Given the chance

Last week, I mentioned the state governments appetite for debt. That escalating debt business seems to be all the rage these days in western countries, and so I thought in the interests of equal opportunity, we’d take a quick sticky beak at what the federal government is doing on that front:

Australian Federal government debt in millions of dollars

That’s a lot of debt. You can read some interesting things into the above graph. The black bars show the locals appetite for taking on further debt really hasn’t grown much over the last eight years or so. The blue bars show that people living overseas initially had a big interest in the debt, but that craze also appears to have slowed of late. And because the appetite for spending more than they earn seems to be the way of things for the federal government, the RBA (Reserve Bank of Australia) is clearly making up the difference recently.

Kind of like leaving a bunch of kids in charge of a lolly shop.

The graph looks mighty similar to the growth in the state governments debt. Here’s a reminder of what that looked like.

Victorian state government debt in billions of dollars

My grandfather grew up in the Great Depression, and he held strong views on debt. To my shame, as a young bloke I tried to hit him up for a loan of $50. I’d hoped to convert the loan to a gift. Hopes are sometimes dashed upon the solid rocks of reality, and that was the case here. The old fella taught me a hard, but worthwhile lesson about the seriousness of debt. If the free spending folks in charge of this country are any guide, it’s possible those serious folks missed that lesson.

If only debt were made of rocks, that would put a halt to loose spending! I often joke about us having gone well past Peak Rocks. But all the easy rocks are now gone and used up in projects. People inevitably comment that this situation cannot possibly be the case, especially given all of the rocks we do use in projects. But it really is true. Nowadays if we want to use rocks in projects, we have to head way down the hill and off into the forest looking for boulders to split apart. It’s no joke, breaking apart boulders into large rocks is hard work, and those rocks are heavy as. Just to add to the rock costs, they all need to be hauled back up the hill where the projects are. Rocks are hard work, and with each new project using rocks, it is just that little bit harder than previously.

Alert readers will know that whilst I write about rocks, you could just as easily substitute in the word ‘oil’, and it would be a workable metaphor. In all the talk about ‘cost of living pressures’ and ‘inflation’, few people relate those concepts to the cost of oil. Check this graph out for oil prices in US$ for the past thirty years:

Crude Oil Prices for the past thirty years sourced from Macrotrends

The graph shows a similar trajectory to that of debt. You can note a few dips when demand for stuff was destroyed in 2008 during the Global Financial Crisis. And let’s not to forget the health issue which dare not be mentioned from 2020 onwards. Being stuck at home sure reduced demand for energy. In 2014, the dip in price was because Iran was able to begin supplying crude oil to the energy hungry world, not to mention that the US shale production went into overdrive. At that time there was an over supply of oil which drove down prices. But slowly bit by bit, oil is becoming more expensive again, that’s how Peak Oil works.

I don’t worry that we’ll run out of oil in my lifetime, but I do wonder at what point we will have access to oil, yet can’t afford to pay for it.

Apparently the very peak of conventionally sourced crude oil was reached in 2005. I read about that event as it happened at that time whilst writing for the hippy press. It wasn’t a particularly noteworthy event, outside of some hippies and a few outliers, few people even took notice, and you’d expect that. It was kind of a nothing much happened event. But since then, you can see the oil prices slowly going up in a boom and bust cycle. That’s how I expect things to continue into the future. And the economy will no doubt follow the same trajectory with booms and busts, but overall with higher costs for stuff, we’ll all be poorer.

And that’s the thing, as energy costs go up, everything will cost more. The federal government here announced recently that they’d discount the electricity bill for every household in the country by $300 per year. Nice for some, we’re off grid, and so will get no benefit. I reckon such gifts will cost a lot, and they’re only delaying the inevitable, but then isn’t that what debt, with no intention of repaying, looks like? There are about 10 million households in the country, so roughly multiplied by $300, and because the benefit goes to rich and poor households alike, the cost is about $3bn. That’s a lot of mad cash. It ain’t cheap to subsidise energy costs.

What I always wonder about with such subsidies is: Yeah, thanks for the $300, but what about next year? And the year after? And, err, maybe how about the one after that too… With such loose spending, will debt continue to climb? I reckon it will do so, but it is hard to ignore the facts that all strategies are subject to diminishing returns, and they can easily be derailed by a crisis. Sooner or later though, the realities will be faced.

Rocks have been on my mind this week because we have completed all of the rock work on the new low gradient path project. Three weeks ago, I may have commented that there was only three days of work left to do on the project. I was completely and utterly wrong with that estimation. Eight to nine days of work would have been closer to reality.

Anyway, the uphill rock wall leading from the tree fern to the rat infested shed is now complete!

Ollie and I enjoy a walk upon the new low gradient path

It was a real pleasure to complete this most physically difficult aspect of the project. This path will provide all weather access to the western end of the property, and with winter fast approaching, the need for the project becomes more apparent all the time.

Long term readers will recall that the first ground for the project was dug back in March, last year.

This week, the final rock wall was installed on the uphill side of the shed (which can be seen in the above photo). We spent two and a half days splitting, hauling and installing rocks on that rock wall. The wall itself looks like one of those breakwaters you see in coastal towns holding back the might of the ocean.

The rock wall has progressed after a day and a half of work

We’d run out of large rocks, and so towards the end of the work, we had to head back down the hill and split some more boulders into the large rocks. Fun times!

A very sturdy rock wall completes the low gradient path project

It’s hard to see in the above photos, but the rock wall has a nice gentle curvature so that we can drive machines around the shed without having to worry about accidentally clipping the sides of the shed.

The rock wall has a nice gentle curvature

The curvature was all done by eye, and each rock was positioned so that it sits pressed up against it’s neighbouring rock firmly, and with no movement. The finer placing required to get the rocks into exactly the right position required the use of a steel six foot house wrecking bar which provided suitable leverage. It’s hard work, but the rock wall is very stable.

We still have to place a layer of the crushed rock with lime onto the path surface. You can see in the above photo that the crushed rock layer finishes about half way through the shed. And once that minor aspect of the job is completed (we’d run out of crushed rock with lime) the project is done.

We’ll probably spend the next few weeks catching up on maintenance about the property before getting into The Next Big ProjectTM. And just in case you missed it, we may soon be providing regular videos through our YouTube channel: ‘Land of the Wombats’. There’ll be more news to come about this visual media format over future weeks: The Other Next Big ProjectTM! Rest assured, the blog will be continuing.

The autumn leaf fall on paths is put to good use as soil feed in garden beds.

Fallen autumn leaves get used as soil food on this new garden bed

Where leaves fall into the orchards though, they’re mowed and mulched up where they fall. Reducing the surface area of the leaves means that the soil critters clean up the organic materials more rapidly.

The plants in the greenhouse continue to grow well, and we have chilli’s, radishes, beetroots, alpine strawberries and green mustard growing. All are sheltered from the weather extremes of the late autumn.

Radishes are growing well in the greenhouse during late autumn

On Saturday night the outside temperature reached a low of 2’C / 35’F, and I’m hoping the starches in the plentiful Kiwi Fruits, begin rapidly converting into sugars. At the moment, the Kiwi Fruit don’t taste all that great, but make good additions to the chickens feed bucket.

We grow hundreds of tasty Kiwi Fruit

Earlier in the week it was warm, whilst now it has turned cold and wet. This combination of weather is perfect mushroom growing conditions, and the other day I spotted this nasty looking customer.

Probably very toxic

Onto the flowers:

The Irish Strawberry tree is in flower
This Salvia is hanging in there and providing a splash of garden colour
The warmer weather earlier in the week produced some late Geranium blooms
Even the Roses in the long terraces haven’t yet gone deciduous
Leaf change can be spectacular, like this Japanese Maple proves

The temperature outside now at about 11am is 8’C (46’F). So far for last year there has been 366.0mm (14.4 inches) which is up from last weeks total of 358.0mm (14.1 inches)

33 thoughts on “Given the chance”

  1. Yo, Chris – If I have it right, what’s happening in Australia, is happening here. In a couple of places. 1.) The government national bank, is buying up national debt. Same here, because 2.) overseas investors aren’t buying up the debt, as they did in the past.

    Yup, in our lifetimes, there will probably be oil around, but can we afford it? One of the recent “Foyle’s War” episodes I watched had to do with petrol theft, during WWII. This last week, I saw a fleeting report of a Russian discovery, of a new oil and gas field, in the Antarctic, by Russia. Supposedly ten times the size of the North Sea fields. Hard to find information on it, but I found this ….

    I also saw an article, today, on “zombie 2d mortgages.” Couldn’t link to it, but it’s at Apparently, this dates back to the 2008 debacle. People had 80/20 house loans, and, had to restructure their loans. Restructuring took care of the 80% part, and people were told that the 20% part, was forgiven. Nope. They were bought up by LLCs, (sometimes for less than a dollar per contract) who have been biding their time, waiting for property values to increase. Now that they have, they’ve turned over the debt to collection agencies (usually, subsidiaries of their own companies) and, though it’s hard to get accurate figures, thousands of homes are sliding into foreclosure.

    A millennium or two from now, archaeologists will declare that 21st century Australians, must have had slaves. To do all that rock work. And, they’ll declare the rat infested shed, the substandard living quarters of the slaves. 🙂

    Your Radishes look so good. Mine are beginning to show a bit of red, at the tops … and something is nibbling on them 🙁 I picked some parsley, spinach, and mustard, in the garden, this evening. Thought I’d try chopping them all up, and tossing them in some brown rice with carrots. See how that goes.

    The mushrooms may be toxic. Or, some rare fungi, desired by high end restaurants. Similar to a red pineapple, I read about today. $400 per. Something, something about money and sense. One of the food preparations I saw in that movie, “The Taste of Things,” was slipping thinly sliced Truffles, under the skin of a chicken, that was then baked.

    I got curious, about your Irish Strawberry Tree. Not related to strawberries. Self pollinating, though, more than one tree will produce more fruit. Besides eating fresh, also good for jams, liquers, and syrups.

    The other flowers are really lovely, and the leaf change, spectacular. Don’t tell anyone :-). Lew

  2. Hello Chris
    Very interesting and I am in full agreement. Unfortunately, war is often the answer to collapse. I am staggered as I observe the way people deal with their finances let alone what our government does. Even the children I know have debit cards, what could go wrong? Thank goodness I grew up in poverty. It may not have been fun at the time but oh boy has it been useful subsequently. Actually I did have fun of a healthier kind than sitting indoors with my phone etc. I also worked hard as a child because my mother both went out to work and looked after other peoples children. I looked after these children when she wasn’t there and did lots of the housework.

    Here the sun is shining and I have just had my first plateful of strawberries.


  3. Hi Lewis,

    That appears to be the case with regards to centrals banks buying government debt. I also have a belief that the retail banks are parking their deposits at the central banks, and so what retail customers receive in the form interest on what you call CD’s is actually paid for by government debt. It’s a bizarrely complicated system. But your points 1 + 2 what I also took away from the first graph. And what does that say about the ability to turn a profit + interest for the retail bank lending for an actual physical business investment? Things may be far worse economically than most people realise.

    I agree, there’ll be oil, but you and I may not be able to afford access to it. That’s the joke when people talk about proven reserves this and that. Sure, there’s plenty more fish in the sea, but can we afford the costs required to go fishing? I often imagine that WWI was around the time that coal became uneconomic to extract using human labour. Look at the labour strife they had immediately after the war with those mines. It was a minor plot line in D.H. Lawrence’s tiresome novel Lady Chatterly’s Lover. Once a society begins using diesel fuelled machines to extract coal, then there’s a school of thought which suggests that coal may not be as cheap and readily available a fuel as people believe it to be.

    Antarctica would be full of mineral plunder. But it’s a long way from anywhere. Strangely, we control a very large chunk of that continent, and here is how our best efforts are working out: Australian Antarctic Division ‘struggling’ to use $528 million icebreaker for science voyages, review says. Like the land of stuffs interest in that frozen continent, is it really all about the science?

    Holy carp! I’d not heard about those zombie 2nd mortgages. The nice folks with that article wanted a hand out from me for reading the article and I just said NO! Hope they don’t come for me? Those people in the article are learning the same lesson my granddad taught me, debt should be taken seriously, but for me it was only $50, and with three jobs as a kid, I was pulling that mad cash in and learned not to mess with the old bloke.

    Most loans down here are recourse loans, and you can’t walk away from them.

    This morning I had to run some errands in the nearby town, and decided to stop past the farm machinery dudes business to pick up a few cans of lubrication spray. Well, the gates were closed and a sign was out the front saying it was temporarily closed. Apparently the sign went up at the end of March. Man, a lot of the business and social networks I’d established and nurtured over the past eighteen years have vanished. Fortunately, I’m fleet of foot, and you may have noticed that after the dude died, we took on all of the machinery servicing and repairs ourselves, with the exception of one machine which was still under warranty. Well, turns out, I gotta do that machine as well now. The distributor (who is in the next state) won’t supply me parts directly, and the nearest retail parts supplier for that particular machine is over an hours drive away from here. So, I rang that business up and had a chat to the owner, he just laughed and said he’d taken on all of the work from around these parts, and could supply parts based on photos and then post them out to me. Yeah, better than nothing.

    On the other hand, it would be a great time to set up a small engine machine repair business.

    Hehe! You’re probably right about what the future archaeologists will say about the place. Once, we were giants! 🙂 I’d be pretty happy leaving a mystery for those future folks, and you’d hope they didn’t settle on the rocks being some sort of ritual objects explanation? How good did that rock turn out?

    The delivery of crushed rock with lime turned up today, and in between drizzling rain, we spent about three hours spreading some crushed rock with lime on that path surface. Yay! Project. Done.

    The radishes are really tasty too, and they take me back to my childhood when I used to eat them straight out of the garden. We had a radish grated (as well as roast beetroot) in an egg salad for dinner. The chickens are still producing about one egg per day, it’s not much and so we supplement with some purchased eggs.

    That’s a good sign about your radishes showing some red at the tops. Mice, rats, pill bugs, they’ll all munch on radishes sorry to say. Usually the munching is minor and you can simply cut around it, but I have zero tolerance for rodents in the greenhouse. The roots will grow big enough that it hopefully won’t be a problem. They’ll grow fast too. Very few plants grow at such a rate. Sounds like a lovely meal, yummo! We eat such fare most evenings as well.

    I’m dubious of any of the fungi growing around these parts! There are some groups who go foraging, but they always stick to pine plantations where the varieties of fungi are known.

    I’d never heard of red pineapples before, but it would be cheaper to purchase the seedlings. There’s a sub tropical nursery which I visited a couple of decades ago, which sell them, and some other stuff I probably have no hope of growing here. Even the greenhouse would probably be too cold for those fascinating looking pineapples: Daleys Fruit Tree Nursery. They sell some very interesting plants, and also low chill varieties of the more usual fruit trees I grow here. It’s a long way up north where winters are warmer, but neither would you call that area tropical.

    I’m not entirely sure why the tree was named with the ‘strawberry’, although the fruits are very red looking. There are two of those trees growing here. The fruits were just OK tasting, nothing great. They grow in Mediterranean climates.

    The many Loquat trees growing here are doing well, but have not fruited. I spotted a tree last week growing in a nearby botanical garden that was producing flowers, so maybe. Loquat fruit is pretty good.

    When I was a kid, a cucumber sandwich was pretty much that: Butter and cucumber, although there may have been that awful cheap sliced cheese like product as well. I probably ate the bread and chucked the rest out. Now I’m older, I know how to prepare cucumbers so that they’re no so bitter tasting.

    That’s news to me. The only Reuben sandwiches I’ve encountered were on a brioche bun, but a dark rye bun, that would be something very good. There’s a nearby pub which serves it’s burgers in a dark rye bun. The first time I had that meal, upon arrival at the table, and bear in mind I had not thoroughly read the description in the menu, I’d thought that they’d burned the bun, but no! And it was good.

    Did it warm up at your place? Today we had both kinds of winter weather: Drizzle and cold air! 🙂

    Ooo, thanks for the thought. Yeah, I could do that. Why not skewer some sacred cows? That’s good advice, and yes, get rid of the tire kickers.

    We can be a long ways away. And I got sick of the Editor trying to conduct conversations with me at long distances and expecting me to understand the gist of the conversation. Cutting the Gordian Knot!

    Thanks, but yeah the years are piling up. I reckon part of the reason the top end of town never suited me, was because I didn’t have the look and sound of someone who should be in that role! Officially, I’m an old fella nowadays, and am cool with that.

    Your library system has the occasional fail, but it’s pretty good. Hey, we recently attempted to purchase some audio CD’s. Turns out, those are hard to come across nowadays due to streaming services, but I have issues with the streaming sound quality. It sounds flat to me, probably because it is overly compressed. Anywhoo, if you want the releases on vinyl LP’s – no worries! How funny is that?

    All a rather unfortunate encounter for you. Far out, without going into details, but you’d have to misbehave to be kicked out of the Club? Sometimes you go with your gut feeling with these matters.

    Dunno much about Little Richard. Just watched the artist performing Long Tall Sally, and he rocks. Yup.



  4. Hello Inge!

    Yay for the sun for you. 🙂 Life is good when there are fresh strawberries and other yummy edibles picked straight from the garden. Do you grow raspberries as well?

    Thank you for saying so. In many ways it is an advantage to have grown up in a household where money is tight, and not liberally sprinkled around. It was that experience which got me through the recession of the early 1990’s, and later when a person does metaphorically get more sheep, the individual can end up taking the role of the shepherd/ess, far more seriously.

    I’ve been told that over production has long been an economic problem in western society, but denying kids the experience to work, and then extending adolescence, does not seem like such a good idea to me. And like you, I also worked hard and was given serious household responsibilities at that age, and continue to do so today. That was just a part of the normal day to day existence.

    Nowadays none of this makes much sense to me. The average mortgage in this country is now over $600,000, and that’s indicative of the underlying arrangements. I tend to believe that we get the government that we deserve. People will argue and complain when that opinion is aired, but in many ways, the actions of the government actually does reflect the predominant culture. What’s going on today, aren’t my values.

    The four horsemen tend to turn up throughout history as a physical response to hubris.

    It’s drizzling and cold here today. Brr!



  5. Hello Chris
    You mention bitter cucumbers. I grow my own and they have never been bitter. I once read that they are bitter if the flowers have been fertilised. therefore one should pick off any male flowers. I do this. So clearly they produce cucumbers without fertilisation.


  6. Yo, Chris – As far as coal goes, I’m also reading a book, right now, titled “Hillbilly Highway: The Transappalachian Migration and the Making of a White Working Class.” (Fraser, 2023). The coal industry gets several mentions. After WWII, it began to get mechanized. Huge borer diggers, that severely cut the number of workers. Unleashing a vast migration to northern industrial cities, for factory jobs.

    As far as oil goes, yes, there may be huge deposits out there, but the energy to get there, and the energy to process, might be in short supply.

    That was an interesting article on the ice breaker. So, resupply and rescue vs pure science. Pick two 🙂 . But I can see that some people may view it as a bait and switch.

    Sorry about the pop-ups, in the second mortgage article. I don’t even see them, anymore. Just click them away, with no malice aforethought. 🙂 I even ignore the “free subscriptions.” Don’t need my inbox all junked up.

    Future archaeologist may decide your rock work is some temple for unknown gods or religious observance. All aligned with some distant star or other astronomical event.

    Here’s the article on the red pineapple.

    That’s an interesting fruit tree nursery. My, they do have exotic trees. It seems you’re not likely to find Loquats in stores, due to their difficulty in shipping. Oh, I’m sure someone is working on a Loquat, that can be shipped. Of course, dollars to donuts, it will be tasteless.

    The cucumber sandwiches I’ve seen, but not tasted, are mostly on white ballon bread. With even the crusts cut off. Now, if they were on a good hearty bread, they’d be tastier. But of course, that’s not very … refined. Reuben sandwiches here, are almost always served on a good rye bread. Of course, some weirdos would request it (Have it your way!) on some other kind of bread.

    Weather here, is going to be changeable, for the next week. Fairly cool, with rain, on and off. Overcast, today, but no rain.

    Oh, the library here does a pretty good job. It’s just occasional things that don’t make much sense. When I asked for an explanation, I pulled up to the window and it was someone I knew. H was with me. So, I said that H had attempted to order the DVD, and was very disappointed that instead of picking it up that day, she had to wait until next Wednesday, as it was being shipped from another branch. I am a little concerned with the switch to more streaming. Someone at Mr. Greer’s mentioned the Ellis Peters books. Which I read a long time ago. Turns out, the library currently has one (1) book in the series, and all the rest are on streaming audio. 🙁

    The Master Gardeners were here, this morning. Ted and I finally finished off that trellis. They had their annual plant sale, this last weekend. I guess it wasn’t as good, as in past. Not as many plants, higher prices. One woman, who used to supply 1,000 plants, a year, didn’t do it this year. Advancing age, etc.. But, they made the same amount of money, as last year. They had some spare plants. I picked up one tomato. Off the top of my head, can’t remember the variety.

    Read another chapter in the plant book, last night. There’s a vine, down in Chile, called Boquila trifoliolata … Chameleon Vine. It can pretty much mimic the look of a plant it grows on. Up to 30 different species, and still counting. How does it do this? Can it perhaps … see? There are some early lab tests, that it even mimics artificial plants, it’s next to.

    Last night, for dinner, I had rice, garlic, carrots, and then tossed in some fresh parsley, spinach, and mustard, from the garden. Chopped up and tossed in. Nuked for 9 minutes. There was just a slight tang, from the mustard. A nutty flavor (might have been the pumpkin and sunflower seeds.) It was tasty, but I still decided it needed a little jazzing up, with a sprinkling of cider vinegar. Lew

  7. haircuts all around!

    It’s one thing when individuals spend more than they should, they end up paying more in the end, and maybe learn a lesson, maybe not, but no skin off my nose.

    But when short term thinking and greed reach their endpoint with governments – all of us, even the ones being prudent and frugal, get hit as well. It even hits us when large entities get bailed out and the pain gets spread through shifted government spending. And the moral hazard created will only make it worse next time.

    And of course high rolling grifters and financial loophole wizards will make havoc even when laws attempt to keep things rational.

    The financial super organism will feed as it will, the keeper was eaten long ago.

    Took a class on foraging mushrooms this past weekend. It was interesting, but I noted that unless you get skilled at knowing where to look, not just confirming edibility, the calorie payoff is not that good. Got knackered what with the hilly terrain we were hunting.

  8. Hi Steve,

    That sounds about the answer to me as well. Not good, but what else do you do? I’ve got a saying about being only as good as the weakest link. And when the big dudes in power take things too far, we all get to experience the fall out and costs, as you observe. I’m in total agreement, and it’s a bit of a problem.

    That’s the big thing too, there is moral hazard there. I’ve often wondered if the serious folks suggest that such economic antics ‘do not matter’, it’s because if they’d stopped for a minute, took a breath, and said, ‘you know, it might matter’, then all precious decisions are cast in a new and rather unflattering light. Basically, for a while after it has mattered, there’ll still be serious folks suggesting that the the antics ‘do not matter’.

    🙂 That’s a great and lively metaphor! Thanks!

    Holy carp! You live on land with a bit of slope, so you’d be used to such things, but if you’re saying it’s hard going, then that’s bad. I would have thought that mushrooms are mostly found in the valleys? Dunno. Some activities are like that where the return on investment is not so great.

    Another cold and wet wintry day here. Barely made 40 minutes of power yesterday and then again today. The state of charge with the batteries is taking a dive.



  9. Hello Chris
    I don’t grow raspberries, a pity as I like them. I used to grow them on old farming land but then sold the land. Now I don’t have any suitable place for them.
    Son found a dead, badly mauled fox in with the pigs this morning. It was one of the young males that get chucked out of the den and have to set up their own territory. As they have not been hunting for long and are still learning, they get very hungry.. He obviously saw food there but the pigs weren’t going to let him have it.


  10. Hi Lewis,

    Mechanisation of such trades is also something of a risk to the amount of labour employed. The Grapes of Wrath mentioned that aspect to farm living too. It was the beginning of the use of diesel fuelled tractors to plough the land. It’s really hard to know if the mechanisation was done to reduce labour costs in the extraction of coal, or labour was no longer economically viable? I don’t think we’ll ever know the answer to that question.

    Yeah, well exactly. Antarctica is a long way south through some seriously treacherous water, and not to mention the technical aspects of drilling in such a super cold environment. It’d make Alaska and Siberia look like shorts and t-shirt weather. And the markets and refineries are so far away. It wouldn’t even be cheap maintaining labour on that frozen continent.

    A very astute summary, and I’d not looked at the ice breaker from that angle. Interesting. It is possible that the concept for the ship was sold as a science vessel, but the other two tasks are the more important? Dunno.

    Have you noticed that some of those pop up boxes can’t be wiggled around these days? Pesky things. Whatever happened to free content? Nicely dodged too, I avoid those free subscription things.

    Ha! I’ll have to check a star chart at the equinoxes or solstices and see if anything major is being pointed at. And maybe realign the paths ever so slightly. That’ll mess with their heads. It’s been noted before that the chicken enclosure has a bit of the temple feel to it.

    Didn’t the old timey Victorian era folks have a thing for being the first to produce a pineapple in heated greenhouse conditions, and offer it as a gift to royalty? I can’t afford such expensive fruit delicacies. I noticed that rabbits have chewed some of the bark off the new citrus trees. Not a good choice for their continuing health, and I didn’t specifically say who’s health… That nursery sells some really interesting plants. I bought a White Sapote tree from them years ago, but the winter cold here was just a bit too cold for that tree, and it died. You’d hope not, loquats are quite tasty fruit.

    Yeah, those are the sandwiches. Like, why even cut the crusts off? Ah! The state of being refined. Not something you’re likely to find here. 😉 But I like your dark rye suggestion, and did I mention we have some of that flour arriving soon? I’ve never baked with the stuff and so it will be an interesting journey. It is unusual to give you the option of bun type in this corner of the world.

    The weather forecast reads pretty much the same here. Today was very thick cloud and it’s been a few days since the batteries had a full charge.

    Coming home from the big smoke tonight, near to home, some idiot ran over a kangaroo, except the ‘roo wasn’t dead. And then they just left the poor animal flopping around, and that’s what we found. The police have to come up and shoot it. I wish people would slow down at night on the forest roads.

    Oh well.

    Nice one getting H to make the request for the DVD at the library. People love that stuff. It’d make me smile. Well, compared to housing books on shelves, streaming is probably dirt cheap (if you ignore all of the costs) and as a nice side benefit, it concentrates wealth. We should be worried, but people are enjoying this change. Some of my friends enjoy audio books, and the Editor has listened to a few in the past, but I’m not certain they’re for me. I like seeing for myself what words the author used, and how they were arranged.

    I’ve never heard of the author, Ellis Peters before. Her pen name is better! There are some great titles for those books too. And you can’t fault the author for not having a strong enough work ethic.

    Well done with the trellis. Plantflation is a real thing, as is seedflation. Good to hear that the sale sort of went OK. You’d see it in the Club that the group has to adapt and survive to the loss of a few members, loss is something of a constant, although we all do our best to slow atrophy.

    That is the sound of my mind being blown away! What a plant, and the words ‘eye-like structures’ gives me the chills and of course brings to mind Triffids. You’d think such a plant would be very heavily studied, but possibly the results may skewer some sacred cows. It is probably very challenging for the vine to do that mimicry trick. That particular plastic plant test was described as controversial. Makes you wonder why that was described as such?

    Grabbed food in the big smoke this evening. A gourmet burger. It’d been a while, and the burger was good.



  11. Hi Inge,

    I’ve noticed that the raspberries here seem to appreciate good drainage, and they can spread by both seed and rhizome. I can see what you mean, those plants might not appreciate pots etc. I’m learning how to thin them out each year. At least it is easy to spot which are first, and which are second year canes. And they really do need thinning.

    Pigs are tough, and I would not want to be a fox cub trying to rustle a piglet, or their feed as you note! Yikes, a very unwise move, if I may say so.

    Sir Poopy the now deceased Swedish Lapphund was very good at taking fox cubs, but I don’t know about the wisdom of allowing that to happen. The chickens are not at risk. But there has been an increase in rabbits since that incident a few years ago, but then he hunted rabbits as well so it is hard for me to comprehend what the impact of the dog was.

    Two evenings ago, a rabbit had been taken down. It could have been either an owl or a fox. There wasn’t much left, and the intestines were intact, and also neatly pushed to the side. Clever predator. Of course I had to get rid of those because of the dogs interest. There’s always something.

    Interestingly, I get the impression that feed is in short supply this year for the forest critters. The rabbits have consumed some of the bark on the young citrus tress. It’s not a wise choice for them to do so. I’ve heard other people in the area saying that this is happening to them as well. I’m completely uncertain as to what may be going on with that as I’ve not experienced this predation on the trees before.



  12. Yo, Chris – Same thing with the logging industry, here. It became more and more mechanized, and needed fewer and fewer workers. But, the industry would take some heat off, by blaming greenies for “locking up the forest” or protections for an owl species. You like machines. Check out this 15 minute video. Prepare for a severe case of machine lust 🙂

    Shorts, t-shirts, and don’t forget the flip-flops (aka thongs.) Funny. Around the Club, I can always tell the guys, who have been in prison. Prison footwear is usually thongs. And, they never seem to lose the habit. Summer and winter.

    Yes, some pop-up boxes won’t go away. There’s one site I go to, and every once in awhile, I click on an article and get a “You’ve landed on an article, that is so special, you have to sign up to read it.” Said tongue in cheek. I immediately click away.

    If you really want to screw with future archaeologists heads, do a mosaic of the chicken headed Roman dude, found on Inge’s island. They’re still trying to figure that one out. Though there are theories …
    Lay it down, up in front of your chicken fortress.

    Yup. Pineapple pits. Usually warmed by composting horse poo. Or, if you were really flush, greenhouse furnaces. Yes, they were given to curry favor with royalty. You could even rent them, not eat them, for a bit of flash at your next party. It’s funny. In our colonial times, the pineapple was a symbol of hospitality. You’ll find them carved as building cornices, door cornices, and even on items of furniture.

    I wonder what the rabbits are getting out of nibbling on the fruit tree bark. Your damp summer seems to indicate that there would have been enough forage around, for them. Maybe a missing nutrient?

    In the book, “The Perfect Loaf,” it seems that rye bread, can be a little tricky. Can be a bit sticky. Although the author was trying to replicate a particular type of rye bread, from his childhood. There are perhaps, less stringent requirements.

    Our weather is pretty crook, today. Rain. Maybe up to 1/2 inch. But, day after tomorrow is supposed to be clear. Then back to showers.

    Poor Kangaroo! I wonder if they checked for a pouch, and a joey?

    Well, I thought about it, and thought playing the H card, would get better results, than a cranky old man, whinging about library weirdness. 🙂 Back when I did more commuting, I often listened to “books on tape.” Yup. Such ancient times, that it was cassette.

    The Brother Cadfael series, was really good. He was the monastery herbalist. It was done as a BBC series, at one point, staring Derek Jacobi. He of “I, Claudius” fame. The TV series was good, if you hand’t read the books. They were 1/2 hour episodes, so, usually a few characters were cut out. Still made sense, but lost a lot of depth.
    At one point, the library had a Brother Cadfael herbal. But no more. Either wore out, or strayed.

    I finished the plant book, last night. The trick with science is, there should be reproducible results, from different studies. The vine we were talking about, I guess the first attempt with artificial plants, was in Utah. At the time the book was published, there was a second attempt in Germany. Jury still out. I guess the end conclusion of the book was, there’s more to plants than we ever imagined, and we’re trembling on the edge of finding a lot more about them.

    I had more rice with spinach, last night. And, a few other things. I really need to try just plain spinach, to see what kind of a flavor it has, all on its own.

    I went shopping at the thrifty food stores, last night, mostly for the Club pantry. I took in three bags of food, this morning. That might hold us, until another box comes in on Friday. That will have to hold us, through the weekend, and then we’ll be into next month.

    Our Club manager had his little dog Peanut. She just runs H ragged. Which is, I think, good for her.

    I watched another episode of “Foyle’s War,” last night. A lot of the mysteries, they try to build around actual events, or people. Last nights episode revolved around Sir Archibald McIndoe. During the war, he made great strides in reconstructive and plastic surgery.

    One thing he noticed was that pilots that came down in the Channel, healed a lot faster than pilots who crashed on the ground. Salt water became a part of his treatments. Lew

  13. Chris,

    Congratulations! The rock wall is completed. The path is completed. Well, once the last bit of rock and lime have been added. That’s exciting. Building paths and walls is so rewarding as you can see the results of all the hard work.

    Oh, the glass etching stencils. The Princess bought some stencil paper. It would have required a lot of tape to adhere it to the glass. The U Tub videos I watched all suggested using contact paper, as it has that peel-off sticky back. So that’s what we used, contact paper.

    I read an article today that China has recently sold about $50 billion US of US debt. Apparently, Belgium has also sold about $20 billion US. Many central banks are stocking up on gold per the article. That’s the precise problem with too much debt: debt holders might decide to sell it, eventually driving up interest rates for the debtor.

    We had some serious rain Saturday. There was a light rain, maybe 3 mm. Then the thunderstorm hit. It had a nice light show, lots of thunder and rain. Hard rain. Lots of very hard rain in my neighborhood. Probably about 18mm in the 40 minutes of thunderstorm alone. And it is raining again here now, Tuesday evening.

    Just finished a book entitled “There, There” by Tommy Orange. The title is mostly a reference to the idea that, ” There’s no there, there.” The author is a Native from Oakland, California, which is where the book is also set. It’s about several Natives from Oakland, aka “Urban Indians”. It was an interesting read. It had some breaks from the narrative, and I learned some historical things I hadn’t known before. It was printed in 2018 and ended in classic cliff hanging fashion. A “prequel/sequel” was recently published. I have it ordered from the library.

    One interesting sequence in the book occurred at a sobriety conference. A speaker at the conference suggested that most of the attendees were there because their jobs required it, not because they were truly interested in sobriety for the people at their home areas. It was further suggested that the only reason those jobs exist is so that the home agencies can employ people from the grant money they receive for being able to say that they send people to these conferences. Nothing will change, but they get more grant money. To me, this was a very good observation about how a lot of things work.

    Dame Avalanche did not have to read about Dame Plum’s leash tugging event. It was something well known throughout Worldwide Doggy Land within hours. The Canid Communication Network was operating at full power. Us silly humans thought it was the Aurorae! 😉

    Speaking of the Aurora…No I didn’t see it here. It was reportedly “spectacular”. One of my carving pals showed me his photos at the meeting Saturday. The “time lapse” photos were spectacular. The other photos? The aurora was pretty dim. In my part of town it was lost in the normal urban light pollution and blocked by Five Mile Prairie.


  14. Hi DJ,

    Ah, such work is now in the past. The local sand and soil business delivered the crushed rock with lime four cubic metre load on Monday afternoon. Isn’t diesel fuel a wonderful thing? Despite the generally cold and drizzly day, we spent two and a half hours in the rain hauling and spreading some of the pile upon the surface of the new low gradient path project. Such was the desire to complete the work! 🙂 DONE! Happy days…

    Oh, that’s so clever using the contact paper for the glass etching, and I’d have never considered that method. Makes a lot of sense. Utub is a bit of a resource for DIY stuff, and I too venture into such media spaces to find out how other people get work done. I always wonder how long the free resource will continue being free?

    That’s no good at all with the sell off of those foreign reserves. I mentioned a few weeks ago that this fun activity seems to be all the rage at the moment. The more serious folks than I, call the term Divestment, or at least that is what I heard. It’s part of avoiding having home currencies sink into oblivion what with the resulting currency crisis. An alert person would ask the hard question: Where does that reserve then flow to? Few may ask: What does it even mean? A friend of mine is big into mineral wealth, and a few weeks ago I formally apologised to him for my earlier scepticism and acknowledged that his strategy was pretty good for the times. Seemed only the appropriate thing to do, given I was indisputably wrong.

    That’s a lot of rain in a short period of time. Hopefully nowhere flooded during the storm? Such weather would be great for the dryland grass. Those plants operate on a cycle where if there is energy to grow, they’ll grow, and then they can shut down. How are they growing now?

    It’s been pretty cold and wet here, but in the state just to the west of here (where a semi regular commenter resides), it’s been feral dry. Adelaide facing driest May on record. Not good. I’d have to suggest that 185 years of records is statistically significant. That part of the continent has the most rainwater tanks per capita than any other part.

    Dude, my business had a bit of a set back earlier this year and so I’ve been avoiding book recommendations and other outflows of mad cash. However, in this instance an exception has been made. Some folks only see the city, they know not the land. How to reconnect with the land is a more important question than most talking heads would ever acknowledge. The book might not arrive before mid to late next month! It’s a long way from anywhere when you’re on the bottom of the planet. 😉

    In years seven and eight, I attended a high school for disadvantaged kids (whatever that means), and my grandfather eventually pulled me out of that path. I tell you what though, many years ago Sandra got involved as a volunteer in a youth mentoring project for such kids. I forget now who the project was run by. It seemed like such a good idea. There an awful lot of hoops to jump through, and at the end there was the horrid realisation that everyone other than Sandra was being paid to attend – even the kids were remunerated for their time. She walked away. I wouldn’t describe the arrangements as an organic process. Hmm. The book perhaps speaks to such arrangements? And what does that suggest? But you already answered that question.

    🙂 Nice one. Actually this evening on the walk, I reigned the lead pulling Dame Plum in. The dog is being taught the finer aspects of the loose lead walk. Fortunately, she is a quick student. I’ll be interested to hear what Dame Avalanche has to say on the matter. I’d allowed the dog to enjoy some freedom, but the old timers used to say something about: ‘give an inch, and they’ll take a mile’. She blew it the other day!

    People were saying that down here too, but err, clouds have a remarkably similar effect to light pollution when it comes to cosmic displays, don’t you reckon?

    Ah, geology, there’s excavators and explosives to deal with such minor inconveniences… 🙂

    Another cool day here today. There was more power today from the sun, but the batteries have missed full charge for three days in a row now. Ook! At least we split up all of the timber from that massive fallen tree head, late this afternoon. An impressive pile of firewood has resulted. It was nice to get outside after an almost full day of paid work.



  15. Hi Lewis,

    I feel a bit jittery after watching those monster machines eat forests for breakfast. Not much would stop them, other than perhaps dull cutting teeth, I guess, maybe. I’ve seen one of those big industrial mulchers in action at a landfill facility where I used to purchase mulch from. The materials were cheap at about $17 per 1.3 cubic yards. That’s cheap. The smell was quite nice, although when the winds picked up, the wood dust was extreme and got into your eyes despite safety glasses. Honestly, I wouldn’t know what to do with any of those machines. 🙂 One of them had an engine that rated over a 1,000 horsepower. That’s a big thirsty-as engine. The fuel bills would bankrupt the kingdom! Thanks for that insight into what happens out in the bush in other less slow landscaping oriented parts of the world. Dude, I’ve gotta go get a chamomile tea to soothe my jangled nerves!

    They do say that people get used to the cold weather! I’d not known that about the footwear, so thanks for mentioning it. Always good to be able to get insights into other people. I guess shoe laces could be used as weapons, or endings.

    Exactly! Such no-go-away boxes should be banished, except they aren’t so easy to be rid of. I do wonder if interweb sites survive falling behind pay walls? Anyone who’s had anything to do with the theatre, would know that a production must attract an audience in order to provide a financial return for everyone involved. I’ll bet some people went to see the musical ‘Hair’ because of the parachute reveal scene? Would have been quite risqué back in the day! Now I ended up at the musical (yes, yes, I know) at the Melbourne Town Hall, because my friends mother had bought tickets, and I just happened to be hanging out that evening, and so went along: Why not? Knew most of the music. 😉

    I’m yet to come across one of those website click bait login you are special things. It’s possible you guys over there are ahead of the curve with such things? We don’t even need the pop up Euro-centric question about cookies – there’s the disclaimer on the left hand side of the screen which complies for this country, but that ain’t a requisite.

    I’m still feeling a bit jittery after the massive wood chippers! 🙂

    Have to laugh, interweb sites are going out of their way to call that cockerel headed Roman mosaic dude by any other name that a cockheaded man – which he literally is. I did like that there was a mention of a particular Roman god with a cockerels head. It fascinates me that the word ‘rooster’ was apparently a recent innovation by err, folks, blushing at the other word used to describe a male chicken. My grandfather used to mince no words, and just called people by a similar sort of naughty name. He had a commanding personality, and so just got away with it. A mystery! And yeah, that would mess with their heads. A future project perhaps?

    Ah, that makes sense about the composting horse manure keeping the pineapples alive during the winter months. Imagine renting a pineapple as a sign of wealth? It’s like what old timers used to say about: The land of milk and honey. Except you can just and buy such items at the shops. Times are different.

    Hmm, thanks, I hadn’t considered reading up on what the rabbits get from the young citrus tree bark. Interesting. Apparently too much of the stuff in their diet is very bad for their health. Also bad for their health was the Powerful Owl I heard loitering at the edge of the forest an hour ago. The problem may resolve itself.

    I’ve no experience whatsoever with making rye bread, but we’ll find out and there is someone I can ask who does bake with this flour. Trying to replicate a recipe from childhood would be difficult. The palate for one, would not be the same. It does seem like a stringent requirement, yeah. Oh well, some people enjoy hard goals.

    That’s no good with the weather, and I hope it clears for you today. It was another cool and cloudy day today, but the clouds were a bit higher and thinner, so we made about an hour and twenty minutes of solar power. Not bad, but not enough to make up for earlier deficiencies.

    Well, that whole ‘roo incident turned out weird. The wildlife folks came up and had a look around, and the ‘roo was gone. My best guess is that the person who hit the marsupial, came back and sorted out the mess they’d made. Nobody could find the body, and the kangaroo was going nowhere by itself.

    Your library strategy was a goodie. Top thinking. The Editor also enjoyed audio books when driving, but we don’t drive much these days.

    A notable actor, and hey, I’d not known that he was in the Gladiator film. You sent me on a deep Cadfael Chronicles interweb rabbit hole. Twenty books in the series leaves me deeply troubled, but in a good way. And absolutely, something has to give when a book converts into a half hour television show. Ever wondered why I never watched the Game of Thrones. Why hasn’t he yet finished that series? The thought may give the author nightmares, if I may hazard a guess.

    I’ll be curious to hear what you have to say, but I reckon Spinach has an earthy taste to it. And that was what I had for lunch today, but with kale instead of spinach. Same, same. The lunch of champions! Incidentally, after the late lunch we headed outside and split up firewood from the fallen tree head of two months ago. Popeye used to like spinach didn’t he?

    Speaking of thrifty purchasing… In order to reduce costs, we bought a second hand tripod, of good parentage for the camera. Anyway, a chunk of plastic was a bit brittle and is now broken. I will attempt a repair. At an op shop we picked up another tripod, only to discover it had a broken part. It was about that time I began to notice a pattern. Anyway, we gave up and bought a new one tonight, of good parentage – and have learned a valuable lesson – be careful with the things!

    This talk of ‘holding’ in relation to the pantry is a new thing. Has demand increased of late?

    Yeah, dogs are very social creatures and need to be run around like crazy. Now an exception is that I don’t like them running me around like crazy, that’s for dogs. I began training Dame Plum to stop pulling on her lead when on walks. I just had had enough the other day. She went too far, and now must be reigned in. It happens. H would be a lady on walks I’d imagine, maybe?

    Thanks for the introduction to the fascinating and clearly gifted NZ surgeon. He would have seen some things during WWII. That point about the salt water is something I’d not known, and could be useful in future.



  16. Yo, Chris – Those big machines are impressive. In a horrible kind of a way.

    Couldn’t find a good picture to link to, but then there was that Australian creation, the thong dress. Curtesy of the film, “The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert.” I saw the film, years ago. And, recently, it appeared on our libraries “new” list. I’ve had a hold on it, for awhile, but it hasn’t shown up yet. On Blu-Ray. You can also make carpets, out of thongs. Seen pictures, but no instructions on how to construct such a thing.

    I suppose the sites behind those pay walls survive, or not, depending on other sources of income. Though it seems like some of them, though having no profit, keep pulling in investors. And are valued high, in the stock market. More money than sense? In a way, they’re like people behind a city wall, under siege. Might starve, might not. In the early days of the internet, when there wasn’t all that much content out there, occasionally you’d run up against a rather rude pay wall. “No cookie, no lookie.” But, after content increased, they died or loosened up. It’s kind of like my take on DVDs. Some companies, won’t put their movies or series on DVD. Fine. Plenty of other stuff to look at.

    I can still belt out some of the songs, from “Hair.” There were some rock operas, that never were produced beyond being an album. “Naked Carmen.” It had some real toe-tapping songs. Then there was “Fire in the Streets.” Never produced on stage, as far as I know, but did get made into a movie. “JC Superstar” and “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dream Coat,” apply to certain segments of the population.

    LOL. I thought of your grandfather, before you mentioned him.

    I guess rabbits are just like us. Plenty of stuff they might like to eat, that is bad for their health.

    My grandmother worked in a high end bakery (sales) and used to bring home these muffins, that I’ve never been able to find, anywhere else. Dark, spicy. Cocoa? Citrus? Very soft. Of course, these days, even the basic ingredients of food, have been corrupted. Making it less likely to recapture a childhood memory.

    The weather here was rubbish, yesterday. Every time I took H out for a walk, it was drizzling. Today is better with breaks in the weather. Could be worse. I guess there’s a heat wave down in Florida, and in Mexico, it’s so hot monkey’s are falling dead, out of the trees.

    The Mystery of the Disappearing Kangaroo. Someone must have a copy of “The Road Kill Cookbook.” 🙂

    The pantry demand, picks up as the month goes on. There was an interesting article about our local Salvation Army (aka Sally Ann, aka Starvation Army.) Can’t link to it. “Growing Hope: Work Begins at the Salvation Army’s Community Garden in Centralia.” Interesting. They’ve got a greenhouse and tractor. They’re shooting for 20,000 pounds of “nutrient dense” produce, this year.

    I have the opposite problem, walking H. She doesn’t strain ahead, she doodles behind. Taking the smell and sniff tour.

    I watched a very good movie, last night. A comedy. “What We Did on Our Holiday.” David Tennant and Billy Connolly. Filmed in Scotland. There’s a Viking funeral 🙂 . Worth a look if you need a palate cleanser or bit of frivolous fun. I should have made popcorn.

    And, from our More Money Than Sense department … a very pricey single feather, from New Zealand.

    You should have bid on it. Would have looked good on one of your very stylish chapeaus. :-). Lew

  17. Hi Lewis,

    What interested me also about most of those machines is that they were processing quite young trees. I’d say, at a guess, I didn’t see any trees greater than somewhere between twenty and thirty years old. I absolutely agree with you, there was something horrid about the spectacle. The one which amazed me the most, was the one driving around with a detached upright tree in its gaping maw. The forces required to keep the tree upright would be astounding – and one false move, or a damaged trunk, and mmm. I’ll bet it would struggle doing that with the much taller and older trees here. 🙂

    Pretty funny, and the thong dress in that film sends a strong message. It would take a very confident and perhaps rather eccentric person to pull that outfit off with aplomb! The film was very popular and I remember seeing it back in the day. There was some recent talk of a sequel, maybe. The bus was even discovered in some outback paddock and is now being restored, as you do. Apparently the machine has survived flooding and bushfires.

    I’d heard of people hand making items like that. And years ago we bought a huge hand-woven second hand rug. The thing is enormous, and even has the signature of the weaver woven into it. And we had to travel to Sydney to pick it up. Stayed overnight there. Anyway, we didn’t meet the lady who’d sold the rug, but we picked it up from, presumably one of her adult children who was living in a very swanky gothic, and clearly early nineteenth century detached house with garden in the very excloo area of North Sydney. The area stunk of money. So they had some friends over, and were more or less mocking us by first asking where we’d come from, and then suggesting that we could cut the rug up and make a patchwork item with it. I know what my grandfather would have called them, but being a gentleman, I gave them searching look number four before hitting them where it hurts: So, you are selling this rug, aren’t you? The transaction was then completed without further ado. Not my people.

    Well, it’s the hunting of the snark, all over again, isn’t it? With enough excess to the underlying wealth, mad cash may seek any safe shore to land upon, and who says such things have to make sense? I suspect a lot of that sort of gear is going on, unless you happen to find yourself at the bottom end of town. I like the view from here, don’t you? That’s a good analogy too of a city under siege. They might make it, but then again, maybe not.

    Dude, audio CD’s are getting thinner on the ground these days. Bizarrely, and you alerted me to the revenge of vinyl, but vinyl LP’s are becoming more popular. Do you reckon it is like physical books in that there is a feeling to them which can’t be replicated with their digital cousins? For the record, I’ve never read an e-book.

    Just had a look at turntables on ebuy and there’s some crazy high end stuff out there. Way beyond my budget, or abilities to hear the finer details.

    Oh my! In order to ascertain your deeper meaning in relation to technicolour dream coats, I read the lyrics to the musical ditty: “Close every door”. Dude, the lyrical content was just bringing me down. I thought musicals were meant to be uplifting? 🙂 And The Naked Carmen rock opera just started my mind wondering at how something could even be ‘overpretentious’? A true mystery there. I told you these things can sometimes be dark arts.

    Yeah, it was kind of obvious that joke in relation to the Roman mosaic, but it’s still good, and my grandfather really did make that rude observation all the time. A fascinating worldview, which fortunately I don’t share, but he may have been right, maybe?

    Muffins are also a dark art, and I agree with your observation. Things aren’t the same with basic ingredients. Also, nowadays low grades of fat/oil get mixed into muffins, and that’s not good either. The best tasting muffins have sour cream added to the base, but this is merely my opinion.

    Ah, and here you touch upon one of the sore spots in this age of abundance. Sure, there are plenty of yummy foods to scoff down, but our mission, should we decide to accept it: is to eat like rabbits most of the time, then hit the enjoyment stuff for a little bit, then back to rabbit food.

    The heat wave has not made it into our news. Hmm… … Ah, down there they talk about heat index, which I’m guessing is a combination of maximum temperature and humidity. Well, that sure is hot, with some overnight lows that aren’t so low. We get temperatures as high as that heat index, but the air is usually very dry on those days. Not a comforting prospect in either case. This is why the fictional Dexter character did all the things he did, the heat sent him loopy. I’ve visited the tropics, and whilst they seem inordinately popular, I was not a fan.

    Ook! Yeah, maybe they did have that cookbook. I dunno about that one, man, there was something not quite right about it all.

    Thanks, I found the article on Hope Farm. It’s a good idea, but I was wondering how they were going to replace that volume of minerals leaving the property and never returning every year? There were enough rows they could practice crop rotation as well. The photos looked good to me.

    We did a bit more slow landscaping near to the now completed low gradient path project, earlier today. There were a few humps and bumps in the orchard there, and they were levelled out and alternately filled in. Best to make the place easy to maintain. We also went on a massive rock scrounge, and continued to fill up (but not complete) the couple of rock gabion cages which are opened. One is nearing to the state of being full. As we get closer to winter, some sections of the property where the ground cover is fairly new, is getting a bit muddy.

    Interestingly, the weather forecast over the next week looks the same, day after day. That’s weird, but does happen. It’s kind of sunny, cool and barely any wind to speak of. Perfect conditions for the plants and getting stuff done around here, especially given the decent soil moisture.

    Dogs were sent to teach us humility. 🙂 Dame plum is getting with the new walk program for about ten seconds at a time, then I give her lead a wrench. Technically that may be a tug-o-war?

    You know, a palate cleanser may be just what is needed at this time. Thanks as always for the film recommendation. 🙂

    The feather was bonkers, but it may have mojo. Have you ever come across such a thing in your former antiques trading world? I’d like to think I was of such high caste, but then the bros might come and get me, so no, you go first with sporting such mojo heavy fetishes. 😉



  18. Hi, Chris!

    Oh – I figured out a “quick sticky beak”. I see after having that, that your governments’ debt has shot way, way up and I guess we could say: Whose hasn’t? What does AGS stand for? I am grateful that I understand how dangerous debt is. At least it will help keep me out of trouble in my personal life. I saw something last week that said that one of the Australian banks has gone completely digital; don’t know if that’s true.

    The oil chart is crazy, though – from living the first half of my life in Texas, where oil has long been king – I know that there is always a boom and bust cycle. I have known so many people, top to bottom, who make tons of money in the boom, spend it all, and then when the inevitable bust comes they end up with nothing. Still, the chart is crazy.

    Well, thank goodness the rock wall is now finished. That was a doozy of a job. Peak Rocks is real BECAUSE of all the rocks you use in your projects. I look forward to The Next Big Project and The Other Next Big Project.

    It’s sort of depressing – unless you’re a chicken – to have plentiful unappetizing kiwis.

    This week I have saved the life of one Box Turtle in the road (they used to be plentiful here, but are now seldom seen), thought I was saving the life of one gorgeous Cornsnake in the road (he turned out to be already dead, though not a mark on him), and saw a Purple Martin by a neighbor’s barn (it was the first I’d ever seen up close – the brightest, shiniest purple).

    Thanks for the flowers. Some never give up! And thanks for the lovely Japanese maple.


  19. Yo, Chris – The trees might have been grown, specifically as poles. Or, maybe just for the wood pulp. In our county, on the bottom land / flood plane, I often see groves of poplar trees. They’re grown for biofuel or paper. They’re a hybrid that’s been developed, that can be harvested in half the time it usually takes, to grow. Poplar, cottonwood and aspen are all in the same family.

    A very similar American film, to “Priscilla” is “To Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything! Julie Newmar.” I thought it was a remake, but, I see “To Wong Foo,” was in production, when “Priscilla” was released. I guess it was just an idea whose time had come. 🙂

    As far as “Priscilla” goes, the sequel will never be as good as the original. And I’ll never be able to look at ping pong balls, quit the same way, again.

    That was an interesting story about your second hand rug. Toffee nosed (insert your grandfather’s saying, here.) Funny, with all those British mysteries I watch, there’s always a few of those around. Who are usually taken down a few pegs. Which might be the appeal of a lot of those series. Oh, well. Come the Revolution, they’ll be first up against the wall! 🙂

    Well, I guess I’ve lived through the whole arc of the rise and fall of CD’s. I won’t forget, when I worked in a bookstore at a big mall up in Olympia. They were opening a music store, directly across from us. I waited anxiously for the opening. On the first day I went bounding through the door, took a look around, and inquired, “Where are your records?” Did I feel stupid. I’d missed the whole “rise of CDs thing.” As I’ve said before, or repeated what someone else said, I think physical objects are coming back (books, vinyl) because if someone comes into your apartment, they signal a lot about you as a person. Your interests, your general take on life. Your status. If all your music is on a device, and all your books are on a reader, it tells people nothing about you. The director John Waters often said, if you go home with someone, and they have no books, leave, immediately! 🙂

    LOL. Well, as far as your grandfather’s colorful language went, at least he called a spade, a spade. My father had a few colorful observations. As did my uncle Larry. Might have been a generational thing. These days, young folks can’t seem to be inventive, beyond F bombs.

    I’m not a fan of heat, or the tropics, either. Dealing with cooler temperatures, is a lot easier. Pull on a jumper, or throw a few more blankets on the bed.

    Oh, I’m sure Hope Farm has a well regulated compost heap. Or, access to a lot of good manure. We’re still a pretty rural county. But, speaking of nutrition, and stuff, after reading a few things recently (and you’re own good example), I’ve been trying to get more variety, into the veg I eat. I always try and add something, with color, to my usual brown rice base. Tomatoes, corn, or carrots. But there really aren’t that many bits of corn or carrots in mixed vegetables. So, I try and add a bit more. Last night I sliced up half a good sized carrot, to mix in. As far as the greens go, I’m trying to diversify those too. Maybe chop up some celery. Last night, I was down to the celery heart, with some leaves. So I chopped that up and added it in. More diverse greens, out of the garden. Parsley, mustard and spinach.

    Overcast, today, but is supposed to burn off later, and we’ll get a little sun. Then it’s back to the rain. I plan to get out in the garden, late afternoon, early evening.

    Well, H is in the doghouse. I always walk her, before we go down to the Club. We weren’t there, very long, my back was turned and she pooed on the floor! Luckily, on the linoleum, and it was solid enough to be easily cleaned up. I never yell at her, but she knew I was displeased. So, she’s grounded for a week, on bread and water. No phone, TV or computer privileges.

    That kind of price, in the tat trade, is pretty stratospheric. Way beyond my class. You really need to be born to it, and be connected to get that kind of loot. Best I could do, at my level, is pass it on up the chain. Lew

  20. Hi Pam,

    Yeah, the economic strategy seems to have a lot of adherents of late. I much prefer a productive garden, I’m sure you’ll understand. I think AGS stands for Aus Goobermint Securities, maybe. Basically, I believe they are referring to the sale of goobermint bonds.

    Staying out of trouble and debt are wise personal objectives. 🙂 Totally agree! I remember over hearing two old dudes at a nearby table discussing the subject whilst I was pretending to read my book and enjoy a coffee. Usually the book absorbs my interest, but in this particular case I was curious to hear their perspectives. One bloke said he avoided debt, whilst the other seemed quite excited by the possibilities it provided. Mostly, what I thought was that I recall as a kid, money was never discussed whilst at table. It was considered a subject which was in poor taste in that forum, as was politics and religion. In these more enlightened times, people get all bent out of shape and excitable over these three topics, so maybe the old timers had it right there? A mystery! 🙂

    The banks are closing a lot of branches, particularly in rural areas. The nearest branch for one bank is over half an hours drive away now. I don’t know whether it is a good look to report record breaking profits, whilst closing branches? One of the big telco’s, actually the biggest down here, just announced something like 3,000 redundancies. It reminds me of the 90’s all over again.

    That chart sure is crazy, yup. You know, when you mentioned oil and Texas, my brain suddenly recalled the series: Dallas. Although I was too young to be allowed to watch the show when it first aired, and then after a few years was too busy doing hours and hours of homework and sports. I never really got into the habit of watching television, although I enjoy watching the occasional series. Once they turned off the analogue signals and went full digital, there is no signal here anyway… Watching television was probably something that was never to be! Do you get any signal now it’s digital in your part of the world?

    Pam, you totally busted me there! Hehe! Yes, we really did bring that Peak Rock business down on our heads by using up all the easy to recover rocks. Smooshed up another boulder today into seven large rocks. There’s always so many uses for large rocks.

    Don’t worry about the chickens, they live a pretty good life here. One of the silkie chickens is now fourteen years old. She’s an old battle axe too, with a bad attitude to boot. She’ll happily go and terrorise the two bantam chickens. You’d think at that age, she’d be over such rowdy behaviour, but no.

    Respect. Roads are dangerous places for wildlife. You see run over snakes down here as well. The reptiles bask in the warmth of the black asphalt on cooler days. What beautiful birds, and the photo of all the gourd shaped nesting boxes was really interesting. Never doubt the sheer fertility that allowing a lot of wild birds into your garden will bring. Of course, they’ll take some of the produce, but the minerals are worth it.

    Japanese maples love the growing conditions here, and will eventually self seed. Lovely trees.



  21. Hi Lewis,

    Absolutely, the trees in the video looked like they were arranged in a plantation situation. If I may be so bold to point out, plantations are rarely found in nature! My brain now hurts. Biofuel, you say? Humour me for a second, I’ve relied upon firewood as a heating fuel for about fourteen years now, and every year the systems for that energy source gets more refined, and works better. But in order to burn trees for fuel, the timber has to be aged for at least one to two years, just to get the moisture content down low enough, to about around 14% and reduce the sugars in the timber. Holy carp, looking at the machines and how they dealt with the trees, I’d imagine the seasoning does not occur. Yikes! A lot of energy would be lost in getting the green timber up to a high enough temperature that it burned.

    Poplars and Silver poplars grow quite well in these parts, although most plantations are either: Radiata Pine, Douglas Fir, or Tasmanian Blue Gum. All are fairly fast growing. I quite like the Douglas Fir trees as they have a nice shape to them, and grow a few here.

    A sign of the times, perhaps? I doubt the sequel will be as good as the original either. Ah, a truly fascinating and novel use of the humble ping pong ball. 😉 Mate, there are some things, you can’t un-see.

    The way those toffs acted was so weird that day. I’d always guessed that they were uncomfortable that their mother was selling the rug? Mind you, the mum dodged the hand over and had left it to them, as she was nowhere to be seen. I always had the divorce word hovering in the back of my mind in relation to that story? Dunno, but seriously, the rug is awesome.

    Most days we work hard around here, but some days are harder than others. We decided to clean up the forest in the area where the dogs had been having their exciting and unpredictable version of psychoactive autumn. Turns out there was a lot of old loggers mess there, and a wombat hole. The canine mystery is now partially explained. The loggers mess produces more than a few mushrooms. Hmm. Cleaned it up, and even smooshed up a boulder (it had been blocking access) into seven large rocks. The boulder was larger than we first realised because it was in a hollow. Oh well, that’s what making a silk purse out of a sows ear looks like.

    Man, your experience with that record store is a total anti-climax of a situation. Audio CD’s have risen, peaked, and demand is apparently now falling. I dunno about the streaming, because the sound quality is just so flat sounding to me due to stupidly low bitrates. Well, if I may say so, the truth is, with vinyl LP’s, we appear to be now all back where you started!

    John Waters made a very astute observation there in relation to potential partners and their books. If I had to make an observation about the people who read this blog, it would be that they enjoy the act of reading. 🙂 I’ve always enjoyed reading books.

    Oh yeah! You’ve mentioned your Uncle Larry previously in that regard. Well, that’s true, but the language is being artificially constrained and reduced, so there is that consequent loss of expletive creativity. A shame that, because a well timed inventive cuss word can really spice up a sentence.

    Exactly, cooler climates are easier to enjoy.

    You’d hope they add on heaps of compost and other minerals to that Hope Farm. That’s a smart move improving the diversity of plants in your diet. And herbs are not as consumed as much in these enlightened days as they might be. Still, that leaves more for us! 🙂 Excuse the plant (leaves) pun.

    How’s the radish looking? A few warmer days, and that plant will really kick off.

    Did you enjoy some sun, and dodge the later rain? It was a cloudy but also kind of warm-ish and dry day here. Perfect weather for doing a bit of forest clean up. We were originally going to take the day off work around here, but the weather suggested work activities would be more appropriate. The weather forecast is weirdly the same most days this week. The soil is very damp though. All things considered, it’s been drier at this stage of the year, than previous years.

    Oh H, some activities cannot be easily forgiven, or forgotten. Was peanut there? Yes, an immediate halt to any privileges is called for, although I do note that dogs live very much in the moment and fail to comprehend delayed punishment. The trick is trying to align her interests, with yours, and taking a dump at the Club is so not cool. Just out of sheer curiosity, I’d check for rodent activity near to the pantry. Dogs can sometimes do what H did, to mark their territory when there are unwanted intruders. It’s possible also that peanut took a wee there. A lot of explanations.

    Yes, I’d heard such things about your trade. Also, I’d imagine location would influence the outcome? Maybe? There is a well known bloke in the big smoke who’d probably handle such items. Not all doors are opened I can tell you, but you already knew that. Passing it up the chain is a smart move. Did you ever exercise that move?

    Thinking about getting some seeds for chestnuts and Algerian Oak trees. I’ve got a vision for a fire resistant hedge grown from trees. Hmm.



  22. Chris:

    Besides sitting in public and watching people, I like listening to their conversations, too. If it’s in public, then it’s public. If waiting in a shop line I sometimes join in, if I can tell it’s not too personal. I have been tempted to join in people’s phone conversations – you are talking loudly right by me! – but I think that’s going a little too far.

    When I was a kid money was never talked about, ever, anywhere, at least when I was around – and my father was a banker. So I was financially illiterate, as well as never being taught any basic skills in life.

    “Dallas” – who could forget that? A total soap opera and I don’t like those, so I only watched it a few times. They filmed some of it at the highrise apartments next to my grandmother’s highrise.

    We can’t get digital TV in the country; I think that they can still do so in town. They gave us a free box when TV first went digital. I donated it to an old folk’s home as my husband had to have satellite.

    That’s one old chicken!


  23. Yo, Chris – We also have Christmas tree plantations, in our county. Tree plantations of any sort, are kind of food deserts, for wildlife. Well, biofuel. Doesn’t have to make sense, as long as someone is making money out of it.

    You might want to check out your rug, in the rabbit hole. Might be a well known fabric designer. Might even be auction records. You might end up hanging it on the wall, rather than it being on the floor 🙂 .

    Was the wombat at home? Might have disturbed his nap, with all your banging around. Similar to my trying to catch a nap, as they’re at the stage of replacing the floor, next door. I wonder if we’ll have an elevator, this weekend? When I came through the lobby, a very tiny Hispanic young man, was trying to wrestle very large wooden door, onto the elevator. I hope our food box gets delivered, before they break it.

    I worked in the garden, a bit, last night. I got the tomato in the ground, that was left over from the Master Gardener sale. It’s called “Oregon Spring.” A determinate variety, that’s supposed to be a really early tomato. 4″ spheres. It’s described as a “heirloom,” so I could save seed. The plant already has some blossoms on it.

    I also planted some green pole beans and some Scarlett Runner Beans. A few Mammoth sunflowers. I did a little fertilizing with wood ash. See if I can get my carrots to do something beside sit there. Ditto the Radish.

    Although I did harvest a few Radish, last night. Pill bugs were clinging to a couple of them. I tried just a piece of the Radish, and it was pretty spicy. The rest of it I cut off the insect damage, diced it up, and added it to my dinner vegetable potage. Can’t say it added much to the flavor, but, after, my tongue told me it had been there 🙂

    I also picked some spinach, and just steamed a bunch, to see about flavor. Sigh. My taste buds are so dull. Barely a detectible flavor. Oh, well, added to a potage, at least I know the nutrients are there.

    Looks like our weekend will be mostly scattered showers. Monday, it looks nice. Then back to the rain, again. I wonder if the Master Gardeners will be here, Monday? It’s a holiday weekend. Memorial Day.

    I’ve never seen signs of rodents, at the Club. And we do have bags of rice, pasta and beans, about. Boxes of cereal. I was told Peanut has pooped and peed at the Club. I think H smelled that, and thought, well, if it’s alright for another dog …

    Yes, location has a lot to do with prices, in the Tat Trade. I’d occasionally get toffee nosed customers, obviously from the big city, who, because we were backwoods rubes, didn’t deserve a fair price for our items on offer. They could either pay the toll, or do without. Dealers from the city would come through. But, generally, they were nicer to deal with, as they knew the realities of the business.

    Oh, yes, I suppose a lot of the stuff I moved, went up the chain. Things I sold out of the antique malls, I was a bit less sure about destination. But, there was that quilt that went to the Disney people. And an English salt that was sold to the minions of the director, Aaron Spelling. He collected them. I suppose it’s floating around LA, now.

    I watched the “extras” on “The Dark Divide” DVD, last night. I may watch the movie, tonight.

    Speaking of reading and books, I’ve got a few, on the go, right now. I finished the “Hillbilly Highway” book. I’m dipping into “Bull**** Jobs.” Poking at “Why We Die: The New Science of Aging and the Quest for Immortality.” (Ramakrishnan, 2024) and “Herod the Great: Jewish King in a Roman World.” (Goodman, 2024.) Quit a mixed bag. Lew

  24. Hello Chris,
    Money is not what it used to be.
    I think we had three distinct steps down the ladder.
    First the abolishment of the gold standard in the 1970s.
    Second was the response to the 2005/8/9 financial crisis, when central banks started to print money like crazy.
    Third strike was the tax-deficit spending to “stimulate the economy” during you-know-what.

    It shows an eerie symmetry to the situation of Weimar Germany of 1924, when politicians chose to build debt, encouraged by “economists”. At that time, it was a ten-year bubble starting during WWI and imploding during 1924. The well cho(sen title of the book by Taylor of the debacle is something like “Hyperinflation and the destruction of the middle class”.

    We live in equally strange times now. I believe that “money” is a way to distribute the real wealth (food, houses, energy, services etc.) to those with most political clout. Borrowing without planning to pay back is a gift to some, and slavery to others.

    I expect that every pension fund I have ever paid to will be empty by the end of the decade, just as happened in Weimar Germany a century ago. Note that the mortgages did not inflate away that time. Will they this time? (I suspect that it depends on if it is advantageous to those with most political power during the aftermath…)

    Europe feels more and more like a Potemkin-scene. We import everything we need, from food and petroleum to minerals, metals and computers. Paying with future claims.
    We seem to slip into the debt trap that was a key move by the “Economic Hitman” John Perkins. Who will own us later?

    Before financial meltdown – chop wood, carry water, right?

    Thanks for the autumn pictures. Here we are in full summer mode. +25C for a month and no rain. Dry soil but so far the well is full of fresh water and we have 500+ meters of drip lines installed. The trees grow great, and some of the veggies are already in full swing. The only failure this year is a failed winter-storage of chestnut seeds (too cold). Our walnut seeds grow great. Life is good.


  25. Chris,

    Well done on the low gradient path completion. Did you do a happy dance? I would have.

    We received another 12mm or so of rain the other night, which gets us near 25mm for the week. I did a happy dance during the most recent rains.

    The Princess asked me to fill in some of the “landscaping” holes Dame Avalanche has dug in the back yard. They were definite hazards to ankles if stepped into unknowingly. So that got accomplished today. Then I had to take rocks that were intended for other uses and place them atop the filled in holes. Yup, you guessed it…Dame Avalanche started removing the dirt from one hole while I was filling in another one.

    Once upon a year, my father helped my grandfather dig fence holes and place fence posts. They needed a new fence around their horse’s pasture. After several hours of work, they heard a noise and looked behind them. The horse was joyfully grabbing a fence post in its teeth and pulling it from the ground. Nearly all of the newly placed fence posts had been removed by the horse. Oops!

    I use Utub just often enough to know that I would miss it if it lost its free status. All of the yoga I’ve learned has been on Utub.

    Indeed, how to connect to the land when in the city. Good question. I’m fortunate that I grew up spending a lot of time outdoors daily. The house was close to the river, a big state park, and empty fields and woods near the school I attended. Dad also bought part of a neighbor’s property for his large garden. The garden was often a refuge of mine. The outdoor time is something I’ve adhered to my entire life. Sitting and listening to the wind has been a favorite activity of mine for decades. Keeps me sane and apparently connected to land, nature, etc.

    Dame Avalanche used to tug and pull hard on the leash, especially whenever she saw other dogs, a cat, humans she knew, or squirrels. She would often pull hard enough to choke herself somewhat with her collar. Eventually, I purchased a harness for her, one that could connect to either the front or on her back. The front load is wonderful. However, the harness was not robust enough for her, which she demonstrated when she chewed it into pieces during a class in obedience school. I enjoyed the irony. I’ve since purchased a much more robust harness and she is generally well behaved on the leash now. If she pulls too hard against the front-loaded leash, she simply spins in a circle. Some brands refer to this as a front clip harness.

    I have been informed that Saturday I have an indoor project. A room in the basement is in disarray. A few things are stored in it, as well as much of the wood I’ve collected for future carving and pyrography projects. My job is to organize the mess. Twill be a blustery day, so an indoor project will be good.

    Oh, I keep forgetting to give you a link to this song. Utub again, which has a LOT of music, doesn’t it? The song is a bit different, to say the least. It’s called “Burn Your Village to the Ground”.


  26. Hi Pam,

    The same is true with photography. If it’s in a public setting, then it’s part of the public domain, although local laws always need to be considered, like you know, the authoritas can get a bit weirded out by taking photographs of err, certain installations. Best not to poke the authoritas is always a good thing to keep in mind. But two blokes talking about their attitudes to debt, loudly, is fair game. They brought that upon themselves.

    Oooo, I see what you mean. Such loud talk, kind of is asking for everyone else around them to become involved in the topic at hand. It is possible that you’ve raised a situation where technology has run ahead of the social niceties? Dunno.

    Pam, that’s so true, and is ultimately the outcome of such silence on the topic. I’d never quite thought of it that way, but yeah, I agree. The story of borrowing from my grandfather suggested that I too had a poor grasp of the subject. You wise up pretty quickly though in the rough and tumble of life, don’t you?

    I’ve said that before here as well. It’s almost remiss of schools not to provide a basic education on navigating life’s administrative necessities. When entering the adult workforce, I had no idea that a person had to lodge a yearly tax return, so after two years of working, inevitably I was penalised for being late, and that negligence financially hurt. But at the time taxes were automatically deducted from my wages, and nobody talked about the requirement to do such things, so I didn’t know. Until the authoritas sent me a nasty demand letter. Ouch. Yeah, you wise up quickly! But there are easier ways to learn this stuff.

    I never watched it either! 🙂 But there was the awareness that someone had killed J.R. Ewing, and he probably wasn’t such a nice bloke, and clearly had made some enemies. Cool. Did you ever spot the film crews doing their thing?

    A lovely donation! Down here I recall that there was some talk of subsidised digital to analogue boxes, but err, no signal made the argument moot. But the habit always escaped me, and here we are today. Much more fun, don’t you reckon?



  27. Hi Göran,

    Well that’s exactly it. Once conventional oil extraction peaked around 2005, other less conventional sources of energy came on line so the overall supply actually increased. There was heaps of oil products around during the last two decades, and I fully expect this to be the case in the future. However, this new unconventional stuff is not as cheap to supply as the old stuff. How could it not be? Down under we had the minerals boom which covered it all over for a few years, but eventually debt was used to keep peoples expectations where they once were. Such use of expanding debt, leads to inflation. Have you noticed how the forecast interest rate reductions made earlier this year, somehow didn’t materialise?

    Weimar Germany in 1924 was broke, and failed to adequately deal with that reality, other than eventually attempting to wrest control of flows of tribute from other countries through military expansionism. And yet over two decades, they failed at that too. It’s a very ugly history, and I believe that the current binge is only being attempted because of the reserve currency status and a lack of the comprehension that failure is a possibility, and yet, that advantage is losing ground as well. And it is an advantage to believe you cannot fail, because then you’ll do stupid things, some of which may work. It’s no guarantee though.

    I dunno man, there are more meaningful ways to deal with all of these competing crises, but who gets into power by promising less for everyone?

    That’s the exact lesson my grandfather taught me when I tried to pull that loan to gift scenario on him. It’s the same thing, but on a larger scale. We make the error of judgement by assuming that other players in that game are passive, or will acquiesce to our strategies. That’s not always going to be the case. And what I saw as a gift, he saw as a transfer of wealth which he’d worked for. Hmm. Interesting huh?

    I don’t know about that story. During the Great Depression there was plenty of production to be sold, there was just the lack of people with money to buy the stuff. That was a massive imbalance which was kind of sorted out by WWII when the governments bought up the excess supply. For all you and I know, the future may be the opposite where there is plenty of money, but not all that much stuff with which to purchase. In some respects, you’ll still have those pension funds, but inflation itself may be a form of rationing by price.

    If I may dare take a peek into my crystal ball – Europe does indeed lack these things you mentioned, but may be forced like Iceland, to take on an ever larger share of other forms of non-essential economic activity such as tourism. Those may be the folks who end up owning you later. As someone who is under siege by tourists, it’s not a pretty experience.

    What an alarming book. Did you know the state I live in had somehow signed up to the belts and roadies imitative (sic) from the land of stuff? That got ripped up during that-which-shall-not-be-mentioned. That’s how the rough end of diplomacy works. It can be very strange.

    But yeah, chop water and fetch wood is always a valid option, and like you, it is one that I too follow. In some ways, it’s the only path forward, back into the past.

    To be honest, we’re a week out from winter and your weather sounds really nice, other than the lack of rain. That’s no good. I’ve noticed that vegetables seem to grow better in dry and warm soil, than overly damp cold soils.

    I’d be interested in hearing your chestnut story because the local gardening club was offering chestnut seeds for sale, and this seemed like a good idea to me to grow lots of trees on the cheap?



  28. Hi DJ,

    🙂 A fourteen month journey project is no short meander over the hills to see what lies beyond. At the end of each work day, we do a back pat for that which was achieved. It works. The happy dance is optional, but would make a fine addition. Do I recall correctly that Snoopy used to do a happy dance?

    Now that much rain at the time of the growing season you’re in, I’d do a happy dance as well. It’s a pretty handy amount of rain. Is the place looking green?

    Ah yes, dogs can certainly be useful with landscaping works. But can us humans direct the canine energy into anything useful? That’s where theory comes unstuck. A shame that, but good to hear that you’re fixing up the landscaping woes which Dame Avalanche caused to come into existence. Oh no! Have I read this correctly: You’ve been tested by the might of Husky power? 🙂 It is probably one of those occasions where a finely timed expletive was warranted.

    I had no idea horses could do such things to fences. A bit of cured cement would stifle the horses creativity, but few people secure fence posts in concrete – although I do. At least the holes had already been dug!

    My feelings are similar in relation to utoob. I’ve learned a lot from watching people sharing how-to videos. Yesterday as part of the work, I had to drop a small tree (it was all rescued for firewood, sorry to say). Anyway, I’d been watching arborists and their techniques, and was off my estimations by about two or three degrees. I was aiming for a chunk of wombat poop. A good result, but I think I can do better in future, although without the knowledge provided in the DIY videos, that’s one risky job. And as someone who stretches every single day, I hear you, and if anything hurts, I do a search on how to make it better – and that works. It was the older runners who I knew when I was a very young bloke who taught me that things could go awry, although they themselves couldn’t seem to alter their trajectory with that sport. It’s a more common problem than most would acknowledge.

    How’s your hand going?

    Very wise to connect, especially given the local opportunities to do so. Gardens are lovely places aren’t they? Hey, you still do that with Dame Avalanche and a coffee.

    Oh my! What an alarming experience to have witnessed Dame Avalanche chewing through her harness. I have both Ollie and Dame Plum on correction collars, so I can give them a solid yank if required, but still, Dame Plum especially is resilient to instructions. Some may say, wilful. Ollie is mostly a true gentleman. I’ve never used a harness, interesting to hear of your experiences. The obedience club here use correction collars.

    Hehe! This being roped into work is something we all must deal with from time to time. 😉 Is this an opportunity for the installation of some better shelving?

    That was powerful. Dude, as far as I can comprehend things and the future, they’re doing a good enough job of ensuring that outcome all by themselves. In fact, to light a spark may shore up things and provide a focus. Best I reckon to look to the land and see what it has to say on the matter.



  29. Hi Lewis,

    My head is now spinning with all the industrial chemistry details relating to that story. And confirmed that it was perhaps a good idea not to use ethanol blended fuels in the small equipment engines used here. But the entire story arc is no good at all. I recall the days of leaded petrol and threats of engine knocking. The stuff was phased out here in 1996 (from memory), and I had a 1982 Suzuki car at the time. Unleaded petrol was then chucked into the tank, and I didn’t notice any difference in the way the engine worked. None. I’d read that the average IQ of kids at schools near to busy roads was statistically lower than those who weren’t. It was uncanny, but let’s face it, lead has always been a problem. It’s also equally possible my IQ has been damaged by the lead fumes, and I don’t know the difference! Shouldn’t make fun of the subject, it’s quite horrid really.

    But talk to anyone nowadays and they’ll say that carbon is the only pollutant to worry about. They know nuffin! There’s heaps of pollution out there. One of the benefits of off-shoring industry was that despite the ongoing and persistent pollution, the local environment did actually improve. People forget their history and how things were.

    People always ask me about pollutants in the soil minerals, the stuff in whatever format, we bring back here. What do they expect me to say? I dunno, I tell them that this is what living on a poisoned planet looks like. Earlier today I was speaking with friends who said something about microplastics are now being found in all sorts of locations in the human body, like the testicles. No good at all, but people want their plastic shopping bags, among other items.

    Such artificial forest arrangements are highly devoid of life. Dunno about your part of the world, but after big bushfires, I’ve observed that the regenerating forests are also very quiet places – presumably there is little life there other than the plants. It’s not quiet outside tonight. The family of magpies was making their alarm call, and fair enough too, a powerful owl was lurking around, and was surprisingly close. I shone the torch around, as you know, I help out the magpies because they look after me. The second of the powerful owl could be heard moving further away. They call out one to the other so as to let each know where they are. Probably pretty scary for the magpies.

    I’d never thought of doing that with the rug. I’ll mention it to the Editor as she has a better brain for such things. Hope the damage the rug has endured on the floor over the years doesn’t detract from any value!

    Wombats are heavy sleepers, so I doubt it. Actually the marsupial may not have been home. There are four wombat burrows in that area which I am aware of. One of the burrow entrances even has it’s own fern. It looks like a little hobbit hole entrance!

    Did the elevator survive the building works? Yikes! And did the food boxes arrive in time? A few weeks ago a delivery dude was making a delivery at the local general store. I held the door open for him, and he thanked me, then mentioned that it was very rare for people to do so. Isn’t it nice living in these enlightened days?

    Hope the tomato does well, and please do let me know how it goes? I’m always on the look out for early varieties of tomato which actually taste good. It’s available down under. The name is a promise which may be difficult to deliver upon, but that’s marketing for ya!

    Love a bit of wood ash on the garden soils. The soils here really aren’t deeply fertile enough, nor loose enough to a depth, to grow carrots well, so they’re a mystery plant. When you discover what they need to get them growing fast and produce nice looking tubers, please do let me know? I’m surprised the radish isn’t growing fast though, they’re a bit weedy here the way they grow. Still your soils may not be warm enough yet.

    Most radishes have a mild flavour, with a bit of a zing. Clearly your tongue could discern the zing! 🙂 Less problematic than chili, especially for dinner! Those things affect my sleep. Well, that’s it with spinach, kale leaves etc. They have to be cooked, and that does diminish the taste, but if you’re reaching for a blue zone outcome, then eat a variety of plant material, and yeah, hopefully the minerals are there. 😉 If you want flavour from a leafy green, try a red or green mustard leaf. Holy carp! Bam! That’s the sound of your taste buds exploding. Maybe with those leaves, sample a bit of the leaf first. Hehe!

    Scattered showers. Your soil is probably too cool, just like what happens here at the same time of the season. Hope the long weekend holiday is pleasant.

    That was my thinking too with unofficial peanut Club business. Ook! It is equally possible that H was marking her territory in the Club? Those two dogs were having what is impolitely known as a pooping contest.

    Thought so, and thanks for confirming my suspicions in relation to the tat trade. It makes sense, and yes, the big time collectors heading to the hinterlands seeking a bargain are probably a bit condescending. I see you’ve met them! 😉 The city folks in the trade, probably had to deal with those folks as well, thus they were automatically more pleasant to someone else in the trade.

    Selling stuff here on ebuy has that problem as well, especially because of postage. Someone bought an item, long ago, then despite it being pick up only (we usually do postage as well, but not that time) asked if I could drop it off, and they were two hours away on the extreme other side of the big smoke. Outrageous behaviour. I’m sure you’ve likewise experienced such out of control expectations? Nowadays if selling something, I always list it as a beginning one cent auction with no reserve. That way the true market value is eventually revealed. Most of the time the strategy works too, but not always.

    I remember you mentioning that quilt, and it’s an infeasible destination! Was that an English salt shaker? Another unusual destination. You can never tell with such items. Imagine the things the salt shaker has been witness too. Hopefully it has seen some good parties, or at least overheard some interesting dinner table conversations, and not been locked away in some glass fronted cabinet.

    Did you get around to watching the film, and was it any good? The film release was derailed.

    A solid mixed bag of reading. What’s your opinion of the book ‘Bullshit Jobs’ (I believe it is ok to quote and/or accurately reproduce a book title 😉 )? Any new insights into the blue business? Has it softened your resolve in relation to all things spinach (and what would Popeye ever say)? If the dude had been Herod the Lesser, would we have heard of him?

    Went into the big smoke today for lunch and to hang out and chat with friends. A lovely day, and the weather even co-operated and sent some sunshine.



  30. Yo, Chris – Let’s paint the babies crib, and toys, with lead paint! Given that the little rascals chew on everything. We’ve mentioned that when they banned lead in paint, at least in the early days, paint for kitchens and bathrooms was rubbish.

    Yes, there are a lot of other gases out there, that do as much, or far more damage than CO2. Such as, oh, I don’t know, methane? 🙂 As far as polluted soils go, what’s one to do? Well, you could encourage all that fungi you have about.

    “Fungi have a unique propensity for breaking down chemical pollutants, including oil and pesticides, and extracting or binding heavy metals, even radiation.”

    If you do a search for “Fungi remove pollutants from soil?” you’ll discover some interesting reading.

    Yes, the story about plastic shards in the old cojones, is getting a lot of play, here.

    I saw a crow and raven, mixing it up, yesterday. We seem to have a pair of ravens, about. I also saw a pair of eagles. They haven’t decided quit where to settle in. Usually, in the wood up behind the Institution. But I think we’re getting a lot of homeless, up there. Might affect the choice of nesting sites.

    So, the wombat has a primary residence, and three vacation homes? No wonder there’s a housing crisis! 🙂

    The elevator seems to be working, and the food box arrived fairly early. It was a pretty good box. But nothing startling. Except for a pound of frozen, sliced smoked ham. A dozen good looking eggs, and none broken this time. A loaf of French bread. A jar of peanut butter. Cereal. The sugar loaded stuff for kids. I didn’t have much to take down for the swap table. Just a bag of individual coffee creamers, a plastic shell of sliced apples and caramel dip, and a dented can of some kind of chili sauce. I kept a can of noodle soup, the eggs and bread. Everything else went down to the Club.

    My carrots are finally getting their secondary leaves.

    The only really irritating problem I had when selling on E Buy was, I did US shipping, only. And, announced the fact by deploying a little HTML, to state that, in bold letters, right at the top of any listing I did. I found international shipping to be 1.) complicated and 2.) expensive. A couple of times, someone won an auction, and apparently thought the instructions didn’t apply to them. I’d refund their money, and ask if English was their second language. I never got a negative ding. They knew they were out of line. Just thought I’d cave. Nope.

    It wasn’t a salt shaker, it was what’s called an “individual open salt.” Usually, they had a small metal spoon, to go with them. Rich people would have ornate glass open salts (or, silver) for each place setting. They’re small, so, a nice collectible if you have limited space. Further down the social ladder, people could buy pressed glass individual salts. A lot less pricey. The one I sold probably didn’t cost much, originally. It was pressed glass, but made out of purple “slag glass.” And, English.

    I watched “The Dark Divide,” last night. Oh, you haven’t seen it? Well, then I won’t say too much about it. A couple of things bothered me, but they’re minor. You certainly see a lot of the country, around here. Lots of mountains. A couple of glancing shots of our volcano. I was disappointed it didn’t show the crater. But that made sense. Prof. Pyle hiked the south side. The blow out was on the north side. Well worth a look, I think.

    I haven’t got back to the death book. Afraid I’m completely caught up in “Bullshit Jobs,” and will ride it to the end, before picking up something else.

    I noticed something on our libraries, “new, on order,” list. “Beatrix Bakes: Another Slice.” By Natalie Paul. Apparently, she ran a popular bakery in Melbourne. Ever go? She also has another book, from just a couple of years ago. Lew

  31. Hi Lewis,

    Ah, the horrid materials I must have come across when fixing up old houses. And you too with the furniture restoration. Might explain that occasional unusual tick… Anywhoo, we’re still here though, kicking on. The early paint, was notably pretty good, despite the poisoning effect.

    That’s exactly my point, people forget about all the other stuff. I recall paper mills dumping dioxins in the ocean. An alarming thing to do… But yeah, that’s a great solution, and the fungi quietly do their own clean up work. The place here is chock full of fungi, and I’m pretty sure they’re working hard. I still haven’t read any of Paul Stamets books, and this lack must be addressed.

    Dunno where, but I’d read that microplastics are turning up everywhere in human bodies. Probably not good, and I’ll tell you, the stuff is in most materials I bring back here. Surely plastic dolphins aren’t green waste? Maybe it is simply my misunderstanding there?

    Who won the bout? Sure the ravens are bigger than crows, but I’ve seen a couple of magpies harassing a wedge tail eagle – that’s what usually happens when the massive birds circle overhead, which is daily. The magpies are tiny by comparison, but have the bigger courage to act so. Well, humans do intrude upon the territory of other critters, but we can also do some good in that regard. There’s usually not all that much food in the wilds, and a bit of good management can produce drastic changes for the better.

    We had our first light frost this morning. I truly don’t understand why, but the grass was frozen in only a single large patch, whilst nothing else around it was frozen. The highest point of the frozen area was part of the sapling fenced enclosure, and that had been cleaned up a few weeks ago, so maybe the bare soil there was colder? Dunno.

    Old wombat burrows get restored by young and zesty wombats. 🙂 I’ve only ever spotted one new wombat burrow being created, and honestly I wish the wombat was not doing this work. The new burrow is being created under a very large and old tree, and I’ve yelled down into the depths: “Hope you know what you’re doing!” If that tree falls over, it’ll be a lot of work for me. The wombat will probably be fine, maybe, as will the burrow.

    Nobody ever wants to discover broken eggs in a carton. Was it much of a mess to clean up? I’d somehow forgotten that incident, but have had my own share of broken eggs over the years. Any that break near to the hen house, I generally feed to whichever dog happens to be around at the time. That’s a good haul, and wise to avoid the sugary cereal, but what the heck is a coffee creamer?

    Good to hear about the carrots, and the soil is clearly slowly warming up for you – as it’s cooling down here. The lower soil doesn’t usually get colder than 50’F, I reckon. Of course the upper layer can occasionally freeze and get crunchy. Brr!

    That’s what the cheeky person did to me with the shipping with ebuy as well. They were just trying it on, as you also note. Time wasters. I discovered that in the settings you can stop members with a low number of feedback scores. If someone has only one feedback, there are other vendors who’ll take their moolah and risk. A problem for the purchasers, but also a problem for someone else. The feedback from previous transactions is a form of social verification, which I quite approve of in that forum. Anything above 95% is OK by me, you can’t please everyone, and there are always the grifters who’ll try stuff, just because. I so like that word: Grifters. Thanks! By the way, that’s a good response, as it gives them an out.

    Dude! You knew. Of course you knew. There are open salt collectors! Holy carp. Some of the designs looked pretty funky and cool. I can well understand why they were collector items. But the madness… I’m sure your item was up to par, otherwise it would not have sailed to such heady locales.

    Very funny, and of course I’ve not seen this film, that’s why I was waiting upon your review. 😉 And that’s fair enough too, I get that and thanks for the spoiler alert. The south side would have been warmer and had more plant life as well, so I can understand why the professor avoided the err, naturally damaged, northern side. Thanks, and I’ll add the film onto the to-see pile. 🙂

    That’s a book I keep hearing things about. The title is a winner for sure. And I was recounting to friends yesterday that during the recession of the mid 1990’s, the Editor was asked to step into such a job when the incumbent was heading on extended leave. Now things went badly after only a week or so when the Editor remarked that there was less than an hours work a day. The incumbent cut the Gordian knot by eliminating the Editor, to much distress in our household. We were just so young back then, the bullshit jobs situation was like those baby harp seals which got clubbed to death. The Editor made the mistake of calling bullshit on that job. If I may say so, honesty is rarely rewarded in western culture. So, is it a cheeky book recommendation? This title I may be able to borrow from friends.

    Have you ever heard of FOMO? Well, it’s a sad tale, but to my utter woe, I completely missed that bakery. And what’s worse is that I used to live not too far from there, and am regularly in that area. The gargle street view is quite interesting because it shows the rough and tumble of the mixed architecture in the inner northern Victorian era suburbs largely intact. But the loss of such heady bakery treats is very real. I feel it. What can you do other than buy the book, but if I were in that trade, that’s exactly how I’d do things. And experience the same result. Such responses received are hard-wired into human psyche.

    Cheers and better get writing!


  32. Yo, Chris – Yes, I occasionally wonder about all the toxic chemicals I’ve been exposed to, due to the furniture refinishing. Solvents, and stuff. Though I was usually careful to keep it to the open air. Or, at least in well ventilated spaces. Having a Dad who was a painter, well, lesson learned early. He had a paint “room”, under the basement stairs. Kept all his stuff for side jobs, in there. I loved the smell of turpentine, etc.. Weird kid, I know 🙂

    Of course, we’ve talked about how milk paints were durable, and a lot safer to use. But, people get in their heads what color or hue they want (which can be driven by advertising), and safer paints come in a rather limited pallet. Same with natural dyes for fabrics. The Editor can fill you in 🙂 .

    What sticks in my mind is black and white footage, from the 1940s / 50s, of school kids, eating their lunches at outside picnic tables, being sprayed down with DDT.

    No clear winner in the raven vs crow squabble. Everyone appeared to survive to fight another day.

    The frost patch is probably where the aliens from the ice planet, landed.

    Well, if the tree the wombat is under, topples, you’ve got more firewood. There may be a catapult effect. Watch out for flying wombats. When wombats have wings.

    Oh, one egg was clearly broken, and the other was cemented in the carton, due to fluid. I just transferred the unaffected eggs to another carton and tossed the whole affected carton.

    Well, this is another American thing, that will give you the fantods. Just search “Coffee mate singles.” Little plastic pods of non-dairy “creamer.” And they come in flavors! We’re the land of non-dairy creamer. There’s the pods, and then there’s little packets of the stuff. Everyone seems to have their favorite. Or, it can be bought in bulk to fill dispensers. We run through several varieties, at the Club. I never tumbled for that gear. Black, please.

    Yes, E-Buy also has a setting for U. S. shipping, only. But it doesn’t seem to slow them down.

    Well, when I got the individual purple slag glass salt, I figured it was something a bit special. A bit of research, and voila! Sowerby or Davidson company, Britain. Been a long time, but there might have been an impressed logo on the bottom. Half the battle in the Tat Trade is identifying stuff. You usually get more money out of something if you can identify maker, pattern, time period. Which when it comes to glass, can be a bit dicey, as molds float all over the place. Sometimes, to the Land of Stuff.

    We have a “free” table in our Institutions library. I keep an eye on it. People are not supposed to put things on it, but … people. Last night, there was but one item. A pink crackle glass rose bowl. It had good wear, on the bottom. I thought it might be Blenko Co.. So I snagged it, to possibly send to the New Year’s Day auction. Without much trouble, I discovered it’s not Blenko. Made by a Japanese company, Toyo. I’ll probably not get as much for it, as Blenko, but, whatever. Still collectible.

    Oh, dear. The Editor fell into exactly one of the situations outlined in the book. The author describes exactly why it bothered the Editor, but, perhaps not the person who had the job.

    I think I’ll head down to the store that has plants. See what I can pick up, today. I’ve been putting it off, as the weather has been so iffy. But, I’m likely to maybe miss the season, if I don’t get on the stick. Lew

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