Old Yella

Back in the late 1980’s and early 1990’s I used to do all of the servicing and maintenance on the vehicles I owned. Generally the cars were old, and the technology was pretty simple. The things started, went, and stopped – most of the time. Back in those days I owned a 1982 Suzuki Jimny 1 Litre (61 cubic inch engine), 4 speed manual, four wheel drive. It was unstoppable, and needed to be, because you were never going anywhere fast. The car had a vinyl soft top which made the radio very easy to steal – which happened a number of times, until the thieves were confronted by a radio that was so rubbish it was a waste of time to steal.

The Man from the Snowy River was filmed in this remote alpine location

There was a camping trip in those early days when I’d headed bush to get some alone time for a bit. My grandfather and his WWII drinking buddies had long established an illegal camp in a remote location on a bucolic bend of the Jamieson River deep in the state forest. The camp site was way out in the middle of nowhere, and was left alone by the authorities. You should have heard their talk, it wouldn’t have ended well, for the authorities. After a few quiet days of relaxation, I’d decided to head home again. That was a fortuitous choice.

Into the camp site arrived another vehicle. They were a young couple, and seemed nice enough. We had a good chat, and I told them I was just leaving. The car didn’t start though. Fortunately the young couple had some jumper leads, which they hooked up to the battery on the Suzuki. We got the engine of the ancient chariot started, and I headed home again. After a long slow noisy drive home, the car was parked in its usual spot.

The next day I went to start the car, and heard a weird clunk sound emanating from within the engine bay. A sound which kind of suggests that bad things have just occurred inside the engine. Being not entirely sure what had just taken place, I contacted the state car club (members enjoyed free towing), and got them to tow the car to a mechanic.

The mechanic rang me later that day to inform me that the camshaft had seized and that the timing belt had broken. That’s an expensive fix possibly demanding a new engine. Ordinarily, I’m guessing that the mechanic was probably used to speaking with idiots. Internally, my mind was wailing klaxon sirens, but as cool as a cucumber, I asked him to stop work and I’ll come down and have a look later.

Knowing that it was unlikely a camshaft would seize in a cold engine, I arrived at the mechanics with a car trailer. A quick check with a socket set confirmed what I already knew, the camshaft had not seized and could be easily turned, and smoothly. The little Suzuki was hauled onto the trailer and taken away. Confronted with the hard to disprove socket-set-on-camshaft-test, the mechanic feigned ignorance, and we parted company.

The replacement timing belt may have been around $50, add on a couple of hours work, and the Suzuki was back up and running again. Fast forward to today, and the Suzuki’s we now own do similar tasks, but better. Unfortunately, they’re way more complicated, so I leave their maintenance to mechanics who have proven their trust.

When the farm machine repair dude was alive, we took all of the agricultural machines down to his business to get them repaired. After he died, well, we constructed a service pit, and I faced up to the realities of repairing all of the machines used here. Earlier in the year during a particularly busy time, I took the Silver power wheelbarrow in for repairs to the business. In some ways, it was kind of a test to see how things were going there after losing the boss. The transmission had been making some strange sounds, and very little power was getting to the wheels. The Silver wheelbarrow just wouldn’t haul much weight.

After a few days, a phone call suggested that the transmission was faulty and in need of replacement. I was not cool about replacing the most expensive part on the machine as the cost was around $1,500. And the machine was less than two years old! After a bit of research into the issue and some further phone discussions, I suggested the drive belt may have been in need of tightening. That was done, and the silver wheelbarrow was brought back home. Curiously, I was also told that the belt drive tension was self adjusting.

In the many months since then, we’ve been using the silver machine carefully and not over loading it, because it was still not working well. That outcome defeats the entire purpose of the machine, because it is constructed to carry very heavy loads – and yet couldn’t do so.

Last weekend, with a few free spare hours, I dismantled a much older (the original machine) yellow power wheelbarrow. I wanted to see for myself how the things worked. We’d kept the machine for spare parts after it stopped working properly about two years ago. However, given the motor hadn’t been started in half a year, last weekend the thing kicked off first pull of the starter cord. The old yellow machine was begging to be restored to full working condition.

The time investigating the machine was well spent, because the thing was much simpler and far hardier than I’d imagined. So I took an inventory of all the parts which were in need of repair and replacement. The parts arrived in the mail during the week. In the meantime, with my new knowledge of these machines, on Tuesday (having taken the day off from paid work) I decided to take a closer look at the much newer silver power wheelbarrow, you know the one for which I was told so many things were wrong with.

Turns out all the silver machine needed was a lot of adjustment to the various chains, belts and cables. And no, the belt tightening process was not self adjusting. The thing is working perfectly now. There is no inexplicable whining sound and heavy loads are pulled back up the hill with a careless arrogance that only fossil fuelled powered machines can deliver. And honestly, I have no idea what to make of the experience. Was it dishonest, careless, or incompetent? Beats me, but I’m going to think long and hard before I take any machine back there for repairs. And the person at the business who told me such stories, no longer works there. Hmm.

Old Yella gets hours of care and attention

The replacement parts for the old yellow power wheelbarrow were pretty cheap, and this is a job I probably should have done a few years ago. What can I say other than: I’ve been busy! The machine looks beaten around with a few notable dents, but now works perfectly. Over the past year, all issues with the various farm machines have now been attended too by us (with only one exception). It’s not bad given we’ve had only a year to accommodate ourselves to this unexpected necessity.

The old yellow power wheelbarrow now works perfectly

It’s been something of a week for repairing things. Long term readers will recall the 7×5 foot yellow trailer which had served us well for over two decades. That thing was like the proverbial grandfathers axe in that there had so many repairs over the decades, that there weren’t many original bits left. Unfortunately, the important under-bits of the trailer had succumbed to the steel worm – rust. Without us being aware of it, bits of the frame had disappeared, and sunlight could be seen through steel channels were that should not be. A decision was made to scrap the trailer. That thing was no longer safe to use.

Scrappy’s metal recycling business

Being steel, what was left of the trailer was recycled. And we were even were paid $90 for the weight of steel at the scrap yard. Not a bad outcome.

A new 7×4 foot (slightly narrower) trailer was purchased. With the deprivations of the steel worm very much in our minds, we paid a bit extra for a trailer that was galvanised. It’ll be interesting to see how long this one lasts. The narrower trailer weighs a bit less too, which is a good thing.

The new trailer enjoys some respite from the rain

The steep garden bed in the above image has a really lovely Japanese maple. Those trees grow really well here, and I even found one in a vegetable bed.

A self seeded Japanese maple has taken up residence in a vegetable bed

Speaking of fixing things, the toilet cistern had begun leaking water. Water is a very precious resource here, and so there is zero tolerance for leaking toilet cisterns. The cistern was dismantled and the flush parts were replaced. You’d think that job would be simple, but no. It was a real pain of a job, and I believe the plumbers cut the pipes slightly too short. The pipe had to be replaced too.

And to add insult to injury, the passenger side speaker in Sandra’s Dirt Mouse Suzuki had failed. It’s quite headache inducing listening to music originating from only one side of the car, whilst the subwoofer happily doofs away on the other side. It’s not natural! And just doesn’t sound right. We pulled the door trim off today only to discover a speaker that shows far more wear than it should, especially when nothing else around it did. Hmm. We’d paid for the upgraded speaker pack at the dealer, and I’m guessing someone at the dealer swapped their old speakers for our new speakers. Easily fixed, but cynicism and a distinct lack of trust is starting to become the norm. It’s not paranoid if it’s true!

Oh well. At least the weather was nice, when it wasn’t cold and rainy.

The sun sets on a glorious spring day

The thirteen year old Silkie chicken is giving it her all. She produced an egg this week.

Guess which egg was the Silkies?

The combination of regular rain and warmer spring days is getting the garden growing. The Radishes are almost ready to harvest. Few plants produce a harvest as quickly as those.

This Pink Lady Slipper Radish is close to being ready to harvest

Earlier in the week the temperatures dropped to 1’C / 34’F and candidly I fear for our Apricot crop. The stone fruits are showing signs of cold damage, but we’ll see how they go.

The Apricots are continuing to ripen

At this time of year, there is a lot of work to do clearing the weeds (unwanted plants) from all of the various garden beds. When the weeds are edible they are fed to the chickens. This week the Asparagus raised beds were cleaned up.

The Asparagus raised garden beds were cleaned up

The Tree Fern planted earlier in the year in the drainage basin is beginning to recover from all of the Wallaby vandalism. Several cages of strong chicken wire protect the base of the fern.

Fern Tree camTM tells no lies

Onto the flowers:

The Geraniums are enjoying the spring sunshine
The Rhododendrons are very showy
Horse Chestnut flowers are really attractive
Forget Me Nots almost iridesce in some light
A native Pittosporum with the most beautiful smelling flowers
Rhododendrons provide colour to the orchards

The temperature outside now at about 10am is 14’C (57’F). So far this year there has been 751.4mm (29.6 inches) which is up from last weeks total of 747.2mm (29.4 inches)

32 thoughts on “Old Yella”

  1. Yo, Chris – Ah, the good old days! Even me, who has no mechanical ability, got a copy of “How to Keep Your VW Alive, for the Complete Idiot,” and managed to do all the basic maintenance on it. Later, with the help of a friend, I managed to do a lot of the same on a 1965 Genny. (GMC) truck. Those days are long gone. I stand in awe and wonder at your mechanical handiness.

    Finding a good mechanic is kind of a crap shoot. All you can do is ask around, and see who’s name comes up the most often. And cross your fingers.

    I’d guess there’s no mother boards, GPS or I anything, on your machines. 🙂

    The new trailer looks very sporty. Needs flames, painted on it.

    Go Silkie Chicken! When she goes, she should be laid to rest with honors. Not just chucked in the compost bin. I wonder if she’s pushing a Guinness World Record, for longevity? Average age of a Silkie is 9 years old.

    The radish looks good, the apricots, not so much. But, they may still surprise you. Maybe.

    Those geraniums sure are an intense color. Not anything I’d want to stumble across, before my first cup of morning tea. 🙂 Speaking of geraniums, one of the fellows at the Club, got a part time job as grounds keeper, at a local recovery center. About a year ago. He’s not the sharpest blade in the drawer, but seems to have a hidden talent, for working with plants. He was quit proud of his geranium bed. Until it started to falter. He took the initiative, went to the County Extension Office, talked to the Master Gardeners, and found some remedies. Mostly, they needed to be cut back … severely.

    Your flowers are just lovely, and we won’t see the likes, for months. Lew

  2. Hi Lewis,

    The VW was a total classic, and designed and built from the ground up to be repaired. Hey, that book is still published, and I loved the 1970’s fonts and cartoons on the cover. If it wasn’t inspired by the The Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers, I’d be surprised. That collection has also been in continuous print. Hmm, they must be onto something! 🙂

    An excellent steed that truck. And what amazes me is that the newer err, ‘trucks’ weigh in at almost 2,000 pounds more. Them newer trucks need to get thee on a diet! 🙂 Interestingly, I’ve noticed there are a lot of articles over the past few weeks suggesting the tide down here may be turning against such vehicles. Basically, down here they get a tax break, and I would not be surprised if that gets removed – possibly sooner than most would imagine. Just when you think that the authoritas do’ ‘no nuffin’ bout’ Peak Oil, they go and surprise us all with an adaption. I’ve noticed that they tend to push articles to test the waters, long before announcing policy. Possibly there are punitive elements to this story.

    Hehe! Yeah man, I do OK with mechanical competence, but then I grew up having to know these things, often being the only male in the household. Incidentally, women often make great mechanics mostly because there is less bravado and they work harder due to the belief they have to prove themselves. They’re just not culturally encouraged to do that trade, although they’d make a killing. One of the utoobers I’ve watched lots of clips from is a lady mechanic, ‘chickanic’, and she knows her stuff, and can explain it all in simple language.

    Truth to tell, even with the horde of spare parts and purchased specialist tools, the entire work on all the machines (including unanticipated repairs) is still cheaper than taking the stuff down to the shop. Now that I’ve got the tools, next year will be cheaper again. 😉

    Yeah, exactly. We’ve discussed this matter, and word of mouth is one of the best forms of advertising. Pretty much all of our paid work has come from that source. I don’t waste money on advertising.

    Hehe! Well I was thinking about connecting all the machines up to the interweb of things so that usage and maintenance records would be that much easier. And I also heard that AI could do wonders with the problem diagnosis! Yeah, nah, just mucking around. Other than computers and phones, nothing else here is connected to the web. Seems like a bad idea to me, but you should hear how excited the off-grid folks were about having their data available remotely over the web. It’s OK, until their solar charge controllers get hacked and the charge programs get changed… Yikes! And the machines are all simple mechanical devices. You can see how they work.

    Thanks. Yeah, the new trailer goes faster! 🙂 Actually it really does go faster, because the thing weighs less and is slightly smaller than the previous trailer.

    That Silkie will be fourteen in a few months. She was part of the second batch of chickens we purchased way back in early 2010. Don’t let her fluffy good looks deceive you, she’s tough as and nowhere near the bottom of the pecking order. The oldest chicken in the world got to something like 22 years. Never fear, we’ll do something appropriate when the time comes that the dogs and other wildlife can’t dig up.

    I’ll be surprised if we get any apricots. That’ll be the surprise! Far out. I haven’t eaten radish for many long years, so it’ll be interesting to see whether the memories live up to reality. Although, like brain cells, a few taste buds have disappeared over the intervening years.

    Hehe! That’s funny, and so true. Yes, the world does need to come into focus of a morning. I said to someone the other day that I probably would have earned far more money in my life if only I could have reconciled myself to getting up early. Let alone being confronted by such intense colours! 🙂 They are nice flowers those, and that particular variety produces the most intense colours. Those plants self seed nowadays.

    Yeah, clean up and pack up, the season is over for you. Kind of like how I feel about the apricots! It rained here today.

    My cynicism also suggests that the temporal anomaly is an artificial construct. However would computer and software sales go if everything was backwards and forwards compatible. You’re not witnessing a problem, you’re confronting a design consideration. Did I not have to face the dreaded blue screen of death the other day.

    Incidentally, that particular company, demanded biometric data from me today, otherwise it wouldn’t let me onto their system. I didn’t give them that, but now they sort of have access to my phone. I’ve shut that thing down, but who knows what gets switched off and on over time with that thing.

    And a new low was reached today. Someone from the goobermunt phoned me up to discuss a two cent discrepancy, which was in their favour. That took 15 minutes. It was very weird, let’s put it that way.

    The bots use the text to train their pet talking monkey program that everyone seems so enamoured of.

    Possibly more, but you already knew that. 🙂

    What do they teach these chefs? Well, they know what Tabouli is now. Yes, calling the dish ‘salad’ is a great bit of creative thinking on the run. Yum! And yeah, the old timers used to say: waste not, want not. People will remember such words again in the future, but maybe not today.

    Unfortunately, I really do walk a fine line here and am bound by both confidentiality and the awful litigious nature of the country I live in. People can get shut down through the legal system for sure if they’re not careful. But mate, I saw and heard some strange things. Then I decided to head bush and do something different with my life. Can’t say as I’ve looked back! I like the work I do nowadays, and it is genuinely of benefit for the people who pay me. Anyway, few other people seem to want to do such work at the level I do, and that smells of opportunity. Thanks for understanding, and sometimes with confidentiality issues don’t you reckon it becomes hard to say something, without breaching that obligation? It’s a fine line.

    I’ve never experienced civil disturbances on the scale where stuff gets destroyed by rioters. So I can’t really form any opinion. Certainly the demographics of areas change, and if you observe long enough, you can see it happening.

    Yeah, I agree, the thicker bags are pretty cheap. Whether they stay cheap is another question. Sometimes I wonder if there is an element of bait and switch to that story, but time will tell. Hey, I was once accosted by the local transition town folks campaigning outside the local bakery about a ban on plastic bags. I used to take a plastic container, and the nice bakery folks would drop the bread into the container. Except the campaigners accosted me exiting the shop and started talking about banning plastic bags, as if anyone with eyes to see, could observe the bread in the plastic container. A mystery. My responses to them, just confused them even more. It seemed simple enough to me to not take the plastic bags even if proffered for free.

    Oh yeah, plastic bags are handy as.

    I can only look on with admiration at your mostly card free life. That’s setting the gold standard. I do recall you mentioning the Club and the use of the card machine. The monthly fees are not cheap, whilst the transaction fees add up, although things may be cheaper in your country?

    Good luck, and hopefully it is a compatible version of crazy. You never know! He may be able to assist with some of the lifting around the place?



  3. You could try spraying your new trailer’s frame with Lanotec. Might help repel the rust worm. Just sayin’.

  4. entropy- Yeah, repairing is a skill that will become all the more essential as things unwind.

    I might have mentioned that a key component on my BCS brush mower attachment broke, so after researching the parts diagrams, figured out which parts I needed and ordered them, but the main shaft housing had a broken weld beyond my skills ( and was quite expensive to buy a replacement). I’m a “weekend welder”, but this needed a professional. Dropped it at the local repair shop, and waited. And waited.

    Finally realizing they were not being straight with me, and also, I think, maybe nervous to try the fix, I took the part back. A trusted and very experienced shop will now do the rewelding, but unfortunately, they are in Tennessee. Ah well, shipping in the U.S. still works.

    I don’t have the repair skills you do, but luckily the trusted local equipment rental store does repairs that cover all my other small equipment. (chain saws, trimmers, small engine stuff. Too bad they don’t handle BCS). At some point, I may need to take on more repair chores, but not yet.

    My truck is another matter. It’s a 2003 model Ford. Talk about seeing daylight in the main structure! I shoved some structural tubing in under the bed and spanning the worst sections, but this is only a delay of the inevitable, and besides, Patsy is quite reluctant to even ride in the thing. That’s a deal breaker. Sadly, the engine and drive train are still fine.

    In winter, they use salt on the roads to melt the snow and ice, but it also melts steel after a fashion. I’m still using it to haul about the farm, but a trip into our big smoke is slowly becoming a fate tempter.

    So we are in the market for a replacement. Ouch$$$. Steel worms indeed.
    The next truck will get the undercoating option, and more underside wash downs in the winter.

  5. Yo, Chris – The whole automotive scene, is changing. Luckily, I may be gone, before being forced into some kind of major change. LOL. I’ll know it’s the end, when they put in charging stations, here at the Institution. 🙂 I’ve noticed a few, mostly around the big box stores, down by the freeway.

    From my point of view, I’m in awe of your mechanical competence.
    Our local college offers mechanics courses, for women, from time to time. All over the US, we have what’s called “Community Colleges.” They were originally a two year program, heavy on the vocational and technical. You could get an AA degree. Associate in Arts. They were handy to get the basic requirements out of the way, and then transfer to a university. At lower costs. But they’ve morphed a bit, over the years, and now in concert with universities, it’s possible to get a Bachelor’s degree, while attending what was a two year program. Of course, the additional two years are mostly on-line courses. One example is a business Bachelor’s degree.

    The new trailer looks very aerodynamic. 🙂

    I’ve never been very fond of radish. Too hot for me. But they sure do dress up a veg tray! I took what was left of the Tabouli, and put it in my Very Special Bowl. It holds just the right amount, for what I know will be three fried up patties. Looked a little “light” so I added pumpkin and sunflower seeds, a bit more garlic, and some chopped frozen Broccoli. Whipped in three eggs. Dollop of plane yoghurt, on top, once they were fried up and on the plate.

    Yes, what do they teach chefs these days. I also had to tell her all about the Millard Effect. Those complex chemical reactions, that add layers of flavor, when you brown just about anything.

    When I took H out for a walk, this morning, I didn’t see the Master Gardeners. Of course, it was still 28F, and foggy. I’ll check later to see if they’ve shown up.

    Different web sites are always asking me for my phone number. Don’t think so. I just keep clicking the “Remind me later” button. This has been going on for years. Decades? The reasoning is “in case you lose your password.” Not planing on it, they don’t need my phone number. I have a VERY low rate of nuisance calls.

    I’m pretty careful where and when I use my credit card. We also have debit cards, which pull money right out of your checking account. The only place I use the debit card, is at the bank. Losses to credit cards are insured. Not so, debit cards.

    I watched a recent episode of “Young Sheldon” where the IRS (Internal … or Infernal Revenue Service … the tax guys) sent a notice that his family owed $4 more dollars, on a return. Sheldon’s dad wanted to just pay the thing. Not Sheldon. He did the families tax returns. And Sheldon is never wrong. Ever. 🙂 So, he did battle with the IRS. He won his point. I remember once writing a check for 23¢, for the final bill from a telecom company.

    Yup. I’m loosing it. “Confidentiality” was a word I just could not come up with. I’ve had several job, where that was a component.

    Well, if the new old guy doesn’t set some firm boundaries, he’ll be dead in a year. 🙂 I’ve seen it happen. Twice. Lew

  6. Chris,

    Nice 1992 Alpine photo. I took one look at it and said, “What was Chris doing at that ‘Man from Snowy River’ cabin?” Then I read the caption and gadzooks! I was right. I like the movie. The Princess likes it even more. The first one, I mean. The second one was okay but fell short of the first one.

    The dead battery story reminds me of something similar. After a weekend camping and deer hunting in the mountains, my old Blazer S-10 had a dead battery. The Princess and I still had food, but still…and I heard a truck down on the “main” dirt road in the area. Princess got a campfire going and I set a speed record running the mile to the “main” road. I beat the truck there. They had no cables but agreed to drive me into town and back. Nearest town’s lone petrol station had me leave a monetary deposit for the cables. The friendly guys in the truck drove me back to camp AFTER I had filled their tank with petrol. Blazer started fine with the cables, truck left, Princess and I drove into town. Got my deposit back when I returned the cables.

    Hmmm, you asked a couple physics questions the other day. First, freezing bridges. Yes, it is a thermal mass type of thing. Earth holds heat pretty well and can be thought of as an almost infinite heat source compared to winter air. (It is rare for the ground to freeze more than a half meter deep here even during the coldest winters.) The bridge has sub-freezing air surrounding it. So, although the air temperature might be -2C, the surface temperature of the road itself might still be +2C due to the day’s +5C temperature and maybe some solar radiation. The bridge, surrounded by cold air, will be colder, maybe 0C or -1C without the earth beneath it. So any moisture on the road might still be wet, while moisture on the bridge has turned to ice. As you surmised…thermal mass.

    No, the bus could do the slip sliding away thing on ice and snow just as well as anything else. That said, I did prefer being on a bus to driving a car when commuting in snow. Letting someone else drive was rather nice.

    Then there’s the house…Yes, the house will cool down much quicker at +1C outside than at +7C outside. The rate of heat transfer is directly proportional (more or less) to the difference in temperature between Thing 1 (house) and Thing 2 (outside). Or, the greater the difference in temperature between Thing 1 and Thing 2, the faster the heat transfer occurs.

    A different example of roughly the same idea…In Fairbanks, Alaska when it is -40C (yes, extremely cold), a favorite trick is to have a cup of piping hot coffee and toss the coffee out of a 6 meter high window. The coffee is ice before it hits the ground. If the outside temperature is -10C, the coffee will be a puddle before it freezes in a matter of minutes.

    Glad you got Old Yella up and running. And got the other power wheelbarrow running properly, too. Dude, you’ve got a FLEET of power wheelbarrows started. 😉
    Scrappy’s metal recycling? Good name. I know a gent whose nickname is Scrappy. Dunno why they call him that, but that’s what they call him where he works. No, he didn’t tell me. One of the carving club gents works with Scrappy and told me. At least your Scrappy paid you $90. I call my friend Scrappy and he glares at me.

    Ah, the Fern Tree Cam (which tells no lies) caught a fluffy in the photo you posted. That’s actually a nice photo, by the way, with the colorful lemons near the path and the hints of purples behind the lemon tree.

    Thanks for the flower pictures, too. Tis the time of year when I must enjoy flowers through your camera lens.

    And, yes, the cold front DID arrive. We’ve had 3 consecutive nights of -8C temperatures. Warming trend is here, and temperatures will remain above freezing by Wednesday. Wednesday night the storms start. We could have up to 32mm of rain between Wednesday night and Sunday. Fortunately, the ground should be unfrozen before the rains arrive.


  7. Hi Mike,

    Thanks for the suggestion. No worries there, the entire thing is hot dipped galvanised as only can be done in the land of stuff. 😉 However, lanolin is an outstanding grease and metal protector, and we use a very similar product called Lanox for lubrication purposes. It’s good stuff. The now departed farm machine repair dude got me onto this stuff.

    PS: I used to live down the road from a wool wash business back in the days when Williamstown was an industrial suburb. The smell brings back memories.



  8. Hi Steve,

    You betcha! Entropy never sleeps, and far out, we have so many machines that need attending too, lest the worm that is time, eats them all. The thing is a hungry monster. Over the past year I’ve learned a lot about maintaining them and repairing them all. As an interesting side story, there are a lot of people who send me direct message emails for whatever reason they don’t wish to comment publicly. And a few of them having been complaining about the slow replies over the past year… My brain can only do so much! 🙂 And it’s absorbed a lot of information regarding the machines.

    Youch! A shaft housing requiring welding I agree is a very specialist job. I know a bloke who is about my age maybe a bit older, but apprenticed as a welder. And a few years ago he was pretty chuffed he cracking the TIG welding skills. Hmm. Like you, I’m a weekend welder and will give things a go, but that BCS job is likewise way past my skill level as well. Dirty Harry suggested that a man’s gotta know his limits, and who can argue with such wisdom? I know of a few such repair places in the big smoke, and err, the shaft may also need to be balanced after the housing is repaired, but then maybe the repair will be good enough? Who knows and like you, some jobs are just requiring of a super specialist. The BCS machine is a little ripper.

    Steve, I tell ya man, I’ve had to step up to the plate with this repair stuff. And I was already busy. Fortunately, on the home front Sandra has been able to take over some things that I used to do, and that has freed up the time. Otherwise, I dunno. You can only do so much. But I hear you, far out do I hear you. If the time comes that you need to take on board the repairs – I’m only a comment away. But one thing I recommend as a minimum is use quality fuel stabiliser and run every machine every two months for at least a couple of minutes. Fuel these days goes off within a month or two, and that is not optimal. Anywhoo, that will do away with 90% of the problems. The rest, well, that’s a whole ‘nother story.

    Hehe! Mate, I’m old enough to recall the rust issues in cars floor pan which meant that you’d get glimpses of the road from time to time. And when it rained heavily, err, water ingress. But your 2003 truck sounds a heck of a lot like my 2000 trailer. Sometimes you’re not meant to see the sunshine through steel! Where did the missing chunks of steel go, that is what I didn’t want to know. Ook!

    Fortunately down here they don’t use salt on roads, and vehicles last a whole lot longer. I’ve heard of people from other countries exporting vintage cars (VW combi vans for one example) from this corner of the planet, for that reason. There are benefits to the salt, and there are costs. Your lady is wise to listen to her gut instinct in this matter, sorry to say. Sorry dude I’d like to support you, but you know! Look, I had to face up to the missing chunks on the trailer situation with Sandra last week. Be strong! 🙂

    All wise options, and mad cash well spent. I wish it were otherwise.



  9. Hi DJ,

    Your eye is good. Respect. The poet within you probably already knew of the bush poet, and glad you both enjoyed the film. The bush is a beautiful and equally dangerous place. Lovely stuff. The poem told a ripping good yarn too – hmm. Truth to tell, there is an element of Star Trek to that visit to Craig’s hut. On that particular trip a mate and I went in search of the hut. We got there pretty late, and the fog was super thick, but we found the hut and got a fire going. We’d not seen anyone for the entire day. Anywhoo, the elevation of the hut was such that we got good reception and could watch the latest Star Trek Next Generation episode on a tiny little battery powered portable television. 🙂 It’s not like they did repeats in those days. For some reason the show was broadcast at 11pm, dunno why, but it was something of a tradition since the original series. It was a fun trip that one. The next day, the fog had lifted and sky showed gloriously clear and bright. And the photo was taken then. When I was home, friends lived across the road and used to pile around and watch the show. Let’s just say that the stereo was louder at my place – the very same amplifier I restored a week or two back. Ah, as the song says: Don’t cry for me, next door neighbour! It’s Star Trek Next Gen…

    Oh no! Mate, you never want to have to clock those land speed running records! You’ve never mentioned your long distance running career to me before. 🙂 But yeah, people take all these mobile phones for granted. Mind you, in earlier days there was the AM 27MHz CB and single-side-bands to communicate on. Possibly not good if the battery was flat though. Those things needed some serious electron juice to run, about 10A from memory.

    Hey, that’s been my experience too. Sure there are some rough nuts out in the bush, but most people you meet are pretty good – mostly because it’s a long way from the sort of people who can back up unearned bad attitudes and crazy expectations.

    I’ve only learned in the past few years that if you head deep into the ground in working mines, it gets hotter, even at extreme northern or southern latitudes. I was reading about a potash mine in Canada, and it was something crazy like 26’C all year around. Ah, thank you for explaining the need for the bridge heating around these parts. Mind you, I’ve never seen it in operation, but that maybe mostly because I avoid driving in those conditions.

    Holy carp! DJ, seriously watching a bus slide out when the ground is frozen, is not something I’d go out of my way to deliberately observe. Not good. One of the things I do wonder about with modern tourists buses, is that the centre of gravity appears to be way too high. It’s not a design I’d pursue, but I guess people want to store their copious stuff in the lower sections under the cabin and seats.

    Ah, so you’re saying with the house that a temperature differential causes greater transfer of energy from hot to cold? We put 200mm of insulation into the walls, floor and ceiling (which has a double layer), but I can’t even begin to imagine what would be required to fully insulate the outside from the inside. Probably isn’t possible. You know, sometimes I hear claims about such and such a house does not require any heating or cooling when in an extreme environment, and I’m just not a believer of those claims. What’s your take on the possibilities of that? Oh my, -40’C and -10’C are temperatures I’m not keen to experience. But it is good to hear that when you were there, you personally tested the physics of coffee splats. I would also have done so, purely for research purposes of course! 😉

    Hehe! 1 + 1 + 1 = 3, or so I’m told. Hey, that is a fleet. 😉 I’d previously believed that it was only 2 machines, but old yella has the Lazarus about it.

    If he’s glaring at you, I’d suggest that perhaps the story is not one for gentle ears. Maybe… 🙂 Still, you’ve got me wondering at a) his reticence; and b) the origin story. Sometimes you just have to own something to make it go away.

    Thank you for saying so, and hopefully all being well, there will be many more summer images to come. I should write about that area, it’s an interesting story of the land demanding to be attended to.

    Brr! -8’C is definitely getting the heater fired up territory. Stay warm, but I’ll bet Avalanche loved every minute of it? That’s a great amount of rain – very useful indeed. Another nice and cool day today here. The next six days are under 20’C – which is a bit cool for the plants. Oh well, mustn’t grumble, things could be worse.



  10. Hi Lewis,

    Them’s strong words, and glad you put in the qualifying word ‘luckily’, lest ye tempt the vehicle gods. Mate, I was gutted (and may have whinged a lot about it 🙂 ), when last year the realisation hit me hard that the 2004 Dirt Rat, had travelled past its economic lifespan. With the previous Dirt Mouse (the former and smaller Suzuki), we’d spent about half the cost of a replacement machine in repairs, and sad as it is, it taught us a lesson. Mind you, I have a hunch that ultimate vehicle life depends upon a combination of the mileage driven and ensuring basic maintaining continues unabated.

    The installation of charging stations at your place is probably not something you have to worry about. I doubt that there is the supply for those things. People talk such a big game about just chucking in charging stations all over the place, without realising what is even needed to be upgraded in the system to accommodate those things. It’s utterly bonkers, but you know we will see a few electric cars on the road for sure.

    It would be interesting to know what the wait time and utilisation percentage is for those charging stations.

    Thank you, and I appreciate the praise. I mentioned to DJ that all the people who direct message me, have been placed on snail reply speed factor twenty over the past year whilst my brain absorbs heaps of information about repairing all these machines. I’ve been surprised that some where unhappy about it… I can only do so much.

    Those courses for women in mechanic roles are awesome. The student debt thing may be strong with those master! 🙂 Far out, it is possible the same issue is going on down here too. If you go back further than those lot, there used to be a mechanics institute in most country towns. They were a bit of the lifeblood of the community, which I guess sadly has been drained. The buildings are still there too. Most of the one’s I’ve seen are very solid buildings, which is a testament to the sort of regard they were held in by the communities.

    Hehe! Oh you’re good. The new trailer does have a similar finish to those Airstream caravans so beloved of the food truck scene. They do look pretty cool, I’ll give ’em that. What’s not to love about the ‘Chef’ film?

    Thanks for the warning regarding the radishes. It’s been a long while, but we’ll see how they go, and I’ll provide you with a full report. We need a scale, don’t we? Given they’re pinkish / reddish hued, dare I mention – a ginger scale? 🙂 Like Scoville units, but for radishes? Almost typed Scooby units, but that may be something else…

    Hang on, what is a very special bowl? Sounds intriguing. Is this a temporary food preserving bowl? Your additions sound very tasty.

    Oh well, the Maillard effect you’d hope would be learned on the job. Maybe? You’ve got me wondering if chefs are even forced to sample their own food, just to keep them sharp and not serving rubbish to customers. Actually I don’t know how such things would go in a commercial kitchen. You’d imagine that the staff would eat there? Imagine if the chef announced that they’d brought lunch for them in from home. I’d be suspicious for sure.

    Far out 28’F is cold. Was the grass crunchy again? It would be here at that temperature.

    I agree, even cashiers at shops ask me for my phone number. I tell them that: ‘the discount would be nice, but the advertising probably isn’t nice’. This is not a charming reply due to its combative nature, and is probably in need of a bit of linguistic work, but a dude only has so much free brain space. Anywhoo, I’m not sure I could ever get away with being considered charming! Here the Editor may agree! Hehe! 🙂 The thing this time around was that the info demand was for a work related process, and they backed me into a corner. Do I trust the big technoboffins? No. It would be very unwise to consider that those folks have your best interests at heart.

    Yeah, that is true as well down here with losses for credit cards. However, I’ve read recently that if you contribute to the loss in any way, things will go badly. A person has to stay alert for mischief with this stuff.

    Well done young Sheldon. Where was he when I had to take the call for the two cent folks? A truly bizarre phone call. The kid has seriously mad skills if he can take on the likes of them and win. It’s not a bad idea to wind up matters correctly with the likes of telcos. It’s really hard to know what processes they’ll follow to pursue even minor amounts like the one you wrote the check for the other day. With the old trailer for example, I took the old number plates down to the goobermunts office to cancel the registration. Despite having ten months left, I got no refund. Hmm. The lady on the other side of the thick plastic screen serving me, expected an argument. She genuinely looked frightened when she gave me the news. I pick and choose my battles.

    Not to worry, we’re all losing it, one way or another, and the way I see things playing out, by the time we’ve completley lost it, we won’t know the difference and will carry-on regardless. It’s a workable philosophy. 😉

    Hey, you’d be surprised about the whole boundary issue thing. I’d have to suggest that this is a skill that we’re not well trained in, and from what I can observe of the population (sweeping generalisation alert), there is a vast continuum of experience and skills, but mostly it is not good. Boundaries are important, and it ain’t just you, I too remember the most recent example at your place. What happened to him? The facts suggest that you are following the path of wisdom. Other folks, not so much.

    Headed into the big smoke today for paid work. It was a good day, nothing much to report. Picked up some replacement speakers for the Editors car. Enjoyed a coffee and a very tasty muffin. Had some nice chats. Worked hard. The usual sort of day. Had rice, eggs and vegetables for dinner. Spoke to a lady I hadn’t seen for a few years. Said that she looked unchanged, the years had been kind to her and was wondering if she had a ring of power that I could borrow. I can occasionally do charming, it’s a bit of an effort!

    The next few days are all hovering a bit under 68’F, which is frankly a bit cold for this time of year. Oh well.



  11. Yo, Chris – Ah, buses and snow. Back in the early 70s, hilly Seattle still had quit a few trollies, attached to overhead wires. Anytime it snowed, they would occasionally slide away from their connection. A tow truck had to show up and nudge them back into place.

    Radishes don’t want you to eat them 🙂 . There doesn’t seem to be a scale, but some are hotter than others. They have a defensive chemical called Allyl Isothiocyanates. Well, that’s a mouthful.

    I have two sets of Pyrex mixing bowls. There are four, graduated “nesting” bowls in each set. Although one set, I picked up an extra 2 1 1/2 quart bowl, as it seems to be the one I use the most. One set has “wings” or handles, that double as pouring spouts. The smallest bowl is 1/2 pint. When full of whatever (usually rice, seeds, mushrooms and vegetables), with three eggs, it makes a perfect 3 patties, that just fit my frying pan. Sometimes I top the patties with a can of drained, diced tomatoes.

    I’ve only worked one place, where the owners gave the staff, one meal per shift. And they encouraged us to sample widely, on the menu. From what I’ve read and seen, a lot of more high end restaurants have a sit down meal for the entire staff, before they open. So front house staff have an idea of what’s on the menu for that evening, and are able to sell it.

    It got down to 30F, last night. One more cold night and it’s back to rain and warmer temperatures.

    “Young Sheldon” seems to have more and more scenes, set in a 1980s Tandy store. Anytime his parents need to bribe him, they can do it with a trip to the store. There was an “extra” I watched, about how hard it is to find props for the show. The 1980s haven’t quit come into their own, as collectibles, yet. When Sheldon gets his first computer, it’s a Tandy 1000 XL. Now where they found a mint, in the box, computer, I know not. But, looking at e – buy, they’re out there. I see one for $600. There was also an episode where Sheldon gets his first case of the computer cooties. A virus. Should not have bought that bootleg game. “Oregon Trail.”

    That plastic screen was probably bullet proof. Given the general crazy affecting the public, these days, probably a good idea. More here, than there.

    Saw a rather whimsical article on the intersection of art and books. With a “1984” theme.


    I watched the Filipino zombie movie, last night. “Day Zero.” But there’s a sameness to these movies. Lots of running around, with slathering hoards of zombies, hot on the trail of the heroes. Who are picked off, one by one. There was a little girl, but, she didn’t endanger too many people. Just to add an extra layer of pathos, she was deaf. Not super fast zombies, but pretty fast. The source of the virus? A mutated Dengue fever. Lew

  12. Hi Lewis,

    Makes you wonder how trains handle such cold conditions? Down here, the trams throw sand onto the rails so as to get additional braking force when conditions are less than optimal. Steel wheels and steel rails would otherwise be, dare I say it, slip sliding away! 🙂 I guess the trains don’t have to stop as much. Ah, a shame your elites lack the will for such a system. Trams work well down here, and are well utilised given they follow the main roads out of the city.

    What? It’s outrageous that the radishes would have their own preferences in this matter! We’ve been discussing consuming the largest radish for research purposes. It’s one of those very fast growing crops where you need to have seedlings ready to plant out, right after the bulbs are harvested. Well that is interesting, and thanks for looking up the chemical Allyl isothiocyanate. Turns out the chemical in large enough doses is apparently nephrotoxic, meaning I believe, of harm to the kidneys. It is a mouthful, humans have been consuming that plant species for a very long time. Mustards are very good at cleaning up soil which has had the same crop grown in it over many seasons. A remarkably useful family of plants.

    Yeah, you get your kitchen favourites don’t you? And I agree, some sizes are just well suited to the sort of cooking you get used to doing. It astounds me how often pyrex stuff turns up for sale very cheaply second hand. Makes absolutely no sense, but it’s been said before that we’re (i.e. society is to blame) a wasteful bunch. The patties sound very tasty, and the frying pan can work wonders on materials, if used correctly. Out of curiosity, do you use non stick fry pans, or are you more of the hard core cast iron preference variety? You know, I’ve never cooked with cast iron. I’ve read that some iron is deposited in the meal, so the cooking surface must wear down, albeit slowly.

    It’s probably better for the staff to become aware that the chef has dropped the ball before the customers do. A very sensible precaution for a commercial kitchen if I may say so. I’ve never worked in hospo, not for any good reason, I just didn’t think of doing that. I probably would have enjoyed the environment – if chef kept it together, that is. And that makes total sense about the high end restaurant staff having to know the product. It doesn’t look good if the people taking the orders don’t have a clue as to what the menu is. I dunno, I just work here! Yeah, sure you do! 🙂 Fortunately, my desire and opportunities for fine dining are rather limited. I wouldn’t embarrass myself in such a place, but there’s a class divide at the end of the day.

    What was the place like to work at, the one who gave you a wide option of what’s on the menu? I’m intrigued by hospo work, and would probably enjoy it. I liked the retail work I did.

    Hmm. The climate statistics for last month were just released, and turns out that on average, everywhere on the continent was on average warmer, except this corner of the country. Brr! Thought it was cold, because it was. Mind you, next Tuesday, no less than the Melbourne Cup Day public holiday, the weather forecast is suggesting 30’C / 86’F with late rain. On the whole, I’d much prefer 30’C to 30’F. Brr! Was it at least a two blanket night? The nights here over the past week have been feral cold, and frankly not much warmer than where you are.

    Hehe! That’s a funny bribe, I like it. 🙂 I watched a Radio Shack scene – why did it go out of business? Yeah! Good question. He’s a precocious kid and he and his mum seem to be at loggerheads. I would have hired him in the store, and made certain that he was paid correctly too. Funnily enough, the shop was a pretty good reproduction. My old friend who passed away during you-know-what used to collect old computers like those. He had boxes of them too, all sorts of different machines. Years ago, I sold my old computer games and equipment on ebuy, and it amazed me that there were buyers and collectors for the stuff. It all worked too, I checked it out before chucking on the advertisement. I was just happy that the stuff was going to a good home.

    I’d read recently that some government archive agency had also been purchasing such machines on the basis of their cultural history I guess. Now where was that article… … National Film and Sound Archive dusting off vintage video games so people born hundreds of years from now can play them. It would be bad for me to work in such a place! 🙂 But check out the photos, it’s like what you said with the items being in mint condition and original packaging. The first photo caused me an attack of the vapours as I spotted an Atari 2600 joystick. Brings back a lot of memories… All good ones, mostly. 🙂

    Hehe! That’s funny about getting a virus off a bootleg video game. Pirating games back in the day was a real art-form, and send you on a deep dive into how all the hardware stuff worked… I’d heard that dark things went on, on the Oregon trail. Ah, you just sent me on a deep dive into all things Tandy 1000. It was a true work horse that machine.

    I’m pretty sure the plastic screen wasn’t bullet proof, and I just completed my business there and left. Clearly the lady’s reaction to the bad news she delivered to me suggests that some folks have taken umbrage about the lack of a refund in the past. I’m not sure that I’d implement such a policy, because it looks bad. On the other hand, I’ve read the state’s finances aren’t all that good. Ook, the numbers really don’t look good to me.

    The artist is clearly a very clever and thoughtful bloke. It’s a pretty fun statement too. It’s nice to see artists enjoying their work. You know, I’ve never read, nor watched the film: ‘The Da Vinci Code’. When something gets that much attention, the thing doesn’t need my energy. I felt much the same about Harry Potter, and the book covers really put me off. Not quite your average pulp fiction good girl art, was it? 🙂 Apologies, the pulp authors got to me at an impressionable age, and ever afterwards I was lost and wandering. I’m sure you know the feeling! I must say, I rather enjoyed Margaret Atwood’s collection of essays you recommended a few years ago now. Yes, those were the burning questions.

    Good to hear that the young heroine didn’t endanger too many people by spraining her ankle, or an attack of the sulks at an inappropriate time. Being deaf would certainly put a person at a disadvantage with zombies. I tend to think that when dealing with the undead, timing is everything!

    Yeah, that disease is probably best if avoided. We have a number of mosquito borne diseases down here, as I’m sure you do in your part of the world. Not nice.

    Just did paid work today. I was pretty zonked by the end of the work day. Listened to some music for a bit. Took the dogs for a walk. Had home made pizza for dinner. It’s the little things in life that add on the fun.



  13. Hi, Chris!

    You certainly dodged a bullet at that remote campsite. So very, very lucky that someone else showed up. I can fix nothing to do with a motor, though I have spent a good many years being an assistant, from the time my son was 16 and got his first car. I have always had 4-speed manual transmission vehicles, until now. I inherited my father’s 2003 Honda Accord, a lovely and reliable car, when he died last year. Before that, I no longer had a car of my own as I had given my son my Mr. Musty the 1989 Toyota pickup for his business. I was driving my son’s car, but when he got married his wife needed that as they sold her van, as my son said that that was the one vehicle that he would not work on, with the engine crammed into such a small space. As you know, he fixes everything else. Eventually, I shall have Cubby the Cub Cadet, though he does not have many speeds.

    Some of those car repair places are downright crooks. We ran into that when we used to have to take our vehicles to be repaired when our son was not living here. They seem to especially take advantage of women, though I am afraid that there are a lot of guys that don’t know diddly about cars. And that is pretty understandable with all the complexity of them now. Aren’t you so glad that you put (are putting) all that study and effort into understanding these things? Including power wheelbarrows! I tell you what, though – it’s a combination of crapification and lack of trust. That only leaves trusting oneself and then still having to cope with defective parts.

    I love seeing Scrappy’s. What a neat yard.

    What a fine old bird the Silkie is. Though a Silkie egg omelet is not going to go far . . .

    The tree fern finally looks like its old/new self. And what a perfect lemon tree next to it.

    Your geraniums are blooming wonderfully already. After tonight, our first hard freeze, mine will probably be dead. I have taken cuttings from them as they cannot overwinter outside here. What is a horse chestnut? It is very charming, as are all the flowers. Thanks!


  14. Yo, Chris – Trams, trains and streetcars. Big oil and the automotive industry put as many of them out of business, as possible. That’s not a conspiracy theory, that’s fact.

    “Mustards are good for cleaning up the soil.” How so? I’m trying to decide what to plant, where the diseased green beans were. I suppose anything but beans in the same spot, might do well. I thought maybe garlic might do it?

    My 2 1/2 quart regular mixing bowl, is my rice bowl. The mixing bowl without the pouring handles. 2 cups of rice and 4 cups of water, is just the right amount to fill it up. I always keep some in the fridge, and use as needed. I haven’t used the non-stick stuff, in years. There may (or may not be) health issues with that stuff. I inherited my grannie’s cast iron fry pan that she brought from Russia, in 1913, strapped to her bedding. 🙂 Yup. The iron slowly leaches out, and it’s good for your health. There’s plenty of info on the web, about how to treat cast iron. Basically, never use soap on it, dry right away, and season. I use a little bit of olive oil and a pinch of salt.

    Here, at least in this state, you either have “cocktail lounges,” or “bars or taverns.” Bars and taverns can only serve beer and wines. So, the place I worked, was a bar, and had a wide variety of sandwiches (served on long rolls) with choice of different cheese. Warmed up in an old pizza oven. We also had French onion soup (from scratch), chili that simmered along for a week at a time, Black Forest Chocolate cake with home made whip cream. And a little British lady who brought us a big box of Cornish pasties and pork pot pies, each week. Oh, and hot German potato salad. Did we have salads? I think so, but the details are hazy. 50 years ago, you know. 🙂

    Last night was a balmy 37F. Tonight the forecast is for 50. Rain is coming back. I see they’re having wildfires, SE of Los Angeles. I’d forgotten, it’s the Santa Anna wind season. When I lived down there, you had to be careful where you parked your car, as the blown sand could take the paint right off.

    Well, we have laws about hiring 11 year old boys 🙂 . Poor Sheldon was going to buy a game, but, it was $50. So in the meantime (he was really, really going to eventually buy that game), he got a bootleg copy. And, a virus. The only unreal thing about that episode, was talking to the tech support guy. So sympathetic and supportive. Where’s the snarky tech guy? Those are the only ones I ran across :-). But Sheldon lost a good deal of data, and was devastated when he discovered it could never be recovered.

    That was an interesting article about preserving games. Of course, whatever format they’re preserving them to, will soon be outdated. Migration. Always a dicey proposition. I also found the sidebar article on the Shonky Awards, interesting. LOL. I guess if you say something that’s true, libel doesn’t apply?

    I did watch the “Da Vinci Code,” movie. Pretty engrossing. Puzzles within puzzles. But I agree with the artist. When you go to used book places, there are piles and piles of titles that were last week’s flavor of the week. It takes awhile for those to fall out of circulation.

    Mosquito Diseases. We don’t have much problem with them, up here in our northern climes. But they’re making inroads in our south lands, as the climate warms. Now ticks, can be a problem. Lyme disease. Army ants and termites are on the march. Pythons? Sure.

    We get a food box (or two), this afternoon. The one with some kind of produce. Report to follow. Lew

  15. Hi Chris,

    One is very lucky if you can find a repair place that you can trust. We have one in our car repair place and there’s a couple places Doug trusts to repair some of our other equipment. While Doug is pretty good in the repair department he has a couple of friends, one in particular who has a lot of experience as he has a fairly substantial farm and lots of equipment as well as a shop to repair most of his equipment.

    Leaves will all be gone probably in a week but we sure had a beautiful fall. Last night it got down to 20 degrees so looks like the garden is done for. We even had some snow yesterday. It didn’t amount to much but the sun would be peeking out and all of a sudden you were in such a heavy snow squall that you could barely see in front of you. Wasn’t too good for the trick or treaters. We never get any as people in the country drive their kids into town where they can make a good haul.

    Stayed over at my daughter, Cecily’s on Sunday night to see a play she was in. Also had lunch with one of my granddaughters. I was impressed when she told me that she only watches things online or even movies if she’s with someone else so she doesn’t spend too much time in front of a screen. On Monday Cecily and I visited my aunt who is not doing well and has no business living by herself but no one can convince her otherwise. She’s just an accident waiting to happen sadly.

    My BIL had a very scary experience in the ER last week. He had blood clots in both his leg and lungs which they knew about but left him in a waiting room for 5 hours as the ER was too full. Then the waiting room was too full so security made everyone who wasn’t a patient leave. They threatened my sister that if she didn’t leave they would escort her out. Eventually she got back in and he waited an addition 2 hours in the ER before getting treatment and finally getting into a room. Essentially he could have died waiting. The medical system has deteriorated so much – you just never know what kind of care you will get.

    Book store tomorrow which I always enjoy.


  16. Hi Pam,

    Only those who’ve been stuck in such sticky and remote situations, understand the realities of ending up being stuck in such sticky and remote situations! 🙂 Life was a bit more relaxed before mobile phones. It was good those folks came along just at the right time, otherwise I would have had to walk a few miles to the nearest road and flag down a passing car. And let’s just put it this way, in those days the Jamieson – Licola road would have been lucky to have only had one or two cars a day travelling the long dirt miles from one remote small town to the next remote even smaller town.

    Don’t you just feel more engaged with the drive in a stick shift car? Those Honda’s have a very good reputation for longevity. And what a difference the Honda would be to Mr Musty (no disrespect to the workhorse)! You could say in this instance that Mr Musty literally does mean business as it is now in business. Hope your sons business is going well.

    I absolutely comprehend your son’s reticence in relation to working on vans. The technical description for the engine and transmission is perhaps ‘squished’ under the floor. Unless a person has a hoist, working on such a beast, is not so easy. Mr Musty by comparison would be much easier.

    Pam, that’s so true, and probably why my mother used to send me in to talk to the mechanics and sort things out, and I was just a teenager. It’s hard for women, and I’ve long suspected that a female mechanic catering to women, could make a fortune. There are probably laws against such things, but it would work. But proving that everything is now an equal opportunity situation, I cite this week’s story. 🙂 It is very possible that the average comprehension of mechanical issues within the population is probably much lower than we know, as you imply.

    You’re right, parts can be a complicated issue as well. Yup. I wish it were not so.

    The nice folks at Scrappy’s sorted everything out within minutes, and they have a sale yard for scrap metal. I looked upon the sale yard with ideas forming!

    Ollie got that egg in his breakfast. It’s nice that the elder Silkie still has it. She needn’t worry though, and can enjoy a decent retirement. Mind you, we have a rule here: No more Silkies. Long story…

    The tree fern is doing rather well now that we’ve placed protective cages around the base, and the wallaby is unable to reach the developing fronds (I have to say this quietly unless events go otherwise).

    Sorry to hear that the geraniums don’t survive your winters, and who knows what benefits global warming will deliver? They do set seed here, so have you ever noticed any volunteer plants? The seed may over winter, maybe.



  17. Hi Margaret,

    Oh my, that is so true about trust. Isn’t trust one of those things that is hard to gain, but easily lost? Probably why folks way back in the day used to bang on and on about reputation. But having now lived in a very rural and remote location, I can understand how that came to be.

    I dunno but I tend to put mechanics to the test, and see what kind of people they are. Hopefully this doesn’t backfire and the job gets only half, or mostly done, as once happened. The job was a clutch replacement in the former Dirt Mouse Suzuki, and after that horrendous experience a decent bloke I know who works on very high end cars, rectified the issues. The list of defects did not make for pleasant hearing.

    Doug is lucky to have such a network of friends and contacts to get those sorts of repairs done. And his friends shop on a large farm is an ideal situation, and the sort of situation we’re moving towards. It was not for no reason that we constructed the service pit next to the large shed. The problem I’m having in this regard is that the people I know and trust are getting older and leaving the workforce, or worse in what happened to the farm equipment repair dude.

    Still, I may be an old dog, but I can learn new tricks. That’s the theory anyway! Hehe!

    The roto-tiller now needs attention after today’s work. Smoke is not meant to be emanating from the belt drive. Ook!

    20’F is most certainly game over for the season. 🙂 Brr! That’s some cold weather. Well, those weather conditions adds something extra to the trick or treating. The event is gaining traction down here, although it is such a remote and rural area that we’d be unlikely to be visited. Speaking to plenty of people over the past week, their kids love getting dressed up as little ghouls and heading out into the neighbourhood. Seems like a good tradition to me.

    Just baked a batch of Anzac biscuits, and the smell coming out of the oven makes me want to grab one off the tray, although they might be a bit hot right at this moment. Need to cool down a bit first. We dug soil all day today, and me now hungry.

    Is Cecily doing OK? And good to hear that she’s involved with the theatre, it would be a good community of supportive folks – when they’re not competing for parts. Limits are very good in that regard, and a mate of mine sets hard limits on his kids screen time, and reads books to them too. I’m impressed by that.

    Margaret, I’m so sorry to say it, but some folks have to learn the hard way. And nothing you can do will convince them otherwise. In fact, I reckon if you force your will, you’ll end up being the bad guy. What can you do?

    Yikes! My thinking in this regard is that the system is best avoided if at all possible. In some ways, it’s kind of like the story with the mechanics – who do you trust? And how do you discover who to trust? I’ve witnessed things going very fatally wrong in that space, and so decided to take responsibility for my health, even knowing I could get things wrong. That’s what motivates me to stretch every single day, even if I don’t want to. I dunno, if there was an easier way? My memories as a kid was that people were more known to their practitioners, but things have become far less personal since then.



  18. Hi Lewis,

    Yeah man, they do say it isn’t paranoid, if it’s true! 🙂 I love that saying. You sent me on a deep dive into the demise of the streetcar story, and one of the things which I’ve noticed about the tram routes down here, is that they generally don’t share the tram rails with the cars on the road. And interestingly, I’ve noticed over the past decade or so, that cars have been further separated from tram operations and also that the stops have been getting bigger. Hmm, the state goobermunt has spent big on infrastructure over the past decade, but the state is now in a lot of debt as a result.

    Mustards reputedly clean up the soil via that compound you mentioned. There is so much to read on that subject, but a gargle search for ‘Mustard Biofumigant’, should give you plenty of info on how it all works. I tend to run mustard plants after tomatoes, which is probably one reason I don’t see a lot of disease problems with the far more tastier tomatoes. You can combine mustards with clovers to work as a sort of regular cleaning and fertilising of the soil process. I think that process is described as ‘Clever Clover’ down here, all very marketing, but you get the point.

    Garlic does some odd things to the soil doesn’t it? You can certainly smell the garlic in the surrounding soil, so there is definitely a lot of chemical action going on there. Mustards are a bit less likely I reckon to inhibit germination and growth of plants than will garlic. All the same, your garlic idea is worth testing.

    Yeah, I’ve heard those stories too about non stick this and that, and do wonder. Hmm, can’t say that I’ve ever experienced a fry pan to last more than a decade, so 110 years is worthy of respect – and the whole next level of endurance. You may have just sent me off on a quest. Strapped to her bedding, you say? Sometimes a person has to know what’s important, and what isn’t. I do wonder about the longevity of cast iron wood heaters versus these ones made out of sheet metal. After destroying the original wood heater through what can only be described as incompetence and general lack of knowledge, I boned up on the subject. That sounds a bit filthy that saying, but it is a very English saying which refers to ‘learning a lot about a subject in a very short period of time’. Nowadays I treat the replacement wood heater with kid gloves, and feed it only the best firewood.

    Oh, that is interesting. Down here, if a business has a license to serve alcohol, well, it’s at the discretion of the business owner as to what is served, I believe. Theoretically, a person could get a cocktail at a pub, but is it the done thing? Maybe sometimes. They do spirits at such places, and wine, but I reckon most of what is sold is poured from the taps (originating in the kegs).

    The sandwiches sound like a great idea, and I’m guessing some customers ventured in for the feed? I kind of get the impression that the chili would have been even better by the end of the week? Was some added to the next weeks chili as a kind of starter? Can’t say as I’ve ever consumed such food, and slow cookers fell out of favour towards the end of the 1970’s. The old electric crock pot was something you’d see in kitchens in those days – usually in colours that were so 1970’s they hurt. And I liked the food produced from those cookers. My understanding was that they could take cheap cuts of meat, and make them very tasty and tender. Which do you reckon would be better: Bright Green, or Burnt Orange (for the crock pot)?

    I recall you mentioning the Cornish pasties and pies – they would have been so good. Hey, last week is a bit hazy for me… 🙂

    Our overnight temperatures are running about the same. Last night was a three blanket night. Brr! Having the paint job on your car sand blasted off for free without requesting that service, would be something of a nuisance. Hey, speaking of which, have you ever seen cars that have been parked in areas where the concrete roof above has concrete cancer and the dripping water (clearly quite basic in pH) strips the paint off?

    They’ve had heaps of fires up north of the continent down here as well. Looks like next week they’ll get a good soaking up there, and that should put them out, maybe. Los Angeles, I’m not sure that I’d live there. Too hot and dry for me.

    Ha! You forget that at a similar age, I was working jobs delivering newspapers and also the chemist rounds. So perhaps I think differently in that regard? The mad cash gave me some independence from the adult of the household, who was a bit kooky really, and prone to sudden unpredictable outbursts. Best be elsewhere, when that stuff was going down, so work, yeah, no problems whatsoever. I reckon I was about 15 when I worked at Tandy doing retail.

    I agree, back in those days there was no friendly tech support guy, so it is a bit of a fictional stretch of the imagination. Mostly those sorts of issues were sorted out among the people you knew who had similar computers. Probably had the same bootleg versions! 🙂 Mind you, computers were quite rare in those days, and if it wasn’t for my grandfather, I would have had to save up and buy the machine myself. Funnily enough, I don’t recall viruses being much of an issue until much later, maybe from about the mid 1990’s.

    The thing I wondered about all that archival preservation was that the machines themselves probably weren’t designed and constructed with longevity in mind. Plenty of components would need replacing as far as I see that story, but there just aren’t that many people doing such work these days.

    I’m not entirely sure that libel works like that. If there is a vast discrepancy in resources between the two parties, that could be a problem. It’s bit like being killed in a road accident – does it really matter if you were in the right at the very last moment?

    The same is true down here with mosquito borne diseases. The warmer and more humid on average the area is, the more likely there may be issues on that front. The ticks here seem fairly benign, but you don’t want them on you either. Nasty little bloodsuckers. Lyme disease sounds pretty unpleasant.

    How did you get possibly two boxes?

    We’re having a super long weekend, and spent most of today digging and hauling soil. A failed rock wall is being replaced with a rock gabion cage, but first hours and hours of soil had to be removed and relocated. The soil got relocated and spread onto the new low gradient path project. Hopefully over the next few days we’ll fill up the gabion cage from the piles of rocks located all over the place. We’re kind of juggling three or four projects at once, and the output from one is the input materials for the next project – and so forth.



  19. Chris:

    My geraniums do occasionally set seed and long ago I saved some and did grow plants from them. Alas, somebody squashed them and I had forgotten to look for seeds ever since. Thanks for reminding me.


  20. Yo, Chris – So did Ol Yella have to be put down? 🙂

    I see some interesting stuff, on biofumigants, down the rabbit hole. I might just plant the whole raised tank (where the diseased green beans were) in some kind of a biofumigant, for the winter.

    The bottom of grannie’s fry pan is so worn, I can’t even see the manufacturers name. Probably a European manufacturer. There are what looks like, bits of remaining nickel plating. I know the Polish grain grinder I have, is nickel plated cast iron.

    I handle everything with kid gloves. From the water taps to my alarm clock. Drawers, door. Whatever. No sense taking the years off things, through unnecessary hard use.

    Liquor control in this country is a real patchwork. The Fed has a lot of say in production and distribution. And beyond that, states, counties, and even cities might have different laws. In my state, a cocktail lounge (hard liquor) must have a certain amount of their sales, in food. That doesn’t apply to taverns and bars, I don’t think. But they usually have food, anyway. Even if it’s just burgers and french fries.

    We had a regular lunch crowd, at that bar I worked in. Evening crowd was more varied. And more relaxed as a time element didn’t figure in, as with “lunch hour.” We sliced big chunks of ham, turkey and roast beef, for the sandwiches. Then we diced up the butt ends, and tossed them in the chili. The chili and hot potato salad were kept in crock pots. Flame orange. 🙂 At the end of the evening, we’d rapidly cool them, and put them in the refrigerated walk in. I just remembered. We could make the sandwiches, ahead of time. Kept them on trays, in the walk-in, covered with wax paper. Pull them out as needed, and heat them up in the old pizza oven. There was also a sandwich with shrimp and cheese. Quit tasty.

    There are some exceptions, for child labor. News paper delivery boys. Berry picking. Probably a few others. I had to get a waiver to work in a library, when I was 14.

    But I had plans! 🙂 Since we were supposed to get the two boxes yesterday (one is mostly produce), I was going to skip hitting the cheap food stores, this week. Well, the boxes did not show. Little old ladies, will starve! 🙂 Don’t know why. Heck, the truck might have broke down. Or, they arbitrarily changed the day. They’ve done that a time or two. So, change of plans. Negotiate the round-about-of-death, get money from the ATM (and pray the ATM has money), then hit the cheap food stores. Well, that worked. Although through the entire thing, it POURED rain. By the time I got home, my jacket was soaked through.

    I walked the block down the hill to the chemist, this morning, and got my coved booster and flu shot. I asked about getting an RSV shot, in a couple of weeks. No dice. My Medicare part A & B don’t cover it, and it would be about $200. Ditto, the double shingles shot. The latest AARP (American Associated Retired People) newsletter had all kind of information on Medicare … and additional programs. It’s all so … (expletive deleted), complicated. Just stay healthy, I guess, and be prepared to die at any time! Lew

  21. PS: Projects: Can’t do A until you’ve done B. Can’t do B until you’ve done C. Can’t do C until you’ve done A. 🙂 Lew

  22. Chris,

    I’ve always known that the movie was inspired by a poem, but have never read that poem. Well, now I found it and will read it later this evening. I like that style of poems.

    Your tale about visiting the hut nearly waxed poetic, so, well, I rewrote a part of what you wrote. A better poet than I would add a rhyming pattern to the rhythm.

    On that long and spooky trip
    we searched for the famed hut
    but got eerily enshrouded in the fog.
    Tho we got there very late
    yet we got a fire going:
    We’d seen no one else for the entire day.

    “Don’t cry for me, next door neighbour!” Nice! Funny. I know that song. 😉 And I totally grok taking the telly with you for the Star Trek program. Back in the day, a local AM radio station was broadcasting one episode a week of the BBC radio version of Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. This was when men were real men, women were real women, and portable transistor radios were real portable transistor radios. I went on a camping venture in the North Central part of Washington, ending up going through tiny Concunully then to the very end of a forest service road: a few campsites, deer wandering around, a stream nearby. At the right time on the proper evening, I was able to barely pick up the broadcast from Spokane on the real portable transistor radio. Fun to listen to by the light of the campfire.

    Not only did I observe the sliding bus, I was a passenger! It wasn’t serious, really, as the bus couldn’t get going from a stop and the rear end slid into the street’s curb. We were delayed until someone from the bus station drove there and did some magical mumbo jumbo to the tires. No problem after that.

    Yup, you nailed it. Warm house to cold outside, insulation, you’ve got it! There is no way to perfectly insulate and isolate the innards of a house from the outside weather. Longer delays of the inevitable are the best we can do, and at a certain point the law of diminishing returns takes over.

    Avalanche really enjoyed the cold weather. Not that it’s warm now, mind you, but it is above freezing. Started raining about 1:00 a.m. Thursday. Continued for 8 hours – 16mm or so at +3C. Nice rain and chilly. More misty drizzle early in the evening. Next storm due Saturday – rain, not snow.

    Surprisingly, perhaps, but poetry and I had an uneasy relationship. Meaning once I’d outgrown the children’s poems mom read to me and sister, poetry and I were adversaries. About age 11 I found mom’s English Literature books from her university days. Had some fun and then saw “Battle of Otterburn”, a poem written in Scots about the Earl of Douglas. Douglas being my first name, of course I read it, or tried to. Not grokking Scots language, that turned me off to poetry even more.

    Then my final year of high school…poetry in our English class. and poetry that bored and irritated ALL of the students. Some time later I found Robert Service and his Yukon poems – “Cremation of Sam McGee” and “The Shooting of Dan McGrew” etal. I got hooked on those. And those have a similar style and subject matter as does “Snowy River”. Can’t believe I never looked at “Snowy River” before.

    Oh, and I now adore “Battle of Otterburn”. It’s by far the longest poem I’ve got memorized. Weird how people can change like that…


  23. Hi Pam,

    You never know with geraniums and how they’ll adapt to your local conditions. With a tiny bit of extra warmth, I reckon they’ll get through your winters. We did another day of digging today in order to replace a err, dodgy rock wall with a steel rock gabion cage. That garden bed is too steep for a rock wall, and only a gabion cage + higher rock wall will hold back the soil. One can but only dream of flat land! 🙂 You probably know what I’m speaking of? Anywhoo, the soil in that steep garden bed is held together by rose scented geraniums, and we had to hack back the thick growth before getting under way with the digging. The work was hard today, the soil was needed and relocated for the low gradient path project, and the aroma of geraniums made for a pleasant work environment.

    Is there a core to this story? Probably not, but whatever, geraniums are lovely plants. Hope your cuttings happily over winter.



  24. Hi DJ,

    The poem is a goodie mostly because like Beowulf, it was written to recount a story for those with a sensitive ear whom may find themselves in a mead hall, or in more modern parlance, a pub and seeking entertainment. That’s the audience the bush poets aimed for, and found. A mountain born man and pony succeeded where thoroughbreds feared to go…

    Thanks for the poem, and I defer to your greater powers. 🙂 On an earlier trip to that hut, again I failed to discover its whereabouts due to thick fog. Being of a practical mindset, I set up the tent, only to be awoken later in the night by cows licking the condensation off the outside of the tent’s fly. Well that wasn’t half scary was it? The hut has been rebuilt a few times, as I guess many of the original cattlemen huts in that area have. Being about 1,600m above sea level, the weather there can be feral. But when it’s nice, the stay is very pleasant indeed with amazing views towards higher peaks in the great dividing range.

    It’s a tub thumping good song! 😉 Hey, we were probably listening to the radio version of Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy at around the same time, probably on an AM station as well. That’s funny, yes the transistors were real transistors in those days! I loved it. Monty Python also did their films as radio plays, and Star Wars was also done as a multi-series radio play too.

    Oh my goodness, I just checked out some images of Concunully, plus the overall geology between Spokane and there, and yeah, you’d need a decent antenna, but distant AM would be much easier to receive than FM transmissions. It would be an absolute treat of an experience by the camp fire. Hope no marshmallows were harmed? 🙂

    Other than letting some pressure out of the tires, I can’t begin to imagine what may have taken place on that bus. There was an announcement for an open garden recently. It’s an old hill station garden right up near the ridge line of the range, and was being opened for charitable purposes. Anyway, the plan apparently was to take people up the steep narrow winding road of several notable switchbacks, in a bus. And I mentioned to Sandra, that I don’t care what garden it is, I’m not getting in a bus on that road. Unsurprisingly, the open has been delayed whilst they figure out the logistics. Sometimes it is wiser to walk. Far out.

    That’s what I thought! Thanks for the clear answer. Those claims of “this ‘ere house doesn’t require any mechanical heating or cooling”, always rang false to me. Sure, if the house was underground, you’d be permanently battling to shift the inside temperature away from the average ground temperature, and around these parts, it’s not warm. So I couldn’t even begin to imagine how a much colder area again would work. Hmm.

    You didn’t get much in the way of autumn weather this year. Brr! 3’C is cold, but easily survivable. That’s some decent rainfall too. From next Tuesday onwards (Melbourne Cup Day) we look like there’ll be some very unsettled weather. Warm with rain, and around 27’C-ish. It’ll probably be steamy, but the plants will love it.

    It was 15’C and sunny here today. Perfect digging weather, and so we dug and hauled soil. Barely raised a sweat, despite the strength of the sun at this time of year. We’re kind of juggling a couple of different projects all at once. That means we do a bit of work here, on one day, and a bit of work over there on another day. I don’t mind digging in the clay. We’ve installed two steel rock gabion cages over the past few days, but have only begun to fill them up. We now have to clean up all the rock piles scattered about the property, although that is a job for another day. And maybe break up some more boulders too.

    By contrast, the dogs here today enjoyed the sunshine. Ollie was seen to be lounging around in the sunshine, following us from one area to the next. He likes summer. The Kelpies prefer the cooler months, but still don’t slow down when the sun is shining.

    I’ll have a read of the poem later this evening. At first glance, the language doesn’t seem too far from modern English. But I can see what you mean. English at high school was my lowest grade subject, and otherwise I got straight A’s. Sure, I could write an argumentative essay for they provided the structure, but pretty much everything else was taught as a shambles. And the books were heavy with symbolism and social critique which bored me. I tend to be of the opinion that high school students probably should be encouraged to read and write through enjoyment of the art, and maybehaps the social critique could come later for those who are interested. Probably an out-dated concept, but reading and writing is to be enjoyed, what they teach is that the skill is a labour.

    I hear you about that, and look forward to delving into the words.



  25. Hi Lewis,

    I’m absolutely gutted. I’d typed up my reply to you. Then noticed that it had begun raining outside, and accidentally clicked onto the weather forecast to check out the radar. Bam, the entire text I’d just spent half an hour typing out disappeared, never to be seen again. I clicked on the go back a page, and the software was giving me nothing. This is not good. Oh well, back into things, and it’s 10:45pm… My brain now hurts.

    Anyway, the sun shone today and the air was cool at around 59’F. It was a really nice day, and so we decided to spend another day digging and hauling soil onto the low gradient path project. It’s looking good and we even managed to chuck a load of the crushed rock with lime onto the surface – thus my interest in the rain outside. The heat from the sun combined with the rain sets the surface hard. But caused me to lose my Magnum Opus reply.

    In the area we were digging, we’ve now installed two steel rock gabion cages, but are yet to fill them up, and we need to now break up some boulders into more usable rocks. But yeah, the outputs from one project become the inputs for another project, and we are managing things pretty much like how you said.

    I’d written something very witty about the machine Old Yella not biting me in its rabid state, but that’s now lost to time. But rather than being put down (which was the original state of the machine), it’s now resurrected – I believe this is the time of year for such goings on! 🙂 What with all the un-dead you see walking the streets.

    You won’t regret planting out some plants in that stock tank as biofumigants, and the process works well for me, although I believe you have more plant diseases in your part of the world – we have hungry parrots and destructive wallabies, go figure. You could even chuck on something which works like a glass cloche (how cool are they?) such as the half gallon soft drink bottles. At the very least the plants might survive the more extreme winter weather? They won’t grow, but they might not die either, and they’ll get off to an early start in the next growing season.

    There was a collectors website for cast iron cookwear that had a lot of information on nickel plating versus chromium plating. It genuinely amazes me that your cast iron stuff is over a century old. This is something I probably need to look into.

    I agree with the treating stuff with kid gloves, although sometimes we might not know that an item is more delicate than it first seems – like the original wood heater. It was awfully expensive to replace, and that sends a strong message to do better. We now feed the replacement heater, only the best fuels, and so far the effort seems worth it. But who really knows how long these things will last?

    There was that now missing in action joke about ‘the regular crowd shuffles in’ (as in the famous song). Saw Billy Joel back in maybe 1987 when he toured. He put on a good show. You’re right too, lunch is a bit more pressured than what the dinner crowd would expect. The menu’s in the local pub tend to be very limited on the quieter nights of Monday and Tuesday (pizza only as the requirements are easier). It would be very difficult juggling act to run a commercial kitchen which operates seven days per week.

    I’m seriously intrigued by this slow cooked chili. I’ll bet it was good, and chucking in the bone ends is a great idea.

    We might think differently about kids working. As long as the arrangements are exploitative, I don’t have an issue (and worked myself when I was a kid). Mind you, I’d never considered working in a library at that age. Respect. Libraries are wonderful places and resources. And it sure would have beaten getting up before dawn to deliver newspapers when the winter temperatures are near zero. Not every kid is studious, or sporty, or whatever, some are built to work, and that’s what they want to do. Supermarket cashiers are probably a good workplace for teenagers too.

    Bummer about your plans. Did the boxes turn up today? Hopefully the ladies can cope with rations for a few more days whilst the boxes do whatever it is that the boxes do to arrive? With fewer bank branches, the ATM’s get hit hard, and yes, I too have encountered that predicament. Not much you can do really. Was this the store with the potential rodent population?

    Stay warm, and when the rain pours like that it’s no good to be caught up in it. Plus it adds an additional err, exciting element to the roundabout of death.

    You almost mentioned that which does not get mentioned! Gave me a right attack of the vapours that did, fortunately I was able to edit your comment. 🙂 RSV sounds like an oversized vehicle. Your medical system… There was a recent song released by a singer who apparently suddenly went deaf in one ear. Not much results from the system, other than a sizable bill. Again, another attack of the vapours whilst considering that bill.

    Some of the good bits from my original reply, disappeared. All very unfortunate.



  26. Yo, Chris – Never happens here. HA! Usually when I’m switching between screens, or, just have a spazed out finger, that clicks something that shouldn’t be clicked. Usually, I attribute it to, “I was cleaning my finger, and it went off.”

    I had plans for today. So much for that. More on that, later.

    Billy Joel is so good. Every once in awhile, I bring something up on U-Tub and just let the songs roll.

    The chili and the hot potato salad, came from an outfit that had really good quality. It came in gallon paper cartons. So, we’d add a bit of the “mother” stuff, daily. And then pitch in the meat butts (they were boneless) … and I think there were other things. It just simmered, for days. There’s “perpetual stew,” or “hunter’s stew.” But what I was looking for was “pot-au-feu.”

    Oh, I agree. I think children should work. I sure delivered by share of early morning newspapers.

    Well, I found out what happened to our boxes. From our night manager. It’s complicated, and doesn’t make much sense. The folks that deliver the boxes, get the food the day before. Something, something, the food they get in one month, can’t be carried over into the next month. So, when the 1st falls on a Wednesday … There’s no food delivered the previous day. Or, something. We’ll get them, next Wednesday.

    Night before last, I watched a good little movie, called “Jules.” A flying saucer crashes in an old duffer’s back yard, crushing his Azaleas and breaking his bird bath. It stars Ben Kingsley, and, one of my favorites, Jane Curtain. Worth a look. Whimsical. Last night, I watched “The Blue Beetle.” Super hero stuff. Pretty good. I should have made popcorn.

    Your Mushroom Murders have been in our news, the last couple of days.

    Well, so much for plans. After I got my vaccines, yesterday, I stopped by the Club and discovered I had a heavy exposure to You Know What, about 7 days ago. I’ve had some vaccine side effects. Aching joints, mostly hips. Sore arm, of course. The weirdest thing is, all night long I woke up, every hour, on the hour. Not to use the bathroom. Just thought it was time to get up. Looked at the clock, and rolled over. Laying low, today and tomorrow. Lew

  27. Chris,

    Yes, Beowulf, the Australian Bush poets, the Scottish Border Ballads…they all have tales to tell and a wonderful way of telling the tales.

    1,600 meters above sea level? Weather can happen at that elevation. Any kind of weather, any day of the year. That’s the type of place where thunderstorms can be lethal and where snowstorms can literally bury a person in a matter of hours. But the views are spectacular, I bet. I know they are from Mount Spokane and Mica Peak, both of which are 1,600 meters or slightly higher.

    I was in a tent one evening up the Twisp River in north central Washington. Suddenly, the tent nearly went horizontal and I heard snuffling, but definitely not from a bear. A herd of deer was licking the moisture off my tent. The river was but a few meters away. Weird.

    Marshmallows? Nope, no harmed marshmallows. If memory serves, I was drinking coffee while listening to the episode. Probably with a proper additive such as Yukon Jack. Yukon Jack in a cup of campfire coffee is hard to beat. And the next day it can make you wish you had drunk something mild like a Pan Galactic Gargle Blaster. 😉

    Some roads are meant to be walked or maybe ridden on horseback. Motor vehicles don’t belong there, especially anything long and top heavy like a bus. I’ve been on a few such roads and in every instance, I would’ve felt a lot more comfortable walking rather than in a vehicle. An endless supply of switchbacks can be unnerving.

    Our basement is normally 21C or less in the summer, 10C give or take in the winter in the unheated/uncooled areas. Meaning that the basement can be comfortable regardless of how hot it gets, but something additional is required in the winter. Perhaps a kitchen in the basement would keep things relatively comfortable in the winter due to the oven and range use, but it would tend to get things too warm in the summer. I’m definitely on the side of “If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.”

    Actually, we’ve had more of an autumn than in the past few years. There was a definite break from the summer temperatures. +3C and raining isn’t atypical for any day in November. Today was a pleasant 12C with some sun breaks – very typical for this time of year.  I’ve been enjoying a more transitional season than going straight from summer temperatures to snow with only 3 weeks in between. The next few weeks might be drippy but should also be autumn weather rather than January type weather. We do tend to have longer autumns in strong El Nino events.


  28. Hi Lewis,

    Take it easy, and look after yourself, and hope you feel better soon. We both got the flu a month or so back, and it was unpleasant, but you struggle on through. That’s what working with people who are sick ends up looking like! Kind of like heading to the Club and enjoying a heavy exposure. 😉 It was most fortunate for week that I was not required to be anywhere, and could work remotely. There was only one bad day where I slept for about 21 hours. That was unusual. Anyway, hope you’re doing alright.

    That’s the thing with plans, they’re good but may not always convert into action. And feeling off your game, is usually a show stopper.

    We took the day off work, although earlier today I did replace the speakers in the Editors Dirt Mouse Suzuki. It offended me that I was ripped off, possibly getting the second hand speakers which were installed five years ago, but hey, it was almost the perfect crime. Until the wiring failed, why would anyone check such a thing. It now sounds good in that machine and delivers some block rocking beats!

    A very tasty sausage roll was harmed from a nearby bakery. They’re good. And a lamington. Ever found one of those tasty treats hidden away in the food boxes? Possibly not, but wouldn’t it be good. Then had lunch at a nearby cidery and sat at a rustic table (an old large timber cable wheel) overlooking the orchard whilst sharing a box of nachos and a cider each. Crashed out on the couch for a nap when we got home. Takes a bit of effort to digest such feed stuffs. All up, I’d say that was a good day, most enjoyable. Took the dogs for a walk in the early evening, and didn’t see anyone else. It’s quiet, but I guess people have headed away elsewhere for the long weekend.

    Billy Joel is good. The gig back in ’87 was great too, the guy has a lot of talent and can play the crowd. I recall having to cue up in the wee hours of the morning for tickets, and that’s what you did back in those days. It always amuses me that in his earlier years people used to call him a ‘punk’, but the word may have meant different things in those days.

    So good, and hey did you know that the butt ends of meat cuts are also where the tasty treats like ‘pulled pork’ derive from? The stuff is made for slow cooking. Dude, I could so eat Pot-au-feu, and in your diminished capacity I’d recommend such food stuffs for overall healing properties. I’m beginning to wonder about my lack of a slow cooker. It is a loss to the overall composition of the kitchen!

    Good to hear that you were also as a child likewise awoken in the pre-dawn hours by the dreaded alarm so as to take yourself to the nearby newsagent and await a late delivery of newspapers. The other day I spoke to the mail dude, and dudette, who were both stuck in a similar situation. I may have quipped to them, ‘you two look bored’! I always read the magazines, whilst waiting upon the arts of the tardy journo’s.

    Ah, I see. Well, I did remark to you the other day that I spent a quarter of an hour discussing a two cent variation (in their favour) with a bureaucrat. Expecting a flexible interpretation of the rules in this regard with such folks, is probably a step too far. You read it here first. Clearly the rules are incorrect, but I don’t recommend challenging them. Instead of month, the stuff should be labelled with dates in and out, but hey, what do I know? Hope nobody starves in the meantime…

    The film is on the to-see list. But hold on a second dude, right now we’re in Grand Designs UK season 24, man. It’s intense. 😉 Look, you may have said something in the past about the psychology of previous investment, and sure. I ain’t arguing, and you ain’t dipped your metaphorical toes in the water here either.

    Beware of unassuming lady chefs at your Club serving up funny tasting mushroom dishes… Just sayin…

    Thinking of you. And oh yeah, it was not for no reason that I suggested that the thing should never be named! 🙂



  29. Hi DJ,

    Yeah, the tales are written in a way so as to be short enough to be memorised and recounted. And possibly embellished upon, depending on the audience, and also the skills of the orator.

    Instead of a mead hall, we had lunch at a nearby cidery overlooking their orchards. It was a pleasant day but on the cooler side of things, and a pint of cider and some nachos were harmed in the process. It’s quite a rustic place, but we enjoy the ambience. Alas there were no wandering poets, but they do sometimes put on gigs there at the cidery. And about a decade ago the town produced a notable band: Black Water Rising – Stonefieldband

    Way back in the day, it would have been possible to earn a living as a travelling show, but things are a bit centralised right now for that option. I expect that in the future, that grip will loosen, and travelling shows can again earn their feed and keep. When we lived in the big smoke, at the end of the street, an old Victorian era group of artists had bought a huge tract of land alongside the local creek, and turned it into their retirement village. They’d scrimped and saved on their performances when times were good, and ploughed it into the Old Colonists Association at North Fitzroy, Rushall Park. I think you had to be a notable artist of some variety to get a foot in the door there. It looked pretty cool.

    Just to chuck out a musical conspiracy theory – the music was better when Paul was alive!!! Hehe!

    Exactly, at that elevation, even in the summer months it can snow – and I’ve seen that happen. Pretty cold, when you were otherwise expecting summer weather! The things I’ve seen people doing in the island state to south of here in very remote locations just baffles my imagination – and I had wondered whether I’d be reading about their antics, just prior to things going permanently wrong for them, in the news. Hypothermia makes people do bonkers things.

    Oh my! A bear / tent interaction would be the whole next level! Please do keep them in your part of the world. They do seem rather clever those creatures. That is weird with the deer. Those animals are annoying me right now by trashing the young loquat trees. Venison is starting to look like an option, although I will try better protection for the trees firstly.

    Whoo Whee! The name Yukon Jack, really paints a picture. 🙂 We’ve all been there!!! Yes, a Pan Galactic Gargle Blaster would leave a person with a better feeling head. Mate, sometimes you need a bit more authority, and that stuff would have it in spades!

    Long ago, I was told a story of a four wheel drive fire truck heading down a stupidly steep decent – just because, and some of the crew baulking and walking instead. Some risks seem unnecessary.

    Yeah, the average soil temperatures are what your basement would reach, or around those. Yup, winter would be brisk, but better than being outside. Last year when we finished the greenhouse, I plonked a soil thermometer in the ground, and have been observing it. Over winter the soil temperature inside the greenhouse sits at around 10’C. Right now, it hovers between 15’C and 18’C, depending on the run of any hot weather. The soil is cold. Do you have to deal with condensation with the temperature differential between inside and outside over the winter months?

    Ah, I see and thanks for the correction. Today down here wasn’t much different from your experience. It briefly topped at 18’C, but for most of the day was around 15’C. Looks like there is an east coast low coming mid week… Ook! The garden will appreciate the rain. Meant to be thunderstorms too.

    Replaced those dodgy speakers this morning. Oh well, it was the perfect crime, and the dude who did it, probably knew.



  30. Yo, Chris – My Dad’s mom’s house in western Nebraska (where it gets really cold in winter, and warm in summer) had the kitchen in the basement. And, there were two stoves, though I don’t remember what they ran on. One was coal, for sure. There were also three bedrooms, as I remember. Stacked three or four kids in each one. Well, when you have eighteen …

    After diddling around on the computer, yesterday morning, I slept for 7 hours. Still ache and was running a little temperature. Last night, I just watched a couple of movies. “The Last of the Dogmen.” An older film, from 1995. A couple in NW Montana, stumble on a small band of Native Americans, that haven’t had contact with the white world, in 130 years. Pretty interesting. Then I watched “A Christmas Story Christmas.” You may remember the film, from years ago, where Ralphie wanted a BB gun, for Christmas. Well, the same actor is all grown up, and plays a dad. Not as good as the original, but had it’s good moments. But the lamp? Where is the lamp? I see the trailer is out for the 4th Planet of the Apes movie. Coming next year. “Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes.” Looks like a good popcorn movie.

    Boy, you guys ate a lot! And then, they rolled home. 🙂 Oh, occasionally, we get a tasty treat in our boxes, but not anything I’d consider real edible. Just lots of sugar and corn starch. I did try the individual lemon pie. With the cardboard crust. Yup. Crust still made out of cardboard.

    Ah, the timber cable reels. Every hippie crash pad had one, in the 1960’s. Used as a coffee table. Student digs, too.

    Hmmm. Slow cookers. Seem to be a real fad, right now. But, some people find them very useful. One one hand, I’d say, “Do you really need another gizmo in your kitchen?” On the other hand, given your electrical set up, they use a lot less electricity, so, maybe. Your call. In winter, it might be nice to come in from a hard day of breaking and moving rocks, and have a nice hot dinner, waiting.

    “Watch the pennies, and the dollars will take care of themselves.” Ben Franklin, of course. 🙂 Every once in awhile, I get a notice from the Institution to add, or subtract a dollar from my rent amount. For one month only. “To bring your account into balance.” What? Couldn’t get it right the first time?

    I think I avoided You Know What, and most of my problems are from the double vaccine, in the same arm. Not as sick as when I had Noro virus, last fall. I know because I can take the dog, up and down the stairs, three times a day. Last year, it was elevator, for 8 days. As far as catching the cooties, at the Club, the ventilation is pretty good, there. And I may still have some immunity, from previous vaccines.

    So, I’ll take a long nap, and then walk the dog, hit the library, the veg store and drop some food off at the Club for the pantry. Sounds like a plan, unless we loose power. Wind forecast for late afternoon and early evening. Gusts into the 30s mph. Time change, tonight. Sigh. 19 states have ok’d stopping the madness. But it has to be passed by our national Senate and House of Representatives. The Senate has passed it, It’s been sitting in committee, in the House, for quit awhile. Because they have so many other important things to attend to. Such as, keeping the clown show, running. If they want to get re-elected, I’m sure they’d pick up extra votes, if they ended the time changes. Lew

  31. Hi Lewis,

    Glad to hear that you are sort of on the mend. It’s no good when you get a reaction.

    Had another day of fixing things today. When using the roto-tiller the other day to assist breaking up clods of clay, the gearbox produced a bit of smoke. That’s not normal, so I immediately stopped using it, and wheeled it back down to the shed. No point pushing the machine. Anyway, I took the gearbox cover off and discovered that a bolt had worked its way loose and had lodged itself on a belt – the smoke was the bolt ripping into the rubber belt. Glad I stopped using the machine immediately. Anyway, retrieved the bolt and discarded it, then replaced it. Whilst the guts of the machine was open we gave the thing a full service and adjusted all of the control levers. It runs great now, and I’ve learned more about the machine. Hope the belt wasn’t too damaged, but you never know.

    And a fix-up-job finally got the better of us. I may have previously mentioned the leaking toilet? Turns out the cistern to pan connection has a non standard rubber seal, and the business who made the things allegedly went into receivership in 2012. There are no replacement parts to be had for love or money, and we’ve tried a lot of different fixes for this. Far freakin’ out! There is a sense of sheer frustration at the sort of society which would produce a toilet that can’t be easily fixed and now leaks. Oh well, the Editor has not yet come to acceptance in this matter, but I know the way forward – and it’s an entire new toilet and cistern. If there were another way, I’d take it, but we have exhausted the possibilities

    Ah, the Editor is edging closer to acceptance. This is a good thing. There is no easy fix.

    The gargle satellite views are quite telling when it comes to western Nebraska. The towns sort of follow the water courses in that half, and there ain’t much else out there. It looks cold to me too, but maybe not as cold as North Dakota would get in the winter time, but we’re talking minor differences here. Eighteen is a notable achievement, and candidly I’d be seeking some quiet space, which would be hard to come by. That family were faced with quite a challenge, that’s for sure. But people are pretty resilient, after all, you’re here, and I’m here. This is a good thing.

    The Editor has just hit acceptance. Now all we have to do is, do something. A lot of water was leaking from that broken thing. It’s not right.

    That film concept, may have actually happened up in the north west of this continent, although, the folks there probably knew and decided to avoid westerners for as long as possible. Western culture has such a deep sense of rootlessness. No wonder we’d think of heading to Mars as some sort of escape valve. Utterly bonkers of course. It would be an interesting film. Yes, you’ve brought the BB gun for Christmas film to my attention, and it is an amusing concept – probably not legal down here. 🙂 Yup, the dread lamp rears its head, except it didn’t. 🙂 The Apes might gain the upper hand! I still recall the original, and the final scene of the statue rising out of the sand was poignant. My money though is on the squirrels, or maybe your bears – those critters are frighteningly intelligent.

    Hehe! Sure. Yeah, dig for two days, and you’ll know hunger! 🙂 The nachos combined with the cider did cause a mild crash out. A true food coma, but a person must occasionally reach for the stars! That’s a good point, because as a general rule I do not trust lemon pies, or lemon tarts either. Lemon essence does not taste anything like lemons. It’s not the same. And cardboard crusts are a problem in anyone’s language. Such things need a proper shortbread crust.

    Yeah, the cidery is a family friendly place, but a hippy here or there, wouldn’t be out of place at all.

    I don’t tend to eat dinner early for some reason – probably due to years and years of part time study at night? Just broke the habit early in my life, and dinner is comfortably around 9pm, although when eating out I do have to conform with the majorities expectations – not to mention the realities of commercial kitchens working hours. But, easy good food, that is an excellent idea, and one I’ll have to think about. Do they still make the original looking super hardy, oh, so 1970’s looking, crock pots?

    Ol’ Ben knew a thing or two about money. He’s also reputed to have said: “If you know how to spend less than you get, you have the philosopher’s stone.” Very clever and I absolutely agree, but try telling people that option. 🙂 Mostly, people tend to prefer earning more to accommodate their spending, but that is a top down thing in out society. You’d think that they’d just charge a couple of bucks more for your place, and then leave it at that. It’d be a cheaper system to administer.

    Hey, that noro virus took you down bad. Not good. Pretty unpleasant, and glad to hear that it wasn’t as bad an experience as that.

    The wind sure sounds like it has picked up for you, and there is a bit of me which wonders if the folks making the decisions want to leave you feeling a bit off your game with the time issue. I’m a finely tuned machine, and such things do not sit well. However, a bloke’s also gotta learn to bend with the wind, lest the occasional gust, knocks you flat on your face. It’s been a really beautiful day here today, and tonight the winds are calm, and the air is cool as the sun sets.

    Better get writing.



  32. Yo, Chris – Well, actually it is good when you get a reaction. It means the vaccine is kicking in. I’ll hold that thought … 🙂

    Good save, with the roto-tiller. No sense running it into the ground. Don’t get me started on modern plumbing fixtures. You know my feelings on those.

    Scottsbluff / Gering, Nebraska. There are geographical elevations, in the area. The “bluff,” itself is a kind of mesa. See also: Chimney Rock. The Oregon Trail ran through there. There were reliable water sources, and it was a good place to take stock, regroup and then push on. You can drive to the top of the bluff, and take in the view. I can still remember, that you could see missile silos, all the way from there, to Omaha. 🙂

    Probably searching for a quiet space, Dad left home at 14. He played close to the chest on that, but I discovered it in his army enlistment papers, that I found on-line.

    You can buy replicas of those lamps, on-line. In two sizes!

    Yes, who will our animal replacements be? 🙂 I thought maybe raccoons, but some think opposable thumbs are the deal breaker, and they don’t have them. Actually rare, in nature. Turns out opossums and koalas have opposable thumbs. And, falling down the rabbit hole, so do Waxy Monkey Leaf Frogs. Who also produce a natural opioid 40 times the strength of morphine. Frogs will become the opioid of the masses? 🙂

    Ah! Here’s the difference between slow cookers and crock pots.


    I must say you’re a bad influence, as, I had never really though in terms of reducing expenditures, rather than increasing income. Though it’s something I have always done. Also high on the money management hit parade is, “Live within your means.”

    Early yesterday afternoon, they revised the forecast, and the wind was a no show. At least, here. Lew

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