Keep it up

Earlier in the year a business wanted me to do some work. Candidly, there was some reluctance. Anyway, I put in a generous offer, and didn’t hear anything. The words: “Thank you Lord!”, formed in the darker corners of the mind. A plan was rapidly put into action. Apply some more stringent requirements and add a new super tight deadline for the offer. A little whisper at the back of the mind suggested, based on the tardiness to date, they’d have no chance of meeting this. Sure enough, the plan worked. The proverbial Gordian Knot had been cut, and the dread work was avoided.

Regular readers will know by now, that just like the Ghostbusters, I ain’t afraid of no ghosts. Sorry, instead of ghosts, I meant to type the word ‘work’. Oops! Whatever. Hard work was never the problem, it was the politics of big organisations which bamboozled me. People would love to have meetings, simply for the sake of the meetings themselves. Perhaps I was easily bored, or even tactless? I’d listen, contribute, and then blurt out an action plan. Where’s the door? Right, over there, I’m going now. See ya! That’s not how meetings are supposed to go, but I move fast. As a side note, my meeting etiquette really annoys some verbose people.

When dealing with the natural world though, it often pays to move fast. In 79 AD when Mount Vesuvius went off, it didn’t end so well for the slow moving people at Pompeii or Herculaneum. Just sayin… Clearly a person can move too slow. We run risks here with the natural world. When Sandra and I joined the local volunteer fire fighting brigade many years ago, one of the first things they told us, was not to expect a fire truck if the conditions are really bad. There is only one road in and out of here, and that’s too dangerous for the crew on the truck. Fair enough, it’s better knowing these things and then decisions can be made from a point of knowledge.

Sometimes though, even Sandra gets annoyed by how quickly I’ll respond to a problem. However, she doesn’t get annoyed when such skills get turned upon the rats. Long term readers will recall the awful problems we had with rats and mice a few years ago. They were getting access to the chicken enclosure. It defied imagination to consider just how many juicy and healthy looking rats we were regularly feeding. They really had lovely looking coats. And where there are rats in sufficient quantities, snakes will surely follow. Let’s just say that I was motivated to deal with the rat problem.

I’ve spoken with folks who keep poultry about the subject of rats, and they give me this worried and ever so slightly superior looking expression, before then saying: “You really shouldn’t allow the rats into the hen house.” Sure. I’ve seen heaps of chicken enclosures over the years, and very few look rat proof to me. But we made that happen (for now at least). Those other folks poison the daylights out of the rodent population.

Two years ago we modified the entire chicken enclosure over the course of two months so as to exclude the rats. Every single access point was sealed up. Dame Plum and I went out most nights observing their activities, then hunting the rats. That is why the dog has a title, she earned it. The distressed rats gave away all their cunning ratty ways, and I sealed off every opportunity, one by one. Steel and cement are wonderful materials for this task. Here is the shed two years ago as it is being modified.

The chicken enclosure being modified in April 2022

Here it is today:

The chicken closure today

The rodent population here has taken a serious blow, and is now much lower. Once the chicken enclosure was declared rodent proof, our attentions turned to the house. Over many years, the rats had managed to break into the underneath of the house. Winters would have been warm and dry under there. I was always mildly concerned the rodents would chew through a cable and/or pipe. It would be ironic for a house which was designed and built to withstand bushfires, burnt down because of some stupid stuff a rodent did. Stranger things have happened.

After modifications to the house were made, the rats had been kept out for a while. Every day now, Sandra and Dame Plum walk around the house checking all possible access points. And a week ago, the rats breached the modified outer defences. You could hear the rodent celebrations under the floor of the house. What the rats didn’t count on, was that we would move quickly. And new fortifications were installed that day.

Unfortunately, we moved a bit too rapidly and inadvertently sealed the rats under the floor of the house. They could not escape. It’s not nice to let them starve to death, and under those conditions cables and/or pipes might look super tasty. Nope, so we left a them a special feed, just in case.

Ordinarily I do not poison rats. Habitat exclusion is preferable and is a more permanent solution. There are a lot of owls and foxes living in this area, not to mention the dogs, and the enemy of my enemy is my friend. Poison a rat, and you’ll end up poisoning something which consumes the dead rodent carcass. Always a risk. But if the rats are stuck under the floor of the house, well, why not? Poison away.

We weren’t exactly sure that rats were stuck under the house, but when the stink of decomposition began seeping into the house, we knew. Unfortunately, I had to go to work in the big smoke that day and so was unable to remove the dead rats.

The stink got stinkier, and bizarrely was strongest in my office. I have a very good sense of smell, and long ago was paid regularly to sit on an odour assessment panel by the folks who ran the massive sewage farm in the suburb of Werribee. Mostly during the test, I read a book, and rated collected air samples on a scale of one to ten. Stories aside, I returned home late from work. My office was suffused with the aroma of dead rat. It’s potent, and I’d rate it a solid ten out of ten. But it was too late in the evening to do anything about the carcasses.

The next morning found me crawling around under the floor of the house retrieving two dead rats. The stink receded, but hadn’t gone away. It’s truly not pleasant to wake up the following morning to discover the air going into your nostrils is redolent with decomposition. Yet another crawl under the house, and a further two carcasses were discovered and removed. This time I poured vinegar over the soil where the bodies were found.

Days later, I can still smell a mild decomposition smell. Presumably the stink had gotten into the thick insulation under the floor. But really it is now barely noticeable and slowly fading. It also helps to keep the windows open.

It’s been remarked upon elsewhere that as in politics, so too it is with rodent matters, and timing is everything. Go under the floor too early, and they might attack you. I’ve been attacked by rats, and it’s a frightening experience. The toothy critters can jump at you. Go under late and you’re left dealing with the stink. But go under even later, and the stink is hard to remove. Mostly, I’m just learning as I’m doing.

The engine room of the Fern, with door wide open to rid the decomp stink

During the week, we did a bit of digging on the low gradient ramp project. The project is nearing completion, but the path still has to be dug on the uphill side of the formerly rat infested shed.

The final section of the low gradient path goes around a shed

This project sure does eat a lot of large rocks. Peak rocks being real, we’d run out of large rocks. A day was spent breaking boulders into more easily moved, yet still large rocks. We split a lot of boulders that day.

Some boulders were split into more easily moved large rocks

As we do that work, a house wrecking bar is used to pry up any rocks out of the ground in that area. They can be a bit of a fire hazard. The steel cutting blades of mowers can hit the rocks poking up out of the ground and ignite dry vegetation. Anyway, we collected a few of those rocks too. They’ll end up as fill for the steel rock gabion cages.

A lot of odds and ends of smaller, but still useful, rocks

Then more digging took place on the low gradient ramp project.

The low gradient path project continues

It’s nice doing slow landscaping. It’s a lovely slow speed, doesn’t require super expensive equipment, and you don’t have to go to the gym for a workout. We did some more digging on the ramp project.

There’s still more digging to do on the low gradient ramp project

If you’ve ever wondered about where all the excavated soil goes, it is used to fill up holes and depressions in the paddocks and forest. Fixing that sort of thing up, makes the place easier to attend to.

Excavated soil fills up this hole in the paddock near to the bee box

The weather has been really nice for outdoors work. Cool, sometimes sunny, barely windy, and mostly dry. Such weeks are to be taken advantage of. I used the brush cutter to remove any grass from around half of all of the fruit trees. That was a big job. The grass competes for minerals and water especially with the younger fruit trees. With the older fruit trees, the grass provides shelter for slaters (aka woodlice), and I reckon they consume the bark on the trees if given half a chance.

The grass was cleared away from about half of all fruit trees

Somehow, I also managed to find time to cut up the head of a large tree which fell to the ground about two months ago.

The huge fallen head of a tree was cut up

The huge branch was cut to firewood length size, but much of it still needs to be split. All of it needs to season for a year prior to use.

The deciduous fruit trees are losing their leaves, many of which fall onto the paths.

The deciduous trees are now losing their leaves

The leaves falling onto the paths get raked up and placed on new garden beds as soil food. They also help with weed suppression. The leaves which fall onto the grass will get mowed, which mulches them all up nicely. The worms and other soil critters do the rest.

Fallen leaves are a good soil food resource

A lot of work was done around the farm this week. I told you I wasn’t afraid of no ghosts, sorry, I meant to say ‘work’.

When I was brush cutting around the fruit trees, I noticed one odd fruit tree which appears to have somewhat grown in the past year. It’s been very slow growing, and a few weeks ago I spotted an example in the nearby Kyneton Botanical Gardens which was 20m (66ft) tall, and it even had fruit. It’s a Chilean Wine Palm. Surely, it can’t get that big here, can it?

A young Chilean Wine Palm, its about 10 years old

We’re getting closer to the time when the huge crop of Kiwi fruit will be harvested. The rats and birds are already onto them, but even if they take half, we’ll still have hundreds of fruit.

Kiwi Fruit is a big crop for us

Onto the flowers:

A very late season Nasturtium flower
We managed to track down a second Canary Island Foxglove plant
Leucodendrons produce a fine winter show
When will leaf change be over?

The temperature outside now at about 11am is 11’C (52’F). So far for last year there has been 341.2mm (13.4 inches) which is up from last weeks total of 338.8mm (13.3 inches)

36 thoughts on “Keep it up”

  1. @ Pam – Buttons are the work of the Devil! 🙂 Or, at least some Amish groups think so. Buttons can be a temptation of vanity. Brass buttons smack of the military. Hooks and eyes for closure. Snaps, maybe. I read recently, that some Amish women pin their clothing, together. You’d think there would be incidents of “wardrobe malfunction.” Lew

  2. Yo, Chris – In the boardrooms, of the high end of town, your name is murmured. “Who does he think he is?” 🙂 Those who keep their own counsel, think, “Smart lad.”

    Yes, but how’s the nosh or tucker, at those meetings? That’s the important question. Descent coffee? When I worked in many library branches, I always favored ones that had good foraging in their staff rooms. Especially, around the holidays.

    Deliver me from people who dither. Dispatch, Man! Dispatch!

    “Allow rats in the henhouse.” As if, you invite them in. Maybe enforce a cover charge?

    Lots of pictures of the dogs looking thoughtful. I wonder what they’re thinking? Maybe, best not to know.

    The Chilean Wine Palm? Well, you’ll find out, won’t you? If it grows to 66 feet tall, will it reach the house, if it comes down?

    That’s a lot of Kiwi. Fuzzy little fellows, aren’t they?

    That’s a pretty Nasturtium. I got all excited, last year, as I spotted a red Nasturtium, among a lot of orange one’s. I thought maybe it was a never before seen sport, and my fortune was made. No such luck.

    I see we picked up another vote for “food.” So, that brings us to four.

    I spotted THREE snails, last night. Sam, Samantha and Darius. 🙂 Lew

  3. Hi Lewis,

    It’s true you know. I went to the top end of town. I saw. And went off and did something more useful with the precious hours left to me. To be honest, I don’t wish failure upon such folks, it’s just they’re doing a good enough job of it themselves without me needing to be involved. Deep down I’m a very pragmatic person. That’s why I try and nip problems whilst they’re still in the bud. Other people, well, I can’t speak for those folks. Most of the time I got the distinct impression that I baffled them, as much as they baffled me. Nowadays I worry instead about the aroma of decomposing rodents. Such is life. 🙂

    You’ve hit a sore point there. When I was in control of meetings, the bill of fare was let’s just say, replete. I recall in one job, a lady reporting to me ran a weekend catering service, and I made sure she was paid well to supply the test runs during meetings. I’ve never had better fare in a workplace. As you move further up the food chain, the food gets worse, not better. The best nosh at a meeting was actually left over cakes served up at the local fire brigade monthly meeting supplied by the local country women’s association. I never found out why they were left overs, but far out, I had three huge chunks of sponge cake, and they were the best ever. Good enough to put your life on the line for. Sad to say, it’s all been downhill since those days, and man I’ve been chasing that dessert dragon ever since. 😉 Now you know why I made that tiramisu from scratch and served it at a do at the big shed friends place. One has to occasionally reach for the culinary stars don’t you reckon? The feedback was good, and I may have to repeat that trick. Ook! I’ll try not to be a one-trick-pony. Have you ever absolutely nailed a recipe, served it up, and the crowd cheers?

    Yes, my feelings exactly. I love a good digression, but a story must hold the audience attention… Ditherers in meetings probably hate my guts. I’ve got techniques to deal with the likes of those.

    Someone has taught a dog (a Kelpie) to communicate via one of those non verbal autism boards, and the dog seems rather concerned for its own wants and needs. You may find that people have achieved similar results with chimps. The parrots are more interesting, for they enjoy swearing.

    Ha! I don’t think so, man. 🙂 It’ll have to grow bigger than 66ft to fall onto the house. Finished cleaning up the fallen tree head today. The timber was arranged into four neat piles. Stuff to burn. Stuff which is OK as is. Stuff that has to be split. Stuff that has to be cut. All very neat. The thing about that botanical garden was that I was left wondering: How the heck does anyone pick the fruit way up there in the air?

    Yeah, the fruit is fuzzy isn’t it? I like to freak people out by letting them know that we eat the skins as well. A New Zealand friend alerted me to this whole: skins versus skinned, Kiwi Fruit issue. Quite contentious in some circles…

    Drats, we’re foiled again with the whole fortune thing. We’ll have to go back to the drawing board. Now a blue rose, that’d assure us of our fortunes.

    Four votes are pretty good. I can think of some ways to manipulate the vote to our advantage, but Mr Greer may get very annoyed!

    Like the naming of the three snails, but missed any possible pop culture reference entirely. Can you enlighten me?

    🙂 Can’t say I’ve heard anyone else use the phrase, but it just popped into my head. It’s true too, and I have friends here who do exactly as you do with such purchases. It’s a good strategy. There’s been some local Bahn Mi inflation from $13 to $18. In the big smoke, quality ones from genuine Vietnamese bakeries can be had for about $11 or $12. I’m considering my local options on that front. I don’t usually enjoy big splash up lunches. Dunno about you, but lunch is a simple affair to me, something to keep the energy up, or cause a sudden crash out. 🙂 But nothing too fancy, unless it’s a special occasion. That’s different, but everyday, keep it simple is the guiding principle.

    Yup, there’s probably a lot wrong with sewage. I’m also of the opinion that low sperm counts may have something to do with the reduced protein percentages of fruit, grains and vegetables. Cattle fattened for the market probably has reduced protein now compared to decades ago. The soils dude… Pollution was one of the lines forecast in the standard run Limits to Growth model. It’s a problem, but bizarrely is rarely spoken about these days. It’s all carbon this and that now, but yeah what about say, dioxins? Nasty things.

    An interesting book, and I hear you about that. Some books do make an impression, yeah. Hehe! Yes, your own personal Hell, that. It takes skill to wind up such conversations. Did you eventually learn any good techniques for doing so? Dude, sometimes I just blurt out: Nice talking, but I gotta go. Means nothing, but conveys a lot.

    Oh yeah, that part of your country looked like it’d been aerial bombed. That tornado must have been feral.

    I read about that let them eat cake subject a while ago, and Marie didn’t seem that callous, I was left more with the impression that leadership then was weak.

    Cool. I hadn’t realised that blueberries grow wild in your corner of the planet. A bit like blackberries do here, although you get larger fruit if the plants are growing in fertile soil. Fingers crossed the freezer fills up as anticipated.

    That was my first thought when you mentioned the elevator was broken. People rarely own up to such damage. It’s a smash and run exercise. I avoid such nonsense by being careful with things, but all the same, accidents can happen.

    The article on the surgery versus rehabilitation was quite interesting, and not something you’d usually read in the media. Good to hear that your experience suggests the same conclusion. My shoulder was like that, and I’m now a stretching fascist! Does that really sound better? 🙂 We all say stupid things from time to time, and I’m so glad that all these phones weren’t around when I was younger. The thing about being young, is that you do dumb things. There should be some tolerance…

    Yum! Yum! Most excellent to hear about the tacos. I had an egg and root vegetable salad for dinner. It was good, but it wasn’t tacos. Yum!



  4. Hi Claire,

    Thanks so much for the reply, and it’s no hardship talking about soils!

    That’s really interesting about the excess Iron in your soil. The volcanic clay here is a red-brown variety, so I’ve assumed that means plentiful Iron, maybe. Absolutely agree with your hypothesis in relation to the buried rubbish leaching plenty of iron into the garden soil. Unless you had a steel refinery near to your place in the far distant past. Anyway, that used to happen down here too with rubbish pits. Digging the low gradient ramp near to that shed, we also dug into an old ‘bash, burn and bury pit’. As you noted, it was mostly glass and rusty old steel. A good reason to keep the tetanus vaccinations up to date if you ask me…

    Hey, even when I was a kid, bins were smaller than they are today. A lot smaller. That’s progress for you!

    Presumably you add in gypsum or the ammonium sulphate (sorry for the two letters!) every year to bring up the sulphur? I’m considering bringing in some gypsum into half of the sapling fenced enclosure where the clay is very hard. A few weeks ago I rototilled that lot up and mixed in the coffee ground + calcium carbonate + blood and bone meal into that soil. But I reckon it needs some gypsum as well, hopefully the soil doesn’t resettle and stays open – it can occasionally resettle into a harder clay. Too much magnesium perhaps?

    Dunno, but I reckon it might be better being on the lower side of the potassium story – there’s way too much here. Dunno.

    You might laugh, but the soil talk went well enough that some of the audience understood how difficult it would be here to grow demanding vegetables – what with the rainfall and existing ex-forest soil. Didn’t expect that, but had hoped someone would notice. That’s a successful discussion.

    Cheers and hope you enjoy a bountiful growing season with perfect weather and reliable rainfall.


  5. Yo, Chris – And, from the Wonderful World of Archaeology …

    As the article speculated, probably used to paint frescoes. I wonder if they kept an extra lump of the stuff, around, to do touch ups. As we keep an extra pint of paint, to repair any minor damage.

    People were baffled when I gave up my permanent full time position, in a library branch. And went back to being an on-call substitute. As I lost benefits. But was still racking up vesting points, for retirement. But, a crazy woman ran that place, and I couldn’t wait to bail. Once I had my retirement nailed down.

    So, a desert that really wowed the crowd? I’d have to say my individual lemon meringues. I found some lemon pudding, that actually called for egg yolks, and, an equal number of egg whites. I took it to a AA meeting pot luck. I still hear about it, from time to time.

    I hope you didn’t throw chocolate, at the ditherers. No chocolate for them! Only carob. 🙂

    Oh, I’ve seen film of people climbing palm trees, and such. Looks easy, if you know what you’re doing. Then there’s our loggers. Of course, they have specialized equipment, but up the trees they go. With chainsaw!

    As a party trick, I’d freak people out by eating peanuts, shell and all. A lot of fibre, there. 🙂

    Speaking of dithering, someone tried to change their food vote, over at Mr. Greer’s. I don’t think he allows that.

    Did I say wild blueberries? I meant to say blackberries. But some varieties of blueberries, do grow wild, here. But they’re way up in the mountains, and you’d be in competition with bears…. There are plenty of wild blackberries, within easy reach, around town.

    Well, the elevator was repaired, this morning. The peasants rejoiced. Although I don’t know if it’s just a temporary fix, or not. I do hope it’s up and running, when the commodity boxes show up on Wednesday.

    Years ago, I stepped off a curb wrong, and injured that tendon in the back of my heel. But, I just stayed mobile, and it healed itself. Took awhile, though.

    But were you really eating vegetables?

    I think the whole point of the article was to pitch the value of eating vegetables, or, whatever you choose to call them. :-).

    The Master Gardeners, came, this morning. No Ted, though. So, I guess the trellis is put off for another week. Maybe his shoulder was bothering him, or, maybe, he took a look at the weather report.

    Speaking of reports, I saw snails the other night. Sam, Samantha and Darius. I pulled up the half, hollowed out potatoes, last night. There were plenty of pill bugs, feasting away. I also dug out a bit of the earth underneath the potatoes. I’d say, a couple of hundred pill bugs, went into a plastic sack, that went into the dumpster. I reset the traps, with some fresh potatoes. Lew

  6. Chris,

    Rain. We had rain. 16 hours of it Sunday morning into Monday morning. At least 16mm. And more showers Monday afternoon. We need it and more. We are supposed to hit 29C by the weekend. Twas only 8C on Sunday. Typical.

    I noticed the ACL article from late in last week’s discussion. I tore my MCL, ACL and meniscus in one fell swoop while skiing in December 2006. Okay, more like I was on skis and fell wrong. The MCL took care of itself in 2 or 3 months. The ACL was a total tear, according to the MRI. By late May of 2007 it was clear that the meniscus was causing some problems. I was able to have meniscus surgery middle of July that year. Due to circumstances beyond our control, the Princess was unavailable to take care of an immobile DJ for 6 weeks after ACL repair, so we did not have the surgeon touch the ACL. When they got into the knee to repair the meniscus, they discovered that I had several strands of functional ACL, although “it is very inefficient”. So I went through the physical therapy/rehab approach. Their comment was that sometimes the MRI doesn’t “see” the super thin strands of ACL. The article leads me to think that in some people, the ACL DOES repair itself. I may have been one of the lucky ones. Here we are over 17 years later and no known problems from the ACL injury.

    On, no, no more Bloomsday for us. It got too crowded, and there got to be a lot of jostling among the “noncompetitive” walkers on the course. Two years in a row, some jerk who started in the far back, pushing a stroller with a toddler in it, tried to run the course pushing the stroller. He would trot the center line of the roads and push the stroller into the Achilles tendons of people in front of him. The 2nd year, he brushed me and hit the Princess. After determining that she wasn’t hurt, I took off after him. Someone got to him before I did: Stroller Man was sitting in the barrow ditch with a bloody nose and some missing teeth. We decided that violence in a friendly race wasn’t for us.

    Nice dog photos this week! There appear to be bits of scenery and recent projects in the backgrounds of these photos. So good of the Fluffy Collective to give you such wonderful assistance.

    I’ve made good progress on the mystery project. Unless something completely weird happens, I should have it done this week. I hope.

    Work meetings. They, umm, are no fun. A favorite ploy I had was to respond to questions by saying, “You’re right. Diet Dr. Pepper really does taste like regular Dr. Pepper.” That’s from an old tv advertisement.

    The final Big Boss I had would schedule meetings. I conveniently had important phone calls come in just before meeting time. After a half dozen missed meetings, he asked why I was attending them. My response, “I always avoid meetings with time wasting morons.” There were fewer meetings scheduled by him after that. 😉

    Then there was the “morale improvement” process we went through late in my career. Mandatory participation. “Anonymous” forms to fill out that required you to state how long you had been employed there, what your job title was, and what section you worked in. Anonymous my third ear!

    Then we had a series of mandatory follow-up meetings to attend. The Time Wasting Moron, aka the Grand High Inquisitor, who was in charge of this program required me to meet with her in her office. Based on my past experiences and overall knowledge and having a reputation of having good ideas, she asked me to take on a leadership (meaning cheerleader) position with the program. I declined. I told her that this was the 6th occurrence of one these in my time there. None had ever changed a single thing. This wouldn’t either. I promised not to obfuscate/sabotage the program if she agreed to quit asking me to be a cheerleader. She agreed. My contacts who are still there say that nothing has really changed.

    Sealing things up when you know rodents have been there is always a risky enterprise. Gotta give them enough time to disperse before sealing some of them in. Decaying rodents stink to high heaven! Oh, you found that out.

    Some of the recently spread grass seed is showing signs of sprouting. I figure that after the rains and with the upcoming heat, the seed should begin sprouting rapidly. I hope.

    Carving club was smaller than usual. Several people were at a carving show in Missoula, Montana. Others skipped the meeting to go to a yard sale. The lady from carving who died recently, her roommate had a sale. Lots of carving stuff, old carvings, wood, etc. They had 2 or 3 small boxes of things specifically for the Princess. Also, there was a beautiful hand carved walking stick the deceased had carved that the Princess inherited.


  7. Hi DJ,

    That sort of weather would be typical for down here as well. Blink, and the weather will surely be different when the eyes reopen! 🙂 It does make the head spin a bit though. I hear you, your dryland grass seed will really kick off with that sort of moisture and temperature swings.

    Hang on, what’s an MCL? Inserting acronyms without explanation just baffles me. 🙂 Mountain Climbing League, anyone? Well, from your description of the injury, you wouldn’t have been doing any mountain climbing there! But yeah, the article was sort of suggesting that sometimes, with hard work and rehab, the outcomes are about the same. Who knew? Except you knew.

    Oh yeah, I so hear you about that. I used to swim and stick to the slow lane, and there was always some jerk looking for human contact instead of looking who was ahead of them in the lane. And in those days, the public pools were less busy. So they’d just try to over take you by smashing into you. I’ve never seen that sort of careless behaviour occur in a race, but it’s been many years since I’ve competed, and things have changed in terms of etiquette.

    Ha! You proved that friendly may not have been part of that story. I agree, best not to be involved.

    We’ve been on multi day long distance walks with other folks and it follows a set pattern. In the first few days, for some weird reason most people will knock themselves out trying to stay in the lead. They can’t keep it up, and Sandra and I just out pace them. I remember in Nepal on an 18 day walk (who knew you could walk uphill for six continuous hours?) and us and two old blokes who drank rum every night, slowly wore down the rest of the group. It was pretty funny to watch, but the competitiveness also annoyed me because it was so unnecessary. Hey, ever wonder how we’ve been at this work pace here for 18 years?

    It’s remarkably consistent bad behaviour in those circumstances, and has lead me to believe that people’s expectations of themselves often exceed reality. Dunno. A mystery…

    Thanks! You’ll note Mr Ollie is on a string, and what you can’t see in the photos is that at every opportunity Dame Plum gives the big dog: What for! 🙂 She really tells him off, as a proper boss dog should.

    Fingers crossed, and we don’t talk about the mystery project! Unless we do talk about it. Hey, hope the moons align and you get the time to work on it this week.

    Here’s a mystery for your physics brain, and I’d appreciate any insights you may have? So, two stroke oil is a mix of special two stroke oil and normal gasoline (usually not the ethanol stuff though). The Stihl equipment suggests using a 50:1 mixture, so 100ml of two stroke oil is added to 5L of petrol. Fair enough, except they only specify that ratio for their own brand of two stroke oil. Well done them. With all other two stroke oils, they say the mixture should be 25:1, where 200ml of two stroke oil is added to 5L of petrol.

    Now, I don’t use their brand of oil, but I use a reputable brand, Fuchs, so I run a 50:1 mix and always have. What interests me is that enthusiast folks running tests show that the engines run cooler on the 50:1 mix than the 25:1 mix. You’d think it would be the other way around with the extra oil of the 25:1 mixture making the engine run cooler. So I came up with a hypothesis to explain this: The richer 25:1 mix would have a higher calorific value than the leaner 50:1 mix due to the extra oil. Dunno. Without exerting many brain cells on the issue, can you think of any other workable (!) hypotheses to explain this lower temperature? Interestingly, the tested engines seemed to run stronger on the 50:1 mixture. A mystery. My main concern is possible damage to the engines by using the wrong ratio, although the machines seem to be well made and still going strong after many years.

    Haha! Very funny, yes that observation of yours would spice up an otherwise very dull meeting. I’m not wired for such time wasting activity either. 🙂 DJ, you are like super bad to say such things to the Big Boss! But man, we’ve all been there. I just didn’t think of saying that. Nice one. One meeting, the Board were trying to get me to analyse the phone bills to see if any savings could be made. I said I had more important things to do, and walked out. Feathers were ruffled, but I didn’t have to do that work though. The stupid thing was that I don’t think anything actually came of the analysis that was eventually done. You can smell the waste of time in the air! Far out… I am so much happier in small business.

    Hey, I seem to remember you talking about the morale improvement idea way back then. Another baffling mystery. And yes, hardly anonymous. I’ve seen those sorts of surveys. It’s not good. People were raising concerns that the last census was a bit like that.

    Yep, the decomp stink is getting less, but far out, it certainly has hung around. I looked for further carcasses too, but to no avail.

    That was a very thoughtful gift for your lady. The walking stick is a great idea, and would make for a handy staff when needed at just the right moment. Maybe that last suggestion is just how my brain works… Was the carving show in Montana a big deal?



  8. Hi Lewis,

    Well, a $5 increase on a $13 item of food doesn’t sound like much, but it adds up over the course of a year. Say one a week is an extra $10 a week (because the Editor will not happily sit quietly and watch me eat), or $520 a year. As prices go up, what I begin thinking about is like what the locals I knew at the pub were doing: How to get the same experience for less. We move fast, and have already decided upon a new plan of action, and as a hint it doesn’t involve $18 Banh Mi’s.

    Oh man. Two thirds consumer spending is not sustainable without a commensurate increase in debt. I hadn’t realised that element had become such a large chunk of the economic pie. Oh my. I must here add, thanks for the article, but anyone who’s stepped one foot in an op shop (thrift shop), will know that dinnerware is super cheap, even the good stuff. Yes, there were some very alarming sounding articles in the sidebar. My best guess is that the big retailers may not be taking the margin hit, they may possibly use their power imbalance to force the suppliers to take less. That process is described as: Cliffing. There’s been some talk about such things in the media: Plant suppliers say Bunnings pushed them ‘into the dirt’ with unfair, unprofitable contracts. I’ve suggested before that it takes a lot of margin to pay for a head office.

    That’s an amazing Roman find, and the colour really is deep and rich. But is it blue? 🙂 The story of how the dye was produced is astounding, and I can see why references to ‘The Purple’ are signs of a potent symbol.

    There’s a lot of wisdom in knowing when to bail, especially if your longer term benefits were secured. If the boss had driven you out, and you lost all benefits, that would be far worse. Plus on call would have given you an element of flexibility to your days. Being able to be flexible is I reckon the biggest bonus to less secure work.

    Ooo, being remembered is a big thumbs up for the lemon meringues. Meringue is quite hard to make because the crust can collapse at any minor error. Possibly the reason for an Eaton Mess dessert? I’m intrigued by your mention of the egg yolk and egg white combination in such a dessert. Mmm, interesting. The combo of the lemon curd and meringue is actually a clever way to reduce food waste.

    What a cheeky suggestion in relation to the ditherers. Chocolate is too good for the likes of those! 🙂 Yeah, nice one, carob. Speaking of carob, the tree is meant to be self pollinating and there are flowers on it now (or sort of wart like florets), but I’ve never seen any pods produced. Do you think the nursery lied to me about the tree being self pollinating?

    Didn’t Keith Richards fall off a palm tree and injure himself? The bloke seems indestructible, and appears to have an awesome personal library. Oh yeah, it would be no easy thing to operate a chainsaw at height whilst suspended by ropes. Man, there’s just some jobs you know you can’t do. How would it look if the climber forgot to fill the tank of the chainsaw?

    Had to laugh about the peanut eating shell controversy – which I knew nothing of before you mentioned it. Thanks, and yeah it would be a neat party trick! There are some pretty amusing Reddit threads about the topic. It’s rare to see peanuts sold in their shells down under. There was that one time we grew a nice patch of peanuts, and Sir Poopy dug them all up and ate them. The general conclusion I took from that dog peanut harvesting moment was that:
    a) Clearly the dog ate a lot of peanuts in their shells, and survived; and
    b) He ate all of them, the entire patch, in one setting, so I’m guessing they were tasty.
    I note there were some dissenting voices in relation to this practice, and so there possibly could be some issues, best to seek professional advice. 😉

    The food vote snowball has been set free rollin’ down the mountain. We’ll work on this over the next few months.

    Hopefully Mr Greer did not waste any chocolate either on the ditherer? A person has to have some standards.

    Now I don’t know whether it was blueberries or blackberries, but blackberries do grow wild down under, plus there are the local varieties of raspberries. I get what you mean, there is no way you’d catch me attempting to pilfer the meal of a bear. Yikes! Things will probably end badly, but at least the bears hunger would be sated.

    🙂 Funny. Good to hear the elevator is now working – hopefully it remained operational for the remainder of the day, and into the next?

    Far out, yeah those sorts of injuries can happen quickly and without warning. I hear you. I once missed the last rung on a ladder, and that will teach a person to concentrate whilst using such tools.

    Yeah, botany has an issue with the term ‘weed’ as well. Horticulturalists probably have a reasonable explanation for the term. The Permaculturalists suggest any: ‘plant out of place’. And drug dealers have other ideas. It’s a complicated subject for sure. We are determined to consume those 85 pumpkins before spring. I’m honestly not sure how we’ll do it, but we will. I must get a potato bed in this year. I got that impression as well: Eat more vegetables. It’s not hard to do, you just have to know how to cook.

    Is it still raining? I thought being a master gardener, they’d be made of sterner stuff, or at least own an umbrella.

    A fine evenings hunting effort! Take that ya pesky pill bugs.



  9. Yo, Chris – I had to look up what Banh Mi, is. Sounds tasty. A variation on the submarine sandwich.

    Cliffing. That’s how The River, and the Store of Walls, built their empires. And, from our “You Try and Do The Right Thing,” department … I ordered something from E – Buy. Didn’t really care if it was a bit more than on The River. It was the tea. Imagine my surprise when it came from, The River. So, I did a little searching around. I’m not the only one that was miffed. Apparently, some vendors keep their inventory in the River’s warehouses, and when you order from E – Buy, it’s shipped from there. Apparently, you could order off of E – Buy, and even get it shipped from the Store of Walls.

    Some people were actually born to (or in) the purple. There’s a purple, valued stone, called porphyry. There was a chamber, in the palace of Byzantium, lined with the stuff. The Empress dropped her kits, there.

    I never have had a problem, with meringue crusts. Maybe the trick is, I always baked them on brown paper bag. And never opened the oven door, while they were baking, or for awhile, after.

    Carob is self pollinating … except for some varieties 🙂 Just to make things interesting. You may remember, one of the Master Gardeners, swore up and down that you didn’t need two Tomatillos to tango. Au contraire.

    Keith Richards? Don’t know, Never met him. 🙂

    Maybe you should try peanuts, again. In a more … sheltered area?

    I guess the elevator was a bit glitchy, yesterday. I noticed the repair guys van, was here for awhile, this morning.

    My patch of volunteer potatoes, as really taken off. I mounded them up, just a couple of days ago, and they need to be mounded, again. Really banging along. I noticed this morning, that dozens of bees were really working over the Rhodies. A different species of bee. Smaller than a bumble bee, but larger than a honey bee. Nice to know they’re around.

    Friday and Saturday, the forecast is for 84F (28.88C). That ought to warm the soil up. Lew

  10. Hi Chris,

    Actually, there is a big steel mill less than 20 miles east of me. It closed a few months ago. While the prevailing wind comes from the west, it will shift around to the east before and when we get steady rains (not thunderstorms, those usually come from the west). Until you mentioned it, I hadn’t thought of that mill as a potential source of airborne iron, but it’s worth considering that possibility.

    The mill closed because the company owning it has been sold. The new owners haven’t said whether it will reopen or not. Local and national politicians would like for it to reopen, especially since this is an election year.

    More rain we didn’t need last night, and a tornado warning at 4:30am. We duly took our seats in the basement for half an hour, till the storm passed us. There was one tornado in the metro area, 30 or so miles to the southwest of us. Another tornado tore up a pub about a 2 hour drive from here. Now we wait to see what happens tomorrow, when a potentially more dangerous situation sets up. I hope we get some relief from the severe weather and excessive rains soon, so I can finish spring planting.


  11. Hi Claire,

    It’s a possibility, but is probably pretty harmless being that far away, but over a long enough period of time even really minor amounts in the atmosphere can add up as they’re brought down to your soil with the rain. Given your soil analysis is reporting good quantities of iron, based on what I read, that’s probably a good indicator that other less desirable metals are not in your soil. So, that’s a win I reckon.

    I’d read that the current dominant theory is that salt in the ground water on this continent arrived via the effects of rainfall over a very long period of time. That was why I began wondering about the origins of the iron in your soil. Just a hunch more than anything else.

    With most people focused on carbon as somehow being the only pollution game in town, we forget about all the other intriguingly strange compounds and rare minerals floating around the environment.

    Speaking of pollution. Me, I’m just happy that the dead rat stink has finally abated. 🙂 It was really bad this morning and last night. For the third time, today I again crawled under the house and removed two additional rat carcasses. The final count was six dead rats. Yuk!

    Hmm. Steel mills depend upon cheap energy and labour, otherwise they compete against the lowest common denominator producer. The politicians can make a wish, but are they themselves willing to take a pay and budget cut so that the steel mill can operate economically? That is the sort of thing I wonder about.

    What? I thought tornadoes were only a daytime risk… Hope you and Mike had a Thermos of coffee to tide you through the wait in the basement? Did the weather end being more severe today for you? Fingers crossed any delicate seedlings survived the extreme weather.

    The weather here has been like Groundhog Day for almost two weeks, with another week to go. Sometimes blue skies, sometimes cloudy, but always warm (for this time of year) and not a breath of wind. Cold nights. The plants in the greenhouse are going off like a frog in a sock. 🙂



  12. Hi Lewis,

    Ooo, what’s a submarine sandwich? Ah, I’d not visited that particular chain, although there is a presence of them down here. Now the traditional Bánh mì has a mixed heritage. When we were in Vietnam during the late 90’s, dudes riding push bikes would offer really tasty French baguette’s for sale. Yum! When I had the inevitable bout of South East Asian food poisoning, the dry baguette’s really helped the guts return to a more normal state of being. But the French influence on the food could be seen. It’s a bit of a fusion really, because pigs and very tasty roast pork were also commonly consumed, so why not integrate the two cuisines? I recall one afternoon sitting in a café enjoying fresh coffee and really tasty weird French-Vietnamese tiny desserts, all the while reading Lord of the Rings. 100% total nerd, but oh so good. 🙂 Exotic tourism was a quiet affair in those days.

    Incidentally, coffee there can sometimes be served with condensed milk, although that is a bit sweet for my taste. It’s a thing though.

    Well that’s news to me about e-buy, but that sort of practice I’ve heard described as ‘drop shipping’, whatever that means. You can usually tell the vendors doing that sort of thing. Surprising bed fellows, no?

    Speaking of odd online shopping experiences. For decades I’d been buying my oats from a mob that stone grinds them. The quality is amazing, and I can’t consume oats sourced from any other supplier without comprehending what I’m missing. Yes, spoiled is actually a thing! Anywhoo, so the recent order was cancelled, the funds err, refunded, and an explanation email was sent. The biz appears to have been sold, and I’m told that new owners are upgrading the facilities etc. A wait and see what happens, and the alternative steel cut oats I’m substituting with in the meantime are nary as good. How much change can a Koala bear? Apparently a lot of change. I prefer change to be experienced in manageable chunks. Rogue waves of change just don’t float my boat. How’s that sort of tidal wave of change work with you?

    Being born to the purple would be a serious hassle. There was a quote from the wikipudding page which said something along the lines of: “The parents must be prominent at the time of the child’s birth so that the child is always in the spotlight and destined for a prominent role in life.” Candidly, it reminded me of the time I was at a restaurant and some unknown to me kid began attempting to hit me in the head with a balloon. Like why would the parents even let that happen? Anyway, I taught the kid a good lesson that annoying strangers can produce very unpredictable outcomes. The Editor afterwards forced me to agree (under duress, so is that technically binding? Maybe not!) not to swear at children, but it did put an immediate end to the mischief. I dunno, I do my best but having a greater percentage than usual of Neanderthal does come with some disadvantages, maybe… 🙂

    They tell me that is the trick with meringue, so yeah. The best we can manage is that the overall shape bakes well, but there are cracks. Respect, and isn’t that a good example where less is more? Leave the meringue in the oven until it fully cools is good advice.

    Back to the caves though. The dead rodent stink had not abated after removing four bodies from under the house last week. They sure did a massive smash and grab for territory under there. Anywhoo, last night I cracked and my usually calm and relaxed demeanour wavered. I knew that the following day I’d have to venture under the house, yet again and find out where the heck the dead bodies were. I like to sleep well, but had the window open letting in fresh air despite the 41’F outside temperature. Brr! Just. Add. More. Blankets. The stink was felt in my nostrils this morning. It was epic.

    So I was under the house for an hour and a bit poking at the thick insulation to see where the dead rats were. Tea leaves were read – actually after a long while under there I just had to look and discern. I finally found the two rats, both of which were between the floor boards and the insulation. Signs of rat damage to the insulation, and minor traces of rat poop gave the location away. But finding both of those carcasses was a super hard exercise of deduction. The fibreglass batt insulation where they were is a write off. I’m going to have to consider a better arrangement for the replacement insulation. Dunno.

    After getting that job done, I needed something different to do to settle my frazzled brain. So we finished off the last of the digging on the low gradient ramp project. Yay! The project is not finished, but the excavations now are complete.

    Also, there were quite a few hours of paid work done today. My brain hurts, and hopefully I sleep the sleep of the exhausted this evening. 🙂 Home made pizza for dinner! Yum!

    Haha! That’s funny, and no doubt I have the exception carob tree. Look, I know you remain unconvinced, but a long time ago at a really dodgy looking hippy café (yes, I’d seen rats there), they supplied a very tasty carob substitute chocolate product. A bit more powdery and less creamy than a proper choocie, but still pretty good in it’s own right.

    🙂 Keith, he’s alright that bloke. I’d bet he could recount a gripping story.

    Yes, avoid areas the dogs and all other forest critters have access too, before once again trying to grow peanuts. Sage advice, thanks!

    Unsolicited advice alert! Maybe avoid the machine whilst it’s glitchy and in need of repairs. 😉 I’ve never been stuck in an elevator, have you? I’ve been in one that has dropped a bit without warning, that was not good, and you feel it in your stomach.

    Go the native bees! We’ll need them to go to work on pollinating after all the things the nice kind commercial folks have done to the alternative more usual species over the many long years. The story read like one big long giant selection for failure.

    Lovely weather at your place, and great for the plants – although the heat may come as a shock to your good self. The weather here has been like Groundhog day. Every day is mostly the same. Nice, warm for this time of year, and no winds to speak of. Quite pleasant: Unrelenting high pressure dominating Australia’s weather. It’s not even dry here, more a goldilocks dampness, although I’d be sooking if it were summer and this weather system dominated.



  13. Yo, Chris – Mr. Greer put up a new post. Not a peep about how the tally turned out. So, I asked in the comments. Hope he doesn’t get miffed. But, Inquiring Minds Want to Know!

    Baguette’s in the news! Just a couple of days ago, French bakers broke the record, for longest Baguette.

    Now that would make one giant Banh. Yes, the French ran Vietnam for quit a long time, so, there was a fusion of the cuisines. And when the refugees started spreading around the world, they took it with them.

    I wasn’t the only one miffed by that drop shipping. But a few of the comments were a bit raspy. Basically, “get over it, doesn’t violate the rules of either organization. I suppose, as long as they both get a cut, no big deal. Unless you are concerned about how the one treats its employees.

    Now that Bob, from Bob’s Red Mill, has shuffled off his mortal coil, I wonder if things will change. Maybe not. Employee owned and all that.

    No, I don’t like change. Initially. Generally, I have a brief whinge fest, and then get on with … whatever. Life on life’s terms, and all that. The front page of our library website just announced they’re launching a podcast. Available on three different platforms. Oh, please.

    I’ve called a few kids, up short, in my day. Probably wouldn’t do it, these days. Not with how crazy things are getting. Either the kid or their parents might whip out a gun, and blow me away. There was a bit of a child rearing theory, way back when, that parents didn’t have to discipline or train their children. The wider world would do it. Nice theory, but if the parent interferes with such correction, that’s a lost cause.

    I don’t know where I got the idea for individual lemon meringues. Ah! It was in my old Betty Crocker Cookbook. I’d also do a small dollop of meringue, and float it in the middle of the pudding. Dressed it up, a bit.

    Your rat odyssey sounds just ghastly. I suppose you could screen the insulation, but what a hassle.

    I suppose if they had just pushed carob, on its own, and not tried to convince people it was “just like chocolate,” it might have been able to stand on its own.

    Peanuts in the greenhouse? Maybe?

    It’s a rare occasion, for me to take the elevator. Besides it’s being occasionally glitchy, it’s probably crawling with cooties. If I do have to take it, I usually push the buttons, with my keys. But, the primary reason I take the stairs is, the exercise. Both for me, and H. Three times a day, up and down. Yesterday, I racked up quit a few more, for one reason and another.

    My friends in Idaho, have snow. Here, it’s sunny and warm. The bees are out. Last night, I buried a bunch of kitchen scraps. Also, mounded up the potatoes, again. Still no sign of carrots, parsley or chamomile. 🙁

    I watched a couple of movies, last night. Continuing the Chehalis International Australian Film Festival, I watched “Mad Dog Morgan.” I’m sure you’re familiar with the bandit, Morgan. Starring Dennis Hopper. Filmed in your part of the country. Right down to the cave Morgan hid out in. It came out in 1976. It had a very small budget, and in some ways, it showed. The acting was very … stylized? But, for all its short comings, the scenery made up for it. One bit I read about the film stated that Hopper, was deported, the day after filming wrapped up. Drugs and general bad behavior. 🙂

    The other movie I watched is new-ish, and a real little gem. Hmmm…Not as new as I thought. 2010. It’s titled “Get Low,” with Robert Duvall, Sissy Spacek, and Bill Murray. Set in a small American southern town, in the 1930s. Based on a true story. Sort of. A hermit, decides to plan his own funeral. But, he intends to be at it. It’s a drama, more or less, but has a lot of very gentle humor to it.

    A couple of times, when I was watching the movie, I wondered what it would look like if you took the story, and transferred it to Australia. Same story, same time period, small town in Australia. Any-who, it was well worth a bowl of popcorn.

    We should be getting a food box, any time now. Elevator seems to be working. Lew

  14. Chris,

    MCL = medial collateral ligament. It heals fairly well with just rest. Usually.

    Seriously? Combat lap swimming? Back when I swam somewhat regularly, and slowly, I also had something of a quick temper. I shudder to think what I would’ve done if someone had rammed into me while swimming. Oook.

    Pace. It works. Treating a marathon like a sprint doesn’t work. Which you know better than most…

    Walking uphill for 6 consecutive hours? Yup, been there, done that. Climbing Mount Baker was like that. Then there’s way back when I was a wee lad. Twas a 6 hour walk to school, all uphill and against the wind in snow up to my waist. Then it was a 6 hour walk to get home, all uphill and against the wind in snow up to my shoulders. And that was in June! After 7 hours of school and 8 hours of homework per day, there wasn’t much time left for eating or sleeping. 😉

    Ego. Pure ego. Most people think they’re much better at everything than they actually are. Those who actually know their limitations are in a small minority. No matter how good you are at something, there is always someone who is better at it.

    My immediate reaction is that Stihl is trying to sell their own brand of oil! I may be wrong as this is not my best area, but I would propose that the thicker fuel with the 25:1 ratio would be more difficult to turn from liquid to gas. The engine would then have to work harder to gassify the liquid, resulting in the engine running hotter. It also seems to me that most higher grade oils should be similar to Stihl’s blend?

    Our Honda CRV typically gets about 32 miles per gallon at about 67 miles per hour, depending on wind speed and direction. On our trip to and from Albuquerque, the vast majority of the trip was at 5,000 feet and higher. The car got between 34 and 36 miles per gallon, and even 38 miles per gallon on one tank! It’s fuel injected. The mechanics told me that at higher elevations, it takes less energy to gassify the fuel for the fuel injectors, thus the mileage improves. That’s how I came up with my proposal for your question.

    The Montana carving show is a fairly big deal. There used to be 3 shows near Spokane and 2 reputable ones near Seattle. Montana show still exists, as does the Spokane show. The Tri-Cities (Richland, Kennewick, Pasco) club died during corvid. The Kitsap show south of Seattle is still going. Quilceda, north of Seattle? After some serious issues with the show organization and judging, we no longer support that show. So we have the 3: Spokane, Montana, Kitsap.

    Oh no! So you had to do another subterranean journey to discover from whence the stink was sourced? Sounds horrid.

    Oh, we had a lot of meetings like your (phony) phone bill meeting, in which it was obvious that nothing real was going to happen. Occasionally I would say something to that effect. I wasn’t there to win popularity contests!


  15. Hi DJ,

    Many thanks for the explanation, and oh wow, that medial collateral ligament seems even more crucial than the other ACL knee ligament previously mentioned. I applaud your use of the qualifying word, and would do no less. You used to enjoy skiing, and I found that sport really hard on the knees because of the torsional effort required to turn the long blades the feet were anchored too. It’s also equally possible I lacked a certain natural grace and fluidity for the sport. I’m entirely unsurprised that the ligament may in some situations repair itself with proper care and attention.

    But then, it’s like what I always bang on about with distance running and knees, if they hurt, then something is probably not going all that great. A lot of the surfaces that folks run upon are nothing found in nature, and so I’ve often wondered if that is the cause of some knee issues. Dunno. Living up in the bush I’m now accustomed to walking upon soft natural surfaces. With the school cross country team, I used to direct them to run for long distances on the sand at the local beach. My thinking was that the sand surface introduced random elements to the exercise and slowly strengthened all of the joints. The team didn’t excel, but neither did we have injuries. Dunno.

    Yes, I’m not joking, and this was almost two and a half decades ago. The swimmers behind me in the slow lane would be doing freestyle in the slow lane and their arms would bang down on my legs. In those days the pools were hardly busy. It is possible that the folks were out to prove something. I didn’t like it at all. Like you, I’m guessing, I preferred swimming distance over the speed. How far can I go was what interested me. Kicking them became the preferred response, but mostly their ego was on display. To be honest, it’s a bit like dudes competing in women’s sports, other lanes were available. I’m not naturally a competitive person, and set my own goals. The insurance costs were what eventually sunk the triathalons and mini marathons.

    What a disaster! I accidentally let in to my office a huge Bogong moth, and now don’t know where it is hiding. They’re attracted to the lights.

    Exactly! A sprint is an entirely different event to a marathon. One must consider the distance, which in other less favourable terms is known as the ‘future’. The vast majority of competitors began too strongly, then faded by mid race. The strategy which works for me is to begin slowly, then build throughout the race and end with a strong finish. In the second half of the race, you’d pass them one after the other, it was brutal. I always thought of it like lions running down the lesser gazelles. 🙂

    Oh yeah, and super wow! Mount Baker / Koma Kulshan looks awesome, and is not for those who hope to be there and back home before nightfall! 🙂 Good stuff. What a mountain. Was the view clear at the peak? Yes, yes, Monty Python suggested as much, and probably things were harder way back in the day! 😉 Hehe! I live on a fairly flattish continent, and the local small mountain range sticks up like a sore thumb on the continent. But! The circular walk around the ridge line of the mountain range can be gotten around in about six hours. I quite enjoy that walk, but once you’re on the ridgeline, the facts suggest that it is hard to go any higher, unlike say Mount Barker!

    Got the moth, and released it back outside, but another one snuck in…

    That is so true. I’ve done my very best in endeavours (such as distance running) and been soundly beaten. The triathalon where professional footy players turned up, they destroyed my best efforts by a full ten minutes. I was an A-grade or honour student, but there were better students, although both Sandra and I have only once each topped Uni a single subject results. Dude, when the d’ell comes down to Melbourne, you know you’re gonna get beat and there’ll be no gold fiddle reward. 😉 That’s a humbling set of experiences. But life is like that don’t you reckon? And it is a truth which crosses all endeavours. A person is only ever at the peak for so long. Best to enjoy the journey, celebrate the wins and above all else, set your own goals.

    I’d wondered that as well, and then began looking at all of the various certifications for the different brands of two stroke oils. Not all achieve the same heady standards. Thanks so much for mentioning that aspect and I appreciate your thoughts as other people had also been querying that issue. What a rabbit hole too with the increased elevation and improved mileage issue you noticed. I did a bit more digging and learned that the oxygen sensor which is connected to the engine computer which is the thing which sets the fuel mixture going into the injectors, detects lower oxygen at higher elevations and so backs off the fuel. Did you notice a lack of take off, but improved mileage with cruising? Some folks who put their foot to the floor with the throttle, actually have the opposite effect you noticed.

    Ah, I recall you mentioning the issues with that show a few years ago. Not good, and yes, best not to be involved. It’s good that there are three groups going, and I’m assuming those areas are less big city?

    Yes. The third trip under the floor was done yesterday. Finding the two rat carcasses hidden between the top of the insulation and the underside of the timber flooring was not easy at all. Sandra said I cheered after each discovery. We took a photo to show what I was dealing with. Do you think it is in good taste to show a dead rat on insulation photo? Should we even do good taste here?

    Me neither, I just didn’t particularly care what they thought. My mind was on the primary task at hand I was employed to do, but then managing such politics is not my strong suit. A dude’s gotta know his limitations! 🙂



  16. Hi Lewis,

    Ah, we crashed and burned in this food enterprise, and now must dare I say it, eat our losses. 🙂 I was also curious to know what the fifth topic of the month would be about so thanks for asking, and I note that Mr Greer has written some fictional work on that very subject. I’d like to imagine the essay will delve into popular music, and who doesn’t love a good pop culture reference or three? I just don’t think it will get there. But we’ll see what happens. Last year we went to a gig that was like stepping into the land of faerie. Music can be like that.

    Who says size doesn’t matter? That is one long baguette! Far out, I can’t even begin to imagine how it was baked.

    Oh yeah, did you notice that the baguette was given away afterwards? In more local news, I checked the menu at the local today and discovered that possibly the new higher price may not include the baguette. Hmm. Oh well, I’ve enjoyed many over the years and now must steel my resolve to acceptance of the long slow decline and loss. At least that is what I told the Editor. The owner asked my opinion of the dish and I replied honestly that: a) I have not sampled this item; and b) I’m avoiding the place for lunch due to the horrendous onslaught of leaf change tourists. It’s been long enough now that my patterns of behaviour are letting them go as a lunch option. It boggles my mind that tourists get priority over the locals, but it ain’t my monkey, and neither is it my circus. I’d put limits on the numbers of folks enjoying experience. Hmm. I noticed Japan is also struggling with and responding to, such issues: Japan blocks overcrowded selfie spot, bans tourists from traditional areas to cope with explosion of travellers. I so understand their perspective.

    I’m torn over that issue as well with the drop shipping. Tell ya a funny story. The other day someone casually mentioned to me that someone they knew was being paid more than I ever earned annually as a CFO many long years ago (it wasn’t even close) as a second year electrical apprentice on a union site. What the heck? Then earlier today I read an article on the state of the budget of the very left leaning state I live in. Skip the text and just look at the graphs. Holy carp! Here are seven charts to make sense of the Victorian state budget. The talk was of paying it all off at $2bn a year, and it reminded me of the credit card statements which say ‘if you pay the minimum repayment the debt will be repaid in 77 years’. Like WTF? Words fail me when I see such fiscal irresponsibility. That’s probably how the kid is being paid so much, and nobody seems to notice.

    Serenity now! Serenity now! Ah, my blood pressure is lowering back to its usual super chill values.

    Ha! It’ll probably be fine, maybe. The Editor was looking around for other suppliers of most excellent oats, and mentioned Bob’s Red Mill to me which will ship down under. But far out, the freight costs! The error was based upon a similar named town down under. 🙂

    That’s my approach to change as well. No fun. Whinge. Acceptance. It is worth noting that the whinge has a lovely cathartic function, but is not universally appreciated. I guess that means that you’re not intending to listen to the library podcast? Not sure I would either. I enjoy podcasts, but I dunno, one about libraries? Surely it is the role of a library to be reached out to given it is foremost a community service and resource, and not the other way around?

    Fortunately the risk of that occurring down here is not great, but there are plenty of other avenues for violence than propulsion weapons. Hey, that wider world honing theory may explain some of the difficulties teachers appear to be having at schools nowadays? You hear things and stories. I’m thinking the major issue with the program is that the parents may in fact be working at cross purposes to the rest of society? And kids will exploit such weaknesses, they’re not stupid.

    It’s a good idea with the individual lemon meringues. Yum! I’ve seen those occasionally sold in bakeries, but they’ll usually use lemon essence rather than lemon extract, and my palate knows the difference. We use a lot of lemons in cooking, and the Editor mostly makes salad dressings from raw materials, lemons often featuring in that list.

    It’s raining here tonight. About a third of an inch has fallen so far, with more rain to fall tomorrow. I have plans to haul some rocks. The weather has other plans. Oh well, let’s find out what happens tomorrow.

    If I’d known about the rat issue, I’d have altered the design of the house to exclude them better. Having the house sit on a low double brick wall would be one way to achieve that outcome, and if we have to rebuild it for whatever reason, that’s one thing we’d change. The concrete trenches such brick walls sit upon would be almost certainly rodent proof. For the first time in about two weeks, the house this morning smells neutral and clean.

    That’s my thoughts. The carob treat was good, but it wasn’t chocolate. It reminds me of vegans producing food which looks like it was derived from animal products. Does it really need to?

    Ooo! I like your thinking there. Yeah, maybe. Peanuts would grow well in the greenhouse. Hmm. Thanks for the suggestion, you may think it was obvious, but I can assure you it wasn’t. 🙂

    Do your potatoes over winter? Sorry I forget, but did you purchase all new seed potatoes? We’ve been discussing setting up a new potato bed.

    How have I never heard of this film? The film trailer was a hoot, and rather blood thirsty. The bush ranger was a complicated individual. How did they manage to nab Dennis Hopper for the lead role? And, yes, it appears he was deported afterwards.

    Thanks for the film review. 🙂

    There’s a lot of small towns down under. It’s the larger towns and cities where most people live, and those are few and far between. Step one foot out of them, and it’s usually quiet. Except for the tourists that is.

    Better go and check the drains, the rain is hammering upon the roof.



  17. Yo, Chris – The Bogong moths are probably advance scouts, for zombies. Or, Triffids. 🙂

    I can’t tell you how uninterested I am in “The Occult Dimensions of Music.” Sure, I’m interested in popular music. But the popular music of 50 years ago. 🙂 Oh, well. Given the number of topics thrown out there, it probably wouldn’t take too many votes to get a food discussion going. As far as the music discussion goes, I’m sure Patrick will carry the ball.

    As far as Baguettes go, that recent book I read, “The Perfect Loaf,” was pretty much launched as the author was trying to perfect an at-home Baguette. He even did a stint in a French Bakery. Although Baguettes weren’t the only kinds of bread, covered in the book. Julia Child also took a stab, at at-home Baguettes. Though I’ve never examined that aspect of her writing.

    I don’t know. In certain corners of the foodie world, baking bread is like a competitive sport. 🙂 I just want to turn out a simple, tasty loaf, that does the job of getting something into your mouth, without falling apart and landing in your lap.

    Hmm. I thought I’d linked to that article about Japan. Maybe I just thought about it.

    That was quit an article about your state’s budget. Going the way of Birmingham, England? Budget surplus? Wishful thinking. Good luck with that. What I noticed is that the pie chart, the percentage spent on “public safety.” Here, that’s a huge chunk of any municipal budget.

    It’s all in the timing. There was an article in our newspaper, yesterday, about a grist mill that is opening over in Centralia. Couldn’t find a URL to link to it, but if you Garggle “Chronline, grist?” the article popped up at the top of the search list. The entire title is: “Grist Urban Stone Mill Flour Shoppe & Grainery Opening in Downtown Centralia. ” I might check it out, out of curiosity, but I’m pretty happy with the Bob Red Mill products.

    Oh, I figure the library podcast is just another addition of social media bells and whistles. Just something else that clutters up their website and makes things slow to load.

    Well, I often say if I had kids, I’d still be in jail. 🙂

    Our weather will be pushing 80F, today, and over 80F the next two days.

    Yes, I’d say the potatoes over-winter. Sort of. Actually, the potatoes are kind of invasive. They pop up all over the place. Squirrels? That patch I’m mounding up, just … appeared. I’m trying to let them grow, as long as possible, but sooner or later will have to dig them out. They take up a lot of real estate.

    Dennis Hopper. I really don’t know if he was all that expensive. He had a reputation as a “difficult” actor. I think a lot of studios and directors steered clear of him.

    But speaking of an actor who isn’t difficult, I started reading a new book last night by Judi Dench. “Shakespeare: The Man Who Pays the Rent.” It’s a series of conversations, with Brendan O’Hea (director / actor) that they had over a couple of years. She talks about all the, mostly, Shakespeare plays she’s been in, the parts she’s played. Her take on the different characters. And, a lot of theatre lore, along the way. She’s really funny. Poor woman is losing her eyesight. The indignities of age. Lew

  18. Chris!

    I know you aren’t afraid of Work, but have you ever met a ghost?

    Rats and chickens – what a terrible combination. I am so glad that you have so far kept them out since you renovated. I saw the loveliest snake in the garden the other day. It was a Corn Snake, an entirely helpful creature. Surely all your smakes aren’t deadly? Here are three of our nicest snakes. The black one is a Black Rat Snake – take that rats! They can climb trees and houses, which means that the baby squirrels have to watch out, too.

    You were right to worry about rodents chewing cables or pipes. Besides eating our car engines (mice), the squirrels chew holes in our plastic gas (petrol) cans, and even a plastic bottle of bleach. Why?!

    Nice chook house! I see Earl is still keeping watch over the door. Earl is our metal rooster. If I can find him. I think the ferns have grown over him again.

    What a unique job: Stink Inspector. Are your tastebuds as good as your sense of smell? You might become winetaster if accounting gets slow.

    Looking at where you have cut into the hill for your low gradient path makes me wonder if they ever commercially made bricks in your area. The county next to us had a company that made bricks for a couple of hundred years. I think they have shut down due to complaints by the McMansion owners nearby who, of course, knew they were there when they built their houses.

    Now how did you acquire a Chilean Wine Palm without knowing what it was?

    Thanks for the flowers! My nasturtium plants are just popping up out of the ground. How pretty is that Canary Island Foxglove? Very pretty!


  19. Chris,

    Thanks for the Dr. Karl update. Farting is obviously a diffuse, rather than a focused, energy source. 😉 A towel, however, might be fashioned into a funnel, thus making the farts more focused and directional. Always know where your towel is. I quite enjoyed the overall discussion, by the way.

    By the time I did much skiing, shorter “shape skis” were in vogue. Didn’t take as much effort to turn them. But it is a sport that is hard on the knees even when accidents don’t occur.

    Yes, the MCL is very necessary. The ACL is also, for certain types of activities. However, by limiting activities to a degree AND by building great leg muscles and abs, the muscles can do most of what the ACL does. Nothing can really replace the MCL.

    Yup, distance with the swimming. I was never going to win any speed contests. So I’d go to the pool, swim for maybe an hour. Therapeutic exercise. I was an undergrad student with a guy who was an excellent swimmer. And fast on a bicycle. We used to ride to university together, a 45 mile round trip. With large hills. After he got his bachelor’s in physics, his employer sent him to microelectronics school for a masters. At vaunted UCLA, University of California at Los Angeles. He got bored, so joined their long distance track bicycle team. He was 37 years old, rated number 3 on the 5 man squad. They were ranked #1 in the country. I was 11 years younger and could barely keep up with him on our long rides.

    The moth problem. At least when you let one Bogong out, only one entered. With house flies, let one out, 5 or 7 more enter. Then there’s the exciting times when a wasp somehow gets indoors.

    Yes, lions running down the lesser gazelles. Or wolves running down the caribou. Great strategy you had, emulating the lions.

    We spent the night before the major part of the climb on the glacier at Mount Baker. Well, part of the night. We arose about 2:00 a.m. to complete the climb. It was hot, 38C in Seattle the day we made the peak. We shouldn’t have climbed, as the temperatures made the glacier unstable. It was also early September 1988. Fire season. Clear air where we were, parts of the view were nice, but there was a haze from the smoke. Also, Mount Baker is one of the volcanoes in Washington, Oregon and northern California that coincides with the Cascade Mountains. Some of the vents were actively venting smoke and steam and sulfur dioxide. That was pretty cool. We made the peak about 11:00 a.m. The trip down was much faster and we were in Seattle for dinner.

    We didn’t notice any power reductions. I know that such reduced power was probably present. We don’t mash the accelerator to the floor, so it wasn’t noticeable.

    The Montana show is in Missoula. The western Montana carvers come from some fair distances to attend. Spokane is 300km from Missoula, about, and we usually send some carvings. Kitsap is across Puget Sound from Seattle. Populated but not immense. Believe it or not, the Spokane metropolitan area, which includes Couer D’ Alene, Idaho, is nearing 750,000 people. We’re by far the largest population of the 3 shows I mentioned. However, the Kitsap show I think is larger.

    Why not show rat pictures? Might be instructive. I was watching a professional ice hockey game recently. It’s playoff season. Throughout the final 10 minutes of the game, every time the play was stopped, fans were throwing plastic rats onto the ice. Aimed mostly at the visiting team, which was getting slaughtered. I don’t know the significance of the rats in that case, but it was fun to watch. That game had more than its share of fights, too. 12 players, 6 per team, got ejected. That’s a lot. The ejected visitors had to dodge plastic rats to leave the ice.


  20. Hi Pam,

    Dunno about your experience, but the world is a much stranger place than many believe it to be. So a few months ago, Sandra and I began talking about an old school friend of mine, who’d she also had met very early on. Now I hold some superstitions, and Sandra has different beliefs. So she looked him up on the interweb to see what he was up to nowadays, and discovered that we’d missed his funeral by a few days. And it appeared that he’d taken his own life. Of course these events can be viewed on line now. Hmm. That upset me deeply, and this was not the first time, so we have agreed not to do go down this path in the future. I hold the belief that the dead may do what they do, but it’s been my experience that they generally make for poor company.

    Please accept my apologies for such an honest reply to your direct question. Lewis may have mentioned that ghosts are generally harmless, and I agree with him. I use the word ‘generally’ because some folks have a mischievous nature, but if they never troubled themselves to resolve issues whilst in the land of the living, how could any of us expect them to do better when they are in the other realms? What are your thoughts in this matter?

    Pam, I really like the sound of the Eastern corn snake, but whoa! The goobermint live in fear of those snakes (kept as pets) getting out into the wild, which of course we all can guess, they probably will. Never seen one myself, but like you I’d happily welcome them into the garden. The ones here are the third deadliest on the planet, that’ll turn any untreated person into a ghost within a day. It’s a problem.

    The squirrels have to have some limits set upon their population lest they consume all of their available food sources. Interestingly, on this note, we went to the Malmsbury botanical gardens yesterday. It’s not too far from here, and I like the place. Some flying foxes (i.e. marsupial bats) had moved south and established a camp in the tall old exotic trees in the gardens. A small percentage of the bats carry the Lyssavirus (which nobody wants to experience). Anyway, with the trees turning deciduous, it was presumed the colony would run out of food and head north again. Dunno. But I’d wondered where the fruit bat which visited here a month or so ago had come from. Nature presents us with many such mysteries.

    Holy carp! I’d not experienced rodents chewing through plastic petrol (gas) cans. It wouldn’t have ended well… The one which chewed through the most expensive hose in the engine bay all those years ago, blew itself up. The hose contained compressed gas. Not good. Why is a good question, and one to which I have no answer…

    Earl is a great name for a metal rooster! 🙂 Yes, the ferns do so enjoy damp weather and chook poop.

    I believe the two senses are linked, which probably explains my original search for fruit that has some taste, all those long years ago. Why people put up with bland cardboard tasting fruit is something of a mystery to me. And! Getting paid to read a book is hardly a chore, despite the semi regular stinks. 😉 I only learned a while ago that not everyone has a similarly heightened sense of taste and smell. How are you on that front?

    It’s funny you mention that about the volcanic clay here. My understanding is that the manufacturers of bricks are running short of areas to quarry for the specific clay which is suitable for brick making. In the old days, the kilns were constructed near to the quarries and you’d get places called say, pipe makers park. In an amusing side story, one of the last alleged good sources of clay was apparently built over by a housing estate. I’d like to be making this stuff up, but I would never have thought of doing that, let alone allowing to happen. It’s pretty funny in an absurd kind of way.

    Sorry to say, but such things happen with airports and live music venues. I should maybe start complaining about the horrid sounds that the sambar deer make out in the forest and demand compensation. 🙂 Perhaps then my fortune might be made? No. Oh well, it was worth a try. How does the claim sound: I heard some deer out in the forest and my ears got sprained. Someone needs to pay! Probably won’t float…

    Oops. I knew what the palm was, it was just very slow growing. But they can get huge – that part I had no idea about.

    Ooo, lovely! Hope the nasturtiums produce lots of delightful colour for your summer garden. Apparently the Canary Island Foxgloves are cold hardy to about the same degree as hardy fuchsias which can tolerate cold to about -6°C (21°F). It does occasionally get colder where you are though?



  21. Hi DJ,

    🙂 Glad you enjoyed the special science update, the bloke has not forgotten the wonder of the area of knowledge he seeks, and it shows. To his respect he’ll also admit when he does not know something. Heck, I’m ignorant in many more things, than I’ll ever know stuff about! But yeah, I like how your brain works, because that was bothering me as well. How was the test performed, and were the expelled gasses channelled correctly? Frankly I’d wondered if they were even ignited, but fires on space stations can probably be a serious problem.

    Absolutely! Who goes into space without knowing where their towel is located? It’s not right. 🙂 Just like not having your guide book handy.

    I’d imagine you would have headed off cross country skiing? Did you find the shorter skis were easier when in the back country (i.e. off slope)? My natural sense of caution warned me off that sport, although I’ve heard downhill described as an exhilarating experience.

    Out of sheer curiosity, did you immobilise the knee with that MCL injury? Reports suggest six weeks recovery. Ook! I’d have cabin fever after one week. 🙂

    I was the same with swimming, and preferred to simply go the distance and enjoy the activity. Proving that everyone is different, some folks are motivated by time, and um, err, yeah, it’s an option I guess. It doesn’t matter what activity a person attempts, even if they reach the very pinnacle of success, there’s always the come-down. And it’s real.

    Man, I’d run with people like that as well. It always baffled me how they achieved those results which were far in excess of anything I’d achieve, but I dunno. A mystery, huh? 🙂 At least we eventually got there! The truth is, I think either of us could focus to that level of degree, but the question always remained: why even do so? That’s always at the back of my mind. I’d be curious as to your perspective, but the costs of focusing on such a narrow endeavour means that other areas of life suffer. I prefer a broader sweep of interests, and am cool with that. Everyone is different on that front.

    Yikes! Best if those pesky critters never get into a house. Always a risk though. A fly swat is a useful bit of technology for such incidents, with a good hit rate. Do you get the larger biting horse flies? Rotten things.

    Oh my gawd! Imagine if the glacier had let go, or even shifted, whilst you lot were on it? Ah, getting an early start for the climb was a wise choice given that forecast. A brief explanation as to your choice that day, is that perhaps it was 36 years ago and so your brain was less fully formed? 🙂 What else can explain the day, other than you got lucky there! Oh man, I’ve also visited active volcanic areas as well, and thought nothing of the risk. Surely they wouldn’t let us visit if the area was very active? Quite a silly belief really. Well, turns out things can go wrong pretty quickly in such places. Whakaari White Island case ends with five guilty parties sentenced over deadly volcano disaster. That place, I would not have visited.

    I don’t drive that way either, and so probably also wouldn’t have noticed. That’s what people are saying about the lower oxygen issue.

    Oh wow, Missoula has an area named: Upper Rattlesnake. Look, just going with my gut feeling there, a person may encounter snakes there. Ah, it’s a goodly distance from you, but not an insurmountable one. In my books, yours is a very large city. Thought you may enjoy a laugh: List of cities in Australia by population. Few exceed as many souls as your area, and it’s quiet away from a few areas of the coastline. Little wonder I feel population pressures.

    OK, thanks for the feedback. One dead rat coming up! I have to put some brain cells towards the rat issue for future years. And also replace the insulation batts removed.

    Sounds like a Roman gladitorial battle, with accompanying plastic rats. Candidly hard to explain… But the fans probably know!



  22. Hi Lewis,

    That thought had not occurred to me, but yeah, you might be right. Given they’re moths, I’d be pointing the finger at Triffids. Hey, it could be part of the whole life cycle of those plants, and the moths are in some symbiotic arrangement as an advanced guard? What next to expect is the question! Strange rattling noises from the garden perhaps? Years ago an old friend who grew up in Hong Kong professed a fear of moths. Apparently over there they have huge moths which can bite. Adds a new dimension to the winged critters. With all the rain last night and today, the moths are nowhere to be seen this evening.

    It was too wet to work outside today so we did a lot of life admin tasks which needed doing. One of those was visiting the banksters. I learned a funny thing whilst there. A CD will get a better rate for 11 months, than 12 months. That’s possibly them knowing their customers better than the customers do. 😉 Did some other stuff. Had a tasty Cornish pasty from a local bakery for lunch. It was good and even had parsnips in the mix, which worked. Discovered the local road opening off this part of the mountain range for the construction of the dread roundabout has been pushed back to Wednesday or Thursday next week. Went to the plant nursery to pick up a few bags of gypsum and agricultural lime. It was still raining when we got home, so I lit the wood fire and had a well deserved nap. All very civilised. One must bend with the vagaries of the weather. 🙂

    Not quite 50 years ago, but I still recall the days when AM radio was king! And probably know those tunes you mentioned better than stuff I should be knowing! There were more votes for food than just you and I, and yeah, with a bit of marketing work. Maybe even a downright beg for a number one Christmas food topic hit? The subject is fascinating, and likely would dig deep into the past. I recall reading a nothing out of the ordinary mention that back in the late 1800’s food was free at pubs if you drank the swill sold. What does that say about the value of food in those days? We’ll see about the music essay at the end of the month. There’s a lot of weeks between now and then and who knows what may happen.

    Ah, that’s an excellent book, and I’d forgotten your earlier mention of it. The words ‘hand-held instructions for beginners’ sounds like my kind of book when it comes to esoteric baking arts. Talk of ‘Weekend Cinnamon Rolls’ is super good. 🙂

    My preferences for bread nowadays are using the higher protein flours which end up producing a denser loaf which in less polite corners has been referred to as a ‘crusty peasant loaf’. Visitors usually scoff it down and so it disappears quickly. But if purchasing is anything to go by, most people seem to prefer the fluffier loaves. It’s good to have food to properly chew upon! But yeah, it can be a competitive sport in some corners, oh yeah. Dude, you gotta run your own bread race, tailored of course to your own specific requirements. That way you win in the baking arena every time. Who’s to argue with that?

    I believe your Japan tourism article was from another source. Basically the same things were being said in the media here. Maybe my brain is fried from the tourism population pressure? No wonder I needed a day off work today.

    Ook! What a thought, but you might be right there. I do like how there is an unspecified claim to a return to surplus at some future year. It’ll happen regardless and they ain’t gonna like it. My best guess at the moment as to the future is that there may be a series of currency crises building. Already most currencies are dropping in relation to your country’s. That’s a problem. Good pick up. I hadn’t noticed that graph. Hmm. How curious. Looks like it is described as ‘public order and safety’. Sounds like the police and prisons to me.

    Hey, a tornado smashed up an area over in Western Australia, and apparently there is a big intense solar storm this weekend. He says, saving the text to disk written so far! 🙂 It’s pea soup thick fog here, so no chance of seeing any Aurora, but who knows for the rest of the weekend?

    I’d certainly visit such a shop. Wow. We have nothing like that around here, and I doubt many even grow grains in this area, like they clearly once did. There are stone mill buildings still standing at regular intervals north of the mountain range (where it is warmer). You’re pretty lucky having access to Bob’s grains as well.

    🙂 No worries, I hear you. I promised not to swear at kids in future. We all do our bit, and they say it takes a village – even if the folks in there annoy the daylights out of us.

    66’F here tomorrow, and maybe more rain, but just here. Mustn’t grumble. 80’F sounds nice to me. Looks like the rain will return here in about a half hour.

    Potatoes are funny plants, and one I need to look further into. Do yours produce seeds? My understanding is that those seeds are viable for growing new varieties of potatoes. Whether they’re any good or not, remains to be seen.

    The wikipudding article suggests he was paid $50k for the role, which would have been good money in 1976. Being difficult in that industry can be a problem, depending upon what was meant by the word ‘difficult’. The word itself could encompass much.

    Anyone with that length of a career, knows what they are doing. 🙂 Losing one’s eyesight would be tough, and ageing is a notably harsh mistress. Speaking of that, Jack Vance’s writing career was slowed towards the end due to poor and failing eyesight. As an interesting and fun fact, the other day I read he was a fan of Oswald Spengler’s view of history. Well that was a surprise, which also kind of makes sense with many of his story arcs.



  23. @ Lew:

    How interesting that is about buttons! Thanks. I’ll probably never think of them in the same way again. With a clothing inventory, I find that I have a fair amount of buttons and actually very few zippers. I like my trousers and jeans with elastic or drawstring waists these days. Comfort is everything.


  24. Yo, Chris – Odd. This talk of moths jogged a memory that I recently dreamed of a red moth. Of course, dream interpretation is all over the place. LOL. Pick one that suits you.

    That was quit a round of errands. “I go here, I go there. I do this, I do that.” Tip of the hat to the poet Fran O’Hara. Even household chores often feel like that.

    Parsnips are a bit sweet, but on the mild side. I think they pick up a lot of flavors, from whatever they’re cooked with. They’d be good in a Cornish pasty. A little something different, from the usual potato.

    Sometimes, back in the day, food was provided in taverns to get votes. Even to this day, salty snacks are often offered free in drinking establishments. Makes people thirsty, so they drink more. That was told to me, by a bar owner I worked for, half a century ago 🙂

    I thought enough of the bread book, to actually buy a copy. It wasn’t very expensive, and I got a used, but nice, hardback copy. With dust jacket! I liked that the author didn’t throw around a lot of fancy terms, or, explained them, right off the bat. I don’t have much patience with instructions that throw around “levain,” and never tell you it’s just sourdough starter. He also had a lot of tips to making a good loaf of rye bread, which can be a bit tricky.

    I don’t know if I’ll ever make it up to the grain store. I just never seem to get over to Centralia. Off my beaten track. 🙂

    Public order and safety. Here, they count police, prisons and courts.

    Well, they revised the forecast. Supposed to hit 87F (30.55C) today. Slightly less, tomorrow. Sunday and early week, a more comfortable upper 60s. Prof. Mass says it’s time to plant beans and zucchini. Finally! My carrots are coming up.

    I can’t say I’ve ever let my potatoes run to seed. Flower yes. But the one’s that keep popping up all over the place are clones. From small potatoes that get missed, or, that the squirrels bury.

    They have their finger, in everything. Movies, and the actors involved in them, are insured. This goes way back. So, if for one reason or another, an underway production has a disaster, or, a lead actor falls apart or dies, the studio is covered for losses. As there are entertainment lawyers, there are also entertainment insurance companies.

    H got a much needed bath, last night. She’s fit to greet her public, again. Gosh, she looks like she’s about ready for another trim. I think I can put it off, until next month. Costs me about $70.

    I forgot to mention that we got our food boxes. It’s where we get the two. I did get Elinor’s boxes. Well, the second smaller box, is usually produce. But, again, nothing. In that box, there was a bag of shelled walnuts, and a bag of cubed, sugared dates. And about ten premade sandwiches, probably from a fancy coffee chain (you know who) or grocery store. Those can be a little dicey. I put them right in my fridge, and then in the evening, took them down and put them in the communal refrigerator. There was also two plastic deli trays. One had a sandwich, and some veg. The other was boiled eggs and some cheese and veg. So, since I Elinor’s box, double that. A lot went downstairs.

    As far as the rest of it went, pretty much the standard. Nothing unusual. A 2 pound brick of cheese, dried beans and pasta. Cereal. A gallon of some kind of apple “drink.” Tinned salmon and chicken (but not much). And a lot of tinned veg and some fruit. A pound of ground frozen meat.

    I watched the new remake of “Mean Girls,” last night. I didn’t realize it was a musical. I fast forwarded, through those parts 🙂 . Lew

  25. @ Pam – I’m sure you’re aware some people collect buttons. There are newsletters, organizations, price guides, etc.. Who can resist a tin or bottle of buttons, picked up at an estate sale? They’re kind of fascinating, to go through.

    Our NW Native Americans, made button blankets. They’re really spectacular.

    Then there’s the British Pearly kings and queens …

    Now that’s carrying button mania, to an extreme! :-). Lew

  26. Chris.:

    No apology necessary, of course. I am so sorry that your friend is no longer with us. I expect that you had some presentiment about him. Sometimes it’s best not to find out through the internet; curse the curiosity of the thing. I get caught that way, way too often. But bless the good things we find there – like Fernglade Farm!

    The couple of ghosts that I have encountered were harmless, I think, but unnerving because unexpected, and there seemed to be no way to communicate, no way to help. Some issues cannot be resolved in this life because they depend on the behavior of others. At least, so it seems to me.

    I love botanical gardens, though I haven’t been to one in years. I have lovely, and old, books about them. I recently read an article about one of your Big Smokes that had been taken over by flying foxes. Sydney?

    Sambar deer make horrid noises? Why?

    Everyone’s senses vary. I mean, they depend on so many things, and is my sense of smell as keen when I am overpollinated as I am right now?

    Yes, it is not uncommon for it to get down to 10F (-12C) in the winter, though not for long. It has even gotten below 0F (-18) in the past.


  27. Chris,

    My first skiing ventures were on cross country skis. The shapes skis were completely downhill skis and unsuitable for cross country ski use. Plus the boots and bindings are different. I liked cross country skiing a lot. Several of us used to go on overnight back country cross country ski trips each February. I may have mentioned this before. Snow caves and such like. Great exercise. However, the sheer speed obtained in downhill skiing is very exhilarating.

    Yup, knee was immobilized for 6 weeks after the MCL injury. Very standard, apparently. It worked out just fine.

    How True! I could’ve been very good at several things – piano, chess, distance running and more – but I never saw the sense in placing all of my energy into one thing only. I have too many interests also. Thus, I am able to enjoy many things, do things at a reasonable pace, and not have to be overly serious about a “passion” that took over my life.

    Mount Baker was my first and only mountain climb. The others had all gone on one prior climb, and the group leader had a lot of experience. After we broke base camp, the leader said that we should never have climbed to the top. There were large rocks rolling down and across the main path to the top. One bounced over the rope holding the members of one of our teams together. If it had hit the rope, they were over the edge – a 300 meter drop. One crevasse on the way up was about a meter across – we had to dive over it head first, jam in the ice axe and pull ourselves over the crevasse while the other guys attached to that rope were well braced. On the way back down, that crevasse was maybe a third of a meter wide! That’s a lot of movement and proof of horridly unstable conditions.

    Thanks for the volcano disaster article. What a complete catastrophe that could have been averted if anybody had bothered to trouble with that pesky thing called “science”. I’m also a firm believer in doing one’s own research, learning the potential risks and downsides, learning facts and science, and thus being able to discern whether that is the right king of adventure for me.

    Yes, Missoula is in rattlesnake country. Spokane is on the edge of rattlesnake country. In fact, across the Spokane River from where I grew up, they were plentiful in some rocky areas. My sister’s husband met a large one face to face one night on a deer hunting trip some 60km south of here. Both he and the snake were rather startled. I tend to avoid those creatures.

    Australia’s urban areas? Similar to many that we have. Just not as many big cities. Get into Montana and anything over 10,000 people is big in some regions.


  28. Hi Pam,

    Thank you for your kind thoughts, and that’s exactly how I interpreted the err, visitation. And of course, after this incident, the desire to sate the curiosity in that regard has vastly diminished, and I’m left with the impression that you have had similar experiences? But why yes, there are some very pleasant out of the way corners on this here interweb thingee. It’s a lot of fun!

    That’s kind of been our experience too, and the dream world often provides a less solid view of the world don’t you reckon? After Sandra’s mum died, she had a very vivid dream that her mother was sitting on the end of the bed, but as you say, unable to communicate. Dunno about you, but I tend to deal with things in the here and now, and whilst at the final curtain closing call on this ol’ life thingee (hopefully far off into the future), there may be unfinished business, but truly, I’ve done the best I could. Can’t do better than that, maybe! 🙂

    Do they have botanical gardens in your part of the world? I wasn’t sure whether they were an English thing. Most of the ones in this part of the world were set up when the state was still an independent colony. It’s funny that new ones aren’t being created.

    Yes, that would be right about the flying foxes. The marsupial bats are extending their range southwards, but I’m not at all certain that they’ll hang around these parts when winter hits in earnest. Apparently there is some issue with feed up north for the bats. Dunno.

    The stags roar during mating season, and it can be alarming to discover that the huge forest critters are closer than I’d prefer them to be. Hmm.

    Hey, I turned an upside down tree stump left over by the loggers, the right way up today. Then burnt it and it’s friends off. Me tired… It would have been considerate of the loggers to use their bulldozer and chains to collect them all and burn them off, but I guess that clean up work doesn’t generate any income.

    Alas, woe to your inflamed sinuses. It was raining pollen only a few months ago when the tall eucalyptus trees flowered. Are you getting better flowering from your forest now that there is a bit more space and light? The pollen will teach us to improve the conditions for the plants, huh? 😉

    Oh my gawd! Pam, that is so cold, it strikes fear into my heart. Brr! And alas, citrus outdoors will not survive such weather extremes, but with a little bit of global warming, who knows what is possible?



  29. Hi DJ,

    Yeah, I’d presumed that you’d cross country skied when you and your friends built those snow caves. El-swisho ski resorts which support downhill skiing don’t usually encourage people to build snow caves due perhaps to crass economic reasons. Heading out bush is hard work, but rewarding. Hey, you might be interested in an article I read the other day on cross country skiing down under. Now where was it… … You’ll love the images because the bloke gets off the beaten alpine track (not that it would be busy under any circumstances). Truly, it is remote: Australian Alps hiker reveals what’s changed after a 25-year gap between journeys. It hasn’t snowed here for about three years now, which is odd.

    Good stuff, and respect for not reaching for the bone menders knife. It interests me that I’m hearing of such things now, but I suspect waiting lists have become long, so thus the trial of alternative paths to healing. Apparently the outcome is about the same!

    Me tired tonight. Today, I tackled one of the upside down tree stumps left over by the loggers. It had a huge quantity of very wet clay sticking to the sides of it, and I removed about eight power wheelbarrow loads of the stuff. After that the stump could be levered out of the ground. I burnt it off, and two of it’s friends just for good measure. The fire is pretty intense and I fully expect it to be still going tomorrow. Still, this is what it takes to clean up an area. Anywhoo, knee and stuff, yeah, from what I understand, a person has to keep up the load bearing exercises throughout their life. It’s a use it, or lose it basis.

    There are very few upside down tree stumps left now. Yay!

    😉 We are of one mind here. And that’s an interesting point, a passion does differ from that of a hobby. I’m more of the hobbyist. Dunno about you, but as a kid I intuitively recognised that placing too much energy into any one activity could be a bad path. I can’t explain how I knew, but the knowledge was already there.

    Oh my! Thanks for the further details on that climb, and after such an experience I’d be thankful for having both endured and survived, and not ever gone back for seconds! That diving bit really said it all. Glaciers are dangerous and fast changing environments.

    Exactly. The tour operators owed a duty of care to the tourists, but then hey, the Titanic didn’t end so well either. And that is also what I do. What are the risks, and how do they play out?

    Hehe! It ain’t just you, deadly snakes are best avoided. A friend of mine was bitten by a rattlesnake in your country. I look out for snakes every single time I move a rock or log. Still, I know what to do if bitten and that is an advantage, however a person can also be bitten and not know it. Apparently the bite feels like a stick hitting your leg. That’s some sharp toothiness.

    Honestly, I’d probably enjoy Montana for it’s rawness. I’ve chosen to live in a very remote spot.



  30. Hi Lewis,

    You’re not wrong about the dream interpretation of moths. They are all over the shop, but generally refer to a transformation, which in less technical language means some sort of change. I don’t get why they use such fancy words to describe a concept as basic as change. Basically, it could mean anything, so I agree, pick one and be happy with it.

    Fuel is quite expensive down under, although with all the people driving around in large cars, it may be more expensive for some rather than others. But we try and wrap up all of the various tasks required in one trip. The Editor had lunch today with her friends and so she stopped off on the way at a computer shop and picked up a memory card for the camera. Fernglade is really goin’ visual for those who can’t be bothered reading a couple of thousand words each week. The Editor is going to do all that work, so it won’t make any difference to this more text based side of things. It’s her pet project.

    Frank had a very perceptive nature, and what a sad demise. Reminded me of Stephen King being hit by an RV the likes of which are out of the pages of one of his books. The observant artist runs risks. I tend to believe that Frank is correct, life is full of minor incidents and occasions which highlight the larger currents in life. Thanks for the mentioning that poem. Poetry is powerful stuff.

    I’d had an urge to do some forest cleaning up today. One of the final upside down tree stumps was liberated from the soil today – and subsequently burnt off. It had next to it, a naturally fallen tree stump. That was removed from the soil too, and was the harder task. Dug out an enormous quantity of soil, mostly clay actually, and then used it to fill up a nearby hole – presumably where the upside down tree stump once grew a tree right side up. Dunno. The loggers possibly saw no economic value in cleaning up, but I can see the benefit of that task. The fire is still burning hot many hours later, and will no doubts be going tomorrow morning. I’ll stoke it up then.

    It feels good cleaning up the forest. It’s a bit of a mess, really.

    It is possible that we have different varieties of parsnips down under because those root vegetables taste bitter to me. For all sorts of reasons relating to plant quarantine, we have a very limited variety of edible vegetables. They are good in the Cornish pasty but add a bit of a zing to the mix. The other primary vegetable used was carrot, and both were diced into tiny little cubes. I’ll definitely go back for another try of that pasty.

    Oh, too much salt hurts my head. I’m a finely balanced machine you know! 😉 Sometimes food places add extra salt into meals for that very reason as well. I’d prefer they didn’t, and so avoid such places, or drink a lot of water afterwards. As a practice for bars, it probably works.

    What? No way, that’s a cool bribe. How would the err, overseer, know you’d voted for the right party? Voting down here is usually done in cardboard booths which provide a degree of privacy. The senate paper is often over three foot wide, and I’m astounded by what some clever folks can draw on such wide paper. Yes, anatomically correct, but the artists got the sizing all wrong. 😉 The things I’ve seen doing that work.

    The author of the bread book is clearly displaying some empathy for his audience. I get annoyed by books which drop in technical terms into the text, without actually explaining what was meant by them. The recent bee book was like that, hmm. It could have been much better, and they need an Editor to bring their egos to heel and make the book comprehensible to folks not in the industry. I’m with you, do the authors really need to complicate matters by using technical terms? I’d long ago heard of a popular drink which had been purchased by a major label. So the bloke who sold it was a bit of a character and remarked that he’d made the first batch in a bucket. My kind of methodology. But when the major label bought the drink, he had to apparently come up with a 300 page instruction manual to apparently justify the funds paid. Hmm.

    Ah, I’d not realised that Chehalis and Centralia were slightly separated. I see what you mean.

    Thanks for the correction, yeah, I’d neglected to mention the courts. I believe that was part of the costs.

    Did it get that hot? It rained earlier here, and the clay was quite sticky. But the cooler weather is good for hard physical work, but even so, it felt hot today. Just went out and pushed the fire back together.

    I’ve got a few wild potatoes that have run to seed. I should possibly dig them up and take a lot at what is going on there? Dunno. But isn’t hard getting all of the tubers out of the soil? Almost impossible, and I’ve found some always remain.

    Good stuff with the carrots germinating! Best wishes for an excellent growing season.

    It is a complicated situation to continue production of a film when the lead actor has shuffled off this mortal coil. It does happen occasionally, and sky rocketing entertainment and event insurance costs are one of the reasons cited for some of the more publicly discussed festival failures of recent times.

    Long haired dogs are inevitably more expensive to maintain for that grooming reason. On the other hand, they don’t blow their coats the way short haired dogs seem to do. The current fluffy collective are all short haired, and they shed a lot of hair.

    Ook. My sandwich standards don’t involve consuming such items, as yours wisely also don’t. I prefer sandwiches made fresh, yeah. Did they disappear?

    The rest of the box sounds like a typical meat and potatoes score. Nothing too exciting, but mostly OK.

    The original is meant to be a bit of a cult classic. What a ‘m’? My mind is floating away. Who knew? Was it an innovation on the original film?



  31. Yo, Chris – Talk about timing … I was reading some more of Judi Dench’s book, last night, and she started talking about ghosts. One materialized in front of her, at the Haymarket Theatre. On a stairway. Ralph Richardson (an actor) also saw one, in the same theatre. Also on a stairway. Hmmm. Maybe people rushing to make an entrance, break their necks on the stairs? She commented that there are people about (ghosts). And that theaters make sense. She speculates that where does all that energy, putting on a play, go?

    Having camped out in the back of an abandoned theatre, for 15 years, I’d have to agree. Never really saw anything startling. Just an occasional flicker in the corner of my eye. But, I was aware of at least three distinct characters. An organist, who played for silent films, a projectionist, and a dish washer, from the 1940s, from the later cafe that shared the building.

    Yes, why only refer to sourdough starter, as levain, unless you’re a pretentious foodie? A couple of years ago, the library got a bread making instruction DVD. I tried to watch it. The chef never dropped a hint, as to what levain was. Also, he had a weird, distracting hairdo. I never watched the whole thing.

    The Editor certainly takes fine photos. Many are calendar worthy.

    With all that clay, you could have made bricks! Or, thrown a pot and fired it in the conflagration. 🙂

    I was going to have a simple dinner. Brown rice, and throw in a can of chicken noodle soup. But, of course, I ended up making a production out of it. Diced up some carrots and celery. Dried mushrooms. Garlic. Frozen Brussels sprouts. Tasty.

    Yes, Centralia and Chehalis are separate, but the loop road between the two is cluttered up with all kinds of retail. And, the country fair grounds.

    Well, it hit 86F, yesterday. Forecast is for just a few degrees cooler, today. Then we’re sliding into a week of upper 60s and low 70s. Much nicer.

    Yes, potatoes are easy to miss. But why they pop up far from places they have ever grown… Squirrels. Or maybe the Little Folk have a taste for potatoes? Garlic also pops up in odd places.

    H seems to have a season for shedding. Any day now …

    I haven’t checked to see if anyone cleaned out the sandwiches. Out of sight …

    The original “Mean Girls” movie, was not a musical. Then it became a Broadway show, that was a musical. The most recent movie is the Broadway musical. I just fast forward, through those parts. 🙂 I think there hasn’t been a good musical, since “Rocky Horror Picture Show.”

    I started watching a new series, last night. “Lawmen: Bass Reeves.” Based on a historical character.

    I wondered why “Lawmen” was plural. I guess if the series continues, the focus will be on other famous lawmen. I watched the first episode. If it continues to be as interesting, I’ll stick with it. Lew

  32. Hi Lewis,

    A lot of energy does go into the theatre. Makes you wonder if the ghosts are feeding off that energy? Or they can’t let go? The world’s a strange place sometimes. Oh yeah, that would have been an interesting and cold place to reside. Dish washing in a café is an important task. Did I ever recount the horrid story of the pink nuclear lipstick episode during you-know-what? Either the gunk made it through the dishwasher, or, yuk, the person used the glass and then put it back in with the clean glasses. I’ve seen people do that. Anywhoo, in my naive back-then-state-of-being, I didn’t check the glass rim and ended up with the goo on my mouth. You can’t wash that stuff off. It made me feel sick to my guts for most of a day. Nowadays I check before consuming. I don’t what that stuff is made of, but I doubt it is anything found in nature. And I felt so much closer to the miscreant.

    Yeah, exactly. That’s one of the reasons I had a lot of trouble with the bee book. Authors chucking in specific terminology an unnecessarily using words which are not generally used in day to day conversations, kind of really alienate their audience. The exception being if the author is trying to shake up the audience. That’s cool with me. But if they’re attempting to communicate information, not good. That’s a good example you mentioned though. I know what a sourdough starter is, but levain? That could be anything, and the first thought which pops into my head is leviathan! For all we know, the author could be discussing the world’s biggest and strongest bread loaf of all? Hopefully it doesn’t come and get us! One of your former presidents had that distracting ‘do trick nailed down! 🙂 I was surprised so many supposedly intelligent people fell for that distraction trick. It don’t impress me much. 😉

    Thanks! The Editor is busy studying camera techniques. Whatever else, it should be interesting.

    I didn’t think of doing that with the clay, but it’s a good suggestion. Pottery has never really called to me, although I remember making and glazing stuff in High School. Metal and wood workshops held my attention better.

    Speaking of the conflagration, I put another half day of work into the fire and clean up today. It’s looking good, except I forgot to take a photo. Oops! We’d made the decision to hit the local cidery for lunch (a box of nachos to share and a pint of cider each) but they were closed for a private mothers day function. One can’t fight city hall, so dejected and hungry, we returned home again. It being past 3pm, with no lunch, I made up a batch of my no-longer-unknown veg pasta mix. The Editor had not tasted this meal before, mostly because I make it when she is having a dinner with her friends. All I can say is that I blame hunger and a closed cidery for this unexpected turn of events. I’ve now been placed on the regular roster of meal prep for this pasta delight. And we’d run out of mushrooms too…

    Yum! Yum! My only advice, be wary of supplying such tasty dishes to other folks – it may entail future work and responsibilities. 😉 The dinner sounds lovely.

    By retail between the two towns, do you mean big box stores?

    86’F sounds nice to me, although it would be warming up at your place. Have you cranked out the air conditioner yet? It was 64’F and sunny today, and working near to that fire for a couple of hours makes me wonder if I’ve cooked my head a bit. We’ll see, if the blog is a disaster tomorrow, blame the brain cook situation. That’s the plan anyway.

    Fingers crossed that H doesn’t begin to blow her coat, although 86’F weather may produce that effect. She’d get pretty hot having a double coat.

    Ha! The sandwich problem is clearly no longer yours. Dude, I wouldn’t touch them. No way.

    Ah, once the ‘m’ word gets introduce to a narrative it is a slippery slope to somewhere not so good, and are they toe tappers? Now the Rocky musical was first produced in 1975, but what about the Blues Brothers released in 1980? Does this not invalidate the central tenet of your thesis? I’d like to think so… 🙂

    Cheers and better get writing!


  33. Yo, Chris – There’s been a sighting of a bear, not that far from here. Three sightings, in fact. Up behind the Safeway. I’ll have to be extra vigilant walking H.

    Yes, you’d told the lipstick story. Not your shade? 🙂 I don’t have to worry about such things. I just don’t go out. 🙂

    Le Vain – Any group of very vain people.

    Mother’s Day, here, too. Time to fertilize the blueberries. I had a can of refried beans, in the pantry. Threw them in some rice. There was one last package of dried tomatoes. Put some of them in, too. Topped it off with a bit of Feta cheese. Not bad.

    No big box stores between the two towns. They’re all down on the freeway. Fill in those wetlands! Between the towns there’s a veterinarian or two, coin wash, tavern, computer repair store, just wood furniture store, an Elk’s lodge, funeral parlor, credit union, The veg store, a few op shops. I mentioned the county fair grounds. A few locally owned restaurants, that seem to frequently change hands. A small shopping mall, that was a happening place, and then died a long slow death. The old Yard Birds, where the flea market and Club used to be. The general merchandise store, Sunbird’s, where the Club is. You get the idea.

    Yup. The “Blue’s Brothers” was great. I’m sure there might be a few other good musicals. My, you do seem familiar with the genre 🙂 .

    It got up to 86F, yesterday. Today’s forecast is for 73F. Quit a bit more comfortable. I may have lost some of my carrots, yesterday, due to heat.

    I finished the Judy Dench book, last night. Must admit I skimmed through a bit of it. So, it was a Q & A (Question and Answer), a chapter for each play she’s been in. And the parts she’s played in those plays. With comments about the plot, the people she played with. Amusing asides. And, an occasional chapter on some aspect of theatre or Shakespeare. Now I wish they’d do something similar with all her film roles.

    I started another book, last night, that I think will be interesting. “The Light Eaters: How the Unseen World of Plant Intelligence Offers a New Understanding of Life on Earth.” Schlanger, 2024. She’s been the science editor of, or written for, several popular magazines. So, the book is geared toward a more general audience. In other words, readable. Funny, she kicks off the book with a walk in the Hoh Rain Forest. Where we’ve recently been. 🙂 Lew

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