer often causes problems for those of us trying to live our lives. Hmmmm, things are sorta complex sometimes.

    Sandra is totally correct. Desperado is by far the best album by the Eagles. Well put together with a lot of memorable songs. Do you know the history of the song Desperado? It wasn’t a hit song until…their friend Linda Ronstadt recorded it. Interestingly, I like both the Eagles version and the Ronstadt version. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yUg10CPelvo Linda
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aelpqWEBHR4 Eagles
    I DO have to say that Linda has always been much easier to look at than the Eagles. At least for me. 🙂

    I used to enjoy the occasional cappuccino. Dunno why I quit drinking them.

    I have the same problem with horror movies – nightmares. Books? Not so much. I quit watching horror movies eons ago, probably about the time Julius Caesar crossed the North Sea and landed in Britain. Seemed sorta like a horror movie when I saw his ships. 😉

    I remember when the first of the Leprechaun series was released to video. We were visiting the Rez. All of the young nieces aged 3 to about 10 showed up with the video. They watched it repeatedly from about 10 in the morning until well after midnight. After the 2nd viewing, they all said, “Ohhhhh, that’s scary! I’m too scared to do anything. Let’s watch it AGAIN!” None of the adults watched it.

    Latest forecasts indicate the cold front won’t be as cold as once thought. Perhaps no frost or even snow showers. Yet. I can live with that.

    Obedience school. Well, depends on what the reason is. Thordog had to go as he was completely unsocialized. School taught him what it meant to be a dog and softened my attitude towards him and vice versa. He could tell that we were there because I cared about him. That changed everything.

    Avalanche needs a bit of a boost in figuring things out, especially in learning to retain some bit of calmness around other humans and animals.  As with Thor, she is understanding that both she and I are learning how to do this thing together so that we both have more fun and peace. In that respect, the obedience school is good for her – and I know that there will always be challenges because that is her breed and her temperament.

    With your Fluffies, I’m not sure. When we took Thor to school, it latest 90 minutes per session for about 6 sessions. Now it is 3 sessions of 90 minutes each. This is our 2nd trip to the beginner class due to my hand, and the review is doing wonders for Avalanche. Sometimes being in an environment where the dog sees what is expected works wonders. Again, it depends on what you’re trying to work with and then finding a school that can teach that.

    Ugh. Vinyl wrap. I like your solution – real wood and paint it. Vinyl wrap. Ugh.


  17. Hi DJ,

    Talk about eerie. I finally found the photo, but could no longer see the face. Check it out, it’s from the blog 25 Oct 2021. ferngladefarm.com.au

    Sorry, being a burl and acknowledging your hobbies, I should have included a trigger warning. 😉

    Yeah, since last weekend I’ve likewise been giving more thought to this matter. A whole lot of thought. Adaption is often the wisest path, and I say that because the amount of energy required to resist, can sometimes exceed a persons reserves. I’d be curious as to your experience, but when I was a younger bloke, forced changes used to annoy the daylights out of me – and I’ve enjoyed plenty of that gear in my life (more than most, probably). Mostly, it was me seeking stability where none was to be found. Oh well, if I knew a better way, I’d seek it out, but have been seriously pondering this matter for many years. Western culture goes out of its way to destroy that aspect. Hmm.

    Today was the sort of work day where you want to bring more rocks back up the hill, but as they say, the spirit was willing, the flesh was weak. We were at that work for hours, and the rocks were heavy. We moved up most of the rocks liberated last week and also cracked a few larger rocks. Sounds like the Peoples Rock Liberation Front, doesn’t it? The low gradient path project is banging along and we’re almost ready to take more soil there. Hopefully the Peoples Soil Liberation Front don’t come and get me in the meantime… Always a risk! 😉

    Hate speech is taboo in my books. How is calling for someone’s demise exercising free speech? In some respects, the action is akin to assault because it is intended to unsettle. Yes, you are free to say what you will. However, here is the kicker, if you were to begin defaming an Australian citizen or company, and I agreed with you, that could land me in hot water. So, that won’t happen. Western culture on this continent began with a prison mindset, and not much has changed. During you-know-what I had to regularly display papers and ID at military and police checkpoints and that was a truly uncomfortable experience for the larger perspective was revealed to me. The cops were the good guys there too. Hmm. If I were deemed expendable, I’d be expended, let’s put it that way.

    The English have long employed a divide and conquer strategy, and we’ve adopted it down here. It is true what they say: You reap, what you sow. And there will be much blow back from that strategy.

    Both are truly fine renditions of the same song. I tend to agree with you in that Linda was much easier on the eye than the Eagles. I’d not known of Linda Rondstat’s version of the song. Both vocalists have truly astounding voices. Am I correct that the song was sung in the same notes, but at different octaves?

    Ook! The 30+ year old amplifier (owned since new) and restored recently is suffering from a bit of corrosion on the ‘Tape Monitor’ switch. However, I have a cunning plan. Swap the loudness switch and the tape monitor switch, and the problem melts away, until the next parts drama hits. Might do that tomorrow.

    At a wild guess, milk may have been the sticking point for you? 🙂 There’s a strike going on now with the dairy distributors, and I do wonder at what point my preferred cappuccino becomes an espresso? Like everything else, I’ll deal just fine. Not sure about everyone else though!

    Exactly! For some reason in my wiring, those visual images from horror films impact upon me and produce nightmares – just like you mention. Best avoided if you ask me. 🙂 Mate, that horrid sub thing which went down to see the doomed hubris cruise liner, left me with an attack of the vapours. No thanks. Even the rule of the Julius and the Normans for that matter, was eventually subsumed by the land. Always was it thus. The land hard wires the culture, despite our best attempts at chucking on an overlay of bland sameness. I have a hunch that this drives quite a lot of existential crisis in our culture. I am so not watching slasher films, even if there is a comedic element. 🙂 In the past I’ve watched some John Carpenter films that have scared me silly. Yeah, nah. Hehe!

    You’ve dodged the snow, for now! It’s early days… 🙂

    Thordog was pretty clever to have worked that out with the training. Hmm, you’ve given me much to think about. So we had Ollie out with us all day today, and his behaviour was exemplary. The two Kelpies on the other hand, well they cooled their heels and hopefully spent the time reflecting on their recent pushing of boundaries. Ollie appears to have come to acceptance, but he is about three years older than those two energetic younger dogs.

    Yah! So true. Yes, Avalanche can take away the peace, not intentionally, but by not knowing what is required of her. I can see that.

    Thanks! It’s a simple solution and costs only a quarter of the vinyl wrapped nightmares. There’s an old Klingon saying about good, fast, cheap – pick any two, or else things will go badly for you! 😉



  18. Hi Pam,

    Oh yeah, food is great. You know, given consumption of said stuff occurs three times per day, it is one of those life skills that is best done with a touch of care and attention I reckon. Of course that requires a person to have the time for that outcome – not always the case, but you’d hope that it is true more often than not. 😉 Lovely, breakfast is good. The Fluffies watch me eat breakfast, and their eyes say: “Give us some toasted muesli and yoghurt, you know you want to”. Actually I don’t want to give them some of the home made toasted muesli, and they won’t touch the fruit. But Pam, I do give them a little bit. They’ve worn out my resistance to their doggie charms over the years.

    Hmm, I may borrow that saying about parts. But like you, I’m not entirely certain what it means either. As to parts being trouble, well I can assure you that they are indeed trouble, and as they say, the devil is in the detail. At least that is what I’m discovering, and who wants to sup with that horror? The thing is, it is cheaper to repair things yourself, even with the weird factor of ending up with the wrong parts. I got 1 cent for that wrongly ordered coffee machine pump, although it cost me $60. However, it really was no good for any alternative use here. Oh well, moving on…

    Good to hear that Cubby is being restored nicely. Ride on mowers make life easier.

    No, the Editor wasn’t involved in the digging of that long and deep trench. I did the work in between jobs. Incidentally, I hadn’t made a fuss of it, but there were times with that trench where I was worried that if the surrounding clay collapsed, the house would fall into it. Fortunately that wasn’t the case, and the deep hole was rapidly filled back with concrete – so much concrete. It was a bonkers design, but as I mentioned the construction isn’t going anywhere now.

    Neighbours have been a mixed bag over the years. Most of them have been good, but you get the occasional bad egg. It’s kind of like if you do a job well, you never hear from anyone about it, but if you stuff it up, you’re sure to hear complaints! 🙂 I’m sure you know what I mean?

    Interesting about the Alpine Strawberries. Are you consuming all of the berries? Some of them need to hit the soil and do their thing in order to produce new plants. Oh my, I’m going to have to thin out the other more usual type of strawberries again. I’m tempted to use the brush cutter / line trimmer. Thanks! With the Meyer Lemon, I raised the pH around the tree using Calcium Carbonate, skeletonised the growth and continued to feed the root system with sea weed solution. Seems to have done the trick. My best guess was that the fungi type critters don’t like the higher pH in the soil, but I don’t really know.

    That’s a really thoughtful thing to do with the Daffodils. But Peak Rocks is real, oh yeah. Nothing eats Daffodils around here either, but they can be dug up. I can see that. Hey, I hope the pout was properly delivered! 🙂 Respect. Hey, I spent most of today bringing large rocks back up the hill and placing them on the new low gradient path project. When you have to go further afield to obtain rocks, that’s Peak Rocks! Buckets… Power wheelbarrow. They have electric ones you know. 😉

    Well done, and I too have had to call them in the past about software license issues and was also surprised to encounter a real live human on the other end of the phone. Be grateful for small mercies! And I’m glad your computer issues were sorted out.

    Awesome, and congratulations! Happy days. If you’re doing that task, you’re an integral part of the business. Hope your mother is doing well.

    Ollie was resting in a large patch of forget-me-nots today and I went to reach for the camera, and he got up to follow me before I could take the photo. Oh well. It’s Rhodie time, and they’re very showy flowers. I hope the plants don’t take too much pride in their display, who knows what the other flowers may say?

    Dame Plum smells of lemon balm, I wonder what mischief she’s been up to? So much intrigue!



  19. Hi Lewis,

    Holy carp! You’re probably right there. Did you see the Scoville units on those monsters? Far out! We were adding chili’s to lunch this afternoon, and discussing that horror of a thing. Nah, I’m so not up for that. It did remind me of the day a year or two back when we’d ordered a Banh Mi for lunch, and the chili’s were bonkers hot. Sweating and face turning red, whilst emitting some sort of weird high pitched whine sound. Yeah, that hurt. The Editor experienced the wall-of-pain first, and I was not a believer, and so being of an occasionally foolish disposition, then proceeded to eat the chili’s from her Banh Mi as well. Dude, I paid a big price for my disbelief. Fortunately, we’d also purchased a 2L (about a half gallon) bottle of milk and so were trying not to cough and look as if we had you-know-what whilst chugging on the milk. We’ve discussed that day many times, and came to the conclusion that the kitchen had run out of chili. So they probably sent down the most junior person in the kitchen to the supermarket to buy some, and yeah, junior had their amusing revenge. That’s our best guess. Do you think that likely?

    Hope the poor cats and dogs don’t hurt too much when they hit the ground. Yeah, the raining frog scene was memorable. It is a classic. Hey, that’s quite insightful, although I’ve known of some very pleasant cats over the years. I’m more of a dog person nowadays. Incidentally, they’re both territorial in their own ways.

    I’ve read that about some toilets at music festivals where the loo per capita is unsociably high. Very nasty. You hear stories, and they’re not good. Of all the places to save money at a music festival, that’s probably not the place. It’s a good bribe, and hey, I’ve heard of some well heeled folks at music festivals having private toilets. It could make a person rather popular. Probably all the reasons I don’t go to such events. What if there is no toilet is part of the horror of travel into the great unknown!

    I agree with you in relation to the Victorian era literature. It is very possible the sort of historical-era code words for various meanings are lost to the modern mind, unless you’re literate enough to be in the know. That lot were a bit weird about sex, but then it is possible that we’ve now gone a bit too far to the other end of that spectrum. Dunno. Do you reckon film reproductions stick to the original innuendo, or do they modify the visuals for more recent comprehension?

    Well that sure brings to life a whacky image! Hope the Panda’s aren’t too grumpy at being swept up into a wild storm? 🙂 Isn’t it weird how such an unlikely fictional premise (Shark-nado) could become embedded in the culture?

    Did you know that the Big J mentioned something about ‘Blessed are the dweebs, for they shall set out on quests, seeking obscure knowledge upon the gentle art of linguistic style’. Surely you heard that one? And I should probably stop calling you ‘surely’! Boom!!! 🙂 Hehe! Hmm, silliness aside, you’ve made an interesting observation there, and the same was true for me as well. The lack certainly means something. Fortunately I know a linguist and shall ask him when we next catch up.

    That’s about how it was with the chatbot, although it wasn’t potty mouth, but more a casual indifference to social niceties. I’m sure the software didn’t know what it was going on about, but then again, maybe the programmers did. I tend to view such software as a race to the bottom. And yes, such a person would get very tiring after a while. I’m not wired to be down, but that doesn’t mean I’m super chirpy every minute of the day, rather a more contented state of mind really. I’m sure you understand that perspective? Maybe?

    I’m really curious to hear what you have to say about the film, and then may watch it and make up my own mind. You may see meanings which would otherwise escape my notice. The Editor says it’s entertaining, and then there is a pause. And I have no idea what that pause means. Stay strong, and yeah moderation in all things. Has the Club come up with a replacement for the biscuits and gravy?

    Mostly the laws here work along the lines of Caveat Emptor. However, if the vehicle is sold with a roadworthy certificate, and usually that is the case (and you need one for the ownership transfer paperwork), someone is legally declaring that the thing is roadworthy. And that is where the legal problems can begin. Honestly, the car was something like 23 years old which in terms of vehicle age, is getting right up there, so I wouldn’t have touched it on that basis alone. You can get independent checks done on second hand vehicles prior to purchase, and that’s not a bad idea. I suspect that with the way the economic winds are going, many things in the future will be defunded, sorry to say. Some of those things are good.

    Oh my! I hadn’t heard that about the cars and seat warmer subscriptions. Kudos to the owners for holding out on that. I could kind of see that the owners would assume that they’re being billed twice for the item. Incidentally, the local news suggests that is still in place down here. I stick to Suzuki’s, just sayin…

    The Wiggles are a juggernaut. They were after my time, but oh my oh my, have they done well or what? They won the vote for the national youth broadcaster back in 2022 for a cover of a more serious artists music. There’s a funny meme in the following article about adults who’ve done pyschedelics… The Wiggles’ historic Hottest 100 win: How Tame Impala and Like A Version stampeded to #1. I thought that there were better songs that year, but I can also understand the call to nostalgia the cover represented.

    Ah, thank you for the explanation. Yes, that sort of treatment would not be covered at the local doctors. I can see that. Yikes! I hope they’re both OK, and note to self: Eat pepitas, and probably other plant roughage too (which I do, and which we’ve previously discussed). A person has to take ownership for their health, if they can. Accidents can destroy that state, sad to say.

    Oh yeah, your mention of that Mexican image was timely. Thanks. Of course, such things go on, and best if you’re nowhere near those sorts of activities. The image screams the word ‘hubris’ at me and things are going to end badly for the dude with the lasso. It’s funny how everything old is new again, I thought that earlier this week after the vote loss last weekend, the media went hunting for witches.

    We continued work on the new low gradient path project today. It was a beautiful day, and most of the large rocks recovered last week were brought back up the hill. Another rock in the orchard was split. It didn’t look like much, but the thing was like that ship wrecking iceberg of infamy. The path is coming along nicely, and is now ready to take some more soil (work for another day).



  20. Chris:

    “Parts is parts.” came from one of my husband’s friends who used to work in an auto parts store. He knew parts personally.

    Cubby’s not for mowing, but for riding and pulling. I think he will have to be our power wheelbarrow.

    Maybe Plummie just wanted to smell like lemons. Better than manure.

    My mother is doing very well. Thanks for asking.

    And thank you so much: Last night I dreamed about annoying neighbors and I don’t even have any.


  21. @ Lew:

    I can see why it’s a banana slug; one looks like a rotten banana. I, too, have a Sam the Snail (all of them). Shells are so neat.

    It is a charming place that has not only Bear Festival, Cheese Days, Egg Days, and a Logger’s Jubilee, but a Slug Fest. I like it.


  22. Yo, Chris – I can see the burl face. But then, you’ve said your facial recognition software is a little wonky. 🙂

    You may be onto something. Junior was probably dragged away from his video game, and was miffed.

    Oh, the Victorians had all kinds of very subtle signaling methods. The language of flowers. The language of fans (how a lady would deploy her fan.) Movie adaptations are a bit more graphic. Gotta hold the viewers interest.

    “Embedded in the culture.” Why I want to see the Barbie movie. I have a feeling that film will be referenced, for a long time. I’ve heard a few things about it, but, spoilers. I’ll just say, I’ve heard it’s a more “feminist” take on Barbie. Seems to be a hot pick for Halloween costumes.

    Boom? Boom? Been talking to my friend Scott? He also thinks he’s funny 🙂 I know a joke about linguists, but, being a family friendly blog …

    No more biscuits and gravy. Two month hiatus on the Saturday night tucker. There is an ongoing Saturday morning breakfast (eggs, sausage, etc.), but the very nice couple who do it, also have smaller children. Petrie dishes on legs. So, I’ll pass on that.

    Kind of related to the car thing, Atlantic Magazine had an article on self-checkout.


    I love it, when certain aspects of tech, are rejected. Our local grocery only has one checker on duty, when I shop late in the evening. But two people riding heard on the self checkout. The other night, the check stand light was on, but no checker. I firmly, but not too loudly said, “Is there a checker?” One appeared, as if by magic.

    That was quit an article on the music of the Wiggles. Someone takes their music, seriously. My theory is, it’s all about nostalgia. From older people who remember their childhood, and parents who remember the time before their kids became angsty teens. 🙂

    We got a food box, this morning. A pound of frozen pork, a frozen pizza (!?), a dozen medium eggs, not too far past their pull date. A pound of butter product. One small individual lemon pie with cardboard crust, a plastic shell of 6 croissants (truly frightening ingredients list … swap table), 2 small bottles of apple drink, a pack of chewing gum, a bag of small individual snacks (biscuits, etc.), one pomegranate and one baking potato, a small bag of pre-chopped salad, a box each of Mac & cheese, and spaghetti pasta, 1 pound bags each of walnuts, chick peas, and rice. A bottle each of peanut butter and strawberry jam. A one pound box of raisins, a box of shelf stable milk, and a box of puffed rice cereal. A box of Hamburger Helper (just add a pound of beef). Tins: Other than two cans of tomatoes, it was one each of salmon, pumpkin, peas, corn, pears, Beefaroni, Mandarin oranges and green beans. Not a bad lot. A bit for me, a bit for the swap table, and some for the pantry at the Club.

    I went shopping, for me, and for the Club pantry, last night. Hit the two cheap food stores and my local grocery. I found 2 pound bags of long grain brown rice, at the $1.25 store. I grabbed three. I’ve changed my tactics, a bit, taking things to the Club. Doling it out, more slowly. So more people have a shot at the “good” stuff, and we don’t have periods of very little on the shelf. Anyway. It’s worth a try.

    Got a notice this morning that our rent may go up by as much as 22.23%. Building management is submitting the request to HUD (Department of Housing and Urban Development), and they’ll either reduce it, leave it, or, even increase it. I’m not surprised. As little as I like our building manager, I figure she’s been scrambling to keep this place afloat. Some of the things mentioned in her notice was increased costs of administration, taxes, insurance, operations, maintenance and a prudent reserve for replacement account. We’ll probably hear after the 1st of the year. Lew

  23. Chris,

    Cool! You found the picture. The face in the burl was the first thing I saw. I remember our conversations about the burl and carving. Fondly remember. If I want to irritate some of the carvers at the club, I can simply chant “burl burl burl” and some will salivate.

    “…cracked a few larger rocks.” Sounds violent. And painful for the rocks. There’s got to be the basis of a good book or sci-fi movie in here somewhere. “Treachery: The Cradle Is Rocked.” “Human Reprisal: The Rocks Get Cracked”. “Peoples Rock Liberation Front: The Rocks Organize”. “The Rocks Crack Back”. “Buried: The Soil Digs In”. “Landslide: The Peoples Soil Liberation Front Digs In!”.

    “How is calling for someone’s demise exercising free speech?” My exact question. My answer is that it isn’t, but the consequences seem to be lacking. Or worse, as when the recipients of such speech are told to “Grow a stiff upper lip and get over it.” Seen it happen.

    Your point about being expendable is well made. I know few, if any, people who truly are NOT expendable when it comes right down to it.

    Ummm, I have been listening to the 2 versions of Desperado “side by side” so to speak. In other words, played them simultaneously. They are not in the same key. Therefore something other than an octave apart. And just the wrong bit apart, too, so things sounded somewhat discordant, extremely unpleasing to the ear.

    Discordant reminds me of the Christmas concert our choir performed my 11th year of school. We did some modern work and got the composer to be our guest conductor. (He had previously been the music director for several years for the Hanna-Barbera cartoons.) One song broke into 8 parts. I sang baritone, that bare nudge less deep in pitch than bass. The baritones were supposed to blast out a series of discordant notes at one point. After the concert, the composer came up to me and said, “Thanks for the good strong baritone. Nobody else has ever gotten that one spot correct.” I felt good. My friend was about the same age when his school jazz band performed with Maynard Ferguson. Pretty heady stuff for 16 year olds.

    Careful with the cunning plan. Remember what happened to cunning plans in Monty Python? Mr. Bean? Oh, yeah, probably Rowan Atkinson’s “Blackadder” series had several episodes of “cunning plans”.

    I think you’re right. I started to have minor lactose issues and quit with the occasional cappuccino.

    The Princess was watching the telly recently. A Slasher movie came on. But the first 4 slashings were a parody of slasher movies, being a series of slasher movies within a slasher movie. Then she realized that it was “Scream 4”, and she changed the channel. Watched something innocuous, like MASH. Healthier for us both.

    Officially, because of colorful leaves and too many viewers or something, we DID NOT dodge the snow. We had a freak cold front blow in, temperatures dropped to record lows, the wind blew even the green leaves off the trees and we received 50cm of snow in 10 hours, all October records! The reality is that it was another glorious autumn day with temperatures pushing record highs in the 25C range and a bit higher. More like early September than the middle of October. But we need to discourage the hordes of leaf watchers, right? 😉

    I had another thought about the Kelpies and school. Avalanche likes to dig. The “book” says to discourage this, as it is “bad behavior”. But huskies dig into the snow for warmth, dig small dens, and dig to bury food for future use. Avalanche has yet to dig into the snow for warmth, but the bulk of her digging is for den-like areas. They’re below the surface of the grass, get into somehwat cooler dirt, and she can sculpt the areas for how she wants to lie down. And she buries food in these same areas sometimes. After it has festered enough, she digs it up and eats it. All normal husky behavior. So I have an area that is set aside for Avalanche and her excavations.

    Meanwhile, she pushes boundaries, as is natural for her breed. And when she doesn’t want to listen to papa, her ears “quit working”. She also likes to rush people and jump on them in her natural exuberance. The digging we have come to a working agreement. Boundaries get pushed, papa pushes back and we return to a status quo. Because not listening to papa can have dire consequences in the wrong circumstances, and because it is NOT good to jump at/on every dog and human we get near, doggy school ensued. In fact, there is an entire online section geared solely to calming down the exuberant dog. So I have to be a willing participant in any of the “schooling”. I think I learn more than Avalanche does at doggy school.

    So the Kelpie question becomes: are they simply pushing boundaries, or do they have habitual behaviors that need to be rerouted. If the latter, do the humans need to also be educated into different methods for rerouting the behavior of the Kelpies?  Hope that helps.


  24. Hi DJ,

    It took a while to find that photo, and it’s eerie isn’t it? Hehe! That’s funny about the burls. I’m sure your fellow carvers appreciate the humour.

    You’ve taken the rock thing to places I’d not have considered. Seriously DJ, with film titles like those, I do hope the rocks don’t come and get us! Dunno about you, but I’d try and temporise with them before they did their final squooshing. The claim would be that the newer rock arrangements look better than the original random distribution of said materials. They might not be receptive to such smooth talk, but it is worth a try, smooshing seems kind of final.

    Yes, I’ve also been told that such speech will toughen me up. I grew up being told that. Sure it does, that gear makes me want to avoid such people. And you absolutely nailed their response: Get over it. Got told that too. Hmm. That’s were a Dojo comes in. Sometimes you have to fight, but in a strange twist of fate, a person learns how to fight, so they don’t have to fight.

    DJ, life is a precious thing in whatever form it takes. That doesn’t mean that the universe will step in to protect when needed. That’s up to us to worry about, sorry to say.

    Hehe! You’re brave to attempt such a listening fest. Hope your ears weren’t damaged by the Desperado comparison? I agree, it was probably more than one octave out. 🙂 But does it matter? I think not. I remember my old guitar teacher ‘Dave Mr Cool Banana’ (his words), and I used to slip in a minor pause in the song Aura Lea because I thought it sounded better. Far out, I could read the sheet music and timing, yeah sure, but the pause sounded better, it just added something that wasn’t there. And that was when I learned that music would be a hard mistress who would not be denied. I decided to deny, because after a look into the abyss, you know what was required. Music is now a pleasure, it may have become a burden for me. I doubt that I’d ever be good, even with lots of work chucked into it.

    That is heady stuff. I’ll bet it felt good to nail a technically skilful part. Respect.

    Hehe! Those were the origins of that phrase, but all the same, a bloke needs a cunning plan. If the plan isn’t needed, then that’s great too. I’ve been having a long discussion with a friend for a while about being twenty years too early, is better than one day too late.

    Slasher films were a bit of thing when I was a teenager. I dunno man, like your experience, one day the Editor decided to watch Wolfe Creek (scary alert factor nine!) and I just declined. Do I really need to expose my brain to that? Seems to me like you’ve travelled a similar path.

    Yes, that lot do need to be discouraged! The weather here today was pretty similar. Quite pleasant really. I brought a few more rocks back up the hill, and removed some of the deep litter from the chickens run. I use that stuff to start the soil processes in areas of the property which could benefit from that. Chores – yeah, boring but important. And I fixed a switch on the 30 year old amplifier I’d reconditioned maybe half a year ago. Anyhoo, I couldn’t work out where to purchase another replacement switch, and the bright idea popped into my head a week or two back to swap one of the lesser used switches for the failing one. 😉 Took three hours to swap the switches around, and I found a slight crack on the circuit board near to the switches. Easily bypassed, but who knows, that may have been the problem. Does it matter? Probably not, it works now. There is a sense of satisfaction in fixing up old machines.

    Ah, that’s a great idea and an astute observation. The Kelpies are pretty similar in that regard with digging. Mind you, now that they’re three years, they’ve sort of given up the digging – unless they find a rats nest or rabbit burrow. It never really bothered me, but I have had to make their enclosure Kelpie proof – whatever that means. I’m sure you know though! 🙂

    Spare a thought for me. You had previous experience with Thordog, but when I first got Ollie (the biggest dog I’ve ever owned), he was a handful. He’s pretty good now, but it takes sustained effort over a lot of years. And you’re right, I agree, the dogs and training teaches me as much as the dogs get taught.

    A bit of both I reckon. But the Kelpies demand a leader, and will take that role for themselves if not provided. It’s not just me who has to do this, Sandra also has to step up to the plate as well. Hmm. The Kelpies will play us off one against the other. Ruby is very occasionally a menace, and last weekend, I’d had enough. Consequences for that dog. Like Avalanche, they’re a pretty high maintenance breed and not for everyone. Nope.



  25. Hi Pam,

    Oh yeah, you’d learn a lot in such a business. Incidentally, the farm machine repair dude got his start way back in the day in a country car dealership in their parts area. He was always able to find parts for the farm machines, and I tell ya, until recently, I’d not quite understood how we were outsourcing a bit of risk to that repair business. Doing this work ourselves, I’m at the coal face nowadays, and occasionally stuff it up completely with parts. Still there are more hits than misses, it had just never occurred to me that there were misses! Who knew?

    Oh yeah, that’s a great idea with Cubby! We use a poly trailer to tow stuff with, and it has a dump function which is great for mulch and such stuff.

    Hmm. The deer are pushing boundaries here. This morning I discovered eight pile of scats. Dropped wood ash onto all of the piles, which should confuse the scent. I wouldn’t mind except that they’re breaking off the lower branches on some of the fruit trees, and destroying the Loquat trees. Not a fan. They might get a more serious response if they don’t tone it down a bit.

    Well Dame Plum is a lady of the finest breeding, and yeah, you’re probably right! 🙂 Dogs, huh?

    Good to hear.

    Haha! Be careful what you’re thinking about in that regard. 🙂 We don’t see the neighbours either, and this is a good thing. Hey, down this way, sometimes you can annoy people just by doing anything with the land. They see nature as an abstract ideal, and they’re wrong.

    Apparently it will rain tomorrow.



  26. Hi Lewis,

    Chuck and Diane probably should be grateful that they’ve had almost four decades of a stable climate. Honestly, I have no idea what to expect from one year to the next. There is no stability here in relation to the climate. It’s bonkers. Last month was hot and dry, whilst October has been cool and damp. That May frost they were writing about, well, I’ve experienced that happening and knew that most of the tree crops were done. The only thing I can think to adapt to such variability is to plant a lot of diversity, and not rely on any one crop. What else can you do?

    It took a while to find that photo of the burl-face! You did warn me back in the day that I’d fill up the interweb with photos. 😉

    Ha! That’s funny, and yeah, you might be right about junior being annoyed due to restrictions on video game time. Talk about cracking the sads. Not much good for us though with that bonkers hot chili.

    That’s my take on the Barbie film, it’s a cultural statement, although what that means is beyond me and so I’m curious to hear what you have to say about it. Most certainly it has gotten people back to the cinemas. And that’s a good thing I reckon.

    Well at least I thought that I was funny. 🙂 They do say that humour begins at home. Or do they say that? Probably not, but at least I keep myself entertained. It’s quiet here tonight, the Editor went to dinner with a friend. That worked out well too. I had this vague plan to fix up the amplifier late this afternoon. So one of the switches was failing. Being unable to purchase a replacement switch, I decided to swap the failing one with a lesser used switch. Congratulating myself on a good idea, I thought how long can this fix take? Three hours later, the job was done, and the fix works! Yay! I can see why people junk this stuff, but I’ve owned the machine since new back in the early 1990’s, so there is a sort of sentimental attachment to it. I did a bit of additional reconditioning work whilst I had the case open too. The amplifier sounds pretty good. A little bit of the guts of the machine was broken during the fix. Can’t be helped, so I had to do a fix on that section as well. Oh well. Will I be working as well in thirty years time? Probably not!

    Yes, I know that joke too. Good to see that you at least believe that you’re funny! Boom!!! 😉

    Ook! Well I can understand your reticence there. Reminds me of that day I was at the hippy market, and… That day I came to the conclusion that germ theory will only survive three generations following on from any collapse.

    The Atlantic hates me, and only provides the first couple of paragraphs – the teaser so to speak. The text has no doubt been ripped in the great echo-chamber. I usually head to the cashier. The big box hardware has one of those self checkout areas and it seems simple enough to use, but even then – cashier. And supermarkets self checkout, I don’t think so. It’s a point of pride that I’ve dodged such things. However, it’s been said before that pride goeth before a fall.

    Hey, those checkout areas are watched, so that’s also part of the reason you got service. They’d have their own internal language too. You used to hear inexplicable things said over the speakers (which nowadays only play music). “Service Seven! That could mean, difficult customer – go slow. I wonder if anyone has written a book about the goings-on, in that world?

    Oh yeah, the national youth music broadcaster, really does take their music seriously. I can respect that. Plus no advertising, that also helps. Your theory about nostalgia is pretty much what I’d been thinking. That group were after my time, but you’re probably right about the angsty teen phase. I was never really big into kids TV at that age, some of it seemed a bit stupid to me, but then I might have been a bit serious back then. Dunno. I enjoyed the stuff that was a bit silly or with double entendre’s, like The Rocky and Bullwinkle show.

    Nice score with the food box. I’m a bit dubious about frozen pizza, however, it does negate the possibility of breakfast pizzas (what with it being frozen and all and requiring to be cooked) so I guess it’s not all bad news. A pound of butter product sounds as strange as a pound of meat product. Like what exactly is that? The other stuff seems pretty good.

    Did you mean that the rice was $1.25, or that the store was a $1.25 store? Inflation? Hey, that’s a good idea smoothing out the supply of stuff in the Club pantry. People can learn the patterns and take advantage, so it is best that supply is evened out and everyone kind of gets an opportunity.

    Far out! That’s a hefty increase, hope it all works out OK. Costs are going up across the board, so it doesn’t surprise me that the management is struggling to make ends meet. An unpleasant thing to experience. I was too young to really comprehend the last bout of serious inflation in the 1970’s, and we were broke anyway. I do recall that people didn’t travel anywhere near as much as they seem to want to do so nowadays. I do wonder how long that travel industry can keep on going. Mind you I was working at paper rounds towards the end of that decade. Those arcade game machines got more expensive over time too. 🙂

    Brought some more rocks back up the hill today. But not as much as yesterday, and there were chores that needed attending too. I put those in the boring but important category.

    It’s meant to rain tomorrow. Might be a good day for a sleep in. Yawn… I slept in this morning too – two hours. Oh well, must have needed it.



  27. Yo, Chris – Weather: Variable. AKA, nuts. If we make it past November 8th, without a frost, we’ll set a new record. At least, as far as my record keeping goes. But, the gardens are looking pretty sad. Some stuff probably cycles due to light. The tomatoes split due to rain. Though I did get another handful to chuck in dinner. And another handful of green beans. Though the vines are looking very sad.

    I’m skimming a new global warming book. Some from the psychological aspects (stages of grief, etc.), and how it may cause the collapse of civilization. I was going to take it back, today, but noticed in the index that there are some references to Mr. Greer. I want to follow up on that. He had a pretty good post, this week. (“I Want a Better Catastrophe: Navigating the Climate Crisis with Grief, Hope, and Gallows Humor.” Boyd, 2023.)

    I picked some of my corn, last night. Just to check out what’s going on in those husks. 6 cobs. Two were miniatures. I’ll cut them up and chuck them in dinner. Two were a bit of mixed color, though they might turn red as they dry. One of those had hardly any kernels, at all. Two were ruby red. One is just perfect. About 12″ long and stuffed with little rubies. I’ll be saving seed, from that one. I also collected seeds from Bachelor Buttons, Marigold and Sweet Basil. Might save me money on plants and seeds, next year. I’ll finish harvesting the corn, on Monday. Weather looks good.

    My friend Scott, also thinks he’s funny. 🙂 You have made me laugh out loud, a few times. And, I always let you know of those rare occasions. So you can work on your material. I’m never funny. Dry, rye, and ironic. Never funny.

    Go Chris! Go amplifier! You need to find an amplifier grave yard.

    Yes, I realized that those announcements over the PA (Public Address) systems, were a code. Probably varies from grocery company to grocery company. I’ve read a few things about the grocery business, but can’t say I’ve ever run across a first-person, from the trenches, account.

    Why wouldn’t I have cold pizza, for breakfast? After cooking the thing up, in the first place. I’ll probably give it a whirl, sometime this week. It’s from a pretty reputable company (as those things go), in business since 1962. 1/3 pound of cheese! 5 different cheeses! I’ll jazz it up, and make it pass for healthier. Maybe some chopped broccoli on top. Some of my dried tomatoes. Fresh basil.

    Some person of mystery, has been adding bulk stuff, to the Club pantry. There was the 40 cans of garbanzo beans. Then 40 cans of diced tomatoes. I stopped by the Club, last night, to discover 40 two pound bags of instant oatmeal. All welcome. Though I have to do some juggling to make room for other things. I wonder what will be on the dinner menu, tonight?

    I was putting the butter product, on our Institution swap table. But, one time, a box got mixed in with what I took to the Club. So, I threw it on the self. It quickly disappeared. So, I take it down now. The stuff is so artificial, that it doesn’t even need to be refrigerated.

    The dollar store (there are several chains, that have “dollar” in their names), used to have only stuff for one dollar. Now, everything is $1.25. So, I call it the dollar plus store. Two pounds of rice for $1.25 was a real bargain. There’s another “dollar” store in town, but the prices are all over the place. They have good “shelf talkers,” so it’s easy to scan and find the best deals. A shelf talker, by the way, is retail speak for those bits that hang off the edge of the shelf, and tell you the price, or something about a product. In a bookstore, it might say something like, “Employee Pick,” or, “New York Times Best Seller.”

    Sure, you needed sleep. I watched a Nova documentary on the brain, last week. Heavy thinking (amplifier), burns a lot of calories. As do heavy emotions.

    It’s official. The term “organic” is out, and “regenerative agriculture” is in. At least, according to one news site.

    I did battle with the library catalog, again, last night. The new catalog and web site goes live, Monday. They wanted feedback. I gave them feedback. Didn’t swear, but they’d know I was unhappy. Not that it will make one bit of difference. Not really the fault of the library IT people. I’m sure whoever the vendor of the old catalog was, told them they’d no longer “support” the old catalog. So then they have to go out and beat the brush, and see what’s available. Probably not a lot of choice. Lew

  28. Hi Lewis,

    Thanks for the seaweed article, and yeah, let’s go surfin’ now, everyone’s surfin’! 🙂 I’d heard that about seaweed, and the only time I encounter it is in Japanese food. It’s quite good, I like it. Westerner’s probably put it in the same category as eating bugs.

    Yeah, a nuts climate is exactly what I meant, and is what the troubled souls over in the north east of your country are experiencing. With that energy from the Pacific Ocean set against the Arctic, your climate was probably already a bit bonkers. It’s when you expect unending sameness, that you come unstuck. And yeah, as the sun sits lower in your sky each day, the plants will enjoy less radiation energy from the sun. I have been telling people that this also affects the energy that solar photovoltaic panels receive for so many years now the finer details of it all are lost to me, and most people reply: No its not. Except that it is the same. If the plants aren’t growing, the solar panels will do better, but not that much better.

    The rain makes the tomatoes skin split here too, as well as the fruit, and especially cherries (if you chance to get them before the birds do). I find it doesn’t make all much difference to the flavour, it’s more a visual unsightly kind of thing.

    Good to hear that Mr Greer is being referenced. I’d say he’s been on-message for a very long time in that context. Candidly I believe that people are mourning the loss of their ease and comfort. That may be a harsh perspective, but it’s how I see things. There are times I do wonder what civilisation would have looked like had we decided to stretch the fossil fuel resources out for as long as possible. It’s an interesting thought experiment.

    We eat the miniature cobs too, but I’d start with fresh seed next year if I were you. Man, we’re setting up a much larger area for growing vegetables, but every project takes so long to do, and 50+ corn plants minimum to minimise genetic drift and plant inbreeding takes a lot of garden space. A lack of kernels suggests a pollination issue – and sorry to say, that is a plant that likes to grow en masse.

    Thanks for the writing feedback, and like all solid comedians, I do take note of audience responses. 😉 One of my favourite techniques is what I call: serious + serious + serious + total fluff + serious. It’s got some shock yo moma style to it. I tell ya what, readership is down 40% this week. Oh yeah, that has never happened in over a decade of writing, and I reckon it is a mix of the referendum last week, but mostly the drum beats of war. Surely you heard those? And I’ll really try and stop calling you ‘Surely’! Boom! 🙂

    Hehe! I don’t doubt that somewhere out there, an Amplifier Semetary exists. It would be every bit as creepy as that Pet one. I ran the machine for hours and hours last night, and it’s working very well.

    Speaking of repairing machines, today I set aside a couple of hours to dismantle the original and now dead, yellow power wheelbarrow to discover how the thing works and what was wrong with it. To my amazement, the machine is far simpler than I’d imagined, and so I reckon I can get it back up and working again. I’d made the mistake of assuming that it was a more complicated design. I checked the much bigger (and newer) yellow power wheelbarrow, and it is the same overall design (and most of the same parts). Put in an order for the remarkably cheap replacement parts, which were bog standard items. It really threw me that I thought the machine was more complicated than it is. I’m learning as I go with this stuff. And it rained a little bit today.

    I guess the supermarkets make up their own lingo for those in the know. I’d never heard of any books on that topic either. You’d think the subject would have a broad appeal given the sheer volume of people working (or have worked) in that industry?

    Oh no! I so did not read that. Seriously, life is too short for brekkie pizza, and we must leave it at that. Unfortunately, the Editor has your back in this matter. No, I’ve drawn a line in the sand which says: ‘Do not cross, police’. Sorry, shoot, too many police procedural dramas in the past… 🙂 Good luck with that sad cold pizza thing. It ain’t right, somehow. Hehe! Jazz it up by cooking the thing for dinner, just sayin…

    Good to hear that the Club has an international person of mystery adding to the most useful pantry. Aren’t donations better when nobody knows of their origins? I doubt that the people benefiting from the pantry ever wonder where the stuff comes from, or the mechanics of that operation. I love my rolled oats, so good and we chuck them into the toasted muesli mix as well as the dog food mix and the Anzac biscuits. Probably should get around to growing them one day.

    Hehe! Perhaps best described as ‘nothing found in nature’! I prefer butter and buy the brand that has been making the same stuff since I was a kid. Admittedly, who knows whether the recipe is the same as back then. When I was a kid, people used to store the stuff in the pantry in a ceramic butter container. I don’t recall anyone getting sick from that.

    Ah, thanks for the explanation. Yes, dollar plus store sounds about right, and is also in line with inflation. Strange you should mention this topic…

    I agree about the heavy thinking and heavy emotions requiring a lot of extra energy. Working at the big end of town was ultimately like living with a constant low level of stress with occasional peaks and troughs, and that was no good for me. Makes me wonder what people are making of the news lately? I reckon a little bit of stress every now and then is good, but too much all of the time is a bad thing.

    I appreciate your observation and have been reading similar terms being used. After all, you can be organic and use a whole bunch of energy to bring in truck loads of organic matter. Regenerative might be a way of saying: ‘we’re trying to use less energy’. Small holders used to keep animals for a little bit of meat, but mostly for their manure and ability to consume plant matter that humans can’t.

    You’d think that there would be a bit of choice in library software, especially given how many libraries there are across the planet. I hope the bugs in the system get ironed out.

    Better get writing. The forecast for the next week said something about snow to 2,600 feet on Wednesday. Bonkers…



  29. Yo, Chris – Well, there it is. The forecast overnight low for Thursday is 33F … and for Friday night, 31. Minus -0- C. Frost. I see there are terrible storms, across northern Europe. Scotland … Denmark.

    I saw a headline, that one of the Big Meat companies, is exploring insect protein. I didn’t read the article.

    My friend in Idaho’s daughter has listed an “off-grid” house. Said there’s been a lot of interest and inquiry. Have a good laugh. This is what passes for “off grid,” here.


    I’m going to have to look into saved seed vs fresh seed. I mean, what’s the point of heritage breeds and saving seed?

    Readership down 40%?! Maybe you need pole dancers, or something. 🙂 I’d say, more likely, it’s the end of the growing season / beginning of yours, and people are scrambling to either wake the garden up, or, harvesting and putting up the last bits of produce.

    Maybe the experience of working in super markets is so horrible, the survivors of same, suppress, and don’t revisit the memories. 🙂

    Cold pizza for breakfast: I like how the grease congeals, and sticks to your teeth.

    I’d say most of the folks at the Club, don’t realize it’s me doing the bulk of the stocking up, for the pantry. That’s fine, by me. A couple of times, someone has said how “nice” it is that I do that. I usually deadpan, “Yeah. I’m a f—–g saint.”

    I’m deep into Chuck’s new book, “Not Forever, But For Now.” Here’s a review …


    Can’t say I can recommend it. Twisted, perverted and gross. But I keep reading it. 🙂 Lew

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