What a life

During weekends, the more fashionable western end of the mountain range enjoys an onslaught of tourists, especially at this leaf change time of year. The exotic trees turning deciduous look nice, but the seething mass of humanity, and their rubbish, kind of detracts from the delightful scenery. Anyway, the local pub is located over there, as is the general store. Living in the middle of the mountain range, there are no commercial facilities located here, and that’s the way it’s always been.

Way back in the nineteenth century, the wealthy folks established their hill station gardens and sprawling mansions in the western end of the mountain range. The land over there faces south, and due to the quirks of geology combined with the elevation above sea level, the mountain range has a cooler and wetter climate than is usual for this otherwise dry and arid continent. The wealthy old timers took advantage of these fortuitous natural gifts and escaped the stink and serious risk of typhoid and cholera, which incidentally had historically been part of the typical Victorian era Melbourne summer experience. The well heeled folks planted some lovely exotic trees and gardens which now, a century or so later, look amazing. People nowadays come up to check out the old timers style.

In the Victorian period, living in the middle of the mountain range was for the less well financed, and was overall a more fundamental experience. But it also had the benefit of the cool and wet climate. The primary economic activities were timber harvesting, potatoes and berries. Our farm is located in that area. After a century of logging, growing potatoes and berries, the soils were left exhausted. Logging stopped sixty years ago, although there was a bit of recovery of saw logs after the 1983 bushfires. But even that activity eventually stopped because five years on from the fire, the damaged logs were no good for the saw mills.

During the early days over in that more fashionable western end of the mountain range, there was a lot more economic activity than what went on here in the middle. Most of the people who lived over there were either directly, or indirectly employed to meet the needs of the wealthy folks. There were creameries, orchards, coach transport, garage, saw mills etc. Plus, plenty of folks would have been employed all year around as domestic servants. The big old houses which weren’t lived in during the winter months required looking after and maintenance. Not to mention the upkeep large hill station gardens require. There was a lot of work.

That more fashionable western end of the mountain range always had some tourism. It was a short coach ride up to there from the train station at Macedon. At one time the area even had a few tea houses, which in those pre-microwave ding ding cooking days, probably served up super oven fresh devonshire tea – which as every genteel person knows, involves freshly baked scones served with tasty local jams and cream. Yum!

During The Great Depression, the state government provided free train travel on weekends. The thinking probably went along the lines of: Yeah, let’s get all those unemployed loafers (a third of the adult work workforce) out into fresh country air where they can go bush walking. There’s a five to six hour circuit walk around the upper ridges of the mountain range. It’s a spectacular walk which can be done in a day. Apparently during the Depression, the walking trails near to the train stations were full of people ambling around the countryside. People complained about the mass of humanity on the walking trails. And that’s what I think of when I see the hordes of leaf change tourists these days. They’re heading up here into the mountains for a cheap day out country experience. I just wish they’d clean up after themselves, some things never change.

The local pub is located over in that part of the mountain range. They put on a good feed, have well stocked craft brews, and truly one of the most amazing beer gardens you’ll ever see. Tables sit under a huge and old sprawling oak tree. I’m sure in leaf change season there’d be a risk that oak leaves would fall into your drink. The risk is worth it.

The other evening, Sandra and I went to the pub for a pint of craft brew and the quintessential Australian pub feed of a chicken parma, chips and salad. A parma being a thinly sliced chicken breast which is then crumbed and deep fried. It’s good! And thoughtfully a thin slab of ham, napoli (tomato based) sauce and cheese gets chucked on top for good measure. If you haven’t ever sampled this dish, why not?

Due to the tourist onslaught, we don’t go to the pub on weekends. But weeknights are usually a locals only affair. After many years, you kind of get to know the other people living in the area who also frequent the pub. In some ways, it’s a bit of an old school social hub. That evening I was speaking with a guy I sort of know and sometimes talk to. I noticed that he and his friends were enjoying a drink, but had skipped the meal. And he offered up the explanation. It’s economics dude. He was adapting to new economic circumstances and cutting back upon expenditure. Sure enough, the meals had increased in price. Hmm.

I speak to a lot of different people, and I’m hearing a bit of that adapting to tightened economic circumstances story. Prices are definitely increasing, no doubts about it. Even we’re thinking about cutting back on some expenditures. Sandra has made some amusing jokes lately about whether a particular expenditure ‘sparks joy’ into our lives. Jokes aside, it’s a good point.

Economics is a very dull subject to which most people barely give a moments thought. All the rising prices of late are described by economists through the technical term ‘Inflation’. It sounds harmless, until you’re left scratching your head wondering why the annual house insurance bill increased by 30% from last year. Such moments can produce a ‘what just happened’ kind of feeling.

The state budget was released a week or two ago. One of the graphs displayed the debt that the state government had taken on over the past twenty years.

State government debt over time, with forecast

That’s a lot of debt. They reckon in a couple of years they might be able to begin paying it off at $2bn a year. Such talk reminds me of those credit card statements which suggest that if a person pays the minimum balance, then the debt will be paid off in say, I dunno, 77 years. It’s a laughable plan which stinks of failure.

If they were the only ones indulging in such reckless and irresponsible activities, it wouldn’t be much of a problem. Unfortunately, that ain’t so. Worldwide debt over that same twenty year period has grown way faster than the underlying wealth, and this expresses itself as higher prices for everything. It’s not a complicated story, but what is a complicated story is just how long this debt roller coaster can go on for. In the meantime, I suggest that readers consider begin taking up cheaper entertainment options. That’s worked in the past.

Sooner or later, one item cut from our budget may be bananas. Not only are they increasing in price, but more often I’m beginning to see the effects of what looks to me like some sort of fungus.

It looked OK from the outside!

The increasing incidence of the inedible banana yuk mess (that’s the technical term), is not good. A few years ago I too used to believed that it was possible to grow the same plants year after year in the same soils, if only you provided enough replacement minerals and organic matter. Nowadays I’m beginning to think that crop rotation is a very good idea, and after all, even the ancient Romans knew that.

Regular readers will recall last weeks dead rat woes. I removed four dead rats out from under the house the previous week. The decomposition stink sort of got better, then worse this week. A further two rats had died beneath the timber floor boards, but they were on top of the underfloor insulation. During the week, I spent a few hours crawling around under the floor of the house trying to locate these two dead rodents. All I could see was a sea of insulation. Through deduction and observation, I finally found the bodies, and despite the epic stink, cheered!

This insulation batt is a write off, so is the rat

The insulation batts removed are a write off and will have to be replaced. They stink. Fortunately, it was a warm week and we could open all the doors and windows to the fresh air, and the house soon smelled neutral again.

The excavations on the low gradient path have now been completed. A wide and level path around a shed were dug this week.

The excavations on the low gradient path are now complete

The excess soil was used as fill on a new garden bed. Autumn leaves falling onto the path are raked up and collected. They then get used as soil food for the new garden bed.

Fallen autumn leaves make great soil starters for this new garden bed

Near to those excavations there is a very large and old Eucalyptus Obliqua (Messmate) tree. The thing is massive. A few months ago part of the head of that tree fell to the ground. That’s what I call windfall firewood. Most of the tree head has now been cut up into firewood sized rounds, and the larger pieces are now waiting to be split into smaller chunks.

We do neat here. You can see the trunk of the big tree in the top right hand corner

Once those rounds are split, we’ll relocate the firewood to a sunnier location where the rest was moved too. The timber needs a year or so to dry out before it is useful for firewood.

The smaller chunks of tree head were relocated to a sunnier spot so as to dry

We did a few hours of rock scavenging. This time around we were looking for smaller rocks. The most recent steel rock gabion cage is fast filling up as a result of the work.

This second tier steel rock gabion cage is filling up fast

The loggers in their wisdom left many tree stumps upside down and sticking up out of the soil. Nature is unable to produce that outcome. Over the past eighteen years I’ve removed a lot of these upside down tree stumps, and then burnt them off. It’s very hard work, as the tree stumps are remarkably heavy and hard to move.

An upside down tree stump sits next to the remains of a fallen tree

Next to the upside down tree stump was another stump which was all that remains of a tree which had fallen in heavy winds a few years ago. We’d already harvested the firewood, but despite being on its side, the tree stump was firmly lodged in the ground and really hard to remove.

Dame Plum gets up to mischief on a fallen tree stump

After many hours of work, both tree stumps were removed from the soil and burnt off.

Both tree stumps were removed from the ground

I’m sure there are still more of these upside down tree stumps, somewhere on the property. It’s worth noting that the fallen tree has a friend nearby waiting to join it. The soil in that part of the property is very wet.

A very dangerous tree

And proving it’s not all work here, Ollie can be seen inspecting the vegetation.

Ollie inspects a very large leaf

The family of King Parrots appears to have produced a new member to their crew.

A juvenile King Parrot sits in a peach tree

The Juniper bush has again produced some berries. When ripe, they taste like the scent of pine to me. You know that they’re ripe when the berries turn a darker almost purple colour.

Juniper berries slowly ripen on the tree

The Meyer Lemon tree is having a good year, and will unfortunately need to be pruned back before the weight of the fruit breaks branches.

A lot of lemons

We harvested a couple of trays of Kiwi Fruit and brought them inside just to find out when they become ripe. Despite the parrots and rats best efforts, there are plenty more fruit on the vines. I suspect the fruit needs a frost to convert the starches into sugars (so as to lower the freezing point of the plant), which will then make the fruit edible. Maybe next month?

Trays of Kiwi Fruit ripen inside the house

Kale is a good performing winter green here. At this cooler time of year we tend to grow kale close together based on the theory that the plants stay warmer during heavy winter frosts. In the greenhouse the kale are spaced much further apart, but then they grow faster in there than outdoors.

We grow kale thickly outdoors during the winter months

Onto the flowers:

A lovely deep purple Geranium
Salvia’s really love the climate here
I fed the Rose terraces a few weeks ago, and the plants responded!

The temperature outside now at about 10am is 11’C (52’F). So far for last year there has been 358.0mm (14.1 inches) which is up from last weeks total of 341.2mm (13.4 inches)

44 thoughts on “What a life”

  1. Yo, Chris – So, is the fashionable end of the mountains where the Hanging Rock girls, hung out? Such a mysterious story. So, your part of the mountains was the “low rent district.” 🙂 How times change. “Summer people.” The fulcrum around which many a novel and movie, revolves. The bane, but also economic support of a lot of small places.

    Ambling around walking trails. Back in the day, family dynamics and privacy in the city, was at a premium. Those walking trails provided an opportunity for courting, spooning and what have you. 🙂

    I think people (smart one’s, that is) are taking a look at “disposable income,” and are recalculating wants and needs. What’s necessary, and what isn’t. Yes, worldwide debt is breathtaking.

    I took a look down the rabbit hole, at “What has the similar nutritional value of bananas.” Sweet potatoes, chia seeds, eggs, plantains, cantaloupes, and mangoes. Not much of those, grow here. Our bananas are still pretty cheap. Next time I’m at the veg store, I’ll have to jot down how much we pay, regular and organic.

    Oh, gosh, when I looked at your header photo, I thought it was some kind of cosmic event. Full moon through the clouds, or something similar. Nope. Dead rat. Some things that are seen, can’t be unseen. 🙂

    I thought of another benefit, of the wide clear paths. Enemies of snakes have a better shot at them. Not a bad thing.

    Firewood and rocks, all in their proper place. Though wrangling them, is a lot of work.

    I wonder if the trees, were placed upside down, so they wouldn’t resprout? You’re never going to solve that mystery, unless you run across a crusty old logger. Something I’d never thought to do before, is run a net search. Really no answer to your mystery, but I did find this ….


    How cool! And, pretty.

    King Parrot, just hangin’ out, waiting for the peaches to show up. He’ll have a long wait.

    Geraniums come in so many forms, I wonder if they’re an old plant, such as roses and rhodies? That one sure is a stunner. And, as always, the roses are a real knock out.

    Canada is on fire (again.) I suppose our air quality may go in the dumpster. A dumpster fire? Time to go out and fertilize the blueberries. My carrots seem to have survived the heat. Lew

  2. Hi Lewis,

    Fun fact (which I only just learned then), Hanging Rock is officially known as Mount Diogenes. Dare I say it, but the cynic (!) in me suggests that the historical fictional girls were taken by aliens. 🙂 The film was lovely to look at, it was almost ethereal don’t you reckon? It is possible that this middle section of the mountain range was independent of the flows of wealth which supported the more fashionable western end of the mountain range, what with all of the hill station gardens, wealth and stuff. But earning a living would have been easier over there. I guess what I was trying to suggest in the essay that the fundamentals of the economic arrangements are still there after all these years.

    Are you suggesting that people got up to a bit of hanky panky in the bush? To think such things go on, it’s enough to make a bloke blush! 🙂 But I get your point. Hope the fun luvin’ couples dodged the leaches and ticks! I hadn’t considered that aspect of domestic arrangements, and thanks for the correction.

    The worldwide debt situation is all that and more. I’d be inclined to describe it as a basket case. The patient won’t recover, you know. But on the home front, there’s so much that can be done that I know it will get done in many homes before too much longer. That’s one of the interesting things we’ll get to watch playing out.

    Thanks, and I’ll be curious to hear how much you’re paying for bananas. They’re good, but if this rotten fungus business continues, I won’t chuck them any mad cash.

    Yeah, alas poor ratty, I knew him well. 🙂 Far out, that dead rat stunk the house up badly. A strong case could be made that the rodent felt far worse about the situation. We’ve been discussing how to seal up these access points a bit more permanently with concrete. A job for the warmer part of the year when the cement sets faster.

    Oh yeah, that clear path snake strategy is employed right across the property. The Kookaburras will enjoy a good protein hit from a snake. You just have to consider what looks like good hunting territory for the birds. Snakes will occasionally turn up, but if the place is not suitable, then they’ll probably move on.

    Professor Tolkien may have written in one of his books: “It’s the job that’s not started, as takes the longest to complete”. A very astute observation to which I recall when cleaning up and burning off the old loggers refuse.

    It’s good to see gingers hard at work, and the glacier gardens are amazing. As you note, the tree stumps here are a mystery, but I don’t believe the loggers were going for that particular aesthetic. They could have given the bulldozers I’m guessing they used. It is a cool idea, and one I’d never previously encountered.

    You set me off on an interweb wabbit hole as to the question: How long have the Geranium species of plants been around. Truly, enlightenment was not forthcoming. Have you had any better luck with that question?

    It seems a bit early for wildfires in Canada, but it does seem to be the case. You’d hope that the rains return to that part of the world.

    Hope the bear doesn’t venture too close to your place. That would not be good. The reports of the large bear were from a few days ago, so maybe the bear decided to retreat back into the woods. It’s awful to say, but you only have to outrun H. She may be faster though! The fluffies would ditch me in a heartbeat if they encountered a bear.

    Thanks for the reminder, that lipstick nonsense was such a horrid story, for me at least. Yours may be the wiser path! However, economic realities will eventually slow the movement of people across the planet. It’s a kind of eventual return to the norm.

    🙂 Seriously funny! Yes, very vain people indeed.

    I trust that no mothers were harmed in the blueberry fertilisation process? Yum! Yum! A fine dinner. We had rice, vegetables, kale leaves and eggs for dinner. Chamomile tea is a nice way to round off the meal. Hope the plants respond well to the feed.

    Oh, I’d forgotten that. We don’t usually have big box stores near to the freeways, they usually hang off other main roads instead. Well, wetlands do tend to be cheap for a reason! Does it look like the old Yard Birds area will be developed? You’d hate to think it sat empty of tenants.

    A person does their best to avoid musicals, but noting that a few of them were actually quite good. 😉 Totally busted there.

    Was it cooler today, and did the carrot seedlings survive the brief burst of intense warmth?

    It was another cool and sunny day here today. The ground is very damp, so we did a shandy day of work again. During the middle of the day we moved large rocks back up the hill and placed them on the low gradient path project. That rock wall there is starting to look like one of those ocean breakwater constructions.

    Yes, that would be an interesting topic and a first hand insight into the behind the scenes in that industry. Probably full of interesting and complicated people.

    What better place to begin a book on the subject of plant intelligence than the Hoh Rainforest. A beautiful place.



  3. Yo, Chris – Macedon Mountains, Mount Diogenes … sounds like someone had a classics turn of mind. Arcadia?

    Aliens is as good an explanation, as any. Mars Needs Women!!! 🙂

    Not a correction. Just an observation. Another astute observation: “There is an end. You only have to do it once.” (Lew TM).

    Yes, I couldn’t really find anything on Geraniums, in the fossil record. Although they’re found world-wide and there are 422 species. Seems to indicate they were around, before the continents broke up.

    Yes, bears. I keep my head on a swivel and my ears sharp. If it gets to be too much of a problem, they’ll either shot it, or put it to sleep and move it out in the deep woods, where it belongs. Jane, from The Funny Farm, gets a lot of bears, out her way. Where I lived before, I was told there were bears, down in a creek drainage, behind where I lived. Never saw one.

    Well, my dinner was rice, carrots, quartered Brussels sprouts and frozen peas. Plus, the usual accoutrements. Garlic, seeds, nutritional yeast. I never salt anything, so, splashed a little cider vinegar on it, to give it a little zing!

    I suppose Yard Birds will be torn down, and, eventually developed into …. something. There’s a state senator, who already owns a lot of land, along that road. We hear rumors of plans. A lot of the vendors just abandoned their stuff, when it closed. Last weekend, they pulled everything out of the building, and offered it all free, to anyone who wanted to haul it away. There were pictures in the news. Looked like a real mob scene. Hoarder’s delight!

    My carrots seedlings seemed to have revived. I got the blueberries fertilized. Had to dodge a few bees. I notice, the bulk of them out front, well, the blossoms look a bit crisped. I suppose they didn’t get any water, during those two hot days. I’ll talk to the Master Gardeners, about them. I suppose we’ll have another dismal crop, this year.

    I read some more of the book on plants, last night. Quit a bit of controversy in the world of botany, as to if plants have consciousness. Depends on how you define consciousness. Not by human measure. But, if you define it as an awareness, and response to the world, then plants fit the bill. That book, “The Secret Life of Plants,” didn’t do any favors to the controversy.

    H had a field trip, and adventure, yesterday. Being Mother’s Day, Elinor’s daughter picked her up, and H went to see her Mom. I guess it took her a little while to warm up. Lew

  4. Hi Chris,

    It is nice to hear your local pub is still pushing out fine beers and delicate grub. I presume their price increases also reflect the need to pay off the man in the suit?

    You have peak rocks but peak tree stumps is probably some years off yet?

    Are the dogs any help locating the dead rats underneath the house?

    I put juniper berries in the sauerkraut. Do you ever grow cabbage?

    That is a very optimistic flattening of the curve there by the good people at state government’s department of treasury. If I were to eyeball that curve without the dotted line, I would suggest it is an exponential increase, give or take a few billion. And $2bn is just noise on the scale presented.

    In order to pay off the debt quicker, maybe the government can get rid of any programs that don’t ‘spark job’?


  5. Hello Chris
    The area around where you live, sounds absolutely fascinating.
    Finance/debt is turning into a nightmare everywhere; amazing how it keeps going without collapsing.
    The aurora borealis was visible on the Island for 2 nights. There were glorious photos in the papers. I don’t believe that it has ever been visible so far south before. Unfortunately I didn’t see it. I hear from elder daughter that she saw the southern version and was thrilled.
    It is raining outside but we have just had 2 gorgeous sunny days. I had almost forgotten what they are like.


  6. Hi Chris,
    Busy times around here. Volunteered at a native plant sale a couple of days, planted more of the vegetable garden and my own new native plants. I’m pleased to see some are popping up from seeds in different areas on the property. Mother’s day was yesterday. Not a big deal in my book but as my sister, Julie, and I were both not going to see our children we decided to spend the day together and I stayed over at her house as well. This morning we enjoyed a nice hike when much of the world was at work and then a fine late breakfast.

    We’ve had a good amount of rain this year but not too much. It’s nice not to have to water as I’ve had to do the last few years.

    That sounds like a real pain – getting those decomposing rats out from under the house.

    The history of your area is quite interesting. Not far from us is Lake Geneva in Wisconsin. In it’s day the rich resided there in the summer. You can go on a mail boat tour of the old residences and hear the history. The mail during the summer is delivered by the tour boat.

    We had a lovely large oak that had some damage on the bottom and was leaning right towards the house taken down. If it had fallen it would have taken out most of the house and depending on the time of day us as well. We left 6-8 feet of trunk and are doing to do something creative with it. https://thankyourgarden.com/tree-stump-ideas/

    You would think with twin granddaughters we would only have to attend one graduation from high school but no such luck. One who continued to be homeschooled has a very small personal graduation ceremony this Saturday while her sister who has attended the public high school for the last three years will graduate in a couple weeks in her class of 1000 students at a large facility not even near her school. Each student can invite 8 guest so 8,000 people plus the graduates. Fun times not! I wonder if we’ll even see her.

    We were not fortunate enough to see the Northern Lights though we tried. From what I understand you had to have some luck to be looking at the right time and as it was mostly in the wee hours of the morning we missed it though one night I was out standing in the driveway at 1 AM.

    Definitely changing our dining out habits. I usually just get water with dinner and often just an appetizer which is generally enough for me. It does surprise me how crowded restaurants still remain. Our property taxes rose significantly as well as insurance of all kinds.


  7. Hi Inge,

    The granite here which the super volcano spewed out and pretty much caused a major planetary extinction event, maybe 250 million years ago, has some connection with the monoliths at Stonehenge. Clearly, there must be something in the water here for such synchronicities to occur. At least that is the current thinking! 🙂 It’s an interesting area to reside in, and truly I’m here by total chance. The property had been on the market for two and a half years and was super cheap before we made an offer on it way back in 2006, or was it 5? The finer details now slip my mind. The old timers used to suggest something about: a silk purse from a sows ear.

    Inge, I’m equally amazed at the ongoing economic spectacle. People were cheering on the rise out of the recession of the 90’s, but by 1997, I had serious misgivings on the path being taken. Working as a manufacturing accountant watching the demise of that activity and restoring old houses gave me a first hand taste of what was going on. By 2008 fundamentals looked bad, and so we quit and did something else with our lives. You’d know the feeling?

    There were a lot of photos in the papers here, but it rains here when it rains nowhere else, and so the thick clouds obscured the astral spectacle. Your daughter was really lucky to have seen the aurora that far north. I can’t ever recall it being visible this far north either, although the reports were that twenty years ago the storm was as powerful. I simply don’t recall that.

    🙂 It gets like that, hmm. After a very dry February and March, I enjoyed the same feeling, but in reverse. I’d forgotten what the rain felt like.



  8. Hi Crow,

    As to that, I can’t say, but down under prices are going up across the board. A coffee and two muffins set me back $15.72 in the big smoke of Melbourne this morning. The muffins were a ‘one for now’ and ‘one for tomorrow’ situation. They’re so good, and use a sour cream recipe. Yum! The pub is very good, and something of a local institution! 😉

    How is it working out in your fine city?

    The loggers left a heck of a mess, and the eucalyptus stumps are insanely slow to decompose. We have a stump grinder with commercial cutting teeth, but that machine is one hard work. Just between you and I, I’m of the opinion that there are less upside tree stumps left. That’s the current thinking, of course it could be entirely wrong.

    You’d think the dogs would be good at that task, but no. Dame Plum was frightened by the thought of going under the floor with me, and Ruby was less troubled but had to be forced under, and was, err, useless. Ollie wanted to give it a go, but he’s too big and would damage pipes and cables. A very unimpressive effort from the fluffy collective that day. Hmm.

    Thanks for the suggestion, and oooo, that would taste good. Cabbage is a very demanding vegetable, and the soils here aren’t yet good enough to get one to produce the head. Or, I don’t have a short season variety. We generally grow kale instead of cabbage, and that stuff is a bit more close to wild brassica stock, so is less demanding.

    Yeah, I understand why the debt binge occurred, I just never quite understood why it was allowed to do so. There were so many better options which were ignored. And here we are today. Hope things are good in your part of the world?



  9. Hi Lewis,

    There’s a nearby Mount Alexander as well! The indomitable old timer surveyor Major Mitchell, had a solid grasp of the classics as befits a gentleman of education in that early colonial era. On one nearby mountain the growth was so thick that after the laborious climb to the peak to check out the view (hint: obscured), he named the mountain: Mount Disappointment! They grow a lot of the country’s apple crop at Mount Alexander. It’s ideal growing conditions being a bit further north than here, although summers can be drier than here.

    Shh, don’t mention the Arcadia bit lest all the tourists come seeking.

    Aliens always seemed like the most likely explanation for the lost fictional girls, unless it was some sort of psychopath. Equally possible, although I’m leaning towards the aliens. That’s true about Mars needing women (I’ve seen that amusing film), and they’re probably coming for our jobs as well. In a nod to a famous Australian surfer stoner rock band, Mars needs guitars, as well! An awesome album.

    You’ve blown my mind with that astute observation. There is an end, yes. I do wonder about the future. What do you do? Given the chance of changing the course of things for everyone, I wouldn’t leap at it. That would be an end too, mostly for me. 😉

    Worked in the big smoke today, and then had a haircut on the way home. Sadly that local business appears to be closing down, not due to lack of customers either. Oh well. Anywhoo, got home very late and had a flash of I dunno, a brain fart maybe, on the way home. Call the utoob biz: The Land of the Wombats

    Snappy huh? And it’s got a nice ring to it, don’t you reckon? The Editor is enthused with the project and the technical bits are being done in the background. A whole lotta work! 😉

    My thinking is leaning in your direction as well. The wikipudding page suggested South Africa, but they’ve got local varieties of geraniums here, so I don’t think so. Clearly the species has been around for a very long time, possibly back to the time of the super continent days.

    You know, all that talk yesterday about bear sightings, that last night I was dreaming of being attacked by a bear. Truly, a very improbable circumstance. The Editor didn’t help matters because after mentioning the dreams this morning, she was talking about The Revenant film. Have you seen that film? A western revenge film I believe. Wise to stay sharp, and you’d think H would be alert for the smell of a bear at a safe for you distance? Mind you, the couple killed by the bear near Bear Lake had a dog. I suspect they may have been attempting to rescue the dog. The cans of empty bear spray recount a sad tale. A rifle may have more authority.

    Maybe your bears are like snakes here in that they’re around, but unless you annoy them somehow, or they’re hungry, you won’t necessarily have an encounter with them? Even brave Ollie would run from a bear!

    How does Jane handle the risk of living near to where bears travel?

    The Editor enjoys apple cider vinegar as well. Lewis, I’m soft in that regard. 🙂 Sounds like a nice meal. We had a roast beetroot, vegetable and boiled egg salad for dinner this evening. Sad to admit, but it was only a few years ago that I discovered that freshly grown beetroot has the same zingy taste as what comes from the can. For some reason I’d always believed that the beetroot was tinned in vinegar, and maybe it is. The beetroot we ate this evening grew all summer without any additional watering and/or care. What a plant!

    Oh my! The poor vendors and hoarders. What a circus it would have been. Strewn, the wreckage of goods, lay the sadness of giver and taker alike, all were but pawns in a larger game.

    Did you resist the urge to go down and check it out?

    Good stuff with the carrots. They’re pretty hardy plants, although I never quite get the soil fluffy and deep enough for them to produce neat tubers. Maybe one day. I’ve brought back some gypsum to add to the soil, but that is a job for another day and I’m hoping to pick up a load of mushroom compost. The roundabout was meant to be open this evening, just saying…

    Haha! The bees are doing their finest work on those blueberry plants and are best not disturbed. Does H ever give you a hand in the garden? That’s not good about the crispy blossoms, and they might not produce any berries, so yeah maybe not. I guess it depends on whether they were pollinated or not. Dunno.

    I agree, that’s a definition. The plants are most certainly aware of their surroundings, and otherwise react to them. Anyone who has ever had a Venus fly trap can see that in action. Out of curiosity, why did that Secret Life of Plants book add to the controversy?

    Hopefully H was returned in an impeccable and unsoiled condition?



  10. Hi Margaret,

    Nice stuff, and are your native plants going to produce some flowers for the insects and birds? Isn’t it a good feeling to restore a patch of soil and watch what grows?

    We went to lunch at a local cidery, and discovered that it was closed to the public for a mothers day function. Headed home again! 🙂 It’s nice to hang out and celebrate with people you’ve known for a long time. Yum! Breakfast is an important meal, and best enjoyed at a leisurely pace. Hope it was accompanied by some coffee? Carla and Cecily have their own kids, and so life takes its own pace over time.

    That’s awesome to hear about the rain. I’ll bet you were reading about the fires in that country to the north of you? Far out, that’s early, so nice to hear you’ve had enough rain at least.

    Margaret, I had no idea where the dead rodents were. It was a nightmare job. We’re going to pour some concrete trenches next spring when it’s warmer, and that will put an end to the ratty mischief.

    Thanks for mentioning that area as I’d never heard of the term ‘Gilded Age mansions’ before. Yes, kind of a lot like that, but with less, err, perhaps no lake frontage. It’s interesting that tours will take you into the mansions. They’re very much lived in here nowadays, but the gardens (not the houses) are rarely opened to the public. I’d be certain there would be some thoughts about the leaf change tourists over there!

    Oh my gawd! Glad to hear that the leaning tree was safely cut back. People who do such work are worth every cent of the cost. I’ve said it before, but it is worth saying again, an old timer once said to me: Leave no trees within dropping distance of the house.

    Hope the art installation works out nicely. Dunno about you, but did you have a favourite? The little gnome housing kind of appealed to me.

    That’s like a football crowd. I’m with you and have serious doubts that your granddaughter could even see you in the crowd. Have to laugh, when I finished year 12 at High School, we just kind of had the last exam and that was it, there was no ceremony that I can recall. Things are different nowadays, and I believe that there is a ceremony. Some of the University ones are held at sports stadiums… At least there’d be plenty of toilet and food facilities on those days. 🙂 Priorities!

    We didn’t see the southern lights either due to cloud cover here. It happens. I had a look too late in the wee hours of the night, then gave up and went back to bed.

    I wonder about that as well. There’s a lot going on there, but like you, we are doing similarly. Ouch about those bills, but I share your pain there, oh yeah. Dunno where it is all headed.

    Still, you have access to plenty of enjoyable second hand books. Reading is such a pleasure!



  11. Yo, Chris – We have a Cape Disappointment, out on our coast. Ilwaco, Washington. There’s one of our Timberland libraries, there. But, that was one I never made it to. An early explorer was looking for the mouth of the Columbia River, and thought he had found it. He didn’t He was disappointed. 🙂

    Major Mitchell must have been an Oxbridge man. 🙂 Or, was just well educated. Back in the day, Classics were a part of basic education. Even for the fairly young.

    “Mars Needs Guitars.” Slap it on a t-shirt, and I’ll buy one for my buddy Scott.

    So, why is your barber closing business? Retirement? Rent get jacked up?

    Land of the Wombats. There’s a book, “From the Land of the Wombats.” 1890s. Hmm. I guess, for your video, it’s an ok title.

    Sooner or later, I’ll run across the origins of Geraniums. The roots, so to speak 🙂 .

    I heard of the “Revenant” film, but have never seen it. Last night, I had a dream about trying to get petrol, failing, but then doing a back room deal to get some, but then the aliens beamed it away. I could just about track all the dream components, over stuff I’d run across in the last 24 hours. By the way, I gassed up, this morning, and the price was $4.80 per US gallon.

    Jane doesn’t seem to think about the bears, much, unless they show up. Yes, H would probably let me know if a bear was around … if the wind was blowing the right direction. I don’t take her out to the garden, with me. There’s really no good place to tie her up. And, she’d probably attract unwanted attention (as far as I’m concerned) from the other Inmates.

    I picked up her paperwork, from the office, this morning. So she’ll be street legal, as far as the Institution is concerned. Luckily, Little Mary Sunshine had Elinor’s vet paperwork, so I won’t have to take her in. There’s $100 pet deposit. No big deal.

    I got really lazy, about dinner, last night. Rice and a can of no salt diced tomatoes. Broccoli on the side. The usual additions. By the way, regular bananas are $.69 a US pound. Organic bananas, $.89. Sometimes, I buy one, or the other, depending on condition and ripeness. I recently noticed that organic bananas seen to last / hold longer.

    That’s a really good quote about givers and takers. One of yours? A glance into the rabbit hole didn’t reveal a source. I found out about the surplus give-away, after the fact. Probably wouldn’t have gone. I’d figure it would be a real mob scene, and those … aren’t my scene.

    Speaking of mob scenes, the Master Gardeners are having their yearly plant sale, this coming weekend. I guess they have 1,000 tomato plants, on offer. Along with a lot of other things. Many from the gardens, here. Last year, they pretty much sold out, on the first day.

    “The Secret Life of Plants,” was all New Age-y and most of the experiments couldn’t be replicated. So, it cast shade 🙂 on real scientists, trying to do real work on plant consciousness. Funding dried up. Anyone putting together the words “plant,” and “consciousness” in the same sentence, was highly suspect. But things are loosening up, now, and work in that area is again being done. But with a lot of rigor. Lew

  12. Hi Chris,

    Yes I think 10€ would be what one pays for such treats over here in the shinier parts of town. In more humble abodes it would 3€ coffee, 2,5€ muffins, but quality may be variable. Purchase at own risk.

    ‘Tis fine spring evenings this week and so visits to the local pub micro-brewery are in order: https://neulich.de/brauhaus/
    Very drinkable beers my friend 🙂

    So you have perhaps reached peak tree stumps! May I cheekily suggest that such nonsense under the floorboards would not have been tolerated by Scritchy and friends?

    I don’t know, maybe it is the debt you had to have? Over here the powers that be are more worried about the ‘democracy’. I note here for the record that there was a referendum in 2021 with a clear democratic result in favor of disenfranchising a few very naughty real-estate companies. The result of the referendum have been completely ignored so far by the political class: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deutsche_Wohnen_%26_Co._enteignen

  13. Chris,

    Rats! Rats in the wood, rats in the henhouse, rats under the house, rats in the insulation. Nice picture of the insulated rat. 😉 Let’s hope that’s the last of the rats under the house.

    You’ve long talked about peak rocks. You’ve mentioned being at or near peak dirt. Now it appears that peak upside-down trees is looming. A triad of peaks. What you need is a different triad of peaks. Peak rats. Peak poisonous snakes. Peak rabbits.

    The hawthorn trees are in bloom. Lots of brilliant pink flowers on them. The forget-me-nots are also flowering. Some of the recently strewn grass seed is turning green.

    The first two Mystery Projects have been completed. I emailed you a selfie of me wearing the first one. Killian’s owner and I should be working on a different set of Mystery Projects on Friday. Something new to both of us, but maybehaps between us we can figure it out and get several versions done. Pictures to follow when completed.

    Meanwhile, it is hot. Today was a “cool” 25C, down from 30C yesterday. Dame Avalanche is not dealing well with the sudden hot spell. Too hot, too fast. She is spending a lot of time in the cooler indoors. She is also trying to “play” me. She was ill on Sunday, so now she thinks that I will give her the normal evening treats if she doesn’t eat her normal food. She understands “No dinner, no treats.” She tried to out stubborn me tonight. Eventually, she ate. Eventually treats were given after that. Dogs.

    More fashionable? Nope, never lived in the more fashionable areas anywhere I’ve lived. In addition to being too expensive, I’ve found the more fashionable areas to be filled with people I prefer not to associate with. There’s a lot to be said for being a “Viking peasant” and enjoying it. People in the less fashionable areas are often friendlier and more neighborly overall.

    Restaurant prices are exorbitant here now. The neighborhood McDonalds, well, a “meal with a drink costs $15 or more. That’s over $30 for the two of us. Or we can go to our favorite Mexican place, have tastier and better quality food, with a beer, for just a few dollars more. But we are cutting back on our meals out. It’s just too expensive.

    Property taxes have more than doubled since 2012. This includes a new American football stadium downtown. It was an extra bond vote for the local school district. After the referendum to the public said to rebuild the existing stadium near where I grew up. Then, before the stadium downtown was even completed, the school district deeded it to the City. The City knew it could never get a bond issue passed for the stadium downtown. Bait and switch after ignoring the referendum. Politicians.

    Extra expenditures for us include quick calculations by the Princess. “How many gallons of petrol would that buy instead?” Put in those terms, a Crappy Meal at Mcdonalds, for one, equals about 3.5 gallons of petrol or a bit more. Or over 7 gallons for the two of us, which is enough to drive from here to Toppenish.

    The inflation thing is interesting. From my perspective, all of the money created by government debt has to go somewhere. First, it hit the stock and bond markets, inflating prices and dropping bond interest rates. Then it hit the housing markets. Those are all still likely in bubble territory, and there’s still a lot of excess money sloshing around. So, prices for necessities eventually followed in rising. Painful for us peasants. UGG.

    Meanwhile, the injured finger is progressing. Not exactly how I expected, but the feeling is coming back…it might be several more months before it is back to normal. But it IS progressing.


  14. Hi Crow,

    Ah, but is the quality of the produce any better given the shinier ambience of such places, especially when compare to their more humble compatriots? That’s what I want to know. 🙂 Coffee can be a very variable drink. Exhibit A) In Vietnam they add condensed milk to what looked to me like a drip filter coffee. Sure, you get the caffeine kick, but was the taste journey the same as what is produced by a lane-way hole in the wall super focused café? An intriguing hypothesis that demands immediate further research! Are you observing any on the ground slow downs in business in your part of the world?

    It’s weird down here, and I don’t believe the economic pain is being shared equally. The goobermint released the budget yesterday and announced a $300 energy bill relief for every household in the country delivered as a $75 a quarter saving on bills. As someone who is not connected to the grid, I fail to see how this benefits me. 😉 Few people wish to spend the approximately ten times overall cost required to go off grid. And there was no means testing on the energy bill relief, it went to poor and wealthy alike. Very messy policy which was probably created on the fly possibly after more than a few craft beers. A risky strategy…

    Lucky you and your lady to have access to such a fine local, where even the accountant looks like fun! The photos were awesome man. I would definitely go there. 🙂 So what’s better, original, or hell? Philosophers have debated this topic for millennia, but you may hold the answer in your glass.

    Exactly. Dame Scritchy would never have tolerated this laxity. Even the now sadly departed Toothy (of the untitled) would have gotten under the floor and taken care of business. Sir Scruffy, well he’d have diligently taken me to the exact spots without fuss and saved the horrendous two hours crawling around under the floor poking at glass fibre insulation. What can I say other than canine standards were indeed higher in the past, as you note.

    Ah, that potty mouthed ex-treasurer casts a long shadow. The cheeky scamp, or perhaps more appropriately the cheeky scumbag! And you’ve raised the very inherent risk with the problem of asking citizens questions regarding what may in fact be the outcome of a lot of bad previous policy – Sometimes a community may provide an uncomfortable answer. I’m unsurprised by the result.



  15. Hi DJ,

    A whole lotta rats! But truly, there are now far less rats than what may have been the case a couple of years ago. It’s one of those situations where I get the distinct impression that it would have been best dealing with the escalating rodent problem long ago. I’ve seen films with swarming rats, and John Carpenter’s film ‘Prince of Darkness’ had such a scene, over the rocker Alice Cooper, as you do. Nobody wants to experience a Nosferatu style rat plague.

    It’s funny you mention that about the rodent being the last to gain access under the house, and I’m now imagining plans involving trenches and cement. It’ll happen. Someone long ago said something about mothers being the necessity of invention, or I dunno, it kinda sounded like that. Didn’t make much sense to me, but I wasn’t listening too closely at the time. Always a risk. 🙂 Hey, makes you wonder what wisdom we completely missed?

    I like where you are going with this new triad of peak concerns. Hmm. Have to think about that, and um, err, introducing habitat complexities for them is proving to be the most effective ecological response for dealing with all three of those critters. They’re all still about, but not quite in the same density, and it’s a better balanced environment. You are joking, and I’m laughing along, but it’s also a serious consideration here.

    Hawthorn trees make from great super hardy hedges. Not much could push through such a spiky maze. Ouch, you just know it would hurt, a lot trying to do so. Lovely to hear your forget-me-nots are also blooming. For your info, down here, they’ve just popped out of the ground, but flowers will be many months away, there is still winter to get through first.

    Total respect for continuing culture with your work. The first mystery project has power, yup. It’s a strong gift, and hand made too. I look forward to learning more about the second mystery project.

    Dude, don’t take this the wrong way, but it’s 5’C outside at the moment after a really lovely and sunny 19’C earlier today. But this loose talk of 25’C and 30’C sounds really nice to my frozen extremities! The wood heater is going and I’ve got my sheep based woollen jumper on, brr! Winter is not exactly far away. 🙂 But yes, poor Dame Avalanche would hardly be acclimating to the sudden increase in temperature and sun intensity. Do you get her clipped short during the summer months? Sir Poopy the Swedish Lapphund used to have to be clipped short. The double coats can be hard on a dog when it gets hot. Hopefully she doesn’t go all nocturnal and start baying at the moon, or aurora?

    Yup, dogs indeed! If Dame Plum doesn’t get her evening rawhide chew at the appropriate time, she’ll sneak up and begin nudging our legs with her nose – then she’ll quickly back away and wait until attention is elsewhere. Don’t let Dame Avalanche know of this super fluffy secret nuisance technique number five. I studiously avoided Dame Plum from looking at the computer screen when your text mentioned Dame Avalanche’s best techniques.

    That’s been my experience as well. What do you, other than avoid such situations. There was an article in the news down here about some cheeky wag in your country sticking it to a home owners association. Something to do with a boat, a gate, and an artist. Sounds like an old joke.

    Wise to keep a handle on the economic situation, and yet still know where a good feed can be found. We’re cutting back as well. The times call for such responses.

    Your maths brain would appreciate that a doubling in 12 years is a compounding annual 6% increase. That’s a lot, plus I presume from what you sort of mentioned in the past that the population in your area has also increased? Ook! The net result perhaps is that you get to all pay for the downtown stadium. Hey, don’t get me wrong, I’m noting that switch and bait technique down. I’d never have thought of doing that.

    Seven gallons wouldn’t even fill the venerable beasts up, but as you say, it’ll get you both there. And that is the thing, people are kind of forced to make choices. What’s more important, I’d say Toppenish is.

    The peasants are doing it tough, and a lot of that expansion was also heading off shore, but even that dump access is reducing. It’s a problem which few have grappled with. I’m not entirely certain that your leaders consider other countries as being independent players to their high stakes poker game.

    Good stuff, and glad to hear that feeling is returning. Can you use it to carve with?



  16. Hi Lewis,

    Cape Disappointment and Deception Bay make for a delightfully named pair of locales, and were so named for similar reasons. The bloke clearly couldn’t see the river for the trees, much like Major Mitchell climbing the mountain (truly, he sounded like a difficult bloke). Funnily enough there was a town named after him, and I noticed the low population statistics. Of course as you do, that lead to looking up the population for this little mountain hamlet. 68 people is a notably bustling hamlet! Far out. No wonder population pressure is intensely felt here.

    Working in that library would have been interesting. The aerial photos of the area look like it is pretty remote. I’ll bet they enjoy some extreme weather there from time to time? Did you ever get out to that part of the state?

    Dunno about your take on the abandonment of the classics, but I am left with the impression that those who made that decision wanted to smash up the past. If people but considered the reality, it is that we only ever but build upon the past, warts and all.

    Taking you seriously, although I realise you were only joking, I just took a look at the bands merch store and ah, shucks, they’ve only got the CD. No tee shirt for either you or Scott. 🙂

    That’s a good question. Why does any business cease? I don’t really know, but can make some guesses based on what kills off businesses. The lease is possibly coming to an end, and maybe the renewal terms made it hard to make a profit. Also, in that industry getting and maintaining boots on the ground (i.e. people who work with hair) looks very difficult from what I’ve heard elsewhere. Your guesses are as good as mine in that regard, but I sort of reckon we’re in the ball park.

    Thanks, I like the wombat title. I’m always curious as to your opinion, and was wondering if you had a good name for such an enterprise? We seem to have all the equipment now. Whatever else, it will be an interesting activity.

    Very funny! Yes, dare I say it, we may indeed get to the root of the geranium matter. 😉 We could have fun with this stuff for days, although it may get tiresome for everyone else.

    Same here, I’d heard of the film, although the Editor appears to have seen it. A bit gruesome for my tastes. It’d give me nightmares. Nice dream, and yes your brain is most certainly processing memories and thoughts. Hey, this is why I don’t watch films with savage bear attacks… Makes sense to me to avoid feeding too much garbage into my brain. A little bit is OK, but too much is not good. Surely you know the feeling? I get that with the news of the day sometimes.

    Could be worse with that at the pump price. Your Ranger wouldn’t use too much fuel anyway. The stuff has come down a bit in price recently, about $7.60 per gallon. It’s been a lot higher not all that long ago. There seems to be some complex legal case in your country apparently about shale producers throttling supply, but I didn’t understand any of it.

    Really? Well, I guess its an option dealing with bear events as they happen. Kind of reminds me of the ongoing fire risk here, except we’re doing stuff about reducing that risk all of the time, even if it is simply maintenance and testing of systems. Inflation is a funny beast, and 30%+ compounding increases in insurance is probably not what I’d describe as being sustainable. Maybe I’ve become a relic? Dunno man. If I had a serious risk of bear interactions I’d carry around a rifle, or be able to get one in a hurry.

    Hmm, dogs have pretty sharp senses, but you’re right, they do vary in how they utilise those senses. The recent rat dramas taught me that. The former fluffies would have been more useful than this current lot for that task.

    Fair enough, and sometimes dogs and gardens don’t necessarily play together well. Dogs can be destructive in such an environment. The definition of ‘nice things’, or at least when it comes to gardens, may not include canines. H would surely love the attention, but yes, is it a good thing? Maybe not.

    The pet deposit makes a lot of sense, but would hardly cover the costs of a serious miscreant canine. H is of course as everyone knows, a lady of the finest breeding, and need not worry about such minor and inconsequential matters. A long time ago we tried owning a rental property, and one of the tenants had a dog which they let urinate on all of the carpets. An expensive lesson for us. The downsides of that option were not good, and so we went off and did something else with our time. I hear stories from people who own short term accommodation places, and they talk about wrecked this, and stolen that. Best not be involved, that’s my thinking.

    Do you know, that sounds like a flexible approach to H’s paperwork?

    Few meals are as good as basic food prepared well.

    I’ll have to ask the Editor about the banana costs, as she did the last round of shopping. Hang on a second… … $5 per kg which is 2.2 pounds. The organic variety would cost far more, if they even sell them.

    The quote was mine, and it floated into the consciousness. Who knows from whence it came, but I believe the thoughts were my own. Glad you enjoyed them. 🙂 Dude, I wouldn’t have gone to that surplus give-away thing either.

    Cool, hope the master gardeners yearly plant sale goes well, although I reckon with costs rising like they are, there may well be an increased interest in gardening for edibles again? Maybe?

    Ooooo, what a backlash. Shame the reaction cast shade over more replicable experiments.

    Just did paid work today. The sun was nice, although once it went down below the trees, it got cold fast. Took the dogs for a walk, and it was that sort of day. Hoping to bring some more rocks back up the hill tomorrow.



  17. Hi, Chris:

    “In the Victorian period, living in the middle of the mountain range was for the less well financed” – I’ll bet that’s not true anymore. Was it still so when you and Sandra bought there?

    Chicken Parma – no, I have never tried it. Why not? Because I’ve never met it! Do any Swells, or Notables, ever show up at the pub? Royalty? They would have a thrill if visiting while you were supping there, and could point you out as a Local Inhabitant.

    And that’s just one state’s debt . . .

    Cheaper entertainment . . . My entertainment is my books and all of the interesting and amusing things that I come upon doing my work. If you had seen the bread I baked today . . . Worth a whole lot of laughs.

    Uh, oh. I eat 2 or 3 bananas a day (et tu, Lew?). We have had the occasional banana that turns liquid inside. Could that be the blight? Luckily the ripe summer fruits here are not so far away. In fact, the mulberries will be ripe soon. The alpine strawberries are now, though I don’t have many.

    I do crop rotation, though not always with the tomatoes, because of the sun issue.

    What kind of insulation is the expired rat on?

    Peek a boo, Ruby/Plum.

    It is amazing when you think how long those upside down tree stumps have been that way without rotting. Yet you can burn them.

    That’s a Brollie!

    Umm – how nice to have a baby King Parrot?

    Could you just pick a lot of the Meyers for now to take some weight off and then prune them whenever the season is right? Where did kiwis originate from? Would they have gone through a freeze there?

    What a stunning dark geranium, lovely salvias, and the ever-stately rose. Thanks for the flowers!


  18. Yo, Chris – I saw a couple of articles with “zombie fires”, in the title. Up in Canada. Outbreaks that were smoldering away, all winter, under the ice and snow.

    Parts of our coast may look isolated, but imagine leaf peppers, 6 months or more of the year. Let’s go to the beach! 🙂 I’ve been down that way, a few times. But it was decades ago. I remember a covered bridge (close to where a favorite author of mine, Robert Pyle lives) and an elk heard, or two. Lush forests. Yes, they do get weather, down there. Often, when I look at the weather map for western Washington, the state is mostly clear, except for alarming colors along the coast.

    Way back when, education was a lot more … stringent? Often, as a human interest story, there’s reports of what an 8th grader, was expected to know, back then. And the requirements for a high school graduation, boggles the mind. Of course, how much education you got, depended on how well off your family was. Some were lucky to get the “3 R’s). Readin’ Rrighten’ and Rithmatic.” Then it’s back to the farm, down the mine, or into the mills.

    I also looked for a “Mars Needs Women” t-shirt. No luck. Our fortunes are made?

    Hollywood on the Macedon? 🙂

    Yes, I don’t travel much. Most months, I can get away with one fill up. Mostly, just down to the Club and back. Just a couple of miles.

    Pet deposit. I guess the rest of us pick up any slack for miscreant canines.

    The price of cheap bananas …


    One must resist the siren call of junk. I checked out the free table in the library, last night. There were two Victorian chairs. Upholstered. I thought about hauling them up to my apartment, and sending them off to the auction, in the fall. The springs and upholstery, needed work. And there was something “off” about the finish. Couldn’t see much grain. I think they’ve been painted a brown color. So, all things considered, I left them be.

    Read some more in the plant book, last night. It’s been discovered that some plants, when attacked, send off phonemes to warn other plants, to mount defenses. But here’s where it gets interesting. If it’s a low level threat, a signal might only be sent to other family members. Only to relatives of a particular plant. A higher threat is broadcast to “all.”

    Another plant has male plants, and female plants. The female plants listen to warnings, from both male and female plants, of their species. The male plants, only listen to other male plants. 🙂 Some plants, within a species, appear to be “risk averse.” They live longer, but produce fewer seeds. Plants that are more daring, live shorter lifespans. But produce more seeds.

    My simple little flip phone, as announced that, to get to my voicemail, I need to set up a 7 digit PIN number. Let’s burn up more minutes, just to get at, and delete a nuisance voicemail. I suppose some people need the added security. So your spouse doesn’t find out you’re carrying on with the post, or milkman. I probably won’t be able to memorize the thing, so will have to look it up, every time. Lew

  19. Hi Chris,

    That sounds like some variant of a cortado you had? The coffee here is below average and usually not worth the mad cash outlay. Unless you know a place I would recommend playing it safe and getting a cappuccino and hoping for the best. No correlation with the price.

    We have been caught up in tornadoes of redundancies for which long-term solutions are now required. Otherwise business appears to be humming but the inflation is clearly noticeable. I think all bets are off at this stage until the outcome of that eastern European conflict can be seen.

    Goobermints giving out cash is bribery, not economic policy. Someone must have messed up big time to have caused that. They have done the same thing here to help with rising energy costs. Because they messed up.

    Would you say mains electricity at 10 times the current price is the real, unsubsidized cost of that product and where would that subsidy be coming from? Since Australia doesn’t do manufacturing anymore, perhaps mains electricity is surplus to requirements?

    I would recommend original in left mitt and helles in right mitt, alternating imbibage from one to the other (and back).

    It is a very interesting issue because it is a direct confrontation of the financial interests and the public who are subsidizing those interests. It is clear which side the politicians are on! (as if there were any doubt)

  20. Chris,

    I’ve also seen films with lots and lots of rats. Swarming rats. No thanks. They can be nasty. All those bites make me think of death from a thousand cuts. I’d rather take my chances with a rabid female grizzly bear that woke up with a bad toothache.

    Trenches remind me of something. Oh, trenches are sorta like ditches. The cement means walls. So, ditches in front of a nice defensive wall. Like Hadrian’s Wall. Maybe Fernglade’s Bulwark?

    I have no idea what sort of wisdom I’m missing. My mum and my grandparents might have tried imparting voluminous amounts of wisdom in me. But, I wasn’t listening. 😉

    Call it a half joke, then. Some of my better ideas, at least the ones that result in useful thinking, start off as jokes. I have noticed, however, that your hard work removing brush piles has eliminated nearby rabbit habitat. With that diminished food source, there are fewer nearby snakes. In addition, the battle over rat access to the chickens has also lessened the amount of available food for the rats, with a resulting lessening of the rat population. All due to good ecological work by you. More ideas may be needed, especially regarding the rats. They would bother me more than the snakes and rabbits at this time, as they are uncannily smart. Is there any way the rats could climb a tree and jump from the tree to the roof of the house and maybe gain access from there?

    Hawthorns DO make great hedges. I dug up a lot of volunteer hawthorn seedlings years ago and gave them to one of my coworkers who lives on 10 acres. Five years later there was a fantastic hedge where one had been needed. Free hedge, and it kept people out of that part of the property while looking much better than a fence.

    Thanks for your comments, emailed and here, about the choker. I’ve now completed two. Working on them was a lot of fun. The creative process will help me with carving and pyrography also.

    Exactly, it was the rapid change that got to Dame Avalanche. And no, she does NOT get clipped short in the summer. Her outer coat is made from longish coarse hairs that allegedly protect her from the heat. Plus, clipping her too short could allow for some rather nasty sunburn. Oh, she hears the call of the wild at times. She does bay at the moon on occasion. Not often. However, a neighbor’s 3 dogs all howl and bay when the neighbor leaves. Dame Avalanche often joins in the chorus.

    ALERT: Hide this from Dame Plum! Dame Avalanche is adept at secret canine nuisance number 7 – she will bump into the back or side of the desk chair when I am working when she wants treats or attention. When sitting on the sofa, secret nuisance technique number 10 is used – repeatedly walking by and brushing against my legs. On the other hand, when I was shoveling snow, Rakhi the Samoyed would grab a hard plastic toy, sneak behind me, and jam the toy into the backs of my knees. That was her version of technique number 5.

    I too read an article about the guy and the fence painted like his boat. Cheeky indeed, but it did make his point much better than fighting about it ever could have.

    Yes, the bond issue that passed to allow the stadium to be constructed meant that all of us have to help pay for it. I’m irritated that it, and another nearby sports venue, were both built via SCHOOL bonds then deeded to the City. The big Arena is also right there. The school district and the City promised that never would there be events scheduled at any 2 of the 3 venues simultaneously. Naturally, when the first sporting event was held at the new stadium, there were events at all 3 venues simultaneously.

    There was a huge car park where the stadium now exists. The public could park there for free when no events were scheduled at the Arena. A free bus drove a circuit 3 times an hour all day. It would pick people up at the car park and take them downtown for their jobs or shopping and pick them up downtown to return them to the car park. It relieved a lot of congestion, car emissions and parking problems downtown. After the stadium construction started, the City purchased another parcel nearby, kicked out the businesses that were there, demolished the buildings and turned it into another carpark. It is less than half the size of the carpark the stadium replaced, and the free bus service no longer exists. Many of us are shaking our heads at the “dollars before environment” and “dollars before people” issues, especially from a city council that tries to come across as extremely pro-environment. Money talks.

    You caught our reasoning very well. Toppenish trips are much more important than meals out. Balancing things is required, and occasionally the balance needs to change due to outside constraints.

    Yup, the finger can be used pretty much as usual. It’s got quite a ways to go to be normal again, but it is much better and is functional now. It IS the finger that many use for “digital communication”. it is still feeling very uncommunicative. 😉


  21. Hi Pam, Crow and DJ,

    Ah, the dreaded mid-week pub, pint and half pizza hiatus is now in full force. Awful, isn’t it? But the pizza was so good and the dark ale hit the spot on a cold late autumn evening. Had been moving large rocks today, attempting to finish the rock wall on the low gradient path project, and am tired. Speak tomorrow!



  22. Hi Lewis,

    Yeah, I’d also seen those zombie fires articles, and a peat or underground fire is not something you’d ever want to experience. And I’m amazed the snow didn’t melt and put the fires out. It’s not good.

    The photos of the coastline showed some remarkable granite cliff faces where the water was smashing against the rock. I don’t suppose they have swimming beaches there, do they? It looked rugged, but then I guess along the Great Ocean Road way off to the south and west of here, there are protected bays with sandy beaches in between long stretches of sheer cliffs. Makes you wonder how such beaches will cope with rising ocean levels? That talk of the equivalent leaf peeper tourists, but for six months of the year strikes fear into my heart, so you’ve made a strong case there.

    Mr Pyle lives in an idyllic locale in the Willapa Hills. Beautiful country. Being sandwiched between the Pacific and the even biggerer mountains to the east, whoa, what fun weather they’d get. I hear you about the wild colours on the radar. Have you seen The Dark Divide film? Sounds good. What was your opinion?

    8th graders way back in those days were probably also expected to help out around the house. At that age, I was on rotation with my older sisters making meals for the family. Not to mention cleaning, and other activities. But then I was never entirely sure whether this was because it was a single parent household. Certainly my friends at that time weren’t required to do such things, but then it’s like being poor, when that’s your life, it becomes the new normal. Not such a big deal when there is a roof over your head and you aren’t dealing with hunger. One of those kids from way back in the day, might have run rings around me on a scholastic front, as back then I was going to that hippy dippy school for underprivileged children. Not the finest education… It was quite the shock to rejoin the competitive educational rat race and discover just how far behind I’d fallen. And yes, education outcomes probably was a mixed bag back in the day, however, the sorts of outcomes these days produce less highs and lows and instead homogenise the product. That may not be such a crash hot outcome either.

    Did you just say that we have an open market for the tee-shirts, with no competition? Wasn’t that a line from a film? I detecting the smell of royalties… Drats! Foiled again.

    Very funny! I’d be almost certain that their camera work will be better than ours, but will the narrative be better? At least the audio quality will be good. And that’s the question, can we manage a coherent narrative. Have to laugh, I haven’t done any filming for so long, and there are still 200 subscribers to the channel. I reckon if I make 250 subscribers after a few videos, that’ll be a total success. 🙂

    Dude, I don’t travel much nowadays either. Even basic trips from here are further, so we do use more fuel than your good self. There is something to be said for living in, or on the edge of town.

    That’s kind of how it works with such damage, and the miscreants are externalising their costs. Sometimes it amazes me that people can cause huge costs (which someone else ends up paying) for only a minor benefit to themselves. You see that happening.

    Oh my gawd! I’d not known of that banana history. My brain is now rattled and the extent of el octopus.

    All very true about resisting the siren call of junk. It can add up, can’t it? Sounds like a lot of work, and I was wondering if you thought there was even a market for the restored chairs? You hear unusual stories about the second hand market for furniture. A lot of that stuff is on faceplant meerkat place, and that looks like a wild west to me. The auction on the other hand is quite civilised.

    Did you notice that many of the plant strategies were similar to strategies used by us humans?

    It’s fun reading some older fictional investigative novels where the characters chase leads down and engage with people and ask questions. Your new 7 digit pin (which is quite a lot of numbers to remember) would put an end to that sort of activity. Except the same voicemail data is sitting on a computer server somewhere, and you’d never know if it had been hacked. You hear of spouses, partners etc. putting hidden applications on peoples smart phones. Not good, and certainly I’d call that a red flag. Hey, the pin number is almost as long as the phone number, I’d be very wary of using that as a PIN.

    We hauled rocks back up the hill today and installed them on the low gradient path. I reckon we’re about two large and ten mid sized rocks before that job is complete. Man, I said maybe three days work, and that was three weeks ago! Hubris!!!! Brought that poop down on my own head. Oh well.



  23. Imagine this- take the Macedon western upper crust properties, and the middle mountain down to earth folks, and then shuffle them randomly and redistribute to a mixed melange.

    That is more what we have here in the hilly western Wisconsin.

    Because it is marginal farmland, and so much is wooded, much land comes up for sale as farmers die or go bankrupt. Many hang on, but the properties that change hands often end up as hunting properties or weekend getaways with fancy new homes on them.

    So the cultural clash is rather interesting. Some remaining farmers are traditional corn and soybeans farmers if they were lucky enough to have some of the flat areas. Some are back to the land hippie types, here for decades, and some are recent young people disillusioned with consumerism, and kind of an echo of the older back to the land movement. There are both small traditions mainline churches still hanging on, as well as goat yoga, Reiki, crystals, and more on offer.

    The newer folks, some a residents, some as weekenders, are a mixed bag. Some feel a bit entitled, and revel in their ability to afford digs in a beautiful natural area, some understand the local vibes and respect the land and try to be stewards.

    Anyway, when you drive up through one of the hollows ( is that a word in Oz?) you never know if you will see a run down farmhouse in need of paint, or a glassy, boxy thing on stilts reminiscent of Frank Loyd Wright designs.

    And let’s not get in to politics! In general though, people get along, at least as far as I can tell, as I usually keep my head down.

    It will be quite interesting to see how things play out as the energy descent progresses.

  24. Yo, Chris – I don’t know about swimming beaches. Our coast is very … changeable. Rocky outcrops in some areas, river bays in others. See: Grays Harbor. I worked in a couple of library branches, around the harbor. Sea level rise is already impacting our coast. See: Washaway Beach.


    How did I miss “The Dark Divide?” Turns out, my local library branch may have a copy sitting on the shelf. If so, I’ll pick it up, Saturday.

    It’s often said of different periods in history (Great Depression, etc.), that “We didn’t know we were poor.”

    The film might be so old, it might be in the public domain. A quick look down the rabbit hole, says it is in the public domain. Although, it was a movie made for television. Which could complicate things, if the TV network decided to unleash their lawyers. And, since there’s a musical group, involved, there may be copyright issues, there. The Lenocracy strikes again! 🙂

    I’d suggest you at least, outline a script. Storyboard? Beginning, middle, end. The hero’s journey? 🙂 Will there be a red carpet opening? Searchlights piercing the sky? Going to send it around the film festival circuit? They usually have a category for “short subjects.”

    Yup. Banana Republics. Another notch in the bad karma tally, of the good ol’ U S of A. We’ll reap what we’ve sown.

    Chairs still have some appeal. Even in a small space, a chair can make a “statement.” Usually, easy to move and don’t take up much space. But then, I’ve always had a fondness, for chairs. Don’t know why.

    Yes, plants have some human like qualities. Though you wouldn’t want to put that in academic print, if you wanted to be take seriously. M. Night Shyamalan had that movie about plants striking back, and destroying the world, more or less. “The Happening.” 2008. I’ve wanted to see it, again, but the libraries copies have all gone missing.

    Another entry from our “Is this trip necessary” file, I was trying to get H’s paperwork filled out, last night, and there’s a page for “pet owner’s emergency contact.” So, completing the paperwork was put off for another evening, while I contacted Scott, and asked his permission. I was also looking through H’s old vet records, for her exact age. Nowhere to be found, in any form that makes sense. I figure she’s about 9. Also, I really think the old vet was bleeding Elinor dry, with tests and such. Although, it may have been Elinor, herself, who asked for tests, for every imagined ailment. Lew

  25. Hi Pam,

    Well, since you asked… 🙂 The property was $165,000 in 2005 and was so unappealing that it had been on the market for two and a half years. I got the distinct impression that when we made the offer on the land, pretty much all involved parties were surprised that anyone was interested. To put the price into perspective, in those days that amount would have secured a larger than usual block in an outer urban housing estate. And it came with no permits to do anything which an estate property would have. Those I obtained from the local council through what is commonly known as ‘sweat equity’ combined with the innate ability to follow through on Byzantine processes.

    Truly, the main disappointment with the process of building a house here was that I’d hoped to construct the thing for far less mad cash. External events in the form of the February 2009 Black Saturday bushfires changed everything by introducing a new layer of complexity to the building codes for this property. The costs were a bit of a personal nightmare, and we only just made it. How other people are coping with these additional costs is something of a mystery.

    What? No way! Pam, this is a total culinary outrage. How has the famous chicken parma not visited the shores of your fine country? Such things do happen on locals weeknights. 😉

    We may get to the fed story this week. All policies and strategies are subject to diminishing returns. Always was it thus.

    Go on, what happened to the bread? I sense a story there. 🙂 Books are a special treat for me as well.

    The banana story read like a horror story. But when they are good, they are very good, and to paraphrase some other author, when they are bad, they’re positively horrid. I told you it was a horror story!

    We struggle with crop rotation as well, and for that sun reason. Need. A. Second. Greenhouse. For. This. Purpose. Ook!

    The insulation was glass fibre. Probably super bad that stuff. Sometimes you’d find objects imbedded in it like electricity isolators. It works though.

    Oh yeah, and the tree stumps burn super hot as well. The density of the timber is the whole next level of hardwood. The old timers used to love burning something called ‘mallee root’ and it seems like a good idea to use such super dense timber, until you realise the trees were twelve hundred years old. Hmm. At least the local stuff grows fast.

    🙂 Yes, very droll. Thanks for the laughs about the baby parrot.

    I’m feeding those Meyer lemons to the chickens before pruning the branches. Nothing goes to waste.

    Kiwi fruit are also known as Chinese Gooseberries. The kiwifruit is native to central and eastern China. Incidentally down under, the word ‘Kiwi’ usually refers to people with origins in the islands of New Zealand.



  26. Hi Crow,

    Ooo, and here we delve into the arcane subject of coffee. I’d never heard of a Cortado before. Apparently it is of Spanish origin 😉 , and is equal parts espresso and steamed (not frothed) milk. Hmm, we make an 80/20 espresso/milk coffee mix, but you’ve now got me wondering: What the heck is the difference between steamed and frothed milk? I thought both used the steaming process… … Ah, Readit (sic) provides the answer. Both types of milk are steamed but the one described as ‘steamed’ has less foam. OK, fun fact. Did you know that the greater quantity of foam also represents the higher protein content of the milk? Just sayin… Soil fertility is in decline across the planet, although it is not a subject usually discussed in polite company. Fortunately, this does not describe here! 🙂

    I like the cappuccino and it’s probably the tiny bit of chocolate added to the surface. Years ago down under, coffee was a chancy prospect in terms of variability of the quality, but standards are reasonably good nowadays.

    Sorry to hear that about the redundancies, and hope your household is doing OK. The energy story in your part of the world makes little sense to me, but I’ve been wondering for a while now whether the word on the street is different from the official narrative? We tried our best with solar, and achieved 99% uptime, which is an amazing result. The grid is simply better. Things are getting more expensive here as well, and I agree all future bets are now off.

    🙂 Sound advice. The budget was announced this week, and apparently there will be a $300 annual reduction on households electricity bill, but being off grid… The ten times figure is the genuine cost for solar here at this location with the various limitations the property has to deal with like facing south west. Not ideal for winter solar power production. My gut feeling is that if the land faced north and was clear of tall trees, then the cost would be half that, at about maybe five times what households pay. The thing is, coal provides power at midnight, and is simply cheaper because no storage plus the technology required to convert the stored electrons into something useful is needed. That fossil fuel system produces, and the stuff is used. That’s a cheaper system.

    One of the biggest users of electricity on the Victorian state grid is I believe the aluminium smelter at Portland. Yeah, hmm. Aluminium is a very useful metal.

    I defer to your greater knowledge in the Bruhaus matters, and am truly envious. I’d definitely frequent such a place. 🙂 Life is short, and good brews are a gift from the brewers.

    Well, I’ve said it elsewhere, and it is worth repeating: All strategies are subject to diminishing returns, and I reckon this is where we are at now.



  27. Hi DJ,

    Swarms of rats are a horrid proposition for sure. What bamboozles me is that there are both introduced Rattus species and their local equivalents which have been around for millions of years. And I agree, bites could be nasty, but it can get worse as there’s a form of meningitis from coming into contact with their poop. You may wonder why we keep things neat and tidy here… Your scenario was like a numbers game.

    Whoa! Yeah, you’re probably right. Defensive ditches. You know, you can take the bloke out of Viking land, but can you take the Viking out of the bloke? Probably not… 🙂

    Hey, I was relying on you because I wasn’t listening either. How much fun was that joke? Hitchhikers informed much of our humour.

    I like how your brain works. And the answer is yes. The rats can climb trees. They can then jump from elevated branches onto roofs. That was one of the ways they used to be able to gain access to the chicken enclosure. A pole saw is a formidable antidote to such twitchy nosed activities – and they have no chance of getting onto the roof of either the house, or the chicken enclosure. You’ll notice in the before and after photos of the enclosure that the vegetation has been much removed around the chicken enclosure. I’ve seen rodents issuing from a large tree hollow. Such housing is in great demand from all forest critters. I dunno, I tend to believe that humans have an active role to play in managing the ecosystem to achieve various beneficial balances. Doing nothing is also an option, the outcome might not be all that great for humans though. Of course we can take things too far, and say for the introduced European honeybees, I believe that doing nothing is the best bet now – our species totally blew that story.

    Hawthorn’s will self seed, and that is a fine gift – a free fence. Such things are the same as the previous paragraph, we can make active choices as to how the land works. Just out of sheer curiosity, why were people walking around that part of the property?

    🙂 Thanks, and I too enjoy the creative process. Took a photo of a stylised wombat sign today, and may do something with that.

    Oh, I hadn’t known that about huskies. Most of the dogs I’ve known with double thick coats have troubles with the warmer months of the year. Dame Avalanche is clearly enjoying the act of singing. 🙂 The neighbours dog here howls a lot too for that reason, but I think dementia may be involved in that story. The sound doesn’t bother me one bit.

    Thanks for the alert warning. Dame Plum is always reading over my shoulder and has no need to learn such effective techniques for five, seven and ten. 🙂 So what happened at that moment, a home made pizza was being prepared in the kitchen, and the cheese packet was opened. Now weirdly, the dogs sometimes pretend not to hear commands, but I tell you they know the sound of a cheese wrapper. I swear, Dame Plum was stomping her front feet in anticipation of the necessary cheese tax. Dogs. At least she fortuitously missed those tricks of Dame Avalanche.

    That boat bloke sure did send a strong message to the home owners association. What I wondered was whether there’d be a response? But mostly I’d not want to associate with such folks.

    It is possible that the rule of stadiums came into play with that story. Well, they ain’t cheap to build and maintain and so would need to generate some mad cash. And possibly the district proved that three is better than two, just because. I’m amazed there is even a need for three such facilities. Oh, the roundabout is now open along this main road, but not from the side roads feeding onto it.

    DJ, very little of this kind of stuff makes much sense to me either. What a story, but clearly bus services and small businesses have little say in the matter.

    Had a lovely bush walk earlier today at a nearby reserve (on the other side of the range) which we’ve never visited before. It was lovely and sunny, and we decided to head back over the range via the tourist areas. Oh wow, the weather turned and the heavens opened. A lot of tourists could be seen scrambling for their cars. 5mm of rain fell, and the air is coming from the cold Antarctic south so it is now 5’C outside. Brr!

    🙂 Toppenish travel is the important stuff. Connections are everything, others mileage may vary.

    Hehe! Very funny, and glad to read that the finger is still not quite where it was before, but is on the mend. I’d initially typed ‘beforehand’ but that sounded weird…

    Yummo! Home made pizza. Made some such food choices today with the bushwalk, and they worked out well. The walk was good too, although the forest reserve had been hit by a super hot fire in 2015 and that’s not good. I saw some aspects of land management I’d change, but it ain’t my place.



  28. Hi Steve,

    You know, your description sort of is how things used to be, and still are to some extent over in that more fashionable part of the mountain range. There’s some economic income diversity over there, and it’s only really in the cities and very tourist oriented rural towns down under that extraordinary property prices have economically segregated the population. Which, makes so little sense, and is only possible due to cheap fossil fuel energy.

    Your part of the world sounds pretty cool. Steve, I thought you’d either mistyped the word goat, or you were mucking around, but no goat yoga is a real thing. 🙂 Well you learn somethin’ new everyday! Isn’t the world a fascinating place? Hmm, you know the newer nascient back to the landers might be an interesting group for the future. Hope they rebuild the soil fertility, before they need it. Even at this unfashionable middle chunk of the mountain range, property prices are inexplicable, and so younger folks have little opportunity, but you know I think things will change on that front. Already, we seem to have gone back to the days when it takes over a year or more to find a buyer for a property, and folks up here aren’t getting any younger, just sayin’. The area could use some younger energy.

    And exactly, I see that disparity too between folks with the means to exert their opinions, and the rest of us. Hmm.

    No, that particular word isn’t used in the lexicon down here. That word is used to describe wounds in large old trees which provide housing for forest critters. We might use the word ‘valley’ instead, and it doesn’t really indicate the size of the valley. But yeah, there’s a bit of that going on around these parts as well. Generally over in the more fashionable end of the mountain range, the older houses are maintained, but in other parts there’s a bit of the steel and glass box construction gear going on. Hmm.

    I prefer a house to appear as if it is meant to be in the location, and not stand out like a sore thumb.



  29. Chris:

    That’s about what our property cost per acre when we bought it in 1990, when I figured yours using 30 acres, though maybe you have more? We were not too bright, because this – Albemarle County – has always been expensive and yet we really wanted to stay in this county. We would have done better to go to an outlying one. We found our property through a handball friend of my husband’s, who lived on this same road and suggested that we call an elderly lady that owned these 5 acres. We actually had to talk her into it, and she got a good deal, because 10 years earlier the handball friend had bought his land up here for $200 an acre.

    Chicken Parma is on these shores – I just never met it. I could make some . . . As for my latest bread: It was worth a laugh, being somewhat stunted, but it was delicious.

    Need. A. First. Greenhouse. Ook!

    We found – before all their entryways were blocked – mouse nests in our original fiberglass insulation in the attic. How can they stand it? What about the hairless baby mice?

    I see that it freezes some in Central China, so there you go with the kiwis. I have always wondered why New Zealanders are called after a fruit.


  30. Hi Lewis,

    Today’s conundrum is why are ‘apple cakes’ down here described as a cake, rather than an apple pie? Here’s a photo, and it may illuminate the problems I have to grapple with on a day to day basis: File:Apple cake Australian (cropped).jpg. Had a particularly tasty one today for lunch as well as a corned beef salad roll. We went for a bushwalk at a nearby forest reserve and opted for the more strenuous Ridge Climb. A nearby bakery provided lunch, the sun shone, there was hardly anyone else around, and all was good with the world. Black Hill Reserve. The views of the surrounding area which is quite agricultural were pretty good.

    By the time, we’d gotten back home again, it was raining and cold. It’s 41’F outside now, brr! Got the wood heater going and had a well deserved nap.

    Whoa! When the top end of town suggests others should reign in their debt habit, that may indicate something about the persons internal fears about where things may be headed. The very first photo from that article the bloke sort of had the spitting image of the character Q from the Star Trek Next Generation franchise. It was uncanny.

    Oh no! Well, the lady has plenty of mad cash, and some of that could be used to support artists. The way I see the world, is that if artists aren’t supported, the outcome of their works can be highly variable, and at a wild guess, this may possibly be the case here. 🙂 Vincent Namatjira says he ‘paints the world as he sees it’ in response to Gina Rinehart portrait controversy. Nobody ever suggested that art wasn’t meant to reveal and amuse. Sure made me laugh. That facial expression could maybe be described in the Australian vernacular as a: “Stunned Mullet”. Melissa McCarthy is a very amusing actor, and could probably perform that face.

    That sort of erosion is fast. Oh my 100ft a year, little wonder North Cove has been given that nickname. There were photos of houses which had fallen into the drink. Far out. I’d be highly dubious of offers for cheap ocean front land there.

    Cool. I’ll look forward to hearing your review of the film. It was released during you-know-what, and that seems to have affected many film releases. Don’t mind a film of someone heading out into the wilderness.

    I can vouch for that saying. In the 1970’s few people lived in single parent households, and you could say that as a family we were quite err, progressive. But it was an unusual enough arrangement to be rare, but I didn’t notice or the lack of cash, although I’m certain it would have been a subject of discussion. Never found out what my grandfather thought about it, but they were all supportive and helped out. What surprised me about that taking of assistance, is that the very people who got the help, point blank refused to assist the Editor and I, on all fronts. That experience always struck me as a good metaphor for the sort of world we are gifting to future generations.

    The tee shirt idea sounded too good to be true, and yet again our dreams of massive wealth have founded upon the rocky shores of abstract legalisms. Is that film really in the public domain now?

    Thanks for the advice, and yes, I believe that following a traditional narrative sequence has much to recommend it. At least people can follow along. Don’t you hate films that have no discernible beginning and conclusion? With the video stuff, we’ll probably get better as we go along, but will always recall that the audience engagement must come first. No point making something that nobody wants to view. It’s given me some ideas for the business as well. Sooner or later, I’m going to have to begin some training and handing over of the old timey business skills.

    You’re not wrong. That banana story was hard to read. And they do say that the chickens always come home to roost. Hey, we’re in this here same ship up to our eyeballs down under as well.

    It’s funny how you can have an enjoyment of objects and especially the hands on restoring of those items. Man, I really like how the old Victorian era houses were built, and if they’re still around a 130 years on, that says something about quality of construction. When restoring items, you get to know them and can pick up on the stories of how they were put together in the first place. It’s like a connection into the past, yeah.

    Fortunately academics hardly take me seriously, so such things can be said here! 🙂 I really enjoyed The Sixth Sense and Unbreakable films, great story telling, and something very different from your average cinema fare. Did you rate those films well? I’ll bet you picked the ending of The Sixth Sense, the Editor did, but was under firm instructions not to ruin the surprise. 🙂

    Hope Scott was OK with the request? Yes, people do seem to enjoy having their pets poked and tested. That activity seems to have increased with something called pet insurance, whatever that is. Someone asked me about the cost of that contract and I was left looking at them going: “What are you even talking about?” Probably need to get out more. Ook!

    It’s cold here tonight. Brr! Hope the rain holds off tomorrow so we can finish the rock work on the low gradient path project. Hubris I tell you! 🙂



  31. Hi Chris,

    I have had to check because I thought the Cortado used condensed milk but that would be the cortado condensada. Of greater interest for these pages would be the barraquito, which combines everything you could ever want in a beverage. Four layers consisting of espresso, licor 43, frothed milk and condensed milk – the big 4!

    Interesting about the protein. I thought it was because of the lack of homogenization in the milk so that the more organic it is, the worse it will froth. I had assumed the non-organic milks used more chemicals to achieve a homogeneous produce which helps generate a greater frothiness. If you try to froth the clumpy organic stuff, your starting with a handicap?

    The garden we usually rent gives a wonderful first-hand experience into soil fertility. The soil is unbelievably fertile because they pile oodles of horse manure on it every year. I can contrast the product I generate from that soil with even good quality expensive farmer’s market stuff. It is cheating really. The stuff you get at the supermarket is a joke.

    Someone once told me that in London they saw coffee places advertised as employing Melbourne baristas so there is a reputation!

    Thanks for your kind words. Do you think you have maxed out what you can do with your current system? Hypothetically, if you could build everything from scratch, could you make it such that you could bring the cost down to something like five times the cost? What would you change? Probably your main concern now is not electron maximization but longevity of components I would guess?

  32. Yo, Chris – Just a guess. But as far as the Apple Pie / Cake conundrum goes, maybe it’s called a cake, because it’s got frosting on the top? I had to look up “Corned Beef” salad roll. We don’t seem to have them, here. But maybe under another name. There were plenty of wraps, with meat and veg.

    The Black Hill Reserve looks very pretty. I noticed, though, when they talked about wildlife, they didn’t mention snakes. 🙂 If they did, it might cut down on the number of punters and day trippers. Or, not.

    Speaking of wildlife … When I took H out for a walk, about 11, last night, just as we stepped out the backdoor, there was a loud CRACK! from up in the woods. As if a branch had broken … or been stepped on. H seemed more alert than usual. I kept my eye on the tree line, and we didn’t linger.

    Cool and overcast, here. We did get some rain, last night, but not much.

    Yes, when billionaires get nervous, there might be something in the wind. Some of that lot have even suggested that they don’t think they’re paying enough taxes.

    King Charles portrait is also getting a lot of attention. Everyone’s a critic … I thought the face and hands were particularly well done. I don’t know about all that red. The butterfly was a nice touch.

    I think anyone who buys ocean front property, these days, is not paying attention. Or, pretending it’s not happening. Like this gent …


    I’ll probably get “Dark Divide” on Saturday. Maybe. Even though the catalog says there’s a copy, on the shelf, at my local branch, it’s being sent in from some other branch. This has happened, before. Why? No explanations are on offer. So, I may have to run into the library. Or, maybe I’ll just request, whoever is on the drive in window, to go have a look.

    So, the grade school I went to, back in the 1950s, had about 70 students in my grade level. Only two students, came from single parent households. I remember that “divorced women” had a bit of a “that’s not done” atmosphere around them. Of course, that went out the window, with the 1960s social changes and the rise of feminism.
    High time, too.

    The film is in the public domain, according to the rabbit hole. And we know, anything from the rabbit hole, is true! 🙂 If I were serious about the whole thing, I think I’d have a copyright lawyer, look into it. Just to make sure.

    Films with no ending. A lot of director’s say, it’s up to the audience to provide an ending. I think the director has lost the plot, and it’s just an excuse. They couldn’t figure out an ending, so, punted to the audience.

    I watched an interesting older film, last night. “To Die For.” Nicole Kidman and Matt Dillon. It’s about the seeking of, and cost of, celebrity in the U S of A. A rerelease as part of the Criterion Collection.


    Our library system gets a lot of those. Some are pretty interesting.

    I still remember, when as a teen-ager, knocking apart a small Victorian commode. It was lose in all it’s joints. I also discovered it was easier to refinish, in pieces, than as a whole. But even though it was a factory made piece, I felt a real connection to the folks who had built it.

    I’ve liked most of S. Night Shyamalan’s films. Unfortunately, most of his older one’s, that I would like to rewatch, have worn out, or strayed in our library system. 🙁 .

    Pet insurance seems to be a newish thing. H is self insured 🙂 . I can break my savings account, into different accounts. There’s one for “Dog.” I toss $100 a month in there. Scott was willing to take on the responsibility, in case I should drop dead. I also ran into my next door neighbor, last night. Or, my next door neighbor’s caregiver. I have an elderly neighbor, and her daughter is her caregiver. She doesn’t live there, but is around, a lot. Pleasant, but talks too much. So, I’ll also add her, to H’s paperwork.

    I read some more of the plant book, last night. Interesting stuff. Electricity. Of course, we’re pretty much run by electrical impulses. It’s how our bodies communicate with the command and control center … our brains. Well, it’s been known for a long time, that plants are also electric. It’s been recently discovered (new tracking tech), that a small injury, even to one leaf, and electrical impulses ripple (or waves) through the whole plant. But, instead of neurons, like us, there’s some other mechanism, which is currently being teased out. But there’s no command and control center, ie, a brain. But what if … and this is only being whispered, at present, in the halls of botany … what if … the entire plant is one big brain? It just boggles the mind 🙂 Lew

  33. Chris,

    That was a good joke in the books and in the original BBC radio program. It’s always enjoyable to play it out when circumstances allow. The development of my sense of humor would have been stunted without the Hitchhiker series. It also allowed my sense of humor to become warped. That’s okay…space is warped, isn’t it? 😉

    Living harmoniously with your surroundings doesn’t mean doing nothing and letting your surroundings overwhelm you. Rather, it probably means finding a balance between letting things run amok versus eradicating everything you dislike. Rats and poisonous snakes have their places. They also have places they shouldn’t be. Some forest management is good. Etc. Unfortunately, we tend to take things much too far.

    I have no idea why people were on that part of my coworker’s property. People trespass, camp out, damage things?

    Secret project number 2 was completed Friday. Killian’s owner and I learned how to etch glasses. 12 total, 2 different patterns of 6 glasses each. The preparation work was challenging and took a lot of time. We had fun, Killian and Dame Avalanche had fun, and the project was successful.

    Opening anything plastic gets the attention of Avalanche. Opening cheese, however, takes that interest to a much more intense level. The cheese tax gets paid. It’s mandatory.

    Rain at 5C and lower is cold. I prefer snow at -10C, actually. Doesn’t feel as cold to me as +5C and raining.

    Hmmm, if there’s a beforehand, is there also a “behindhand”? Or does beforehand refer to before the hand was injured, so now I’m dealing with “afterhand”? Then where do overhand and underhand fit in?


  34. Hi Pam,

    It’s about 22.5 acres, which is quite a lot of land really. I barely see a third of it, and the rest is heavily forested. It’s hard to know what to do on that front you mentioned, and hindsight is a harsh light in which to view earlier decisions. We had a choice of purchasing a similar sized block of land, but about thirty minutes west of here. The soils there are some of the newest on the continent, and did I mention it was flatter than here? And also had a natural spring bubbling away up the back. Yeah, didn’t make that choice because it was the extra distance from the big smoke that became the decider. But from an agricultural point of view, it would have been a far better choice, and it was cheaper too. But I hear you, life is like that, and you end up where you end up.

    Incidentally, looking at the photos of your part of the world is like looking at photos from around these parts. You live in a pretty part of the world.

    That’s good to hear that a person can purchase this Aussie culinary classic meal on your shores. But is it the same? 🙂 I tell you, some nefarious folks trying to save a few bucks use schnitzels that utilise compressed chicken, whereas the best really are made from proper chicken breast. Yum! Making some is always an option, and you get to go the chunky chip route, as distinct from fries. Makes a difference…

    Hehe! It’s the taste and freshness that makes home made bread superb. Long ago I forgot to add the yeast to the dough mix, and that’s a problem. Makes for a very thin loaf. Ook! Did you enjoy making the bread?

    Oh my, that’s a double ook situation. Do you reckon a greenhouse would work in your part of the world? Some of the extreme low temperatures you experience, might make the greenhouse not work properly – at a guess, but I don’t really know. Although I reckon it would help really cold hardy vegetables like kale, mustards and purple broccoli.

    I presume that you and Doug installed the fibreglass insulation in the attic when you built the house? It’s itchy stuff isn’t it? I don’t know why the rats would want to make a nest in that stuff either. Yuk.

    A Kiwi is also a ground dwelling bird with a long pointy beak in that country, and the folks took the name on. It’s a commonly heard word down here to describe someone from that country.

    It’s 37’F outside right now, and was 35’F this morning! Brr! Hopefully the starches in those fruits are converting to sugars. That’s the plan anyway – at the moment, the fruit is inedible, but cut up into small chunks makes for great chicken feed.



  35. Hi Crow,

    Oh my goodness, the cortado condensada would be one sweet coffee! 🙂 That is the big 4, yeah! Actually, we’ve made some licor 43 over the years using a vodka base. It’s good stuff, although I’m sure we weren’t close to the original secret recipe. Like all secret recipes, the contents get discussed and guessed at upon the interweb. One then only but need use their best judgement. When I was a kid, Irish Coffee used to be a thing, and that was an equally potent brew for cold winters evenings. Dunno whether you’ve ever seen the mugs used for the stuff, but they were invariably the same sort of white ceramic with a bright green three leaf clover imprinted.

    Yeah, maybe, but organic or non-organic is not really a good guide as to the protein content of any milk. In fact, dairy is pretty hard on soils, and long term it is possible to end up with all sorts of mineral imbalances from that farming. Not to go too deep into the matter, but the protein content in milk does vary with the seasons probably peaking with the late spring / early summer grasses. You can see the same thing with egg production too. During late winter / early spring, I’ll feed the chickens some mince meat from time to time.

    That’s been my experience as well. What you’re looking for is the best tasting fruit and vegetables, and that’s a good guide as any to what food will give the best health outcomes, mostly because it is chock full of goodies. But then people tend to prefer cheap, and that’s an option as well. I’ve never used horse manure, do they compost it first? The worms would love that stuff.

    🙂 Melbourne has some excellent coffee culture. I knew a bloke who worked as a barista who did some years in the UK.

    The system is maxed out for production in that the sun will only provide the energy that it provides, and no more. For three weeks either side of the winter solstice (which is two weeks away), energy production is not good. But that is because the sun is very low in the sky, and winter brings thick cloudy storms. Why they ever thought things would work differently in your country which is further north than this latitude, is something of a mystery to me. I’ve now come around to pointing out to people that if the plants aren’t growing, there’s little energy to be had from the sun.

    There’s been a bit of waste in the system because originally I believed the hype around some components. The fuses are a classic example. Do not use cheap fuses. Nuff said really. 🙂 But lately, as you right point out, we’ve been going for resilience, backup and longevity of components. If there was a better way…



  36. Hi DJ,

    Wow, my brain has now exploded. You’re right, space is warped, and so that’s clearly the explanation for our collective sense of humour. 🙂 Monty Python did some damage as well, and you may never have seen The Goodies. It’s hard to un-see the Life of Brian film, or the quest for The Holy Grail. Back in the day, I watched the BBC Hitchhikers series when it was released on television, and I reckon it would still be amusing today. Of course, in those days they also used to do radio plays, and I listened to the series as well and had maybe even heard that first. What a rabbit hole you sent me on there! Fun stuff.

    That’s it exactly, work softly within the land to find a workable compromise. It certainly doesn’t me ‘do nothing’ in my books, but neither does it mean ‘taking everything’. More than half the produce here gets consumed by all the various forest critters, and that’s cool, they do their bit for the land as well. My perspective is to try and reduce the number of imbalances. If the tall trees had their way, there’d only ever be tall trees and precious little else. All species can take things too far, and that’s no good for anything.

    Ook! We’ve had some folks trespass here from time to time, which is why I asked. It’s always an unusual circumstance to which they attempt to baffle with talk. I don’t think so.

    Respect, and the glasses look great. The stencils would have been difficult to make, and I’m frankly curious, what material did you use for them? An etching tool would be hard on a stencils edges.

    Ha! Dogs know cheese. Dame Avalanche has clearly performed human behaviour experiment number five on you, and no doubts has posted the results on world canine paw. Dame Plum commented upon her entry earlier this evening. That’s a lot of cheese, and now the fluffy collective are demanding a higher rate of cheese tax. A butterfly flaps its wings in the Amazonian rainforest, a dog eats cheese in eastern Washington, and there are consequences in the far corners of the planet!

    Anywhoo, I had human behaviour experiment number eight performed on me this evening. We’d split and hauled rocks today, and have now finished the rock work on the low gradient path project. And the peasants rejoiced! 🙂 Had a coffee and Anzac biscuit to celebrate and then took the dogs for a walk. Oh my, either I was tired from all the rock work, or Dame Plum was pulling on the lead badly. After a few minutes, we had a conversation that dog and I. Dame Avalanche has probably already read the results of the experiment… 😉

    It’s now 2’C this evening, and oh yeah, at such low temperatures the rain feels icy.

    I am now in awe of your sophistry, and retire from the field. But you’re right, is it underhanded, or overhanded?



  37. Hi Lewis,

    Yeah, maybe it is the icing which lends the bakery treat that cake moniker? Hadn’t considered that aspect. It isn’t technically what may be identified by a reasonable person as a cake, but we may be venturing into the land of argument by definition.

    Corned beef has an interesting history, and it’s quite tasty. It’s a very English form of canned meat, although when I was a kid, it used to be grey and boiled I believe. I still recall the twine wrapped around the meat to hold it together. I think in your country it may have gotten a bad rap as it was consumed by only the very lowest classes of society. The other thing which always confused me is that Old English uses the word ‘corn’ to describe many different grains.

    Hehe! Yes, when walking yesterday at the reserve, we kept a watch for various reptiles. You could see wombat scats, and at one point a wallaby bounced away, but the reserve was quiet. The fire in 2015 has reduced the habitat and feed. There was a bit of bird life higher up the hill. It was a good walk. Hey, it was pretty cold here today and hadn’t gotten much past 48’F, although it was sunny. I reckon that will scare the leaf change tourists away. The rain and wind last night probably knocked off many of the remaining leaves. It’s only 35’F outside tonight. Brr!

    Wise to not ignore such sounds. They can mean little, but equally, such sounds can mean a whole lot. Dogs know.

    That’s the thing with paper wealth, what’s it really worth? And nobody ever knows how such individuals structure their arrangements – look at the Game Stop short squeeze activities and the fall out from that. The truth is only ever known, once the dust settles. It’s possible if they’ve accumulated so many notes, there’s a strong possibility that they haven’t paid enough in taxes. Your goobermint spends far more than it brings in, that’s a problem.

    I also thought the face was done really well in that portrait, I just didn’t comprehend the need for all that red either. Was it symbolic of something else? What’s wrong with a traditional portrait? You’ve got sharp eyes, I totally missed the butterfly, yes I tend to agree, and it even lends a softness. What’s with Lucian Freud’s portrait of Queen Elizabeth II? Modern art…

    Isn’t that gent amusing with the bill? You can’t hate him for honesty. I believe that it is a problem to mess around with the balance of gasses in the atmosphere, but truly, despite all the rhetoric and heat generated in the media and talking heads in relation to such concerns, I ain’t seein’ much action. Nope, we’ll get to enjoy the consequences, and that’s the future. For me, it’s kind of like the greenpiece (sic) charity mugger breaking my bits about the bleaching of the coral reefs, and yet when I pointed out ‘how much of any of this stuff is sustainable’, well he said that he felt sorry for me. OK, that’s cool, it’s an option, but it’s also a major dodge of the core issues. So, I’m just out here on the fringe, doin’ my thing. 🙂 Dude, the systems and processes which got us into this mess, won’t be the ones that get us out of it again.

    Did you pick up the film at the library today?

    We split some more rocks today, then hauled a whole lot of them back up the hill. I now declare the rock work on the low gradient path project, complete! I now only have to add in the crushed rock with lime surface, and the project will be totally done. We’ve just run out of the crushed rock with lime and will have to order some more. I think that will be it for rock works for a few weeks at least. The plan is to do some other activities around the property for the next two weeks, and then get onto, milling. That will be interesting as I’ve never done anything like that before. I’ve been looking into how the old timers preserved wood, and oh my, what a fun use of fossil fuels. I’ll bet it will stink.

    That’s how it was here in the 1970’s where there was that social reaction to the family circumstances you mentioned. But also, I’m not stupid enough to believe that there were many familial circumstances in those days where a lot of bad stuff went on behind closed doors. My understanding of my own situation was that it was mum who was the trouble in the household, but then her mother was actually institutionalised. That’s not good. When things are going wrong in relationships, sometimes they can’t be rescued, that’s life, so divorce can be a good thing too.

    Thanks for the astute observation in relation to film conclusions. True.

    I hadn’t heard of the Criterion collection before. Hey, did the film have the scene specific audio commentary? That would be very interesting to hear.

    Don’t you learn a lot by dismantling items, and then restoring them? I bought a second hand camera tripod recently, it’s quite good quality, but I over tightened one bolt and broke some plastic. Figured out a work around. Older plastic can be a bit brittle. That commode may have been factory made, but I reckon it would have been assembled entirely by hand.

    Oh bummer about the films not being at the library.

    H is possibly wise to be self insured, as are the fluffies. Hopefully they stay well, but mostly I treat them for any minor stuff here, and they’ll only ever go to the vet if they’re really sick or injured. Good to hear Scott will take on that role, if so required. You never know, H may revel in the long winded conversations?

    Whoa! That’s a thought, to which I hope proves an accurate description of plants consciousness. Hopefully the plants don’t mind being eaten? Although they might, but I reckon plants encourage fruits and seeds to be consumed so that they’re moved around the land.



  38. Chris:

    Oh, uck – compressed chicken.

    I love to bake bread. I was still baking our breads with wheat flour even though I have been gluten free for almost 10 years. The wheat stuff is so easy compared to GF. My breads have to be vegan, too, and I try to always use my sourdough starter. I was glad of that when bought yeast was hard to come by in the time of you-know-what.

    A greenhouse would work well here. I know many people who have one. We might need auxiliary heat in the winter; I am not sure. It depends on how well it is built and where it is situated. Luckily, kale, mustards, and cabbages, grow here outside in winter. They can go dormant and pick up growing again in warmer spells, including in spring. I doubt if we’ll build a greenhouse until we buy a bigger property.

    We now have Rock Wool insulation in the attic.

    “ROCKWOOL insulation is a rock-based mineral fiber insulation comprised of Basalt rock and Recycled Slag. Basalt is a volcanic rock (abundant in the earth), and slag is a by-product of the steel industry. The minerals are melted and spun into fibers.”

    You are cold!


  39. Yo, Chris – Actually, Corned Beef is pretty esteemed, over here. Especially around St. Pat’s Day. Even for people whose ancestors didn’t hail from the Emerald Isles. Corned Beef, cabbage and potatoes. Just about every restaurant here, has a Corned Beef sandwich, of some kind, on the menu. It’s also a big deli item. Delis run by Jewish folks, or otherwise.

    Yes, years ago, I was reading some book (by a British author) on the Romans. And “corn” was mentioned. And, I’m thinking, “Wait a minute. That was centuries before the Trans-Columbian exchange.” Only to discover that “corn” is loosely thrown around, to describe all kinds of grains. Better to describe our product as “maize,” just to avoid confusion.

    Well, the weather here has been … coolish. And will continue to be so, for awhile. The next week’s forecast is for days in the 60sF, (One day, even in the upper 50s) and nights in the low 40sF. (With one night forecast to be in the upper 30sF.) Scattered clouds. Rain, but not too much.

    Looks like just about everyone’s goober mint spends more than they take in. A government entity that has a balanced budget, would be real news.

    Well, the governor of that state, will probably loose half of it, by the end of the century. If things stay on track. But, ya gotta keep those ocean side property values, up! That charity mugger probably had deployed that thought stopper, before. Maybe with better results, with other people, than you.

    No, I did not pick up the film at the library. And, when I roll through the pick-up window, this afternoon, (depending on who’s working), I want answers. There are probably 15 copies of that film, sitting on shelves around the system. As it was, in Chehalis. So, what happened yesterday? Someone checked it out. If it had been pulled, when I placed the order, it would have been waiting for me, today. As is, I probably won’t see it til next Wednesday. Oh, well, plenty of other things to watch, in the meantime.

    By the way, I watched a very good movie, last night. “The Taste of Things.” Set in Victorian France. Might become a cult classic, as “Babbitt’s Feast.” I’d say, half the movie is about food preparation. And, the gardens!

    It’s Cannes Film Festival, time. Talk about something in the wind. Reading about a lot of the entries, they mostly seemed dark and weird. Nick Cage’s Australian surfer film, was well received. Though reading the plot, I don’t think I want to see it.

    I don’t listen to the film commentaries. I’d have to watch a film twice. And, I don’t have that kind of time. If you want to tell me something about the making of a film, do it in the DVD “extras.” Those, I occasionally check out. I notice an older S. Night film, popped up, on the library “new” purchases list. So maybe … But, unfortunately, it’s not one I really wanted to see. But, I may give it a whirl, anyway.

    Congratulations on finishing the path rock work. Yes, different activities, using different muscles. Kind of a palette cleanser. 🙂

    Oh, I agree. Sometimes, divorce is the only answer.

    I found some more paperwork on H, and, there’s a birthdate! She turned 10, last month. Older than I thought. Missed her birthday. No wonder she’s been moody. 🙂

    I read another couple of chapters in the plant book, last night. Do plants hear? Sort of. Do plants have memory? Maybe.

    Well, it’s Saturday night, and there may, or may not be cheeseburgers, on offer, at the Club. I’ve been eating rice and veg, all week, so, can afford a bit of a splurge. Lew

  40. Yo, Chris – Sychronicity! Cosmic! The 25 most popular sandwiches in the world. Even your beloved Behn Mi is on there. But the sandwich, often seen in US cafes (that I couldn’t remember the name of,) is, The Reuben. Corned beef with sauerkraut on a good rye bread.


    The Earl of Sandwich has a lot to answer for. 🙂 Lew

  41. Hi Pam,

    It’s not right, but plenty of people wouldn’t notice the difference between chicken compound product and actual chicken breast. And plenty more people are happy with the lower price. I’m just sceptical of how the compound product is made.

    Ah, I see. Out of curiosity, and please accept my dodgy memory as a real thing, but did you get reactions from gluten? I’ve long since suspected that what we now know as bread wheat flour, is not the same sort of plant grown 100 years ago. The wheat in those days grew taller, and so something must have been lost. It’s a bit like the bees really, the industrial processes have arranged the production to make it easier for them, but not necessarily with the bees best long term interests in mind.

    Ah yes, that was my thoughts as well with the additional heat which is an expensive option both in terms of energy and labour, but it may provide an advantage with the plants which over winter anyway. Like when conditions are good, they’ll get off to a flying start. That’s sort of what we’re seeing here. And it’s been another cold and rainy day here. Brr!

    Yeah, I know rock wool. It comes in grades, and is also used as insulation around serious commercial furnaces. We used the serious temperature graded stuff sitting on steel sheet around all roof edges in order to protect against bushfires. It’s good stuff, and I hope you’re enjoying the benefits. In other less fire prone areas, we used the fibreglass stuff to try and reduce the costs. The bushfire building codes almost depleted the reserves… Seriously, it was quite grim right at the end of that house building project. And to think we went in with the idea of getting someone else to assist with the building, and this is not a big house. Oh well.



  42. Hi Lewis,

    I’m so salivating after having reviewed the 24 best sandwiches, and I must say the Katsu sando from Japan is very similar to what people might expect down here with the chicken schnitzel sandwich. The Po’boy sandwiches I’ve enjoyed aren’t nearly as large and filling as the article suggested, but then I’ve not visited New Orleans, and the one here use slow cooked pulled pork which was awesome. Sadly, the restaurant closed… Now, having grown up eating these horrid things, I can not in all good conscience recommend the cucumber sandwich. Revolting things. Yuk. But, perhaps a personal preference there? Maybe? I don’t mind the Reuben, but for some weird reason, the makers insist upon using the Brioche, which as you’d know, contains a lot of sugar. Bread for me is not meant to be sweet tasting, but again a personal preference. And if I may say so, the Bánh mì looked like the healthiest option, just sayin’! 🙂 Thanks for the food rabbit hole. Yum!

    I hadn’t realised that corned beef was a standard in your country, and was esteemed. It’s quite tasty, although I’ve not been subjected to super salty varieties and my grandmother used to make it. Even the fatty chunks on the meat were super tasty. And I recall it was served with roast potatoes, pumpkin and other vegetables like peas. So good. We don’t have your deli culture down under, but honestly, I’d eat at such a place, especially if the food was freshly prepared. Deli down here usually refers to a place selling cold meats and speciality cheeses, but not food to eat directly.

    That threw me as well, and for the same reasons. What do you mean by the word ‘corn’ in the middle ages? 🙂 Ah, the language is a flexible beast is it not? Nobody really calls it maize unless they’re referring to animal feed.

    Your weather has turned towards the cooler. Hope the fruit trees are doing OK with such whiplash weather? It was rainy and cold here today, so I headed down to the shed and serviced and repaired many of the machines. I don’t really show that stuff on the blog, but we’ll probably do such things on the utoob side of things. I like to make sure that they’re all working as was intended by the manufacturers.

    The Editor was late with dog training, because they were doing some dog trial today. Ruby was perhaps over stimulated and didn’t come last, but maybe… The dog lives in bubble land, and that training is really good to show the dog that things could be worse, so get with the program.

    They look like debt addicts to me. It’s like having an online shopping addiction, but biggerer. Speaking of which, I’m having to replace my worksite radio and am waiting on an auction to finish in a few minutes. Why pay more, when second hand in good condition does the job? Hang on… … Got it, but there was some last seconds action, that’s why a good interweb connection helps. Those knock about radio things are expensive.

    Oh yeah, they’ll need to grab a snorkel where things are headed in that part of your country, and perhaps watch out for the gators. That’s always been the risk with low lying land. We think of the Earth as a constant, but it ain’t! You said something long ago about where all the rock work I’m doing will eventually end up, and I can’t fault your logic.

    The charity mugger was trying it on, all he really wanted was the mad cash. The underlying reality did not reflect well upon him, or his group.

    Did you get answers at the library? You’ve been presented with a mystery. As you say, there’s plenty more fish in the sea to watch. The Editor has taken the bait with the Funny Woman series.

    Whoa, I watched the trailer and it was an intense film what with all the food and tension, as the French can do. The imagery was superb. Added to the to-see list. Thanks!

    That’d be the film Nick Cage was working on over in Western Australia. Read a deep review on the film and the question I’m left with is: Do I need to find myself in that head space?

    I was wondering how that worked? The commentary audio would probably be louder than the actors audio, and so yeah, that’s a double view. Does the film need a second viewing? And you’ve already answered the question.

    Yeah, some relationships can’t be saved, then that’s the answer. In only recent times (well from my perspective as a kid) folks were very weird and judgemental about that option. Dunno.

    I’d be annoyed by that as well. So how do you intend to make it up to H for this missed birthday? It’s quite a notable achievement. I tell you what, during you-know-what, I missed a few birthdays, but none were sadder than a particularly big one, the 5-oh. Yep, forgiveness is hard, and I may not get there! 🙂 But I do have to get writing, holy carp it’s late.

    Go the splurge! Did you get your cheeseburger? Had nachos and cider for lunch – the lunch of champions if I may say so, although I needed a nap afterwards to digest the goodness.

    Cheers and seriously better get writing!


  43. Yo, Chris – Oh, I don’t know. A cucumber sandwich might be OK, if the cucumbers were good and crisp. Depends on what’s in it, besides cucumbers. Onion? And the spread, or secret sauce. A Reuben sandwich should only be on a good, dark, rye bread.

    My apartments rather chilly this morning. But, the sun is shining, so, it will heat up soon enough. In the meantime, I’ll just break out a jumper.

    You could probably do a whole U Toob episode on your go-around with solar. Smash a few sacred cows. I bet the comments for that episode would be … interesting. Might cut a few of the useless one’s by saying you’re only interested in hearing from people with real experience with solar, and not arm chair theorists or wishful thinkers. 🙂

    Hmm. I’d never considered that you had worksite radios. But, given the size of your place, it makes sense. Safety and convenience. I learn something new, every day. As, I didn’t know you’d crossed that age milestone. Funny, when I talk to people about my “friends in Australia,” I usually say your in your early to mid forties.

    Well, I really didn’t get much of an answer, at the library, as to why they’d ship something across four counties, when a copy was sitting on the shelf. Algorithms, or something. Or, if another branch ran its “pull holds” list, before Chehalis. So, my best bet is to either put a item that’s sitting in Chehalis, on hold, and then give them a call to pull it off the shelf, or, put an item on hold, and run in and get it, myself. Not very satisfying solutions, but there you are. I did pick up season three of “Foyle’s War,” so that will keep me occupied.

    Yes, I think I’ll skip that particular Nick Cage movie.

    Well, there were cheeseburgers, last night, and they were tasty. But, I got them to go, and ate them at home. Why, you may ask? Because that horrible woman, who lives here with her two enormous dogs, was parked down at the Club. She was bounced once. I’m sure she will be again. In fact, I think she needs to go before the board, to be reinstated. Something I’ll drop in a few ears. But, as far as the cheeseburgers and tacos go, our chef is thinking of not doing it, anymore. Sigh. All good things come to an end.

    I read another chapter of the plant book, last night. How plants communicate, maybe, with other plant species, for one reason or another. And how they bend insects and animals to their will. Either for defense or pollination. Some maize plants can identify the type of caterpillar that is munching on it, and send out phonemes to attract a particular kind of wasp, to kill that particular type of caterpillar.

    I watched a film bio on the musician Little Richard, last night. Pretty interesting. He influenced a lot of musicians, from The Beatles, to David Bowie, to The Rolling Stones. But didn’t get credit for it, until really late in life. He really was The King of Rock and Roll. Lew

Comments are closed.