Tuesday was the Melbourne Cup public holiday. That’s the public holiday for a horse race. Sandra and I spent the hot day fixing up the fencing on the new 600 square metre (6,500ft2) vegetable and citrus enclosure. The combined weight of the fencing had pulled the four posts out of alignment. Those post are kind of important because they support the five foot wide steel gates. The gates allow a person to get into, and then out again, the enclosure. The posts had moved enough that the gates no longer worked properly!

It was all easily fixed though. Ratchet straps were used to bring the four posts back to the correct alignment. To stop any further movement in the gate posts, diagonal bracing timber was installed. The diagonal timber was cemented into the ground, and both bracing and posts were bolted together. The cement will be left alone for a week or more to cure, before the ratchet straps are removed.

Diagonal timber bracing is added to the gate posts

A few weeks ago we’d had to stop installing the final 30m (100ft) of fencing on the enclosure because of the issue with the gate posts. Hopefully this fix does the trick and the gates work for many years to come. That’s the plan anyway!

Whilst we were busy fixing the fencing, and the horses were on the track, the official interest rates in the country were again increased. Mad cash sure is getting expensive these days, and the amusing but also prescient quote from the investor Warren Buffett, popped into my mind: It’s only when the tide goes out that you learn who has been swimming naked.

Fixing things around here has been on my mind of late. The responsibility for repairing all of the machines around here has fallen onto my shoulders. Sandra is learning alongside me with this task. Her input with the work has been excellent, and sometimes she’ll see things that I’ve completely missed. The old timers used to say that: Two sets of eyes are better than one. It’s true. And of course it’s not just the machines, other things go wrong with the rest of the property, like those tricksy gate posts. Living here, keeps your brain sharp!

When we observe a problem like the gate posts out of alignment, we consider how to correct the issue, then implement a solution. The solution gets observed, and hopefully, but not always, the fix works. If that fix doesn’t work, we try something else. But the goal is always to correct the issue.

Yup, fixing things has been on my mind of late. If you’re heading into difficult times, it doesn’t hurt to have the things around you working at their best and in good condition. With inflation pushing up prices for stuff, wages growth not keeping up, and the cost of mad cash rising, that looks like a recipe for poverty to me. It genuinely surprises me that continuously increasing the cost of mad cash, is the only option being considered for fixing those pesky economic problems.

Seems like not a day goes by when there isn’t an article in the media about how to make ends meet when you suddenly have less mad cash to spend. One of the more hard to explain articles I read recently, suggested to stop purchasing fruit. Apparently the stuff is expensive. Last I checked, fruit is way cheaper than meat. But regardless of the economics, cutting fruit out of your diet, is probably not good for your health. But what do I know?

The declining quality of fruit was one of the concerns that sent me on the journey which has lead to where we are today. Many years ago, in order to obtain better quality fruit, we bypassed the supermarkets and instead went directly to the orchards and cold stores. That worked for a while. Then we began sourcing fruit from specialist orchards who cared about the taste and quality of the produce. But it wasn’t long before we began to accept reality, which was that we had to learn to grow our own fruit trees. And that’s not as easy to do as you’d imagine!

The reality is, you can only grow a handful of fruit trees in the backyard of an inner urban Victorian era workers cottage. Even with the diminutive size of dwarf fruit trees, a few of those will hardly produce enough fruit to preserve in any great quantity. It didn’t take too long, before we were looking for more land.

Fruit trees are a huge investment in the future. For many years you have to feed and nurture them, and you’ll get very little return during those early years. Then one day after many long years, the fruit trees begin producing fruit in earnest. And you discover that the trees tend to produce better every second year. The deer, rabbits and wallabies (a smaller solitary forest kangaroo) will inexplicably destroy some trees. Birds and rats will take a good share of the produce. Sudden shifts in the climate can wipe out entire crops. I tell you, a person has to be nimble when it comes to protecting a developing fruit crop. And even then, and after all that work, the trees have to continue to be fed and nurtured. It never stops.

Growing fruit is a long term and complicated proposition. So if a person can obtain the produce for a tiny outlay of mad cash, that’s what I call: a bargain. Managing economic woes is also a long term proposition. But if the folks put in charge of that problem can only bring themselves to try one fix in the face of competing causes, well that looks like failure to me. If they were serious, they’d be more nimble.

Here are some photos of the developing fruit at this early stage of the growing season:

Asian Pears have put on a huge amount of growth this week
Apples also look to be having a good season
Grape vines and Strawberries grow in a cage to protect the fruit from everything
Mulberries grow in profusion
Raspberries are a few weeks away from being ready to eat

The weather this week has been warm, humid and monsoonal. Late in the afternoon as the sun sets, the sheer humidity can be seen.

The weather this week has been warm and humid

The monsoon, when it arrived, brought some decent rainfall which the garden appreciated. The days began clear, sunny and warm. The thick dark clouds built up during the afternoon, and the rain when it hit, was brief, but very heavy.

Heavy rain falls off in the distance

Whenever it rains during the warmer months, at night the tree frogs will take advantage of the lights from the house to hunt insects.

A Southern Brown Tree Frog hunts insects at night

Thursday morning was very foggy and cool, and with the surrounding forest being so damp, we had a massive clean up and burn off of forest detritus. If a fire ever gets into that forest, the whole thing will go off like a frog in a sock. Best to clean it up beforehand.

Ruby assists with the burn off, but prefers to remain anonymous

Last week, we’d put a couple of steel rock gabion cages into place so as to retain the soil of a very steep garden bed. A shed is close to that garden bed, so it’s no good if the soil washes over the retaining wall and ends up against the shed. And that was exactly what was happening with the original inadequate rock wall. The steel rock gabion cages are far more solid.

We’re in the process of dismantling an older rock gabion cage, and so we were able to relocate all of the rocks there to this newer cage. Now the new cage is ready to be sewn shut.

Dame Plum assists with the rock work for this retaining wall

With all the rocks we’ve been utilising of late in the various projects, it is hard to assure readers that Peak Rocks is real. Some delightful readers have even suggested the case maybe otherwise! However, we now have to travel a good distance to extract rocks from the land, not to mention the huge effort it takes to break apart boulders. Those things resist our efforts, but it’s been said elsewhere: Resistance is futile!

In our rock scrounging efforts over the past couple of weeks, we discovered three large rocks which could be brought back up the hill and used in the low gradient path project. The project gets ever closer to the chicken enclosure where the path will widen out.

Dame Plum admires the solid rock wall, or maybe she is simply excited about the chickens?

It wasn’t all about rocks this week. We also cleaned up the sapling fenced enclosure of weeds, and planted out two rows of pumpkins, squashes and melons.

Two rows of Pumpkins, Squashes and Melons were planted out

The kitchen cupboard doors are in the process of being fixed. Thirteen years ago, we installed a basic kitchen with vinyl wrapped cupboard doors. The doors have the benefit of being hardy and cheap. However, sometimes, there is such a thing as too cheap. After thirteen years, the vinyl wraps have all degraded and discoloured at different rates. Some of the doors are the original white, but most look like they’ve spent a decade in the house of a very heavy smoker, because they’re a sickly looking yellow.

It seemed like a stupid idea to replace the cupboard doors with the same vinyl wrap failures. That’s when we had the bright idea to do the fix up this time around, for even less mad cash. You can purchase the doors in their raw condition for less than a third the price of the vinyl wrap doors. Slap on ten coats of paint – you read that correctly, and the kitchen looks better than new. And we got to pick a super bright blue colour – which they aren’t usually produced in. We’re halfway through that project.

New kitchen cupboard doors, and they’re blue!

Just before we get to the flowers, here’s an update on the zucchini seedlings:

Zucchini CamTM tells no lies…

Onto the flowers:

Elderberries produce lovely flowers for wine making, but don’t smell all that nice
Geraniums grow really well here
It’s Rhodie time!
Sage is a useful culinary herb with some interesting and useful properties
The Succulent garden looks great
The many Roses have enjoyed the warmth this week

The temperature outside now at about 9am is 12’C (54’F). So far this year there has been 758.2mm (29.9 inches) which is up from last weeks total of 752.8mm (29.6 inches)

43 thoughts on “Fruit”

  1. Yo, Chris – Keeping your two sets of eyes on a goal. Adaption, improvising. Tinker, tinker, tinker. It all (mostly) comes right in the end. The tube lights in my kitchen, are out. Thought I could fix them, myself. And, probably could. Except there must be some trick to removing the plastic cover. So, a work order will be turned in tonight, and I’ll leave it to the professionals. Besides, it’s ill advised for a gentleman of my age, to be dancing around on the top of a step stool. It often doesn’t end well.

    Here’s an interesting article that popped up, today. Apparently, the Powers That Be are worried that people may get “used” to inflation. Well, what else is one to do?

    As I’ve mentioned before, I eat two small squares of high octane chocolate, daily. It’s been running about $4 a bar. Which is enough for 5 days … or, another brand, 4 days. Any time I see them on sale, I stock up. “Sale” now seems to be $3.50. Not that long ago, bars on sale were just under $2.

    I had a long talk with our local veg store guy, Frank, today. I wondered about cranberries, which he gets from our coast. None this year, as the minimum order they would do was 500 pounds. He did have some frozen, from last year, so I picked up 3 pounds. Then we started talking about birds, for Thanksgiving. Forget turkeys. I keep reading the cost is going down, but I don’t see it. I might be able to get a nice, local free range chicken, from him. He’ll have more information in a few days.

    As I mentioned in the comments, last week, giving up fruit sounds like some kind of fad diet. No room for a lot of fruit trees, on one’s own land, in the city. But, my postie and his wife came to mind. They’ve mapped all the places around our neighborhood, where they can acquire fruits and nuts. For the picking. Which made me think of a word, and down the rabbit hole I went. “Gleaners.” Though it seems to have a different meaning, these days. Way back, it was that poor folk could follow harvests, and pick up whatever was left behind.

    I do hope you can see this article …

    It started in Germany, and the movement is called “mundraub” or, “mouth robbery.” It’s spread to other European countries, and now, there are web sites all over the place, to give urban foragers a leg up.

    Your stone fruits might have been a wash out, due to weather. Again. But, it looks like you’re going to have some good crops of other fruits and veg.

    Frogs are just so cool. They seem to have a “cute” factor, that doesn’t carry over to other reptiles and amphibians.

    Ruby’s a gal after my own heart. Keep a low profile. Remain anonymous. Dame Plum might be excited, because she knows she’s in rat hunting territory.

    I am partial to blue, but your kitchen is just lovely. Sigh. One misses good old fashioned lead paint. Two or three coats would have done it. There’s always good old buttermilk and blueberries. But you wouldn’t get the intense blue.

    The Forget-me-nots, really set off the geraniums. Sage is pretty traditional for our Thanksgiving dressing. It also really jazzes up sausages.

    The succulent garden is really putting on a show. If it was in another part of the world, the photo caption would be, “The desert is in bloom.” 🙂

    The rose looks like it might be descended from an old French variety. Napoleon’s wife Josephine, really went all out for roses, and had a hand in developing many varieties. Lew

  2. Hi Lewis,

    The tinkerers knew their stuff, and if they didn’t hold out much hope for a solid repair, they’d probably still give it a go. On the other hand, some of those casings require just the right trick to get them opened. The problem with not knowing the trick, is that you can inadvertently break the casing, and then the fix costs a whole bunch more than it otherwise would. It’s always a risk with unknown repairs. And yeah, falling off a ladder is a problem for anyone, at any age. You know, it’s gonna hurt.

    Thanks for the article on inflationary fears. Perhaps I’m naive in relation to the mysterious workings of your banksters, but don’t you wonder at the central conflict of interest inherent with those folks? They probably want more money, and so this is what we all get.

    Hmm, yummo! High cocoa content chocolate is not for the weak of spirit. 🙂 What was the octane level again? Memory is suggesting a number of around 80%. Incidentally, I had some powerful chocolate of that particular variety a few weeks back, and it was good. But yeah, sad to say, prices actually are on the up for all sorts of things.

    Holy carp, that’s a lot of cranberries to sell. Makes you wonder if there is the local demand for so much? And yeah, a local free range chicken was exactly the sort of bird I’d be going for. It’s a good size too for the oven and table. When my friends of the big shed fame had lunch here a few weeks ago, that’s exactly the sort of bird we roasted up. It was tasty. I think we used one of those oven bags too, and they retain the moisture really well. Chuck a couple of spuds into the bag to roast along with the chook – so good, so tasty. Hope the deal works out, but I reckon you’re on solid ground there with that arrangement.

    Yeah, cutting out fruit from a persons diet makes little sense to me. It seems like an arbitrary choice if I may also add. So yeah, I agree, fad. Gleaners is the word I knew for that activity. There’s plenty of wild fruit growing about the place too. Apple trees can be very low care, and it’s not hard to find trees by the side of the road full of fruit – if you know where to look. I didn’t know that about folks following the harvest. Makes sense though with nothing going to waste. I see fruit going to waste on trees in the big smoke. People too proud to pick and consume the fruit I reckon.

    You can grab the text and images off the website just prior to the big block sign in message. It was a good article on the gleaners. They’re not too proud, and I respect that. It’s a funny thing though, when I was running a store at a sustainability festival, I had a young couple from the big smoke hassling me about where to go for opportunities to glean. The thing with them that bothered me was that they didn’t want to make local connections, they just wanted to strip all the fruit. I didn’t know what to think about it all really, and so gave them nothing. The idea that there should be something given in return was quite alien to their minds. Hmm. Maybe, it’s just me and I’ve been living up the bush for too long? Dunno. Have you got any suggestions as to what I could have done?

    I reckon you’re right, the brief cold snap knocked out the stone fruit again this year, not all, but most. It’s a bit marginal for that fruit here. But when it works, the crop is awesome. Apples are more reliable.

    Frogs are good, and the ones here will happily consume huntsman spiders. They’re good.

    Respect. Nothing wrong at all with keeping a low profile. Hey, it took me three years to make up my mind to start blogging. I missed the writing for the hippy press, not to mention all the wonderful connections made there. But I had to let go of some level of privacy, and just put myself out there. The Editor reckons I share too much, she might be right too. Dunno. Dame Plum has a cheery outlook on the world, we’re pretty close in personality that dog and I.

    Thanks! I reckon the blue cupboard doors are looking pretty cool. It surprised me to discover that getting paint that bright a colour of blue was not as widely available as you’d think. Turns out not many brands produce a paint base that can cope with such bright shades of blue. The Editor knows more about colour than I, and she took the colour chart book along to ensure the shade worked with the existing tiles. Who knew colour was that complicated? Anywhoo, we were egging each other on to go one shade of blue brighter, before finally settling on that colour. There’s a lot of bench space in the kitchen, because it’s a country kitchen and like us, it works hard, to good effect if I may be so bold as to say so. 🙂

    Sage is a good flavouring, and I like to chuck some leaves in appropriate meals whenever I get the chance. We’ve started adding bay leaves to the water the Globe Artichokes boil in. Adds a tasty zing, almost ginger-ish.

    Hehe! I can assure you that succulents do very well with reasonable rainfall too! They just like perfect drainage. The bees love the flowers too.

    We have a lot of older varieties of roses here. They were all picked for a combination of colours and aroma, so the air there on a warm day is heady. It’s not a bad hobby at all. We have so many roses, that there are a couple of self seeded varieties growing. It’ll be interesting to see what develops from that.

    Both new and second hand car markets look a bit bonkers to me. I get where you are coming from, a new car is like a raid on the treasury… Best to keep what you have going. That’s the plan, anyway. Interestingly, we don’t drive far these days. Keeping out of debt is a wise move.

    Went to the pub this evening for a pint and a pizza, and the pizza oven appears to have bitten the dust. Enjoyed the pint, and headed home again and had dinner here. I overheard the conversation about the oven, and candidly my gut feeling as to the prognosis is not good. The patient may not survive.

    Ha! Like your style with the mug, and it’s a better option than those plastic lined cardboard cups people use for take away. The cleaning of the cup is a guy thing for sure. 🙂 Well done, and you’re doing it for team bloke for sure! I’ve seen people handing over grungy looking keep cups for a refill, and they have this super nifty cleaner, like a bidet for a coffee cup. Probably a cost the club doesn’t need, but it would work.

    The folks at the shop got a good deal with Nick Cage. I would have done no differently. You still come across cash only businesses, although they are getting rarer. One of the two big telco’s went down for many hours the other day. You should have heard the sooking, and it surprised me that folks older than I, didn’t know what to do. It took out the trains… I was listening on the radio to a very well educated bloke who said he didn’t know what he’d had planned (online diary), and a guest couldn’t find his place because of the loss of GPS. I think it took out 40% of the population, so there was a lot of sooking and still is. The purported reason was, get this: a software upgrade. Yikes!

    Did you get a donation for the club pantry?



  3. Hi Chris,
    Yep, the repairs never end but at our age we don’t take on quite as much a you and Sandra.

    I’m hoping the Asian pears will produce while we’re still around. The last three summers of drought really held the growth back. On the other hand we had a good harvest of apples and berries. The farmers market has a vendor who sells high quality frozen blueberries so I may pick up some of those. We have an apple orchard down the street that also has good apples and squash if we need to supplement our harvest.

    I like the blue in your kitchen. It’s different. So many kitchens look alike these days with granite countertops and stainless steel appliances.

    Unfortunately for me, I’ve come down with a cold, the first one since January, 2020. Bad timing as this week will be warm and sunny, unusual for mid November. I still have a fair amount of mulching to do but just not up to it today.

    My aunt is still doing poorly and not at all realistic about her capabilities. I try to talk to her once a week, She’s lost a lot of weight too.

    I think you asked last week how Cecily is doing and I would have to say pretty good all things considered. She has finally decided to move ahead and file for divorce but not until after the holidays. She wants the holidays to be as normal as possible for the twins.

    In other news my BIL sold the restaurant in town. He just couldn’t make a go of it. The unmentionable and staffing issues really set things back. People in town really liked his food especially his pizza. It was considered the best in town by most. I knew he had a serious potential buyer but it happened so fast we never got there one last time.


  4. Yo, Chris – And, in News of the World … There was an auction of bits and bobs off the Titanic. There was a first class dinner menu (with water stains), a blanket with the White Star Line logo on it, and a pocket watch, that stopped when the fellow went in the water. He didn’t make it. Anyway. Each item sold for north of $100,000. Sure, those items have a certain “cool” factor. But $100,000 worth?

    Found out the maintenance guy will be around on Thursday. At least I’ve nailed it down to a day. Maybe. I get pretty edgy. Always fraught if I’m taking a nap, on the potty, or in the shower. Learn something new, every day. Turns out the smoke detector batteries are good for 5 years. Or, so it’s claimed. They don’t change them until they start chirping. So, I’ll end up on a stool anyway. It’s either that, or be driven quit mad.

    It’s all about making money. For someone. The CEOs, the shareholders. The bank that was in trouble here, was setting up additional accounts, without their customers permission or knowledge. Also, “In December 2022, the U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau ordered Wells Fargo to pay more than $2 billion in consumer redress, as well as a $1.7 billion civil penalty, for a series of actions including misapplied loan payments, improper home foreclosures, illegally repossessed vehicles and surprise overdraft fees …” Of course, we have some congress critters that want to do away with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, or, at least defund them so much, as to make them ineffective.

    To be the healthiest, cocoa should be at least 70%. I have bars in my stack that are 70-86%. I’ve had some in the 90%s, and haven’t had a problem consuming them. But, I picked up a couple of 100% bars, somewhere, and will have to figure out what to do with them. I didn’t find them … edible, as is. If you see chocolate that claims to be “dark”, with no cocoa percentage plainly stated, it’s usually around 40-45%.

    I’m running a little low on dried cranberries. I bought 25 pounds, and it was about $100 with the shipping, last year. Just for poops and giggles, I checked out the prices, last night. It’s up to $120, now. But I think I’ll wait until after the holidays, and see if the price comes down. Yes, 500 pounds is more than the veg guy can move.

    Hmmm. I’ve never cooked a bird in a bag. Though I know it’s done. I looked into the rabbit hole, and it seems like a pretty straightforward process. I might give it a whirl.

    Oh, I think you handled the couple in the right way. There are some people who want something for nothing, even if it’s just information. Of course, you could have said, “And what percentage of the harvest will I get?” 🙂 There are some old fashioned concepts, that need to be brought into play. Words you don’t hear much any more. Personable. Affable. Ingratiating. Our postie, and his wife, have all those attributes. They live in our neighborhood, where he delivers. I’m sure he chats people up, and gets permissions. Right now, they’re on a trip to the our SW. She lived there for awhile, as a small child. Maybe still has relatives there. They expect to bring back a lot of pecans, which don’t grow here.

    I looked into the rabbit hole, to jog my memory about milk paints. I’ve never used any, but had read about them. Besides milk, they also contain lime (calcium carbonate), and some recipes call for borax. It’s “…one of the world’s most durable paints, and nearly impossible to remove.”

    The study of color can be pretty interesting. I’ve read a couple of books, just about the color blue. 🙂 The Impressionist painters really made a study of it. The idea that the eye would mix colors in close proximity to each other. The artist Seurat carried it to extremes. He’s one of my favorite painters.

    They don’t make them like they used to. The restaurant I worked in, used an old second hand pizza oven, to heat up the sandwiches and melt the cheese, on top. It did yeoman service, and never had a problem. Buying new restaurant equipment can be a horrendous expense. Second hand, not so much. Seems like the auction house here, and the one in Olympia, once or twice a year have auctions of restaurant equipment. Bargains can be found. There was even a business in Portland, that handled just used equipment. Table settings and everything. What with the turnover in the restaurant business, there’s good used stuff out there.

    I never leave my cup unattended, at the Club. Some well meaning woman might swoop it up and clean it. Us guys always say, that if we fall on hard times, all we have to do is pour boiling water in our cups, and we’ll at least get a good cup or two of coffee. 🙂 I do rinse my cup out, every time I come home.

    I read a couple of articles, about your telco problems. And wondered (and hoped it didn’t) effect you. Yes, those upgrades are always a mess. “Let’s get it up and running, and then see if there are any problems.” Doesn’t seem like a good business model. Lew

  5. Hi Margaret,

    Yes, that is a truth which is universally acknowledged! Repairs, keep on, keeping on! 🙂

    Margaret, I’m impressed if you and Doug simply do any of the repairs – which you do. Respect. There are plenty of different ways to live on a larger block of land, but some folks choose the super-expensive way and that means getting the magical person ‘someone else’, to undertake all repairs. I’d like to be able to afford that path, or at least be happy to test the enjoyable waters! The last year having lost the farm machine repair dude, has been hard, but all things considered, we’re probably doing things far easier than the blokes family. The grief and loss in that family would be way more than hard.

    Interestingly, doing the repairs on the machines has resulted in us being even more careful in their usage. Doug could probably relate to that! Do you still have that gator machine? I saw one of those exact same machines for sale about two years ago, and was tempted. Talk about go anywhere.

    Yes, I also tend to believe that the pears, European or Asian, enjoy decent soil moisture. My observation is that the European pear trees are often much larger trees, but produce less fruit, so they probably have larger root systems. Although, a nearby town uses Manchurian Pears along its main road, and they seem even bigger again and very hardy to drought.

    That’s been my experience too with dry years, apples and berries are reliable, but then those plants also do well with shorter growing seasons anyway. And drought years can provide the heat and sun, but not the moisture for growth, so I reckon they’re also short growing years.

    Thanks! I like the blue as well, and the cabinets are framed with white from the kickboards and benches. Those engineered stone benches are I believe now nearing the end of availability down here due to the alleged health risks of the dust when cut. Bunnings to remove engineered stone products from shelves by end of 2023 Bunnings being a very well respected down under hardware chain. And doing something different, was in some ways harking back to our roots. In the early 1990’s, kitchen cupboard doors were painted, and that is how things were. People forget how things used to be. We’re only half way through the painting work.

    Sorry to hear that you’ve come down with a cold, and hope you are feeling better today? Maybe? Fingers crossed that is the case anyway. We had the dreaded flu weeks ago, and it caused some disruptions in the household for a couple of weeks I can assure you. Best wishes for a speedy recovery!

    The week here is cold, and I just took the dogs out to do their ablutions, and it was drizzling. Unusual for November down here too.

    A person has to eat, and their body has to be able to absorb those minerals. Ook! Sorry.

    Thanks for the update, and that sounds wise. Kids are pretty resilient, although it can be hard for parents to accept and communicate that there have been some failures. But really, to live is to try and fail. If you discover the secret to avoid this, please do let me know! 🙂 But, sometimes we all succeed too, and there are no guarantees. Cecily and the kids are lucky to have you. I recall my grandmother (not the crazy one, but my dads mother) with great fondness. I was discussing this very story with a lovely lady whom I know, today who has grand-kids.

    Hope your BIL enjoys some time out now. It’s hard in small business to be able to get an extended break, and sometimes selling the business is how things have to roll.



  6. Hi Lewis,

    The first class passengers sure didn’t stint themselves if the menu was any guide as to their tastes. It was interesting to even wonder why anyone would rescue a dinner menu from the stricken ship. Presumably the pocket watch came from a passenger who died in the icy water and who’s body was later recovered floating. I’d wondered how cold the water was when the ship went down, and the temperature 28’F gets mooted around. Whatever the case, I doubt even a super thick wetsuit could protect a person in that temperature for very long. Brr! Then quiet. Personally, if I had that sort of mad cash to splash around on collectible items, well, I just wouldn’t do it anyway. Too rich for my tastes. Do you reckon some folks buy such items as investments?

    Good stuff, and hope the light gets fixed on the day. Ha! I get what you mean, and don’t encourage people to drop-around for an unannounced visit. Still, when you need something fixed, you’re at their schedule, and mercy.

    We use rechargeable batteries for the smoke alarms, but they’re very interesting 9.6V batteries (they are the normal size but specifically have 6 x 1.6V cells instead of the more usual lower voltage 5 x 1.6V cells). The lower voltage rechargeable batteries trigger the stupid low voltage battery warning beep circuit you mentioned. That could drive a person bonkers as you so correctly note.

    That’s not good about the extra unknown accounts. It’s been remarked upon before that: Give a man a Key Performance Indicator, and he’ll soon be gaming it! All very true, and I believe such things may have been going on down here, but with kids accounts. Well yeah, less protection, means less trouble! 🙂 The old timers used to mention it is unwise to put the kids in charge of the lolly (candy) shop! Mate, you can’t argue with that sort of logic. All for a few more bucks of mad cash! I’m always amazed how cheap the err, arrangements are – when they get busted.

    I didn’t know that about the 70% cocoa mix with the dark chocolate. The 100% mix chocolate would be very rich. As a suggestion for what to do with that lot, perhaps stay close to the commode! Did you hear that gut gurgle sound? 🙂 I like chocolate, but if I consume it in the evening, it irritates my sinuses, which in turn effects my sleep. Dunno why that happens, but it just does.

    Inflation is hitting food prices, that’s for sure. That’s a lot of dried cranberries, but buying in bulk is always wise. We purchase heaps of food raw materials in bulk, and don’t you get to know your regular places to purchase the stuff? And no one place, supplies everything. Topped up the flour as well as the oats stocks last week. Both boxes arrived on the same day. I’m ordering slightly less weight of stuff these days out of sympathy / empathy for the post office folks. There’s been some grumbling on that subject, and it’s not unreasonable.

    Those oven bags work, but the soiled oven bag has to be disposed of in another bag which you can seal, otherwise it will stink up your bin. This is where any spare plastic bags come in handy, and the fatty bags make wonderful kindling for the burn offs. Hope the roast works out well and I’ll be interested to learn of your opinion.

    Thanks, he says noting down your reply for future use. 😉 You could add polite to the list as well. Such traits were instilled so that we don’t all kill each other, I guess! The folks who were hitting me up for information, had none of those traits. Demanding? Yeah. Expectational? Yeah, I reckon that too. Honestly, it never crossed their minds to make connections and/or offer something in return. I was baffled by their behaviour, and they knew I was holding back on them – you could see it in their eyes. What do you say again, err, not my circus?

    I’m sure if the bloke and his lady are gleaning, they would have done the hard yards to make the connections – then not abuse the relationship. That can happen too, and I’ve read some stories over the years. I recall an author in the big smoke recounting a story of giving permission for an older lady to harvest his unpicked olives, and she hacked the limbs off the tree! I wouldn’t have expected that, but also may have supervised the operations given the lady was unknown to the author and in trial mode. It’s a good reminder to not make assumptions as to how other folks will treat your stuff. There’s a fun old timer saying about: “Never lend your chainsaw out, or your wife. They’ll both come back f…..!” I loaned a chainsaw out once very long ago, and the saying was proven to be true – the case was burned through. Not happy at all.

    Hmm. Thanks for the pain recipe information. I’ve got a copy of Henley’s formulas here as well. 😉

    Ooo, I see what you mean about the artist Seurat’s works. Very impressive, and the technique fools and confuses the eye, but provides great depth and detail.

    The pizza oven-gate issue sounded expensive. I’d heard sums around $30k being mentioned, so I reckon pizza is off the menu for a while. Candidly, I’m probably going to give the pub a miss for a a month or two whilst they get their act together. I can well comprehend why the locals have progressively abandoned patronage of the business. But yeah, second hand equipment is a great option, and who knows, maybe all the finance company might want at auction is to off load the stuff. I recall mortgagee auctions in the mid 1990’s recession.

    Hehe! Nice one, and who can dispute the err, tea with a weak coffee base? A guy I used to know that did coffee machine training, repairs and maintenance whilst in the UK told me a story about a cafe up in the north of the country which continually re-used their old coffee grounds whilst the brews became ever weaker. I don’t know whether it was a tall tale, but it sets the scene of parsimony. I know you do, I’d be more worried the ladies at the Club might begin berating you for a filthy looking mug! Always a risk, and berating are best dodged – pays to be nimble!

    Nah, the outage didn’t affect me other than being unable to call people who were so affected. I use the larger telco who frankly have a better track record with such matters. One of the interesting issues it has brought up is the possibility of the mad-cash-less society. I’m sure I’ve mentioned to you about the time in the stock feed business where I was the only person with mad cash? Keep the change, took the stuff, and left a whole bunch of angry and confused looking people. Again, pays to be nimble at such moments. The software should be tested in a test system first.



  7. Yo, Chris – The survival of the menu is probably an interesting story. I suppose people stashed away souvenirs of the trip. Maybe in a small jewelry bag, that made it onto a lifeboat. I had a high school teacher, whose grannie was a second class passenger, and survived. I remember he mentioned he had her ticket. Well, there was a guy who paddled around for more than two hours, and survived. The head baker, Charles Joughin. He was gloriously drunk 🙂

    Oh, I think anyone who spends that kind of mad cash, for whatever, has investment, at least in the back of their minds. And, there are tax advantages to later donating it to a museum.

    Big corporations that get big fines for doing wrong … well, most articles point out that it’s usually a drop in the bucket, compared to their incomes. I see corporate fines are not tax deductible. In theory.

    Dark chocolate, even in the 90%s, doesn’t seem to bother me. But then, I only eat two squares. And break them into 8 pieces. Seems to make the pleasure last longer. 🙂

    The 25 pounds of dried cranberries seem to last me just over a year. But then, it gets used, small handful by small handful in my daily oatmeal. Along with apple, banana, and blueberries. I also use cranberries here and there in baking. And H gets a bit of the plumped up ones. She’s filthy for them.

    I stopped by the veg store, yesterday. No joy when it comes to local chickens. He had turkeys, but they were all pretty big. So, I guess I’ll just go with a frozen chicken, from the regular grocery. Maybe.

    The couple sound pretty ruthless. On one hand, it’s nice that two people with a similar temperament, found each other. 🙂

    Seurat’s even got a musical. 🙂 “Sunday in the Park, with George.”

    When the ladies at the Club berate me for the state of my coffee cup, I just tell them clean cups are a chick thing. They back off.

    Well, it looks like Elinor might not be back for awhile. I talked to her daughter, yesterday. Looks like she’s headed for rehab. Last time, she was there 5 or 6 months. Soooo …. I made an appointment this morning with a vet, for H. We’re changing vets. I didn’t like the one she was going to, and Dr. Amanda is one I know socially. In fact, last week H and I ran into her, and, without me asking, she gave H a quick once over. Even if Elinor makes it home, she’ll never know. Probably. Lew

  8. Hi Chris, it’s amazing how much food can be grown in suburbia. Pretty much the only fruit we buy are bananas, and we eat a lot of fruit. We have just under 900 sq m. We have about forty foot trees, and eight or so nut trees (of various maturity)

    I’ve been building an anti aviary down the sides of the house (where netting trees is awkward). It’s a fiddly job, and I’ve remarked a couple of times that it’d be nice to just have rows of trees in an orchard!

    Cheers, Gus

  9. Chris,

    Is it just me, or does the blue on the new doors match the blue tiles? If so, that’s good searching for just the right shade of blue. That’s something that can’t be pulled off most of the time.

    Weird. Stop buying fruit for financial reasons. A fruitless diet can cause nasty health issues which are more expensive than the purchasing of fruit. Makes no sense to me. How’s that old saying go? “All meat and no fruit makes Jack a plugged boy.” Or something like that. 😉

    Growing up, we had 2 apple trees, a cherry tree, lots of raspberry bushes and a lot of strawberry plants. The four of us ate much fresh fruit (and the vegetables we grew) from the garden. Much was canned for the winter. It was still necessary to purchase a lot of fruits and vegetables from the grocery store. Like you said, the normal city lot is not large enough to grow what is needed for an entire year. At least the quality of what is grown is usually better than what is purchased.

    We had a busy weekend. We wanted a few days to slow down and do nothing. However, the Princess is in charge of planning the traditional event for sister who died in June. The event will be in June 2024. Dinner, gifts for those who helped at the funeral and for the guests who attend, a big meal. We’re finding a lot of things we need at second hand stores.

    My phone also had an accident. Ugh. I replaced it. Then the Princess’s phone’s issues got worse: it is pretty old (by cell phone standards) and was having both RAM and storage capacity issues. So we upgraded her phone to the same model that I just got. Mine is black. Hers is lavender, so she is happy.  I’m mumbling and grumbling about the necessary evils of some of this technology stuff.

    Most of the leaves have fallen now. There’s a few trees that are always late in dropping their leaves, which are now a drab brown color, mostly. Between the clouds and rains and morning fog, the gray/blah time of year has hit. Colorful autumn was very nice this year.

    As always, thanks for the flower photos!


  10. Fruit for the rest of creation- We get plenty of apples, but we are yet to get any cherries to speak of. I planted ten tart cherry trees, and they are standard, not dwarf. The oldest ones are getting to around ten feet ( 3 meters) tall, so netting will be tough. I’m thinking of maybe severe pruning this winter, and a substantial structure that I can pull netting up over.

    The mulberry trees, though younger, are quite precocious, and bearing well already. I’ll be experimenting with recipes for them next summer.

    Have been pressing oil from the hazelnuts, and making crunchy snacks with them as well. Both store quite well. We’ll be visiting relatives a couple states over at Thanksgiving, so will take goodies to share.

    Fencing is tricksy, as the weight and tension does its work slowly but surely. Especially here, where freeze thaw cycles relax the posts a bit each year. Diagonal bracing is just about impossible to avoid.

    Fixing things- Ah, I’ll recount my do list some other time, it’s getting embarrassing.

  11. Hi Steve,

    It’s been said elsewhere that birds enjoy cherries! We get a handful or so each year, but given the number of trees, they’re just not worth growing. I wouldn’t replace the cherry trees. With a couple of hundred fruit trees, there are too many trees overall to net. Some things are in the too hard basket… You know what I mean. 🙂

    Sweet cherry trees get pretty big, although your tart varieties are wisely naturally smaller trees. The ones here are about 5m now and show no signs of slowing down. It’s a lot of space for a tree that the birds harvest most of the fruit from. Do we need bird man, for the cherry rescue? 🙂 I spotted some unripe cherries this morning, but the birds always know what’s going on…

    I just checked a reference guide on pruning, and it suggested pruning cherries in early spring. Dunno, the wallabies have trialled their pruning techniques in winter for cherry trees, and as a result they can no longer reach the branches! The birds can though.

    My gut feeling suggests that if you are going to prune the trees, they might need to be trained to a shorter pattern – like an open structure. I cut back the central leader and left an open form for the trees.

    I’ve seen some very large mulberry trees, and they’re good because they don’t mind the hotter and drier weather, although I’ve noticed the fruit quality varies with the rainfall. I reckon the darker fruit has the best taste with those trees. We’ve got a couple of varieties growing, and they’re low care trees. I have noticed that they have a tendency to produce multiple stems, and I cut them back to a single trunk. Quinces are similar in that regard.

    Yum! Hazelnuts are so tasty. I’m baffled by the trees here because they produced catkins, but no nuts. A mystery! What do you reckon? Should I cut them back to a single trunk? They have a tendency to produce a wild looking shrub. I have seen them growing like small trees, and those had nuts.

    Hehe! Yeah, the swelling cycle of the clay between the wet and dry periods with the rainfall tends to produce similar effects. That’s how boulders can float here. The diagonal bracing seems to have stabilised the gate posts.

    Mate, truth to tell, I’m only just keeping up with the repairs. Honestly, it’s like playing a game of whack a mole! I didn’t even mention the toilet dramas I’d had last week. Some spare blades for the scary old wood chipper turned up in the mail this morning. I’m aiming to dismantle that machine over the next few days and sharpen (or replace) the cutting blades.



  12. Hi Gus,

    You are in an enviable location for fruit growing and with almost a quarter acre, that’s a good sized block of land. 🙂 You know, the Diggers Club sells red bananas (for cooler climates), and they might just make it through your winters. I’d have to put them in the greenhouse here, and they’d most likely eventually break the roof of the greenhouse despite the claims to only 2m. About a decade ago I bought a hand of red bananas at the Queen Vic Market in Melbourne, and the taste was excellent. Well worth the trial.

    The Babaco is getting up there in height in the greenhouse, and after the current crop of fruit ripens (which it looks like doing), I’ll take the plant back to a tiny side shoot growing out of the base. Chainsaws are handy bits of kit for such work.

    Did I read correctly that you had a 40’C day the other day?

    September was way above average temperatures, but since then we’re now running way below the average – although it has dried off as well. The next two days are 18’C… Bonkers.

    Hehe! Espaliering trees makes the job even easier. 🙂 I gave up on netting years ago, and simply try to out produce the local critters. A local farmer once stirred me up by suggesting that the property here is a supermarket for the forest critters! How are your nut trees going? The best performing ones here at the moment are almonds, although technically they’re a peach.

    Simon, who’s blog I’ve linked too on the side bar, has successfully grown Macadamia’s, and they were so good. I have no doubts they’d grow well where you are. The two trees up here in the mountains, have been in what sci-fi authors might describe as in ‘suspended animation’. Hope springs eternal though!



  13. Hi DJ,

    Ah, your eyesight does not deceive you. In fact, when we went to the hardware store to select and pick up the paint for the cupboard doors, Sandra took her colour book (who knew of such things?) and ensured that the paint purchased was in the same colour palette as those tiles. My job that day was simply suggesting to: ‘go brighter’! What interested me was that the very deep and bright blue colour we ended up choosing was not as readily available as you’d imagine. Sure the colour was mixed up on the spot, but there was only a single manufacturer offering a base paint which could be used to produce that exact colour. You’d kind of think that with a wall of colour swatches in the store, that everything is available – but not so. The result is pretty cool looking, and much cheaper than using vinyl wrap. We’re old enough to recall having to paint kitchens! I’m sure you know the feeling?

    That’s my thoughts in the fruit matter too. Jack’s back was plugged. Ook! Plus I’ve listened to the science hour on the youth radio broadcaster for so many years now (the bloke has been doing the listener Q+A since 1981!), and he was a medical doctor and has a lot of other degrees. A true polymath. Anywhoo, from time to time, he will recount stories from his doctoring days when he had to scoop out gunk from the rear end of plugged up individuals. You know, there’s not enough mad cash to convince me to do that job. Eat fibre! Ugg!

    Sounds like some fond memories there. What I want to know is did your dad send you up into the apple trees to harvest the fruits? I’ve been reading that the cider makers in the UK happily use the windfall fruits, but I dunno about that. And I agree, the quality of fruit would usually be superior to that which is purchased. Thus our quest!

    The traditions sound important enough to me to delay any thoughts of rest. Energy is what keeps such things alive, and they’re important. Anyway, my take on the world is that there will be time enough for rest when the ceremonies are being conducted for us. Of course other people may differ here, and that’s cool. Good stuff too with the repurposing! 🙂 The old timers used to wisely say: repair, reuse, and recycle (in that order) Of course you already knew that which is why you scored the items.

    Hehe! Mate, Sandra drops her phone all the time, and even I’m guilty of doing that trick. This is why we bought phones that were designed and made to be trashed around and continue to work. They ain’t pretty, but they survive!!! Wise to have the things instantly recognisable as to who’s is who’s (that doesn’t sound grammatically correct, and in fact smells of Dr Zeuss!) And of course having the same machines puts you in the position of: DJ, how do you do this thing on the dratted new machine! 🙂 Ask me how I know this to be true? And hey, I got the very first notification a few weeks ago that an application won’t work with the older operating system on the phones… Hmm. Fortunately this application is not a thing I need, but a time will come.

    Almost forgot to mention. You inspired me to encourage Sandra to join the local dog obedience school with Ruby, which she is now in the process of doing so. My limits had been reached the other night, and Dame Plum and Ollie are just so much more responsive dogs – guess who is responsible for those two pooches? Hmm. Dog training is a skill that can be leaned. If the process is good, I’ll take the other two down. Can’t hurt.

    No!!! DJ, you are so casual with mentioning the status of the fall leaves. The tourists dude, the tourists. Now repeat after me: All the leaves have fallen, and the leaf change this year was particularly bad. Must be climate change, so it’s not going to get better in future years. I warned you dude!

    My pleasure, and there’ll be more flowers to come. The foxgloves in the fern gully have flowered this week.



  14. Hi Lewis,

    That’s my thinking too with the surviving menu in that the item made itself onto a lifeboat by sheerest of accidents. Thanks for the article, because you never know when such stories will pop into your mind at an opportune moment. There are occasional serious hazards here, and so maybe being a bit more super-chilled-and-relaxed may have some serious survival cache. The bakers story was of mythic proportions, and I enjoyed every minute of the recounting of his survival moments. Talk about having presence of mind when everyone else would have been losing theirs. Don’t laugh but I have heard an old tale that drunks and babies can often bounce during serious incidents, and had wondered about it. Interestingly, I hadn’t known that the initial cold shock wore off in only 90 seconds, or that most folks could survive at least 10 minutes and he made it in the drink for 2 hours. There was a reference to him not getting his head wet and doggy paddling whilst in the water with a life jacket. I’ll bet as a baker, the bloke would have been super active day to day as well. Some people are very chill in a crisis.

    I tend to agree as to folks wanting the item for its investment potential. Do you reckon whether there may actually be folks with a collection of Titanic items? I can’t imagine that anything brought up from the depths from that doomed vessel would survive the ascent?

    The best way to get corporations to be nice, good, meek and mild citizens, is to make the directors personally accountable. Until then, they’re probably just spending other peoples mad cash. I recall the days when for advertising to be deductible, it had to be relevant to products or services sold by the business. When that lot get onto their social engineering high horse, I wouldn’t make that deductible either. In fact, if you really wanted to go out to an extreme, you just stop ‘off shoring’ from being deductible.

    Oh, such rich heady chocolate wares, may bother me! 🙂 But only if consumed in any quantity, which incidentally wouldn’t be much more than what you enjoy. That’s a tidy idea with breaking the choccie into smaller squares. Heck, you’ve got me salivating thinking about chocolate. A bit like Pavlov’s Dogs! Yum, yum, Soylent Green!!!

    Ah, I reckon you use cranberries in a similar way to how we use sultana’s (sun dried grapes). It is amazing that when you purchase in bulk, you begin to get an idea for how much food you consume. I can see that with H. Dog treats. The sultana’s are no good for dogs, so when I bake up a tray of Anzac biscuits, there are biscuits for human consumption, then there are biscuits the dogs enjoy. Ollie tells me that the biscuits are drool worthy. H of course is a lady of the finest breeding, and would never drool. 🙂

    You never know, if the guy at the store reckons he’ll get a chicken in, he’ll probably do it – after all, the entire basis of running such a store is providing things that people want to pay for. Still, you may want to have a Plan B, just in case. You could always chuck the bird in the freezer if the deal falls through?

    That’s funny, and yes they did deserve each other. Honestly, it was mercenary, and the whole thing needn’t have been that way. You would have seen some things in your retail and food days on that front? I recall being at a group dinner and observing a person complaining about the food quantity, merely so as to obtain more (it was a seafood platter). It really alerted me as to the inner workings of the person, and thereafter I kept the person at arms length.

    I thought you were kidding, but no, you were serious. And correct! My mind glazes over at the ‘m’ word.

    Lewis, you are like super-bad!

    Not good, and sorry to hear that. Looks like your guest is staying for a while. H will love it. How could Elinor ever possibly going to know that you’ve changed vets? And anyway, you know the vet and that’s probably more important in my book.

    The Editor and Ruby are both being packed off to dog obedience school. Chris cracked the sads the other night after another incident. Ruby is a lovely dog, but she can be a little monster, and I’d had enough and said ‘no more’. This is not my usual modus operandi to so direct, but some problems are more easily observed when acting as the disinterested bystander who’s interests are being stomped upon.



  15. Hazelnuts-turns out it’s complicated. I went to a workshop where they explained hazelnut pollination, and it turns out that you need plants from different allele groups, and I don’t know how you make sure except plant lots of them, and they’ll sort it out.

    This link might help:

    the articles are about tree (European) type, but the same game is played by the bush type that I grow.

  16. Yo, Chris – And, in news of the world … Am I a bad person when I take a bit of glee, in certain aspects of technology being a big fail? Does it make me a bad person?

    Well, looking down the rabbit hole, “…over 5,000 items have been brought up from the Titanic.” Search: “What items have been brought up from the Titanic?” The images are amazing.

    There are several quotes about God protecting drunks, fools and babies. One also includes the US of A. 🙂

    Pavlov’s dog eats people?

    Anyone who has worked retail or food service, has seen the worst of humanity. Kind of sours you on the whole enterprise.

    I’ve been waiting for “The Best American Food Writing 2023” to show up, at the library. I did a little research, last night. It was released last month. Soooo … I put a “suggested purchase request” in on it. They probably would have got around to ordering it sooner or later. Might as well be sooner.

    I’ve been thinking about eventually taking H to doggie obedience school. She’s pretty good, but could use some fine tuning. Maybe next year.

    I spent a couple of hours, yesterday, just doing general clean up in the garden. We’re having a couple of days of pretty nice weather. Overnight lows are flirting with 32F (-0-C). Last night it got down to 34F. Close, but no cigar. Lew

  17. Chris,

    Been there with the swatches and color books. Just because it’s in the book and/or a swatch doesn’t mean that they can match that color with paint. I remember hearing somebody in a paint store say one time, “But it’s in the color book!” All I could think was, “But it goes to 11!”

    I worked in a paint factory many decades ago. Mainly in the group that made a latex product to coat polyurethane. That stuff was mostly sold in 55 gallon drums, although there’d be the occasional job with 5 gallon cans. My job was getting the paint from the mixing tank into the drums. Nearly every batch that we made was white. Easy enough for the boss to make white. Then there’d be the odd 4 or 5 batches of gray, all going to one customer so the gray had to match from batch to batch. My boss didn’t like making those – apparently it was hard to get the gray just right in 1,300 gallon batches.

    And yes, I remember the days. Paint the cabinets in the kitchen. Paint the house. Paint the fence. Paint the interior walls of the house. Ooops, paint the fence again because dad bought the wrong shade of red. Sand all of the wooden masts of the sailboat and apply 3 coats of spar varnish. Repaint the fence again because mom wanted it a light blue, not red. 😉 Actually, that never happened that way with the fence. Poetic license ran away with me again.

    Eat fiber. Dringkwater. Do whatever it takes to not get plugged. Ugh! which would be worse, being the person digging out the goo (the digger) or being the one getting the goo dug out of (the diggee)? Neither sounds very pleasant. Eat fiber, drink water.

    There were some very good reasons why I went into physics and not one of the other sciences. Chemists made things stink too much. Biologists had to deal with too many wriggly things that might have poisonous bites or devour me or be a deadly bacterium or something. Medical doctors had to dig goo or look at other things that might ruin one’s appetite. And geologists simply sat around looking bored banging rocks together. I told that to a group of physics lab students on the first day of class. Turned out that 75% of them were geology majors. They were not amused. The others were mostly biology majors. They laughed and agreed with me.

    The apple trees? Yes, when the apples were ripe, it was my job to climb the tree and pick the apples. Mom and dad and sister remained on terra firma. I picked apples, threw them to the rest of the family, who caught them and put them in boxes. I learned to be very accurate with the throws. Dropped apples became apple cider. We did something similar with the cherries.

    You see exactly what the Princess did with the phones! Get the pretty color for her, then DJ has to learn all of the ins and outs of the phone so that he can make hers work the way she wants it to work. Put another way, she appreciates having a trained geek on staff. 😉

    Similarly the local murder of crows likes me. Whenever a crow is unable to crack open a nut, regardless of the height from which the nut is dropped, the nut will eventually land near my feet. I’ll then break it open and take it to where the crow had been trying to open it. The murder probably brags to other crows about having a trained human at their beck and call.

    Hope obedience school works out for Ruby and Sandra. If it works for them the way it worked for me with Thor and for me with Avalanche, Sandra might learn more than Ruby. Also, with both Thor and Avalanche, what they seemed to learn first and foremost was that they ARE valued. This helped their confidence levels. Then they were able to figure out their place in the pack. Neither Thor nor Avalanche were interested in learning standard tricks. However, it was the new attitudes that were learned by both the dogs and me that made things work. Thor’s change was immediate and dramatic. For Avalanche, it isn’t until a few weeks after class is completed that the changes appear. My guess is that Ruby will be more like Avalanche than Thor in that regard.

    Oh, dang! I DID rather screw that up didn’t I? Well, at 6 this morning it was 0C and raining. And foggy. Two hours later it was +1C and raining. And foggy. At 11 a.m. it was still raining and had climbed to +2C. With continued fog. The leaves that had not yet turned color were all yellows and reds today. Perfect day for tourists to come view the leaves!


  18. Hi DJ,

    Colour is a very complicated subject, and yields only to intense analysis – not to mention good eyesight! And the end result also depends upon the undercoat used. With the cupboards, there were four layers of a grey undercoat before it became solid, and six layers of the intense blue top coat. I’m guessing the reason people don’t take this much cheaper (not to mention more interesting) option these days, because it turns up wearing overalls and looks like hard work!

    And exactly, taking things to 11 is a problem – incidentally the amplifier I restored, only has dials which go to 10 or 10db. I’m beginning to feel the lack. 🙂 Anywhoo, this is a problem for sure and you’d have to consider that the machine is ultimately suspect. 🙂 Do they actually sell amplifiers with dials that go to 11? Hmm, let’s find out… … Well that was an interesting interweb rabbit hole (did your mum ever say that you were a bad influence, hmm? 😉 ), turns out that there was a special amp produced with dials that went to 11, and for some vintage amps, production face plates were produced which niftly provided the desired 11 on the dial without all that unnecessary mucking around with the circuitry. Bizarrely, dials going to 12 seem not uncommon, although I couldn’t quite understand why that would be.

    Ah, polyurethane is a very useful product. Oh yeah, mixing the chemicals required to produce that grey colour consistently in that huge volume, would be a nightmare job. And the cleaning process between one batch and the next would certainly give the person subject to a bad case of the dreaded purisms, the vapours. Hey, it’s good to work in places which have to produce stuff that people use. I’ve also worked on a production line straight after finishing high school, and not to mention the years in manufacturing. People tend to think that this making stuff is easy, but not so!

    Mate, painting any fence is a pain, and it is only those who’ve had to laboriously paint a picket fence, who know the sort of trouble they are. As a bloke with a background in physics, you’d know about surface area, and pickets have that trick sorted. I’ve watched people spraying picket fences, but so much paint is lost in the process, and usually on the plants growing near to the fences. Oh well. Hey, wouldn’t painting a fence red, or light blue, be misinterpreted in your country as a political statement? It’s a brave ‘never-happened’ move if I may say so. 🙂 Very funny too! There is a political party down here which has taken on the light blue colour symbolism, and they call themselves the teals, although that word always makes me think of seals. Sure, they’re not the same thing, but seals are lovely creatures, so long as they don’t bite. That would hurt.

    This kind of clogged up guts story is what you’re left with after listening to the science hour on the national youth music broadcaster! There’s an old saying that, sometimes you can’t un-hear something. In such cases, the difficulty is halved by sharing the story, or at least it feels that way to me. But yeah, it’s quite motivational to hear such stories, then regularly consume fibre, and drink water. Ook! I’ve always enjoyed my fibre rich breakfast of toasted muesli, fruit and yoghurt combo. Nowadays I bake the muesli from raw materials, batches of yoghurt are made every five days or so, and some of the fruit is derived from here.

    Hehe! Most of the geologists I reckon would be hired by the big miners, and probably sent out into the wilderness to go and find stuff to dig. That’s funny, and glad to hear that at least the aspiring biologists enjoyed the humour. I tend to agree with your summary of the realities of those scientific paths. Anyway, physicists get the biggest and most complicated toys to play with, hopefully they don’t muck it up. Ollie gets that instruction every time we leave the house. Ollie! You’re in charge. Don’t muck it up.

    And your family would have gotten better at catching the thrown apples. This talk of getting any cherries from the trees is totally teasing those who have to deal with hordes of hungry birds.

    Your lady was wise to go down that path with the phones, and hey, I know that story. Chris, how do you do blah, blah, blah on the phone/computer… Trained geeks of the world, unite! 🙂

    The crows are super clever to have trained you to assist them in their enterprises. When we split firewood, if any wood grubs are found, I’ll toss them to the grateful magpies and kookaburras who hang around knowing they’ll get an easy feed. A King Parrot has become quite friendly recently.

    That’s kind of what we’re hoping. The training goes both ways, and probably I’ve got this odd hunch that dog obedience schools train the humans more so than the canines. It’s good socialising for the dogs anyway. I can’t say that I’ve ever known a dog that wanted to perform tricks, but then I tend to lean towards the ‘free and independently minded’ breeds. And I agree, new attitudes is exactly what everyone wants out of the training. I got the idea from your good self.

    You can laugh, and be full of hubris, but when the streets are clogged with leaf change tourists and Avalanche is barking like a mad dog all day long, things will then be different. Anyway, as you suggest, the season is almost done for you.

    The coming week here is quite cool, but dry. After the coming week though, the forecast is suggesting rain. What an odd growing season it has been, but aren’t they all?



  19. Hi Steve,

    Thanks for the advice, and I will get some more hazelnut trees of different varieties. I have only three, but clearly this isn’t enough. As to planting them, it may have to wait until the rains return in force. It’s been cold and dry of late, which is not a good combination. It’s kind of the worst growing season imaginable, although like your past dry year, the fruit trees are shrugging it off.

    PS: Just looked it up, we have the Cosford variety of Hazelnut.



  20. Hi Lewis,

    No, revenge of the analogue and stuff! Mate, I was never much of a fan of the self checkout, and avoid it, if at all possible. As an inspiration, I have never self checked out at a supermarket, and the local independent we go to, doesn’t even have that option. Honestly, I took one look at a self checkout at a supermarket years ago, and the system appeared to lack the sort of intuitive operation which appeals to my brain, so I never returned. The hardware shop self checkout is easier by a considerable margin.

    And I like how they’ve rebranded theft as ‘shrink’. Sounds so much nicer, doesn’t it? Candidly, the shifty part of my brain was coming up with ways to circumvent the stupid self checkout machines, and weights can be adjusted with a bit of deft handwork – could easily be mucked around with me thinks. Honestly, how hard is it, to simply pay someone to run your items through a checkout?

    You reminded me of some article I saw the other day about a farming robot with a photo of some sort of mars like rover lurking over a vegetable row. As if that machine could be cheaper than paying people? I can’t see how.

    I reckon most of those 5,000 items would have been recovered floating in the water after the ship went down, although the exact number wasn’t provided. The images are amazing, yup! It was hard to ignore the reference to the Meg!

    You can only hope so that the big dude is looking out for you guys. Hope the respect goes two ways, because the big dude might want something in return for that protection? Mutual obligations of course all being part of the social fabric. 🙂 Hey, two words: Good luck! And you thought I might have meant some other two words… Hehe!

    Yeah, maybe you’re right about those pavlovian canine zombies seeking human flesh, although mostly focusing on the human brains. Zombies generally clamour for such food stuffs, everyone knows this. Do you reckon that social scientist also developed the super tasty: Pavlova? So good, but difficult to bake without cracking the crust – the secret is to let it cool in the oven and leave the door to the oven closed. Nothing goes to waste, because cracked up it becomes an Eton Mess. How could such a tasty dessert be mixed up with a cricket match? A very English story, if I may so cheekily add.

    Yes, being at the coal face with any work, does kind of weigh upon a person’s spirit. The work you do, tends to alter your personality in subtle ways. Nobody told me this before setting off on my chosen career. Nowadays when I see financial reports, they tell me a story, which is sometimes at odds to what I’m being told via the more usual method of communication between humans. The story is all there for those with eyes to see. In wiser years you stop even offering unsolicited advice on such matters. Nobody really wants to hear that they can’t afford the crazy scheme they’ve set their heart upon attempting.

    Cool! That essay you linked to last year in the best food writing book, about licking the car item purely for research purposes, was a real hoot! I wish I was able to pen an essay as amusing as that one. That’s a true gift.

    Good stuff. DJ has been working on all of us with his stories of dog obedience school.

    That is close to freezing, but as you correctly note, no cigar. Hey, people probably might not even know what you are talking about in these enlightened times with the line: ‘but no cigar’? If you’d read the rubbish I was subjected to at school, you’d understand… 🙂 Fortunately, due to generational issues, your luck surpassed mine in this matter! Hope the nice weather continues.

    Despite the cold and dry weather, the plants are growing, and soon I will have to hack back the jungle a.k.a. over grown garden beds. Might do some digging tomorrow as it will be 64’F and sunny. We’re having to run the wood heater tonight though as we’re not far off 44’F. Brr! Did a lot of chores and other activities today. All odds and ends stuff, like upgrading a bit of wiring in the battery room and testing all the nuts for tightness. If electrical connections run hot and cold (hopefully they all run cold), then the nuts slowly loosen off, and that’s a recipe for disaster. Anyway, it was all going swimmingly. Filled up the grease gun with a new cartridge. It was that kind of pottering around day, which I very much needed and enjoyed.



  21. @ DJ & Chris – I think it was on “Young Sheldon” that he stated that geology wasn’t a science. It was a hobby 🙂

    Dad was a painter, so, yeah. Color.

    There was a time when cream and green (sometimes called apple green) was popular for kitchens. Started around the 1920s. Even the appliances could be found, in cream and green. Some time or another, I needed to paint a kitchen cabinet (as in, a kitchen queen), cream and green. A lot of the kitchen utensils were also cream and green. So, I took a couple of the utensils in to the paint store, to get a good match. It was pretty close.

    Then there’s the problem of paint, as it dries, is a slightly different color. And we won’t even get into how light impacts color. 🙂 Lew

  22. Yo, Chris – Maybe if they got regular people to test out these systems, instead of just unleashing them on the general public … never mind. Silly me.

    Well. Pesky employees. A pain in the … ear. Besides, as we’ve discussed before, the less the higher ups have to do with people, the more status. Ah, yes. Shrink. And, a lot of it can end up being in the paperwork. I’m probably suppressing the memory, but working in a bookstore, the paperwork was a bit overwhelming. You had shipments coming from dozens (hundreds?) of publishers, and everyone had a different form of packing list. Sometimes glued in little packets on the outside of the boxes, sometimes mixed in with the books, somewhere in the multiple boxes. The invoices came by snail mail, usually, before the shipment arrived. Did the invoice match what was actually in the shipment? Usually. Mostly. Sometimes. If so, the invoice was ok’d for payment. Sent to the home office, every few days, in big special envelopes. I suppose a lot of it is computerized, these days.

    Speaking of employees, I saw this rather interesting article, last night.

    Something a bit new. How to work for two or more companies, on-line. And not get caught at it. There are even web sites, with tips on how to pull that off.

    Yes, some of the farm harvesting machines can be real monsters. And some crops are grown to favor mechanical harvesting. Why we have tomatoes that appear to be strip mined, and not grown. I’ve also read about some new logging machines that are pretty monstrous.

    Speaking of things that grow in the ground, more or less, I picked up a book from the library, yesterday, that looks pretty interesting. “What We Sow: On the Personal, Ecological, and Cultural Significance of Seeds.” (Jewell, 2023).

    Every once in awhile, canine zombies show up in some of the movies. The “Resident Evil” series, has quit a few.

    Pretty much a meringue. You’ve got to leave them alone, for awhile. I thought Eaton Mess was served in the dinning hall, of the school? Saw an article in the newspaper yesterday that we have a new restaurant / bistro in Centralia. Called “British Bites.” Nothing really seemed very British, to me. I was hoping for some pies. Nope. Not even fish and chips. Maybe some of the deserts? But what I did find interesting is that they do have a section of imported British foods. Next time I’m up that way, I’ll have to check it out.

    I watched the first episode of “Wartime Kitchen and Garden.” It’s an older series, so, the two main old duffers, had the actual wartime experience. One’s an old fellow who was a gardener on an estate, the other a lady who had a small cottage, nearby. A nice balance. Learned how to sulphur apples for drying, string onions and waterglass eggs. Ought to look good on my CV. 🙂

    You know how U – Tub has other tantalizing videos, down the right hand side? I spotted a few, I’ll have to get back to. Not part of the series. Some of the titles are: “I Lived Like a 1940s Wartime Housewife for 48 Hours!” and, “Can Modern People Survive on World War Two Food Rations?” And, “I Followed a Wartime Meal Plan for 24 Hours!” The horror, the horror. 🙂

    Jack Frost paid a visit, last night. Winter wonderland, out there. The sun is melting it off, pretty quick.

    Waitin’ for the man. Tip of the hat to Lou Reed. The fellow may or may not show up, to change the tubes in my kitchen light. If he doesn’t show today, well, next Thursday is Thanksgiving. I may be fumbling around in the semi-darkness, trying to get a meal on the table. Lew

  23. Chris,

    I think you’re onto something there. And you know better than most that the products of hard work are more functional and last longer than the “easier” alternatives.

    Another example of that is leaves. Fallen leaves. I’ve watched people in the neighborhood use petrol powered noisy leaf blowers to gather their leaves together. I rake my leaves. Interestingly, the time difference between blowing and raking is minimal. Meanwhile, I get a goodly amount of exercise, can listen to birds, smell the leaves, etc.

    Sending people into interweb rabbit holes is one of the free services I provide. My mother would approve – she always considered me to be very open and sharing, and getting you into an interweb rabbit hole IS a form of sharing, isn’t it? 😉 I think there’s a reason that most amplifiers end at 10 or 12. Most of us are geared to base 10 and have ample experience with purchasing say a dozen eggs or donuts. 11? It’s one of those “prime numbers” that seemed to confuse most of my fellow students back in grammar school. I also remember well the stereo amplifier I grew up with, as well as the one I purchased years later. Neither had numbers on the dials. Little dots or dashes, yes, but no numbers.

    I had various jobs over the years – dishwasher in a nursing home kitchen, the paint factory, delivery dude for a local donut shop, assistant manager of a convenience store are a few of them. One of the best lessons I learned and never forgot was that the line workers and lowest level managers nearly always knew how things actually worked better than the big bosses and owners did. That’s something I kept in mind on my jobs in which I was lead worker and/or supervisor. My background allowed me to listen to staff and consider their ideas rather than be an idiot pointy-haired boss.

    Spray painting a picket fence sounds to me a lot like using the above-mentioned leaf blower to pile leaves. It sorta does the job but leaves a big stink and other messes. Also, I’ve not heard about anyone getting talked at because their fence was offensive due to it being blue or red. If I had a fence of either color, and if somebody took me to task about it, I’d seriously wonder why their chosen religion was rabid politics.

    I used to listen regularly to a little radio program entitled “Ask Dr. Science”. It was on National Public Radio and was a 2 minute “filler” between programs. The host would state a question from a listener then give an answer. The answer could either be factual or sarcastic. Often the answer was both. The program ended with something along the lines of “Ask Dr. Science anything about science and I’ll answer it, because I’ve got a MASTER’S degree. In science.” The biggest thing I learned from listening to that program was to never ever under any circumstances whatsoever, never listen to it where other physics graduate students and/or professors could hear it. The senses of humor rivalled those of the physics guys who lynched the grad student who invented the infinite improbability drive because he was a smart arse.

    My university chemistry professor said that “Biologists love to play with green wiggly things, chemists make a stink and physicists simply make bigger and better guns.” (Yes, he was the source of my statement to my class.) The day he said that in class, several of us almost died laughing. Everybody knew my dad was one of the physics professors and that I worked in the physics lab. He asked us why…I replied that the afternoon before, I had set up my dad’s favorite demonstration which featured a lab-made air gun shooting a bolt at a metal can. I got the air pressure so high that the metal bolt that was fired blew through the metal can, into and through a wall and shattered an empty glass beaker in the chemistry lab storage area. Bigger and better gun, indeed. 🙂

    “… and Avalanche is barking like a mad dog all day long…” Ha! Joke’s on you, mate. Avalanche doesn’t bark. She might howl or yammer, but barking is extremely rare and only lasts for one or two barks. To be honest, however, she could yammer and yowl and howl all day with only the occasional break for water and other, um, necessities. Oh, wait, semantics. I guess that she would irritate or whatever with the infinite yammering. Darn.

    If you ever have a normal growing season, please tell me. I have yet to see one. Likewise, if we ever have a normal winter, I’ll tell you. What is this normal thing, anyhow?


  24. Hi DJ,

    Thanks, and seriously, I’m really trying hard here to ensure that everything works as you’d imagine it might. Funnily enough, I listened to a youth news program a couple of days ago which mentioned an upswing in the repair culture with younger folks, and it was good to see that as the economics decline, everything old becomes new again!

    The plan is to get stuck into checking and sharpening the cutting blades on the scary old wood chipper tomorrow. A lot of dismantling needs to take place before I can get to the blades. Oh well, nobody said this stuff would be easy.

    I’m coming around to the perspective that a lot of the older tech stuff is easier to repair, than it’s newer compatriots. The two FM tuners I restored recently, not to mention the amplifier, are pretty complicated, but simple to restore.

    Man, the whole leaf on ground plus blower thing is super weird. What folks forget, is that the leaves are free gifts to replenish soil fertility. We run them over in the mowers thus reducing their surface area and making them more easily consumed, but mostly the soil critters will eat them all anyway. I’ve seen people driving them down to the local transfer station / tip, and other people scrape them into piles and burn them off. At least the ash is a fertiliser. But blowing them to the magical land of elsewhere, is just odd. Makes no sense. I’m watching an old BBC series The Victorian Kitchen Garden, and for an estate walled garden, they needed 100 tonnes of manure each year! No point driving soil fertility down to the tip, but this is an unpopular perspective and something people will need to learn the hard way. Right now, half of all meals, anywhere on the planet, are produced using fertiliser derived from natural gas. That’s a bad thing.

    Your mother sounded alright! 🙂 What do you mean, no numbers on the amplifier? Seems like a dodgy plot to avoid that pesky prime number business if you ask me.

    Like you, I too have done similar such work, and it does inform one’s perspective, yes. A wiser path, to a saner journey. It’s good to see the world from the underside, and few people get to enjoy such training in these days where higher educational facilities focus upon the vocational aspects, but from a purely theoretical perspective. As someone who had to study part time at night, whilst working full time, I had the unexpected side benefit of doing every low status accounts job on my way to the top of the profession. As an interesting side effect, over the years some folks reporting to me misrepresented the issues they were having, and technically that was an error of judgement, because they got assistance. I’d have to suggest that their intentions may have been otherwise. 🙂 But the vast majority of folks who’ve I’d been placed in charge of, were really lovely people and just wanted to do their jobs. Most of the mischief if I may add, sometimes derived from higher up the food chain with odd things like management fads, or fetishes.

    It would make you wonder about their life choices and concerns of how they got upset about the paint colour, wouldn’t it? We’re very apathetic on such matters down here, and mostly think that they’re a bunch of grifters who’ll be first against the wall come the revolution! 🙂 Mostly down here, we just hope they shut up, don’t get up to too much mischief, and get on with their jobs. It’s not much to ask for, is it?

    Hehe! Yeah, a wise choice to not be a smart arse if at all possible, if I may say so. Although at times, that’s not always easy to do! 🙂 The science hour down here, is actually a serious Q+A. And the dude does it for an hour. And I believe the bloke has a degree in physics as well. You should so get on the phone, or text line and ask a curly physics question. I actually reckon you may even enjoy the podcast: Dr Karl Podcast

    Nice shot, and glad that nobody was injured in the important physics experiment. That line is pretty funny, and it has a kernel of truth to it.

    Of course, I’d forgotten about the famous huskie howl! Talk about close to wild stock. The two Kelpies happily bark, but Ollie is of a quieter disposition. However, when he decides to bark, the resonance begins at his tail, moves through the chest, then exits the big mouth. Scares the daylights out of me when he does bark, because it’s not only loud, but unexpected. We had a bulk delivery of the crushed rock with lime today, and the dogs were barking at the truck (but out of harms way).

    The guy who drove the truck did a very nice reverse down the drive, and when he got out of the cab, I said to him: Mate, that was a good reverse. And he looked super pleased, because it was nice driving. I’ve got a truck license (from driving the fire trucks, so much fun!) and when I saw what he was doing I could only hope that he didn’t muck it up, which he didn’t. He said he’d had a lot of practice on some of the more hard to get to steeper properties over in the more fashionable end of the mountain range, and it showed.

    We are in agreement here. I have no idea what a normal growing season should be like either. The previous three years have been cold and wet, this year is merely cold and dry (but only spring has been drier). The fruit trees are loving the conditions, with the exception of the apricots, and nothing seems to please them. I spotted bunches of cherries on a tree today, and it looked awesome. Shame the birds will get them all, but no matter.



  25. Hi Lewis,

    The painting is a masterpiece and a national treasure, everyone says so. But are they strawberries, or raspberries? I think that the debate has not been settled and remains open even to this day. It could even be a mix of the two berries for all we know. As far as I’m concerned, before the painting is declared a national treasure, this matter should be settled.

    I get the impression that with complicated processes such as a supermarket check out, the idea is the most important aspect, whereas usability is not rated. So yeah, your suggestion is a goodie! It gets to the core of the question: Are customers important? I tend to believe they are, and so conduct myself along those lines. And yet, there are times when I’ve dealt with large corporates when I get the distinct impression that they don’t like me, or my kind. Hmm.

    And I was so chuffed the other day to flip an identification process onto a government employee who’d called me. So satisfying that he was outraged that I’d done so. And why not, if the shoe were on the other foot…

    The problem with getting that high into the corporate ladder, is that they can forget that humans are what the enterprise inevitably has to work with and for. Don’t you reckon it’s amusing when such folks make clueless gaffes? During that which dare not be named, one high up public servant down here even spoke the line aloud: “Brave New World”. Talk about the wrong thing to say…

    You’ve just described part of my work – dealing with paperwork that has no fixed standard. There have been attempts to produce a standard, and there are some legal requirements in relation to this stuff, but a person has to be able to discern what the paperwork is in fact about. If it was all standard… Ah, you mention the matching of supplier bills to your purchase orders. A tricksy and often complicated process. You’d be amazed at how few folks comprehend the more complicated aspects of inventory systems.

    Thanks for that article on over-employment. What an article. I salute the folks who can pull off such a trick and get away with it, they’re probably super competent people. A funny thing about it, was that the scars left from the recession of the early to mid 1990’s, left a similar impact upon the Editor and I. Instead of having a J2 and J3, we fixed up houses at night and on weekends, and simply worked ourselves hard for the same goals as those over-employment folks. I really like their goals. It always amuses me when people comment here saying how hard we work. Trust me in this, when we were younger, we worked much harder than today.

    All those monster machines to do such labour intensive jobs are really just a moment in time. Oh holy carp! Petrol reached a new high today. $2.22 per litre ($8.44 a gallon)! Youchie! Managed to nab a photo too. Interestingly I noticed that the general store was a bit quieter this afternoon.

    I’d had a pair of new work boots on order, and they arrived in the mail today. Putting them on this afternoon was a sublime experience. All the small things, I guess.

    An interesting perspective on seeds. I hope it’s a good read, and will be most interested to learn of your opinion of the books contents. Given the concentrated ownership of seed production, it should be a subject which worries people, but nobody seems to give a…

    Hehe! Canine zombies. And there was that vampire Pomeranian in the Blade series. One of the Alien franchise may have joined with a dog and produced a hybrid monster, and that was pretty scary.

    Oh, yeah, nah! Pavlova is so much more. It’s like a meringue that’s the size of a cake, and the filling is soft with a baked crust. Add cream (proper stuff) and summer berries, and that’s a winning dessert. Probably a lot of sugar, but the yummies are so good.

    Isn’t that British place a bit like the Aussie restaurant chain which probably doesn’t have pavolva? Shame there are no pies. There’d be a market for them. You might marmite there?

    Thanks for suggesting this series, and I’ll watch it next up. The bloke who does the actual work in The Victorian Kitchen Garden is of a similar pedigree, in that he’d worked at the manor for over four decades, and saw how things used to be done. It’s quite interesting to see how the aristocracy there possibly had less mad cash by the time 1983 rolled around.

    Those are the teaser utoob videos! What can a person learn in 48 hours? That’s a good question too, because I was in the hardware shop the other day, and some of the folks around me were quite broad. I have a hunch, they won’t survive on WWII rations…

    That’s it for your growing season. Jack Frost signals the end, until next season.

    Did the repair dude turn up today? At least the light wasn’t flickering, that’s headache inducing.

    Yes, all true about paint. It does dry a different colour. I’ve been considering that issue lately due to thinking about recoating the timber floors here. I’m trying to work out a way to do only part of the room and a little bit at a time. Seems like nobody has attempted this, but I don’t see why it isn’t possible. Have you ever heard of anyone doing such a thing?



  26. Hi, Chris!

    You have put so much work into this new enclosure. I hope that it will be respected – parrots not withstanding.

    What a nice kitchen! It has rather a Scandinavian look to me. And I like that blue. Clever of you to go back to the basic cabinet – though that’s a lot of painting! You have wood floors in the kitchen like we do.

    I am trying to identify where to stock up on extra parts in the house and garden. The vehicles are left to others. The next thing I am buying are toilet parts for our two toilets.

    I find fruit so hard to produce, mostly because of all the critter vandals. I guess commercial orchards have completely wiped out the wildlife in their area. There are always birds, though. Mulberries do really well here, growing wild, also. You can’t get those at a store. And at the store, bananas are still cheap and citrus, except for lemons, seems not to have changed much. I expect those prices to go down by about January. Apples should be cheap, this being their season, but they are not. And, of course, there is always the quality factor. Sweet potatoes/yams always go way, way down in price just before the holidays. They are $.29 per pound now (why doesn’t my computer have a “cents” sign?). We grew alot of sweet potatoes this year so I don’t need any for a long time. I wish I had time to buy some and can them.

    It is time to be putting together seed packages for friends and relatives of the seeds that we have saved.

    What a beautiful storm photo.

    We are having a lot of wildfires in our area, more than I ever remember at once. Nothing near to us so far, but the smoke is terrible once again, like it was in the summer from the Canadian wildfires. We have only had one small rain shower all fall, that is the reason. There is a chance for rain tonight, but not a very good one.

    The succulents are astounding. We have just brought ours in for the winter. The sage and roses are a special treat. Thanks for all the flowers!


  27. Yo, Chris – I thought the same thing. Raspberries or strawberries? Wild strawberries (as you know) can be quit small. So, maybe. And, another artist “find.”

    Gosh, France just wants to keep it all 🙂 .

    Some of the articles about the decline of self-checkout mentioned a northern England chain. Besides the usual reasons for retreating from the tech, they also mentioned that their customers really missed the personal contact, with the checkers. You know, there are many people out there, who the only ongoing human contact they have is the weekly trip to their grocer. Especially among elderly people.

    Better find out who that government employees boss is. There may be retaliation. One of the food boxes I get, I need to get re-certified, every year. The past two years, the woman who does the re-certification, has managed to screw it up. The first year, she lost my application. The second, she claimed I made too much money (I didn’t). In both cases, I talked to our community outreach person, and she got it straightened out … with her boss. I just sent in this years, and I’m wondering if things will come off without a hitch … or not.

    Speaking of food boxes, we get one, today. A different source. Hmmm. Eleanor is still signed up for it, and if I’m fast, and the timing is right, I might be able to snag it for the Club pantry. I wonder if there will be anything for Thanksgiving?

    One of our past presidents kept banging on about “The New World Order.” Poor choice of words. Set the conspiracy theory folks off.

    Invoices and packing lists could be a bit cryptic. Strange codes that indicated titles were not sent due to being out of stock, for one reason or another. With luck, there would be a “key” to the codes.

    Food boxes are here. Back soon. ….

  28. …and, back to our regularly scheduled programing. Now, where was I?

    Well, a lot of employees trigged to the fact that any loyalty to some employers, was not returned. In the best of times, it’s a two way street.

    Well, if you’re work boots turn out to be too small, you know who to pass them onto. 🙂

    I read some more in the book on seeds, last night. Unless she gets out of N. California, and stops banging on about the oak trees, I’m going to start skimming.

    The gardener from the manor commented on how old and valuable plantings had to be ripped out, to provide room for food. And how a lot of gardeners felt pretty sad about that. But, knew that “needs must.” Most of the estates had green houses, so, more exotic and tender food stuffs could be grown. Such as, onions. He did mention that a few climbing roses were spared, as they took up so little space.

    There were a few studies done, and, actually, across the population, general health improved. Poorer people got better nutrition. Especially, children. The better off had to cut calories, here and there, lost weight, and the incidence of heart attack and stroke, dropped. War industries provided lunch rooms, with fairly well balanced and regular meals.

    The repair dude, did not show. I guess he had more pressing projects, in the building. So, what with next Thursday being Thanksgiving, I guess I won’t have full light in my kitchen for at least two weeks. This is not acceptable.

    I don’t think I’d try and refinish a floor, piecemeal. Unless you can arrange rugs and furniture to mask the transition areas. 🙂

    That’s a really great tree. I bet it gives the liability insurance people the fantods.

    I baked up a double batch of banana muffins, last night. With cranberry, pumpkin and sunflower seeds. Took a few to the Club. Dinner was rice, garbanzo beans, a small handful of dried tomatoes and some quartered fresh brussels sprouts.

    I went to the store and settled on a 5+ pound chicken, to bake. There was a lot of running around, to find the baking bags. Were they with the kitchen gadgets, parchment paper, baking stuff? No. Maybe by the actual frozen birds? No. Luckily, a clerk remembered seeing them next to the canned cranberries and dressing. So, I got a box and have been reading the instructions.

    So, our box came. Nothing really screamed “Thanksgiving.” Not even a tin of yams or pumpkin. So what did we get? Anything with a * I’m putting on the swap table.

    A big bag of frozen Tatinos pizza rolls.* A six pack of individual “flying fruit punch.”* A dozen medium sized eggs, not too far past the expiration date. A small loaf of french bread*, one croissant*, and a smashed piece of chocolate cake.* A pack of vanilla sugar wafers*, a 1 lb. box of butter product, a 2 lb. bag of yellow split peas, a 1 lb. bag of walnut pieces, an odd looking squash of some kind (I’m tempted to add it to the “decor” on the front porch. The pumpkin looks lonely.) A 1 lb. bag of white rice, a box of spaghetti pasta, 2 boxes of Mac & Cheese, a jar of peanut butter and a jar of grape jelly, a box of corn flakes cereal.

    On to the tins. Two tins of diced tomatoes. One tin each of mixed veg, mixed fruit, garbanzo beans, salmon, veg/beef soup, cream corn, pears, green beans, and Beefaroni. There was also a large can of Mexican hot and spicy Menudo. I had to look it up. It’s a soup made with beef tripe, ie: stomach lining. Nope. Not going there.

    And, yes, I managed to snag Elinor’s box. LOL. Her daughter showed up later, and asked if Elinor had got a box. I lied through my teeth and said I’d crossed her off the list. The daughter said, “Good.” Whew! I can sleep, tonight. 🙂 I think I’ve mentioned Elinor is a food hoarder. And, the way things are going, her daughter is going to have to deal with that, sooner or later. Lew

  29. Chris,

    I’ve noticed that several of the younger people I know understand the coming changes quite well. Not all of them, but several. And those that do get it are learning repairs and other ways of doing things.

    If repairing equipment were easy, then everybody could and would do it and there would be no need for ever upgrading the equipment. Follow the money.

    In Spokane city, leaves can be blown, raked or whatever into the streets before November. The City will pick them up and add them to its composting project. Some people will actually rake their leaves, put them in bags, then have the City take the bags. The problem with piling loose leaves into the street…well, if there are a lot of leaves in the street and then if it rains hard, the leaves will plug up the storm drains, and the streets will flood. Happened this year.  

    And it STILL doesn’t take much longer to rake and bag rather than use the blower. Of course, my leaves will go into the garden areas and get dug in so maybe the soil will improve somewhat.

    You observed what I observed and experienced. The bulk of problems on the job came from unmanagement, mismanagement, petty management or the latest management fads and fetishes. The rest of us just wanted to get our jobs done as easily and correctly as possible. With a few exceptions, of course, but most of us wanted to get the job done with the least amount of hassle and disruption.

    And minimize meetings. I began refusing meeting invitations whenever possible. If asked why, I’d quote the Dilbert cartoon: “I always avoid meetings with time wasting morons.” Another career limiting statement, but I attended fewer meetings that way. 😉

    Expecting elected officials to mostly do their jobs without creating havoc shouldn’t be too much to ask. However, that’s one of those things where theory and reality don’t match. I remember the time that about a dozen wild turkeys had congregated on the County campus right outside the courthouse, which also housed all of the elected officials. Surprisingly, most people did NOT know what the birds were. I was asked by several coworkers and passing strangers. My response to every query was “Those are elected officials.”

    Thanks. I listened to a couple Dr. Karl podcasts. Interesting and fun and informative.

    If I were going to ask him anything, I would have 2 questions. First: Why is the Copenhagen Interpretation of Quantum Theory still the basis even though it contradicts Einstein, yet there are other interpretations of Quantum Theory that are less complicated and do NOT contradict Einstein? Second: We worked with Principle of Least Action in university senior Electricity and Magnetism. Our professor told us that if one started with Principle of Least Action, then ALL of physics could be derived from it. If this is the case, then why are physicists still searching for the Grand Unification Theory if the Principle of Least Action both explains everything and is simpler.

    Notes about the second question. The Grand Unification Theory is an attempt to explain all of the various forces in physics- gravity, electricity and magnetism, strong nuclear force, weak nuclear force. It is NOT the attempt to reconcile Quantum Theory and Einstein’s Relativities. Also, true story, my Electricity Professor did say what I noted in the 2nd question. I then asked the above question. It was dead quiet. Finally, another student quipped, “If they did physics based on Least Action, then all of the grant money for Grand Unification research would dry up and some people would lose their jobs.” Class was rapidly dismissed. I was NOT the only smart arse on that class!

    Driving truck like that guy is a true skill and an art form. I’ve witnessed some truck drivers steer their rigs into some amazing places. I once had the (unearned) reputation of being able to drive anything. (Hint: I couldn’t.) Some of the places truckers can drive into I wouldn’t want to try in my Subaru!

    Cherries equals food for birds in my yard too. I don’t really mind, as I enjoy having a plethora of birds around.


  30. Hi Pam,

    The parrots are respectful, of their own perquisites! Working out how to live with all of the hungry forest critters here is quite the interesting problem to consider.

    Thanks, and the blue colour used on the cupboards is most uncommon these days. Most folks seem to favour an all white kitchen. Yawn! The floors are a hardwood eucalyptus species which provides a red-hued grain. Good to hear that you use timber floors in the kitchen too, and I’ll bet they look good. Although I have to re-oil the floors, and am putting that job off because I’m trying to work out how to only do only a section of the floor at a time. People advise against doing this, but there must be a way…

    That’s also a problem which is on my mind. What parts to have and maintain? I really don’t know, but working toilets is a good start. We have a brand down here called ‘Fix A Loo’, and they sell the replacement parts – although the flush seals did not fit the old ceramic pan which hadn’t been made for a dozen years, which lead me on a long and dark toilet journey ultimately replacing the pan. I hear you about the cars, and likewise have an old school mechanic I trust. I wish he wouldn’t smoke so heavily, but on the other hand he knows his stuff.

    I replaced the three blades in the scary old wood chipper today, and was amazed by the difference. The machine is even more scary now. My thinking in this matter is that it is best to maintain what ya got. 🙂

    It’s not just you with that issue as to fruit production and hungry critters. And yes, that’s exactly what they do. Net the lot, and kill or clear off any birds and rodents which may have circumvented the netting. It’s better to slowly learn how to deal with the hungry hordes and adapt as you go. Hungry critters will also be converting plant materials into soil food. I’ve never seen Mulberries for sale down here either, but the plants grow really well and I also like the fruit.

    Sorry to say, but bananas have been grown for so long in the same plots that I reckon eventually the yellow Cavendish variety may succumb to a fungi. Every year I’m seeing slightly more affected fruit. Not to worry though, there are other banana varieties. I’m surprised lemons are expensive in your part of the world – you’ve seen the tree here. Food is cheap in your part of the world, and the humble potato grown locally is around $1 per pound. And sweet potatoes can’t grow in these parts due to the cooler nights.

    That’s a really thoughtful gift. I’d appreciate it.

    Did you get the rain? It’s dried up here too, although a tiny little bit of rain falls most weeks. But, it’s cold. Today I was able to work until the early evening, and usually it’s so hot at this time of year that this is not possible and I finish at a late lunchtime. The climate is most definitely changing in odd ways.

    The succulents over winter in those beds, and can even survive a light snowfall and frost. With a little bit of warming in your part of the world, things may work out for those plants? Anywhoo, my pleasure and expect more flowers soon.



  31. Hi DJ,

    Yeah, some younger folks are getting the message, and that’s why I mentioned the ‘repair culture’ story on the youth news program. And they mentioned in the report that it’s catching on with younger folks. Economics will sort the whole mess out anyway, mostly because people won’t have a choice. I always think back to the story of selling the old couch which had a brick propping up one corner during the recessionand how it was perceived as having value in those days even in that state.

    The early part of the today was spent breaking apart a huge boulder into smaller (yet still massive) chunks of rocks. The low gradient path project demands more rocks, and rocks it shall have! I only got through half of the boulder today too… It was super tough granite, oh well.

    Had a late lunch after the rock breaking, then after that I decided to replace the three cutting blades on the scary old wood chipper. The replacement blades arrived in the mail the other day. You never know whether they’ll be an exact fit or what, but they went in perfectly, except for the odd allen-key size on the older blades. The replacements fortunately included metric bolts and nuts. The whole job took about two hours, but far out, the machine is now feral good. I thought it was good before… I suspect the old blades in the machine were the original set given the level of damage to the blades. Two of the three blades can be sharpened and kept as spares. And I ordered another spare set.

    Yes, you are correct – follow the money.

    Have you ever purchased any compost from the city? With all those leaves, it might be pretty good. But yeah, I see what you mean about the leaves blocking up the drains when a heavy rain hits. In another week’s time, the forecast is suggesting heavy rains will fall here originating from the Coral Sea. The plants will appreciate the rain.

    Blowers make little sense to me for that use, and yes that’s my thoughts too. We use leaf rakes, and simply chuck the leaves onto garden beds, or run the whole lot over with the mower. Greater surface area speeds up decomposition. However, I do have a mains powered blower (solar in this case) which I use to clean up the machines after every single use. An old school mechanic taught me that trick after complaining at how grotty the machines were which we took to him for repairs. 🙂 Not much organic matter can stick to a machine when it’s hit by hurricane! And the mains powered blower is quieter and more powerful than one of those two stroke or even battery powered machines. Part of maintenance here is cleaning up the machines after every use. People don’t tend to do that, and so they get grumpy when their machines don’t last all that long – like mower decks rusting out because there is a layer of damp grass stuck to the undersides.

    You were there too? 🙂 Oh man, I had a pivotal moment when in my most senior role when I was hauled into a meeting for some unknown purpose, and the boss, who was a very wealthy gentleman, asked me to conduct an analysis of the phone costs (which were pretty minor all things considered). Internally I was thinking: I’m not paid enough for this poop! Externally I offered the reply “no”, and walked out of the meeting. Doesn’t make for friends, but it does tend to make for speedier meetings! The problem is, I’m just not wired for such a combative approach, and in the longer term it took a toll on me. It’s funny knowing what you have to do to survive such an environment (I enjoyed your career limiting move by the way and respected it!), but not be able to keep up the energy to continue to do so.

    In meetings, nobody can hear you scream! Sorry for the dodgy Alien film joke. However, in small business, meetings are brief and to the point. They can’t afford to waste time! All up, I’d say that I’m happier working in and with small businesses.

    What do you mean that the folks didn’t know a turkey when they saw one? You’re kidding me, aren’t you?

    Yeah, he’s alright that bloke on the podcast (of course I listen to it live on the air). And even better, when he doesn’t know, he says so.

    Oh DJ, sorry but I didn’t understand any of the concepts or dissension behind either Quantum mechanics or the Theory of Relativity. I’m sure they’re important, but I just don’t understand! Anyway, what if dog hair really is fur, and for conventions sake as a society we just simply called it hair? Avalanche will of course have a double coat, but is it fur? 🙂

    Good to hear that there were multiple smart asses in the class! Keeps a lecturer on their toes lest they become complacent.

    The guy did an amazing reversing job with the truck, and glad to hear that you’re not tempting the driving gods! The new Dirt Rat Suzuki has a reversing camera, but I’m very reluctant to give up on the older more manual driving skills, and so ignore the thing. It’s also good to have a new stash of the crushed rock with lime, and we’ve already used some of it. The prices are on the up, but that whole supply is one big use of diesel fuel from start to finish.



  32. Hi Lewis,

    You’re probably right about the wild strawberries, but then if strawberries are depicted as raspberries – is that even art? 🙂

    They do seem rather hesitant to let the art works leave the country don’t they. But what I wanted to know is how a person has a painting from 1280 in their kitchen?

    Mate, I live in the bush, and have long noticed that people up here get their regular social contact in all manner of ways. Conversations are never brief, although I am hesitant in responding to questions from bank tellers, following on from a withdrawal of mad cash: So what are you going to do with the cash? Hmm. Crosses a boundary me thinks. Have you ever been confronted with that question? I can think of some amusing replies.

    I don’t think there’ll be retaliation for that phone call, maybe. Clearly messing up your food box paperwork clearly displays a gift the lady in question wields. Was it just your food box, or others? I recall those issues, and it is good you have someone who can sort out the mess. If past performance is any guide, my gut feeling suggests you’ll need to get assistance again this year. But you never know!

    Good stuff, and your deft footwork scored the box for the Club pantry. A nice move, and the food is going to a good home there.

    Ook! I see your current incumbent has recently used similar, if not the same language. Do they have the same speech writers, that were used back in the day? It wasn’t all that long ago President Bush was saying such unusual choices of words. Unfortunately whenever I hear the word ‘bush’, I think of the forests here, or weed, but certainly not that guy.

    I once paid for a consultants report that arrived with no glossary of terms. Who knew that something in the report that sounded like plain English, was actually a complicated definition. But without the glossary, the simple definition stood!

    Well yeah, when I was a young bloke I heard the talk about ‘loyalty’ and ‘job for life’. Then in my first adult job I was made redundant. It’s a hard way to learn, but there you go. Nowadays when I hear the words ‘loyalty’ from that lot, I do wonder what they mean. Probably not the usual definition of the word. Fortunately being self employed and sort of independent, I don’t have to worry about such things, I could be discarded much quicker. In such circumstances it is wide to have income from a diverse base – like those over-employed folks.

    Hehe! Lewis, I do hope not to get too big for my boots! 🙂

    Out of curiosity, has the author actually grown any oak trees from the seed she is so fond of mentioning? I thought the book might have be onto something interesting.

    Broke up a large boulder, or more technically, only half of the large boulder. By the end of that work, it was a late lunch and I was feeling as hot as the machines were. Best to stop for lunch at such moments. Had a freshly baked roll cut in half (just like the boulder) with blackberry jam on one side, and peanut butter on the other (I ate these halves separately). The main lunch course was a large bowl of random garden green, some cheese and a couple of eggs. So nice.

    Lunch was a bit odd as I must have slipped into a temporal anomaly. One minute it was 2:15pm, and the next it was 3:45pm. I blame the book I was reading, it’s engrossing. Anyway, after lunch I went down to the shed and replaced the cutting blades on the scary old wood chipper. Man, the new blades are awesome, and the machine used to work well, but this is the whole next level. The blades I pulled out of the machine looked as if they were the original – which they may have been. Ordered another set of blades this evening to keep as a spare which I can swap in and out as needed. One of the older blades looked as though rocks had been fed through the machine – a possibility for sure.

    Jimmy Red is a fine corn to grow. The article suggested that the kernels need to be dried for the flavour to come through, and that would suit me. One of the reasons I don’t grow corn is due to not really knowing what to do with the harvest. Jimmy Red on the other hand sounds good to me. Especially if it requires less water to grow. Did you find that to be true?

    That makes sense about overall health improving, but people do so like their processed foods. Read an interesting reference recently that people who’ve had to chew on their food when younger, generally have better teeth and overall jaw health. There was some odd study I read about a couple of years ago with rural identical twins where one of them headed into the city – and the study showed photos of the twins side by side, and it was a bit scary to note the differences.

    Bummer about the repair dude doing a no-show. Have you got a portable lamp to use in the meantime?

    That transition between one area of floor oiling and the next is what worries me about doing the work that way. Still, it’s a problem and I’m thinking about it.

    It wasn’t just the liability folks, climbing the tree gave me the fantods! The Editor was using some very disparaging language to describe my attempted climb. Apologies were made, because whilst she climbed a little bit higher, neither of us were that far off the ground. I noticed that the steel pegs look closer together these days.

    That’s a good sized chicken for roasting. I’ll be very curious as to your opinion of how the meat roasted with using those bags.

    What’s with the yams being a Thanksgiving thing? Yams down here are an entirely different indigenous root vegetable.

    I reckon almost half the box ended up on the swap table. Hope you upgraded to some better stuff via the swap table? The tins seemed like a better score, although Beefaroni suggests much. Never seen the stuff down here. And life is too short for tripe, although I’m told it’s an offal delicacy. It stinks.

    You can rest assured knowing you’re doing a good deed, and the coast, sorry I meant to say, the conscience is clear!



  33. Chris:

    I’m with you on blah kitchens. Ours has two darkish, honey-colored log walls, another wall mostly covered by an old wooden free-standing cupboard, and one white wall. The ceiling and floor are wood. It would be kind of dark in there with all that wood, so the cabinets are painted bright yellow.

    All our floors are Southern Yellow Pine, like the logs. That stuff has gotten harder every year (32 years) and, interestingly, though we have not varnished the floors since the first time, they are still rather shiny even though the original finish has mostly worn off. All those feet (dogs and cats, too) over so many years?

    I do love my bananas; I eat three a day. Sometimes I see ones in the store, quite green, with green spots. I have always wondered if that’s blight and I avoid them.

    We only got a bit of rain. I heard firetrucks down on our 2-lane highway this morning. Not good.

    In the garden I saw two frogs and some wild violets blooming. They should both be asleep. However, the bugs are not – so why not also be out? I just hope the bears are asleep . . .


  34. Chris:

    I often think of what Mr. Greer told us so long ago: “Collapse now and avoid the rush.” And I am so glad that you and I listened because I feel so much calmer thinking about – though there is still much to be done! – the things that we have already accomplished at this point in time.


  35. Chris:

    Just back in from the garden. So – it’s mid-November, pretty much everything but the brassica family should be dead as we have had a number of nights of freezing or below, but the daytime temps have been pretty high and we still have:

    Peppers on not-dead, though looking a little worn, plants
    More blooming marigolds than I have seen just about anywhere
    Cosmos blooming
    Geraniums blooming
    Even some impatiens blooming
    Tons of nasturtiums blooming
    Calendula blooming
    Tobacco that wasn’t picked still growing
    Volunteer tomatoes, peppers, and tobacco plants that won’t make it through the winter, but they usually don’t pop up this late

    I like it! Unless it throws the fruit trees off and they start blooming before spring . . .


  36. Yo, Chris – LOL. What is art? Do you really want to go there? Besides the seed book, I’m reading “The Upside-Down World: Meetings with the Dutch Masters.” (Moser, 2023). I’m quit enjoying it. The author won a Pulitzer Prize for another book he wrote.

    They never quit tell you all the story. As how the painting ended up in a kitchen. Especially given the subject matter. I mean, I have a Currier and Ives or two in my kitchen, but they’re of piles of fruit. Although, many cultures have some kind of religious tat, in kitchens.

    No, I’ve never been asked by a bank teller, what I intended to do with mad cash. Responses could be amusing, but might lead to a less amusing visit by some authority or another. Moving around large amounts of cash, here, leads to reports to the Federal Government. Hmmm. There was an article about that recently. Banks canceling people’s, or small businesses accounts, with little or no notice. Because of “suspicious activity.”

    As far as the food boxes go, I know where to lean to get results. At one point, I just hinted the some sort of prejudice might have been involved. Boy, that got results.

    Good speech writers seem to be valued, and move from administration to administration. Yes, that was the previous president I was thinking off. Oh, I miss Molly Ivins. A reporter, satirist, and general all around wit. She once wrote a book about that political dynasty, and titled it, “Shrub.” 🙂

    Jobs for life. Yes, heard that a lot, growing up. Even in the Land of Stuff, they had what they called “The Iron Rice Bowl.” Back to the French, again. Fiddling with people’s promised retirement does seem to cause a certain amount of … unrest.

    Hat size may be more of a problem 🙂 .

    The seed book still might take off. I think they’re going to get into things like seed exchanges.

    Time is a funny thing. Sometimes if moves slowly, and other times gallops along.

    Yes, best keep that wood chipper in tip top shape. In case you need to dispose of a body, or something.

    My Jimmy Red corn isn’t near the size of those cobs, pictured. I like how when I shuck it, it’s sometimes near white, and as it dries turns that red color. Love-in-the-Mist flowers start off white, and turn blue over a few days. My corn seemed to need a lot of water, but, due to all the soil moving around, last year, I think it just didn’t have the organic material to hold water. I’m working on that. In that patch, I’ve already worked in the leaves from the mammoth sunflower, what was left of the zucchini and even cut up some of the corn stocks. There will be more to come.

    There’s a stove hood light, a hall light and an over the sink light. All together, they’re ok, but still aren’t as bright as the two tube lights.

    I think I might have meant sweet potatoes, instead of yams. Though I’ve seen both on holiday tables.

    I took the Menudo down to the Club, wondering if anyone would be interested. An older Native American lady I know, jumped on it. Turns out she spent quit a bit of time, with a Mexican foster family, when she was young. And, loves the stuff. Made her day, and, by extension, mine.

    I think my friend Julia is on her way out. She’s been in the hospital for quit awhile, and word is, she’s been sent home for the final act. She will be missed. Lew

  37. Hi Pam,

    Unfortunately I have to be brief as there’s writing yet to be done!

    🙂 Mr Greer’s wise saying can also be changed around a bit to suggest that a person lives within their means, and also keeps an eye on the future so that if means are reduced (and that looks the way of things to me), then a person knows how to navigate that road. I read the headlines in the news of the day, and seriously people are complaining about global warming and not enough cheap airfares all on the same day. At best, it is a confused mindset. I can think of other ways to describe the confusion. It’s a bit bonkers really.

    Cool and respect. 🙂 Bright yellow is a fine choice, and I do wonder why folks seem to want interiors that replicate hotel rooms. They’re a bit bland, and when I was a kid, such things were a bit more eclectic. Those yellow pine trees are impressive, and can grow in some formidable climates. I can understand how eucalyptus species got a foothold in those sorts of mountainous western environments. I’ll bet the logs are drier too over all those years. I used to have a moisture meter which would test for that in timber (I was learning about firewood), and the lowest reading was a kiln dried dining table at 12% moisture content. Super hard timber. The best firewood we can make is about 14%. The sugars in your log walls would have long since converted into some other material too, which would improve the hardness of the timber.

    The other day when fixing up the toilet, I had to cut the hole in the timber floor a little bit wider (we have timber in the bathroom too), and the jigsaw really struggled in the hardwood despite the new rough saw blade. Hehe! I’d like to say that the same is true here with the oil finish on the floors. Hey, it would be good to harness some of that dog and cat energy to polish the floors!

    Dunno, but when you see the banana fungus, you’ll know. It’s not good. I put a photo up on the blog a couple of years ago.

    The fire trucks are not something you ever want to hear. Incidentally, I’d reckon timber log walls would be slow to burn in a fire – think how long it takes to get through firewood, it’s not quick. The roof and windows are the big risk. Windows can be protected with strong stainless steel mesh, but roofs are not so easy. Do you have gutters?

    Go the frogs romping around the wild violets (although they may have been not in the same place)! Bears… Ook! Good luck.

    Wow! Your autumn sounds like a mini-spring to me. I wouldn’t worry about the fruit trees, they know their business. Some warm years, the fruit trees will produce blossoms in autumn, and tiny fruit. I suspect the trees will adapt better to a changing climate than we all will.



  38. Hi Lewis,

    I’m probably not competent to have that discussion about the meaning of art. 🙂 A bloke has to know his limits, but it was a fun line. I’m still impressed by the guy who learned all of the techniques of the Dutch masters, and could reproduce the works and fool the experts. What was his name again? Anyway, is that not mastery of the craft? I’d like to think so, yeah.

    It is a mystery, which to which we’ll probably never learn the ‘why’ of it all. It makes a mockery of the humble abode to think that a $25m+ painting almost 800 years old, was hanging in the kitchen. It’s a harsh environment for a painting. Do you reckon they would have cleaned it up prior to auction? I’ll bet the fruit on your Currier and Ives was not subject to interpretation?

    I’ve never been asked that question by a bank teller either, it seems a bit inappropriate to me. However, friends tell me that they’ve been asked this question, and I didn’t get the impression that they were joking around. That’s the thing isn’t it about the amusing responses. Memories can be long, and authoritas are more often than not, humourless. Dude, every transaction over $10k here is tracked. Far out, I’ve never heard of bank accounts being cancelled on a suspicion. Authoritas not always being right, could be something of a problem there.

    🙂 Nice shot! A fine way to get problems resolved, and quickly. You gotta play ’em at their own game.

    Molly Ivins has a very sharp wit, and tongue. And didn’t seem afraid to use both. That’s to be respected. At first, I couldn’t quite figure out what was meant by ‘Shrub’ in that context, but it wasn’t hard to discover the meaning of that. Well, he wasn’t no tree, was he? Candidly, from an outsiders perspective, those lot, despite all the rhetoric, seem to look much the same to me. I guess that’s why they all generate so much that hot air, probably their idea to sort out the energy crisis. You have to admit, the climate is getting warmer. Probably the reason why.

    Yeah, well they lied to me about that job for life business. Back in the day, a lack of loyalty used to be punished by calling people ‘job hoppers’, and questioning their suitability for prospective employment. In these more enlightened days, nobody even pretends any more. The environment being created suggests to me what the over-employed people already knew. If you want a raise, seek employment elsewhere. One of the odd quirks of my employment experience has been that if I worked hard, I just ended up with more work and responsibility for similar pay. It’s quite counter intuitive if you ask me, which nobody did. At best, it’s simply poor policy, at worst it is exploitation of the worst kind.

    Mate, everyone has an opinion, but I’d like to believe that my head won’t get too big for my hat. Always possible… 🙂

    I’ve never encountered a seed exchange. Are they even real?

    Yeah, I agree. Time is not constant. Exhibit A – the older I get, the faster time seems to go by. This should not be so. Does this match your experience of time?

    There’s been a case in the media about that alleged sort of use of a wood chipper. I dunno about you, but if a new partner was asking me to chuck the old partner through a wood chipper, that’s a massive red flag. Run, and don’t look back on pain of 18 years of bad luck (note to miscreant: don’t drop the soap), is probably the best path out of that mares nest. And if a person dodged the bad luck, my thinking is, don’t annoy her. But why would anyone hang around such ideas?

    Interesting about the corn. I wonder what goes on inside the kernels for them to alter their colour during the drying process? From the article it was hard to understand what was meant by ‘not as much water’ as the more traditional corn varieties. We use water on the garden very sparingly. You’re probably right about your soil being mucked around with. It takes years to produce really decent soil. There’s one part of the garden I haven’t been able to water this year for all sorts of reasons. And checking it out this morning, the soil crust had dried, but just under that was showing signs of having retained moisture (we pulled a radish to add into dinner). You can’t ask for better than that.

    Have you lost both tube lights? If it was only the single tube, then the tube needs replacing, but both suggests to me that the problem may be with the starter.

    Ah, sweet potatoes. They’re not very common down here. Might be a bit cold, and the more traditional potatoes grow well enough.

    A lovely and gracious act on your part. Given the tripe component of Menudo is slow cooked, it might remove the more complicated tastes the meat ordinarily produces? Dunno. I checked out some of the images of the broth and they looked really tasty. I’d probably prefer a thick pasta infused minestrone instead, but I’m soft when it comes to tripe. My grandfather, the other one who I rarely interacted with, used to consume tripe for Sunday lunches as a special treat. The smell revolted me, but hey, I may be overly sensitive.

    Oh man, I’m so sorry for both you and Julia. Time passes and the losses build, we who are left, carry the joy of the memories. Hope Julia’s animals are OK?



  39. Yo, Chris – “…competent to have that discussion about the meaning of art.” Who is? I’m enjoying the book, partly, because the author really questions, a bit, about how the art “market” and art historians go about deciding what’s good and what’s not. And how much can we really know about an artists’s intent? And if there’s an inside joke, somewhere in a painting, are we going to “get” it, four hundred years on?

    He doesn’t have much time for interpretation or the search for the symbolic. He was relating how some people, take, say a painting by Vermeer. Those interiors were pretty simple. So … using old records, they figure out the value of every item in the room. Right down to the clothes the people wear. Compare it to wages at that time and, viola! decide Dutch painting was all about conspicuous consumption.

    Popularity of certain artists rises and falls, over time. For various reasons. Attribution changes. What the author is interested in, is watching museum goers. They pretty much rip by paintings, tight schedule, you know. But every once in awhile they stop in their tracks, transfixed by a certain piece of art. And, not always the same one. They author wants to know how art makes people feel. And what do they feel? And, why?

    Most of the high end auction galleries have their own restoration departments. Some paintings may be parked there, for a number of months before hitting the block. I’ve read some accounts of the inner workings of those companies, and they have teams of experts of one sort of another. I have an old cookbook, and I’d say, somewhere along the way, it was used in a kitchen that burned mostly coal. 🙂

    There were several art forgers who have made a name for themselves. You might be thinking of the Dutch guy, who sold paintings to the Nazis, during WWII. And was accused of collaboration. And had to prove he cranked them out, himself. I’ve read a book or two about him, and there was a film. “Based on true events.”

    I’ve seen a number of articles about banks in the last week. This one popped up, last night, and pretty much covers the situation.

    Well, when dealing with the commodity person, it was pretty clear that she belonged to a minority group, given her name. Looking at my paperwork, it’s pretty clear my demographic. Name and age. I just obliquely, off-hand suggested that maybe she had a problem with old white guys. 🙂

    I hadn’t heard the term “job hoppers,” at least as far as I can remember. But, yes, there was a certain disapproval in the air. Now, my Dad worked for the same company, most of his life. I was always surprised that he didn’t give me grief over my spotty job history. But then, I felt the old man was sharper than he let on, and knew what was what.

    I’ve noticed the library deliveries of books, has slowed down. Just for poops and giggles, I checked their jobs offered page. Sure enough, there was a listing for courier. And one listing can be for several identical positions. What I noticed is that they have larded on several additional duties, from when I was a courier. And they call them something else. They did the same thing with what used to be called, library pages. Used to be, they pretty much just shelved books and emptied book drops. Now they want them to have computer skills, and deal with the customers.

    Head size and hats. Maybe you need a few independent opinions? 🙂

    Even our local library branch has a seed exchange. I’m thinking of donating a few of the seeds I saved. By the way, my Bachelor Buttons (aka Corn Flowers), are still blooming. Thought I might have something special, but they are pretty cold hardy. I’m still saving seed from that particular patch.

    Well, time does creep up on you. How did I get to be 74? I sure don’t feel like it on the inside. But I was more thinking of how I get up at a particular time. Fire up the computer, make a cup of tea, hit the john, and …. 15 or 20 minutes have slipped by. How? Or when I’ve got 10 minutes to kill, before picking up the dog (gotta hit my mark), and it just seems to drag. Brighter bulbs than I have suggested time is fluid.

    Both tube lights seem effected. So, maybe a ballast. Once the maintenance guy gets here, not my problem.

    Minestrone soup smells like old old gym socks. 🙂 To me. I was cutting through the lobby, yesterday, minding my own business when one of the old biddies, called out, “Lew, Lew. I want to ask you a question.” I said, “Do I look like the answer man?” Just to set the tone. She had heard I cooked, and thought I should take some whatever down to their pot lucks and such. Heck, she might have been angling for me to take on their Thanksgiving feed. I told her that I had just baked a double batch of banana muffins, with cranberries. She thought I should share some. I told her I did. That I took them down to the Club, and shared them with my friends. 🙂

    Julia has three sons. One lives with her, and is pretty on the ball. One has lived, for years, in one of her rentals in Tacoma. The last one is in the pen. There was recent drama over the Tacoma house. Some woman moved in with him, then had a restraining order lodged against him, and then proceeded to sell his stuff. As laws in this state, are loaded more toward the tenant, then the owner, prying her out of there was a bit of an ordeal. It’s a scam that’s becoming more and more common. Lew

    PS: Once upon a time, there was a woman who contributed to Mr. Kunstler’s blog. She played pretty close to the chest, but I surmised she was a painting restorer, and probably lived in NY City. I’d guess she worked for one of the auction houses. She was eventually run off by the mob, that James didn’t moderate.

Comments are closed.