Getting Away With It All

Three dogs are on the wrong side of the glass sliding door. All want in. Bounce, bounce, bounce. Crazy dogs aren’t allowed into the house, they’re told. Demurely, and with the quiver of repressed energy, the dogs place their bottoms on the tiles. Tails are outstretched. All are attentive. The door is opened, and three happy canines burst into the house. Bark, bark, bark signals the excitement at the sudden change in fortunes.

In between the barking, Dame Plum slips in a sneaky bite of Ollie. That’s her way of saying: “I like you”. The much larger dog turns away from his general early morning foolishness, and reproaches his friend with a display of teeth and an inarticulate growling sound. After all it is difficult to bite and growl at the same time. Ruby on the other hand, taunts Ollie and encourages Dame Plum. Utter mayhem reigns.

Stored energy is quickly expended and the dogs quieten down. The three marshal in the kitchen where they mill around awaiting their breakfast. Handily it has already been prepared. Ollie drools over the thought of kibbles, home made dog food mix, yoghurt, milk and an egg. Each canine takes up their usual position, then assumes the sitting posture. Well behaved dogs are fed rapidly.

The bowls are lowered to the floor, in order. Ollie receives his first. Dame Plum second, and Ruby a distant third. It’s well known that the dog with the biggest mouth, finishes first. And yet, both Dame Plum and Ruby’s mouths are of a similar size, Ruby is the more rapid eater. Dame Plum picks at her food, but still consumes the lot.

After breakfast, the three know there’ll be a walk. Ollie goes first. Humans, are always first out the door, then a canine. Dogs don’t seek, or want equality. Ollie, come! is heard, and he’ll follow. Off the veranda, and down the steps. Through the courtyard we’ll walk with Ollie at my side. Along the path, past the firewood shed, and down a gentle ramp into the sunny orchard. The amble provides plenty of time to perform ablutions. And woe betide any deer foolish enough to be caught loitering when the big dog is on morning patrol. Ollie, go get ’em! he’s told, and he rounds them up, chases the deer to the forest edge, then promptly returns.

Morning patrol includes a brief stop to water the plants in the greenhouse. Ollie sit! Bum on ground, he waits patiently outside, sometimes in the sun, other times in the shade of the solar panels. He looks all about him, but won’t go anywhere. The dog doesn’t like the inside of the greenhouse, probably something to do with sensitive noses, and the coffee grounds used in the soil mix do smell strongly.

The door to the greenhouse is soon closed, and we continue the morning patrol. Past the long shed, and back uphill through the shady orchard. Occasionally we’ll mix it up and walk the forest boundary, but it’s all the same and we walk side by side. Around past the chicken enclosure, up the new path and the house is getting ever closer. We admire the tree fern, past the mound of crushed rock with lime, and soon we’re back where we started at the stairs leading up to the veranda with a door leading into the house. The door is opened and Ollie is let back in.

Dame Plum is then called for her morning patrol. Plum, Come! she’s called. Her and I walk a similar route, but this dog is of a different sort to Ollie. Clearly a past life involved scouting duties in an army of some sort, you’d hope that things didn’t end badly. This time around however, her skills have improved. Rabbits and rats are frightened by the dog, and well they should be. Ranging slightly ahead, then off to the side, running at high speed, crashing through the garden beds seeking prey and things of interest. I continue the walk, and regularly the dog will check back in with me, providing a status update. All clear (or all dead), Boss! she’ll say.

The regular stop on patrol is to set off the watering for the pumpkin enclosure. Rabbits are known to frequent the garden beds near to there, so there’ll be more crashing sounds as dog interacts with plants. If it goes quiet for any length of time, I’ll call Plum, Come! and that’s what she’ll do. As a special treat, we visit the chickens, and there’s a command for that too: Plum, Chickens! Birds are like television for dogs.

All good things come to an end, and as we pass the tree fern again admiring the developing fronds, the house gets closer. Ablutions are had, stairs are climbed, and Dame Plum is back inside the house. Unlike the other dogs, she’ll put her feet in the water to cool off whilst having a drink. The dog is easy to walk because she worries about where I am, you can tell.

Last to head out on morning patrol is Ruby. That dog has her own thoughts: Why are you getting involved in my canine business? It’s a fair question, if somewhat sulky. We walk a slightly shorter route, that’s the plan anyway. Ruby runs everywhere at high speed. Her report card in school would have read: Ruby is a good student, with potential. However, she is easily distracted and needs to fully apply herself to the work. And that would be a fair critique.

During the walk, my mind powers are exercised to their fullest potential. At all times I have to think about where the independently minded canine is. She’s a lot of work. If the attention wanders for even but the briefest moment, the dog will be 100m (300ft) away, having done the dash in world record beating time. Unfortunately for the dog, my attention refuses to wander, and she’ll be called back well prior to having gone too far. The disdain for reasonable boundaries is written on the face and in her posture. Frankly, the dog’s expectations of the world are unrealistic.

Monday night, we’d gone to the local pub for a pizza and a pint. Despite the pizza oven at the pub being out of order, we enjoyed a quiet drink, then went home and made dinner. Sandra took Ruby outside to accompany her whilst picking asparagus for dinner. Distracted by the plentiful asparagus, pint of the finest, and a lack of dinner, Ruby took advantage of the momentary lapse in concentration. The dog came back after a few minutes, and a lot of calling. She runs fast that dog, and the efforts that evening were at least consistent with previous behaviour. In the aftermath, discussions were had. Both Sandra and Ruby are now off to dog obedience school.

It’s been another cool and dry week

The weather has yet again been cool and dry this week. The clouds, humidity and smoke make for some excellent sunsets. And some mornings have been remarkably foggy.

Fog fills the air in the valley below the mountain range

Of notable interest during the week was that on Friday I spotted petrol (gas in the US) at the highest price I’d yet seen in this area. $2.219 per Litre (3.8 litres to the gallon or $8.43/gal). An impressive achievement.

Petrol at $2.219 per litre is an impressive achievement

All the same, work continues here. The steel rock gabion cage which was filled with rocks last week, was sewn shut.

A steel rock gabion cage was sewn shut

And next to the cage in the above image, we excavated the site for another rock gabion cage. All the soil removed was used as fill on the low gradient path project. The cages are necessary to retain the soil on the very steep garden bed. The original rock wall was woefully inadequate for the task, and soil regularly washed over the top. Once the excavations were completed, an empty gabion cage was put in place.

A new cage has been added to this soil retaining wall

It doesn’t look much, but we removed and relocated a lot of soil that day. The new low gradient path project is coming along well and getting ever closer to the chicken enclosure.

The new low gradient path is progressing nicely

The low gradient path project has used up all of the easy to obtain larger rocks. Smaller rocks just won’t retain the soil on the slope as well as larger rocks do. One ready source of larger rocks is breaking apart some of the even bigger boulders. There was one boulder on the edge of the forest, and it was just asking to be split apart.

This beast of a boulder was resting against a tree

The only way a boulder could be leaning against a tree is that I believe the earthworks guy who made the house site, rolled it there. Lacking a 20 tonne excavator, I can only attempt to split the thing. The work is no different than what the Romans were doing two millennia ago, I just have access to better tools and harder drilling materials.

Outer layers were broken off, and then I discovered the split down the middle

The boulder had a few fissures which made the job slightly easier, although the beast is still super hard granite. Fortunately, I was able to break off some thinner outer layers, and it was then I discovered the crack down the middle of the boulder. The rock split in half.

The boulder was split in two along a fissure

Sadly, there were no other fissures, and so half the rock was laboriously broken apart into eight large rocks. The remaining half of the boulder is a job for another day.

Half a boulder and a whole lot of large rocks

I worked the half of the boulder which was leaning against the tree trunk, and I bet the tree feels relief at not having to support the weight now! To get the thing off the tree, I had to lever it away, where it then rolled a small distance. Unfortunately I was then working directly under a truly massive tree. I kept one eye on drilling and splitting of the rock, and a close eye on the upper parts of the tree. Any one of its branches falling on me would have been fatal. Fortunately, that didn’t happen.

After five hours of that work, lunch was calling me. The rocks will be moved on another day. After lunch, I continued the work of maintaining the many machines we use here. The scary old wood chipper had it’s three cutting blades replaced. That work is not quick, mostly because the machine has to be disassembled to a large extent. However, I was impressed with the abilities of that machine beforehand, now with new cutting blades it is truly amazing.

The scary old wood chipper gets new blades

The winter greens (Green Mustard) are nearing the end of their season, and we’re slowly pulling them out, feeding the plants to the chickens, and replanting with summer crops. The chickens are happy.

Green mustard plants are nearing the end of their season

The last of those plants in greenhouse, are yet to be removed, but we’ve replenished the soil in the raised beds there, and planted out tomatoes and chilli’s.

The greenhouse is planted out with summer crops
This row in the greenhouse has a mix of annuals and perennials

Onto the flowers:

Ollie is a lovely dog, and so to are the Rhodies – lovely that is!
Red Nasturtium has naturalised here and reliably turns up each year
The Roses are beginning to put on their annual flower display
Foxgloves enjoy the cooler conditions in the fern gully
Looks like a portal to the land of Faery! Mint scented Geraniums dominate

The temperature outside now at about 9am is 12’C (54’F). So far this year there has been 759.8mm (29.9 inches) which is up from last weeks total of 758.2mm (29.9 inches)

33 thoughts on “Getting Away With It All”

  1. Yo, Chris – Thanks for the morning in the life of the Fluffy Collective, Fern Glade Farm Cohort. Saw an article, yesterday, on walking your dog for health. The dog’s and yours. I do wish I could get a decent walk in with H. But she seems to need to stop every three feet and give something a good sniff. “Come” sometimes works, but usually, not. I don’t want to be dragging her down the sidewalk. Maybe dangling a treat might be effective? Any-who. Obedience school in the spring. I’ll start asking around for a good one.

    Gee, that is a calendar worthy sunset. We’re getting a bit of color in ours, right now. But mostly, pink smears.

    If our gas hit $8.43 a gallon (and we will, sooner or later), there would be rioting in the streets and government overthrown.

    So, Inquiring Minds Want to Know … what’s the two orange / red things sitting on top the rock gabion cage? My guess is, water bottles. But at Fern Glade Farm, you never know. 🙂

    Big boulder / poor tree. You probably scored points, with the forest folk, for relieving it of it’s burden. I spotted a book on the library new non-fiction list, tonight. That you may or may not find interesting. “Landscaping with Stone.” (Sagui, 3d ed.). Well, it’s gone to press three times, must be something useful in there.

    I also spotted another new book. “Water for Any Farm: Applying Restoration Agricultural Water Management Methods on Your Farm.” (Shepard, 2020). Might be useful. Your mileage may vary.

    I picked up a couple of packages of mustard seed, the other day. I intend to sow them where the green beans got some kind of disease, last year.

    The promise of the tomatoes and chillies. Looks like they’re off to a good start. The Nasturtiums and old Rose, are quit lovely.

    Here’s an interesting article about money. Not the 1s and 0s off in la-la land, but the actual folding stuff you put in your wallet.

    I also put a book on hold, from the new list. “The Upstairs Delicatessen: On Eating, Reading, Reading About Eating, and Eating While Reading.” (Garner, 2023). Sounds like fun. I wonder if he ever had anyone snarl at him, “Oh, a reader, huh!” Lew

  2. Hi Lewis,

    You know, H is pretty close to wild stock when it comes to dogs, so she has her own opinions on things. Ruby is like that too. Training with dogs never stops, and in some ways, they’re training you as well. There is a middle ground between her stopping every minute or two to sniff out some astounding stink (I’d be troubled to see the world with dog senses!) and following your lead. Honestly, it’s like reprogramming H, but it only matters if her activities annoy you. The Editor was cracking it about Ruby running off, and well, the dog delivers on expectations which is why they both have to go to dog obedience school. I reckon you’ll both get a lot out of the experience as well. Both Ollie and Dame Plum know what is required of them. If I may say so, it’s a very complicated dance which has taken me years to come to grips with. Fortunately, there are massive easy gains with dogs and training. I’ll be very interested to learn how you go, and because of Christmas, training down here also begins in February so yeah, it’ll be about the same time you and H kick off that too. Ruby went to the vet today to get her shots updated, as the school required a certificate.

    Thanks! The sun is getting lower in the southern sky for you. Almost a month to the solstice, and then the pendulum slowly swings back in your favour. It was another cool day here today, and tomorrow brings the slow beginning of the rain. The forecast looks bonkers.

    I also reckon it might hit such highs too! It’s certainly not an enviable achievement. Yes, but will they be fit enough to riot in the streets if food is expensive? 🙂 Someone years ago made the cheeky suggestion that in order to get fed they’d come up here. The thought that it’s a three hour walk, uphill, from the nearest train station never quite occurred to them. If they could do that, and then still have the strength to try and thump me, I’d probably feed them and put them to work!

    The orange things are indeed water bottles. They’re locally made too. A few years ago I picked up a bulk supply of the things, because they get knocked around on work days. But, when the sun is shining with heady UV radiation, you need to keep your fluids up. Dehydration and heat stress can be a problem here. Dunno about your part of the world on that front. Due to the orbit of the planet around the sun, we’re physically closer to that furnace during the summer months, and you can feel it. Tourists from overseas always get the surprise at the force of the summer sun down under. Good guess. 😉

    That makes for good hearing that the forest folks will be happy that the pressure has been removed from the tree. The boulder was no light weight. I’ll check out the book as you never know what you might learn. Rock has such a lovely finish to it, don’t you reckon?

    New Forest Farm is a very beautiful bit of land so the guy must be onto something. I’ll check out both books tonight. Rest assured, we don’t waste any water, and all of it is either stored for later use, or gotten into the ground water systems. This is something we looked into a long time ago, and the systems work. The fern gully is one part of that big system, but there are plenty of systems here which harvest the rainfall.

    Good stuff, and I don’t reckon you’ll regret growing the mustard seeds. The leaves are good eating in their own right. I’ve got this odd hunch that the regular fires through the land down here, have really put the stomp on soil pathogens and diseases – but also slowed the soil cycle as a consequence. There’s a bit of give and take in that story, but the truth is I don’t encounter a lot of soil and plant diseases. It’s a subject I’m pondering.

    The roses and nasturtiums are good. I didn’t mention it before, but yesterday I put a couple of hours into weeding the rose terraces. The raspberries in those terraces are getting closer to ripening too. Yum!

    Who knew your $50 bills were jinxed? 😉 We’ve got $100 bills down here, although I’d be uncomfortable using one in a shop. The ATM’s down here only spit out $50 or $20 notes, and so they’re pretty commonly seen. Still, electronic this and that, there was that day when I was the only person with mad cash in the stock feed. Others and the retailer were disappointed… I tend to believe that mad cash won’t go away any time soon, but I could well be wrong.

    Nothing wrong at all with reading whilst eating! A civilised activity if I may say so. Hope the book is good? It does sound like fun, doesn’t it.

    Candidly there are many folks who know more about the subject of art, than humble old I! That’s who! It’s a strong argument. 🙂 That’s the thing isn’t it, any in-jokes or subtle commentary the artist made, I too reckon would be lost to the mists of time. I also reckon the art market and historians would be fickle. It’s a bit like technologies – who decides what is good, and what is deemed to be bad?

    Didn’t the Dutch have that odd tulip mania? So yeah, conspicuous consumption seemed the way of things. Anywhoo, such crazy things are only possible when there is a lot of excess mad cash sloshing around looking for something physical to purchase. Hmm… … What a fascinating history, and yes, it looks like there was monetary shenanigans going on in that country at the time. Little wonder the excess went looking for a place of stuff – i.e. tulips. A bonkers episode, but then goobermunts can stuff things up royally. History is replete with examples. I’m always amazed that things work as well as they do, but then perhaps I’m saddled with low expectations from such folks?

    Holy carp, you’re right. That painting may well have encountered coal smoke, which is rather acidic. When we visited the Taj Mahal in India a couple of decades ago, they had signs up indicating the particulate matter in the local atmosphere. It sure was smoky there. Probably not good for the marble.

    The article on banking provided some good suggestions, and also some solid strategies to put an end to the banksters mischief. But like all things, it’s best to fly under the radar and not attract that sort of attention.

    Good shot! Man, sometimes you have to play the system, that’s how it is. And if the system has a weak point, then maybe another way to look at is, you’ve done them a favour and widened their worldview. The petty bureaucrat I forced an ID check on last week, who was outraged that I’d done so, learned what it feels like to be on the other side of that coin, and fail. That’s an instructive lesson. And it felt good.

    To be honest, it kind of felt like that ‘job for life’ door was slammed shut in my face, and probably yours as well based on what you’ve told me. Mate, the best I could do was four years in any job, and that was that. It suits me doing paid work for a whole bunch of people. However, the thing is, I reckon people know about such inequalities, and that’s maybe why your dad didn’t give you heaps about the spotty job history? It’s of interest to me that my mother worked for the same goobermunt department since day dot, and retired about the same age as the Editor – then got paid at about 80% of her final rate to not work until the day she passed on. A bit of back of the envelope calculations suggests she worked for 30 years and got paid for not working for 16 years on the public coin. Truly, I am unable to achieve such greatness, but no matter. 🙂

    Never seen a seed exchange. Hmm, wonder if there is a local one? … … There is the local sustainability group, but are they my people? I’m not so sure about that. Some of the groups look like they used to be under the transition towns banner, and I just didn’t get that lot. I couldn’t quite understand what they meant by transition – like to what? Good to hear the Batchelor’s Buttons are still blooming at this stage of the year. I’m impressed, they must be hardy plants. Wise to save the seed. They turn up in the paddock here at random spots. They tend to be a summer plant here.

    Haha! Well yeah, getting up at a particular time can be a struggle, I hear you. 🙂 They might be right about the fluidity of time, but my brain is not good enough to comprehend the matter.

    I reckon it’s the ballast thing if both tubes are out. The LED light above me has begun to intermittently flick off, then rapidly back on again. The first time it happened, instead of considering the globe was slowly going faulty, I thought the power system had crapped itself. Doesn’t appear to have been the case, but you never know. That’s how much trust I have in the system. Anywhoo, not saying you tempted the light globe gods with all this talk of easy and quick fixes, but it kind of looks that way to me!!! Remember the toilet fix, and some things are not simple.

    Can’t say as that’s my reaction to minestrone soup, it smells more tomatoey to me, noses differ for sure. I do wonder if the lady in question thought to offer anything in return for your banana muffins? This being something of a social concern that I have whenever people with no connections request things. Sometimes I get messages from people I don’t know asking to visit here – there is really nothing in it for me to indulge their desires.

    Good to hear that Julia’s animals are OK at least. That’s some complicated history, but life is rarely smooth, and one of the kids will work out fine for them. Yikes! What a scam. Yeah, you have to be careful with allowing a new partner into your home. The old school dating process meant that such matters went at a slower pace than perhaps people expect these days.

    Ah, I see. It can happen. I do wonder if Mr Kunstler reached out to the lady? Anywhoo, comment moderation is a very complicated subject and can vary according to the whims of the host. And also, t need not be a fixed culture. In some ways it is a culture. A lot of people don’t know how to hear views which differ to their own, and that is a bit of society wide failing. It’s a problem. Mostly, I seek dialogue, which is rather old fashioned, but really quite pleasant.



  3. Boulders- crikey. Just wondered how many stored kWh of sunlight energy it must take to break up a boulder that size, even with some existing fissures.

    I really need to find a way to charge cordless tools from my off grid array. In winter, the dump load is a baseboard heater, but summer sun is not being utilized fully.

    It comes off the array at ~220VDC and around ten amps direct to the water heater element, but lithium batteries might not like that. Seems a shame to buy an inverter and then a charger to convert back to DC at the voltage of the tool. Too bad DC-DC transformers seem to be rather niche and tricky to spec correctly.

    Nice narrative from the alpha male. Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty is a pithy quote that might also apply to pet owners.

    It is now deer hunting season ( one week long) so I will be up in my tree stand later, watching and listening. Vigilant. Some just love it, but I get bored after a while. One can only contemplate what the arrangement of trees is telling me about the land and the rate of succession for so long. It’s a necessity since we killed all the wolves and the deer are running rampant. Bad for the trees. We like venison also.

    It gets chilly too, when you have to sit still and generate no heat.

    Gas is currently $2.29 a gallon here. Life is good in the center of the empire……………. for now.
    A massive carbon tax, revenues of which applied to the correct projects, would really improve our prospects, but will never happen.

  4. Yo, Chris – Yes, sometimes H has her own agenda. I try and keep her business, limited to a strip of grass out back, which is mostly, only used by the dogs in the building. But, as with this morning, she decided the optimum place to go, is on the parking strip, on the one street side. Where dogs from the building, and every dog in the neighborhood, goes. Doesn’t she know about diseases and toilet seats? 🙂 I don’t know if you’ve heard about the new mystery disease, that’s killing dogs …

    Like Kennel Cough, but a wet cough instead of a dry one. And a healthy dog will usually ride Kennel Cough, out.

    Because of our climate, dehydration and heat stress can really sneak up on you. It’s not something we usually have to be concerned about. But, I keep it in mind, and make sure I’ve got a hat on, and stay hydrated if the sun shines.

    Rocks, bricks, wood. New theory: the closer to nature, the nicer the finish. Sort of like food. The less processing involved, the warmer the effect.

    Oh, I know you folks have your water supply nailed down. But, you never know when there might be a new idea buried in there.

    I think you’re theory of fire, soil and plant diseases have merit. Hmm. Maybe I should just set the raised bed, where the green bean disease was, on fire? 🙂

    Here, the default on our ATMs is to spit out $20s. You can do a song and dance with the machine, to get smaller denominations. But I figure the more complicated the electronic transaction, the more possibility of error. When I deal with a real live teller, I usually ask for a nice mix of $20s, and smaller bills.

    The book on reading is on my hold list. Gosh knows when it will show up.

    Yes, tulip mania. Shows up in a lot of places, and is a favorite in some economics classes. I’ve been told. The Dutch, at that time, had a vast trading empire. So, they were able to buy “stuff” from around the world. Elaborate doll houses, for adults, were also a bit of a craze, for awhile. You could sink a lot of money, in those.

    “What’s sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander.” Playing the race and gender card. Some people don’t “get” that it’s a two way street.

    I skipped to the section in the seed book, on seed banks and exchanges. The grand daddy of exchanges is The Seed Savers Exchange (SSE), founded in the 1970s. One of the first seed libraries, was started by Ken Greene, at the Gardiner Public Library, in Gardiner, New York. The idea spread.

    For dinner last night, I took rice, frozen chopped broccoli, garlic, a can of diced tomatoes and half a can of garbanzo beans. Hit it with a little Oregano, to give it that Eye-talian twist. Tasty. A little Mozzarella cheese, on top.

    Yes. Some people work on a “something for nothing,” basis. Similar to the couple you ran into.

    I saw our Postie, this morning. Apparently, there wasn’t much of a pecan crop, this year. He suspects what they got was from last years crop. But … pomegranates were everywhere, and free for the asking. Lew

  5. Water- Mark Shepard is the nearby farmer at New Forest Farm who planted my hazels and chestnuts, and importantly, layed out and installed the rain retention swales on our field.

    The book Lew mentions gets pretty intricate, but basically, keep your rainwater! I have it as well. A lot of this goes back to Mr. P.A. Yeoman’s, an Aussie farmer.

  6. Hi Steve,

    Turns out I can actually answer your question as to how much stored kWh were utilised in the breaking apart of the boulder. Apologies in advance for the metric and I’ll do my best to provide a conversion.

    The boulder was over two heavy duty 30m (100ft) extension cables away from the nearest source of solar derived electricity. The heavy duty cables use 2.5mm (1/10th of an inch) copper. I could get away with three such cables, but there is voltage drop and current loss between the power point and the end of the extension cable. Those losses add heat to the motors and wear them out quicker, so if you can avoid that, it is not a bad idea to do so.

    And, in an entirely different consideration, I have two petrol (gas) powered generators that are started every two months. Fuel goes off very quickly nowadays, and I use high end fuel stabiliser, but still… Hmm. So the generators have to be run every two months whether I like it or not.

    I took the 3.4kVA generator out for a spin that day. Now, fun fact, the rated kVA rating is not possible to achieve other than momentarily and the sneaky devices have something you’ll see on a label as ‘pf’ which may show 0.8, but that means you can supply continuously 80% of the kVA rating, which works out to be 2.7kW with that generator machine. That’s more than adequate to run the Makita rotary hammer drill at 0.85kW, or the electric jackhammer at 2.4kW.

    It takes a lot more drilling that jackhammering to do that job, ask the ancient Romans and they’ll confirm this. 😉 But essentially, about 3 Litres of petrol was used that day in the generator, and that equates to at best 27kWh of energy (assuming zero losses), although the machines would have only required a small fraction of that energy, probably about a fifth at a guess. Pretty wasteful, but then rocks have an awfully long lifespan, so I call the entire energy transaction, an investment in the future. Jevons Paradox is at the back of my mind here, no doubt you’ve heard of it?

    To be honest, there are legal issues down here with DC wiring at such voltages. I’m restricted with DC wiring to about 110V DC which they describe as ‘extra low voltage’. The thing is, your array is wired in such a way, so as to keep the DC voltage high and beyond that value, thus requiring cheaper wires. It’s a good economic decision and I have contacts with commercial grade cable suppliers because that’s what it took to keep the DC voltage low, just sayin. I hear you about the DC to DC step down transformers, but do occasionally use one small device and it seems to work well. I wouldn’t trust the thing to run all of the time.

    There’s no reason I’m aware of, that you couldn’t have a battery bank at that high a voltage. The question becomes really, what sort of battery charge controller will handle 220V DC (and you really need to consider the maximum possible voltage presented to the controller – i.e. the Open Circuit Voltage)? Holy carp, they make such machines. OK, well that was a surprise to find.

    The next step would be to get an inverter which can use the stored energy in the batteries, and triple holy cows, they make those too. Who knew?

    That’s how to do the job, or at least how I’d begin to set it up. The whole issue depends on how much you want to spend. But can it be done? Absolutely, and with off the shelf components.

    Thanks for getting the core of this week’s story. Respect. What you say about liberty is true.

    Hehe! There is no season here on deer, it’s open season all the time. The toffs introduced Sambar deer (and foxes and rabbits) way back in the day for something familiar to hunt, and with few natural predators, the populations go feral. Like you, I’d get bored doing that too after a while. The deer are infrequent enough here that Ollie can sort them out when needed. The rabbits on the other hand are a pest, and the other evening Ollie and I watched a couple of young fox cubs bounding through the sunny orchard chasing after them. Quite majestic creatures, although I can understand why other folks would have issues with the foxes. And they don’t get an easy ride here either.

    $2.29 a gallon is like at least thirty years in the past in my experience. Enjoy your windfalls. 🙂 My thinking is similar, we’ll use every last economically available drop of oil, then some more than that, then things will be not so great.

    You have most excellent neighbours, and respect for implementing the rainwater catchment in the soil systems. How do you reckon they’ve worked in your recent dry year? And we have multiple swales, basins, the fern gully, basically all sorts of systems to get water into the ground. I knew that too, and the climate down here can be very harsh, virtually no economic support for farmers, so little wonder the developments began here.



  7. Hi Lewis,

    Dogs have their own minds and opinions, and I’ve observed over the years that they’ll push at boundaries. A lack of consistency with applying boundaries is why both the Editor and Ruby are now off to dog obedience school. Candidly, I became sick of the drama, and so put my foot down. If there was no drama associated with the interactions, I would not have involved myself and just left them to sort their business out.

    It’s a truth universally acknowledged that prior to the most recent bout of economic turbulence, the dog shelters were painful to deal with. That was my experience, and I have a long and good history with one shelter in particular, and I did inform them of this. Why they treated me so poorly is beyond my understanding, but it was a choice they made. Now, after the economic troubles, shelters are bursting at the seams with animals. So back in the day, they used to have to euthanize a lot of animals because there was always more animals than homes available. I’d noticed over the years that there had been a change in culture at such places, and things were suddenly otherwise. That culture of every animal is precious, sorry to say, is only possible when the economics support such a response. We’ve passed the peak, and are well into decline, and now there are possibly too many animals in such places. Pandemic puppies have been dumped. Hmm. And, I have also read that there is an acute shortage of veterinarians, and with people having less mad cash to spend, they’ll probably skimp on visits to the vet. Just sayin… This sort of thing is what you get.

    The same is true here too in the summer months. I always keep drinking water handy when we’re working hard. And sometimes after a workday, I’ll have a rehydration solution. After a while, working on hot days you can’t drink more water. The hat is a good idea.

    I like that new theory about being closer to nature and getting a better result! Some of the microsnot wundows random images get chucked onto the computer screen from Japan, and they really have a delightful sense of aesthetics there.

    There’s always more to learn when it comes to retaining water in the land. Hey, we put the drainage basin with the large tree fern in for exactly those reasons earlier this year. If you’ve got rain, why waste it?

    How do you reckon your inmates will react when you set fire to the dry foliage of your raised garden beds? It might be a problem, but then again, maybe not… Good luck! 🙂 I have a hunch, the green mustards you plant in that soil will improve matters, but it may be that every second season calls for a planting of mustards? Dunno. I’m only slowly getting my head around crop rotation practices, mostly because so far I haven’t had to worry about it. Incidentally, the Editor has a habit of pulling out the root systems of the mustards, but you could also just cut the plants to soil level and the soil life will eat the root systems, which is another fertility benefit. Heck you could even drop the leaves on the soil surface, or dig them in too.

    The Editor once worked in a bank complaint department, so your concepts are sound, and dare I say it, tested. Absolutely keep things simple. But mostly I head to the teller because I want a mix of bills.

    Out of curiosity, do you read whilst you eat? It’s a pleasure of mine to head to a cafe with a good book and enjoy the contents whilst being served a decent coffee. The world can go by, and have all it’s cares, whatever, the book supersedes all other considerations. Oh, I’d probably run from any civil disturbance during such an enjoyable moment, the coffee and book might be good, but I doubt it’s that good! 🙂

    I’m seeing a lot of excess wealth, with nowhere to go. It was hard to not note that Argentinia has inflation around 140%, or something crazy like that, and they now have a new goobermunt. I’ll be curious to see how that story rolls.

    It is a two street when someone plays that game, otherwise we’re all just people. There certainly are people seeking an edge, and equally there are some with real grievances. Best to play the hand you’ve got, and know thy system inside and out.

    I’ve got the seed savers book, and used to be involved with them. Lovely people, although it was baffling how the group fell apart. I wouldn’t have allowed it to happen, resolved the issues promptly, and just ensured that meetings were enjoyable. But I wasn’t the boss, and didn’t comprehend where things could go. You could say that I was just another victim of seeds road-kill! Community groups can be very good, but I’ve had some unusual experiences interacting with them. Your Club sounds mostly together, and that’s a good thing. Tested by time, perhaps?

    Your dinner sounds very tasty. Yum! We had rice and vegetables with a couple of eggs for dinner. Quite nice, and as I’m getting older, I do prefer simpler dinners. I sleep better and more soundly with such food in the evenings. It may be just me that works that way though? Dunno.

    It’s a hard way to look at the world, and sometimes it can cause trouble if relationships have been long established on an unequal footing, but I dunno really and am just making things up as I go along. It interests me that in many of Jack Vance’s stories, characters are always being put upon by other characters with that ‘something for nothing’ arrangement, and the author pens many amusing ways to either deal with, or extricate oneself. A guide to better living? I’m not entirely certain that would have been the authors intention, but you never know. He’d travelled widely after WWII, and probably got to experience the underside of the world given the places he visited.

    Ooo, you know, I reckon pecan trees in your part of the world would be a bit marginal. They are here, like the couple of macadamia trees I have growing. They haven’t done much growing in the past decade, lets put it that way – and neither had the pecan. But I dunno, they are possible, just a bit hit or miss from season to season. Pomegranates. Do you like those fruit? The ones I’ve grown here have very little in the way of taste, so I don’t really know what to make of them. A mystery!



  8. Yo, Chris – I thought the Australian national motto was, “No drama…” 🙂

    There doesn’t seem to be a veterinarian shortage, at least here. Although at one point, H’s old vet had a no new clients, policy. I only had to wait a week, to get H in to see Dr. Amanda. But, as I know her socially, I might have had an edge. When I saw her, she said she was seeing clients 2 weeks out. But, that she had added another vet to her staff. H got her bath last night (and still smells doggy). We’re headed out, this morning.

    I’ve always quit liked Japanese aesthetics. In a related note, I saw a trailer, last night, that they have re-made “Shogun.” Which was a mini-series, back in the early 80s. It ought to be out, next year.

    I leave roots in the soil. If they have to be dug up, I usually dig another hole, and cover them over. Sunflower leaves, some corn stocks, and zucchini leaves and stems have been chopped up and turned under.

    Do I read while I eat? Not usually. As I really have no table set up. I usually eat in front of the computer, or, watching a DVD. Even when I’m eating in “my” chair, books are often hard to juggle. Last night I had rice, fried and chopped up some eggs, dried tomatoes and the other half can of garbanzo beans. I sprinkled a bit of cider vinegar, on top. I often do. I like the added zing.

    The Club is pretty lose, but we do have rules. Posted plainly on the wall. People have been bounced. If they feel they’ve been done wrong, they can always show up at the next monthly board meeting, and make their case. One fellow was recently bounced for drinking on the premises. He’s banned until February. Besides the Club, there are plenty of other meetings around. If he’s really serious about his recovery, there are other resources.

    We have no pecan trees, this far north. They do grow in the US SE, and some in the SW. Pecan pie is a Southern recipe. I didn’t know Pomegranates grew in the US. Apparently, they do in the SW. I don’t remember them growing in S. California, but, apparently, they do. I’ve had them, they’re tasty, if a bit fiddly to eat. I wasn’t raised with them, so, it’s nothing I seek out.

    I saw an interesting article, about your Dingoes dogs, on an archaeological news page …

    Lots of work being done with DNA and excavations.

    I watched another episode of “Wartime Kitchen and Garden.” The government provided some thin glass and wire contraptions, to put together cloches. The old duffer said you needed nerves of steel, to put them together. 🙂 A leek pudding was made. One of the ingredients was suet, which looked like white rice and was weighed out. I don’t know where you’d find such a product, these days. There was also a fair bit of fiddling around with different cuts of meat, to get the maximum mileage out of them. Lew

  9. Chris,

    Good work with that boulder. Respect. And the tree folk and Elder folk are probably very happy with you. The boulder? Maybe the boulder is happy no longer being propped up on a slope. After the relief of that, probably very happy to be downsized and put to work on the new path.

    The flower photos are extra special this week. The view into Faery is superb!

    Thanks for sharing the daily routine with the Fluffies. Ruby sounds similar to Avalanche. Or, as Avalanche is younger, Avalanche has a lot of Ruby’s mentality. She wants to do her own thing when outdoors. However, she ALWAYS knows where I am. She might come when I call her, might not, but in either case will typically stand there mulling it over before deciding. Unless it’s the part of the routine (determined by her) where she comes indoors.

    She IS doing better in public with people and other dogs. MUCH better. When on our walk today, Killian and his human (who it turns out is a distant cousin of mine) were walking towards us. I made Avalanche stop and she did. She was excited to see them, very excited, but, for the first time ever, she did NOT try to drag me over to them. She also listened to the 2 humans when we directed her not to jump on Cousin or on Killian. These are all huge steps for her…consistent training and expectations are key.

    Correct, nobody ever heard screams in meetings even when they occurred. However, when bored during meetings or when I knew that my opinion really didn’t matter, even though it was asked for, I had a stock answer, learned from my first boss at the County. “You’re right. Diet Dr. Pepper really does taste more like regular Dr. Pepper.” From an ad campaign 30 something years ago. That phrase usually got some chuckles while making the point.

    Not kidding. Most people did NOT recognize a wild turkey as being a turkey. They don’t look like the stereotypical version of a turkey. But they sure look like turkeys to me. People can be so removed from nature that they don’t know what anything looks like. When asked at the job what I had done over the weekend, sometimes I would quip that I had been driving in the country and had seen a lot of “slow elk”. When the other person suggested they didn’t know what a slow elk looked like, I would reply, “Slow elk look a lot like cattle.” Some actually thought that I had seen a rare type of wild animal.

    Yeah, my, umm, potential science program questions were rather complex. Sorry. The quantum versus relativity conundrum is nastily complex. I view the normally held interpretation of quantum theory to be in the same category as “If a tree falls in the woods and…”

    Least action is a bit better…Per University of Cambridge “The Principle of Least Action says that, in some sense, the true motion is the optimum out of all possible motions, The idea that the workings of nature are somehow optimal, suggests that nature is working in an efficient way, with minimal effort, to some kind of plan.” The Wikipedia article’s introductory section gives a good synopsis of this also, while also discussing the various branches of physics that overlap with Least Action.

    I’m not sure Avalanche cares if it’s called fur or hair. She doesn’t enjoy having it brushed and groomed whatever you call her natural white coat. She has learned to tolerate being brushed because she knows that there will be treats afterwards.


  10. Hi DJ,

    Thanks mate, the boulder was asking for it. Truly! Word came down from the Elder folks that the huge chunk of granite leaning against the about two decade old tree was an affront to all involved and that if not rectified, the miscreant would be punished. Or in this case, with no miscreant ready to hand, the nearest available human, otherwise known as me, would have to pay the price. Five hours of drilling and splitting granite to produce a useful outcome, which by sheerest of coincidences, pleased the Elder ones, well, it ain’t much of a cost is it? Especially when you can consider the frightful acts that lot can do, if roused. I tend to agree with you about the slow thoughts of the rock itself, and it will be much more appreciated where the lesser chunks productively will end up (hopefully tomorrow, all going well!)

    Geraniums really do provide the backbone to many of the garden beds here, and that variety has a lovely minty scent when you brush against the leaves. The bees love the tiny white flowers too.

    Now, here is a weird thing about those insects. I’ve noticed that a small group of bees are consuming something on the trunk of the large tree fern we planted earlier in the year. I can’t quite work out what they’re up to, but they’re not doing nothing. It doesn’t seem to be harming the tree fern, but I can’t say that with any real certainty. The chunks the insects are concentrating upon are in the shade, and near to the moist ground, but it’s hard to tell exactly what is going on there. They’re not going to like it when the rains return from late Friday afternoon – they’ll get very wet.

    Another way to look at the canine issue is that it has been many years since Thordog passed on, and dogs are quick to take advantage of any lapse, no matter how minor. But yeah, we got Dame Plum and Ruby at twelve weeks of age, and already their personalities were hard wired, so I honestly don’t know what is going on there. Ollie was a puppy too when we got him, but the big dog and Dame Plum, are just very different personality wise from Ruby (and Avalanche for that matter). It is worth noting that I’m responsible for Ollie and Plum. And hey, by comparison you’re doing well, Ruby couldn’t care less where the Editor is, although I have to give that particular dog my full attention on off lead walks which avoids any issues, but I’m not happy about this level of attention. It’s not an optimal situation, and I reckon the dog is playing me.

    Always nice to discover distant relatives who you already have cordial relations with. 🙂 And I agree, communication of desired behaviour and then as you say, consistency of training and expectations, is the way to go. If there were an easier way, I’d take it, but there is none. So the Editor and Ruby are both off to dog obedience school early next year. They’ll both have a blast there.

    I like your stock answer for responses to stupid questions when in dull meetings. They don’t have that stuff sugary stuff down here, neither diet or high octane! 🙂 Talk about a career limiting move, however, the facts on the ground suggest that you avoided unpleasantness by speaking candidly! One of my favourite lines in meetings (which I hope you get a laugh out of): “Do you want me to tell you something that will make you feel good, or do you want the truth?” I’m always impressed at the courage of people who request the latter option, but I am being serious too, and usually people know that. One of the downsides of my paid work is that occasionally I have to deliver what might colloquially be known as: ‘a dad talk’. There’s no point in delaying the inevitable, so you might as well be entertaining! Spare a moments thought for the many graduates over the years who’ve had to put up with my sense of humour! 🙂 So yeah, I can see how you likewise came to the same conclusion and delivered some chuckles.

    That’s very funny! Wild turkeys, look like wild turkeys to me also. 🙂 We are of one mind in this matter. And it’s not like they’re even common in this corner of the world. Turkeys here are bred for the plate, and as far as I’m aware, no populations have ever escaped captivity. There is incidentally a bird known as the Australian brushturkey (no relation). Far out, what do people do in their spare time these days? Hey, did you know that Elk have been introduced into New Zealand? The Sambar deer I see here are alarmingly large, so an Elk would be the whole next level, 11 perhaps?

    Dude, please don’t take any offence, but I didn’t understand any of the physics! 🙂 That was the sound of my brain melting… It is well known, philosophical discussions to the side, that if a big tree falls in the forest, you won’t just hear it, you’ll feel the rumble. Some of the trees here are rather large, and will probably get bigger.

    Well, now that you mention it about least action, don’t plants manage to harvest something like 2% of the suns energy which falls upon their leaves? I’d say that after more years of evolution and adaption than my brain can possible ever comprehend, that result is about as good as can be sustained. Clearly we can better the result, but can we keep up the efforts of doing so over the longer term? Hey, if a photon falls in a forest… 🙂

    Ooo, that’s eerie about Dame Avalanche, because Ruby is similar. Ollie and Dame Plum very much enjoy being groomed. They don’t need to be held, or given a treat at the end. Hmm.

    It was another cool and partly cloudy spring day (21’C max), and I’m watching the rain slowly inching down the continent from the north. It’s still two days away, and apparently in no hurry. Ook! Hopefully I get some work done outside this week.



  11. Hi Lewis,

    The national motto is the plan, sadly for us all, reality often intrudes. That drama was perhaps one random occasion, which are fortunately few and far between.

    Veterinarian’s do amazing work given they have to fill so many roles including: doctor, chemist and surgeon. Not to mention the many different anatomy’s presented to them. Maybe things are different down here with the shortages? For your interest, Ruby got an appointment within only a few days (and there was a weekend in-between) following on from the phone enquiry. During the visit, the Editor was asked about worming and flea treatment, and she mentioned the pepita treatment for the worms, and the vet didn’t look shocked. Many years ago in my enthusiasm, I accidentally mentioned the power of herbs and plants to a doctor, and you could feel the chill in the very air. That lot need to get over themselves. Mind you, I didn’t make that particular mistake a second time. 😉

    Ah, poor H to suffer such bathing indignities, and yet retain an aroma which suggest a dogginess which is far from fresh. I never wash the dogs here, unless they’ve done something stupid such as adorning their coats with (unmentionable in polite company) forms of organic matter which are best left un-described. They usually smell fairly neutral, but then they have a lot of grass and garden beds to romp through, and I suspect that has an effect on their coats. Dunno, really. It’s been a couple of decades since I’ve had to deal with fleas as well. There are ticks around here though.

    Thanks for mentioning the series trailer. I loved the James Clavell novel, Shōgun. I’m assuming you’ve read the book as well? The finer details now escape me as I read it maybe over three decades ago. It was a rollicking good story though, and was loosely based on a real person and events. Could the series hold up well to the book by way of comparison? Always a difficulty there, but the trailer did look good. A turbulent moment in history where many larger than life characters roamed.

    Like you, I tend to leave the root systems in the ground, undisturbed, or at least as you note, covered back over with soil. The Editor favours the chickens by feeding them the roots and attached soil, which the chickens enjoy. The downside is that the soil has to be fed more. If for any reason soil additives of any sort became harder to obtain, we’d alter processes immediately so as to retain the soil fertility. The chickens would also have to free roam a lot more, which would be problematic due to predation. Always good to have a plan B ready to go when required.

    Speaking of plants, I read an amusing story on the early attempts at talk-back radio, but down under style. A cheeky gardener rang in with a question about whacky tobbacy plants: Australia’s first radio station began 100 years ago as 2SB, now known as ABC Radio Sydney. The fun police dumped the call. But then another cheeky wag had some fun at the opening of the Sydney Harbour Bridge. Jolly good shot! 🙂

    Ah yes, tables are an important technology when it comes to the interaction of books and food. Wouldn’t it be nice to have a third or fourth arm to sort out all those messy problems? But yeah, you do also need to ever so slightly lean forward when eating, unless you’re very good at removing food stains from clothing. The Editor has a genuine knack for that, but I’d prefer not to drop food in the first place. It’s funny, but when I think back to my younger years, people used to say all sorts of strange things about food, like: Don’t chuck food in the fire, you’re feeding the devil. And there were others too. If I left food on the plate, the adults would remind me that people were starving in the land of stuff, not that I reckon they knew that for sure. They may have confused that country which had it’s issues, but for Cambodia. Things were not good there in those days.

    Yum! Yum! Although, I’m a bit iffy about cider vinegar, although the Editor enjoys the stuff. There’s a mob an hours drive north of here near to lots of orchards which run a cold store and use the spoiled apples to make cider vinegar, and you can buy it direct from them. Sure, I’m soft in this matter. 🙂 You’re both made of sterner stuff, or have less taste buds. It’s hard to really say which it is! Mind you, I hated natural yoghurt years ago, and now it tastes fine. I guess a persons palate changes over the years – and with proper training.

    Oooo. Of all the things I’d imagine someone might do at your Club, that’s not one that I would ever have considered. Frankly, the actions of that bloke was a bit confrontational, or was it his odd way of asking for help? On reflection, banning his presence was for the betterment of the group, and I would have done the same but maybe for longer. Will he get a stern lecture on future expectations if or when he returns?

    Pecans are rarely seen down under. Speaking of nut trees, there are a goodly number of horse chestnuts this season on the tree. They make good soap nuts I believe. Earlier this evening a King Parrot was consuming the meagre crop of apricots, and word must have gotten around the parrot community, because one landed next to me whilst I was enjoying my coffee this morning. Seemed friendly enough.

    The articles says both yes and no. But don’t believe what you read, dingoes are well loved, and family has a much greater meaning in those cultures than western perspectives. There’s a dingo sanctuary not far from here, I probably should go and visit it one day.

    It would be even harder to construct those cloches with bombs falling about your ears. Pudding doesn’t necessarily refer to a dessert dish, which seems odd to me, but that’s how things used to be. And I looked up what suet is, and it’ll pack some calories. It was interesting to note that the vegetable versions of the stuff have a greasier mouth feel. I add a bit of coconut oil to my muesli and fruit mix every day and I reckon it’s good stuff. Not for everyone though. In a strange side story, I began consuming the stuff after experiments with treating a skin condition with the dogs when we first moved up here. The dogs at the time got some sort of what looked like mange, which the vet suggested was a yeast infection. Diet sorted it out though.



  12. Yo, Chris – Ooooo! I quit like the Principle of Least Action. “I’m not, not doing anything. I’m testing out the theory of Least Action. 🙂

    The trip to the vet was accomplished. It’s way down south, from here. I hadn’t driven out that way, in a couple of years. Not much has changed, once you get out of town. The old vet’s office was like the med bay, on Star Trek. Snippy little misses, on the counter. Dr. Amanda’s place is more eclectic. Clean, but kind of funky. Of course, she bought the place, so a lot of the fixtures and such are from the previous owner. The counter staff are clearly country folk. Warm and welcoming.

    H got shot full of drugs. A nasal spray for kennel cough and some high powered anti-itch injection called Cytopoint. I also picked up a flea and tick pill. She was pretty out of it, last night, but back to her old self this morning. And no itching. LOL, she’s such a pain, when it comes to the flea pill. Had to cover it, twice, with peanut butter, before she’s finally get it down.

    Dr. Amanda waived some of the fees. How kind. They are aware of the new dog mystery disease, but haven’t seen it, yet.

    Well, let’s see. I read the book and saw the series, 4 decades ago. So, it’s all rather dim. Shogun, that is.

    That was an interesting article about the history of radio, in Australia. At least, it seems the bridge opening crasher had his clothes on 🙂 . Years ago, in California, when I was managing my first bookstore, an elderly lady came tottering in on her walker. I’ll never forget her. White hair, ruby red lipstick, coat and shoes. After a lot of hemming and hawing around, she asked if we had a book on growing mara-hochie. We did. Turns out, her grand daughter had given her a plant, and she wanted to keep it healthy. Said it was so pretty. Kept it in the back bedroom, so no one would see it. 🙂

    I had to cut back on the hot sauce, as it was suggested that that might contribute to my many trips to the bathroom, at night. Seemed to. So, I don’t use it often, but needed something to jazz up dinner. Cider vinegar did the trick.

    Ah, the fellow in mind is kind of a serial relapser. We’re really not given to stern lectures. More a “Glad you’re back,” “Did you learn anything?,” and “Was it any different?”

    I forget how long ago it was that I learned that “pudding,” to the Brits, might not mean a desert.

    I made up my cranberry jam, last night. 6 jelly jars of the stuff. I’ll do the pumpkin pie, tonight. The bird is thawing in the fridge. So, I’ll cook that up tomorrow, along with the dressing. I’m on schedule! Lew

  13. Hi Lewis,

    As a theory, it’s pretty good and I like your interpretation! 🙂 I often employ the do-nothing approach when faced with uncertainty, however, sometimes I’ve observed that it quite confuses people. Sadly, I appear to have recently lost a friend over my use of this strategy – I reached out afterwards and offered an explanation, and then nothing. Technically this side effect is known by the kids as ghosting. As a bit of background, it was a long distance friendship and not someone I know locally, and such things – as you’d be aware – require communication to maintain. All the same, it was a bit of a bummer. Still, mustn’t grumble as I’m fortunate enough because whilst having a lot of acquaintances, I’m lucky enough to have a few good friends – which I count your good self in that basket. 🙂 I always look forward to reading your comment, and of course not to forget the other lovely people who take the time to drop by and say hello.

    At least the vet is nowhere near the roundabout of death, so that is something to be thankful for. It’s funny you mention that about not much having changed once you get outside a town, because a similar situation is true down here as well. Most of the development occurs in the townships, around these parts less than a handful of houses have been constructed since we’ve moved here. It’s quiet and not much changes, except maybe the trees seem to get bigger! 😉 They do, you know.

    You’d hope the vet did not say to H once she was in the Star Trek-esque med-bay, Please state the nature of the medical emergency! Ah, well, to a dog, a vet would smell of 100% pure distress, so H being a tad snippy is to be expected. The Editor tells me that Ruby snapped at the vet on her visit, and so was taken away and muzzled. Talk about rapid consequences… I’d enjoy the ambience of the eclectic, Dr Amanda’s. Probably a bit easier on the dog too. I’m old enough to recall that when I was a kid, doctors often worked out of their homes. The clinic and reception would be part of the front of the house, I’m guessing so that patients weren’t loitering around the kitchen. Did you ever encounter such an arrangement? I reckon vets would have been similar, but I don’t recall it being the case.

    Ruby had a similar set of treatments to H, otherwise she would not have been allowed into the dog obedience school. I don’t believe she scored the Cytopoint. Ooo, she got shots for Kennel Cough, Parvo, Distemper and Hepatitis. No wonder H was out of action, but glad to hear that she is feeling better today. The fluffies extend cordial tail wags to H. 🙂

    Oh yeah, dogs have an amazing ability to spit out pills following on from the supposed ingestion. Dame Plum, resists… When we used to do the worming pill on her (which didn’t seem to help on that front for very long), the Editor put on gloves and we shoved that thing down her throat. She resists, and I reckon H would have mind full of tricks to reject such un-tasty treats?

    Lucky you, and that’s what having friends in high places looks like to me. 🙂 I haven’t heard of that disease in this corner of the planet, but it’s only a matter of time. A very famous film star from your country caused quite the ruckus many years ago when they bypassed quarantine by bringing their dogs over in a private jet. Johnny Depp mocks Pistol and Boo apology video made with Amber Heard. I’d have to suggest that they left a poor impression, and things may have turned badly for the couple.

    Mate, it was 3 decades ago for me, and candidly like you hint, the details have now been lost to time! Hey, did you check under the desk to see whether the details were there? I checked behind the couch, but sadly the vacuum may have sucked the details up along with the dust bunnies. Maybehaps, it is time for a re-visit? I suggested the book to the Editor, who’d never previously heard of it. She quite enjoys historical fiction. Her father had authored a book, and earlier in her life managed to instil the idea in her head that older books were rubbish. This spurious idea has most certainly now been expunged. Long dead folks have something to say.

    Hehe! In those days, the bridge-crasher (like it!) would have had a very difficult time of things getting close to the ribbon with no clothes on. Did you notice that the cheeky scamp was not named? Let’s see… … Here’s a photo of the bloke wielding his sword: Francis De Groot cutting the ribbon at the opening of the Sydney Harbour Bridge, 1932. The fine would have been quite a lot in those days.

    What a lovely older lady, may they make more! They do say that a girl has to have hobbies, and it’s true. At least the lady didn’t quip that she’d intended to grow the plants for ‘fun and profit’!

    Dude, spicy food in the evening produces a similar disturbance in my own sleep. The Editor is made of sterner stuff, but makes allowances for the lesser folks – i.e. me – who has strange side effects from consuming chili in food of an evening. There is an old saying, which may apply equally to your good self: You don’t like the chili, but the chili likes you. 😉 Far out. I hear you about jazzing up the food with the cider vinegar.

    Ah, I see, a serial lapser. The response is well thought out, I especially liked: ‘what have you learned?’ response. Quite thought provoking.

    Rest assured that the word ‘pudding’ to my mind conjures memories of tasty desserts. When I was a kid, a special treat was ‘bread and butter pudding’. Hmm. It’s just given me an idea.

    Happy Thanksgiving! And how did the bird turn out? Candidly, as a mostly vegetarian, I’m salivating at the thought of roast chicken. Yum! Have you made cranberry jelly before? And I’m curious, when do you open the jars? Hope the schedule remains smooth and uninterrupted.

    We got around to bringing the rocks I split apart last week, back up the hill today. The ideas for how the low gradient path project around the downhill side of the chicken enclosure will work reached clarity today. Might break up the rest of the boulder tomorrow, but we’ll see. The Editor is having drinks and a feed with friends this evening. Hey, the rain is forecast to begin tomorrow evening. It’s what I’d describe as a dynamic and prolonged storm. We’ll see.



  14. Hi Chris,

    I am at Carla’s now helping prepare for the 20 guests arriving later today for Thanksgiving. Her husband was up at 3 AM to put two turkeys on the smoker.

    The cold I thought I had turned out to be the unmentionable. I’m still suffering a bit from it a week and a half later. Notably I gave it to no one including Doug. Can’t complain as I haven’t been sick in 3 1/2 years.

    Speaking of dogs that need obedience training I’m being accosted by Carla’s dog, Ruth, as I write.

    Happy Thanksgiving to all that celebrate.


  15. Hi, Chris!

    Does Fernglade Dog Academy take cats? We are having a bit of trouble with cat obedience, though he does take walks with us and stays close by – better than Ruby. I imagine Ruby (don’t know about Sandra) will enjoy all the goings-on of obedience classes, whether she graduates or not.

    And another beautiful sunset.

    We had 4 inches (10 cm) of rain two days ago. We needed it badly and, thankfully, the forest fires are out.

    Our petrol is still reasonable.

    That is another choice boulder, and that is a lot of hours breaking it up.

    I don’t get why, with your stronger UV rays, you can’t grow tomatoes and chillis outside like we do.

    I have red nasturtiums growing now, too, though they shouldn’t be. They have never yet naturalized. I always save seeds, though that is tricky because the mice get to them before I do. That is probably why they have never naturalized . . . Thanks for all the flowers!


  16. Yo, Chris – I’ve never been much for long distance relationships. After I moved to S. California, in the early 70s. I was always quit the correspondent, and, it seems Seattle had been struck with a plague of galloping illiteracy. So, after that very painful experience, I just didn’t bother, much, any more.

    No round-about-of-death between me and the vet. Though there are the Deer of Death that have to be watched out for. 🙂 There are also bear, out that way. And, cougars.

    H has never been snappy. And other than the shaking, was very good at the vets. Once we got into the examining room, she was her usual happy self. She had met Dr. Amanda, once in passing, not long ago. So, I think there was some familiarity.

    I can’t ever remember going to a doctor’s house. By the 1950s, I think that was mostly small towns and rural areas. But as far as vets go, I think “All Creatures Great and Small,” has a pretty good representation of what it was like. I really like the kitchen, in that series.

    I remember the “incident” in Australia, with Mr. Depp. Some people think they can get away with anything.

    I probably won’t re-read “Shogun.” Or, even re-watch the original series. Just to come to it fresh. 🙂 . I got a book from the library, and read the introduction, last night. “Holy Food: How Cults, Communes, and Religious Movements Influenced What we Eat: An American History.” (Ward, 2023). I think it’s going to be interesting.

    I remember the old lady, in search of growing information, said her kids were kind of … sticks. But that her grand daughter was a lot of fun, and they got on well.

    I’ve never tried an English pudding, what with the cloth and steaming, and all. But, it’s on my bucket list.

    Oh, I’ve made cranberry jam, before. There was a bit left over, that didn’t get processed, and it was quit tasty. So, when do I open up my jams and jellies? LOL. I have to be careful not to fall in the trap of “saving it for a special occasion.”

    I made my pumpkin pies, last night. A large one, and a small one. I put the small one in the freezer. Crust, for me, is always fraught. But, it didn’t turn out too bad. Very crispy. Almost cracker like. Not hard to cut. Of course, I’d probably have better luck if I used lard or some other solid vegetable product. I just used butter.

    The bird goes in the oven, after I’m finished, here. I’ll probably let it cool off, and put it in the fridge. Make my dressing and warm some up, this evening.

    Well, any time now, H is off to visit her Mom in the hospital. I hope they bring her back. Frankly, Elinor is bat-shit crazy enough, to give her to anyone that would promise to walk her four times a day, instead of the three times I walk her. So, I really needed the additional stress, on top of the holiday nonsense. Lew

  17. Chris,

    Agreed, 5 hours of labor on the boulder is a cheap price to keep the Elders happy. Good exercise for you, projects get improved, Elder Folk are happy. Close to perfection, that is.

    I’ve observed bees doing similar things and never been able to figure out what they were up to. Conversely, I’m sure I do a lot of things that the bees can’t fathom.

    We got Avalanche when she was about 4 months old. The word from the dog rescue people was the Avalanche was outgoing and adventurous, while her twin (Blizzard) was shy and laid back. Yes, their personalities were already hardwired in. Also, huskies seem to mentally and emotionally mature later than other breeds. Now at 29 months, Avalanche is really starting to get it together. She even ignored a group of 3 dogs when I told her to ignore them on today’s walk. That’s a first for her.

    Yes, it was quite fortunate to discuss family history with a close friend and realize…oh, wow a member of a long-forgotten branch of the family.

    Oh, your favorite line is a treasure! Indeed, it brought needed laughter to my day. I was asked that question once at work. My response was “If you even have to ask me that question after years of working together, it’s obvious that you don’t know me at all. So, yes, Diet Dr. Pepper…” Yes, the truth was then told to me.

    Brushturkey. Good looking bird.

    The deer family around here sports 4 main species. The smallest is the white-tailed deer. Next in size, and definitely larger, is the mule deer. They can get fairly large. A giant step up the size scale, to 11 exactly, is the elk. Finally, moose. Moose are so big compared to the others that they are off the scale.  Anything bigger around here is domesticated.

    Oh, wait, there’s a fifth. Antelope. A small herd of antelope got introduced to the region a few years ago. They quickly fled the mountainous region in which they were released and now frequent the sage plains west and south of Spokane. I’ve never seen one.

    Hey, that was all very difficult physics, especially the quantum theory stuff. Richard Feynman summed it up well: “If you can’t explain it so that an 8-year-old can understand it, you don’t really understand it yourself.”

    Nice point about the plants and solar energy. That 2% figure gives a lot to think about, doesn’t it?

    Okay, here’s another real life question. You are at the edge of a sandy beach which runs west of you. You are 20 meters from the water. 20 meters west of you there is a person in the water, 20 meters offshore. The person is floundering and needs help. 5 meters offshore the water is waist deep. Being a typical human, you can run faster than you can swim. What is the fastest route to take in order to assist the floundering person?

    We’re not due any rain for another week maybe. Then it should be daily rain or snow showers, depending on whether the storms hit at night or during the day. It’s that time of year. Hope our rain holds off enough so that you can get some projects done.


  18. Hi Margaret,

    A massive thunderstorm just hit. I was running around in the rain keeping the water tank inlet filters all clear of gunk. About an inch has fallen, and it’s been raining almost continuously for about six hours now.

    Hope the Thanksgiving (err, lunch?) went well? I’ll bet the turkey tasted good, and being able to cook is a most excellent skill. Why not start the smoker the evening beforehand?

    Oh no! Sorry to hear that, and yeah we both had the flu a couple of weeks ago. Yeah, that thing lingers, sorry to say. You’ve had a pretty good run. Yikes! The rain has just picked up again…

    Go Ruth! And Margaret, may the training be with you! 🙂 Dogs are lovely creatures.

    Happy Thanksgiving to you as well.



  19. Hi Pam,

    🙂 Cats are lovely creatures, and one day there may be a fluffy moggy here. Don’t you reckon cats do sterling work with the rodent population? I’m so sorry to say this, but cats take the whole ‘free-independent-thinking-fluffy’ problem number six, to the entire next level, which according to advanced mathematicians (lurking around the comment section here) may well be the number eleven. Lovely creatures, but they really do have their own opinions. Good luck!

    Years ago I read an amusing and very short story about the differences between dogs and cats. The dog in the short story was running around declaring that the day was the best ever, whilst the cat on the other hand remarked something along the lines of: Day 1,536 of my captivity, I proceeded to trip human number three at the top of the stairs, but was foiled by dog. And so the story went…

    My gut feeling is that about the best you can achieve is for the feline to align their interests with that of yours. Much like those strange people who keep bears as pets – note to such people: Keep the bears well fed! I’m sure you know what I mean?

    Thanks! Pam, the weather has turned here. We’re meant to be in an El Nino year which means hot and dry. However, so far it has been cool and dry. The bonkers thing is that a massively epic storm brewed over the Coral Sea (to the NE of the continent). Now the winds usually run west to east, but right now, that ain’t the case. Dunno whether you’ve read ‘Lord of the Rings’, but right now the thunder gods are going feral outside. Over an inch of rain has fallen today, and the rain has been more or less continuous for six hours now, but the storm front hit a little while ago. Cleans out the water collection pipes that sort of deluge, and spare a moments thought for my good self who has to run around under an umbrella cleaning the gunk out of the water tank inlet filters… A most hands on job, and Sandra kindly took a photo, purely for research purposes for the blog. Yuk!

    4 inches of rain is an awesome gift. With the soil still warm from summer, have you noticed any of the plants suddenly growing? Some of the fruit here will split, and I feel great sympathy for the local cherry farm. Ook!

    Lucky you with fuel costs, things are not so bright that we can wear shades down here. Still, my needs are few on that front.

    It’s hard work breaking up boulders, and I tell you truly, they don’t like it and do their best to resist! 🙂 Yesterday, we moved all of the boulders back up the hill, and today we broke up more boulders. There’s a plan, you know!

    Claire pondered that situation with the plants, and derived the answer to your question: The nights here are cold, so the soil temperature is much lower than you’d expect it to be given the bonkers daytime temperatures. In your part of the world, we’re about the same latitude as the Chesapeake Bay Bridge–Tunnel in Virginia, but at 2,300ft above sea level. The nights are more often cold than hot, although we do get the occasional hot night. Despite hitting 114’F in the shade, the nights can cool down. It’s a bonkers climate here, with a remarkable degree of variability. The best harvest we ever produced was in the awful Black Summer of 2019-2020 where bushfires wiped out an extraordinary amount of forest far to the east of here. But we had an amazing harvest, and even got melons. Hmm. A second greenhouse is necessary.

    The red nasturtiums are lovely aren’t they? Is your cat not on top of the rodent issue? 🙂 The rats drive me crazy here, but I’m winning the war, maybe. People use nasturtium seeds as a caper replacement, and they’re pretty good.

    I was watching the British ‘The Victorian Kitchen Garden’ series from 1987 the other night and was amazed that the canny old school gardeners used chopped up gorse to protect sown seeds from mice and rats. A good use of the stabby and fire prone plant.



  20. Hi DJ,

    That’s my thinking too about placating the Elder ones of the forest. Historical accounts suggest that they’re not to be messed with. Recently, I’ve been reading Jack Vance’s epic trilogy ‘Lyonesse’, which is a rollicking good yarn. As a minor side note in the story a couple of intrepid characters were seeking out the Elder ones and were warned by a local peasant not to make mischief and be respectful in their dealings with them, or else – and the example given was that another peasant, Fonsell had made water near to a faerie shee, and been gifted with donkey’s ears, and a donkey’s member as a consequence. So yeah, don’t mess with them is sound advice. 😉

    And yeah, makes me wonder how I can harness some of the energy of the other folks aimlessly loitering around the mountain range purely for recreational purposes. Harnesses and pulling rocks back up the hill come to mind, but I get this odd feeling that I’d get into trouble because they probably won’t go into the harnesses willingly! Your ancestors probably knew how to motivate such folks.

    Sadly for those bees, they’ve probably drowned. I did try and warn them and move them on, but do they listen? Nope. It began raining at about 2pm this afternoon, and continued to do so until a few minutes ago. It was mostly gentle rain, but when the storm front hit, it was feral outside. The forecast suggested 10mm, and so far 30mm fell. It’s wet outside, and I’m slightly damp as well. During the heaviest rain I was running around keeping the water tank inlet filters clear of gunk. With it being dry-ish (yes, yes, I know, it’s a relative concept) for the past five or six weeks, a bit leaf matter had fallen into the roof and guttering. In a perfect world, I would have cleaned the guttering, but there were boulders to be broken instead.

    Looks like rain is forecast every day for the next two weeks. A truly and utterly bonkers growing season. Oh well. It’ll probably get dry and hot after that fortnight. Continued breaking apart boulders today. We had a bit more time today too, so brought the rocks we’d broken back up the hill and placed them in the new low gradient ramp. We’re running next to the chicken enclosure too, but alas that needs a second row of rocks. Oh well, life wasn’t meant to be easy. Got rained on at the end of the work day.

    Did you ever consider also getting Avalanche’s brother? We had that exact same situation many years ago. That makes sense about Avalanche maturing at that age, and the two Kelpies (who are now about 36 months old and calmer) were pretty similar, although Ollie was more advanced at a younger age.

    Glad you enjoyed the favourite line and got a chuckle out of it, and I do actually use that. It’s a good way of focusing peoples attention on a subject when it is serious enough that it demands such a response. Ah yes, well that is the flip-side of using such comments, they can be turned around on you. Spare a thought for Sandra, who has to put up with my occasionally silly commentary (yes, I would have drawn killer rabbits to annoy a dull and tiresome Abbot!), and occasionally she’ll flip it around on me, much to her vast amusement.

    The other evening I startled a six foot bull kangaroo, We almost walked into each other as it was just on the other side of a rather large and thickly vegetated olive tree. The bull nonchalantly bounced away at a leisurely pace. DJ, the head of the kangaroo was merely the shoulder height of a moose! Yikes, please keep such massive critters in your part of the world. I still can’t quite fathom how folks can keep bears as pets… Exactly, elk to 11!

    After you mentioned them, I’d read that Antelope used to be in your part of the world. Clearly, there was much for such critters to eat back then.

    I agree, and your physics explanation was perfectly fine, but after a day of intense accounting work, the finer thought processes get a tad fuzzy. Basically, to sum up the deficiency, it ain’t you, it’s me! 🙂

    And the 2% number is rarely far from my mind. I spoke to the nice inverter folks up north today, and they’ve offered a 50% discount on some of their excess stock. Sadly, they’re ceasing production mid next year. I may take them up on this discount offer.

    Sandra loves this sort of puzzle, and has books of them and enjoys working through them. My brain is not wired for these, but in the interests of harmony, I’ll give it a bash. There is an element of reading comprehension to these puzzles. I have to draw it out on paper.

    There are a few assumptions I had to make, and therein lies the problem for me with such puzzles. Like what are the conditions of the depth between 5m and 20m out? What are the waves like? Can you see the person once in the water given the wave action? I’m assuming that given the person is drowning, then they’re in over their head. But then, for all we know, they could have downed a couple of tasty dark ales before heading out for a swim. Such things have been known to happen. Anyway, what’s the answer?

    Snow sounds lovely, and between you and I, it’s more enjoyable than torrential downpours.



  21. Hi Lewis,

    Thanks for the laughs, and I wouldn’t let that cat anywhere near my bits. The cheeky feline has a reputation to defend, and you know it’s gonna hurt. Bizarrely, I had this strange idea that people were much more serious in those days. The Jonah scene with the bloke hanging onto him, was seriously funny.

    Like you, I’m also quite the correspondent – you may have noticed? 🙂 But yeah, that’s been my experience too. Truth to tell, given the financial circumstances of the household when I was a kid, we moved around a lot. Then as an adult and renting, I again had to move around a lot. I may have lived in maybe 19 different houses in my life, and we’ve been here since 2010. People wonder why I have no great desire to travel… 🙂 But getting back to your point, I found that as well in that when you move away, people tend to treat that as some sort of ending. There are so many ways to communicate nowadays, and you and I correspond, but that’s rare, and as such I respect that. I can’t really comprehend why people treat it as an ending, but it seems common enough, and I’ve been on the wrong side of that story in my life plenty of times. What’s your take on that?

    Deer are rather large aren’t they and travel in herds? There’s a bonkers amount of wildlife up here, and it makes for a slow and nervous driving experience at certain times of the day (especially dusk and dawn). Hey I recall when you had to get the Ranger fixed up for that deer damage all those long years ago. Nowadays as I’m driving along, I scan both sides of the road keeping a watch out for anything that moves. Plus after a while you get to learn the animals habits. A good thing to recall should you encounter a single kangaroo on the road, is that where there is one, there maybe more, for they travel in mobs. Could be useful?

    Far out! DJ mentioned moose, now you’re mentioning bears and cougars. Honestly, if those three critters were roaming around the forest here, I’d probably carry a rifle whilst on dogs walks. It was hard not to notice that there was some reference to the folks and their dog who were eaten by the hungry bear over the border, had empty cans of bear spray. That’s what I’d suggest as providing a critique upon such spray’s effectiveness.

    Still, there are some nasty customers lurking around the forests here too. I read this article on a snake catcher up in the arid north west of the state who was bitten, without initially being aware of the bite: Mildura snake catcher Steven Morrow taken to hospital after brown snake bite. He’s a lucky bloke to have made it to hospital in time.

    Go H! That’s enviable behaviour for a dog in such a circumstance, and I haven’t known too many dogs that are comfortable with visits to the vet.

    The dogs have been running around crazy-like outside for most of the day today. We broke up some more boulders, then brought them back up the hill and placed them in the continuing low gradient path project next to the chicken enclosure. We’d made plans to finish up for lunch at about 2:30pm, and the last half hour of work we were rained on. It ended up raining for about six hours, and the storm front hit at about 7pm. It was torrential, and a couple of times I had to head out into the storm (under an umbrella) and clean the water tank inlet filters. The Editor managed to take some photos, so hopefully you can see the gunk, and I’m performing ‘drowned rat number four’ look. Candidly, it’s a tough sell that look! 🙂 About one and a quarter inch of rain fell, and it looks set to rain every day for the next two weeks. Bonkers weather…

    I hear you man. Time is short, and there are other books to read, and if the series is good, it’ll recount the ripping yarn in fine fashion. That’s the plan anyway. I’m enjoying the 1987 BBC Victorian Kitchen Garden series, and I believe the old duffer is the same dude you were writing about in the ‘Wartime Garden’ series. Might have to watch that next. I’ve already learned stuff, like I have only a very marginal chance that melons will grow outdoors here.

    The book sounds like a lot of fun. I’d always heard some weird story on that front about corn flakes, and surely that can’t be true? Such a weird belief, if it is true. Have you read any other fun examples like that one?

    Hey, sometimes a sense of adventure skips a generation! 🙂 It’s been known to happen, and incidentally now that you mention it, I can think of a few examples.

    Bread and butter pudding does not require such cooking treatments. It doesn’t sounds all that great, but from memory it was an excellent dessert. Is it cheating the bucket list, if the stuff isn’t all that hard to make? I’m not entirely sure whether the bread I bake, which is higher in protein than the sort of stuff people are used to eating, would work well in that dessert? A mystery. Should it be put to the test? That’s the question. What do you reckon?

    Ah, very amusing! That is the core problem with preserving, isn’t it? We used to make far more jam / conserve than we do nowadays, and you end up with more than you can eat, and seriously, you can’t give the stuff away. People are immediately suspicious and you can almost read their thoughts: Is this horrid stuff going to poison me? That’s what they’re thinking. And what annoys me the most, is that they don’t think to return the glass jars and lids.

    So what sort of crust did you bake? Given it’s sweet (Pumpkin pie down here would be savoury, but I’m not sure what it is in your country), I’d be thinking of trying a shortbread crust. Super tasty too, but probably not all that good for you… Oh well, can’t be good all the time. Nothing wrong with butter. Yum!

    Cold chicken is very tasty. How did the roast turn out? Did you make stuffing? Bread crumb stuffing is superb.

    Mate, how do you fight such expectations? People don’t take on dogs on a whim, fortunately, maybe. If someone visited me and I was in hospital, I’d be happy to see them and not berating them about the difference between a three or four walk day. Other folks, well, they do their own thing, and I have seen some strange behaviour in such places over the years. I’m of the opinion, that few folks are at their best in such places.



  22. Chris:

    Your problem is that Dame Plum may eat the moggy. All the kitty is interested in is himself. Hard to overcome that. Though he was awfully friendly early this morning when I was the only one up. Unfortunately for him, I do not have the authority to serve cat breakfast, and he knows that. Could it just be that he likes me? Hmmm . . . He is good about rodents. He eats the mousies and then comes inside and throws them up; he likes to leave the heads various other interesting places. The fine animal also catches chipmunks and baby squirrels. So far he has left the birds alone (or is not very skilled in that area).

    I read all of The Lord of the Rings books when I was a teenager.

    Definitely some plants are popping up that should have waited till spring. They are a little too optimistic as it is supposed to be 28F (-2.2C) tomorrow.

    Ah – you are much, much higher than we are at 775ft above sea level.

    Gorse, eh? I have used pruned rose branches before to keep dogs out of beds, but where will I find gorse . . . ?


  23. Yo, Chris – An interesting genealogical / mathematical question. Well, you know how you have four grand-parents, 8 great grand- parents, etc.. And as the world population was less, the further back you go, it seems you would have a pretty good chance of being related to just about everybody. On the other hand, given the increase in world population, maybe that would be less likely? I really like watching those genealogical shows. “Finding Your Roots,” “Who Do You Think You Are,” etc. I ran across an interesting factoid, one time. All six of Henry VIII’s wives, were related. They all had a common ancestor in Edward I of England.

    People pay more attention to what’s right in front of them. Or, maybe, we’re just bad people. 🙂

    Maybe the deer that hit me, hadn’t got the memo. “The Incident” happened in the early afternoon. Yes, when I’m out of town, I’m always scanning the road sides. Heck, when I’m in town, I drive pretty much what is called “defensively,” just to avoid other crazy drivers.

    In our SE, seems like every few months, someone is eaten by an alligator. At least we don’t have them, up here. Reminded me … here’s the opening scene to “Meg 2”. Less than 2 minutes.

    That was an interesting story about the snake catcher. Such a small bite. Looks like he bites his nails. Probably comes with the occupation.

    Oh, Chris. You’ve got to put your mind to figuring out something with those water tank inlet filters. Climbing around on ladders, during driving rain storms, is not going to end well. Never mind the chance of being hit by lightening. Well, maybe the Editor has you heavily insured … 🙂

    I’ll have to check out the “Victorian Kitchen Garden,” and see if it’s the same old duffer.

    “The Road to Wellville” (1994) is a good (and amusing) fictional look at the strangeness of the corn flake king. I may end up skimming the book on the odd food habits of religious crazies. The type is very dense … and small. Although there are a lot of illustrations.

    That’s the problem. How “from scratch” do you want to get? Tiramisu is an example. Most recipes call for you to buy the Lady Fingers. But they can be made. There’s a recipe in my “Joy of Cooking.” And, must there be liquor? There are several recipes, without. When I was moaning about my upcoming battle with pie crust, several people suggested I just buy a crust. You can, here, and they come in several varieties. My response is, “Have you looked at the ingredients list, on those things?” My crust was just flour(all purpose), a little salt, and water. Rolling it out between two sheets of wax paper, made it slightly easier to handle. And, I made sure everything was cold. I even dropped my rolling pin in the freezer, for a few hours.

    Someone once observed that they can always tell when someone was raised in the country. They always return the preserve jars. 🙂

    My chicken was still slightly frosty, even after a day and a half in the fridge. It was moist, and tasty, but slightly underdone. When I use the meat, I’ll just have to make sure that it’s well cooked. I’ll start freezing up some of it, today.

    I stopped down to the Club, around 7 last night. I guess they had a poor turn-out. Only 20 or so people. Unlike previous years. There was lots of food left, but two of the ladies were packing it up, and getting it into the fridge. It looked tempting, but after my experience getting sick, last year, I steered clear.

    So, then I went home and made my dressing. Here, most dressing seems to be made with bread croutons. In a small sauce pan, I combined meat, drippings, butter and water. While that was simmering away, I chopped up and added celery, a chopped fried onion, Shiitake mushrooms, and plumped up cranberries, to the croutons. There’s a nice spice packet that comes with the croutons. Heavy on the sage. I poured the liquid, over the croutons and spices, gave it a good stir and nuked it for 10 minutes. Tasted like it came out of the bird.

    So then I settled in with slices of chicken, dressing, cracked open a jar of the cranberry jam, and pumpkin pie. Watched the DVD, “Doc Martin: Last Christmas in Portwenn.” LOL. It was either that, or the latest season of “South Park.” 🙂 So, that’s done and dusted, except for the left-overs. Lew

  24. Chris,

    Okay, so there are a bunch of nonresidents doing touristy things that do NOT involve work. Then there’s the question of what my (Viking) ancestors would have done. Very simple, but something that many find uncomfortable to talk about. The ancestors would have gone on a raid, captured them, enslaved them. Not feasible today. Capture more than needed? Sell them. It appears that the slave trade is what actually made the Vikings wealthy, unfortunately. Why? It took too long for a village to make a ship, as food production still needed to be done. But with slaves from, say the British Isles? The captives could do all of the menial farming related things, as well as gathering timber for ships, allowing the craftsmen to make more ships. More ships equals more raids for gold, jewels, captive workers, etc.

    It was a spectacularly clear day today, maybe +6C. Twas a good day to get out the ladder and a few implements, climb the ladder and clean the leaves out of the gutters. The Princess insisted on helping – we are both respectful of gravity and the potential injuries from falling of things like ladders. If the ladder wasn’t quite stable enough for her liking, she would stand on the bottom rung and help stabilize it. She also ransacked the toolbox for other tools and implements I might need. We were both appreciative of the process: she saw that I really am VERY careful climbing things, and I appreciated the company and assistance. Took much less time than when doing that by myself.

    Good luck with the growing season. And with getting another row of rocks near the chicken enclosure. Peak rocks is real and the work is grueling.

    I actually wanted Avalanche’s twin. However, I was fourth in line. The other parties didn’t want the adventurous puppy, so I was top of the list for Avalanche. If I’d had the option for both, I might have taken both. A handful, yet the comfort of a sibling might have helped both.

    A bull kangaroo? Glad he hopped away. They can be a handful, I’ve heard.

    We don’t get elk in this part of town. White tailed deer and the occasional moose, yes. One of the latter left us a “calling card” in the front yard one summer’s night. The word with moose in the wild is very simple: avoid them. If you see one, then go the other way. They are big, fast and entirely unpredictable.

    Well done! Step one for solving physics questions is to draw a picture! You also solved it correctly. That is actually a question my dad used on his Introductory Physics tests. It also demonstrates a practical application of the Principle of Least Action. Your assumptions were correct. I especially liked the comment on the drawing, “Hope they don’t take you down upon rescue!”


  25. Hi Pam,

    Dame Plum despite her forthright war on the rodents, is a lady of the finest breeding (in her mind) and would never dare consume a moggy. Perhaps the contents of the kitty litter tray would be explored, but this is an entirely different matter!

    It’s true what you say, dogs are sensitive to the needs of the pack, whilst cats are sensitive to their own needs. Have you considered running an experiment so as to see whether said moggy, would provide you with social credits in return for sneaky food treats? I have this odd hunch that it might work. 🙂

    Well yes, that is a most definite downside with consumption of such rodenty food stuffs. The resulting stench would be an unforgettable aroma! You may recall the worm incident I wrote of a while ago with the pogrom on the well fed rats?

    Professor Tolkien’s combined book was so densely printed in tiny characters, that I always took it with me for the purposes of comfort when travelling in far distant and rough lands. Basically, the book took a while to read! But yeah, the teenage years can be a similar experience. For your info, I may have first encountered the book in my very early twenties.

    Pam, it is a truth universally known that 28’F signifies the end of your growing season. 🙂 Your November is my May, and there is no way anything grows in late May here. Even plants in the greenhouse struggle by late that month. I’m watching an old BBC series ‘Victorian Kitchen Garden’ and they did gloss over the massive boiler which would have beggared the kingdom (or manse in this case) to run over the winter months piping hot water through the greenhouses in the depths of winter.

    Yeah, exactly! Being at such an altitude above sea level on the side of a hopefully extinct super volcano, we have both kinds of weather: Super hot, and bonkers cold. It’s an enviable estate!!!! My take in the matter is that land which is optimal for growing edibles is also super expensive, and us mere mortals have to muddle through as best we may. And perhaps construct a second greenhouse.

    Truthfully, if I were to discover gorse growing here, and I have done so, I’d cut the plant out. If a fire ever gets into gorse, it is almost unstoppable. And the plant has crazy sharp thorns. Not a fan. But who knew it could be put to use protecting seeds from rodents? The spikes will get through leather riggers gloves. Horrid stuff.



  26. Hi DJ,

    Ah, you seem to have grasped the Dark Ages practicalities when confronted with such a set of circumstances. Very correct there too. I’d often wondered at how the warriors could head off on raids during the peak of the growing season when that season would have been so short due to the northern latitude. Makes sense, but they were also inadvertently training the very folks left to wonder about the next raid, whom they were taking advantage of. It did take a lot of centuries though before the entire edifice became uneconomic.

    One of the things I’m learning the hard way here, is that despite being fluent in many of the complicated systems which keep this juggernaut going, there are limits as to what I can do. Lately I’ve been coming around to the idea to make the place easier and simpler to live with. Thus the focus on getting the infrastructure solid and tested, which has been going on for a few years now. There’s a bit more to go on that front, but life here is getting easier. And it’s hard to explain, but I actually enjoy splitting up the boulders and making something useful and aesthetic out of them.

    Your daytime temperatures, are now the nightime lows here. Brr! 6’C is most definitely a three blanket night here. 🙂 Always wise to clean out the gutters. Out of curiosity, down here in urban areas, such water collected from roofs then falling into guttering would flow onto the road. Is that the case in your part of the world?

    Two sets of eyes on a problem, like your ladder exercise, are always better than one. And good stuff, the job takes less time with two people. Spare a thought for Sandra though. Back in 2009 when we began constructing the house together, I’d previously worked at the top end of town managing a large team. Turns out, that experience doesn’t quite prepare oneself for working with one’s lady. Hmm. DJ, truthfully I got away with the benevolent dictator biz for about a week. Then, things suddenly changed. 🙂 In these more enlightened times, we always start any work day by setting goals, who does what, and how we intend to go about doing whatever activity it may be. Also who will be in the lead for the work that day. If the activity is new, that is clearly stated and we take a more relaxed approach to trying to work out how to do whatever it is that we are doing. And, the number one rule is: Whomever is at the top of the ladder, should not be disturbed from their activities unless there is an element of risk inherent in the work. It’s not fun to do all that, but it is harmonious and avoids a whole bunch of squabbling. 🙂

    Thanks! Would you believe it is raining outside right now… Oh well. Peak Rocks is real, and the boulders around here are nervous!

    Sorry to hear that, and I hadn’t known. One Avalanche in the hand is better than a pair of dogs that you had zero chance of getting. You know what though? I reckon each dog we interact with, has something to teach us. Hey, they offered me doggie counselling (whatever that is) when we chose Ollie. He’s a pretty nice dog, but I can see why he’d freak people out. And huskies have a similar reputation, as do kelpies. Not for everyone, but if you can interact in a positive way with Avalanche, most other dogs will be easier.

    A neighbours dog was killed by a large bull kangaroo, so I treat them with caution and respect. Mostly my interactions with the marsupials have been good. Try not to startle them is a good way to go.

    I agree with you, moose are massive creatures and best left alone.

    Thanks for that. Honestly, I was a bit stressed and drawing out the problem made things easier for my mind. I didn’t have to juggle so many variables that way. Your dad was a clever bloke to set a question which forced a student to display the way they approached a set of circumstances. I’ll bet he challenged you over the years from time to time? Sadly it is true that rescuing people in the surf can itself be a risky venture.

    The folks making the inverters in the solar power system I use are ceasing their manufacturing. I now have to spend some time over summer and take an inventory of parts in each, and get an order for the items most likely to fail. Hmm. Is this an application of the principle of least action? Makes you wonder if there was some sort of principle about being prepared for likely outcomes and possibilities?

    Had today off work, and a gourmet pie and lamington were most certainly harmed. 🙂



  27. Hi Lewis,

    It’s raining outside again tonight, and looks like it will continue to do so on and off again until lunchtime tomorrow and every day for the next two weeks. Earlier in the day here was quite nice, and we decided to have the day off any and all work. A gourmet pie (Chicken, leek and bacon) was harmed, as was a chunk of Lamington which the Editor and I also shared with the dogs, bit the dust. And I slept in this morning. The alarm went off, and was roundly ignored. Pesky things… 🙂

    It is fascinating stuff, isn’t it? There really is something to the whole ‘six degrees of separation’ concept. Perhaps the nobility in those days were a bit short on new blood to bolster their ranks? And given Henry VIII was also related to Edward I, it suggests that there would have been unexpected difficulties for their progeny.

    I’d like to think that we’re bad as! Yeah! Hey, maybe we just notice stuff? That’s not as common a trait as you’d imagine.

    At least on the back roads in the forest, I can sort of drive at the speed required to avoid your incident. But once on main roads, with more traffic, you take your chances with wildlife, and hope for the best. The major freeways are sometimes fenced, and sometimes not fenced, and there are incidents. Not good. The worst I’d seen were three cows who must have wandered onto the freeway. A bit of a mess that, and I got to see a bloke with a truck and crane lifting the remains into the tray. From memory (and it was a few years ago, things get dimmer with time), but the business had a notable name: Mack the Knacker. Says it all. Imagine being at the business and getting that call. Have you got a purchase order you can give me for the job? Far out…

    Wise to drive defensively. Not everyone does so, which is I guess why there is a preference to such huge vehicles these days. Try riding a motor bike and you’ll keep a very sharp eye on all of the other vehicles around you, not to mention obstacles and condition of the road surface. I used up many of my nine lives on those machines, and one day the knowledge popped into my head and said: ‘no more’. And I stopped riding then and there.

    Still raining outside! Bonkers weather…

    Oh man, that trailer for the Meg 2 opening scene was awesome. Chomp! Chomp! Chomp! Yes, we all get to be eaten, just once! Also an excellent example of the principles of escalation, in action. Incidentally, it proves something I’d been cogitating upon for a long while: You only get to be the boss for a short period of time, should your inclination be so inclined! You see it playing out in the inverted bell shaped curve which must be hard-wired into the very fabric of the universe itself – and that trailer. At least that’s my suspicion. Have I strayed into the realms of the mystic here? 🙂

    That’s what troubled me too, the snake catcher hadn’t realised he’d been bitten. The puncture wound was tiny. That actually happened in a town about an hours drive north of here a year or two back with a landscaper bloke in that he hadn’t known that he was bitten. Things didn’t end well, that time around.

    The rain is feral outside. Better go check on the filters… Hang on a sec!

    Back inside now, only slightly damp. Hopefully the torrential downpour yesterday cleaned the drains of gunk, but it may be too much to hope for. There are lots of systems for this purpose, and all of them fail at some point – every time. I try to keep the water inlet filter system simple on the basis that life is then made easier. Hadn’t thought of the lightning risk whilst on the ladder. Hmm. Mind you, there are much taller trees which will probably get hit first, maybe. Induction could be a problem though with all that aluminium. All except one filter can be accessed from ground level. There is something to be said about living on sloping ground. 😉

    Better head outside and check again. Hopefully there are no sharks or frogs falling from the sky! Not something you’d ever want to experience.

    The frogs seem to be happy with the conditions, and the filters are clean tonight. I’d like to think that the Editor would miss me, but it’s been said before that a goodly bunch of mad cash can pay for therapy, with plenty to spare. 🙂

    Did you get a chance to check out the series? I’d reckon it is the same old duffer. Hang on, I’ll have a look… … Oh yeah, it is the same old duffer, and set in the same walled garden! I’d have to say that the producers had struck gold. The series I’m watching really is very charming, and I’m learning things here and there. Oh no! The freakin’ rain has just picked up again… …

    Cleaned a bit of gunk out, and declared ‘all clear’, for now at least. The Editor and I were discussing this task the other day and came to the conclusion that most people probably just let the water run over the side of water tanks from blocked up inlet filters. I’m of the opinion that diesel fuel is getting more expensive as time goes on, so it is easier to store the rainfall, than pay for some cartage truck to bring up a load of water. And it will be nice going into summer with full reserves of water. Can’t get better than that.

    The outback has an amusing culture during extreme weather: Outback’s Packsaddle Roadhouse turns into an indoor swimming pool after much-needed rains

    Hehe! The Road to Wellville indeed. I have eaten those foodstuffs and noticed no inner difference whatsoever, surely you’ve had a similar experience. 🙂 What an odd concern the gentleman had. Small typeface can make for a physically difficult reading experience. Such authors require an editor to chop out the unnecessary chunks of text, and then maybe provide a more complete ‘study edition’ of the text.

    Lewis, I so hear you about the where to start problem. And I agree, we can make the marscapone cheese, but should we? When you first mentioned the issue, I looked up how to make the lady fingers biscuits, and yes it can be done. But how much time does a person have for these tasks? I’ve had tiramisu without the marsala, and it is quite good. Plenty of businesses will have issues with adding the alcohol to the dessert for obvious reasons.

    The ingredient list is long and extensive, when it is simply a pie crust. I’ve never made crust that way you did, but I reckon the only difference would be the addition of butter. Looking up recipes, did you notice some folks chuck sugar into the mix? I’m not so certain that ingredient is necessary in that application.

    Hehe! A fine observation. And I wish they’d bring the jars back for washing and re-use! 🙂 Funnily enough, I’ve slowed down on gifting food from the place, mostly because people look happy enough to receive the goods, they just fail to say anything further on the subject. Did they like the stuff? Do they want more? I’m absolutely stumped about that, but it is a very common response, and so I assume the worst. It’s weird though, because when people eat food here, they’re usually pretty happy looking at the spread provided and are nice about it afterwards. Gifting is somehow different, and it beats me what is going on there. Perhaps it is considered an unsolicited social exchange? What do you reckon? Dunno.

    Ah, yes pink chicken is best not consumed, and that’s wise to cook it well.

    Dude, you were pretty sick last year from that experience. It was not good. Trust in this instance is hard won, easily lost, and perhaps never regained. When I was a young bloke, a friend really liked a particular restaurant, and the place was nice and the owner friendly and welcoming. You just couldn’t eat the mushroom soup. Sometimes it was genius, and other times I swore it was off. Then, I started getting a bit dubious about the rice. The business eventually shut down. I’m sure you’ve known of such a place?

    You know, I’ve never eaten croutons. The recipes look good and very tasty, although I’d go easy on the salt if it were for dinner. They’d probably make a very fine stuffing and your enhancements were fit for the occasion! I’ll bet it was good. Yum!

    The Doc Martin series sounds rather charming, and the backdrop of the village is nothing short of stunning. And who could hate the name: “Fern Cottage”? The Doctor sounds like a difficult, but mostly likeable character. Aren’t we all? Hehe!

    It stopped raining at least. There’s a bit more heading this way on the radar. Two days in, two weeks of rain to go. A truly odd growing season. At least the soil here is well drained. It needs to be!



  28. Chris:

    This moggy is a bit on the stout side and is not allowed to have between-meal snacks. Thus he provides his own. When he lived in the city, in Oyster Bay, New York, he – being a flashy boy, white with large black spots, and big to start with – was known far and wide for roaming the streets and begging, the closest pizza parlor being his favorite place. This, in spite of the fact that he had a lovely home and was terribly spoiled. Here in the country there are no pizza parlors, so he has to catch his own treats.

    Some things will still be growing after such a cold temperature, and probably throughout the winter. It happened so the last three winters. The chard, spinach, kale, and cabbages will grow, or at least just rest; I picked all the lettuce that was left yesterday. The beets and parsnips will be fine for awhile and some of the herbs. And maybe the one carrot.

    Come to think of it, I can remember reading about some pretty fierce wildfires in Scotland, and I think gorse was one of the culprits.


  29. Yo, Chris – We’re having a string of clear days, and cold nights. Mid 20sF. The Master Gardeners decorate the porch and entryway, here at the Institution. So, I took the opportunity to remove the corn stocks and pumpkin. The pumpkin is in fine shape, so, it’s in my kitchen and I should do something with it. I cut up the corn stocks, to be mulched into my garden beds. Very Zen. My mind wandered to your scary old wood chipper.

    I happened to find a small ear of Jimmy Red Corn I had overlooked. Our postie, Jack, happened to be here, so I gifted it, to him.

    I repeated Thanksgiving dinner, last night. With a side of “South Park”, this time. 🙂

    The Royals, way back when, had a rough go of it. Accidents took out quit a few of them. Everything from shipwreck to plague. Henry VIII’s brother, Arthur, went down with a ship. So, Henry was actually the spare. Think of how history might have been different, had his brother survived? Princess Joan, of England, died of the plague on the way to be married to a Spanish prince, in 1348. She was about 14.

    Besides the wildlife, we have an interesting thing here called “open range.” “In the Western United States and Canada, open range is rangeland where cattle roam freely regardless of land ownership. Where there are “open range” laws, those wanting to keep animals off their property must erect a fence to keep animals out.” A year or two ago, there was an interesting incident involving open range, where my friends live, in Idaho. A van hit a bull on a road. Then the very drunken farmer showed up, with a gun. Sheriffs arrived. It ended very badly, for the farmer. Community opinion was, that the farmer was a very unpleasant fellow, and a general pain in the … ear. And wouldn’t be missed, by anybody.

    I noticed the article on snakes mentioned that one of the more poisonous ones has a taste for frogs. Might want to rethink your frog resort. 🙂

    That was an amusing article about rain in the outback. I suppose, the welcome rain offset any hard feelings about minor things like flooded dinning rooms.

    The author of the book on food and religious crazies, could have saved a lot of space, at least in the introduction, if she’d skipped all the politically correct disclaimers. But, I suppose if you want to get published, these days, you should at least go through the motions.

    There seem to be as many recipes for crusts, as there are crusts. And tips and tricks for “the perfect crust” are thick on the ground. Some people swear by adding a little vinegar. Oh, sooner or later I’ll stumble on the ideal crust, for me, that works in most cases.

    I usually give people a nudge, if they don’t mention foodstuffs given. I really do want to know if improvements can be made.

    That’s why national restaurant chains are so successful. Consistency.

    “Doc Martin” was a very fun series. I watched some of the extras. It’s filmed in the town of Port Isaac, in Cornwall. Most residents don’t mind the film crew disrupting their lives. It brings in a LOT of money. One of the actors, charges a small fee for selfies with tourists. The money goes to the lifeboat people and other community services.

    Martin Clunes is a good actor. He’s also done a couple of documentaries about Australia, which were quit good. Lew

  30. Hi Pam,

    Clearly moggy enjoys his seconds! 🙂 Nothing wrong with that, and I’ve known both stout felines and slinkies.

    Such a lovely name for a town. Having grown up listening to Billy Joel’s earlier records, he sings about that town in ‘The Ballad Of Billy The Kid’. Ah, your cat has proven beyond all doubts that should the zombie apocalypse ever occur, pizza may still be on the menu for the cheeky feline! How funny would it be if we could speak to animals? I’m guessing that pizza is tastier than rodent. Dame Plum does the final act for rodents, but is too well fed to dine upon them. Have you ever noticed how animals have an amazing ability to barf up their guts on carpets or rugs, when other more easily cleaned surfaces are available? It’s uncanny…

    Hadn’t known that about chard, cabbages and spinach. Hmm. We’re trialling chard this year, and so far it seems very hardy. I sense that there is a story behind the one carrot. Have the moles or groundhogs consumed the rest of the carrot crop?

    Gorse is a weed in the drier parts of the elevated plains around the mountain range. Horrid stuff, and may you never get to see a field of those plants burning.

    It’s raining again, and it wasn’t meant to rain this evening. Ook!



  31. Hi Lewis,

    The good professor lost a mate, always hard. Hope he’s doing OK.

    The word on the street is that you’re in for a dry run. Clearly you’ve sent all the rain down here. 🙂 I’m looking out the window at a band of rain, and it wasn’t meant to rain here this evening. This morning was so miserable that I did tomorrow’s paid work today. And fingers crossed tomorrow is drier, although the forecast for the rest of the week is not encouraging. Wednesday looks bonkers for rainfall totals.

    What is your thoughts on cooking pumpkin? We make a tasty pumpkin soup, but for some reason the fruits grown in your country are massive – and may not fit the pot. Always something of a risk.

    It’s funny you mention the scary old wood chipper, but after I finished the paid work today, I scuttled out into the elements and pruned fruit trees and made the wallaby / deer cages surrounding some of the smaller fruit trees stronger. The deer have been nuisances of late. All the cuttings were fed into the now super sharp scary old wood chipper. I had no idea previously that the cutting blades had become dull, because they still cut.

    Nice one, and the gift of the corn was probably well received. Mate, I just don’t know of any folks around these parts that grow edible plants. You would imagine that this is not the case, but I don’t get that story at all. Even those with land to do so are busy doing other things. There’s a certain unreality to the situation, but I’m sanguine, it’s simply a matter of time and a reflection of the economics. I used to know folks around here that did so, but they were sorry to say, old and quitting the activity. I dunno.

    Haha! Ah, those amusing and cheeky scamps at the South Park. The role of the court jester was to say things to the king which needed saying, but nobody else dared to. It’s impressive that the cartoonists have continued their good work of taking the piss. Hope the entertainment worked well with the roast chook? Yum! I’m thinking about taking up the challenge of making a tiramisu from scratch. Can we do this? Let’s find out!

    Didn’t Henry VIII end up with some nasty injury from jousting (or some other such activity), which never quite fully healed? It is a truth universally acknowledged that not all that long ago, mortality rates were far higher. It takes a lot of energy to circumvent that story, although few people consider the implications of the practicalities.

    The continual movement of stock that the open range system would encourage is not a bad idea, although I do wonder how abuses of that access right would work out? Some folks have a tendency to over stock, and the cattle might eat their neighbours out of fodder. I could see that happening. It’s like an abuse of the commons issue. However, the fertility gained as the cattle convert plant matter into manure is good idea.

    Tensions can rise in all sorts of weird ways. We have an underlying culture of escalation, and those sorts of outcomes don’t surprise me. The community would know the history of the bloke, and are probably the best judge of such things – although there could equally also be a settling of old scores. Anywhoo, the safest path is to not annoy your neighbours!

    Yeah, the snakes will consume the smaller reptiles as well as the frogs. Truthfully, I just try to ensure that options are better for the slithery adherents of the cult of Set, elsewhere. It wouldn’t be a bright idea around these parts to have a dam (farm pond).

    The culture gets a little bit more loose down under, the further you get from a capital city!

    Really? I’m yet to come across a book with pages of politically correct disclaimers. The author is writing a book about belief, the very nature of the topic will cause trouble regardless of disclaimers.

    Yes, I too have come across the vinegar additives to pastry crust. The stuff tastes nice, but the stink as it cooks, unsettles me. And one must pour the vinegar with a delicate hand lest the pastry be afflicted with the taste. It’s time and experimentation, don’t you reckon?

    The main issue I have with consistency at the national chain level, is that everything appears to be reduced to the lowest common denominator. Basically, every recipe has to be dumbed down so that it can be replicated regardless of skill levels. You get consistency, but in turn you miss out on the highs when a kitchen hits its mojo and performs an act of culinary greatness. Of course it may be equally possible that the food will make you sick, but you’d hope not. 🙂

    That’s very thoughtful of the actor to charge for selfies and then donate the money to such a local cause. The Editor tells me that Under the Vines has become available on one of the goobermunt on demand services, and so will watch season 2. Our tax dollars at work!

    Ooo, I see Martin travelled to Maria Island off the coast of Tasmania. I’ve been there on an escorted tour with a historian. A fascinating excursion. Hmm.

    Better get writing!



  32. Yo, Chris – My apartment feels rather nippy, this morning. I have mostly wood or tile floors, and they’re cold. The woman downstairs from me, needs to get her lazy self out of bed, and crank up the heat! 🙂 I was looking at the three day weather history. How odd. It hit 30F (-1C), at 8 o’clock, last night. And was steady all night long. Not a budge up or down. Now I see it’s moved to a balmy 32F. There are warnings for freezing fog. When H and I head for the Club, this morning, we’ll have to watch how we go.

    Thanks for the heads up. I had seen that a Seattle weatherman, had died, but didn’t pay much attention to the articles. He sure gave a lot to his community. As far as your weather goes, as with the title of his book, the forecast is always right … somewhere. 🙂

    I bet the moggy from Oyster Bay doesn’t mind cold breakfast pizza!

    I’ve processed pumpkins, before. I cut them up into fairly large pieces, and bake them. After cutting out the stem part and bottom bit where the blossom held on. I clean out the seeds. I cut the pieces large, as the edges tend to dry out, and not be very useful. Skin on, flesh down, in a deep pan as they loose a lot of liquid. Baked until a toothpick slides easily through. I freeze it up, one cup per freezer bag. Makes future recipes, easy.

    I seem to run across people that grow edible plants. Although I must say, the ladies here at the Institution seem to run to growing more flowers, in their plots. Either mostly, or entirely. I’d say it’s about half and half.

    “South Park” pokes fun at the topical. The season I just watched had episodes on such things as AI, and the difficulty in hiring, after You Know What. One episode had to do with a certain prince and princess, who on one hand, demand and moan about privacy, while on the other, court the media.

    Yes, Henry VIII took a tumble, during a joust, and his horse fell on him. His leg never quit healed up. Up to that point, old Henry was rather svelte, and quit active. Jousting, hunting, and what passed for tennis, in those days.

    I run across politically correct disclaimers, quit a bit these days. Maybe, because I read so much non-fiction.

    A lot of chain restaurants have central kitchens, where stuff is made up in vast quantities, frozen, and shipped out to their “stores.” That’s always bothered me. A lot of the chains refer to their outposts as stores.

    One of the documentaries Martin Clunes did, was hoping from island to island, right around your continent. It was very informative and entertaining.

    When I was done hacking up the corn, I came in and found a message from the Master Gardeners. They’ll be by at 10am, tomorrow, to put up the Christmas tat. Timing. It’s all in the timing. Lew

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