It’s been a long day

Ten years ago this week, the first blog entry was written. Since then, no week remained unharmed, therefore a bit of rough calculations on the back of an envelope suggests that there are around 520 blog entries now. Poop, that’s a lot of writing, but hasn’t it been a fun journey, or what? The blogs aren’t all written on Sunday nights, but most were. A nip of rum often assisted, the after effects sometimes required a couple of re-reads and edits. But by crook, or by hook, or something like that, the words got posted every Monday morning local time. In different parts of the world, that may appear as a Sunday, but what can I say, it’s intense living in the future.

I’d been writing for the hippy press for at least a decade before commencing the blog in 2014, and it was fun getting paid for that work. Those periodicals however, simply couldn’t take my volume of words. And eventually due to economics, the pathways to print faded away. Of course in one notable instance, providing some unsolicited advice to the publisher caused me to be unceremoniously cancelled. Cancel culture sucks. It also turns out that perhaps it isn’t such a smart move to provide unsolicited advice, whatever.

John Michael Greer, who is a notable occultist, but also the author of a growing family of 70, or maybe even 80 plus published books (it’s an expanding number), once remarked to me that if ever I was to get good at writing, I’d first have to get rid of a million or so words. Look, it seemed like a big hurdle to jump. I mean, it’s not as if Sandra and I aren’t already busy, what with developing and running a small farm, business, friends, having fun and stuff. It’s hard out there for those who write. But all the same, that heady target has now been surpassed. I’d like to believe that the words from can only get better from this point!

Writing for me, is a pleasant activity. However, when you’re sitting at a desk inside the warm confines of a small house out in the forest, writing away week after week, there can sometimes be a few introspective moments. Occasionally you do kind of wonder how the words are being received. Fortunately, I’m rarely prone to introspection, but a few years ago the mood took me. A friend of mine, Simon (who’s most excellent blog is listed in the side bar) had only just had his blog referenced in some weighty corners of the interweb. It may have been Philosophy News Today, or something like that. An inspiring achievement, but it got me thinking.

Anyway, moody introspection was swirling in the background of my mind, and the idea was nagging away. So just like the proverbial cat, curiosity finally got the better of me. I did a search on reviews of the blog, and thank gawd I finally found one. It was quite sweet really, the lovely reviewer made the observation that it was inspiring seeing an old dude creating the farm and ‘doing the best he could’. All very nice words, except the review was on a Porn Hub forum. Hardly Philosophy News Today, but one must be grateful for any solid reviews, and someone remarked years ago that any publicity is good publicity. Of course, I quietly gave up the desire to search for reviews.

Running the blog is a pretty cheap hobby, if you can do the administrative work yourself. Security is always something of an issue, and I’ve been forced over the ten years to learn more about cyber security than I’d ever really wanted to know. Like the Star Trek’s Borg, I adapt and respond to threats. In the ten years there’s only been one hacker who got closer than anyone else to breaking into the website. It was an impressive achievement which came to naught. I won’t go into details, but the person was a nuisance. I guess that’s the expected outcome from saying things like, solar power isn’t all that it’s cracked up to be, and the government looks far more broke than they would freely admit. It’s only the truth, but there are powerful interests out there, and such observations don’t win friends.

Still, the administration of the blog is reasonably straightforward. A much esteemed and regular commenter, Lewis, once suggested that all the regular photos would soon fill up the interweb. A fair concern, especially because the blog is rather photo heavy. Fortunately disc space is cheap, and in ten years we’ve only used up maybe only 40% of the allocated memory. But after the insightful comment, I did pay for some extra space, just in case.

Speaking of photos, Sandra takes most of them. Photography is a lot like writing in that if you present enough photographs to the public, you’ll soon get pretty good at the work. Now, the average reader may believe that we carry the camera around with us all of the time. That’s simply not true. Often we forget to take the camera with us when working around the property. It doesn’t matter, there’s always something of interest going on. When the camera is with us whilst working, it sits in a bucket nearby and hopefully out of harms way. About half of all of the photos taken make it onto the blog. We have a long running in-joke where after the first photo is taken, I claim that I was blinking. Thus even more photos have to be taken. Often it is true, thus the preference for dark safety glasses!

Long term readers will know that the dogs are dirty to be in the photographs. The canines love the attention, but of late, both Dame Plum and Ruby have taken to photo bombing us. The cheeky scamps will be in the background of a photo taking a dump. I have no idea how their timing has become so accurate, but it’s eerie. Hang on a second, maybe it was one of the dogs who left that review? Hmm.

It’s been such a fun journey these past ten years, but the blog wouldn’t be anything without all of the regular readers, and most especially to those whom take the time to comment. A very big thanks to you all, and may we enjoy another ten years together. And another ten after that, etc.

It’s been another cold, cloudy but mostly dry week. That’s typical weather for winter up here in the mountains, although the residents of the big smoke of Melbourne are experiencing colder weather than they’ve known for many years. It’s perfect weather for processing and hauling firewood, and continuing the forest clean up work.

Long term readers will know by now, that a century of logging here left a lot of mess. This is perhaps why the property was so cheap to purchase all those years ago. We’ve been at that clean up work for a lot of years, and it’s the sort of work you do when the weather conditions are just right, not too hot, and not too wet. That was the case this week.

Looking at the mess makes me think that the loggers were giants they way they threw large trees around. Some of the trees are even half buried in the surrounding clay. That was the case this week. In order to clean up those buried specimens, firstly I have to remove the huge root ball. Those things are big and super heavy.

Removing the clay from this tree root ball

In the above photo a combination of an electric jackhammer and a mattock were used to clear away the compacted clay on the root ball of the buried tree. It took a couple of hours of that work and several blunted chainsaw chains to detach the root ball from the tree.

The root ball was detached from the tree

I’m sure the root ball is very dense timber and would make awesome firewood, but we do not have the very expensive equipment required to process it. The protruding arms get cut off the root ball, and we roll the hugely heavy chunk of timber to a fire and burn it off. The local magpies watch our work, and swoop in afterwards to eat any insects we uncover.

The local magpies pick over our work areas

The fires are also fed any timber laying around on the ground which is too rotten to be used as firewood.

A lot of waste, but with all that rotten timber on the ground, there was little for forest critters to eat

There were a few of those huge downed trees in that area. It’s almost as if the loggers work simply came to a halt one day, as local rumours suggest occurred. They sure left a lot of mess, but then the word ‘cheap’ has to be recalled.

Another root ball was removed and burnt off

It took me a while to work out how to remove the tree which was half buried in the clay.

An underground tree, whatever will they think of next?

Inspiration eventually struck and I used the scary old rototiller to loosen up the soil mounds on either side of the trunk.

The scary old rototiller is used to loosen up the soil on either side of the half buried tree

Once the soil was loosened, a shovel was used to throw the soil around the entire area, thus smoothing the soil surface out really nicely.

The tree trunk was then cut into lengths about five to six foot long, which we rolled into a clear spot. Despite having been in the ground for about four decades, the timber is still pretty good. Not good enough to mill because of the rotten core, but they’ll make excellent firewood, once it dries out in a years time.

Proving burnt timber remains very well preserved after four decades

Once part of the tree was removed from the ground, the rototiller could run over the entire area and smooth it out.

You can see yet another stump on an inexplicable angle behind me

In less than two years when the soil and plants recover, that area will be providing a lot of feed for the wildlife.

Loggers mess, cleaned!

The wildlife here lives in the surrounding forest and also on the many tall old trees on the farm, but they all come here for a feed. Where the vegetation is really thick in the forest, there isn’t a great deal for the critters to eat. Here it is different, as the soil and produce are just better.

King Parrots enjoy feeding from the many exotic plants growing here

However, other than what the forest critters can harvest from the farm, and that’s a lot, we rarely if ever provide any additional feed. The other day we made an exception to that rule for the King Parrots. They were fed some tasty organic oats. Most properties around here are fenced off, so it can be hard out there for the forest critters, especially during the winter and early months of spring when forage is poor.

King Parrots enjoying some organic oats

The birds are many and varied during the day, but at night the marsupials roam the orchards. That’s when the wombats, wallabies and kangaroos turn up looking for a feed. A lot of activity at night also goes on with the smaller critters such as bush rats and sugar gliders, and that lot are nervous due to the many owls. Recently we’ve had a Southern BooBook owl hanging around.

A bit blurry, but you get the idea. A Southern BooBook owl. Looks grumpy

There’s always something going on.

Onto the flowers:

Yes it is a flower! It’s still mushroom season. Probably toxic
Sure it’s small, but it will probably kill
The seasonally confused Lavender, remains so
Canary Island Foxgloves love the conditions here
Vietnamese mint is in flower. The leaves are tasty and spicy!

The temperature outside now at about 10am is 5’C (40’F). So far for last year there has been 444.0mm (17.5 inches) which is up from last weeks total of 415.6mm (16.4 inches)

57 thoughts on “It’s been a long day”

  1. Hi Chris;
    I do not have the writing proclivity, and so that’s part of the reason my blog is nearing a year without an entry! The other reason is that I started a post that would require some actual calculation and checking facts, so got put on the back burner. But it’s not dead, I shall get a post out one of these days! Maybe a nip of rum is the inspiration I need……..

    The craziness of the world intrudes, and tempts me to pontificate. but I think others say my thoughts better than I would, so I try to keep it about things closer to home generally.

    rot resistance- Cedar and black locust are the two trees suitable for fence posts and other soil contact applications. Everything else rots quite quickly. Being buried for decades and still good enough for firewood? Crazy. Many here just buy the creosote treated stuff.

    introspection- Stopping to take stock of things, wondering if a shift is in order, or whether I need to change my take on things happens less as I get older. Less, but not never.

    photography- I personally think I have a good eye for it, but don’t have the camera carrying habit. Many times through the year, I’ll be walking along, and think to myself- man, that would make a great photo. And then walk on…….. I still remember when photography could get expensive real quick, and took forever to fill a roll, send off, wait for return, drive in to town to pick up and pay, and then find out your finger was in a wrong spot.

  2. Yo, Chris – Greetings from the past! It’s late Sunday afternoon, here. Or, early evening. Depending on which temporal anomaly you subscribe to. No DeLoreans were injured in the accessing of this blog.

    Well, you’re ten years older and wiser (?). 🙂 The Porn Hub forum? It must be the bubble bath picture. HAD to be the bubble bath picture.

    The Editor often takes calendar worthy photos. You know, there are always amateur photo contests, on the go. I think my credit union has one going now. $100 mad cash. I don’t know about your ag shows, but our county and state fairs, usually have photo competitions. No mad cash, but ribbons, galore.

    Your Magpies are quit handsome birds.

    One could ask, how do trees get buried in clay? Land movement? Let’s hope not. Once you got the logger’s mess cleared, it looks like you got a bit more of that flat land you lust after.

    Near as I can figure, King Parrots sell for around $2,800, here. A piece. Get enough of them, and they’ll form a communal roost.

    Speaking of photography (and, real estate), I saw an interesting article, this morning. Can’t link to it, so, you’ll have to search.
    “A Look Inside New York’s Historic Artist Lofts, the Last of Their Kind.” CNN. There’s some nice exterior shots of small, cast iron buildings. They came as kits. Just snap them together, like legos. 🙂 Lew

  3. (Sandra checking the browser history)

    Sandra: Chris! Have you been watching pornhub?

    Chris: No. I was just reading the articles.


    Happy 10th birthday to the blog!

  4. Hi Simon,

    Very funny. Thanks! 🙂 I’d heard that story years ago, and it was the traditional cover for those busted for indulging in such activities.

    Yeah, it’s been a fun word ride the past decade. And thanks also to you for writing your blog and books. Hanging out in the literal sense with Luke, Ged and Neo over the past week or so has been kinda cool. I’d never considered the films in that light, but you’re spot on with the analysis. Always dangerous to get the mind churning away! 😉



  5. Hi Steve,

    Ah well, such things happen. I’m quite fond of the joke that when events are going wide of the mark, that the ‘patterns aren’t right’. Honestly, I may have picked the quote up off the original Top Gun film. Very quotable. But you’ve hit upon an interesting issue that I also struggled with: if a blog requires too many calculations (always something of a problem) and/or too much research, the topic is considered too challenging here and quietly shelved. If new ideas were required, well I’d soon run out of those, maybe in a fortnight, maybe even less! 🙂 Fortunately, there’s usually something going on each week, and that provides intellectual fodder for observations and cogitation. And if all else fails, and reader numbers are down, there’s always the subject of oil. Hey, it works! 🙂

    No stress at all, if writing feels like a chore, then take a load off and chill. It’s not like we’re getting paid for our efforts. I enjoy the rhythm the blog adds to the week.

    I’m with you there as well there. I keep the content closer to ‘how is this impacting upon the home front?’ Talking about the really big picture invites a lot of argument, and I’m not into that.

    Man, but those thorns on the Black Locust! Far out, they hurt. And the trees are rather weedy, but you know, a farm can use some rot resistant fence posts. That timber I wrote about was weird, which was why I wrote about it and posted the photo. You can see the core has rotted, and that moisture is getting in about an inch, but other than that it’s super dense timber. I believe the tree was charred in the 1983 fires, and that may have sealed the timber? The loggers bulldozers would have been the only way to get the tree into the soil. No natural process (here at least that I’m aware of) could do that trick.

    I’m looking at timber treatments for green timber, and plenty of people suggest charring, but also a heady mixture of diesel and petrol. Never heard of that before, but people swear by it. I doubt you can buy creosote here nowadays. 🙂 A few years ago the mills used to use a mixture of Copper + Chrome + Arsenic which was labelled CCA. I think they use something different nowadays.

    All very true, things and perceptions change over our lives. And stuff keeps on keeping on.

    I like your style, and you get to enjoy the moment, without seeking to capture it. A lot of life is ephemeral. And oh yeah, I recall those expensive days too. The thing is, those older printed photographs will be around in decades to come, but the digital bits and bytes? I dunno at all. makes you wonder doesn’t it? And in earlier days because of the expense, you took better care to ensure the photo was of higher quality before clicking the button.



  6. Hi Lewis,

    Greetings from the future! 🙂 This temporal talk reminds me of the John Carpenter film: Prince of Darkness. Scared the daylights out of me, and the line: “You are receiving this message from the future…” was, and is hard to forget. Alas, my education is still sadly lacking as I’ve not yet had the time to watch: ‘They Live’. Glad for the confirmation though, a DeLorean is no cheap automobile these days, and you’d imagine panel damage would be quite expensive to repair. Someone over in the more fashionable end of the mountain range owns one, or at least they did so. Those gull wing doors, 100% cool, probably 10% practical – just as a wild guess. Hey, where would you even take such a vehicle to be repaired and/or serviced? 🙂 My mind is baulking at the size of those repair bills…

    I’d like to think a decade on and I’m wiser, however the truth may be otherwise! 🙂 Haha! Someone deepfaked the bubble bath picture. The plot is all clear to me nowadays. Did I ever mention that not long after the infamous bubble bath article, I met one of the ladies who worked at the publishers office, and whoa dude, there was a lot of support to have the photo grace the cover of the magazine, the owner apparently over ruled them all. Think about it, I could have been famous! Alas, such are the cold harsh winds of fate. And the publication is no more, but what if maybe they had run the cover? Anywhoo, man, I really laughed hard when I saw the review, it was so sweet, but the forum just made no sense to me whatsoever. I tell ya what, the incident cured me of any idle curiosity.

    Thank you, and I shall pass on your kind words to the Editor. Actually the Royal Melbourne show used to do arts and crafts, but I dunno nowadays. The farm expo’s don’t do such things. However, most country towns of any size will have a long running art show on some long weekend once per year. It’s a good place to support local artists. Even the local Kerrie Hall (in the nearby Kerrie valley) does a once per year art show. The hall is in a remarkably bucolic setting.

    The magpies are very intelligent birds, and of all the critters around the property, their interests are the most closely aligned with ours. Kookaburras being the next closest. They work hard those birds. I do have to be careful with the Kelpies when the birds are teaching their young to fly. That’s a long day for all of those birds, and the dogs are on leads.

    Oh my gawd! Lewis, I’d never considered land movement as a possibility, but yeah, let’s hope not. One landslide was enough for me, and that happened alarmingly quickly. Yikes! I have made some changes to the way water flows across the land because of that landslide day. And that’s the thing, the loggers left the greatest mess in the flattest area. The Editor tells me that they didn’t bother cleaning up because there was no money in that work. You’ve said something similar. It’s probably how things rolled. They pulled out saw logs, until the timber deteriorated, then they packed up and went elsewhere. In the 1980’s there were a few saw mills still operating around the base of the mountain range. I doubt any of them process timber now, although there is one with the machines still to do so.

    Wow! Who knew that King Parrots were so expensive? You know that they’re just hanging out here doing their funky thing? I have some serious doubts they’d survive the postal service to your part of the world.

    The article on the artists lofts blew me away. Those dwellings have life in them, and the interiors reflect the artists themselves. It’s one of the upsides of an economic downturn in that such spaces open up. It’ll happen again for sure. Kit homes were sent from the UK down here during the gold rush era. Labour and materials were expensive, and yeah there was a lot of iron and steel in them. I used to live around the corner from one in South Melbourne. I think it had National Trust listing, so may still be there. Hmm. … … The original tiny kit homes that helped solve Melbourne’s gold rush housing crisis. Better than a tent, which was the primary option in those heady gold rush era days.

    Nice warm days and cool nights makes for good summer conditions, although do you guys measure the commencement of summer from the date of the solstice, or the 1st of June? Tomorrow morning here is forecast a low of 32’F, and the day after 30’F. Brr!

    Oh yeah, I’d forgotten about those two unfortunate dudes and the mountain lion. Glad such critters aren’t roaming through these forests. Even Ollie would have a hard time facing off against a mountain lion. Makes you wonder how big feral domestic cats will be in another few millennia? Probably massive, and they’re here on this continent to stay for sure.

    Makes you wonder why the cherries weren’t consumed way back in the day? Some of the photos looked like the bottles had been buried.

    Yeah, I can see how pottery repos would be easier to spot than glassware. Can the repo makers cause the glass to produce minor runs? All of the preserving bottles we use are very thick glass and over half a century old (when they were last made), but you can see that the glass surface is no longer entirely as smooth as it once was.

    Wise! Lewis, I avoid restaurants which advertise a menu using words for ingredients that I have no idea what the heck they even mean. Novelty could become rather tiresome. Judith Jones understood that the books were there to be sold to the public. I’m sure you’ve encountered cook books which are unrelatable?

    Jolly good shot! You’ve piqued my curiosity, who won that battle? What? There’s an even biggerer Mechagodzilla, and Kong and Godzilla swap business cards and join sides. Cool. The film did pretty well at the box office, but my those three sure did smash some stuff up big time. 🙂 Based on the trailer, I’d give the film a rip snorting five destroyed cities out of five. Good stuff.

    All quiet here today, except I ended up with some soapy water splashed into my eye. That hurt. Youch. The screen is a bit blurry this evening, but oh well, mustn’t grumble.



  7. Hello Chris
    I am filled with admiration for your ability to keep on writing weekly for such a long time. Actually I can’t imagine how you manage it. Plus your replies to all comments.

    Son had 2 small faces peer at him the other day. He had had no idea that another goat was pregnant. Now he has 10 goats.

    Still cold here but not raining.


  8. Hi Chris,
    Much appreciation for all your words and the editor’s photos. I always look forward to Monday to see what’s up.

    I don’t think you’ll ever run out of firewood. The cicadas are damaging the trees where they’re laying their eggs though not permanently. Small branches are falling off. We don’t have them here but my sister’s neighborhood about 20 miles away have tons. I can go over and enjoy their chorus and antics and just leave the mess and go home. I have been hit in the head everytime I visit though. Yesterday Cecily and I were over visiting an Cecily collected a container to bring here to see if the meat chickens would eat them. Well they did eventually but had to cock their heads and scrutinize them for quite some time before they finally checked them out. People with bird feeders in the areas where the cicadas are heavy report very few birds as they’re all gorging on cicadas.

    We don’t know how long Marty will remain in the nursing home as it’s the insurance company that will decide not any medical staff there. So much likely he’ll be thrown out before he’s ready or we can pay over $350/day out of pocket. Mentally he’s back to his old self but he’s very unsteady on his feet and fell in the bathroom yesterday. A staff member from Gwen’s group home brought her over for a visit over the weekend.

    You asked how I was doing and I would say mostly fine. It helps a lot that one sister lives close to him and has taken on much of the responsibilities and my other sisters have been good about visiting and will help with the apartment clean up which commences on Wednesday.


  9. Yo, Chris – Your bubble bath picture, on the cover, probably would have lead to subscription cancellations. 🙂 No, really. Would have driven the religious right, crazy. Years ago, there was a magazine called “The Biblical Archaeological Review.” About archaeology in the Middle East. One issue had a nice young lady, on a dig, proudly holding up something she had uncovered. She was in a halter top, and when I saw it, I thought, “Oh, that’s going to cause trouble. I couldn’t wait for the next issue, to read the “letters to the Editor.” And, they were hot. Lots of “Cancel my subscription,” and “How can I leave that filth, on my coffee table, when the pastor comes to visit?” I was amused.

    Every year, here, we have an annual “Art Walk.” More, and art drive. Artists all over the county open their studios, for a weekend. There’s also an old store front, in downtown Centralia, that’s been turned into a local artists co-op. Photography, is also included.

    What I noticed about the artists, in the lofts, is that they were all pretty elderly. From what I gather, here and there, young artists have pretty much moved into loft space, in the outer (and cheaper) boroughs. Even into (gasp!) New Jersey. 🙂 I think I mentioned, back in the 1960s, there were a few books around about how to convert lofts into studios and living spaces. And how to fly under the radar.

    That was an interesting article, about the Melbourne pre-fab houses. After the 1906 San Francisco earth quake, there were a lot of small, temporary houses built. Some, still survive. As you observe, better than living in a tent.

    I don’t think we have any of the cast iron prefabs, around our town. Unless they’re hidden under 1950s “modernization.” We do have a few prefab terracotta buildings. You’d order them out of a catalog, and they’d arrive on a nearby railroad siding. We have a lot of house “kits” around, that were sold by Sears. I’ve heard that you can now buy prefab houses, off the River.

    We seem to follow astronomical summer, here. The solstice will fall on June 20th, this year. Over the next few days, there will be lots of articles about “the longest day of the year.”

    Mountain Lions make two appearances in “Sasquatch Sunset.” You can distract a Mountain Lion by throwing afterbirth at it, while you make your escape. 🙂

    One of the articles I read speculated that the cherries were forgotten, due to the outbreak of the Revolution. Mt. Vernon, is pretty close to the coast, and I seem to remember it was evacuated, several times, during those years.

    I don’t know how large runs of repo glass are. But you see a lot of it, around. If you do a search for “antique reproduction websites,” it’s a real eye opener. There’s a site called “Real or Repo,” which I found quit useful.

    I finished the Judith Jones, biography, last night It’s interesting. She comes from a background similar to Julia Child, and both told similar stories. They both came from upper middle class / lower upper class homes, with social climbing mothers. “…particularly if one was brought up, as I was, to look upon a passion for food as an embarrassing weakness to be curbed – like being oversexed.” 🙂

    I fertilized the blueberries, yesterday. Between rain showers. Looks like we’ll have a bumper crop, if we can keep enough water on them. The Master Gardeners were here, this morning. There will be projects for me to work on, this week. Looks like we had rain, overnight, but, from here on out, the weather will improve. Lew

  10. Hi Chris,

    Happy Alban Arthuan to you and others in the Southern Hemisphere! In six months when the day comes here, no flowers at all will be blooming. Although there are some fungi that show up in the warmest stretches of winter.

    It’s hot, about 95F as I type after lunch, but we don’t have a heat advisory declared. Mike and I turned on the AC for the first time this year this morning, because the house was already 82F at 9am, equal to the outside temperature at that time. It’s cooled the house to 80F, but the AC also dehumidifies the air, making it feel comfortable at that temperature.

    I’ve harvested all the lettuce, bok choy, and multiplier onions out of the garden, and half the cabbage. The cabbages I’ve harvested so far had some worms in them but less so than last year, so I consider the addition of gypsum a success. I added a little over a pound of gypsum to 100 square feet, which I calculated made up most of the sulfur deficiency in my soil; the potassium sulfate I added for potassium (K) made up the rest of the sulfur deficiency. The gypsum package suggested a much higher application rate, 6 pounds per 30 square feet. That seems much more than is needed. It wouldn’t hurt to go double the rate I added, I think, but I don’t think more than that would be better. As always, though, whatever you decide to try, observe the results and adjust if needed.

    The big watering can in the sky stopped watering on us. If any of you are getting too much rain, ship me the excess, please. 😉


  11. Hello Chris, Sandra,

    I tip my hat to you and your persistent work. It is great to follow you weekly, which I have done probably for the last five years or so. It is very instructive to follow how you tackle challenges, small and large, facing the reality as it is. Not as it is “supposed to be”, like most media and official stories nowadays. You are reality people.

    I hope the interweb is up for another ten years of eloquent blogging!
    Thanks again!

    We got rain and everything is growing. The Midsummer Night will be celebrated coming Friday. Everything is lush and green and vibrant. A wonderful time. Last year this time, everything was brown and gray, since then we had no rain for two months. Water is life.


  12. Hi Inge,

    Thank you so much for the lovely words, and also the encouragement for personal discipline. 🙂 I’ve long known deep down that my life would be full of work, purpose and delightful communication. It’s my path.

    Oh my goodness, 10 goats, but yes such activity is how nature rolls. The trick as always is finding the balance between ability to feed, and pasture damage. Still, given the land size and forest resources, you’d both have plenty of wild forage for their feed I’d imagine. A lot of people keep horses in this part of the world, and always the paddocks seem over stocked to me. It’s particularly difficult during this wintry time of the year.

    It’s near freezing outside, and the ground is crunchy and more solid feeling than usual. It’s going to be a very cold night.



  13. Hi Margaret,

    Lovely! 🙂 Thanks. Hopefully you’ll also enjoy the short weekly videos which will appear sooner or later. At the moment, we’re considering the narrative structure, which to put it bluntly is: what are we doing + what are we eating from the property. It’ll probably develop over time… But I’m not seeing a lot of that sort of narrative, there’s a lot of big talk though, but not the nitty gritty details.

    😉 Yes, that fact has also occurred to us about the firewood. What a total mess it is, but bit by bit, it is getting better. The forest trees grow very fast here.

    Margaret, I had no idea that cicadas were sap suckers which feast upon the trees. Wow! Seems like they are a rare event occurring maybe once a decade or so. The birds here would have an insect feast, like when the locust plague hit. The insects lost that battle here to the birds, but elsewhere the insects were destroying crops with the greatest of ease. You no doubt have plenty of local birds, thus the minor nuisance at your place.

    One year whilst harvesting firewood, I fed the wood borer grubs to a greedy Kookaburra, and the bird over indulged, but valiantly enjoyed every tasty insect morsel.

    What a great idea for the chickens, and like the Borg, they also adapt. And I’ve seen that behaviour too from them. You get the idea seeing that, that they were once dinosaurs. It’s brutal, and I’ve seen the chickens destroy a mouse nest. Chickens are definitely not vegetarians. 🙂

    You know, when I first read your comment, I thought that $350 a day is pretty cheap, then I realised you added the words ‘out of pocket’. To be honest, that situation does not sound economically sustainable, and hope Marty recovers and gains his independence, although it is probably unlikely. It would be hard on both of you, but also all of the extended family as well.

    Hope the clean up goes OK, and that Marty comes to terms with his new situation. What else can you do?



  14. Hi Claire,

    And a happy Alban Heruin to you as well. 🙂 As you’d imagine, it’s quite cold here right now at 1’C and will get colder overnight, and Ruby has happily positioned herself in front of the wood heater. I’m secretly hoping the frozen weather will improve the taste of the many Kiwi fruits on the vines. The lead up to this winter solstice has been remarkably mild and the kiwi fruit vines are only now losing the very last of their leaves, although most other deciduous plants completed that journey weeks ago.

    Just between you and I, and don’t tell anyone, winters here are milder than what most readers in the US experience. Still, the conditions are cold enough to freeze the dogs water bowls outdoors overnight. It hasn’t snowed here for about maybe two or three years now, and the old timers swore we’d get at least ten snow days per year. That climate wind is most certainly changing, oh well.

    Wow, Claire, that is one hot morning. Far out. 86’F inside the house is the hottest I’ve ever experienced, and that took three continuous days of over 104’F weather (admittedly at lower humidity levels than probably what you are experiencing), and the nights were fortunately cooler. I doff my hat to you, and hope that the rains return, soon.

    Just put on the woollen hat and jacket plus the alpaca scarf and headed out into the orchard with Dame Plum so she could do what was needful. The night is clear and still with not a cloud in the sky. Looking up at the stars through the tall tree canopy from underneath, was quite enchanting, and the dog and I both marvelled at the silence.

    Ah, 100 square feet equals 9.2 square metres. Only a pound over that area sounds quite minimal to me, but it comes in 25kg bags so I can apply gypsum a bit thicker (and absolutely I agree, more is not better, and I appreciate the reminder)… Ook! Thanks for the on-the-ground experiment results with anti cabbage moth soil mineral modification trials.

    I’ll do my best to send some excess rain, but this year here (I know it is hard to believe) has been somewhat drier than in previous years. We usually wouldn’t be able to bring in firewood at this time in a normal year. See what your hurricane season brings this summer.



  15. Hi Göran,

    Thanks mate! 🙂 Glad to hear that you’re enjoying the journey, and we set ourselves the goal each week to do at least something to improve the land and farm. We’ve been at this for about eighteen years now, and in part of that time, we also built the house. I like the problem solving aspects, but let’s just keep this between you and I, getting the systems working well in all conditions is something of a personal enjoyment. 🙂

    We can only hope that is the case. 😉 Who knows how things will be in another decades time? However, I’d like to believe that your property, and here, will be far more productive, and even more importantly, more resilient. I used the word ‘more’ three times in that sentence, but it seems to work.

    Yay! Good to hear, and isn’t it good when the climate works out nicely for the growing season? You can see the plants growing fast.

    Man, the same thing happened here in February and March, the weather turned and the rain stopped. Troubling, but that’s life on the land.

    I must order the chestnut seeds, and also get the hazelnuts into soil in the greenhouse over the next few days. For your interest, all three hazelnut bushes now have catkins hanging off them.



  16. Hi Lewis,

    You’re probably right about the subscription cancellations. By the way, I later found out that the bloke who owned the masthead was the one who put the stomp on the idea, and I was replaced with the usual quintessential earth mother lady surrounded by a lush looking vegetable garden. A wicker basket with produce may have been also involved in the photo. But was it creative bubbles? No. I dunno man, maybe the photo might have lost some readers, but it could have gained a whole new audience. At least I looked like I was having fun… 🙂

    Oh yeah, if we have a religious right down under, they’re pretty quiet, but then we aren’t really the land of the free, more kind of the land of the ‘don’t rock the boat’ folks. At a wild guess, that lot are quiet because they may all have moved to your country? Maybe… 😉 Bad Chris… But yeah, it can be really weird how a minor issue like that blows up into something much larger than it ever should have done. Hope the nice young lady was OK after the fall out? Imagine what they would have done to me with the infamous bubbles? Yikes! Anyway, back in the 1970’s when cars were manufactured down under, the backlash from an innocuous article put a sudden stop to the production and sale of the race specials based on the more usually seen vehicles. Before then, you could just go to the local car dealer and order a race car which was road registered. Supercar scare. Honestly, 170mph is not that fast, aircraft go heaps faster. 😉 What made Max Mad, a less powerful vehicle, that’s what!

    I’ve seen those letters, and candidly, they sound a bit peevish. Why would anyone bother writing into a magazine to say that they were going to cancel their subscription? Why not just do it? I’m pretty certain that the publishers get fairly accurate circulation statistics. Anyway, surely the pastor would be above such things? I sense a very poor taste joke there…

    What a good idea with the annual art walk. I enjoy checking out the local exhibitions here when they take over a local community hall. You may have forgotten, but I was once caught in an armed hold up waiting to pay for a painting a local artist had done – she was late. The painting was displayed in the window of the shop where the events unfolded, and we got caught up in the drama. The Editor was next to the door when they entered and she snuck out once the miscreants had passed her by. I was unfortunately too deep into the bowels of the shop. Proving artists often have no sense of punctuality.

    Lewis, I noticed that aspect of the article as well, but declined to comment upon the matter. What interested me was that their residence had gone on in many cases for near on 50 years. Renters have no security down under, and 50 years is an enviable achievement. Oh yes, I’m sure that New Jersey would be hard living for the true artist. 🙂 I do recall you mentioning the conversion book, and I have an interest in such matters because many long years ago when things were far more affordable on a property front, twice we seriously considered purchasing warehouse space to convert into a house. It was an interesting challenge, and the details of those lofts in the articles were particularly fascinating.

    Oh really? Good to hear that some of the heritage has been maintained in that city. You hear weird stories about the present conditions of that city in particular. I noticed that the city of Birmingham’s financial woes even hit the papers in this corner of the planet.

    You know, I have never seen, nor heard of terracotta being used as a building cladding, but it’s a thing. Man, you learn something new everyday. I assume with those terracotta houses, it was only the wall cladding and roof which utilised the material? Maybe?

    They’re trying to do factory made pre-fabricated houses here, but the transportation of those components can be something of a hassle. A lot of timber frames now turn up to a building site in a flat pack format. There’s definitely a preference for those premade timber frames for the roofing timbers with most new constructions. A lot of trades like carpentry and brick laying have been dumbed down over the past few decades.

    Ah, the winter solstice here is the 22nd, but then again it is intense living in the future! As it may also be intense living in the past. My mind is now spinning trying to grasp all these temporal problems, and let’s just say that if I were to ever become involved in a temporal anomaly, I’d completely stuff it up and change the future, or the past. Look, how am I meant to be able to remember all the small details? 🙂 Too hard. Lucky for civilisation, there is a very low probability of this ever coming to be! Would you do better, or would the temptation to tweak a thing here and there get the better of you?

    Ha! I’ll try and remember to take some afterbirth along with me on my next bush walk. Would the ruse work? Absolutely, the mountain lion would gain an easier feed. It’s quite clever really. Did the DVD for the sasquatch film come with any extra’s? I’d be curious to hear if the actors and crew had fun making that film. It has certainly polarised opinions.

    Ah, I see. Yes, evacuations of the site. Makes sense, and also proves that a bit of distance from the coast would have been a wiser land purchase during unsettled times. Vikings would get pretty tired making their way this far in land, and they’d have to fight uphill. There would be easier and richer pickings.

    Lewis, I’m going with my gut feeling here, but Judith Jones mother would probably irritate me. What the heck could be wrong with an enjoyment of food in moderation? That’s a classic line, and points out the realities and limits for a lady at that time, in that particular social class.

    The improvement in the blueberry crop is great news. Did the master gardeners leave you with homework? 🙂 Hope the weather for you becomes pleasant. It’s cold here tonight. Is it currently freezing outside? Let’s find out. It was 34’F before, but seems to have warmed up, and is now 36’F. Brr!



  17. Hello Chris
    Another little face has appeared, so 11 goats now. It’s a male and Son has to castrate it during it’s first week. If one waits any longer, a vet has to do it. No problem feeding the goats here. Son only has to buy straw and vaccination stuff.


  18. Yo, Chris – Well, when you post the video of the food end of things, at Fern Glade, be sure and chew with your mouth closed. And don’t express too much pleasure, in the tucker. 🙂

    Well, if you couldn’t have the cover, at least they could have given you a fold-out. 🙂

    Yes, yes. We have freedom of religion, here. What the folks often forget, is the part about freedom FROM religion.

    We had something similar, here, about the same time. In the late 1960s, someone published a book called “Unsafe at Any Speed.” A certain segment of the population got worked into a lather, and automakers had to make changes.

    Ah, yes. I remember the armed hold-up. At least you weren’t bleeding out on the floor, whining about society. 🙂

    Terracotta was used mostly, in commercial buildings. Although some very grand houses, used it. The two buildings I can think of, in Centralia, were both banks. Really, smallish buildings. One even has a clock (which hasn’t worked in decades), in its facade. It later became a print shop. Remember those?

    Here’s an article about terracotta buildings. And, the first picture is a building in New South Wales.

    If you search “Historic terracotta buildings,” and check the images, you’ll get an eye-full. Next time you’re in Melbourne, take a look around. Once you know what to look for, they jump out from everywhere.

    If I went back in time, I might pick up a little stock from the Fruit Company. And, those other guys. Just to balance things out.

    “Sasquatch Sunset” didn’t have any DVD extras. I guess I’ll have to wait for it to become a cult classic, and be entered into the Criterion Film Collection.

    LOL. Judith Jones ran off to Paris, after WWII, to put a bit of distance between her mother and her. The publisher she was working for, in New York, opened a Paris branch. She jumped at the chance.

    Oh, the Master Gardeners don’t so much as leave me homework, as we discuss things I might (or might not) do, during the week. They had emptied out one of the barrels, that had the palm in it. And, put in two bags of good garden soil, that I had bought. So, after soaking the seeds, overnight, I planted some pumpkins, in the barrel. If I get around to it, I’ll empty out the other barrel, and plant pumpkins, in it. I need to pick up one more bag of garden soil. Probably, tonight.

    We also had a talk about the communal strawberry bed. It still struggles, a bit. So, now they’re blaming the plants I bought. Instead of the shite “compost” they brought in, last year. So, there’s another bed, that’s over-run with a different variety of strawberry. And they “suggested” I move over a couple of plants, as a test, I guess. I also did that, this morning.

    My plans were a bit thrown off, last night. But I stopped at another garden supply place. They didn’t have H’s Very Special Food, or, the organic bug spray. But I did pick up a new 70′ hose, that the Master Gardeners recommended. I’ll make the bank / big box hardware store / cheap food store, loop, tonight. Lew

  19. Chris,

    Cool. 10 years. Congrats! 520 blog entries and replies to everyone who comments. Impressive. I even get entertained and educated here!

    I’ve heard Mr. Greer’s million word theory before. Gotta put in the time and effort to get good at something. I’ve read books by people who have NOT put in the time, thought they could just sit down and write a good novel. Nope. Doesn’t work that way. Gotta write a LOT to become good.

    So Porn Hub reviewed your blog once upon a time. I’m speechless. I can’t even come up with even an off color joke that is printable. Wow. Porn Hub. Go figure.

    At the Big Event, the great nieces were making peace signs in some of the photos. MUCH better than Dumping Dogs in the background of photos. 😉 I can hear them now:
    Ruby: I’ve got to POO!
    Dame Plum: Hold it in! We don’t know which of us will be out when Mistress takes pictures of Master.
    Ollie: I’m sore from holding it in!
    Dame Plum: Deal with it!
    Chris: C’mon Plum, time to go for a walk! Sandra, do you have the camera?
    Dame Plum: Yes! I’m armed and ready to assume the position. Wish me luck, guys!

    We had big rains from thunderstorms Saturday. Maybe18mm here. By noon Monday, the wind made the ground look like it hadn’t rained in weeks. Tuesday afternoon I was walking Dame Avalanche. We were maybe a half kilometer from home when another round of thunderstorms hit. We got damp, but the main wet set in after we were home. Another nice wetting of everything. Nice lightning, too. Supposed to warm starting Wednesday.

    Nice of you to provide food for the magpies. The bonus is that you get some of the logging debris cleaned up. Everybody’s happy that way, except maybe the grubs that the magpies eat. Oh well, everybody gets eaten by something eventually.

    Thanks for the pictures of the king parrots. We both enjoyed those.

    A lot of the thyme is blooming now. So is the mock orange tree in the back with its white blossoms nicely contrasted by a nearby shrub’s pink blooms.

    Finished the 2nd book by Tommy Orange. It was a prequel/sequel of the first book. It got very heartbreaking before having a somewhat neutral, rather than totally heartbreaking, ending. A major character got addicted to painkillers. Much of the book was a very fine discussion, via the story, of what this does to individuals and the family. It struck close to home – addiction of one type or another is rampant on the Rez. It’s something the Princess and I have been witnessing for too long. One of the interesting things in the Tommy Orange books is that his characters will refer to Louise Erdrich books that they have read.

    Then just this evening I finished another book by Louise Erdrich, “The Night Watchman”. Although fictional, it was based on events in 1953-1954 when the American government was attempting to “terminate” many Native American nations and reservations. The story’s main theme is to follow the night watchman at a factory, who happens to be on the tribal council, figure out how to fight the termination of the Turtle Mountain Reservation in North Dakota. That character was based on the author’s grandfather. There were also entertaining and informative side plots. Oh, Turtle Mountain avoided termination. It was a sad time in this country’s history.

    I’ve been sleeping a lot since the Big Event. But now I’m getting behind on my outdoor chores. Pruning, weeding, miscellaneous projects. Plus the ongoing Aphid War. At least the past several nights have been conducive to sleeping…windows open, lows between +4C and +8C keeps the house nicely cool.


  20. Hi Inge,

    Congrats on the growing herd of goats. Clearly they are in a good paddock. 🙂 My friends of the big shed fame also take that work on themselves, and it’s pretty hands on. Still, I’ve heard that it is the job which is delayed that never gets done, and causes many problems down the track. 🙂

    Goats are great foragers, and your area I’m guessing would have plenty of forage. I’m observing that the local smaller farms around here are bringing in feed for their cattle right now. An expensive proposition, and I’m always amazed at how cheap excess bulls and cows are.

    Dunno about you, but I’m quite partial to goat curry. Yum! Is your son intending to process the goats sooner or later?

    A very cold morning this morning. 32’F and frosty everywhere. Took some good photos of the frost. Brr. Looks like it will be cold overnight again.



  21. Hi DJ,

    It’s the delightful people such as yourself who turn up regularly to have a chat, which make the blog such a joy. Very good that you’re entertained and educated as well, I’d hate to think that you were walking away from here empty handed. 😉

    Mr Greer’s theory was an, err, challenge. And I’d hoped that he was incorrect, but alas, no, the advice stands the test of time. Bruce Lee remarked that he was most alarmed by the person who’d practised the same kick or punch, 10,000 times. It is very possible Mr Greer’s advice falls into that school of though and deed. Yeah!

    No, it wasn’t Porn Hub which reviewed the blog, it was a user on that website. Look, I’ll take any positive reviews, but I was candidly hoping for reviews in more rarefied environs. 🙂 One however, must enjoy the small wins. Actually, for obvious reasons, I don’t market the blog and am happy with a smaller more intimate audience. If I had to respond to 400+ comments every week, I’d start writing about the downsides of solar power…

    Go the nieces! And have you been communicating with Dame Plum and Ruby? Thanks for the short story, and that is how things roll with the dogs.

    Are your summers usually windy? I guess thunderstorms are often accompanied by winds. As a kid I recall the local community swimming pool emptying prior to thunderstorms. The wind would really whip up, and then the rain would belt down. It wasn’t so bad because having been in the pool for a while, you were already wet. However, the temperature would drop quite quickly. I’d never realised it, but that suddenly plummeting temperature during such storms is a bit of a problem in rural areas on the animals.

    Yikes! Did you have a raincoat or umbrella handy? Does Dame Avalanche get freaked out by thunderstorms? Dogs can be a mixed bag with that fear.

    The grubs are inevitably unhappy with the clean up work, but too bad, so sad for them. If a big fire swept through that mess area, the whole lot would burn so hot, that the grubs would die anyway, but then so would everything else in that area, even the soil gets sterilised during such events. Not even the firewood survives. The big fires eat all.

    Aren’t those parrots colourful? They’re quite friendly too. Makes you wonder what environmental pressures produced a bird with a bright green top and deep red/orange belly? The other parrots are predominantly red with deep blue markings. Man, when it is super foggy, cold and 99% humidity outside, the parrots look quite bedraggled.

    Do the mock orange flowers smell as good as the claims make them out to be? I’ve not seen one of those plants around here, but they seem to be grown further north on the continent.

    ‘There There’ is the next book on the to-read list, so I’ll let you know in a week or two’s time. Right now, I’m reading Simon’s latest book:
    Simon Sheridan books. It’s the ‘Universal State of America’ book, which is largely about western civilisation and the interaction of Archetypes and stories. I was a bit worried I wouldn’t understand the contents, but that was a needless worry. The basic gist of the book is that western cultures have usually been dominated by the ‘tyrannical father’ archetype, whereas we’ve rejected that concept and instead been captured by the ‘devouring mother’ archetype. Now what’s interesting about that, is that western culture is unfamiliar with the workings of that, so we don’t really acknowledge it’s existence (which is probably a desired outcome). What I’d prefer is rule by the ‘wise elder’ archetype, and the tribes would no doubt agree with me, or at least I’d think so. That path is no bread and circuses, but it produces a more meaningful and local outcome. Anyway, I’m guessing that’s where we’re headed mostly because our elites will stuff things up totally. That’s my prediction for today! 🙂

    One of my sisters was caught in that addiction trap, and it’s not pretty, so yes I’m very familiar with how those energies play out in families.

    No bones about it, that looked like one big long land grab. The thing is, in order to continue holding the land, whomever it is has to do exactly that. I dunno about the future, man, but are the people there, of whatever background, really thinking the low energy future through? I doubt it.

    Good to hear that you’re both catching up on sleep. From all you’ve told me, you both put in over a 100%, and there’s a personal cost for that.

    Ha! When is there ever nothing to do outside? Even the snow requires dealing too. 🙂 Your night time temperatures sound very good for solid sleep. Spare a thought for Sandra and I, it was 0’C this morning, and very frosty. Brr! The inside of the house was 15’C, and that felt comparatively warm.



  22. Hi Lewis,

    I did enjoy the repair journey article. Man, I do the same process utoob with repairs (it’s a known path!), although after a while with the mechanical stuff, you kind of get familiar with the similarities between all the different machines and how they’re put together. What’s interesting is learning how to fix things when you’ve stuffed up the initial fix royally! Occasionally, the fixes fail like with the dehydrator repairs what with the cracked circuit board. Sometimes the items just aren’t worth repairing. There was some solid advice in that article. Oh by the way, the Editor loved the article on the artists lofts.

    Thanks mum, I’ll keep your food consumption on camera advice in mind! Save us all from Judith’s most strict social climbing mother! Hehe! And err, I left home early for similar reasons, but moved into a very late 80’s / early 90’s share house. Very much like the English series ‘The Young Ones’. That’s funny, so what was the advice again, I forget? Was it don’t pick your nose in front of the camera, and try not to wriggle around too much so people will be left with the idea you need to go to the bathroom!

    Ha! You’re on fire tonight. Centrefold indeed. 🙂

    Mostly that is how things roll down under, you don’t really hear much of anything said about religion. It’s more an activity done by an individual of their own choosing. I recall a few elections ago, the papers tried to make something of the issue, but nobody seemed to care. It was kind of like when the Prime Muppet reportedly went to a strip club, people mostly said: ‘so what’, and interestingly the dudes popularity increased. Mind you, illicit substances and weapon charges would probably provoke a very different public reaction. Your politics keep us amused down here. There’s plenty about it in the papers. A bigwig from the land of stuff visited in the past few days, and they’re talking nuclear power plants. Never a dull moment, but can we afford all that? I have some doubts.

    That’s a big call: Unsafe at any speed! One of the very left leaning greens dominated inner smoke councils put a 18.75 mile per hour (or 30kmh) speed limit on a major road. Hmm. My experience is that you spend more time looking at the speedometer than the what’s going on around you. I’d call that unsafe at slow speed. 🙂 But yeah, the party poopers put an end to the local el-fasto manufacturing vehicle content, and instead now we have cars on the roads that are very, very much faster than the early 70’s varieties. You just have to be very wealthy to be able to afford to drive them.

    A fair call, and surely society is to blame? I might re-watch that film. It’s been on my mind of late.

    OK, well, I’d not realised that the cladding on the buildings was a glazed terracotta tile. And there are some examples in Melbourne. The effect is pretty good because it gives the impression that the buildings are made from beautifully finished cut stone. Underneath the tiles is probably brick work. Thanks for mentioning this, as I’m always intrigued to know how the older buildings were put together.

    That’s a great idea. The arteficial ideas biz also seems to be doing rather well these days, so some of those stocks would be handy as well. And balance and diversification of one’s portfolio has long been a notable strategy. My personal preference is to avoid that market, mostly because we’ve been burned in the past, and don’t require a second helping of hard lessons. We’ll make new and interesting mistakes instead. 🙂 But if you had that handy temporal anomaly, that would be in the bag, unless say you diverted the time continuum and analogue systems won the battle! It worked for the recent Star Trek Picard series…

    A bit of a shame, it would be interesting to know. Interestingly, if you ignore the film critics, the audience ratings are pretty good. Man, you know this one will be a cult classic. It’s only just opened in the cinemas in other parts of the world.

    Great idea soaking the pumpkin seeds. It’s good you’re going to get some warmer weather too, because those seeds need a bit of soil warmth. Did you nab the extra garden soil?

    Dude, I have no idea about strawberries, and in fact gave up on them entirely. Now Alpine Strawberries, I know something of these plants. You’ve got me wondering. Hang on a second… … I was wondering if the concentration of the production of strawberry runners has become similar to seed production issues, but I couldn’t really find out anything about that. But it is within the realms of feasibility, and you and I may not be getting runners that grow well in our sort of environments. They might be better suited for warmer areas, just sayin. Hmm. Anyway, from what I was reading, regardless that plant is a lot of hassle and can stop fruiting at the drop of a hat.

    Oh no! Hopefully you have a plan B for H’s dietary needs? Welcome to my world, that has been happening a lot to me of late. Hope today’s run produces the goods? And good hoses are worth their weight. I tend to purchase 30 year hoses with resistance to becoming pinched. It’s always surprising to put the claims to the test, and the summer sun is very harsh on hoses down under.



  23. Hello Chris
    Oh yes, there is plenty of forage for the goats. We shall be eating goat meat but, in my case, not curry; I don’t like it. I am sure that Son will be cooking goat curry for himself though.


  24. Yo, Chris – Our forecast is for 80F, today, and 85F, tomorrow. Then, a cooling trend. Prof. Mass thinks we’re headed into an ice age 🙂 .

    I’m glad you liked the article, and that the Editor liked the one on artists’s lofts. After 10 years, I do know some of your likes, and dislikes. Not that I pay much attention … 🙂

    Yes, you never know what might be caught on film, these days. Here’s a good cross section of the local populace. Or, at least the one’s that participate in the library’s summer reading programs. I like the two kids, down front. One appears to be sucking his thumb, and the other has found something very interesting in his ear.

    European Prime Muppets have mistresses and no one bats an eye. Ah, those sophisticated Europeans! We should be more like them!

    Speaking of architecture, there’s been a bit in the news about an abandoned mansion … with a Titanic connection.

    I’ll probably pick up the garden soil, tonight. If the store is open. It’s a national holiday here, today. Juneteenth. Government offices and banks, are closed. No post. But, it’s a rather lame holiday, so, stores may be open.$q

    You may be overthinking the strawberries. 🙂 The runners are clones of the mother plant.

    No bug spray or dog food at the big box hardware store. 🙁 Lew

  25. Re: verbosity, perhaps I’m the only person on this wide capital-I Internet who prefers it. I may not comment, but I read every word. Thanks for writing.

  26. Hi, Chris!

    Ouch! A nail on the head; last week, I think.

    Congratulations on your decennial anniversary and for not giving up on us. That’s when I joined, after enjoying your comments so much over the years at the Archdruid Report. It’s been a fun journey, yes siree! That certainly is a lot of writing, more ouch for writer’s cramp (typist’s cramp?). And perhaps a bit of brain cramp now and then? And thank you also, Sandra aka the Editor. Now I know who we have to thank for the marvelous photos. And I did think that the camera was always carried around.

    There you go, looking 20 years ahead again . . . Well, I do that myself, so I’ll see you then!

    It amazes me that you can still use trees cut down 40 years ago. I don’t think there would be anything left of our trees here if they lay on the ground that long. My son has been cutting down some more trees. He had a chainsaw malfunction. I wonder if this has every happened to you, where the screw spring apparatus thingee went bad and it was fixed by inverting it? I thought not.

    A geranium-colored King; that’s beautiful. Is he eating the geraniums? So, you feed the wildlife a bit, too, though not always on purpose. I wonder why the owl said “boo” to a book? Perhaps he didn’t like the plot? And don’t you have pobblebonk frogs, also? Who is it that names these things?! That’s still a good owl photo. It’s awfully hard to catch night creatures on film. Though I guess it’s not film anymore . . .

    You are making me nervous with your fungi. The only fungi we have right now is some dried up stuff on tree trunks. I saw a squirrel eating some and he was not spaced out. This long dry spell, and now the extra heat, has done in our fungi, for now.

    I didn’t know that there is such a thing as a spicy mint. My favorite is chocolate mint, though it doesn’t taste of chocolate to me. Thanks for the flowers!


  27. @ Lew:

    Thank you so much for being worried, but, hot though it is, where I am it’s not too bad. It’s just hotter earlier than usual. The nights haven’t been that hot and it would not surprise me if we eventually had a nice cool spell. It’s the lack of rain that is the real problem. I hope that we are not headed for another bad drought like in 2002.


  28. Chris,

    Totally the same thing in my opinion. Practice the same kick 10,000 times. Write a million words. Woodburn 500 practice circles. It’s all the same principle, more or less.

    I don’t know how Mr. Greer can possibly respond to all of the comments. And he runs the two blogs with multiple weekly subjects. I’d get testy if I had to reply to more than 8 or 10 emails a day from coworkers!

    Nah, didn’t need to communicate with Dame Plum and Ruby. Their thought process on that matter is so typical canid. I just hope Dame Avalanche doesn’t pick up on their idea…

    Used to be, once upon a time not too long ago, wind was rare in the summer. Windy season was from late February to middle of April. Then some in November. Of course, with the Arctic blasts, “chinook winds”, and thunderstorms also. But middle of April until late October or November was usually fairly windless unless a BIG low pressure storm system was on its way. Now? A LOT more wind. Not gale force, but just wind later in the year and even on extremely hot days in stable and high air pressure. The wind died down Tuesday night. It was back Wednesday afternoon, coming from the direction that the Seattle Scientist says the wind never blows from hereabouts. So maybe the wind is simply a figment of my imagination or something. 😉

    I used to swim in the outdoor pool for exercise at New Mexico State. I remember the last outdoor session that fall was literally on Halloween evening. I was enjoying the weather, but the poor lifeguard was shivering, wrapped up in a towel. It was windy and stormy and maybe 20C. Since the lifeguard had his towel, 42 laps seemed about right. 😉 When I got done, they told me I was the last swimmer in the outdoor pool until sometime the following spring. And the indoor pool was only open for lap swimming at like 6:00 to 8:00 a.m. Thus ended my swimming there.

    The rain wasn’t hard enough to get us soaked, just damp. Until after we were safely home. Then it really opened up. But thanks to the wind and a dry, sunny day, parts of the yard were bone dry by noon today.

    “The big fires eat all.” How true! Fires are hungry. The bigger the fire, the hungrier it gets. The hungrier it gets, the more it eats. The more it eats, the bigger it gets, etc.

    Mate, I’ve seen very few critters at 90% humidity with a cold fog that didn’t look bedraggled. I’ve even seen cars that looked bedraggled in those conditions! My brain wants to slow down and hibernate in cold, damp fog.

    Yes, the mock orange aroma is fantabulous. Smells like oranges. Since the plant blooms such a short time, it is one of my favorite flower scents. Thyme and roses are up there, too, but the mock orange is so surprising.

    I hope you enjoy “There, There”. Different writing style, different subject matter. I took a glance through some reviews of “Universal State of America” and a couple of his other books after reading your synopsis. I must say that his premise is intriguing and makes some sense…since we as humans tend to go from one extreme to its opposite so we can maximize how badly we muck things up. As industrialization continues down its receding course, for things to work, your prediction is probably one of the best outcomes. It’s how humans lived for a long long time, after all.

    Oh, sorry about your family experience with addiction. The mother of the 3 young great nieces died from her addiction. Other family members are on that path also. It’s so sad to watch.

    I saw you and Lewis discussing a Sasquatch film. That got me to thinking and I remembered a colorful ancestor. He was Danish, but was a privateer for the Dutch, eventually settling in New Amsterdam way back when Pieter Stuyvesant was the governor. My ancestor apparently was rather large and imposing. Well, at least he had large feet, as his nickname was “Great Shoe”. I like to say that I am descended from Big Foot. Here’s a bit more about him.

    Hmmm, I’ve been cooling the house to about 17C, which feels cool. Your 15C feels warm. It’s that seasonal relativity thing again.


  29. Hi Inge,

    I just remembered, are your sons goats dual purpose as in dairy and/or meat? The guys of the big shed fame seem far happier to me with goats as distinct from cattle, which they had a few problems with. And oh yeah, goats are able to consume a wide diversity of plants in their diet, so that’s a big thumbs up in my book! 🙂

    It’s raining here tonight, but was again cloudy and still today. This afternoon I was able to head down below and continue cleaning up. It’s the time of year for such work. Incidentally, the cloudy doldrums are putting huge strains on the gas supply in this south eastern corner of the continent. Demand has definitely outstripped supply. Hmm. Might eventually even impact the electricity supply. I’m unsure what people really expected would happen when the turned their backs on electricity from coal, but it probably wasn’t this… Oh well.



  30. Hi Pam,

    Ouch indeed, I suspect such a thing would hurt. Although if you were somehow to become Zombie Pam hankering for brains, as they seem to do, would it actually hurt? I think not. Although, now that I think about it, we didn’t really specify who’s head connected with the nail. Hmm. Honestly, if I were Zombie Chris, and you had to take appropriate and forceful anti-zombie measures, well certainly there’d be no bad feelings here. 🙂 Zombies, pesky critters…

    Yeah, it’s been a bunch of fun for sure, and I certainly enjoy chucking in the occasional silly comment over in Mr Greer’s world, although I do my best to be serious.

    Pam, fear not! There is no typist cramp here. There’s always a story, but this time involves gobermint experimentation. Hey, I’m serious here. So back in the very early 1990’s in my first adult job, there was a bit of a management fad for multitasking – it came to naught, if you were interested. Everyone else declined the instruction to get involved, but I was young, dumb and the most junior, so I was volunteered. Anywhoo, at great expense to the taxpayer, the goobermint trained me in how to use word processors (which were very clunky in those heady days) and also to touch type. One of my secrets is that I can type words at an alarming rate, whilst not looking at the keyboard.

    Nope, the camera sometimes gets dragged around. I had it with me this afternoon, and asked Ruby if she would pose for a photo, which she politely did.

    Go the future! Yeah, sure things will be economically harder, but I tend to believe that the social situation in society will improve, and the goobermints may not have enough spare mad cash to undertake useless experiments on their citizens. You read the prediction here first! 🙂

    Well, your soils will be better than the tired old Australian soils. Plus we have serious phosphate deficiencies pretty much across the continent, and generally the soil life would be lower than in your country. That partly explains why we have less soil diseases, but also the timber rots far slower. There are burnt tree stumps which are much older again than the 1983 fires, and those things resist rotting as well. It’s a mess out there, but I’m slowly cleaning it up. One bonus side effect of having plants growing instead of timber slowly rotting, is that the plants will be able to harvest some of that sunlight which falls on the ground during the growing season.

    Nooo! Pam, I totally 100% am super careful with all of the machines here, and yeah, nah, err, well there’s something to be said about Stihl chainsaws, which your son may have had, but err, yeah, stop using them when they don’t work like they should. 🙂 And such a beast should always be fixed with new parts. And maybe keep plenty of spares for such an important machine.

    Actually the King Parrot is eating the geraniums. That particular variety has a sort of gel in the stems and the parrots enjoy feeding on it. No other bird or animal seems interested. Mostly the wildlife help themselves. 😉 You know the feeling. Something like that, the owl call sounds like Boo Book. And yup, we sure do have those frogs, and the tree frogs.

    It’s not just you, the fungi make me nervous as well. Since I’ve fully supervised Dame Plum in that danger area, she’s been fine and avoided seizures. Hmm. She’s happily sound asleep behind me on the white couch. Ruby is camped in front of the wood heater. Ollie is on the sheepskin cuddling a rawhide chew.

    Vietnamese mint is widely used in Asian cooking, and it’s quite nice. I find myself walking past the plant and grabbing a leaf and munching on it. It’s got some kick. They’ve got that chocolate mint down under too, and I also reckon it is a big call.



  31. Hi Erika,

    Welcome to the discussion, and thanks so much for the lovely words.

    Reading is such a pleasure isn’t it? There’s a very good café culture in the big smoke of Melbourne, and whenever the opportunity presents itself, I’ll settle in with a very excellent coffee and stick my nose into a book. The world, well, it can pass on by and do whatever it is that is doing, going, or something like that! 🙂

    I’m sure you’d know the feeling, but if the words are most excellent and engaging, there’s always the risk of throwing the entire balance of respect for punctuality, and the respect for decent word-smithing. What a decision we have to make here! Woe is us, realities must sometimes take precedence.

    Thank you for taking the time to drop by and say hello.



  32. Hi DJ,

    Actually, you know what? My thinking is that it would be easier to practice a particular martial arts move 10,000 times, than woodburn 500 practice circles. That’s no easy feat, and candidly I’d produce more than my fair share of wonky oval looking circles.

    Hehe! I tend to believe that people who comment upon Mr Greer’s blogs are understanding of the word limits in relation to replies. It’s actually one of the reasons I do not advertise the blog here. It’s more word of mouth, and I prefer a more lengthy comment and reply section. Dude, I hear you about so many emails, oh yeah. I switch off all devices after a certain hour, mostly because there are people who will send emails at 3am in the morning, or on public holidays etc. The right to switch off is not really that well enshrined in employment law. Things were not such when I was younger, and less contactable. Man, you used to go remote, and I mean people expect contactability in such remote situations, but it’s not right.

    Yes, let’s say nothing further on the subject lest Dame Avalanche get ideas, or communicate her Husky worldview to the dogs here.

    The climate does seem to be changing. You may be surprised to know that there is less wind here nowadays, although the recent windstorm damage suggests that less is not none. We’re getting a lot of long runs of calm weather, and with the added winter cloud, the state’s gas supply is in a bit of trouble due to a lack of solar and/or wind. I quite enjoy Professor Mass’s writing and observations, although he is more west coast focused than what goes on in your more easterly part of the state.

    20’C, even with wind and storms, is OK by me. The lifeguard may have failed to dress appropriately for the conditions, and good to hear that the magic number of 42 laps was reached. A fine number to finish the outdoor swimming season upon! Hey, people have swimming pools around these parts, and the average temperature is lower than you may imagine, and so without heating the water is usually pretty icy cold. I do wonder how much use all those pools get put to, although it is probably not much. Oh, and heating a swimming pool here that is located outdoors would send you broke very quickly.

    Good stuff. I’d been wondering if you ended up soaked from the downpour, but you appear to have dodged that possibility. It was raining this evening when I took the dogs out for a walk, but the rain wasn’t heavy enough to worry much about. Man, hot weather and high winds are a bad combination. How’s the dryland grass growing?

    Exactly! Big fires are a massive feedback loop. Get big enough, and they’ll generate their own weather systems, usually not good. Best to work with the land and conditions, although that is an unpopular view down here which looks a lot like hard work. I read about the frustration the indigenous folks have for the bizarre land management and ideology which goes on.

    Hehe! The fog usually doesn’t hang around too much, but then it can do just that. Hmm. I’ve noted that in such conditions the dogs are at first very pleased to head outdoors, then the reality sinks in, and they want to head back inside.

    Ah, so that is why the plant has the name ‘mock orange’. Thanks for the explanation. You’re in a delightful time of the year, and the plants will be enjoying the conditions. On hot days, aromatic roses can produce a heady scent.

    I’m looking forward to reading ‘There There’, although I get the impression that it is a gritty story which reflects lived experience. The prediction was not all that hard to come up with, I just kind of feel that we’ll slowly all head backwards due to having less stuff and energy per capita, until we get to a state where things work. Then it’ll probably drop some more, etc. The folks on the rez have a bit of an advantage in some respects because they already know how to get by on less, and maybe also nuisance goobermint meddling will diminish and the culture will reform. That’s my best guess, but it’s a rough road for everyone.

    Yeah, the spectre of my sisters addiction hung over the household like a bad stink which never quite went away. I believe that she is clean nowadays. By contrast, I was boringly normal, and got far away from those circumstances as early as possible.

    So sorry to hear that, that stuff of whatever form, is like a life thief.

    The bigfoot claim is indisputable, and hopefully shoes of an appropriate size are more easily available in these enlightened days. The lack of sturdy footwear for ol’ Hans, probably lead him into his err, civil issues. 😉

    Ha! Funny. It was 10’C here today, which is remarkably warm, obviously it is much cooler now. I like to keep the window open for fresh air when we run the wood heater. I never quite know how much carbon monoxide and dioxide that fuel produces in the house. Dunno.



  33. Chris:

    No. I am not going to knock a nail in your head if you become a Zombie. Sandra can deal with that.

    I’ll bet that was the last time you were ever a willing guinea pig. And yet – you got free training; not so bad. I wish that I could type faster than a snail’s pace.

    Yeah, I’m counting on the goobers to have to let go of some of their schemes due to lack of cash. Which will make them really grumpy, and so they’ll have to take it out on us peasants some other way.

    I keep telling him to stock up on spare parts – for everything.


  34. Hi Lewis,

    Man, you’ve got me wondering about mounds around here, and for the record, no bodies. But imagine finding a Roman era mausoleum under your house. Of course it is entirely possible that the find was a sneaky way to get the archaeologists to pay for the excavations. Such things happen. 😉 You’d think that the scientists would have paid closer attention to how the urn was sealed so well, for so long. To me, that the bigger secret in that story than the local wine.

    Oh man, we all have to deal with such day to day choices, and personally I’m glad you skipped the barf bag, because I was hoping they weren’t soiled, but didn’t want to ask just in case they were. A nasty business, and you made the right call. Respect!

    Ah, just enjoying a chamomile tea. Quite soothing really. Did some paid work in the morning, then in the afternoon detached another old tree stump from a horizontal tree the loggers left on the ground. Such a waste. Oh well. The day was cloudy, but quite still, so it’s perfect weather for such work as you don’t end up over hot. Really early this morning, I awoke to hear rain hammering on the roof. Glad it was heavy rain because I’d initially thought that there might be a big plumbing problem, but no, just rain. Dry today. And rained this evening.

    June has been remarkably cloudy and still, yet cold. All the things you’d expect from the month down here. The states gas reserves are being run down as demand outstrips supply and solar is dismal and the turbines aren’t doing their thang. An official warning was issued today from the authoritas. That fuel source is expensive, and I’m thinking of ways, and about to trial a strategy to reduce the cost even further. 😉 Gotta keep fleet of foot in these cost of living pressure days.

    He does not, does he? Surely it can’t be possible. I used to hear such impending ice age stories in the late 1970’s early 1980’s. Ah yes, impending Snowmageddon, except Prof Mass suggested sensibly that not all forecasts are equal, or accurate. Still, I’d imagine that you’re in for a chilly Friday and Saturday? Maybe? The weather here is boringly the same in the forecast, day after day, except maybe not Sunday morning – that’ll be frozen. Brr!

    Hehe! Thanks for the link to the article, and all we can but do is best. I know something about your likes and dislikes too. It is very mature never to mention that book. You know the one.

    That’s funny, yes the children are using their thumb and ear like a fast food outlet. I read that line in a Dr Bill Bryson book many years ago. The author was on a train and describing a child playing with his nose. I was always left with the impression from that book that he was unhappy to be leaving the UK to move back to the US. The book sounded to me a lot like a list of reasons to leave, so his observer lens appeared far darker than usual.

    Maybe, but I for one lack the competence to manage two relationships at that sort of level. Lewis, it would be fun for a while, but then, there might be a meltdown! Hehe! For a while I watched an episode of the Big Love show about the polygamous family, and they had a lot of unnecessary drama.

    The mansion is amazing, and restoration would be a massive economic burden of immense proportions. The mansion we visited earlier in the year was owned and restored by the state goobermint. I’m surprised the billionaires aren’t interested in doing a public service and restoring the pile…

    Did you end up getting the soil?

    Probably, but the strawberries are doing my head in, so I gave up on them and will take a look at a later time. There are simply easier plants to master.

    Hey, that’s really weird because the local big box hardware store (or the one in the nearest big town) also now sells dog food. Must be a thing? Well man, I’m learning how to live and adapt to shortages. Not sure what else to do, but every downward step saves mad cash, but it also increases our work load. Hmm.



  35. @ Erika
    Fascinating how one can innocently jolt someone. My sister died last year and she was an ‘Erika’. So I jumped when I saw her name.
    All the best to you.

  36. Hello Chris
    The goats are solely for meat. I don’t like goat milk, not sure what Son’s view on it is.


  37. Yo, Chris – Well, once the archaeologists get done doing their thing, the mausoleum will make a great wine cellar. For the storage of spirits. 🙂

    The ideal day is low temperatures, clouds, and a bit of a breeze. It was 80F, yesterday. 85F, for the next two days. Then a slide into around 70F. Maybe some rain, next week. But that’s a bit far out, to call.

    Fine about THE book, but I reserve the right to mention musicals. You’re a bit wishy-washy, on that front 🙂

    Thanks for mentioning Bill Bryson. I wondered if I’d missed a book, of his. Yup. “The Secret History of Christmas.” I’ll have to see if our library has it. I’m still reading the book on Rome. But, I have quit a pile on books, on tap. DVDs, are down. Though I watched an old one, last night. “Free Guy.” I know I’d seen it, when it came out, but caught a bit down at the Club, and decided to watch it, again. Entertaining, and fun. Though it made AI look pretty benign.

    “Family Unnecessary Drama.” My friend Debbie, from Idaho, just finished up a visit, to her family in Yakima, and is heading home today. She went over with a friend. Ron stayed home (wise man.) LOL. There were good reasons, for putting a bit of distance, between her and her family. 🙂

    Yup, I picked up the soil, but think I’ll wait a couple of days, before planting the next round of pumpkins. Until the weather gets a bit cooler. There are other things around the garden, I can do, that are lighter duty. I got the new hose installed. Our night manager picked me up a bottle of the bug spray, at the Store of Walls. I did my usual night walk-around. Got a few slugs, and pill bugs.

    I got curious, about something, and did a little research. In passing, the Roman book mentioned STDs. (Sexually Transmitted Diseases.) Something you never read about, in books on Rome. Apparently, gonorrhea was a problem. And no real treatment, that made any sense.

    Speaking of all things Roman, news from Herculaneum.

    What I want to know is, what did “the last fugitive” have in his bag? Inquiring minds want to know. Lew

  38. Hi Inge,

    I’ll be interested to hear what your sons opinion of goats milk is. I don’t mind it fresh, but after a day it kind of gets a sort of goat undertone to the taste. That’s not so pleasant.

    Many long years ago we visited (by sheer chance) a sheep dairy, and the cheese produced there was very good. Much less tart than cheese produced from cows milk. There aren’t too many sheep dairies around, but if ever you get the chance.



  39. Hi Pam,

    🙂 Local solutions for local problems, huh! Funny. She’d do that too, you know.

    What can I say Pam, they paid me for the experiment. It sure beat working the usual very dull and boring accounts job. But also, nobody else wanted to go along with the management fad, and I had little choice being the youngest. Always unpleasant being volunteered, but the skills learned were good.

    Ook! You’re probably right there, but then if they have less resources, the mischief will be smaller – and if you’re not ready to hand and in an out of the way locale with few resources, well there could be worse places to be.

    Spare parts are getting harder to obtain, but the problem I always struggle with is: which spare parts? There’s just so many… The basic service items is a good place to start.

    It was cold here today, but that’s kind of how things roll at this time of year.



  40. Hi Lewis,

    Oh, that’s good. I’ll bet in their excitement at the discovery of the mausoleum during the renovation work, that joke was utterly missed. A bit of a shame that. Do you reckon having an ancient mausoleum in the basement would affect the resale value of the house? Some people can get pretty weirded out by that, and let’s not discuss gateways to evil domains in the basement. Such things happen you know. 🙂 I’m always wary of providing unsolicited advice, but telling someone to leave a house immediately when there is blood oozing out of the walls, well, that’s a no-brainer. The way I look at it, you’re doing them a favour.

    Have you ever read any of the Divergent series of books, and are they any good? Just came across a reference to them and wondered.

    Depends exactly what you mean by low temperatures? My tolerance of higher temperatures differs from yours, but those cold Arctic snaps simply frighten me (what can I say, I’m summer soft!) All those temperatures and conditions you mentioned sound great to me too. Being the shortest day of the year, yesterday a quarter of an inch fell, and ordinarily that isn’t much rain, but far out it is wet outside. It was way too wet outside to work today, and anyway we had to head north for a client meeting, then headed further north again into the gold fields area. Did a walk around an old stone lined railway dam – the water being captured for the steam locomotives which once used the line (and occasionally still do). We’d never been there before, but had been past heaps of times and never knew the dam was there. Funny how you can miss things if you don’t take the time to stop, walk and have a good look around.

    🙂 You so busted me there. Alas, woe is me, for occasionally my opinions are fluid. It’s a personal failing, but can be handy when circumstances change. Hey, how’s this for a gravestone motto: ‘Musicals, I’ve seen a few good ones’ That’ll keep ’em guessing don’t you reckon? Yours could read: ‘I refuse to watch films with that actor’. Imagine the ensuing fun when people endlessly speculate which actor you were talking about? Hey, did you see Donald Sutherland died? He had such a cheeky demeanour. I’m glad some of the articles mentioned the film ‘Kelly’s Heroes’, Oddball was a fine tank commander.

    What do you mean that Christmas can possibly have a secret history? Sounds like an intriguing premise, and the author can recount a fine historical narrative. I really did enjoy his travels Down Under book.

    Free guy sounds like a fun film. It’s not a bad premise. AI is hardly benign, surely we can all recall The Terminator? Focusedly unfriendly…

    We’ve all been there, well maybe not all of us, but plenty have. Life is too short for lots of drama. It’s unescapable don’t you reckon, but there’s a point where it kicks into overdrive. Yes, I tend to agree with you there, Ron is wise for staying behind.

    Man, I go with my gut feeling with those sorts of things too, like not working outdoors today. Cold, wet, miserable. We had about 32 minutes of peak sun today for the entire day. Got dark early too. Pumpkins enjoy warmer soil, but then you’ve got the problem of keeping the soil moist, so yeah, complicated. How the old timers never starved to death is something of a mystery…

    What’s your impression of the new hose? Do you reckon it’s any sturdier than the current lot? Take that ya’ seedling eating slugs and bugs. Good shot.

    Well, the way they were carrying on in the Satyricon, that’s hardly surprising. 😉 You know such things are making a come back? It’s like oldie, newie times all over again. And some are antibiotic resistant, hmm. Mate, when I heard about why the clap is called the clap, let’s just say that such procedures sound painful.

    Occasionally I must indulge my personal interest in local music, and an amusing local punk band wrote a song about that unfortunate disease. You may need subtitles, but the doctors advice, sometimes I find myself recounting such wisdom and insightful observation. Anywhoo… The Chats – The Clap Pretty silly, but very funny all at the same time. Such irreverence.

    Yeah, that’s a good question, what was in that bag, and who was the real fugitive? Hmm. When archaeology turns dark, and the practitioner requires a little bit of extra income on the side, you could call it a side hustle I guess, maybe, at a wild guess. Do you reckon anyone tried to swim away from the city? You’d have had a better chance of meeting Pliny’s ship.



  41. @ Lew:

    Well, once the archaeologists get done doing their thing, the mausoleum will make a great wine cellar. For the storage of spirits. ????

    Double ha ha!


  42. Yo, Chris – Well, I suppose some people would think having a mausoleum under the house would be cool. And some might attempt to use it for ceremonies best left alone. As Mr. Greer points out, this week. Just out of curiosity, I took a glance down the rabbit hole, and disclosure varies, widely, from state to state. Only two or three have laws that haunted property must be disclosed. There’s more disclosure laws, for gruesome crimes. Some have to disclose if there’s been a death, in the last three years. Some, if you ask, they have to reveal. But if you don’t ask … well, buyer beware.

    I didn’t read the “Divergent” series … but I saw all three movies. Obviously, entertaining. Last night, I watched a film from the Land of Stuff. Every once in awhile, one sounds pretty interesting. And this one did. This one was set in modern times, but it was hard to tell that, as, it was about the poorest peasant in the village, and his life was pretty subsistent. I found it quit engrossing. Titled: “Return to Dust.”

    Sunset is at 9:09, tonight. It’s all downhill, from here! I deal a lot better with the cold, than the heat.

    Was there any water in the minding dam? Did you go for a swim? 🙂 See: Polar Bear Plunge. I’ll pass.

    Yes, I saw Donald Sutherland died. He was always fun to watch, villain or hero. He had what’s called a “wide range.” Some actors, don’t. Or, get type cast.

    Phooey! Our library doesn’t have the Bill Bryson Christmas book. I might suggest they buy a copy, closer to fall.

    My Idaho friend is safely home. I’ll wait a few days, for her to unwind, and give her a call. We haven’t had a good jaw, in awhile. Though we swap e-mails, daily.

    The new hose seems fine, though it’s a bit harder to handle. The water pressure keeps it really rigid, but less likely to twist and tangle. Some of the beans I replanted, are coming up. Fingers crossed. Spray seems to be knocking back the pill bugs, but, I found two last night. And, a small slug or two.

    I checked the blueberries, this morning, at 9am. Soil seemed dry, to me 🙁 . I let the Master Gardeners, know.

    From what I’ve read, Pliny couldn’t get close to the two cities. Due to contrary winds and pumice in the water. That’s why he landed so far south. Not that that did him any good. The beach they’ve restored, was where they found the Roman soldier.

    Something interesting, I ran across, in the Rome book. A large majority of the sailors, in the fleets, were Egyptian. No speculation on why that was. Maybe, due to their experience with the grain fleets?

    We should get a food box, this morning. Lew

  43. @ Pam,

    Mausoleum…wine cellar…for storage of spirits.

    Thanks for that! I needed s good laugh.


  44. Chris,

    I have made many wonky oval (and other) weird looking circles with my woodburning. Par for the course.

    I did my fair share and beyond of being flexible with breaks and lunches and even quitting time when I worked in the office. The quitting time flexibility ended when I rode the bus. This carried over to my days working remotely. We had good contracts that kept us from being abused about being in constant contact.

    Although one day circa 2012 my boss and the Big Boss decided that I needed to have fixed advertised break times and lunch. And adhere to them come hades or high water. I thought for a minute before replying: “I can do that. But it also means that if I’m on the phone or at the counter with somebody, and it is my break or lunch time, then I will tell the person that I have to go, will return later. Per my supervisors. If that’s what you want, then I will do it.” I retained my flexibility.

    I read an article sourced locally this morning. Over the past several decades, during the hottest 87 days of the year, the average daily high temperatures have increased 3F. Also, the average daily low temperatures have increased 4F. Data from the local goobermint weather office. The hottest 87 days historically start June 21. I live here. I knew this. It doesn’t cool off as early at night or as much at night as it used to.

    The dryland grass? The stuff that started last year is doing “good” to “excellent”. Most of the seeds from this year have died out or didn’t germinate. Bad weather conditions, maybe. One area has hideous soil which I will have to work before I try again.

    Yes, “There, There” is a very gritty story. One thing to keep in mind when reading it…Most Native American groups traditionally valued balance and harmony. Tribal “religions” were more of a lifestyle to maintain these goals, with various means to restore one to balance and harmony when necessary. For those who were subject to goobermint and/or religious boarding schools, and also for those who were involuntarily relocated to the cities in the 1950s into the 1960s, these lifeways were lost or at least extremely difficult to maintain. Woe to those who were products of forced relocations AND forced into boarding schools.

    The older I get, the more I appreciated being “boringly normal”. Excitement can be overrated.

    We have carbon monoxide monitors in the house. Even so, there has nearly always been a window open at least a crack.

    Sunday looks to have the high winds return. Fire warnings have been issued by the appropriate agencies. Supposed to be hot and very dry with the wind. Ugh.


  45. Hi DJ,

    It happens, and I’ve always wondered whether the repetitive exercises like that circle challenge are there to get you to be happy with the beauty of imperfection. A perfect circle would be hard to woodburn, or what’s your take on that?

    The bus dances to it’s own timetable and is oblivious to expectations of flexibility! Respect for taking public transport too. Lucky you, and the finer details of those contracts are worth exercising, even if pressure is applied to ignore them. Sometimes benefits disappear if not flexed. Hey, it’s been a long time since I’ve enjoyed employment benefits. At the top end of town, they’d really push at boundaries, mostly for no good reason that I could ascertain. My personality wiring is probably not equipped to be a blind follower just because someone asked. 🙂 On the other hand, I always looked after the people who reported to me. That’s how loyalty is built, but the larger the business entity, the more single minded the beast becomes.

    Good reply too, mostly such folks want a little bit extra from you, and you end up paying the cost, like working through your lunch break. Incidentally, I’ve never worked anywhere that has a break other than for lunch.

    That’s the thing with the climate changes and I’m noting the warmer nights here as well. The hottest minimum I’ve experienced here was 29’C, but I tell ya, it was much hotter again in the big smoke of Melbourne. That overnight temperature was seriously unusual, and also something of an extreme. There’s also a lot more water vapour in the atmosphere. This winter has been cloudier than any previous I can recall. The cloud cover also retains the daytime warmth, like a huge blanket.

    A friend who has an esteemed background in science explained to me your post summer solstice heat effect (the same thing happens here): Thermal inertia.

    Oh well, with a bit of luck (and some fertiliser and/or compost for that dodgy spot), the dryland grass which is established, will set seed and slowly they’ll spread. Surprisingly, grass requires quite fertile soil, and I see in the grass here that there are many species growing, and some of them like the clovers, have the knack of capturing nitrogen out of the atmosphere.

    Man, I’m done this evening. Ruby woke the household up in the 6-ish AM, or thereabouts, and we took the incident as a sign and got up early, in the dark. Had another big burn off today, it’s hard work, and despite being near to the winter solstice, you sweat. Finished up as the sun was setting around the 5:30-ish mark. It’s good to get outside and do something productive.

    Dude, I also value balance and harmony! 🙂 And see those two traits as a method to smooth over the choppy waters of social discourse. Being an INFJ has that sort of response hard wired in… Ook! I might add that these traits are not generally appreciated in our western civilisation, but oh well. Please understand that I observe the dominant culture, and it makes little to no sense to me, probably because it’s on a crash trajectory, so no stress I’ll get the message of the book. Man, when you were talking about work before, I get you, and need I mention the dog act performed on me earlier in the year – terminating a 15 year working relationship 30 minutes before I was going to commence working? When people are treated like objects, really seriously bad things happen, and the story of the rez will have that dark footprint stamped all over it. I get that, so no stress. The same thing went on down here, in order to break a culture you destroy the ties that bind, and then replace them with what?

    Too much excitement is bad for my brain too! Less stimulation is always a good thing. 🙂

    Ugg, and stay safe and keep alert. Usually mid to late afternoon is the trouble time, and watch the direction of the winds, that will inform you as to where any potential trouble may be headed. You’ll be fine.



  46. Hello Chris
    Son says that he is not keen on goat milk. His goats are Boer and Guernsey goats and mixtures of the two.
    Many, many years ago I was camping at a farm in France. First thing in the morning the farmer’s wife brought us milk straight from the cow. It tasted unlike any milk that I had ever had before. Can’t really remember but I think that it tasted sweet.
    A magnificent peacock has arrived on my patio. It is quite unfazed by Son and self. We don’t know anyone in the area who has peacocks. Unfortunately Son says that a fox will probably get it.


  47. Hi Lewis,

    🙂 Thanks for the Easter Island article. That island is a mystery. The lack of trees would have been a bit of a bummer, but the article suggested that there was more of a palm forest there than your more traditional sub tropical island. What amazes me is that seafaring folks actually spotted the island in the first place. That’s an astounding effort. But yeah as to the rocks and mulching, I knew about that. Sometimes I’ll bring in a load of dark granite rock dust and spread it around. It’s good stuff, and the quarries are very nice to supply us gardeners with the fertiliser. 🙂 I thoroughly recommend rock dust, and larger rocks get used in garden beds, and they retain heat. Yup.

    Partially smooshed up a large boulder today, but we were also managing a burn off, and so the rest of the boulder will be a job for another day. The burn off went well. We chucked on some of the rotting timber in that mushroom danger area. Hard, but satisfying work.

    Did I mention that Ruby woke the household this morning in the early 6am slot? Chucked up her Anzac biscuit from the previous evening. Hmm. The dog obedience school has a lot of feral rabbits, and as you’d imagine, those things are dog chocolates for some dogs like Ruby. Anywhoo, we’re treating her for worms.

    Far out, you’re probably right about some folks looking for a place to do dark rites in such a space as that mausoleum. Not a smart idea at all, but nobody asked you or I about such matters. 🙂 Yeah, there was talk about such laws being enacted down here, but I don’t know whether that’s been passed. I do recall looking at a house to buy and fix up where there was a large burned patch in the middle of the front room, and all of the soft furnishings and carpets had been removed. Sends a strong message. People die in all sorts of places, and in my youth you’d kind of experience dead relatives, but that changed when I was very young and nowadays folks are whisked away. I really don’t know how I feel about the institutionalisation of that aspect of everyone’s life. Probably what is going on now is maybe just a moment in time. Dunno. Hey, do they generally cover up all the details when one of the inmates dies?

    Cool, and many thanks for the film review thumbs up. Hey, did the Romans give a thumbs up for good, or was that thumbs down?

    Thanks for mentioning the ‘Return to Dust’ film. Intriguing. There was a good line in the trailer about looking after the land, regardless of status. Good advice. I’ll see whether I can track down a copy. 🙂

    That’s true, and it’s all uphill from here with the longer days. Hopefully the chickens begin laying again. They usually do so slowly after the winter solstice. Hey, don’t the nights feel shorter at your stage of the year? It was dark here well before 6pm earlier this evening. The day began cold, foggy and rainy, but around lunchtime the sun began to shine (for a bit). Like you, I also prefer the cold to the heat. However, as a caveat, there’s too cold, and the water surrounding the doomed Titanic, would have felt unpleasant. I see in the news that many people earlier today went for a nudie winter solstice swim. It’s an option, I guess so as to your amusing observation about polar bear plunge, I don’t think so. Hehe! Probably invigorating, don’t you reckon?

    I agree, Donald Sutherland had a very wide range of performances. He was positively exuding restrained evil in the Hunger Games.

    Drats! Hope the library is inclined to your suggestion.

    Hehe! Your friend in Idaho clearly enjoys a challenge! Hope the visit went well for her.

    That’s been my experience with the longer lasting garden hoses as well. They do get kinks in them though which stops the flow of water, despite the advertised claims. What I’m noticing about them is that they survive the summer sun. The cheaper hoses I trialled years ago become brittle and eventually end up with leaks. A waste of mad cash. Before hoses, there were buckets. Hmm.

    It’s good to see that the bug spray is working. Replanting seedlings just uses up the growing season. What else do you? During the daytime the small birds feast upon the insects, but not so at night. You need frogs for that.

    That’s not good about the dry soils with the blueberries. Fingers crossed the master gardeners get onto that. Hey, funnily enough some of the soil underneath the rotting timber we burnt off today, was dry. How does that work? A mystery.

    Ah, I was wondering if anyone had gotten away by sea, but with pumice on the water, that’s suggestive that all the materials and gases were flung way off shore. And I agree, the rescue effort did Pliny no good.

    Well that is interesting, and it makes you wonder if they were mercenaries for hire by the Romans? Please correct me, but I have a vague idea that Caesar had a lot of trouble getting the troops to cross the English channel? Maybe they preferred land to the open ocean?



  48. Hi Inge,

    Thank you for asking. My friends of the big shed fame have Anglo Nubian goats, and those are dairy goats. Ah, I see, the Boer goats are meat goats with an enviable reputation for their feed requirements. Looks like the Guernsey goats can be used as dairy goats, but it’s not worth the milking process if the milk is not consumed. They’d make an interesting mixture those two breeds. Clever, and I’d imagine that with the two lines of genetics that the resulting breed would be hardy?

    Oh yeah, fresh raw milk is very tasty, and rich. Sometimes I do wonder what exactly is this stuff we’re buying in the plastic containers, don’t you? It’s funny, but I had to undertake a look into milk products after the tiramisu fail last year. I’ll tell you what, the cream we ended up purchasing was single origin organic with a fat content of about 44%. Like raw milk, it was good.

    The other thing about dairy from cows, is the sheer over stocking of paddocks. It’s not right and does all sorts of unpleasant things to the soils, which then feeds back into the dairy products, but nobody asked my opinion.

    Haha! That’s funny, and peacocks are very noisy birds. I’ve heard of neighbourly arguments from someone I sort of know at a distant arms length, when keeping peacocks. Someone may have dumped the bird, you’d be amazed. Don’t peacocks add a certain sort of grandeur to a rural setting? 🙂 Your son is probably right there about the fox.



  49. @ Pam and DJ – Beat you to it! See comment #40. You have to move fast, around here … :-). Lew

  50. Yo, Chris – There are very few things, as good as goat cheese!

    So, any plans for the smooshed up boulder? Rock gabion cage?

    Why do dogs need to perform their antics, in the early AM? Every once in awhile, H jumps off the bed, goes and gets a drink of water, and then comes back and whines until I put her back on the bed. Luckily, not too often. So far, no worms on her. I keep an eye out for butt scooting. She’s proved me a liar. I always say, H never gets into anything. OK. I have constant post nasal drip, so, I keep little piles of paper towels, here and there, to blow, blow, blow. I’d go broke, if I didn’t re-use them, until they fall apart. Well, H has developed a taste for my used snot paper towels. I have to be careful, where I leave them.

    About the house you looked at. Spontaneous combustion! More likely a smoker, who drifted off into sleep. Booze might have played a part.

    Death has been institutionalized, and monetized. Huge amounts of funeral homes have been bought up by LLCs. Yup. We very seldom know when someone has shuffled off their mortal coil, here. They invoke “privacy”, but it’s all part of a general lack of transparency. Then, they’re constantly telling us not to gossip. It gets very circular.
    Power and control.

    Thumbs up, or thumbs down? Well, there is this … “According to Anthony Corbeill, a classical studies professor who has extensively researched the practice, thumbs up signalled killing the gladiator while “a closed fist with a wraparound thumb” meant sparing him.” I guess Prof. Tony knows what he’s talking about.

    I finished up the Roman book, last night. I was taking a look at the short bios, on ancient sources, he, obviously, was very familiar with. I ran across one I thought was interesting. Sextus Julius Frontinus (35 – 103 CE). He was a senator, who was governor or Britain, in the late 70s. “In 97 he was placed in charge of Rome’s aqueducts and wrote a treatise about the aqueducts, the law, his duties and the uncovering of fraud and corruption.” Given how little original material survives, I think it was interesting that monks, somewhere along the way, decided that his treatise was worth preserving.

    Well, our weather has been warmish. 80F, yesterday. Forecast to be about the same today. But our nighttime lows have been around 50F. Forecast for tomorrow, is 68F.

    Sigh. The bug spray seems to be working, sort of, in the one bed. But, I checked my stock tank, last night. Where I’d planted some more beans. It’s overrun with pill bugs. 🙁 . I’ll start spraying, over there, but it takes awhile to kick in, and I doubt I’ll save what’s coming up. Luckily, they don’t touch the mustard, garlic, or tomatoes, that grow in that plot.

    I’ll give my Idaho friend, a call, Monday night. Have a good jaw.

    Yes, Caesar had a bit of a problem, getting his men to launch across the channel. There were all kinds of wild stories, as to what awaited them. But, he shamed them into it. They had the same problem, with the Claudian invasion, but managed to get it underway. The Romans weren’t known as sea farers. Although they rose to the occasion, at a number of points. War with Carthage … Actium … getting rid of pirates. But in general, no. One interesting comment was that the Egyptians, that were conscripted into the Roman navy, had to take Roman names. There’s a letter, from a seaman to his mother (I think), that was found in Egypt. See: “Letters of Sailors in the Roman Navy.” Lew

  51. Hi Lewis,

    Oh man, I totally agree with you. Grilled halloumi cheese is superb, and that is a mostly goat milk cheese. So good. Yum! Have you ever come across this delectable delight and grilled the stuff?

    I hadn’t mentioned rock plans, but the next rock wall to be created will be supporting the soil where the long line of water tanks is located. As you’d imagine, the largest water tank there has kind of caused the clods of soil to compact. Easily fixed with some rocks, and by next summer the water tank will be vertical again. It’s got a slight lean to it now. Oh well…

    Naughty H! And naughty Ruby! Dogs have their own ideas as to when is the most appropriate time to wake up, and they will test boundaries, although it is the alpha’s role to determine that moment in the day, not H, or Ruby. I’ll be interested to learn your thoughts in the matter, but I’m kind of thinking of dog training as like learning dog language and their habits, then trying to get them to fit into my program. Some of the more intelligent dogs have their own ideas….

    Ha! If they appeal to H, there maybe a etsy store for those tissues? Canines can have the most revolting habits.

    Hehe! Oh you’re on fire again! Sorry for the dodgy pun, but I’d read enough: ‘In Search of’ books, when I was a kid for the idea: ‘Spontaneous Combustion’ to pop into my awareness when I saw that burnt patch in the front room, and observed no soft furnishings in the house. Did I mention that the house was going cheap? I agree with your best guess as to how things actually went. It surprised me that the entire house hadn’t burned down. Being at the bottom of the market in otherwise good areas, we’ve seen some very unusual houses over the years. Did I ever mention the run down clearly a former drug den mansion? It even had a firemans pole going from one level to the next, but what a mess…

    It’s been my observation that gossip is a form of social currency, so no wonder the authoritas at the institution crack down upon spontaneous outbursts of juicy information – real, or otherwise. When I was a kid we’d play the stupid game of Chinese whispers and the story warps in the re-telling. But yeah, I agree, power and control. Ever had rumours of a ghost at your place?

    Given the quote, Prof. Tony speaks with an air of authority. Perhaps he was once there in a past life and experienced the err, downsides of the display. Dude, I still have not watched that film. What can I say, I’m slack. 🙂

    That is interesting, and my gut feeling suggests that the monks may have had ideological axes to grind, and the mention of ‘uncovering graft and corruption’ may have had something to do with the preservation. All part of the onwards and upwards trajectory, although I’d imagine the monks would be frightened by the goings on these days. Still, it has been remarked upon before and elsewhere that a difference in scale is not a difference in kind.

    Dude, 80’F is so nice. Frost this morning, although the sun shone with some warmth today. Around the middle of the day you could feel the photons warming the skin. Very nice and a sausage roll and a gourmet pie were destroyed in the days activities. One must keep up their calorific intake when doing hard physical work! Not sure what other folks do there! 🙂

    Anyway, last night I was stumped by weird behaviour in the chainsaw during work yesterday. A very deep utoob dive and the causes were revealed in their full and ugly light. This morning I did some tests and sure enough, the utoob advice was good. Followed all advice, and everything was good with the world. Did a couple of hours of work prior to hitting the bakery. Need fuel for body. Ugg! Headed out into the dark about half an hour ago to push the fire together, and far out we do a lot of physical work around here.

    Mate, one of the things which mystifies me is why anyone would move to land in the later part of their life, and not expect the experience to be lots of strenuous activity. Of course, the land here was super cheap, so we have to do more than most, but still. It would be very pleasant to arrive at a property where all of the hard work had been done, and then all that need be performed was maintenance. But I dunno whether people would then understand what they’d gained. Dunno.

    Bug spray learning, yeah… That’s what I mean. Like you, I’m learning as I’m going, and there is a lot to learn don’t you reckon?

    Hope the call goes well. I don’t get too many social phone calls these days. Most communication seems to be either spoken directly, or by what the kids call DM’s (direct messages). I like phone calls, but the times are a changin’.

    I’d not realised that Caesar had twice invaded Britain, but both appear to have been sorties. The first being less successful due to a clear lack of manpower. Interesting. I’ll be the costs of holding onto Britain exceeded the benefits by a considerable margin.

    Cheers and better get writing!


  52. Hi Chris,
    Happy 10th. Good work. Not sure how long I’ve been lurking with occasional comments. Most of that time.

    Down here in Alabama we have gas (petrol) that is $2.59/gal ($0.68/ltr USD) and our roads are terrible because of not much taxes paid on gas. Our night time temperature are predicted to stop going below 75°F (24°C) which really messes with tomato pollen and my good sleep. I’ve always enjoyed your alternate seasons and your solar honesty.
    Again, happy 10th,

    An^2 (the 2 is silent– think Tom Leher)

  53. Yo, Chris – I’ve never had goat cheese past the cracker stage. 🙂

    Another Roadside Attraction! The Leaning Water Tank of Fern Glade Farm. Your fortune is made! Well, it worked for Barnum.

    H must have had another dream, this morning, prior to 8am. Gave a good solid bark, loud enough to wake me up. I’ve decided to not take her to dog training. For a couple of reasons. I didn’t realize she was so old. 10+. Getting up there for a dog. And, the cost. LOL. She’s deep in my pockets, already. A high maintenance lady. I figure there’s probably a U Tub video, for the minor things I’d like to work on. As with your chain saw.

    The drug den mansion sounds “interesting.” Derelict mansions are derelict for a reason. Usually, maintenance and upkeep. Abandoned places have always been a draw. In Portland, we had the Pittock Mansion. In the 1960s, it was pretty much a drug den / crash pad. Then, the city saved it, and turned it into a historic landmark. Interesting. I didn’t realize it was the Columbus Day Storm, that led to its demise. Then there’s the abandoned mansion in the movie, “Rebel Without a Cause.”

    Oh, I remember Chinese Whispers. Probably been renamed, in some spasm of political correctness. 🙂 The Club is also a hot bed of gossip. Though there is no pressure to not chatter.

    Maybe Prof. Tony just watched the movie? You might as well hold off. A sequel to “The Gladiator” has been in the works, and ought to be out soon.

    Good old Frontinus. There’s quit an entry on him, in that online encyclopedia.

    Yup. Julius Caesar attempted it twice. Caligula had an aborted attempt, but at least it got him a triumph. Then the Claudian expedition (with elephants!), was successful.

    We got a bit of rain, last night. If we don’t get more, I’ll still have to water. Besides my usual bug and slug hunt, I also laid down some blood meal, last night. Deer had got into the gardens. Didn’t do much damage. Yet. Might as well nip that in the bud. So to speak. Lew

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