People don’t read this blog to immerse themselves in yet more commentary on the rather tiresome sport of politics. However, given the events of the past couple of weeks I’ve decided that a brief foray into that landscape might be worthwhile. If I may add, the politicians at the helm of this here ship, otherwise known as ‘western civilisation’, look like a bunch of numpties. I’m astounded that our leaders could stuff things up so badly. And yet here we are today, with what looks like a second proxy war over in the land of sand and oil.
Ordinarily, I’m unfazed by such activities, but it was hard not to notice that during the week, a bit over 40% of my readership suddenly disappeared. Vanished. Gone. Kaput. No more. It’s an impressive achievement after nearly ten years of continuous blogging. Since day one, I’ve blocked spammers, trolls and all of the other unpleasant life-forms lurking about the interweb, so the numbers don’t lie. There’s a part of me that wonders if the missing readership are glued to the news cycle. “The war is going well Brother!”
I do genuinely wonder about the abilities of our leaders. Last weekend the adult population of the entire nation came together to vote upon a change to the constitution. That’s serious business and voting is compulsory at risk of a fine, and here is the question which voters faced:
“A Proposed Law: to alter the Constitution to recognise the First Peoples of Australia by establishing an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice.
Do you approve this proposed alteration?”
The vote required a simple yes or no response. Given the track record of the government in this matter, it sounds like a great idea to get local people bringing local problems and solutions to the very people who have the resources to get something done about them. It seemed like a good idea, except the politicians promoting the ‘voice’ concept provided no further details whatsoever. I wondered how many people would represent each of the 250 or so indigenous language groups, and how long would those people serve on the ‘voice’. All fair questions, and yet the politicians gave no details whatsoever, because there were none to be had. The message being delivered to the public was ‘trust us’ with this, we’ll work out the details later. Hmm, track record.
It was an utterly bonkers way to run a campaign for an otherwise good idea. And unsurprisingly, outside of a few wealthy inner city areas, and the capital territory where the Federal Parliament is located (an area which is less than a state), the population resoundingly said ‘no’. That looked to me like it sent a strong message from the population at large about the perception of trust. The aftermath in the media looked like a hunt for witches driven mostly by the same people who were asking for trust.
Talk about crazy days. Two proxy wars on the go. Failed referendum. Numpty leaders, and 40% down on readership. It’s at this stage of history in the ongoing decline of western civilisation, a bloke needs a cunning plan! Write about oil. That’ll do it. Yeah! I’ve got this long standing in-joke with Sandra with regards to writing about the subject of oil. Every time reader statistics head south, I say to Sandra: “Reader numbers are down. Better write about oil next week!” Those words generate a sort of groaning sound combined with a look which can only be described as withering. Whatever, let’s talk about oil.
Incidentally, if reader numbers ever get too much for me to cope with, I write about the realities of living with solar power. We are equal opportunity offenders at Fernglade Farm!
It’s hard not to notice that things and stuff seem to cost more all the time. The technical word for that is known as ‘Inflation’. The official inflation numbers get mucked around with, and leave out important household costs, like houses. And that’s done for all sorts of political reasons. But, those are the numbers we have and you get the vibe that when the official numbers are bad, the reality is probably far worse. A useful statistics website (Worlddata) provided the official numbers for Australia and the US from 1960 to 2022 in graph form.
It sure looks like a rocky road to travel, and it’s hard not to notice the big mountain of inflation in 1975. That was at the end of the Vietnam war, which didn’t work out so well for the west. Australian troops were there too. Wars are funny things, if you win them, the winner gets to say: “You’re free to do whatever we tell you to do!” On the other hand, if you lose a war, you don’t have much choice other than to politely be told: “This is how things are gonna be now!”
It’s worth mentioning that by 1975, both Australia and the US were importing oil. Some of the nice nations supplying that imported oil, were not as nice as we’d previously thought. They collectively decided at that time to opportunistically cut supply. That forced up prices for oil, not to mention everything else. It was a bit of a gamble really, but after having just lost a major war, maybe our abilities and will to head over there and thump the living daylights out of them weren’t all that good. So, just like today, there was a lot of trouble in the middle east (a big source of oil). Other players in that area began flexing their muscles and extending their reach. Inflation rose very quickly as a result.
What you can take away from that time, is that high oil prices and restricted supply, tends to increase prices for everything, thus producing inflation.
The west responded by opening up new and harder to extract from oil fields, fracked the land super hard, and did all that we could to keep the supply of oil flowing. After a few years of that, official inflation eventually came down to reasonably low levels (if you ignore housing and other asset prices that is).
After decades of extraction, those fields are now in decline. Just for a local example, last I checked, the rig count on the Bass Strait oil fields were down to less than a handful. Once it was otherwise. Australia now imports 90% of its oil supplies. I’d describe that as a precarious situation. They do say that decline never sleeps.
Fast forward 46 years on from 1975, and things didn’t end up too well for the west in the Afghanistan and Iraq conflicts. Again, Australians were there too. It hardly surprises me that in the aftermath, yet again trouble has fomented in the middle east. It is worth noting that area supplies a good chunk of the world’s remaining oil.
If history is any guide, it is likely that the remaining oil supplies will again be restricted in the near future. And already we have inflationary pressures.
Yogi Berra is famously quoted as having said: “It’s tough to make predictions, especially about the future.” History suggests that we’re in for tough times ahead, so I reckon forget about the numpties, and it’s time to get your garden in order.
Rest assured, that the blog is not taking a new direction.
The weather this week was again a mixed bag. A bit of rain, a bit of sun. For plenty of nights we didn’t have to run the wood heater. Other nights the bitterly cold winds swept up from that huge frozen continent to the south of Australia. We ignored it all and continued work on the low gradient path project.
There was a boulder sticking up out of the paddock near to the path. Most of it was below ground level, just like that iceberg which the Titanic hit. It was handily close to the project too, so we drilled and split the thing into four large rocks.
Some of the rocks liberated in the previous weeks property clean up, were also brought back up the hill in the yellow powered wheelbarrow. They were then placed in the low gradient path project.
The project tends to proceed a few large rocks at a time. This week we began the next section along, which is the curve you can see in the middle of the above image.
After a long days work placing heavy rocks, we were getting ever closer to the chicken enclosure.
A couple of additional hours of work completed the uphill side of the path in the above image. And another couple of large rocks extended the downhill side of the path.
This area is now ready to take some soil. The soil will be used to build up the surface of the path. That’s work for another week.
We do a lot of repairs and maintenance with the various machines here. Over the last year or two, I began reconditioning and restoring some of my music equipment. One of the switches in a 30 year old amplifier had begun failing recently. It is almost impossible to purchase a replacement switch, so I came up with the idea of swapping around another switch on the machine which was identical, but far less used. The amplifier was pulled apart, and the swap-over was made with the switches. In doing so I discovered a minor crack in the circuit board near to the failing switch, and also fixed that. It now works as good as new.
When working on the low gradient path project, we’ve enjoyed the company of a King Parrot who was happily munching on the very small and unripe Nashi Pears. The bird allowed us to get very close (it was probably full up to its eyeballs). I’m not all that fussed if the birds get some fruit, the heavy fruit set on the trees needs thinning anyway.
It’s very early days for most of the fruit trees, and this is an example of what the Parrot was munching upon.
Onto the flowers:
The temperature outside now at about 9am is 10’C (50’F). So far this year there has been 747.2mm (29.4 inches) which is up from last weeks total of 743.2mm (29.3 inches)