Heading for the door

I really liked the Doctor. The bloke had such a cheeky sense of humour. Laying back in the dentist chair, with all manner of deeply uncomfortable things going on to my mouth, he decided just at that moment to invite Sandra in to the room so that she can take some photos and share a laugh whilst he recounted jokes. I wasn’t laughing, but everyone else was. My mouth was a world of discomfiture. A tooth had been cracked and was in the process of being replaced with a crown.

Every visit to the dentist there after would begin with the question: ‘Chris, are you feeling stressed?’ I was beginning to feel that way… He could get away with such jokes at my expense, mostly because he informed me in clear and unambiguous terms as to why one of my teeth had cracked: Stress. During sleep, my body was clenching the jaw together until it became bad enough that a tooth cracked. Nobody tells you that continual low level stress can do that trick. And you wake up with sore neck and jaw wondering if some exotic disease is going to take you out, just for good measure.

It can get worse too. Add enough stress and some people grind their teeth together at night. The top and bottom teeth abrade one set against the other. They wear down evenly until people have top and bottom teeth which are in a flat line. You can see it in people, if you know what you’re looking for. I met someone with exactly that set of teeth the other week. It would have been ungracious of me at that particular moment to mention the subject, so I let it be. A bloke has to know when to act, and more importantly, when not to act. But I knew what I was seeing.

My own tooth lesson was earned the hard way well over a decade and a half ago. I worked at the top end of town. The technical side of the work was fine, the constant emotional stimulation and confrontation was simply beyond my abilities. The result: Stress. It wasn’t stressful all of the time, but there was just enough continual low level stress over a prolonged period of time to express itself as a cracked tooth. Who knew dentists provided counselling services?

I didn’t much like the person I’d become when working there, and the tooth issue was the final straw. I changed, utterly. That’s when we sold up in the city, and headed bush to build a farm and have a life. And here we still are today. Nowhere is stress free, but life needn’t be continually stressful. If that’s the case, there’s probably something very wrong with the arrangements. This week the smoke from a fire two hours drive to the west of here has hung thick in the air. You can smell the acrid stink of bushfire. That’s a reminder of the possibilities, but I take a watch, wait and keep your eyes open approach to such matters.

The fire from Mount Cole and Mount Buangor sent a plume of smoke eastwards

We moved here because the land here had the singular benefit of being cheap. We had plenty of experience with construction techniques, and so knew how to build a house with our own labour. The rest, well, we’d learn as we went. How folks younger than either Sandra or I are coping with the realities of the ‘Australian dream’ (i.e. working in a paid job so that you earn enough to own your own home) is an issue which is very much on my mind these days.

The odds are stacked against many folks now and on multiple fronts with that dream. So when I read about young folks ‘quietly quitting’, or getting one up on the system by being ‘over employed’, I’m hardly surprised. Heck, when faced with that same work culture back in the day and diminishing opportunities, I quietly quit and went off and did something different with my time. There is no obligation to support a culture which fails to return that energy. It’s a funny old world when digging soil and moving heavy rocks for hours on end is preferable to working in a hard core corporate environment, but there you go. The thing is, so many doors are being slammed in the face of younger folks nowadays that I’m wondering at what point the machine simply stops moving forward. We’ll get to find out sooner or later.

With all the bushfire smoke in the air, the sun’s rays have this weird sort of menacing orange hue to them. I tried to capture the strange light in a photo.

The sunlight is tinged orange this week

Into that smoky atmospheric mix, the tall Eucalyptus Obliqua trees of the surrounding forest have been dumping their pollen. At times when the wind blows, the trees drop enough pollen that you could swear it was raining. Let’s just say that it has been a very challenging week for the sinuses…

Eucalyptus pollen has collected on these Borage leaves (and everything else)

When the smoke blows away, the air smells of honey. I’ve never known the tall trees to flower this profusely, and they’re doing more flowering here at the farm, than in the surrounding areas. It’s a credit to the health of the soils that they’re growing in.

Work continued on the low gradient path project this week. The path leading up to the formerly rat infested shed was extended by several metres (approximately three feet to the metre).

The low gradient path was extended this week

Looking back towards the house, you can see that the first layer of rocks supporting the soil on the downhill side of the ramp have almost met. Alas, Peak Rocks is very real, and we now have another day ahead of us with rock splitting before the first layer of rocks is complete. And before the path is complete, in order to produce a level surface on the path, it will eventually require several layers of large rocks to retain all of the soil.

Looking back towards the house

Once completed, the path will be several feet wider than the original. That will make it easier to move machinery around the property. The intention is to convert the rat infested shed will into a materials storage area with proper racking. That should keep any materials off ground, not to mention also out of the rain (mostly).

We grow several varieties of nut trees in the orchards. The largest hazelnut bush produced a few nuts this year. I found one on the ground beneath the bush, and then plucked another off the plant to see what it was doing. The skin was easily removed from the fallen nut. It took another day of drying in order to easily remove the remainder of the skin from the plucked nut. I’ll roast them over the next few days and see what they taste like. Home grown nuts are generally far tastier than anything which you can buy. I was very distressed earlier in the growing season to observe a frost which wiped out all of the almond crop. There are still some chestnuts and horse chestnuts (buckeyes) on the trees but they need a few more weeks of ripening.

It’ll never pay the bills, but I’ll bet these Hazelnuts are tasty

There has been a bit of very hot weather over the past few weeks with more to come this week. There is enough moisture in the soil from the heavy rains in late December and early January that most of the fruit trees are growing very strongly. Even 38’C / 100’F in the shade is not troubling the older trees. The well established citrus are loving the heat, whilst I provide a little bit of water to the the younger citrus trees prior to a hot day. What that means is that they receive about 25L / 6.5 gallons each. But that’s it, they’ll be fine and survive. I see no point in mollycoddling the trees.

This Meyer Lemon is loving the hot weather

Onto the flowers:

We grow a lot of Salvia’s which thrive in the conditions
Succulent plants shrug off hot days and neglect. What’s not to like about them?
Californian Poppies are very well established here
The Agapanthus are nearing the end of their flowering season
How awesome is this Corymbia ficifolia (formerly Eucalyptus ficifolia)?

The temperature outside now at about 11am is 13’C (55’F). So far for last year there has been 210.8mm (8.3 inches) which is up from last weeks total of 207.2mm (8.2 inches)

67 thoughts on “Heading for the door”

  1. Yo, Chris – At first, I thought you were referring to “THE” Doctor. I wonder if Time Lords have dental problems?

    Well, a slight silver lining to You Know What was that it did give some people a chance to take a breath, look around, and ask, “Is this all worth it?” Those 24 / 7 jobs that entirely consumed their lives. And, another, I think, unforeseen result was people discovering that it wasn’t necessarily vital, to go schlepping into the office, day after day. Some companies, according to reports, are getting rather draconian about driving the workers back into the fold, where they can keep a closer eye on them.

    Not only younger folks, but also older folks with small inheritances being entirely priced out of the real estate market.

    That color is ominous. If I had to name it, I’d call it Apocalyptic Orange. Right up there with Bilious Tornado Green. Imagine painting your walls with either color?

    I got curious and shouted a query down the rabbit hole. “Can you use Eucalyptus pollen as a spice?” No clear answer came back, not even an echo. But, judging from the care one must use with the oils and leaves, probably not. Maybe just a pinch?

    Your Hazelnuts look very promising. If two nuts make a promise
    🙂 . I am still envious of your citrus. The flowers are, as always, lovely.

  2. Hi Lewis,

    That Dr Who question sure commenced the old cogs in the brain whirring around. Then finding no comprehensible, or even remotely witty answer, I turned to Reddit. Far out! There are people there who might be able to answer your question and at length, but I have a question for you. Would you dare ask the question there? Could be a feeding frenzy of true fans. You were warned!

    It was a very weird experience to want to go into work places, then not being able to do so and then having to display ID and papers at checkpoints to people with guns. Look, I wasn’t a fan of that time. And that’s the thing with the ‘over employed’ folks, they’re doing two jobs remotely and nobody is complaining about the output. The complaints seem to arise from the arrangement itself – and that’s weird because it raises another question as to what exactly is a person being paid for: output, quality or time? But yeah, I’m hearing of pressures to head back in, but today frustratingly spent 40 minutes on the phone for a simple query, and I have a hunch that the young lady was not in the office and wouldn’t connect me through to the people I needed to speak to. She was apparently putting me on hold and sending my query as an email. It was like a very frustrating game of Chinese whispers. I ended up lodging a complaint, which gets logged. It resolved the issue.

    I hear you man about being priced out, and feel your pain. It’s not good. Neither of us got an inheritance either. That means I’ll have to work to the day I die. It’s worth noting that the my elder generation received an inheritance, and promptly disposed of it all without a care in the world. I dunno man.

    Thanks, those colour names were great! The colour might work, it’s very desert, cactus and stuff.

    Eucalyptus oil is a notable cleaner, but I have known it to be used as a flavouring (although very heavily diluted as it is toxic in slightly higher concentrations). It’s got a very strong scent, and is remarkably easy to make from the leaves. I’ve never heard of any use for the pollen, although I suspect the massive pollen coating the soils have received lately may be beneficial for soil fertility. I’ll observe that process over the next few months.

    We roasted the hazelnuts this afternoon. I hadn’t realised the nut existed within a shell, but no worries. We cracked the shell and the nut shot out sideways. Truly, Dame Plum was fast. The dog got half of our hazelnut harvest, and looked satisfied with the roasting process. We were then much more careful, cracked the remaining shell, and shared half of a nut each. It was good. It even tasted a bit sweet like nutella. I believe that a larger harvest would make an excellent paste.

    The citrus are one of the trees which take the edge off winter here. I dunno whether they’d survive in your garden what with that Arctic blast you enjoyed recently. I suspect that a Lemon Meyer would, but you’d have to chuck a blanket over the tree before such weather hit.

    It’s interesting what you say about smart phones, but today was a bit of an admin day and there were plenty of things needed doing. Going to the bank was one of those, and I was overhearing the conversation of the bloke ahead of me. He wanted to withdraw several thousand mad cashes. Five large was what I may have heard. Turns out that in order to get more than One large (as they used to say), a person has to confirm their identity using a smart phone app. I can’t make this stuff up. Hmm. That was news to me. My needs are not so large.

    I hear you about that, and you know, it may be that the work arounds you’ve learned, won’t be applicable to future computers. I fail to comprehend the need for so much change, so quickly. But people seem to love that stuff, although for the life of me I have no idea why. Such things fill our hours… I’d ask Gargle the question: How do I remove Wallpaper from my Mac? That should give you the answer, maybe. I think that they may also call them ‘Live Wallpapers’ and I do hope that they don’t bite you given that they’re alive?

    Ha! The other white meat has that wallpaper thing too on the lock screen. I didn’t ask for these images. Anywhoo, it is distracting and sometimes I find myself wondering: Where the heck is that? Resist the click-bait! As much as possible anyway.

    Useful how-to videos and Fascinating wabbit holes are some of the best things of the entire interweb, and this blog of course (I maybe biased!!! 🙂 )

    Good point. It would be unwise to be caught with another persons discarded (?) body parts in your freezer. It’d make a weird plot line for a dark story. How did the parts end up there? They do say that disposal is the difficult part. And that might pin the blame elsewhere especially if it was random. Note to self, keep doors locked and add security camera to freezer! 🙂

    Man, I’ve been to some music gigs that were so loud it was painful. Used to take ear plugs for that very reason. Not sure what other people do. But yeah, they do say that prevention is better than a cure. There’s something to be said about enjoying the quiet. During you-know-what there were times where you could hear no other human activities up here. It’s hard to enjoy the bush if there are massive amounts of machine noises coming from miles away.

    Sage advice to other members at the Club. Hey, I like that Tolstoy quote, it’s so true.

    Yes, who is correct here with spelling, and does it even matter? Funnily enough, I pondered this matter for a bit and then just decided to go with the local spelling, so colour is not color, but colour. Interestingly there were a couple of Aussie spell checkers, and some of them had words which would make you blush! 😉 And that was a feature of the dictionary! Far out, some folks have too much free time but I admire their dedication to saving the local vernacular.

    Sorghum would be a good crop, and I’d heard of the syrup which is meant to be pretty tasty. It’s probably a bit too wet and cold here for that grain. Ergot is apparently an issue…

    Did you end up getting the lowland snow Cliff Mass wrote about?

    I’m surprised that the master gardeners don’t have a scary old wood chipper. Biomass and stuff. And it’s better than chucking the woody prunings into the bin, or compost.

    Ha! I make a habit of reading books in all sorts of inappropriate places. 🙂 If I went to the pub for a dinner and pint by myself, I’d take a book and wouldn’t think twice about it.

    It probably was dates. The purple fig we grew (only one ripe fruit so far) was quite sweet and tasted far better than I’d expected. But fig jam is very tasty, although like all jams it does depend on who made the stuff. Some jams people make are just weird tasting, or bland.

    We had something similar to those Newton biscuits. Were your lot any good? Dude, you sent me on a wabbit hole trying to find out what the ones down here were called. I admit defeat, and may ask the Editor later…

    Fortunately the Rainbow Lorikeets are smaller than the other two varieties of parrots, and thus nervous, or dare I say it, flighty! To be honest, I think that there may have been a parrot turf war and the newcomers lost out.

    Lovely, all signs of an impending spring. It does make you wonder how the birds survived your Arctic blast conditions from a few weeks ago, a true mystery.

    You’d hope that people weren’t thinking that about you fixing up the adjacent garden plot to reduce your hassles, but you never know.

    Got the wobble in the trailer fixed today. The lovely local tyre folks fixed it on the cheap for me because I’d known them for many years. It was obvious what the problem was, but sometimes you need a second set of eyes to look things over.



  3. Mollycoddling trees- Nope we don’t mollycoddle either. We want to stress the trees. The tough ones survive, and that’s the genetics we want going forward. Well…… the first year seedlings in exceptional drought I might help enough to get them through till the roots get established. Moderation in all things.

    Stress- As with trees, so with humans- there is an optimal amount of stress, but getting to the sweet spot is sometimes beyond our control.

    This winter, with less to do outside, I might have loitered on the doomer blogs a bit too much, and dwelt in the future more than the present. No teeth grinding, but waking at night, the brain circling around all the things that might happen ( and are happening) fully beyond my control, and then- We’ve got three kids and three grands. Their future will not play out as more of the “American Dream”, even though right now things are well.

    And yet- Americans have become quite soft- dare I say mollycoddled. So a rough patch might not be such a bad thing. Reversion to norm is no fun, but usually necessary, and of course, mathematically inevitable.

    But our preternatural winter means that I’m out pruning trees and whacking woody weeds in February. So getting tired and feelings of accomplishment should help. In working with mother nature, windows of time are her call, and we dance to that tune or leave the dance floor. Mulching around young trees is much more effective if I do it before the grass wakes up and starts pushing. Other tasks are queuing up as I write……….

    Forecast for today is a high of 65F, will be a new record, and normal average high is 38F. Hopefully trees won’t break dormancy and get blindsided with a late freeze. Deep wisdom in those genetics, but sometimes, s*** happens.

    We were married on leap day, so this Thursday will be our 11th anniversary. We’ll have cake and champagne.

  4. Hi, Chris!

    I hadn’t realized that you had that much stress way back when. You may have saved your life (or at least your teeth), changing the way that you live.

    Well, you know that my son and his wife live with me. It works out very well for me and they are able to save a lot of money that way. I have mentioned that eventually we hope to buy a larger property; that will still be a collaborative effort financially speaking.

    Soon we will have masses of pollen, too, here in the forest. What I wonder is why all this bloom so late in your season? Just the way of the eucalyptae (es?)?

    The photo of the path to the Rat House looks so nice now. But the photo of the smoke gives me the shivers. Most of last summer and way into the fall we had the heavy smoke that had blown down from Canada. I hope it does not return again. My son had to build a filter set-up for inside the house it was so bad. Since the smoke had come so far it was brown; I don’t remember any orange.

    We have some young hazelnut bushes, but they have not produced yet. I had not seen a hazelnut in person till your photo. I may not ever see one in person with Junior and his clan around.

    Thanks for the flowers! I like the Fuzzy Ficofolia.


  5. Yo, Chris – I have had no truck with Reddit. My old computer wouldn’t access it.

    The so called over employed … I think I linked to an article, about them, awhile back. They have a whole stealth, underground culture, to swap information. Mostly about, going stealth. Due to employers worried about divided attention. But for a lot of those folks, it’s a solid plan B. The turnover is pretty scary. So, they lose one job, but can still keep food on the table, while they find a second. I also don’t think employers like this, as, if a job becomes shite, they can easily move on.

    LOL. Roasted Hazelnuts? All two of them 🙂 . Without Hazelnuts, the whole nutcracker industry would collapse! The nutcracker ballet would have no meaning! Although I think that bit of fluff is a bit overdone. Especially, around the holidays. Add to the list of “things people collect” … nutcrackers.

    That’s an interesting story about the fellow at the bank. The app pod people are closing in!

    Two computer things I tackled yesterday. The wallpaper question. Nope, can’t get rid of it, as far as I could discover. But I also discovered I had wallpaper on my old computer, and it was so benign, that I really didn’t notice it. I’ll have to find one of those, in the selections. Currently, it’s either a leaf peppers (—) dream, or a bucolic plowed field.

    The second problem I tackled, was, when I try and put this beast in sleep mode, it kicks back on, again. A look down the rabbit hole indicates that it seems to be a problem, with the Sonoma operating system. I’ll have to go back and see if anyone’s come up with a fix. Sooner or later, the Fruit company might have one. Hmmm. This OS was just launched last September. So, bugs are probably still being worked out. Is it a bug, or a feature? 🙂

    Ah, I forgot to explain, “the other white meat.” White meats, like chicken, were considered healthier. The National Pork Board (yes, it’s a real thing), took umbrage at that. So, in 1987, an ad campaign was launched. “The Other White Meat®”. You couldn’t go an evening of telie watching, without seeing an ad or two.

    I don’t think you’re biased, at all. Do you know how you kind of get caught flat footed, when out of the blue, “they” ask you to create a password? Guess what mine is. f….g…. typed all lower case. 🙂

    To get that ®️ I had to scroll through a heck of a lot of emojis, and other things (Flags? Really?). The old symbols and such where a lot easier to use.

    Freezers and body parts: See: Jeffrey Dahmer.

    The snow was a no-show, last night. Or, a no-snow? Still in the forecast, on and off, for the next week.

    Pubs and books. I think people would be more likely to pick on a little kid, than an adult. Gotta stamp out that reading habit, early! If I think I’m going to be stuck somewhere waiting, I usually drag along something to read. Only twice in my life has someone snarled at me, about it.

    Fig Newtons, were invented Way Back When (a precise measure of time), by a baking company in Newton, Massachusetts. Several mergers later, it became the property of the Nabisco company. As my Dad worked for them, they were always around the house. A rival company, had an oatmeal biscuit, with a whole fig (or was it a date?) in it. We couldn’t have those, in the house. But when Dad went on a hunting trip, we smuggled them in. And were careful to bury the packaging, in the dark of night. 🙂

    I took up the Marmite / Vewgemit challenge, last night. Toasted up some French bread, slathered it with butter, and tried both. Hmmm. Salty. Very salty. A lot of after taste, but it wasn’t too unpleasant. I’d say, they’re going to fall into the realm of, “things I’d eat, but there are a lot of other things I’d rather eat.” As far as the nutritional value goes, I sprinkle Bob’s Red Mill nutritional yeast, on just about everything I have for dinners. It’s suppossed to impart a cheesy flavor. Ha! Ha! I say. It has about as much taste relation to cheese, as carob has to chocolate. Some kind of a myth, or old wives’s tale.

    I did laundry, and finally got around to making up some peanut butter biscuits. I wanted (who knows why) a soft, peanut butter biscuits. A few trips down the rabbit hole yeilded a recipe. I gave it a whirl, and they turned out, fine. Softer and chewier, than most peanut butter biscuits. I’ll have to commit that recipe to a 3×5 card.

    Now that I’ve got this new beast, I can again read Mr. Greer’s blog. And, comment, if I feel like it. I read his memorium, to his wife, last night. I thought it was one of the most “true to life” memoriums I’ve run across. Most just trowel on the sugar icing. Lew

  6. Hi Chris,
    Yes, eerie colors from that smoke. We have a red flag warning here today as it’s quite dry and it’s been quite windy as well but no fires that I’ve heard of. Today was in the upper 60’s about 30 degrees above normal so my sister and I went on a nice hike to the Nygren wetlands, one of my favorite places. Well it’s definitely wetter than last fall but still way down. At any rate we took advantage of the lovely day. Tomorrow night we have heavy storms turning to snow and a low of 14.

    I’ve been wearing a guard for decades for just that reason you had. It was quite bad when my brothers were living with me. I don’t feel stressed now but I still wear the guard most nights as I did some damage to my teeth. Stress must be chronic in our culture as the dentist told me that many people wear guards. I know the stress of my sister’s job contributed to her early death. You were smart to change the way you lived your life.


  7. @Pam

    Did I miss something? I read on JMG’s blog that you husband passed away. My condolences. I’ve been cutting back on my online time so sometimes just skim comments.


  8. Hi Margaret,

    Always nice to take advantage of some nice weather, even if it is unseasonably warm. Are the birds out and about early this season? It takes a lot of hot and dry weather to dry up wetlands. Do you reckon there is any chance of the wetlands refilling to higher water levels this spring? I keep reading that a La Nina event is likely – which is a very wet year for us down here. Your change in weather is rather an abrupt drop in temperatures. Yikes! Stay warm when the storm hits. How are you coping with the suddenly changed dog circumstances?

    Tomorrow’s weather here will be rather interesting: These weather maps show what Victoria has in store on Wednesday. A day to simply be gotten through. Put a bit of water down on the many young citrus trees this evening.

    I’m aware of the guards, and honestly those things work. It sounds a bit trite, and apologies for that, but I was lucky enough to be able to change the circumstances of my life, utterly, on a hunch. I just wasn’t wired for the work I was paid and trained to do. Such a waste, but the environment was both toxic and untenable in the long run, and I tried so hard to take a backwards step with employment, but was blocked at every opportunity. As your sister found out the hard way, and sorry to say, you get pushed back into those sorts of roles because there just aren’t that many people willing to put their hat in the ring. And once you do…

    Truthfully, I really managed to annoy someone in my profession recently by now doing what I do, because they saw themselves in me and were afraid for themselves. I saw it in their eyes. And did they take their revenge on me or what. Oh well, it was never about me.

    With your brothers and everything involved with them, you on the other hand would have been unable to make that choice of changing and so had to endure. And I can only say that you have my great respect for carrying on with that load, even today. There are some fun times in there too.

    Margaret, seriously, I took a long dark look into the abyss, and did not like what I saw there.

    Fingers crossed for tomorrow! 🙂



  9. Hi Pam,

    Thanks, and crowns aren’t cheap! 🙂 Oh far out, I could do the work and manage all of the teams, I just wasn’t wired for the constant emotional drain. And those workplaces are a bit like co-existing with a vampire for decades, the drain was slow and steady until there was little left in the tank. And probably to my detriment, there was also part time study, fixing up houses for profit, having friends, life etc… You know, I suspect that the higher ups somehow always knew I was holding back, and so they pushed all the harder. And stupidly, the work on the houses was more profitable.

    Nowadays, I like to keep the systems simple and eat and sleep well. Is it that much to ask?

    Pam, I think it is a great arrangement which can benefit everyone in your household. And you’ll get no argument from me about the benefits of flat land! 🙂

    That’s funny! The forest here is evergreen, so there is nothing unusual about flowering at this time of year. I suspect that the tall trees will soon provide huge quantities of seeds. The parrots will enjoy yet another feast. When the tall trees are producing seed, you can hear the parrots high up in the canopy cracking the nuts and regularly dropping seeds and wild bird fertiliser. I’ve had serious people suggest that it takes fire for the Eucalyptus seeds to germinate, but those folks are wrong.

    Thanks, and I checked that formerly rat infested shed earlier this evening and there are no rats in there now – Dame Plum and I finished them all off. I then sealed off the chicken enclosure to the twitchy nosed little rodents. The other day I thought I’d discovered a rat tunnel leading into the chicken enclosure, but it was a dead tree root which had rotted away. I was a bit worried that deep concrete trenches and steel weren’t enough to keep the rodents out, but they were working just fine.

    The air filter is a very clever device. Nice work. I just deal with the smoke and acrid stink from nearby fires. Tomorrow is going to be a risky day on that front. A day to be gotten through with high temperatures and strong winds.

    Hehe! Were you impressed that Dame Plum scored one of the hazelnuts? Please do keep the super lovely Junior to your part of the world. The parrots have not yet discovered the tasty nuts, although three nuts from three bushes is hardly a bumper harvest. 🙂 As to taste, they were really good. Out of curiosity, and this is something we’re considering, but can you net only a particular branch and then let Junior and Co have the rest?

    🙂 My pleasure. The tree will eventually get to 30ft and they’re amazing when in full flower. There’s orange, pink and red varieties.



  10. Hi Steve,

    Exactly with the fruit trees, they need to develop strong root systems so they can survive whatever nature decides to throw at them. Don’t you reckon our work with the trees is: pruning; feeding and harvesting? But like what you wrote, the young citrus trees enjoy a bit of water before a hot day, although I’m only talking a few buckets of the stuff. All of the other older trees will only be provided the same amount of water if conditions are very hot and dry. That hasn’t been the case for about five years now.

    Mind you, tomorrow looks set to reach 37’C and windy, so I chucked the young citrus trees some water earlier this evening. They’re all doing fine and growing well. On the other hand, I may wilt a bit tomorrow…

    It is all beyond our control and I hear you about that. All that you and I can do is the best any of us can in the face of complicated circumstances. If there were an easier way… Sorry to say, but I’ve been pushing the idea to people cheering on the economics of it all the concept that: Yeah, but what about your kids? How are they going to… Gives people a moment of pause for thought. Who knows what change may eventuate from there?

    And that is often the unspoken side benefit of a crisis. It is inevitable, but I see no reason why socially or culturally the future need be a repeat of the past. Far from it actually. Social and cultural innovation takes comparatively little energy, that’s why the numpties in charge are so obsessive about such matters at the moment. It’s almost like an unspoken admission that they’re unable, or unwilling, to make other more practical changes, such as cheaper housing and reduced expansion of the money supply. There’s a lot of fear around. The cheeky scamp Mark Twain is attributed the quote: “I’ve had a lot of worries in my life, most of which never happened.” He might be right. But change is coming for sure.

    A nice way to put it about nature and her windows of time. This has been something which has also been on my mind of late, and I’m uncertain. Out of curiosity, what do you do with your prunings?

    Dude, it might be hot here tomorrow, but right now tonight it is 65’F, and it’s summer. Far out that is warm for your time of year. Hope your fruit and nut trees dodge a late frost. In this case, your fears are probably well founded. That sort of weather wiped out the stone fruit crop here late last year. Hmm. Grow enough diversity of trees, and you’ll get something. Yup, super deep wisdom there. 🙂

    You dudes who are good at maths, are something of a challenge for us lesser folks!!! Thanks for the laughs. I’m sure people who’s birthdays fall on the same date would make similar pronouncements. 🙂 It’s an impressive achievement, respect. 29 years here. A friends father who was something of a joker, used to tell me that a person got less for murder. Although I noted that he’d been married for many decades, the cheeky scamp.



  11. Hi Lewis,

    Well, all’s changed now with your new beast, although I’d have to suggest that that interweb locale is a bit of a wild west. Sometimes though the forums there are good for providing super honest replies when I’m attempting to comprehend why some technical issue is the way it is. A lot of technical people provide advice there on all sorts of subjects. And there is an idiot element there of course, which is best avoided. What did the old timers say about separating the wheat from the chaff?

    You did link to an article about them, but I thought it would be of interest to you that the articles are becoming more mainstream, which suggests some sort of backlash – at a guess. And that’s the thing, when no loyalty is given, how can loyalty be expected in return? That’s a far bigger problem than many people would ever realise. Look if they can get away with it, and nobody notices, what does that say about the work conditions? I have to work hard with paid work, but that is my choice. And I agree, employers don’t tend to like employees with options. There have been some articles bemoaning the low unemployment rate, and those words are a bad look.

    Yeah! You betcha. I chucked those two hazelnuts into the oven in a metal bread tin at 350’F for 15 minutes. That’s the other benefit of off grid electricity, such things sometimes don’t matter as the electricity is a use it or lose it scenario. Truthfully we were gutted when Dame Plum scarfed one of the roast hazelnuts down. She was so fast. Anywhoo, no point crying over stolen nuts. Hey, I’d always thought that what with all those codpieces that the ballet was about some other matter. Kind of like a 1970’s bawdy British film, like err, the Carry On series. Some things you can’t un-see! 😉

    Oooo, I like that, yeah. The app pod people maybe are coming for us! You may be responsible for a new meme. You could almost see it written on one of those motivational posters people so love couldn’t you?

    Have you ever thought of creating a large jpg image on some sort of computer paint program (if Mac has such a thing) of a blank blue solid colour? Replace the wallpaper with that jpg image, and bam – the wallpaper will be a solid colour, and it’ll also be blue! 😉 Winning! Now as to the exact shade of blue…

    No way? What, are you suggesting the computer refuses to go to bed at the appropriate time? I see that your chair and whip may need to be brought out to chastise the wilful machine. Might just work. The other white meat machines do that trick when there is an update. There seem to be a lot of those… How did they get it so wrong is the question which always pops into my mind.

    Speaking of which, I mentioned a bonkers phone call yesterday. Well, after lodging a complaint, they rang me back today and meekly apologised for the complete stuff up. So they should, it was appalling and I was paying for it. Hate to ask the hard question like, err: What do they do all day?

    And no, leaf peepers needn’t be on your screen, and may need a trigger warning soon. 😉

    Didn’t the Victorian’s have some weird diet that was all white foods? Sounded revolting to me. The flour I buy is unbleached high protein stuff, and the thought of bleaching the flour just makes me wonder at the weirdness of our civilisation. And hey, marketing works, if it is done right.

    Are you saying that fruit character sets include flags? As in like err, national flags? In a nearby town some wag had painted a prominent dead tree a certain blue and yellow shade. Interestingly, a while back the tree reverted to a solid blue. I’m not sure dead trees are meant to be blue, but as you can imagine, it’s quite striking.

    Yuk. Dahmer proves that life is far weirder than fiction. It’s also interesting that violence begets violence. A person who will never be released and faces no worse punishment, is a person to be super wary of. That Dahmer probably had low impulse control and annoyed an even more dangerous person. Hmm.

    Maybe it is for the best you’re enjoying rain and not snow. I’d imagine the garden soil would be slowly warming up for you?

    I think you’re right about people being harder on kids who read in public places. As a kid I adored the library because it gave me access to a world of books which otherwise I could not afford. It’s a good habit to be in to carry around something to read. Anyway, it might be different nowadays because so many people have their noses buried in their phone screens? Dunno. I never (or only very rarely) read a screen in public.

    That’s funny. Was the oatmeal biscuit better, or was the household merely seeking a reprieve from the newton’s?

    Respect. Most people outside of this country refuse to touch the stuff. And a wise choice, it does work better with butter and toasted bread. Yup, I see what you mean with the salt. The stuff is meant to be very high in Vitamin B. You got us onto eating nutritional yeast, and it’s not bad added to some dishes, but like you say, it’s a long bow to draw to suggest the stuff tastes like cheese. It tastes like yeast, that’s what it does. Interestingly, on this subject of yeast and also of crapification, I’m observing that purchased yeast is not lasting as long as it once did. The shelf life has declined just in my casual observations.

    Yes, carob is not chocolate. Like saying chicken is not a vegetable. 😉 But I’ve had some tasty carob treats over the years. We grow a carob tree here. It’s meant to be self pollinating, but the sellers may have lied.

    I can see that with the peanut biscuits being a bit chewy. We add roasted unsalted peanuts to the Anzac biscuit recipe. Good stuff. I really like home made peanut butter. Yum!

    🙂 The words were really beautiful and heartfelt. It was nice that Mr Greer did not sugar coat the words, I agree. But he also provided a lovely dose of sugar when required. I really feel for him because loss is hard, but it is also life. Honesty is to be respected, and those words of Mr Greer’s were deeply honest.



  12. Hello Chris
    Why did you roast the hazel nuts? I have never heard of that and just eat them as they are.
    I like marmite but not vegemite. Usually put marmite into stews.
    Had a phone call to check whether I was okay as a man in a hoody had been seen walking up my drive. It was an honorary son visiting from the US. Nice to know that neighbours are caring for me though.

    My woods are a complete swamp now and son can’t barrow down my compost and manure.


  13. Yo, Chris – Could have been worse, than teeth grinding. The Japanese have a word, Karoshi, which is death by overwork. There were books, back in the day, about Japanese management style. I think a hold over from that, is the 24/7 work culture.

    Oh, I’ll probably get into Reddit, eventually. A lot of searches I do, have links to Reddits. I just never bothered to check them out, as I knew my old beast wouldn’t connect.

    “Ya, You betcha!” Have you been exposed to someone from Minnesota, recently? 🙂 Back in 1987, there was a joke book called “How to Talk Minnesotan” (Mohr). It was one of those impulse sales, that we kept in a stack, near the POS (the cash register.) There are several funny U Tub videos, on how to speak the dialect. Well, another new computer thing. On my old beast, if I wanted to cut and paste a video, the URL was at the top of the screen. I was looking for a short Minnesota dialect video, but there are no URLs to be seen. There’s probably some simple way to access them, I just haven’t found it, yet.

    Posters, and don’t forget the coffee mugs. Once again, our fortunes are made! 🙂

    Oh, there’s a large selection of wallpapers (wonder if any contain arsenic?) and I’m sure there’s a benign one in their somewhere. In the For Dummies book, they have instructions for using your own pictures, for wallpapers.

    Sure enough, if I put my computer to sleep, and don’t touch the mouse, it stays asleep. But I’m unable to turn the mouse or keyboard off. If I even look at the mouse, funny, it kicks back on.

    I couldn’t find anything on a Victorian white diet. But a recent diet fad, here, is “No white, at night.” Basically, I think, to cut out all carbs in the evening. White bread was more complex to mill, hence, more expensive. White bread on the table signaled that you were flush with cash. Way back when, folks at the high table, had the white bread. Those below the salt, had the rougher, browner stuff. They probably lived longer and had better digestion. And, to make bread really white, it was often adulterated with some pretty nasty stuff.

    Yup, flags of the world. ???????? Did you stand up, and salute? 🙂 Or, how about ????‍☠️ . On the “Big Bang Theory,” there was a running gag. Sheldon created a weekly podcast, “Flags of the World.” Aided by his lovely assistant, or a guest star. It was a pretty funny bit.

    It was forecast to snow, last night. When I went to bed at 2:30am, there were a few flakes coming down. Nothing on the ground, this morning. I called and made an appointment to take H to the groomer, on Friday. No snow in the forecast, for that day. She’s been having ear problems, scratching them, until they’re raw. I got some over the counter stuff, and treat her twice a day. Might be getting better. If not, a trip to the vet. Probably an allergy. She was not happy, last night. I had fried eggs, and she got none.

    Oh, I wouldn’t say the oatmeal stuffed biscuit was better. Just different. And there was the lure of the forbidden. 🙂 Although the recipe advised against it (due to the crumbles), I used chunky peanut butter. It worked out, just fine.

    The Vegemite is the same color and consistency of what I saw at the La Brea Tar Pits, in LA. Yeah, I can see it. Enough of that stuff and it could suck a mammoth, down. I wonder if there’s been any industrial accidents?

    The Institution now has a night security guard. Due to nonsense in the parking lot. Last night was his first night, and I happened to meet him. His name is Moe, he’s young and kind of a doofus, but nice. He didn’t realize the place only has four guys, and the rest, cranky old ladies. Around midnight, I saw the fire department and EMTs roll in. They were here quit awhile. So, he got his baptism I fire. Lew

  14. Hi Chris,

    Like Margaret and Steve, I’m experiencing warmer than normal weather, but being farther south, even warmerer. Yesterday’s high was 80F, breaking the daily record. Today’s high is at least 84F (it’s not been officially announced but two hourly readings were at that temperature). That’s not just a daily record but it ties the record high for all of February! And my early daffodils are blooming! And some magnolias are in bloom!

    The flowers better enjoy it while they can as the same strong cold front Margaret and Steve are expecting will arrive here after midnight. High tomorrow around 40F, low Thursday morning in the mid 20sF. I think we need a stronger word than weather whiplash for this. Maybe weather sledgehammer?


  15. @ Margaret:

    My husband did pass away about 5 weeks ago from a heart attack. I did not mention it here, though I did tell Chris about it privately. We have had a lot of sad events in our family over the last three years or so and I just hated to bring more to the table here. When I found out that Sara Greer had passed away, I wanted to let John Michael know that I commiserated with him and really understood at least somewhat how he was feeling. I don’t often have time to read his essays and the comments; I miss them a lot.

    Thank you so much for the condolences.


  16. Hi Pam,

    Hope you’re doing OK. And also thank you for taking the time to hang out here where the flowers and silly dog activities bring a bit of joy.

    It was a very hot and windy day here today, so the dogs were sheltering indoors out of the sun. Despite all of three of them being bred for work in hot climates, they don’t much enjoy running around on hot days. Did paid work today so likewise kept out of the sun. Other parts of the state are having a far worse time of it and as you’d imagine there are some fires (not near here).

    Of significant note, a visit this afternoon to the local general store suggested to me that tourists were a bit wary of visiting the mountain range, what with the dire weather forecast and threat of fires. It was quiet. A silver lining perhaps?

    Still hot outside even now at 8.30pm. It should cool down a bit later, maybe… An uncomfortable nights sleep.

    PS: It was very considerate of you to reach out to Mr Greer during your own trials. You’re both some of the loveliest people that I know, and I very much appreciate our chats.



  17. Hi Claire,

    It’s the end of summer down here, and right now outside at 8:30pm the temperature is 29’C / 84’F (it peaked at 95’F late this afternoon). Anywhoo, I’d suggest that is a warm summer’s evening for here. And proving that the climate has gone nuts, you are in winter and have enjoyed the exact same daytime temperature today. It’s an enviable achievement.

    Some records you don’t want to experience when they’re in the process of being broken.

    Out of curiosity, has the warmer weather had any impact on the seedlings you’ve started on the sheltered porch?

    By late August here, your late February, it would not be at all unusual for daffodils and magnolias to be flowering. If I may dare suggest, your climate has shifted southerly. Hmm. The thing to be wary of is of course the variability with a sudden cool change leading to frost taking out all of the delicate blossoms and/or forcing the pollinating insects to hide out in their nests. Rest assured, the daffodils will not mind any sudden cool change one bit. The other plants, well, it can be challenging for them.

    Yikes! Thursday for you will be the clincher. Have any of your fruit trees begun producing blossoms? It’s not too late to chuck a blanket over the trees – if that is at all possible?

    What I do in this situation is grow cold hardy trees near to the more sensitive trees. The shelter they provide works out sometimes with such sudden cold snaps. A large and old Loquat tree shelters and supports the Kiwi Fruit vines and a nearby Apricot. The apricot tree was the only producing stone fruit tree this year. I’m still consuming the fruit from that tree, and the taste is good.

    But I agree, a sledgehammer seems to be the way of things. Be grateful you don’t have livestock. Imagine having to navigate fires and livestock. Ook!



  18. Hi Lewis,

    Regional dialects are interesting, and that one from Minnesota sounds a bit like a Canadian accent to me. Perfectly comprehensible to my ears. 🙂 There are local differences down here as well. In the state of South Australia they pronounce the word dance as ‘darn-sss’, whereas in the state of Victoria (i.e. here) they pronounce the same word as ‘dan-sss’. Our pronunciation sounds a little less toffee than over to the west. Some of the old news clips make for interesting hearing because the newsreaders cultivated a mock English accent.

    Hope that you were able to comprehend your mom’s relatives? And hey, did you pick up any of that accent yourself?

    If you truly want to be hamstrung on the interweb, you could always use a Commodore 64 computer to access the thing. 😉 Truly, I’m amazed that anyone would care enough to make the attempt work on that particular machine. And interestingly, it makes me wonder if anyone would care enough to keep the current batch of hardware working three decades after it ceased manufacturing?

    That old computing machine was interesting because it was complex enough to do interesting things, but simple enough that a person could – with enough effort – comprehend the entire architecture. Peak complexity perhaps was reached? Worked late on paid work, but for an hour or two earlier today as an interesting exercise, I began walking the Editor through exactly how the solar power systems work and are put together. To reinforce the knowledge with practical applications we began the process of cleaning up the smallest of the off-grid systems. That involved upgrading the fuses to industrial quality stuff. Turns out that it was a worthwhile learning exercise.

    🙂 You betcha is said down here. It’s less commonly heard nowadays, but the meaning would not be unknown if it was spoken aloud. It’s got positive connotations that phrase. There is always the Firefox web browser for Mac, that would probably provide a URL.

    Are videos working better on the new machine?

    I like where you are going with this get rich quick poster scheme. There’s a bit of a scare factor though. So when I did an interweb search on the topic: ‘The app pod people maybe are coming for us!’ the bots returned links to: ‘Invasion of the Body Snatchers’. Look the 1978 remake was good, even you have to admit that, and so there may be copyright issues with the poster? Drats, foiled again. Or possibly censored due to legal advice? 🙂

    You never know what heavy metals are contained in that new machine of yours. When you begin to get hankerings to listen to say, err, Deep Purple, at volumes where your neighbours complain… It’s possible. That they’ll complain of course.

    Sorry, I really can’t help this one, but… When that always on new keyboard and / or mouse of yours announces to you: “Put down your weapon. You have thirty seconds to comply!” Like I said, please accept my apologies for the silliness. It’s been a hot day here, and at 10pm it’s still 79’F outside, and inside as well. You know what they say about hot weather, mad Scotsmen and dogs? No. Me neither, but someone must have said something on the subject.

    There’s a few fires burning in the state now. Yup. We got lucky on that front today.

    I’m not a fan. It’s been my observation that diets comprising predominantly animal proteins makes for grumpy people, and not all that fresh either. If people want to do that, it’s no business of mine to stop them. And that’s so true. One of the side stories you glean from old books is that the wealthy back in those days ate some revolting diets, whilst the people serving them did far better on basic high quality locally grown food, and usually lived far long lives. The kitchen gardens of manors were usually well tended with good quality soils.

    Thanks for the Jolly Roger flag! I’m not sure my skills are up for producing flags in text. However, I came across a fascinating article on the Jolly Roger flag origins: The secret meaning behind the Jolly Roger and other forgotten facts about the golden age of piracy. Arrrghhh! The HMAS Sydney was sunk through those sorts of tactics.

    Hehe! Dude, it’s all coming back to Sheldon. Fun with flags. It’s pretty funny.

    Did the snow fall this time? It seems that Cliff Mass enjoyed a bike ride home with snow gently falling. Do bikes work in the snow?

    Poor H, I do hope that she is feeling less itchy today? It’s hard to know what causes such things. I add a little bit of coconut oil to the dogs breakfast each day (and mine as well) as I’ve observed it can be helpful with itchy type skin things. Yes, yes, laugh and stuff, but I find that winter weather is quite drying on the skin. And the fats from the coconut help me. I used to get eczema and it was a true curse.

    Did your dad prove to you that book banning only makes the words more popular? 🙂 Ah, the lure of the forbidden is strong. Had some chunks of chocolate tonight and um, yeah, it’s hot, there is a mountain of pollen out there, and sleep will be a fitful experience tonight. Ook! Nothing wrong with chunky peanut butter. Yum!

    Oh, you are on fire. 🙂 Yes, La Brea Tar Pits indeed! The stuff is dense and unyielding! It’s an acquired taste.

    I dread even asking you what may have occurred in the car park to require a security guard. Nothing wrong with nice. What a night to begin. All that drama may have scared him off.

    It should be cooler tomorrow…



  19. Hi Inge,

    A fine question, and the answer can only be that freshly grown hazelnuts are rarely seen in this corner of the planet, and so I have absolutely no experience with them. So in the absence of any knowledge, I looked up on the interweb to see how people consumed them. By and large most people seem to be roasting them prior to consumption. If I’d grown more than the three nuts (one of which the dog got in an unfortunate accident whilst cracking the nut and the other is still on the bush), I’d be more inclined to experiment with them.

    Do the nuts grow in nearby hedgerows, or do you have them growing at your place (or even wild in the forest)? I’m curious as to that because I wanted to get a rough idea as to how much shade the bushes can tolerate.

    🙂 I’m the other way around in that taste regard, but either Vegemite or Marmite are fine with me. They’re an acquired taste though. And best on warm toast with melting butter. Yum! The spread has been around and available for as long as I can recall. Is that the case for Marmite with you? Interestingly, across the Tasman Sea in New Zealand, they prefer Marmite.

    That’s really nice that the neighbours are looking out for you. And I’m sure you’ll be engaged in lively discussions with your honorary son. Late winter is a good time for a visit. Are the local areas quiet at this time of year? I’m bracing myself for the soon to materialise onslaught of the leaf change folks. I noticed that one of the local old hill station gardens, which is regularly open to the public, has put their entry price up and no longer uses an honesty box entry fee system (place your entry fee in a sturdy metal box). My feeling is that there may have been abuses of the owners goodwill for such changes to take place.

    Oh my! Stay dry as much as is humanly possible. Spring will hopefully soon dry out the soils a bit, maybe. It was quite hot here today, although not nearly as windy as forecast. There are some large fires in the west of this state. The heat is heading further north tomorrow, and here it will cool. Yay!



  20. Chris:

    I’m fine, Chris. That’s a couple of the – many – reasons that I hang out here: The joy of the flowers and the silly dog stories, and the lovely people and the fact that I always learn something new. And thanks for the compliment – and linking me with Mr. Greer!

    It’s wet, wet, wet here and temporarily warm. Tractorzilla is having enormous trouble getting his work done and now he has a flat tire. Waiting on a new tube by mail as we have used up the spares.

    I am glad that you and Dame plum have sorted the rats.

    So far, whenever we have netted any trees or bushes the squirrels have just chewed right through it.


  21. Hi Chris,

    So yesterday’s high was 86F. Not just a daily record high. Not just a monthly record high. It was also a record high for all three winter months! We let a lot of free heat into the house. 😉 12 hours later, it was 32F, and got as low as 26F before the sun started warming us back up. The high today will likely be around 40F, which is our average high in mid January, the coldest part of winter.

    No problem with the front porch. I closed the windows in late afternoon, and it didn’t get colder than about 50F overnight. With the sun shining, it’s warmer than the house right now (about 1:45pm).

    Thankfully, none of the fruit trees have begun to bloom, not even the apricots. They’re all too big to cover. Like you do, I grow multiple kinds of fruit trees that bloom at different times, to maximize the chance that at least one kind of fruit yields a harvest each year. The native fruit trees, pawpaw and persimmon, are the latest bloomers. They know of strong spring cold fronts and it is very rare for their flowers to get frosted off. The one time it happened, several years ago, was when we got a very late measurable snowfall on 20 April and a freeze that night.


  22. Yo, Chris – Somewhere along the way, you must have had a pack of Scandahovians, down there. Maybe, during the gold rushes. Oh, yes, the relatives were easy to understand, unless they lapsed into Finn, when little ears were around. I can do the accent, if I don’t think about it, too hard. I pick up dialects, really easy. If I were around someone who spoke in a dialect, I’d pick it up. And not even consciously.

    I never had much truck with computers, back in their early days. But it’s fun to watch Young Sheldon, working with his early computer. From Radio Shack, of course. 🙂 And older Sheldon, on the “Big Bang Theory,” gets positively giddy, when his old computer makes those noises, connecting with a dial up service.

    Good to have the Editor, know the basics of the solar power system. Might come in hand, some time.

    Let’s see. New computer stuff. Yes, videos work just fine. Quite awhile ago, the software involved in videos and pictures stopped being supported by my old computer. Couldn’t upgrade. But even to the bitter end, it was pretty amazing what still worked. Which makes me think the whole thing is a little bogus. I think it was an Adobe program, but called something else. Flash Player?

    As far as sleep vs shut down, at least the boot up is fairly swift. It’s also easier and faster to connect to the wi-fi. There are a lot of irritating ad-nags, about adding this or that feature to “enrich my experience.” Or something.

    I was going to get into the “For Dummies” book, last night, about security. But something came up. Much to my chagrin, we’re having an apartment inspection, a week from Friday. So, I’m going to have to move my old computer, into the living room, and move the new one to its space, sooner than expected.

    Figuring that out, while maintaining their ridiculous demands, will be a challenge. There must be a three foot runway, all the way from the front door, to the windows. And, also, similar access to the three emergency rip cords. Try arranging your furniture around THAT! Never mind keeping the baseboard heaters free, and things like doors. But I feel better, as I came up with a plan, this morning. It’s also kind of a (insert rude gesture) you. I have a dinning space, that is out of the way of all those requirements. I generally just use it to store stuff. Well, I’m going to cram my two small art deco cabinets, and a rocking chair in there. They’re going to the auction, anyway, next New Year’s Day.

    Anywho. I had a couple of bananas, heading south, so I baked up some muffins, last night. With cranberries. Between those, and the peanut butter cookies, I’ll have something on hand, for those low blood sugar moments.

    It’s rainy and windy, here. So far, no snow, though it’s playing peek-a-boo in the forecast. Overnight lows have not hit freezing. I saw an article last night, about the fires in your State. It gave me pause. I hope they keep well to the west of you. I also saw some articles about a huge wildfire, down in Texas.

    That was an interesting article about the pirate flags. Sounds like there were some artistic and creative people, aboard those ships. That shouldn’t surprise me. See: Scrimshaw. Highly collectible. But there are a lot of fakes, floating around. Years ago, I had a scrimshawed whale tooth, with a ship on it. I can’t even remember where I got it, or where and when I sold it. But do remember I got a pretty penny, for it.

    H’s ears seem to be getting a little better. She’s going to the groomer on Friday. Weather allowing. I slipped her a bit of peanut butter, last night. But will keep the coconut oil, in mind.

    I finally resorted to putting a glob of Vegemite on toast, nuking it for awhile, until it became spreadable. Lew

  23. Chris,

    Stress. Clenching the jaw. Grinding the teeth. UGG. Been there. For decades. I gnawed through 3 soft mouth guards from the dentist in 5 years before they gave me a harder one. Still gnaw and grind even after 3 years out of the race. In addition to what that does to the teeth, the grinding can ruin the jaw joint. It sounds like you made the necessary changes in time to avoid the jaw issues.

    The other thing about stress that isn’t always mentioned…Long term stresses and accumulation of little to medium traumas leads to habitual tightening of muscles, joints and things like jaw clenching, even when there is absolutely no real stressor present any longer. A complete rewiring is required. And for many, the rewiring can only lessen the degree of grinding, etc.

    Orange light. And other weirded colors due to wildfire smoke. Oh, yeah, I know these well. Very eerie look, isn’t it? After dark in those conditions, I always expect to see the odd vampire or pack of werewolves wandering through the area.

    We had another Big Blowout over the weekend. Yup, another windstorm. It’s still windy. And drizzling sideways. Even Dame Avalanche wants to stay indoors.

    Took the Honda CRV in Tuesday for routine maintenance. Their inspection showed a few other things, so I got those fixed too. Good thing, as the Princess will be on a long and fun drive to a basket weaver conference later this week. She’ll have a good time.

    Nice lemon photo. I noticed a lot of green lemons hiding amongst the foliage and flowers. You might get a lot of lemonade out of this! Enjoy.

    I’ve mentally designed my lemon in a knife fight project. Now I need to find the right wood from the basement, plan it out on the wood, and get to work on Phase 1, which is ANY fantasy/mythical creature. This is an ongoing “contest” at the club that will take about 6 months of one phase per month. Two of us will be doing pyrography, myself and our master pyrographer. He claims that his first phase will be a flying pig, as in “That’ll happen when pigs have wings.” This is the third year we’re doing this. It’s a fun “contest”.

    Your pathway widening project is progressing despite running headlong into both peak rocks and peak dirt. Perhaps peak rocks is a blessing in disguise? With an endless supply of rocks, methinks that the temptation to do the entire project all at once would be present. Then you’d work too hard, lift too many rocks, and in that way injuries occur. The reality of peak rocks forces you to have a more diverse set of activities.

    Time to heat up one of my heating thingies to put on the hand. So far, so good with the new issues…


  24. Hi Chris,
    Yes, the migrant birds have been arriving a bit early. I certainly hope there’s more rain but 2 weeks out and there really isn’t any in the forecast while the weather remains above normal. When the cold front came through last evening there were tornadoes further south from us but it other than wind it was a non event for us.

    Caring for the brothers was indeed stressful but they often made me laugh. If I hadn’t had them living with me I would have never gotten to know them very well. What a bunch of characters and of course Marty’s still around but is pretty self sufficient.

    Another sister, the one I refer to as the sister of many husbands, was until last year in a very similar situation to my late sister. I had a heart to heart with her stating she had a choice – she could live a lifestyle with trips and all the other trappings of influence or she could scale way back and still have a good life along with a lot more time. Now we spend a fair amount of time together whereas I rarely saw her before. She said she’s so much happier now that she quit the stressful accounting position. She does need to find some kind fo work though so she doesn’t go through too much of her money. Once again I suggested going in another direction maybe something more in line with her interests. She’s now learning about grant writing. I had to write the annual grant for the program I taught in and I think my accounting background helped considerably and I think it’ll be the case for her.

    As much as we miss him we have adjusted to life without Leo as has Salve. I told her there are advantages to being the only dog.



  25. @Pam
    I can sympathize with you having lost 3 siblings and my mother-in-law in less than 3 years. I’m glad you have your son and daughter-in-law with you.


  26. Hello Chris
    The hazels grow wild all through the woodland, sun or shade. It is easily possible to pick a sack of nuts. However they are the diet of our protected red squirrels. the Island is one of our few areas without grey squirrels.

    I have known marmite since I was a child.


  27. Hi Inge,

    Ah, I do wonder if the red squirrels also play a role in the distribution of hazelnut plants within your forests? The longer I have resided within a complex forest ecosystem, the more I come to understand that any one change, whether it be mine, or any of the other critters of whatever sort or size, will have impacts. Let’s just say that I’ve discovered over many years that it’s a dynamic environment.

    In many ways navigating the most awful question: What to do? Highlights that actions must consider and accommodate the worst case scenarios, and not the best, or even the median, or nary the average. That’s what I keep in the back of my mind when doing anything in the surrounding forest. Incidentally, that insight has changed the way I manage the off grid solar power system as well. Today, many hours were spent under the floor of a shed crawling around in the dirt in a confined space modifying one of the oldest power systems here. A hard but also satisfying day of work.

    Out of curiosity, has anyone ever attempted to introduce grey squirrels to your island? Believe it or not, way back in the Victorian era, people did just that in this part of the world. The forests proved too tough for the introduced squirrels to survive. Increased turnover of minerals in a forest is sometimes a benefit.

    Thanks! Have you ever come across Vegemite in your travels? They are sort of the same product, but I can notice the different taste.



  28. Hi Margaret,

    Ah, sorry to hear that things are working out that way with the climate, but you know, the birds know their business probably better than you and I, not to mention that they have been around for a very long time and survived all manner of climate craziness. It is very possible that the building La Niña may produce a wetter summer for you? It’s only early days now, but the current drier and warmer weather may also make it easier to get your growing season annual plants off to a good start, if you chit them or can provide water in the meantime? Dunno. The climate here is highly variable from one week to the next, so my head spins Exorcist style when considering such concerns.

    You know, years ago when you told me about either Patrick or Michael (sorry I now forget which brother it was) working for the local supermarket, and how much they loved the work and interacting with all the customers, I never had any doubts what cheeky characters they were. And despite it all, they were clearly enjoying themselves and having a purpose and making connections. And yeah, that’s true, you may have missed out on the interactions.

    Respect for taking on the risk. Such talks can often backfire leaving you as the bad person. Ask me how I know this? 😉 On the other hand, if such talks work, then change can produce all manner of benefits. If I may dare make an observation, and hopefully it is one you would appreciate, accounting makes a person learn to complete tasks – like writing grants. Hope your sister does well at that work.

    Salve is probably getting totally spoilt with all of the sudden extra attention! 🙂

    Hey, it’s both warmed and dried up here over the past month and a half. The fluffies are discovering that they much prefer the cooler weather, despite all of them being bred for work in hot and dry climates…



  29. Hi Pam,

    🙂 So as happens when you’re crawling around underneath a shed on a hot summers day improving one of the oldest off grid solar power systems here, and it’s a confined space too, a very difficult moment, Dame Plum decides the moment is just ripe for a proper smooch. Honestly, my face did not need licking, and there was little room to defend myself and push her away. I’d not want to think of myself as a salt block for the dogs, but it happened. Oh yeah.

    So that is where the wet went? Hmm, I’d wondered, but I’d have to also say that the rain has gone to a good home, despite the travails of Tractorzilla. 🙂 Honestly, I’m envious of the earth moving power such a beast could wield. But then! I’d have to maintain the beast, and well yeah, that’s what the work looks like: Waiting on spare inner tubes from a supplier. I so hear you.

    To be honest, it really is hard to know what spare parts to keep on hand. With the upgrade work done today on the oldest power system I used heaps of spare parts and all sorts of odds and ends, and it kind of feels good to do so, but also saves heaps of mad cash. Until you have to buy replacement new parts I guess… But I might not.

    Have you begun any seeds for the garden? I’m thinking of getting some kale plants started so that they’re well established and ready to over winter.

    Dame Plum did a sterling job sorting out the rats, and there were a lot of them. There are still a few around as they’re almost impossible to eliminate, but things are not like they used to be for those twitchy nosed little rodents. Their rodenty presence attracts snakes which obviously want to hunt and eat them. Not a fan.

    Pam, please do keep your squirrels in your part of the world. 🙂 Imagine having to interact with both parrots and squirrels? It would be too much, and no doubt the two species would work together to shred netting and scarf off with all the best fruit. For your interest, other than the grape vines, I’m learning how to live with all of the various forest critters as well. My plan is to out produce them all, and every year we get at least something to eat. Oooo, picked the first sun ripened grapes today. So good, so tasty. Yum!

    I’m currently looking at a fig tree full of developing fruit. I do wonder if the fruit will ripen before winter. What do you reckon?



  30. Hi Claire,

    30’C is a warm day, but when experienced in the winter months, it’s incomprehensible. It would be a record breaking day here as well for August. Yikes! But, the warmth also would have felt nice because the sun’s UV would be low.

    🙂 We also open the house on warm winter days. That’s called ‘free heating’ in anyone’s language! A truly fine thing.

    But afterwards that sudden plummet in air temperature is extraordinary, although possibly also indicating a return to your more usual late winter programming? Talk about climate whiplash, and your weather variability is starting to sound a lot like the bizarreness I deal with here regularly. It takes a lot of getting used too, if indeed a person ever can. Incidentally, it was cooler here today than where you are. Despite the cooler air today, the sun has some serious bite to it.

    Nice work with closing off the porch, and yeah I’m guessing any seedlings would have been fine, but also they were reducing their growth rates. Hey, I’m thinking of getting some kale seedlings started to over winter them. And I’ll be very interested to see how the Silverbeet (Swiss Chard) plants react to the winter months. I have no idea at this stage. Also, we picked the first of the sun ripened grapes today. Yum! They’d turned a darker purplish colour and taste sweet with that distinctive grape after taste.

    My problem exactly with all of the fruit trees. Do you know, even with 300+ of them growing, people still ask me: Have you thought about netting all of them? Sure… It’s totally uneconomic, not to mention what you said: impractical. 🙂

    Planting a diverse variety of plants is a wise adaption to reality, being what it is. Respect. Two of the pawpaws here are displaying signs of heat and water stress. But the remaining pawpaw is growing strongly.

    Ouch, that would have been a late snowfall. Far out! Dunno why, but the trees here in blossom at such times all lose their flowers when such things happen. What I noticed this year was that a single Apricot tree (one of the oldest) was being sheltered by an even larger Loquat tree from the sudden cold snap late last year, and the fruit on that particular tree survived. Dunno. Maybe as the trees get older and larger, they’ll be more resistant to such changes in the weather? How old are your fruit trees now – just roughly speaking?



  31. Hi DJ,

    Ouch! I never tried one of those guards, but they work. Time my friend, and better patterns, of course. Fingers crossed. Repairing a cracked tooth with a crown is not cheap. Hey, imagine putting in an expense claim with an employer for either the crown work or the multiple guards? With the by-line: You did this to me!!! Probably get sacked for such things…

    Man, economically and status wise it cost me a lot to take a long step backwards and away from that work, but it was no good what I thought about it. Reality had other plans for me. I can only salute your stoicism. The reason the story had been on my mind was that I told someone about it recently, and I believe they may have hated on me. Possibly it was about their own internal fears, but who really knows?

    That’s exactly what I meant about patterns and how long they get hard wired in. One of my joke lines I use sometimes (and it always gets a groan) is that the ‘patterns aren’t right’. Except it may not be a joke. The moment forced me to confront my inner workings, and reading in-between-the-lines, I get the impression that was your experience as well. Change is super hard.

    It is an eerie look isn’t it? We’ve been kind of lucky on the fire front for the past four summers (following on from the bonkers Black Summer fires 2019-2020) and who knows how long such luck lasts? I know what you mean about those critters lurking in such mysterious smoky twilight. Next time I’ll keep a look out for either of them, and hopefully if I survive, I’ll recount the experience to you. 🙂 Thanks for the new and interesting worry! Hehe!

    Dogs hate windy days. Hope the roof hangs together, and the garden avoids any damage. The dogs here freak out on windy days, mostly I suspect that there is too much movement going on all around them. I’d imagine wild dogs like coyotes and wolves would take advantage of such windy weather? Maybe? Did Dame Avalanche manage to get out for a walk today?

    Routine maintenance should be embraced as an opportunity to ensure that road trips with one’s lady go smoothly. 🙂 Always wise for household harmony! Sandra has somehow managed to outsource this vehicle responsibility to me, so anyway I ensure the work gets done, properly. Hope the conference is fun.

    That Meyer Lemon is growing so well. And to think only a few years ago it was succumbing to an Oomycete, the rotten little soil critter. You may be interested to note that another Meyer, and also a Eureka variety of lemon have both been planted elsewhere, just in case. They’re doing well too.

    Ah, do you dry your carving timber in the basement? What a good idea! Any ideas about what variety of timber you’re considering, or will the appropriate piece just stand out? That sounds like a fun contest, and that’s an old saying which you don’t much hear spoken these days. Down here it used to be said: “Sure. When pigs fly!”

    Forgot to mention that the lowest layer of large rocks is now complete on that path. Yay! Been busy, I’m not mucking around. I agree with your observation, you need to do different activities so that everything gets a rest. If I had to do that sort of heavy work everyday, I’d be broken pretty quickly. Oh yeah. One of the things which used to annoy me at the top end of town was that there was little time out for contemplation, and so that particular task crept into my unpaid hours, which tended to reduce relaxation – you can see where that headed… Hmm.

    Warmth is good and healing. Hope the hand is feeling OK.

    Spent a lot of hours underneath one of the sheds upgrading the wiring for the oldest off grid system. Used up heaps of spares, and added in another serious layer of circuit protection (doesn’t hurt) and overall it’s looking good. But wow, talk about confined space, an unsolicited dog face lick, and a certain sort of crunchy feeling afterwards. Needed to physically uncoil… 🙂 Working in confined spaces is hard.



  32. Hi Lewis,

    Man, people came from everywhere during the Gold Rush era, although predominantly the culture had origins deriving from the British isles. Look at the name of this area which derived from the err, east coast of the US. Timber millers from there apparently. Interestingly, this particular mountain range seemed to attract people of Scottish and also German ancestry. I may have mentioned to you a while ago that a family with a name of German origins, I reckon anglicised it a bit possibly due to WWI. A local history alerted me to that story.

    I know what you mean about picking up the dialects. Many years ago when travelling, we’d start talking differently and inserting local words into the spoken language repertoire. For your interest, today I overheard a conversation with a lady who was clearly bilingual and was alternating between speaking French and English with her very well behaved children. So yeah, I get what you mean about that lapse. I’d wondered how they decided when to speak which language because the change over was so smooth.

    🙂 Go young Sheldon. Dude, I still can’t believe he also worked in a Radio Shack… How funny is that? But yes, of course. Hmm. I might change my phone ring tone to that old dial up noise. Never thought of doing that, and simply keep the thing standard. Sure brings back memories.

    That’s what I was also thinking about. If there is a problem, at least the Editor will know how to shut the things down, in a hurry. I kept working on it today, and in fact had to do the rotten part of the job – crawling around under the shed in the dirt. Did I mention that it was quite the confined space? Hmm. Still, I kept my good spirits up and just got on with the work. The job is nearing completion, and that is a good thing. I’d been putting off the work for a long while mostly because of the crawling around under the floor business.

    Good stuff! And isn’t it good when the pesky computer things just work. Yes, I’d heard of Flash Player, and remember us discussing it at the time back in maybe 2021 or so. It was discontinued I believe. Hey, maybe the software thing worked too well and had to be gotten rid of? You never know. I wonder about all of the updates and innovations too. Recently the login screen was updated. Did I ask for this to happen? No.

    Ha! Possibly the computer has become anxious and is wondering if your experience is not rich enough already? I’m wary of such offerings anyway – they may come with a regular subscription fee. They all want that.

    Oh, not good. Don’t you normally get more warning of such impending inspections? Dude, when we rented down in the nearby town in a housing estate, they used to do twice yearly inspections. I always thought it was a bit invasive and definitely wasn’t what I’d describe as ‘quiet enjoyment’. And the inspection people were completely unknown to me. It seems like a recent thing too. When I was a younger bloke, such things never happened except at the beginning and end of a lease.

    Did you get back to the security bit in the ‘For Dummies’ book? Always a good idea knowing about such things, and for your interest, I pay for a number of different layers of security on the interweb. Nothing on the web is safe, but it is possible to make things harder so that miscreants go to easier pickings. You’d be amazed at the security stuff I have to do for this interweb site.

    Well as to the demands, I might point out that the system is not yours, it’s theirs. And then I’d go on to point out that a person has to know the system, in order to play the system. And knowing what they are looking for is the easiest approach to this matter, then giving them something easy to rectify so that they can enjoy a proper whinge, well that’s winning! You read it here first. 😉 Good luck, and I hope the whole thing goes smoothly. And yup, a dude needs a plan. Nice to read that you have one, it’s reassuring. That sounds like a plan, and that you know the system.

    Yum! Banana muffins. Had a plum and dark chocolate muffin the other day, and it was good, although plums are way out of season for you. Incidentally, whilst working under the floor today – cramped and stuff – Dame Plum managed to take advantage and licked my face. Not fair. She was meant to be under there protecting me from any possible rat encounter, but obviously that work slipped her mind.

    Any snow for your today? It was warm and sunny here today, but nowhere near as hot as yesterday. It was a hot uncomfortable overnight though. The fires in the state so far are what you’d expect and a fast moving grass fire out west was put out. It could be worse, and yes, we’ve been reading about that fire too.

    Good to hear that H’s ears are getting better. Maybe it was a short term thing? You never know. Dogs are hardy, especially Spitz’s like H.

    Hehe! Yes, but was it any good? The vegemite that is. 😉



  33. @ Margaret:

    I am so fortunate not to be alone.

    I think it is Marty who is left? And I think he has been having troubles . . . and thus so, Margaret.


  34. Chris:

    Yes – sometimes we are just a source of salt to our canine friends. And food. And comfort. That’s probably why our pack of five called me “Her”, while I gave them charming names like “Mr. Jackson” and Baby Sue”.

    The thing with 1964 Tractorzilla is that he is always ailing, so I tend to think “Spare parts? For something that may be on its last legs?” I don’t know.

    With all the rain I’ve only planted forget-me-nots and, today, some California Poppies. I just threw the seeds in a bed. Lots of stuff growing inside, though.

    Grapes – yum! I think your figs have time to ripen.


  35. @ Pam – I am sorry for your loss. Lean on those around you, when necessary. It helps. Lew

  36. @ DJ – I missed you guys, too! Serious Fern Glade withdrawal. Chris kept me sane, and fairly up to date, with the occasional e-mail. They were appreciated.

    We have a couple of indigenous ladies, around the Club. They’re into a bit of basket weaving. One of them lives in a housing situation, similar to mine. But it’s only for indigenous people. Lew

  37. Yo, Chris – Something DJ mentioned, tickled something in my brain. If you didn’t suffer from Peak Rocks, you might develop a case of the dreaded Stone Fever. It ran rampant, in the Middle Ages, among kings, bishops, father abbots and mother superiors. It may have been released, again, due to melting permafrost. Next thing you know, you’d be building castles and cathedrals! Maybe even the odd folly! 🙂

    Another thing I thought about was, you might have had an influx of Scandahovians, due to logging. They gravitated in great numbers, wherever there were trees to cut. Or, maybe fishermen. The fishing fleet out of Astoria, Oregon, used to be largely Finn.

    I heard about a family named Windsor, who had changed their name to sound less Germanic, during WWI. 🙂

    I spent a bit of time, in a crawl space. Luckily, rats didn’t cross my mind. Now spiders … H also likes to lick, but knows it doesn’t fly, with me. Although if I wasn’t able to defend myself, I’m sure all bets are off. A few weeks ago, there was a little kid at the Club. She went right for the face. But, the parents seemed fine with it, so, whatever.

    I got to sit down with the “For Dummies” book, last night, and read through the security section. It’s pretty good at outlining possible user scenarios, and how much security you might want to slap on. “Now, if you’re a spy …. ” My security will probably be pretty light. As no one else has access to my computer, and I’m not part of a network. I also can’t think of a thing I need to back up. But it did cross my mind that you, in your situation, would want pretty robust security. I need to sit down and turn on or off, this and that. With book in hand. They also had a section on just generally staying safe. Don’t open strange e-mails, be careful at strange sites. Don’t take things at face value. Investigate a bit deeper. All stuff I know, but a refresher never hurts.

    Actually, the lead time for inspections used to be worse. Other than an emergency, by law, they only have to give us 3 days notice. But the last couple of times, that’s changed (probably due to all the bitter whinging), and as with this time, we have longer than a week. Last night I broke down the 25 pound bag of rolled oats into gallon bags. Hence, getting that bag out of my hallway. Did some cleaning out of the refrigerator. Etc. I think these apartments and inspections would work just fine. If we had the accoutrements of a monk’s cell.

    Well, it rained hard, and blew, all day yesterday. Every time H and I went out, we got drenched. Better today. Scattered showers with sun breaks. All our rivers in the county, were on a flood watch. Though the forecasts didn’t think they’d reach flood stage. Still no snow. Though it was a bit chilly in my apartment, this morning, so I kicked on my little space heater, for awhile.

    I forgot to mention, my friends in Idaho experienced an earthquake, last week. About the same intensity as yours. It’s fairly rare, over there.

    To me, Vegemite falls somewhere between bad and good. LOL. Could go either way. Lew

  38. Hello Chris
    Yes the squirrels bury hazel nuts and if they don’t come back for them then we get new plants.
    A great effort is made to keep grey squirrels off the Island as they supplant the reds if they arrive. One of the reasons for this is that they are impervious to a disease they can carry which wipes out the reds. Every now and then someone reports seeing a grey squirrel but they are incorrect. Photos of red squirrels always show pure red ones. In fact their colour varies a lot. I had one here with a barred black and red tail. A number of the males have a glorious blond tail and they are often greyish in part.

    I have only encountered vegemite in Australia and didn’t like it.

    Rain is pouring down still.


  39. Hi Inge,

    Ah, many thanks as I’ve seen squirrels (briefly overseas), but had not known of their foraging habits. Sounds to me like they are caching the nuts, which is a chancy strategy and if forgotten leads to new plants. It’s kind of like those hordes of Roman coins which get found from time to time in your country.

    It’s impressive that the grey squirrels have been kept off your island for as long as they have been. The large island state to the south of here (Tasmania) is supposedly fox free. As a consequence the island has a couple of marsupial predators like the spotted quoll, or the more famous Tasmanian Devil. We went on a walk today up in the goldfield area to have a look at more of the ruins. Interestingly whilst on the walk I noticed a fox scat near to a gully which had blackberries. Candidly, the area had been trashed by all the historic mining activities which went on for at least a century. They found a lot of gold there. Anyway I also learned that the local indigenous folks describe the area as an ‘upside down land’, which is a very apt description.

    A lot of the planet is getting like that, but take a long enough perspective and you’ll see that the land will recover.

    I’ve had both Vegemite and Marmite, and agree they are different tasting, but either was fine with me. Many years ago I used to hate the taste of natural yoghurt, but then due to exigencies beyond my control, I persisted with consuming the stuff and now enjoy it. They tell me it takes three weeks to change ones taste preferences.

    Yikes! Hope the rain eases up a bit before the growing season gets under way in earnest. It’s been quite dry here of late, but prior to that there was a phenomenal amount of rain. Fingers crossed for you that it works out OK.



  40. Hi Pam,

    Ah, dogs, they’ve done it again! I know what you mean there though, dogs can be rather fickle in returning their human bestowed places and names in the pack. Mr Jackson and Baby Sue sound like lovely names for canine companions and I’m sure they were as delightful as their charming names suggested. Maybe? 🙂

    Hey, have you ever considered getting another dog? Although it can be hard to tell what the universe has in store for us all on that front. Truth to tell, you’ve been reading long enough to note that the current canine pack is perhaps (without bringing their good reputations into question) of a bit more fundamental breeding stock than the former fluffies. How I ended up with a bunch of reject working dogs and a reject hunting dog is something which is quite beyond my understanding. 🙂 You probably know the feeling there? They’re a handful and require training and boundaries, let’s put it that way. But in other ways, they’re much nicer than the former fluffies.

    Well, that’s a very interesting question. And also one I ponder with such equipment. Earlier in the year the Dirt Mouse Suzuki received a replacement clutch plate kit. The flywheel was also machined. Anywhoo, it’s working very well now. The mechanic made an interesting observation about the longevity of machinery. He said that, ‘you can keep any machine going long enough, but it will cost you more as time goes on’. There’s a message in there somewhere about return on investment with repairs.

    For your interest, I take a slightly different approach, and both baby and regularly maintain all of the machines here. But even so, there comes a time when throwing further hard earned mad cash at machine repairs makes no sense. Dunno. I think the issue gets down to how much resources and energy do you want to invest in a machine?

    Those are both lovely plants and they’re even a bit weedy here – which makes life easy for me. The local gardening club provides small quantities of those sorts of free seeds each year, and we do the same. Chuck them in the garden beds and see what happens. Most of them take and grow well.

    Yum! Yum! I think that removing the strawberries from the grape enclosure has really helped the grape vines. The harvest should go on for a few more weeks. And thanks with your opinion on the figs. They’re a mystery plant to me, and candidly I don’t even recall them flowering…



  41. Hi Lewis,

    It’s always possible, but my experience with stone work suggests to me that it takes a lot of peasants to be able to support those monumental ancient stone buildings which seemed to litter around the landscape. I’d approve of a folly here and there about the farm, but the other stuff, not so much! 😉

    It’s funny you mention ancient stone buildings, but today was a day off work and so we headed an hours drive north for another poke around some of the goldfields ruins. This time was at the Eureka Reef which was worked between 1850 and 1950). There was heaps to see and we were the only people there, although admittedly it was a warm-ish summer’s day. The walk was a bit over an hour and the works all those people did over the course of a century was quite impressive. All now returning to a super dry box-ironbark forest of course, with no top soil to speak of (or only a little bit accumulated in the past 70 years). The indigenous folks now call it: ‘upside down land’, and I find myself agreeing with their perspective.

    It was of interest to me to note that in the area, the goldfields there re-opened during the Great Depression and were worked for the next two decades. I guess they were either eventually played out after 1950, or simply became uneconomic when labour rates improved following on from WWII. It was hard not to notice that many of the old stone buildings had been raided (here I’m guessing) for their lovely dressed stone and there wasn’t much left.

    I like to keep a sharp eye out, and in a remote spot near to where hundreds of pounds of gold had been recovered over time, there was what looked to me like the remnants of a tent. And one of the shafts dropped 150m (almost 500ft) underground. Some cheeky wag appeared to have cut the strong steel reinforcing mesh which stopped careless folks from falling in. There was an area which offered anyone the opportunity to drop a rock down into the shaft and listen to just how long it took to reach the bottom, and that sure was an interesting experience.

    In other breaking news, apparently there is a shortage of carbon dioxide… An industrial gas from what I was reading. Who knew?

    That’s possible about folks from Scandinavia turning up here to work the forests. I’m unsure that they would have appreciated the hot summer conditions.

    Did they, the cheeky scamps? 😉 The original name unfortunately included the name of an early German WWI heavy bomber used top drop bombs over the UK during that time. Not a good look, so yeah change was in order. What a wabbit hole you sent me down there. And, can you imagine the courage required to get into a Zepplin bomber, what with all that hydrogen making it a super easy target once the traditional dragons weak spot on the underbelly was discovered. Most of those long haul flights looked like suicide missions to me.

    Crawl spaces are not where us humans were meant to exist. Think fresh air, trees, carnivores instead. It wasn’t just rats, I also wondered about the possibility of encountering a snake under there. Clearly, being here today suggests that my fears in this instance were unfounded. This is a good thing! Definitely spiders. Yes. Hmm. Brushed them off.

    Go H! It’s probably good for the immune system.

    Did the book really have that chapter title on security? I guess spies need ‘For Dummies’ books too. 🙂 And that’s exactly the problem we face in a nutshell. And also on that front we try not to do what everyone else is doing, which makes things harder for miscreants. Takes a bit of knowledge, discipline and care though.

    Yikes! Three days is not enough notice, and glad to hear that this rule is not enforced. Hehe! Mate, I’m just going with my gut feeling there, but a monks cell would be a very spartan place. Just sayin… 😉 Thanks for the latest wabbit hole. These things need to come with trigger warnings!!! 😉 Actually, a monks cell wasn’t nearly as bad as I’d thought it would be. Based on that and some of the ruins I saw today in the goldfields, I’d say that our beliefs as to what constitutes a necessity is possibly a whole bunch larger than what it used to be not all that long ago. Basically, monks cells probably have a bright future ahead of them.

    That sounds like awful weather. Did you and H manage to get outside for a walk? Sorry to say, but today here was superb for the first official day of Autumn. 79’F and partly cloudy. No wind. A lovely day, although I note that the days are getting shorter. And we may hand that extra hour over to you soon. Any news on that front?

    Did their house sustain any damage from the earthquake?

    Thought you might be interested to read how some folks are adapting: How we built the modest one-bedroom home we could afford. That’s on three quarters of an acre of land. Not a bad effort at all.

    A little thought bubble popped into my head today. I was thinking about the recent issue I’d had. Well, I didn’t sign up for all that drama. Nope. Possibly mission creep. Have to think long and hard as to how I ended up in the drama. Probably didn’t set firm boundaries. Always something new to learn, huh?



  42. Chris:

    No more dogs, I think. We don’t have the time or money, and I’m not sure about the energy. And, after all, we have Mr. Baby the cat (a nickname – I must not bandy his true name about; it’s too embarrassing) who, besides being very sure of himself that he is the Supreme Ruler of the Universe, has a serious heart condition. Constant care and attention keeps him pretty tip-top, though . . .

    Figs are really mysterious. Apparently they bloom inside the fruit that they are to become.


  43. Yo, Chris – Riffing of of a couple of things Inge and you said … The Squirrels here, often bury walnut or oak acorn, and don’t make it back to rediscover them. They pop up all over the gardens. And, the flower beds. Some have become so well established (walnuts in the Rhodys) that all I can do is cut them down, every year. A couple in the blueberries, too.

    Habits, bad or good, take about 21 days to establish. According to reports. Which I think is taking a sunny outlook 🙂 .

    The peasants are revolting! Maybe that’s why there’s not so many of those cool stone edifices, around.

    The old gold fields sound like a fascinating meander. It depends on the price of gold. Sometimes, it pays to rework old works. And, there’s always the chance someone might find something major, that’s been over looked. The indigenous folks do have a way with words. Upside down land, indeed.

    Carbon dioxide. What animals and plants breathe out. You think there would be a way, to collect all that. I watched an episode of the Big Bang theory, last night. There was a helium shortage. Sheldon and Leonard needed it for an experiment. They ended up in a parking garage, buying helium from a very sketchy character. Who turned out to be pretty nice and interesting. Then I saw that there’s been a huge helium discovery, in northern Minnesota. Imagine I’m saying it, with the accent 🙂

    From what I’ve seen and read, about WWI, the whole thing was just one big suicide mission.

    It was a section called “Backups and Other Security Concerns.” It’s interesting. My old beast had a DVD player, built in. Not on this one. I suppose because everyone is streaming, these days. Or so they think. I also wondered about USB sticks. Not that I’e ever used one. Nothing in the index, though there is a little port on one side of the new beast. But I was wondering …. I suppose those will go away, because of the Cloud. What will the movies do? It’s a frequent plot point. The good guys need to download the smoking gun, from the evil corporation or group. There’s always a ticking clock / time factor to get the information, downloaded onto the stick. Before the bad guys waltz back from the bog, or whatever.

    I spent a couple of hours, last night, just dealing with paper. Tossing this and filing that. Doesn’t feel like I got much done, for the inspection. But I did. It’s just not obvious and didn’t require much sweat.

    No matter the weather, H has to be walked at least 3 times a day. We get wet, sometimes. We probably won’t rust. H is in the metaphorical dog house, today. I think I mentioned how she bolts her water, then eerps it all up. And, I thought we were doing so well. Yesterday, I stepped in her expulsion, in my bare feet. Twice. It’s clear, slimy, cold and sticks. I was not happy. So, no more water without supervision.

    We’re headed to the groomer, in about an hour. She’s a mess, what with the ear medication, and all. Which seems to be helping.

    No damage to my friends place, during the Idaho quake. Their daughter did have a few things come off the wall, at her new real estate office.

    That was an interesting article, about the couple building the little home. I’d say, they must be in an area where zoning and building codes aren’t too stringent. I want to get back, and read the other articles, at the bottom of the page.

    Well, as you Australians say, “No drama.” Though that seems to mean, “Not a problem.” Give it a different inflection, and it’s more like, “Drama, stay away from my door.” I’m careful approaching people. Can say no when they ask for things that may lead to drama. I guess besides having a pretty good BS detector, I have a pretty good Potential Drama Detector. Not to say I don’t slip up, on occasion. Lew

  44. @Lewis,
    You can find water bowl that slows down drinking on the river and probably other places for about $20. Yeah, it’s easy for us lurkers to spend other people’s money ;^)


  45. @ Lew,

    The Princess has been in your area for basket weaving a few times. I think it’s the Hazel Pete group. She has a lot of fun there.


  46. Chris,

    I tried to leave that place a few times. I’d been there about 12 years and applied for several jobs, carpet cleaning and such. Keep busy, do something, have a lot of thinking time. I was told upon submittal of my application that I was not hirable: I made more than the regional manager so obviously I would leave for a better paying job as soon as one appeared. At that point I became a “lifer” and had to seriously reconstruct how to remain there while retaining some semblance of sanity.

    “The patterns aren’t right”. “I have a bad feeling about this.” “Something seems wrong here.” Different sides of the same, er, cube.

    I’m glad I could give you something new to think about. Werewolves and goblins and vampires, oh my! Let me know if you ever get bored and I’m sure I can find more things like that. For free, yet. 😉

    No damage to the roofing. There’s one area of the garage siding, an “end cap” where two sides meet, where an end cap piece or two might fall off after enough high winds. Sure enough, Avalanche found one and kindly placed it where I had to see it from the window.

    Oh, and the weather has been so ornery, walks have been few and far between. In true husky fashion, without much physical activity, Dame Avalanche doesn’t eat very much. We DID get out for our normal walk this morning. She ran right to the food bowl and scarfed down the food as soon as we got home. It started snowing shortly thereafter.

    That was after my cousin, aka Killian’s owner, took me to breakfast this morning. Her treat. We went to a locally owned diner. The food was tasty and plentiful. The coffee was good with no limit on how much we could have. We had a good time.

    Meanwhile, the Princess and her brother were driving from his place to Lincoln City, Oregon, for the basketry thing. Windy and rainy was the trip. Apparently, the ocean is spectacular with large waves due to the wind.

    Agreed, her car has to remain in tip top condition. On one occasion, the Princess was driving home from the Rez on a hot summer day. 50 km from Spokane the transmission blew. She took it very stoically, but I prefer that her cars don’t break down.

    Ah, diversification of lemon varieties and location. Smart, really.

    This project will all be wood burning. Usually those projects I’ve done on thin Italian poplar boards. This is different. It will be on a largish oval of basswood with the bark on two sides. I’ll have plenty of room to burn in the “action” as well as add a lot of background. I’m envisioning a fair amount of background to this project. Installment 1, due at the club this weekend, is actually very simple: Kilroy of “Kilroy was here” fame.

    I’ve heard it both ways, “When pigs fly” and “When pigs have wings”. What I know for certain is that I’ve never seen a flying pig or a purple cow.

    Good job on the pathway rocks! Projects like that, while hard work, are enjoyable: you get to see your project advance while working.

    Constricted spaces. Ugg. I got my fill of those when working for the asbestos abatement program where I met the Princess. I was support, so didn’t have to do much of the removal. I DID, however, have to remove the bagged waste from the work area when there were constricted tunnels. That was NOT fun in the monkey suit, respirator and a long airline forcing air into the respirator. I got tangled up in the airline once. Ugg. At least there were no friendly kelpies helping themselves to free licks while further constricting the space.


  47. Hi Pam,

    Ah, thanks for the explanation, and yes, economic realities sadly loom over all of us. I so hear you about that.

    Pam, I’d probably blush upon hearing the nickname of Mr. Baby the cat (not his real name!) 😉 At such moments I’m reminded of a bloke I’d encountered at an agricultural show a bit under a year ago. He breeds and trains Kelpie working dogs (and alerted me to the fact that my two rejects are show Kelpies, and not working dogs). Anywhoo, I happened to notice that he was quietly calling one of his working dogs by the name: ‘Bubbles’. Truly, you meet some real characters once out of the city.

    Mr Baby the cat is probably in the very best of homes given the circumstances. Felines sometimes have other notions though of as to their rugged independence, when the weather co-operates and in-between meals of course.

    Interesting. A truly mysterious plant. I must look into this matter further. The dark purple fig we harvested a week or so ago was amazing tasting. How’s demand going for your son’s fig trees?

    Spent most of the day finishing off re-wiring the oldest of the four off-grid solar power systems today. And got the job completely done and cleaned up by about 6pm. Me tired… The job had to be done, we’d smooshed some cables when digging recently. Oh well, it’s done now.



  48. Hi DJ,

    Dude, your story reminded me of facing the recession in the early 90’s when unemployment was 10%. Just before the proverbial poop hit the fan for me, I tried to transfer into many another job, and I tell you, I heard those sorts of excuses as well. Golden handcuffs are a real thing. Anyway, I was constricted from running to the land of elsewhere for a safe landing. Got booted out the door, and decided to take whatever kept a roof over my head and food upon the table, and it was a very dirty job. Corporate debt collection. I’ve heard every excuse under the sun, and maybe it was fate I trod that path. Life teaches us compromises. What you faced was a balancing act. I got tipped over. But it’s the same sort of thing.

    It is cut from the same sort of cube, yeah. Learning to listen to your gut feeling is not something which we are trained to do. I kind of feel that abstract concepts instead get programmed over the top of gut feelings. It’s probably not done for yours or my benefit.

    Ha! I appreciate the kind offer, but I am never bored. I’ve heard of that word!!! 😉 Spent all of today finishing the job of rewiring the oldest of the four solar power off grid systems. It’s been in place since maybe 2010 and has worked every minute since then, but I’ve learned a thing or twenty things since those days. Added in a triple layer of fused circuit protection. One can never be too careful with these LiFePO4 batteries. A technology which is good, but you want to stop it from going wrong – and very quickly when so required. Thus the upgrade, which took three days this week. Far out. I’d guessed one day would do for the job. Oh well.

    One of the interesting side benefits of now having more free time, is that I’m getting around to doing some of these things which need doing. And man, I’d been putting that job off for a long while.

    Wasn’t that thoughtful of Dame Avalanche. Boss! Boss! Here’s something that needs doing! Or possibly the dog knew that the patterns just weren’t right… 😉

    Really? An interesting survival strategy for huskies. The dogs here would be outraged should any meal be missed. In fact, they have all these irritating, and frankly endearing, techniques to alert me to the fact that any meal is one minute late. Glad to hear that you dodged the snow.

    Yum! Yum! Although, I’d probably cut you off after the fourth or maybe fifth coffee purely for social reasons. You’d probably be bouncing off the walls. A few years ago I was at a comedy show when the comedian mentioned that he was cut off at a café after his fifth coffee because apparently he was getting agitated. Can’t imagine why? The story left an impression.

    Always a pleasure to chat with friends, isn’t it?

    I’m solidly with you in this regard. Sandra’s dirt mouse Suzuki is maintained to a higher standard that what I’d do with the other dirt rat Suzuki. A few years ago I blurted out to someone giving me stress that I just don’t want hassles, but I really meant it. Mind you, that only kept them quiet for a while… 🙂 Like zombies they came back. Sun Tzu, guide me here bro!

    The entire orchard and annual vegetables are based on diversification and the idea that at least something will work out. That’s the plan anyway.

    Ooo, a whole new meme. I’d seen ‘Kilroy’ depictions before but had not appreciated the history or significance. Did you know that there was an earlier Aussie variant ‘Foo was here?’ Never seen that depiction anywhere. You sent me on a wabbit hole which ended up in a letter telling the German forces in WWII: ‘Nuts!” As you do when it seems the most appropriate word to use.

    Or a purple crow for that matter! That would be strange, but kind of cool.

    Thanks! We’ve been doing major upgrades here for the past three years now. It’s a big job re-doing things, but there is satisfaction in that work as well, as you noted.

    Oh, not good! Given you are here today, I am wondering how you managed to untangle the air line?



  49. Hi Lewis,

    In the grape enclosure, there is a Black Locust which will not die. I keep cutting that plant back, but it’s tough like your walnuts in the rhodies. And just like an indomitable zombie, the tree keeps coming back. On the other hand, it’s an intriguing idea to simply bury a whole bunch of acorns here and see what happens. Oak trees grow very well here, as do maples. They produce a lot of summer shade those trees, whereas the tall Eucalyptus trees provide only marginal shade for their own benefit, the cheeky scamps.

    I’ve heard that three week story as well for both good and bad habits. It’s hard not to ignore that ex-smokers seem take far longer than that time frame to kick the habit. Yeah, I hear you. Nothing beats the fervour of the recently converted.

    Hehe! You’re probably right about needing the stone edifices, and thanks for the laughs. There have been numerous times the ruling class in the UK have barely escaped with their necks intact, and what amazed me about those historical accounts was that inevitably they reneged on the points of capitulation. Nuts.

    The old goldfields are really interesting. They also display decline in a most forthright manner. The area is scattered with industrial ruins, damaged ecosystems and abandoned settlements. A fascinating place. But I agree, that was what the former occupant of the tent may have been doing. The area has been picked over for a long time, but I doubt that every scrap of the precious metal has been recovered. Some of the stuff is probably too expensive to recover. It’s a pretty good description of the land there.

    The dynamic duo would have had an interesting time of it buying helium in a car park. 🙂 One e-buy deal ended up like that for me many years ago in a railway station car park at night. Honestly, I walked away from the deal. Looked like fenced products to me.

    Interesting, and that’s quite pure for I’m assuming a natural gas well. There was a recent confirmation of a similar find in the state to the west of here, but the purity looks like it is maybe half of the find in the US. It’s a sought after industrial gas, and I’m surprised it even gets used in applications as stupid as birthday balloons. Ain’t my circus…

    I tend to agree. Survival seemed to favour the lucky, and also the late to the party.

    Don’t Mac’s use the USB-C ports anyway (they’re the same, but smaller)? The sticks are quite useful, but yes it is a trope for sure. Such a portable memory device was a minor plot point in the film: The Dry II. Was that where the bad guys were hiding? I guess they had to go there sooner or later.

    Ah well, if there is paper to be dealt with, and I mean in a filing sort of a way, it suggests that the filing hadn’t been done. 😉 Hey, reminds me of the time I thoughtlessly remarked to someone that: I’m an absolute filing nazi. It all went downhill from there because the person just gave me this look which said: “You’re a bad person”. Then I was cancelled. Look, it was just a saying, people can get so upset. Haven’t repeated that mistake, but no doubt there will be new and more interesting mistakes to haunt me.

    It’s no bad thing ensuring that the regular walks take place. Although I’m now left wondering, how did you two cope during the recent Arctic blast with those regular walks? Oh no. If the dogs get a bit spewy like that, I add a little tiny bit of finely ground activated charcoal to their next feed, and it settles their guts down. Never known a dog to barf up a sticky mess after drinking too fast, but it can happen even with people. That’s not a good way to discover a dog mess. Ook! Hope you weren’t too harsh on H?

    Glad to hear that H’s ear is getting better. And how is she with her new ‘doo?

    No, the building looked like it met the codes, otherwise there would be problems. It was just small and that kept the costs down. They may also have done a lot of the work themselves. Those are my kind of people. We tend to do projects using sweat equity, and also when we can afford them.

    One of the great benefits of having more free time now is that I’m really banging along with some of the more time intensive projects. I’m pretty sure the people recently meant me no good, but it’s worked out well. Finished the work on the upgrade of one of the smaller off grid solar power systems today. The whole job took a little bit longer than I’d imagined, but like getting ready for an inspection, this is probably why I’d been putting it off for months and months. It’d become a bit more urgent recently due to the scary old rototiller ripping into one of the 12V cables to the solar panels. Ook! No harm done. And it’s a heaps better system now.

    I’m not sure how you feel about such matters, but I think it is a good thing that people are at least considering living in smaller houses.

    Yup! You hear that ‘no drama’ said. It’s also spoken as: ‘No worries’. I use that a lot with people. Your twist on the words sounds a bit like an invocation. Truly, people bring dramas to your door whether you invited them or not. Seems like a bit of a constant force of pressure to me.

    Respect for your BS detector. Hey, I’d read that some people ask for small things, then escalate. Like you, I’m resistant to their pressure. They won’t like me any better if I do what they ask, so they can naff off and annoy someone else. That’s the theory. And yes, slipping up is part of life. If we didn’t make mistakes, how would even know what a mistake was, and how could we teach other people?



  50. Chris:

    You smooshed your own cables? Tsk, tsk . . .

    My son is doing well selling his fig trees. Things are picking up as we head into spring, though he sold quite a few bareroot plants over the winter.


  51. @ Ann Busch – Thanks! I hadn’t thought of that. I’ll also check the local pet store. Might even be a build-it-yourself, online. LOL, I end up spending lavish amounts of money, on doggie. Something I hadn’t anticipated.

    One of the Ladies, here, where I live, mentioned she was thinking about getting a dog. I had a heart to heart talk with her. She has limited mobility, so, there’s the problem with exercise. I’m up and down four flights of stairs, at least three times a day. Keeps me and doggie in shape.

    I also told her about a trip to the groomer ($70), and if they need dental care, at least $700. The vets in our state, must have a good lobbying group. A new law was past, recently. If the vet hasn’t seen your dog in a year, it has to have a “wellness” check. Chuck another $80 on the bill. And, so it goes. Lew

  52. @ DJ – I’ll ask my indigenous lady friends, if they participate in the group. Seven degrees of Kevin Bacon! :-). Lew

  53. Yo, Chris – There’s also a blackberry vine, in another patch of Rhodes. And, a blackberry vine that pops up in a large rose bush. I whack them out, at least once a year. LOL. Our night manager took over part of a bed of mine, last year. I told him about some kind of sticker vine, that pops up in the same place, every year. I’ve dug deep, and it still comes back. He was telling me the other day, that he’d solved the problem, as he’d dug down to hard pan. I’ll try and keep a straight face, when it pops up again, this year.

    The fervor of the recently converted. On a lot of areas and topics. Usually, I say, “May I kiss the hem of your garment?” That usually shuts them down. Mr. Greer has a nice bit about that, in his rules of comportment, on his blog.

    Speaking of stone edifices. I picked a new book up, at the library, the other day. “The Secret Life of Hidden Places: Concealed Rooms, Clandestine Passageways, and the Curious Minds That Made Them.” (Bachmann & Tucholke, 2023.) I read a bit in it, last night. The 5th Duke of Portland, who was mostly a recluse, and built a phenomenal underground world, under his Nottinghamshire manor house. Ball rooms, art galleries, conservatories, billiard rooms. It was mad. And the Mad Mole of Liverpool, who also built extensive digs, underground. This is going to be a fun book.

    USB – C ports? Got me. Haven’t got to the necessity of using such things, yet.

    Filing stuff that needs to be kept, tossing flotsam and jetsam. Some things seem important, on arrival. Less so on reflection.

    Oversensitive people are not worth the time. Of course, if you run for office, thirty years from now, every little faux pas, will come to light.

    No matter the weather, we walk. Remember the recent ice storm, where we made it out and back, practically on our knees, clutching at garden furniture 🙂 . My coat and H’s coat get hung up to dry. She gets a good rub down.

    The trip to the groomer, went fine. Dropped her off at noon, picked her up at 4:30. Her trim is very short, and she looks more like a terrier, again. I also had happened to see a sign, and I can take her in for a nail trim, without an appointment. I don’t have the nerve to do it myself. So, once a month, we’ll drop in. $10 a pop. Another regular expense. Oh, well. Keep the fluffy healthy.

    There’s a used book store, a few doors down from the groomer. I stopped in, yesterday. Found an inexpensive, but very nice copy of “Slow Food: The Case for Taste” by Carlo Petrini, who started the whole movement. Forward by Alice Waters.

    Unfortunately, books will have to be set aside, until I get past this inspection. And, the recertification paperwork. I got a nastygram, from our building manager, yesterday. If I don’t get the paperwork in by the end of the month, terrible things will happen. Oh, well. She can just cool her jets, until we get past this inspection.

    I did watch an interesting documentary, last night. “Back to the Drive In.” They visited about 7 drive in movie theaters, in different parts of the country. Some in business for a long time, a few pretty new. I hadn’t thought about it, but during You Know What, they had a real boom. While dealing with staff shortages and supply line problems. A few also mentioned that they’d had more problems with aggressive customers, in a year, then they had in the past thirty years, combined.

    It was interesting to see all the additional money making ideas they come up with. Live band, beer gardens, swap meets, etc.. Weather is always a problem. There was one theatre, up in New England, that is close to the ocean. Sometimes, they have to cancel a show, due to fog. It would have warmed your heart, to see how much recycling goes on. Equipment from closing drive ins, are used in newer drive ins. One woman was thrilled, that her relatively new drive in was able to obtain all the concession stand equipment, stainless steel popcorn poppers, etc, from a closing drive in. The equipment was 40 years old, looked great and worked just fine. How’s that for resilience?

    Well, now that you’ve done one part of your system, you’ll have a bit of muscle memory, to speed along the process.

    I’m not sure if I linked to it, for you, but I saw a recent article about how big tract housing companies, experimented with mixing in smaller houses. And, they sold like hot cakes. They’re thinking of doing whole tracts, in smaller houses. Some were right here in the Pacific Northwest. As larger, Baby Boomer homes come on the market, we may see more of them converted to duplexes, or triplexes. Maybe. Lew

  54. Hi Pam,

    I know, it’s true! And the cables look like those nasty sandworm things in the Dune fictional series. I’ll chuck a photo on for tomorrow, and you’ll see what I mean. I knew they were there and there was little risk because of good fuses and extra low voltage.

    Good to hear, and well done to your son. Hope he is enjoying the work, and it’s a valuable contribution to the future. Plus fig jam is excellent and I highly recommend making a batch whenever there is enough excess fruit.



  55. Hi Inge,

    Yes, that was the spoken form used down here as well. It’s always interesting how language worms and squirms, because few people would proclaim such a statement nowadays. Candidly, they may not even realise that pork comes from piggies. I’m of the opinion (and am happy to be chastised in this regard) that there is now too much separation between the plate and the paddock. People really don’t know what it takes. Funny that this topic has arisen…



  56. Hi Lewis,

    🙂 Knew you’d already spotted the article on Pompeii. The spell checker however did not know that Latin word. What do they feed these things nowadays?

    Fungi are really interesting life forms which would have thrived in the aftermath of the dinosaur killing meteor. Fungi live on people too, that’s what a yeast infection is. It’s a fungi. People love abstract notions, but they can’t just eat whatever they want and be fine. There are consequences. Why not zombies?

    I so hear you about the blackberry vines. Indestructible. You can yank the things out, poison them, whatever. They will bounce right back. I tend to view those plants as a sign of disturbed soil and ecosystems. The plants are just letting us know that there is something wrong. And yes, good luck to your night manager with the experiment. Nature has many harsh lessons to teach.

    I’d not read those rules of comportment, mostly because I’d not considered myself in the realms of high risk behaviour. But yeah, kissing of the hem is a great way to put it. Didn’t peasants used to have to do that back in the day?

    Ah, the world needs more people like Joseph Williamson what with his eccentricities. I kind of applaud the blokes vision, and it has certainly left us folks with much to ponder – like the hard question: Why? I noticed the tunnels were sandstone and surely the neat and dressed stone blocks were put to good use.

    Stay safe and watch out for the USB-C ports. And also secretive folks wanting to use USB sticks to ferret away secretive data. Can’t be too sure these days.

    Who’d bother running for office? I’m not sure how much of a difference it could make now, and few would vote for much needed change.

    Oh yes, I do recall your wise use of garden furniture during the recent ice storm. Your description left a lasting impression upon me of the difficulties involved with such weather. You did well.

    Due to all the running around and stuff, the dogs here don’t require having their nails clipped. The ground surface wears them down. However, we once long, long ago attempted a nail clip on a dog, and never again. The nails can bleed and the dogs can squawk. Nope, mate that’s $10 well spent if you’d ask me.

    It’s funny you mention this topic on taste… 😉

    You know it is a guy thing to do only one task at a time. I share this wisdom with the many ladies I know and work with, and I dunno man, but the truthful observation always elicits this sort of groan sound. Honestly, it is hard to know what was meant by the noise. I’ve recently ripped part of your witty line you mentioned a while back. Thanks too, us blokes have to support each other. Anyhoo, I now say: ‘Multi tasking is above my pay grade’. Again, groans. But it’s true! 🙂

    Well, you know, it’s probably not a good thing for people to spend too long in their heads, or with limited social contact. Solitary wouldn’t bother me, and it wouldn’t bother you, however this is not the case with the vast majority of the population. The aggression reported kind of arose as a consequence of that time. It looks like a response to trauma to me. But what do I know?

    The power system was the final one to get a good re-working and upgrading. The others are pretty good, although with this technology there are always the black swans.

    Yup, those sorts of developments look like a reaction to population pressure. Did I ever mention that months ago I looked up gargle urth to see if my grandfathers garden survived. The house is now a duplex. Hmm.

    Cheers and better get writing!


  57. Yo, Chris – Spell checkers are funny beasts. Working on the new computer, sometimes it’s a good thing and sometimes, not. There’s also a grammar check thing you can turn on, but I don’t think I want to go there. Still doesn’t want to put the “u” in colour. Gabion cage, is a no go, unless I insist 🙂 .

    The zombies were blind, but very sensitive to sound. Also, they were connected by mycelium, someway or another. If you triggered one, the whole lot would know where you were.

    I’ve told you that when something doesn’t work out for the night manager, in the garden, but does for me, I tell him it’s because I’m pure of heart 🙂 . But I don’t think I told you, I also hold my hand to heart, and cast my eyes, heavenward. You’d have to have been there.

    There’s bits in the Bible about over zealous followers of the Big J, kissing the hem of his garment, or sandals. He wasn’t too comfortable, with that kind of adulation. I think they got a song or two out of it, in “Jesus Christ, Superstar.” Kings and popes occasionally demanded that kind of thing. Usually, the less popular ones.

    I asked the grooming people, how often I ought to get H’s nails trimmed. They asked how often she was on concrete. They thought once a month seemed about right.

    “Above my pay grade,” is apparently a US Military saying. But also applies to the hierarchy of government workers. I think there may be a bit of gatekeeping going on. As in, “You shouldn’t be doing that, as it’s above your pay grade.” Higher ups get territorial.

    It didn’t get down to freezing, last night, but there’s a little bit of snow, on the cars. I hear there’s more snow, out of town. I see “Little or no accumulation in the forecast” a lot.

    I don’t think you mentioned you Gargled your grandfather’s old place. That’s interesting. Given the property market, I think more people are splitting up housing units. They can live in part of them and get income off the rest, so help cover the staggering mortgage payments.

    You’d better get writing :-). Lew

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