Monday, 24 July 2017

Low water mark

This blog is now available as an mp3 podcast through the link: www.ferngladefarm.com.au

I am rarely alarmed by news items. However, occasionally an article will jump out at me from the newspaper and I then find myself for some days later considering the implications of whatever small chunk of information is contained in that article. Often it is those small chunks of information that can tell you a much larger story. And this week I spotted an interesting statistic in an article in a local newspaper:


The statistic in the article was that (and you can confirm this by reading the above article) Melbourne’s dams are currently 62% full after an apparently dry June. I agree with the authors that June was dry, but I was particularly curious because April’s rainfall was at least three times higher than the long term average and the remainder of the year was more or less about what you would reasonably expect here.

Upon being alarmed by that article I had to make sure of my own water storage reserves.Therefore, I undertook a scientific analysis of the water storage here. That analysis involved me walking around the farm and checking the level of water held in the various water tanks. I discovered that the water tanks were about 99% full (if not completely full). Why then are Melbourne’s dams currently at 62% full? It made no sense at all to me, and the article made it clear that the average litres of water used per person per day had declined recently to about 162 Litres (42.6 gallons) per person per day.

I‘m not the sharpest tool in the tool box and mathematics is certainly not my forte, so it took me a while to recall that the city of Melbourne is apparently adding an additional 100,000 people to the population every single year. The increased water demands makes sense from that perspective, because even though the average water demands of individuals are declining, if the population itself increases in size then overall demand for water increases in line with that population growth – every single year.

As an interesting side story, I used to work for the big water supply authority as a wee young lad before being made redundant during the recession in the early 1990’s. Way back in those days I recall working with a team of engineers who were doing some sort of work on the Thomson Dam. That dam is huge and quite impressive to see, and it holds a volume of water that is beyond my understanding. This of course may be possibly due to my limited mathematical skills! I mean who even understands what: 14,170 × 103 m3 (500 × 106 cu ft) of water means? I guess it is a lot of water, that's for sure. Back in those days I heard the claim made that the Thomson dam would drought proof Melbourne. Nowadays however, in these more enlightened and higher populated times, we now have a desalination plant (that is the fancy name for a big machine which converts sea water into fresh drinking water) to supplement the drinking water requirements of Melburnians. And with the dams down to the low 60% full range, that desalination plant looks about set to be switched on.

Houses are not immune to the laws of supply and demand. By now, most people down here realise that an increase in the population leads to an increase in the demand for housing. Increased demand for housing in turn leads to an increase in the market value (the less fancy name for this is: prices, and the more fancy name is: economic scarcity) of the existing stock of housing. And of course, increased demand for housing means that there are jobs for people who are involved with constructing new houses.

The downsides to this arrangement is that whilst the ever increasing population leads to increased house prices, some of that increased population can no longer afford to purchase a home. Those particular people have the options of either renting a home or being homeless. Someone mentioned to me recently that in Australia, couch surfing is covered under the definition of homeless.

As another interesting side story, I have noticed that the same newspapers seem to be running semi-regular articles involving very appealing looking young ladies and their even more delightful canine companions living in tiny houses and/or vans on other peoples properties. The funny thing is that those same newspapers also decry homeless people living in vehicles in public places.

For this week’s blog I borrowed the lyrics from the very talented band “Talking Heads” and their outstanding song “Once In A Lifetime”. Without further ado, let’s get into some great music:

“And you may find yourself living in a shotgun shack
And you may find yourself in another part of the world
And you may find yourself behind the wheel of a large automobile
And you may find yourself in a beautiful house, with a beautiful wife
And you may ask yourself
Well...How did I get here?”

How did we get here is a fascinating question indeed. I thought that it might be useful for readers if I provided some data points from my own life:

When I was a child, which was way back in the 1970’s, my mother, who was a single mother with three children, was able to purchase a family home on a single full time income. She was also able to attend University part time free of charge and put all three of us kids through private secondary school.

During the mid 1990’s the editor and I jointly purchased a small inner city workers cottage of modest size in poor condition which needed repairs for about three times our joint full time incomes. Both the editor and I also enjoyed the privilege of studying at University but had to pay off some student debt.

Nowadays in these more enlightened times, you would be hard pressed to purchase the same three bedroom inner city workers cottage for less than about $1.3m, which is no longer anywhere near three times our joint full time incomes. And University fees have climbed considerably since the days that I had my nose buried deeply into serious and learned text books.

“Letting the days go by
Let the water hold me down
Letting the days go by
Water flowing underground
Into the blue again
After the money's gone
Once in a lifetime
Water flowing underground”

What happened was that population pressures influenced house prices. However, you can also see in the apparent increasing population that demand for drinking water which is a finite resource is also under pressure. Who knows where we will be in another ten years with yet another million people in the city. And I wonder what will become of those people who are excluded from being able to purchase a house?

“And you may ask yourself
How do I work this?
And you may ask yourself
Where is that large automobile?
And you may tell yourself
This is not my beautiful house
And you may tell yourself
This is not my beautiful wife”

How do I work this is another fascinating question. The funny thing about houses and property is that people inevitably ask me for my opinion as to their options. Usually the people are considering replicating some aspect of the farm here. And the advice I provide is to purchase a property that few other people are competing for. Low demand I’ve often noticed, equates to lower prices. The problem with low demand is that often it looks like the biggest dump in an otherwise nice area, and generally involves a lot of hard work. To sum the situation up, that option generally looks unappealing. The only other option that I am aware of is: wait and see.

The thing is, a persons life also only covers a finite span of time. And nobody knows how long the current state of affairs will continue.

The editor and I have only ever pursued the dump option where we have been able to undertake the repairs ourselves. And all of the houses that we have ever purchased have needed (usually major) repairs. For example, we lived in a 1890’s workers cottage that initially had only a single power point, a repaired floor in a single room, and unidentified chunks used to flow out of the cold water tap. And throughout that time we worked full time and occasionally studied part time. I just don’t know any other property story as they all look like speculation or wasted time to me.

“Letting the days go by
Let the water hold me down
Letting the days go by
Water flowing underground
Into the blue again
After the money's gone
Once in a lifetime
Water flowing underground”

I went to bed last night feeling fine after having written the above. This morning I woke feeling sick as I had come down like a dirty mongrel with a head cold. These things happen.

Earlier in the week when I was feeling much healthier, I repaired the coffee machine. The repairs involved replacing the water pump, which from hindsight we believe may or may not have failed. Whatever may be the case, we were struck down hard by the "third filter theory" as we discovered yet another blocked filter on that coffee machine. The blocked filter was cleared and cleaning fluids were left inside the workings of the coffee machine overnight. I can quite proudly state that the coffee machine is now working well and despite my cold we are in latte heaven again!
The author replaces the water pump on the coffee machine and discovered yet another blocked filter
We have been busy cementing two more treated pine posts into the ground this week. Both posts will be used to mount a garden water tap and hang a hose from.
One of two treated pine posts cemented into the ground this week
The berry enclosure has also now been extended and planted out! Earlier this week a garden bed full of tasty potatoes had to be removed from that berry enclosure to make way for berries.
A raised garden bed of tasty home grown potatoes was removed from the berry enclosure

 That raised potato garden bed produced a huge amount of fresh home grown potatoes.
A huge quantity of tasty home grown potatoes were harvested

The fencing for the berry enclosure was then extended.
The fencing for the berry enclosure was extended
The fencing was soon completed. The gate was relocated to the new extended front of the berry enclosure and the now superfluous two original gate posts were recovered.
The berry extension - Done!
Of course we then had to plant out the berry enclosure. We discovered about thirty thornless blackberrry plants dotted about the farm. All of those were relocated into the new section of the berry enclosure.
The now extended berry enclosure was planted out with a further thirty thornless blackberry plants
From the terrace down below the new berry enclosure looks great!
From the terrace down below the new berry enclosure looks great!
And just as the editor and I had completed watering the berries, a huge storm rolled up the valley.
A huge storm rolled up the valley
I managed to take a photo of the lavender flowers with the ominous storm in the background.
Lavender flowers anticipating a good drink of water from the approaching storm
At this time of year the wildlife always moves in closer to the house. The reason for that is because the plants surrounding the house have more nutritional content than in the surrounding forest. This is a seasonal occurrence and every year I'm scaring some animal away from the garden.
A kangaroo just outside the house asks the hard questions: What me worry?
As the weather warms up, a lot of new birds are passing through the farm.
A couple of Galah's sit high up in a tree and undertake a survey of the farm
Sometimes the birds can attempt unwise acts like this very heavy rosella on an English walnut tree
As long as bones are not involved the fluffy collective prefer being inside the house in cold winter weather.
Let us in - NOW!
The asparagus spears are just starting to appear from the soil.
Asparagus spears are just starting to appear from the soil.
Fortunately for my cold I can enjoy plenty of fresh citrus. The grapefruit are almost ripe:
The grapefruit are almost ripe
The broadbeans were planted late this year, however those plants are now beginning to push their way out of the soil:
The broadbeans were planted late this year however those plants are now beginning to push their way out of the soil
In the berry enclosure I discovered this very confused raspberry plant which appears to be producing flowers in late winter.
In the berry enclosure I discovered this very confused raspberry plant which appears to be producing flowers in late winter
The many daisy plants on the farm add a splash of winter colour:
The many daisy plants on the farm add a splash of winter colour
This geranium flower almost looks like an orchid:
This geranium flower almost looks like an orchid
Many respects to the band Talking Heads for the lyrics from their song “Once In A Lifetime”. Let's finish the blog with a few words of wisdom from that band:

"And you may ask yourself
What is that beautiful house?
And you may ask yourself
Where does that highway go to?
And you may ask yourself
Am I right?...Am I wrong?
And you may say to yourself yourself
My God!...What have I done?!"

The temperature outside now at about 7.00pm is 7’C (45’F). So far this year there has been 462.4mm (18.2 inches) which is more than last week’s total of 441.2mm (17.4 inches).

59 comments:

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Inge,

That is good advice about lying down. On both occasions I dropped like a stone and woke up perspiring heavily for some strange reason – but I wasn’t aware that such a thing could happen. That is a low blood pressure reading. Out of curiosity, was your heart rate elevated during those readings?

Well that is news to me. I’m not sure I understand the purpose of picking off the flowers? Those flowers eventually set seed and will grow new potato plants from what I have been observing here. Of course the seeds may not be true to type or as disease resistant as the seedling potatoes. From time to time, I have seen the occasional blight affected potato – it is not pretty.

Thanks for the comparison. Summers here can be occasionally dry and dusty and the leaves fall from the trees in the heat as if it were an unexpected late autumn in a deciduous forest. And the air can smell of the eucalyptus oils – or occasionally honey like if the forest trees are in flower. But the heat remains under the thin canopy of the forest.

That naughty male dog! Oh well, these things happen. Despite my cold addled state of mind I disturbed a hugely fat wallaby happily munching away on my vegetable beds this morning. This always happens with the wallabies at this time of year. Protein levels are low in the grass and herbage someone once told me.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Pam,

Thank you. My brain feels as if it is stuffed with wool today. Not good. Hope the blog makes sense – I wrote most of it last night so my brain was marginally clearer than today. Fortunately the business with the eye was over with pretty quickly. It was a mildly unnerving experience. Once the chunk of dirt was dislodged, I was then able to flush the eye and remove it. Yuk!

Lot’s of lemon juice, honey, chamomile tea and sage leaves + aspirin today. Strangely enough, excluding the sage leaves and aspirin, it is a very tasty drink.

I’d intended to work today, but I feel that putting my feet up and resting is a better option. And maybe a very early bedtime.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi crowandsheep,

Well the fluffy collective disgraced themselves with the Bone Wars as Sir Scruffy attempted to bury a rather large bone in the asparagus bed. Fortunately the editor discovered Sir Scruffy in this dastardly act and quickly brought him to heel. Sir Scruffy’s face was covered in damp black soil so he received an impromptu wash. Their flatulence last evening was epic. Nuff said!

That sultan’s mother had a rather sharp tongue and knew when to engage in witty banter. Thanks for the link to the painting.

Yeah, how weird was that second break for freedom. I mean it is not as if Alexander hadn’t spoken the truth about what he’d previously been up to with his fellow convicts. Tommy possibly thought that such an outcome would never happen to him? It is pretty rough country between Macquarie Harbour and Hobart and even today it is mostly wilderness, so what better way to survive it than make your stores walk themselves... There was a film about that situation. Imagine trying to go to sleep around them… Not good for your continuing good health.

Very funny!

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Lewis,

Really glad to read that you enjoyed the film. And yes, Shari’s bird photographs were nothing short of extraordinary. I wondered that about the people competing whether they were having fun, or it had became a passion, or even merely a reflexive action much like scratching an itch. I suspect that the protagonists derived a sense of purpose from the activity which gave them a deeper meaning for their lives. I reckon I would be very bored in an urban setting nowadays. Who knows which came first and dare I say it? Which came first the chicken or the egg? That discussion you raised is quite deep. Do they cover such things in AA?

Chips definitely require a light splash of vinegar and a fine dusting of salt. Yum! I have very fond memories of the fish and chip shops when I was a very young kid. People talk about inflation, but back then minimum chips used to set you back about forty cents (maybe less). They used to sell pickled onions in vinegar too which were really tasty.

I didn’t have much choice with the eye thing being a Sunday night and all here. It is funny you mention those q-tips but I tried using one of them first and nothing so that is when I went for the pointy knife instead. The finer tip was less problematic. The gunk came out of my eye surprisingly easy. The one time I did feint was when I went to hospital to see an eye surgeon who used a syringe to remove a chunk of metal from my eye. The head clamp, inverted eyelid and some dude coming at my eyeball with a syringe which you could see on a television screen close up was a bit too much excitement for my poor brain which promptly shut down. It was like a scene out of Red Dragon or Silence of the Lambs. I was not expecting that. At least the chunk of metal was removed prior to my sensory overload and shut down. The surgeon was surprisingly uncaring about my reaction and sent me quickly packing. I felt quite woozy for a while after that. Oh well.

The floating chunks that you can see may possibly be scratches on the lens of your eye. Not much you do about those.

Didn’t they used to have a saying about not putting anything in your ear canal smaller than your finger? What an image you’ve left my brain with.

Simon Pegg and Edgar Wright would have thoroughly enjoyed those parts. I reckon I went to the cinema and watched that film. My head feels as if it is stuffed full of those cotton buds so I may have misremembered that. Zombies seem to be rather dull, unless they are the fast moving ones and they’re breaking the laws of physics, but I guess that is what the undead can do. They would make for very unpleasant company at a party.

cont...

Cherokee Organics said...

Standards differ in relation to that sort of thing don’t they? Your experience mirrors my experience down here with people doing all sorts of strange things. A recent innovation on that is that sometimes I can be standing in front of a long counter waiting to order and other simply sidle up to and then attempt to squeeze between the non-existent space between me and the counter. It is very weird and not something that I was brought up to do. We interface with different cultures in all sorts of strange and unusual ways and I guess my personal space is much bigger and my cultural taboos are different than those who have always lived in a densely populated area. I reckon it is an example of population pressures. Do you see any of that gear going on in your part of the world?

I don’t much like garlic as I have eaten too much of it for one life. Long ago I had a step dad who ate an awful lot of that plant and expected everyone around him to eat that much too. Alas it was too much for my tastes and taught me a valuable lesson about the consequences of taking things to extremes. I much prefer onions nowadays.

Yes, Nell should be chucked out the door for such an outburst. The fluffy collectives perquisites go hand in hand with their abilities to limit the extremes of their behaviour.

The dust cover would be in your interests and not in theirs.

My brain is crashing. I hope that the blog makes sense later today… Fortunately I wrote most of it yesterday.

The sun is producing some good solar energy today and I have been listening to the workings of the solar hot water storing some of the energy of the sun. I had no idea that the solar hot water stored any energy at all at this time of year.

Cheers

Chris

Damo said...

Hi Chris,

Far out, I bet those dam engineers you worked with never thought Melbourne would grow by 100,000 people a year when they made that comment. The scary thing is, all this population growth is simply feeding more debt and consumption. It isn't like Sydney and Melbourne actually make anything the rest of the world buys, so I wonder what productive activities these eager new arrivals undertake.

To answer your question last week, I don't think population growth is a necessary prerequisite for inflated house prices. Demand has also being juiced via tax incentives and relaxed lending standards (eg banks happily loaning high LVRs and 8-10x household incomes). But high pop. growth definitely makes things worse!

Chris, I would be perfectly happy buying a fixer-upper house. It would still be a step up from some of the places I have rented :p Using the old 3x income rule of thumb, there is very little anywhere in the country I can afford to buy right now. Even my old home town of Dorrigo has most houses over $300,000! Land can be found for ~100,000 in many rural areas, but there is limited employment options. In short, a yurt might be all I can afford, even with a decent professional level salary. My current plan, save as much as I can over next 3-5 years, than buy with cash. A small or non-existent mortgage reduces job concerns and makes rural/remote areas more viable. First step, get another job :-)

Damo

Damo said...

Thank you for the kind support Lew and Marg, I think I made the right choice but will definitely feel better once we are settled into a new home somewhere and a job is sorted!

I have already earned my keep, mum and I cleared out several rooms. Large piles of rubbish, donations for op shops and boxes for siblings to finally pick up years after moving out. Mum says her head feels clearer after sorting out so much clutter.

Movie alert, Baby Driver is written and directed by Edgar Wright. Great stuff and worth watching at the cinema. I also watched Dunkirk, some amazing aerial dogfights with the spitfires. All done with real planes, replicas built just for the movie. There is also a new Star Trek trailer on YouTube for those interested :-)

Damo

Pam in Virginia said...

Hi, Chris!

A beautiful essay - no wool there. Melbourne's water issues sound much like Los Angeles and southern California - a "simple" matter of too many people and not enough water.

When we bought our first house it was one of the cheapest places in Dallas, in a dodgy part of town, and wasn't in such bad repair as the one you and the editor first bought, but it needed pretty massive renovation. We lost money on it when we sold it, alas, but these things happen. Then we spent a year looking for an affordable piece of land in Virginia, during which time we made connections who eventually told us of a piece of land that they had heard about that we could afford. A "grapevine" can be so useful.

Lovely potatoes - hi, Poopy! Lovely posts - hi, Sir Scruffy and, may I say, you are looking well! The new berry enclosure is neat as a pin and looks really secure. And a gate at each end - how wonderful. That kangaroo is actually smiling.

Ah - hi, everybody but Toothy! Where's Toothy . . .

Ah - the asparagus has survived.

"Same as it ever was" . . .

Pam

orchidwallis said...

Hello Chris

Always buy the worst house in the best street and never go for interest only mortgages.

I don't know what my heart rate was at the time. Current resting rate is 60 which I believe is excellent at my age.

Please check on the meanings of feint/faint, you are using the wrong one.

I assume that letting potatoes flower and fruit takes strength from the potatoes growing beneath but I don't really know. Have never heard of anyone getting their own potato seed. More info. would be interesting. My potatoes never tried to flower this year.

I adore garlic and Son smokes it which is even better. I mean 'smoke' as in smoked bacon.

Inge

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - Broadcasting to you from the new digs! Computer up and running (such as it is). Haven't hooked up the printer, yet. finger's crossed.

Oh, I quit agree with you on the topic of population and water and Melbourne. But I wonder if a slight dam personnel screw up may also be involved. Here, every year, there's a lot of agonizing over how much water to hold behind the dams, during the winter months. Not enough and there are water supply problems. If you save too much and it's a very wet winter, sometimes, too much water must be released and there is flooding. Not a job I'd want ...

I'd need flow charts to record my life's arc. :-). As far as the real estate goes, I'd say someone(s) got very rich along the way.

Looks like you have your coffee maker cleaning top hat on in that picture :-). Traditional in chimney sweeps ... not so much for cleaning out coffee filters :-).

The berry enclosure looks great. With a side of kangaroos an exotic birds. That picture of the dogs at the window is great! Every get the creepy feeling that someone is watching you?

Yup. I've got screamingly funny (to me ... in hindsight (a pun?) ... stories of the doctor's office. But as they are of a proctological nature, and this is a family blog and we are in mixed company ... well, I'll not delve. :-)

Darn. Simon Pegg's side kicks name. On the tip of my tongue (or, rattling around somewhere else in my head ... Nick, Nick, Nick ... Any-who. I think it might be the newer "Dawn of the Dead". Simon and Nick chained to a wall and going full out zombie. Great fun.

Generally, if someone is in la-la land, staring off into space. Well, I say "Excuse me" in every increasing volume, til they shift it. Recently, in a meeting, someone sat in my chair. Clearly, someone was occupying it, as my hat and cuppa were there. I started out with "Excuse me, you're in my chair" and it escalated to me yelling, "Get the (insert naughty word here) out of my chair." Which had the desired effect. Lots of whining about hip surgery, which made me feel bad, for a few moments. But that turned out to be a mythic meeting. They're still talking about it. It was the men's meeting, and apparently, a lot of the other guys knew this creature. A rather sleazy number. No chairs were thrown, but it was touch and go, for awhile.

The move progresses. I'm going to spend most of the day at the old place. Cleaning, packing, etc. etc.. Hit it hard, today and tomorrow. Take Wednesday off for my birthday. Then, the home stretch. Lew

thecrowandsheep said...

Hi Chris,

Let's see if I can't screw this up.

Thomson Dam has basically a volume of 10,000 x 10^3 m^3 or 10 x 10^6 or 10^7 m^3 = 10,000,000,000 L (note that we are using order of magnitudes so, for example, 10 could be anything between 3 and 30).

1 L (order 0) = carton of milk
10 L (order 1) = tub of paint
100 L (2) = rather oversized fuel tank in one of Greer's SUVs
1,000 L (3) = fuel tank of semi-trailer
10,000 L (4) = tanker truck
100,000 L (5) = fuel capacity commerical airline
1,000,000 L (6) = fuel burnt two-week cruise ship
10,000,000 L (7) = daily fuel use, U.S. military
100,000,000 L (8) = small oil tanker
1,000,000,000 L (9) = largest oil tanker
10,000,000,000 L (10) = Thomson dam

So Thomson Dam is basically 10 or so of the world's largest oil tankers, or, better, 100,000,000 of Greer's SUVs. Not much for such a critical dam in a big city on a dry continent?

What would be less energy consuming assuming feasibility? Tanking in the water in times of need or desalination?

The value of money also follows a logarithmic scale:

$1 = beer
$10 = six pack!
$100 = top night out.
$1,000 = pay the rent
$10,000 = backpacking for half a year yay!
$100,000 = looooooan deposit
$1,000,000 = paying off the hooooome loooooan.
$10,000,000 = congratulations, you've made it
$100,000,000 = I wish I had $1,000,000,000
$1,000,000,000 = I wish I had $10,000,000,000
$10,000,000,000 = I wish I had $100,000,000,000 etc etc

SLClaire said...

Hi Chris,

May you feel better very soon! Colds are no fun.

It turned out that the high temperature last Saturday reached 108F/42C. No wonder I was feeling a bit off that day, after walking back and forth to the garden and the elderberry shrubs multiple times for harvesting. We are back to the normal late July high of 90F/32C today.

A line of severe thunderstorms rolled through early Sunday morning. We got a good rain out of it (1.4in/36mm) and lost electrical service along with about 85,000 other accounts in our electrical utility's service area. Our electrical service was restored by 10:30am, a good thing since out of town friends were visiting us for dinner. But otherwise not having electricity wasn't a big deal since the rain had cooled things down to a tolerable level. Mike heated a can of soup over a small fire for our breakfast.

Enjoyed the Talking Heads lyrics! I could hear them singing the song in my head.

Claire

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Damo, Pam, Inge, Lewis, crowandsheep, and Claire,

Thanks for the lovely comments. I promise to reply tomorrow evening. I'm just not feeling very well at all today and have slept most of the day. These things happen.

Cheers

Chris

orchidwallis said...

Hello again

My best wishes for your rapid recovery.

Inge

margfh said...

Hi Chris,

How great that you and the editor have the skills and perseverance to make the necessary repairs. I think that's the only way to afford a house for many these days.

When we bought this house 29 years ago we moved from a small house in an affluent suburb that both of us had grown up in though we lived in the low rent area in town. We were able to purchase a little bigger house but with almost six acres for only $500 more than we sold our original house. The house didn't need any major repairs but we did have to look past the bring orange velveteen curtains, orange counter tops and avocado appliances. Then there was the multi-colored shag rug with orange of course.

Where are all the people moving to Melbourne coming from? Chicago is losing people mostly due to high taxes and now all the shootings and muggings. Illinois is generally losing people as well.

We'd be happy to send some water as we've had over twenty inches of rain in the last three months - over 8 in July alone and the month isn't over. We have a new pond in front complete with frogs. All the water isn't helping most of the garden either but the pigs are enjoying the mud and we haven't had water in the house or power outages as many here have had. We also haven't had the high temperatures that Claire is experiences just tropical humidity. Finally it's cooled down and the humidity has dropped.

Tomorrow we leave for Alaska for sixteen days. Most likely won't be commenting though we'll have a older tablet and our phones so will at least keep up with all the goings on at Fernglade Farm.

Margaret

Pam in Virginia said...

Chris:

Get well!


@Lew:

Happy birthday!


@Margaret:

Bon voyage!

Pam

margfh said...

Hi Chris,

So sorry you're under the weather. Hope you're back on your feet soon.

Margaret

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - My kitties gone! :-(. Totally chaotic day ... but not in a bad way. Just unexpected adjustments.

Do get better soon. Is it a ... man cold? Pray, not. Lew

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Damo,

Yeah, I reckon you are right about that comment. The desalination plant has been kicked around like a political football, but you know what, when it is needed, they'll turn it on. And then there will be a whole lot of different political football gear going on about it. My belief about that plant is that it takes a whole lot of energy and produces something which we'd otherwise get from the sky for free. There are a lot of parallels to the concept of peak oil in that plant, as you can actually get more water than the environment provides, it is just that the alternatives are all a lot more expensive and use more energy. And that plant looks pretty close to sea level. I hope they knew what they were doing when they built it.

That is a very astute observation. The essay was very hard to write because people easily fall into the trap of blaming the immigrants, when really they are a result of policies which we are all complicit in. If we're not selling stuff overseas, then how do we buy stuff from overseas? That is the question isn't it? I dunno, but for a long while now I've been wondering whether we are selling the concept of space - and people are clearly buying it. Dunno though it is just a hunch. Other countries need a pressure release valve that they can hold out – and some of those countries are holding huge foreign currency reserves.

Exactly, those regulatory matters are a problem too. And our cultural expectations are also a problem. Also recall that we are busy expanding our money supply faster than the growth in real wealth. That economic policy was tried at the end of the Great Depression to much success. Everything can be taken too far though.

Dorrigo looks awesome and such a huge annual rainfall and pleasant climate. No wonder you speak of dairy in your past. Well yeah, if it doesn't make sense, then it is possible that it just doesn't make sense. My gut feeling says to watch Perth and then see if things spread from there. Don't laugh but I suggested to someone - and I may have already mentioned this to you - that a yurt on a cheap block of land was an option. They didn't look impressed by that suggestion.

Thanks for the tip about the new Star Trek Discovery trailer. It looks epic and way heavy on the cgi. Budgets have clearly improved. I'm looking forward to seeing it. Dunkirk sounds pretty intense, and I've heard good things about Baby Driver.

It was nice that you could help your mum clear out the house.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Pam,

Thanks for writing that. Happy stuff! It was a hard essay for me to write, because I simply wanted to talk about the situation as a policy outcome and not a question of blame. A lot of people love the blame and they fall into that trap and can't see that they themselves benefit from the policy. Dunno, it was a toughie for sure.

Desalinated water is some of the most expensive fresh water on the planet. It is an impressive achievement. Plus the water is generated at sea level and may have to be pumped up hill. Pumping water up hill takes a fair bit of energy. Yeah, as they say: same, same, but different. Sums it up nicely!

I hear you about that too. We lost money on our first house purchase too. Quite a bit actually, after also having done a lot of hard work on the place. It was a good lesson to learn. I was trying to find an appropriate Conan the Barbarian quote which may demonstrate the fortitude of those that have had to walk away from their financial disasters. Conan would appreciate stoically surviving that experience and then living to fight another day. Networks are good if you can tap into them. That's for sure. Not much beats the "bush telegraph" for spreading local news.

Sir Scruffy is an old fella (a bit like I'm feeling at the moment), but he is in good spirits and has triumphed in yet another round of Bone Wars. He triumphs through sheer persistence. I once spotted the naughty and much younger Mr Poopy get into a tussle with him over a bone and they are usually good mates. Toothy has been keeping me company the past few days and that has been really lovely. He's a good spirit that one and perhaps was feeling camera shy (a rare thing for that dog) last week? The others in the fluffy collective seem more concerned about their feeds than my health.

The kangaroo was pretty close to the house. That kangaroo is hugely muscular too, not a beastie to startle lightly.

Yup, spring has arrived early this year for some reason. The seed potatoes I have inside the house were confronted by an exploding zucchini today. I put my finger through the skin and about 2 litres of yuk rapidly oozed out of it. Lucky it didn't happen yesterday as I'm feeling better (still not good though) today. The seed potatoes have sprouted…

Glad you enjoyed the song. Such profound and very deep lyrics.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Inge,

Those are both excellent bits of advice. Michael Lewis, that most excellent author of The Big Short and also Liar's Poker remarked in one of those two books that an interest only loan is like a rental with debt. He then went on to explain that people and entities holding large sums of money want nothing more than flows of money. It seems to be a remarkably simple concept, but something that is only clear from hindsight. My next guess on that front is electric vehicles will be sold in a way that they produce flows for investors and outright ownership will be an interesting proposition for the individual. Just crystal ball guessing though. Electric cars as they are currently produced make absolutely no sense whatsoever to me.

60 at rest is excellent.

Of course, and thanks for the correction. The two words are worlds apart in terms of meanings aren't they? Personally, I'm just glad that this week’s blog made as much sense as it did. Things could always have been worse given my state of health this week...

That makes sense about the potato flowers taking energy from the tubers. Interestingly the potatoes here did not produce seed last year, but that may have been due to the cool and damp summer conditions. I'll try and remember to get a photo of one of the seeds when I eventually see one and then plant it out and see what happens. A local potato farmer told me he replanted tubers as well as the seeds, in a chance conversation I once had. I worry about the increasing average age of our farmers. He didn’t look like he was up for much of a chat.

Oh yes, of course, I understood your meaning and it is certainly a tasty bulb vegetable. Like meat, I don't make a fuss about garlic when I'm out and about, I just don't cook at home with it. It is a bit of a shame because I have a huge patch of the stuff happily spreading. Even the soil smells of garlic at that point.

Thanks for the nice wishes and I am feeling better today. Sometimes getting sick is a good way to appreciate your otherwise rude health.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Lewis,

Go you and the new digs! Does it feel like home yet? You know sometimes I have moved to a new location and it immediately feels like home. Other times not so much - of course that may have something to do with the lack of flooring, electrical connections and dodgy water supply. Fortunately these small matters can be addressed with time and effort. You have no Nell and no Beau though. Far out, that hurts. How are you coping? Are there any cats or dogs that also live at the home? I hope so.

I'd miss the animals. Toothy has been a constant companion over the past few days and hasn't really left my side, which was really nice as Tuesday I was bad, not at all good. I was barely awake for two hours that day. It also now means that I've had my third sick day in almost nine years. Yay for no benefits... Fortunately the editor was there to nurse me and fend people off. I'm constantly amazed at how it is possible to go from being robustly healthy one day to dropping like a sack of spuds the next. Far out. I can see how people back in the day used to literally drop dead.

Speaking of such things, good luck with the printer!

That dam quandary happens up north where they get a lot of summer precipitation in the form of tropical cyclones. That is a real problem for managing the water levels because if they get it wrong... And if there are conflicting interests involved such as profit, then getting it wrong may be a more likely outcome. Down here, the summer rainfall is not so much of a problem unless it doesn't happen, then the other side of that problem arises. Did you know the bottom 13% or so of water in a dam like that has to be treated to a far higher standard than the top 87% or so? That water ain't right! ;-)! And you are right too, it is not a job I'd want either because it is just so easy to get it wrong either way.

Yeah, someone is getting rich somewhere in the property market. The thing is, it is an old game and I would have thought that people would be onto that business by now. Apparently not though. The old time developers used to run roads and tram lines along the paths of land speculation and people used to buy the land along those transport routes in droves. The funny thing is that Melbourne used to have a lot more tram and train lines than it does now (it still has a lot). In the inner city area I used to live there used to be an old steam locomotive in what is now gardens and the train lines have been converted to bike and walking paths. There was even a massive railway pedestrian bridge that went from nowhere to nowhere. I believe a steam train society took on that bridge. Part of the gardens used to be the site of the old gasworks.

Ah yes, that is my Irish hat. I'm rather fond of it and have found myself wearing it all over the place during this winter. My Scottish hat which is made from proper tweed is slightly too small for my big head. One of the jobs I was originally intending to do today was venture into the city and ask the nice hat specialist dude to repair the tweed hat so that it fits my head properly. Alas for my poor state of health. I was up for nothing yesterday, and only a little bit today. Fortunately tomorrow may be better again. Hopefully!

cont...

Cherokee Organics said...

Far out, the wildlife, bees, chickens, and dogs, all know my business better than I do. That is why when I decide to fence something, that fencing better be good. Incidentally, I copped the chunk of dirt in my eye the other night because I was unfencing an apple tree which I reckon is now big enough to fend for itself. The wallabies are feral and they are very happy ripping the top off uncaged fruit trees. Then they decide they didn't want the leaves anyway leaving a broken fruit tree.

Yes, the proctologist is best avoided here and elsewhere if at all possible. I read a statistic somewhere that said 90% of western males at their death have some form of colorectal cancer. Yuk!

Edgar Write. I looked him up and Damo mentioned him too. He has a new film by the name of Baby Driver. It has been quite successful.

You know, I reckon you went with polite and then you went with your gut feeling. Sometimes you just know about other people and they've said enough by their very actions. I wouldn't do that chair business to someone. Once at the local cafe, I'd left my book on the table just to reserve the nice table in the sun. I went in and ordered only to find that someone else had removed the book, took the table and had handed the book inside. Clearly they were not a local as it is a common custom. Anyway, I retrieved the book with good grace and went and sat elsewhere away from them. What else do you do?

A funny story. The editor bought me a large leather satchel bag which is really cool. It is like an old postie bag and has lots of character. When I was at a Green Wizards meet up, I went to order food and left the bag at the table - where there were other bags. For some reason, a lady at the next table snatched up my bag - out of all the others - and handed it into management saying that it was lost and left behind. I had to then find out what went wrong and where did the bag go. I got it back, but there were no apologies or anything like that. The editor reckons she was trying to pinch it and I reckon the editor is right. It certainly looked suspicious to me. The other GW folk now stir me up saying they'll keep an eye on the bag... Far out. It is enough to make you want to swear!

Happy birthday! Another year older and another year wiser. You are in better digs from all accounts. How are you coping with the change in circumstances?

It is definitely not a man flu, it is the real deal flu. I usually barely feel colds and shake them off easily, so a flu strikes home hard. Actually I come into contact with so many people in my line of work, and some of those are at work when they are actually quite ill (one of the perils of small business). It is amazing that I stay as healthy as I do.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi crowandsheep,

I like how your brain works, but far out, your images are making my head spin in its unhealthy state!

Nice work, of particular note were the 10m daily fuel use (Far out!) and the 100m SUV's.

cont...

Damo said...

Hi Chris,

Yes - you did mention the yurt idea I believe :-p If it comes to that I would seriously consider it or a heavily modified shed or similar. Right now, a 'cheap' block of land is $100-150K. Thats a lot of coin to live in a glorified tent, and a significant opportunity cost. Hmmm, buy a boat, backpack around the world for a decade, eat smashed avocado toast every morning! I will re-evaluate when I actually have those resources. In the mean time I live in hope for a suitable correction to bring things back to reality (with the corresponding risk of unemployment).

As a related observation, the few friends of mine whom do own property only got it with the help of parents (deposits, split-equity etc). Mid-30s, all decent salaries etc etc. Maybe in the near future we will end up in a feudal situation with very concentrated land ownership?

This week I am back in the Clarence Valley, staying with the grandparents (mums side) to do the last few days at my 'old job'. My grandparents are funny, they leave boxes of cake mix on the benchtop. Eventually I ask, "Would you like me to make this cake"?
They act surprised, oh was that sitting on the bench was it. OK, only if you want!
We all know what is really happening. Not being a huge fan of cake mixes, I improve them with my own additions.

Tomorrow, after I finish work I hope to head down to Valla Beach where my grandfather (dads side) lives. He is 93 and still lives at home. I am not sure if he will prefer me to cook dinner, or take him to the pub :-p

Next week, back in Brisbane, I agreed to help a friend build a shed. Should be fun, and will stop me thinking too much about my lack of employment or house. Speaking of which, sometime inbetween all of the above I should probably start applying for jobs in NZ. I just found out the other day that there are mountains and ski fields 2 hours drive from Christchurch, which just happens to have a reasonable prospect of employment. All those earthquakes are good for surveyors!

@Lew
Nice to hear your move is almost complete. But did you manage to eat your way through the chest freezer?

Cheers,
Damo

Cherokee Organics said...

Well tanking in the water is not particularly economically feasible. Seriously. Around these parts from what I last heard tanking in about 16,000 Litres will set you back about $220. But it could be more now and it varies with the price of diesel fuel. Your maths is far better than mine.

When I first had the large water tanks installed here I brought in a truck load of water. Now I did that on the advice of the earthworks guy who said that large plastic water tanks occasionally float away in strong winds - despite them being enormously heavy. One of the water tanks here weighs 750kg. That's a lot of plastic. The earthworks guy is a knowledgeable bloke who had to use his 20 tonne excavator to recover some water tanks that had blown away elsewhere in strong winds in the past. I saw no reason to doubt his good advice and he has been right about quite a number of things.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Claire,

Thank you. This cold has been no fun at all. Tuesday I was an absolute zombie and not up for anything. Today, I have begun to feel better and things have been looking up since lunchtime. I have really had to force myself to drink plenty of fluids (water + fresh lemon juice). And then eat some food (a little bit at a time). Fortunately I encountered the exploding zucchini situation today rather than yesterday when it would have made me feel very immediately ill indeed. It was horrendous. I had no idea that the insides of a zucchini could turn to soup.

108'F is way hot. Stay hydrated and keep out of the afternoon sun. There is not much else you can do in those conditions. We wind things back pretty seriously in those conditions and close all of the fire shutters over the windows to slow the transfer of heat between the outside world and the inside of the house. Plus I water early in the morning and then again at night, but never during those days.

The strange thing is that after a while you get used to it and a 90'F day feels like a nice cool summers day. The garden even seems to bounce back on those days. Out of curiosity, how is your garden coping with those extreme heat days? Do you notice that the plants wilt and then recover when the temperatures fall (or night arrives)?

Getting the rain is awesome news for you and the garden. Who cares about losing the power after such a heatwave. Heating up the can of soup over a small fire is a stroke of genius and resilience. Top work!

Speaking of genius, how good was that band? Such deep lyrics.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Margaret,

Thank you. We have always been hands on and only ever bought dumps (although we built this house ourselves from scratch). I don't understand why people fear house building or repairs so much. I mean it is not as if we as a species haven't been building one form of housing or another for hundreds of years (more likely many millennia). It is not that hard. And yeah it is an affordable option, but just not very appealing. I'm not winning anyone over to our point of view, but I am trying.

Oh yeah, you know I've encountered those oh so 60's and 70's primary colours. Who would have thought that an orange and avocado coloured kitchen would look like total rubbish. And shag pile rugs and carpets bring back a whole load of memories. Revolting stuff and so hard to clean. That house that I mentioned in the essay had six layers of rotten carpet holding the floor in one room together. The smell of that rotten carpet as I removed layer after layer was quite memorable. And the interesting thing was that after I got access to the rotten timber floor, there was only a dark line in the clay to mark where the main timber floor bearer used to be. Most disturbing, but the smell was epic.

The people moving to Melbourne are largely coming in from overseas. It is quite a number when you contrast it to the US's population in take and Sydney has an equivalent number. I read an anecdotal account in the news today that people are departing the interior of this continent, so that may account for some of them too.

20 inches of rain! Far out. That is one wet summer. Yeah, after a while a lot of rain is good, but beyond that point it is not helpful at all as the air gets kicked out of the soil. I use raised garden beds here because of that risk. Glad to read that the frogs are happy. They do it tough.

As Pam quite delightfully put it: Bon Voyage! What an awesome place to visit. Enjoy.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Damo,

Yeah, if you are prepared to do something a bit different then there are plenty of good options. My mates shed is a pretty (a word that rhymes with trucking) awesome idea and I never would have thought up that on my own. That smashed avocado thing has a bit of background to it. I believe it was coined by the economist / demographer Bernard Salt. I am not 100% sure, but I reckon he works for a big bank and can well afford smashed avocadoes. My memory is a bit vague but he may also have said something rather unflattering about millennials. As a disinterested outsider it sounded a lot to me like victim blaming, but I could be wrong. Anyway, that whole smashed avocado line was taken up by a bloke that appears to be very litigious and is also a developer. To my naive eyes, the whole thing looks like a giant beat up and it is not nice. The door looks to me as if it has been slammed shut and I wonder at what point the dream will fail in the face of realities. And what will that all mean?

That's pretty much what wealth inequality looks like. I don't know what else to say. The concentration of wealth in this country ain't what it used to be. At least that is what it looks like to me. My only advice is that you have to do what other people aren't doing. And that may mean waiting this crazy period out.

All this talk about housing and a note on the kitchen bench about a rom-com on the “to see” list (The Big Sick - don't ask I have no idea what it is about) got me curious and I was bored silly whilst being quite unwell today and did something that I rarely do. I watched a film in the middle of the day - The Big Short.

The thing that stood out to me about that film (and I have also read the book) was that the money supply was increased at a rate that exceeded the increase in real wealth. This is more or less another major factor driving our little bubble. My understanding is that down here we are in unchartered territory based on income to debt ratios and it is not pretty.

Whoever came up the concept of a cake mix must have been laughing. The margin on what is predominantly a small box of flour is remarkable. So did the cake turn out good?

At 93, mate, I'd pick the pub. How did it turn out?

Far out, did you read about the flooding over in the south island last week? I visited Christchurch before the earthquake and I can tell you it was a beautiful city. Really very lovely. They need help there for sure now.

Cheers

Chris

Pam in Virginia said...

Chris:

Good job, Toothy! You are a dog of compassion - unless, perhaps, the Boss has been eating in bed . . . ?

I once left a very large, ripe zucchini - for seed - on a plate on the dining room table and didn't pay close attention to it, and it "exploded" by itself and ran over the sides of the plate. It happened overnight and by morning there was a terrible water stain on the table. I never did get all of it out.

We are having a go at planting fall potatoes this year, so your house and mine could be planting in tandem. There are a few potato seeds on our spring-planted potatoes. I was rather startled as, until then, I did not know that potatoes produced seeds.

Three coyotes were howling together right behind the house last night. I may not have to worry about Arnie the groundhog anymore . . .

I noticed your Irish hat. I like it.

Pam

Pam in Virginia said...

@Lew:

Will you be visiting Nell and Beau?

Pam

LewisLucanBooks said...

@ Margaret - Have a safe trip! Remember, the deer are out to get us! :-). Wave as you go by :-). Lew

@ Damo - Well, I've had two months to work on the move, so I did step up my freezer eating, a bit. There was a very small amount of stuff that was a bit ... old that I chucked. The freezer on the fridge that comes with the new place is pretty good sized. And, I bought a small chest freezer and shoe horned it in the kitchen. It wasn't planned, but it provides a wonderful bit of counter space. Unintended fringe benefit. Lew

@ Pam - I'm kind of funny (you didn't know that, right?) about places I've lived in the past. I never go back. So, I probably won't see Beau again. I may see Nell again, if I ever go visit Julia. But nothing is planned. I saw Julia today, and she said Nell was glad to get out of the carrier and allowed Julia to pet her. She knows where the food and water is. She's cautiously checking things out. I'll get another report on Sunday. Julia has three cats, or so, so there will be a big of pecking order stuff. Julia says she keeps out of kitty politics :-). Lew

thecrowandsheep said...

Hi Chris,

Woops! not the sort of comment you want to read with a blocked head. :-( Get well soon. I recommend getting lots of fresh air, perhaps a few days in the countryside to freshen up. A dip into salt water heals all.

Just popping the (probably dumb) question of whether shipping in water is as energetically viable as desalination. No idea. Not even sure where you'd get the water from! Towing icebergs has been mentioned (I've got some stock for you). On the other hand, with your experience of solar power, what do you think about industrial-scale solar power for specific purposes, such as powering desalination? Ramp up factory production when the wind bloweth, and work the fields while the sun be shining, happily ever after.

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - Well, it doesn't quiet feel like "home", yet. It will get there, as I work out routines and finding stuff becomes more automatic. I'm spending the first night here, tonight. I've taken naps here and had no problem. It was odd not having Nell around last night. I still do the little two steps to avoid stepping on her. And, for some reason I can't figure out, I didn't feel as ... safe as I usually do. What? I expected hoards of ravenous mice to over-run my futon? :-).

A lot of the history of America has been about taking advantage of inside information as far as where ports were to be placed, railway lines run and highway intersections to be plotted. Fortunes were made. A lot of that went on when the interstate highway system was being built in the 1950s.

Nick Frost! Simon Pegg's side kick. Darn, that was hard to pull out of the old memory bank.

Sometimes, I think more contact with a lot of people might lead to better resistance to disease. Knock on wood, I'm pretty lucky when it comes to cold and flus. I attribute some of that to working with the public for so many years.

I think there are two "Dunkirks". Just a couple of weeks ago, I watched "Dunkirk: The Complete Series." Which I thought was the new Dunkirk everyone had been talking about. No. I tried to sort it out on the Internet Movie Data Base, which in this case was such a hash that I couldn't sort it out. What I saw was quit good.

Well, I've got two pizzas cooling on the counter and a half gallon of milk in the freezer. It's almost impossible to find a good selection of DVD to rent, around here. The Safeway dropped their extensive selection a few months back and went with one of those boxes. Not much selection, and anything I want to see I have on hold at the library. But, I do have season six of "Call the Midwife" and something called "A Little Chaos" (Kate Winslet) which is about a woman who designed some of the gardens at Versailles.

I did bring in a load, this morning. 2/3 to the storage, 1/3 to the new place. Later on, I may clean up and shelve the book cases I moved yesterday. Might tackle the printer. Lew

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Pam,

No, not at all, Mr Toothy is definitely a dog of compassion. I have rather been enjoying his company this week and strangely enough, all of the dogs have worked out that I am unwell this week. On Tuesday I mostly slept in front of the wood heater on the floor all day long and held court among the sleeping dogs. The other dogs came and went, but Toothy hung around all day long and then followed me wherever I went. It was really nice and comforting. I needed that.

Today I'm feeling better and even ventured off the farm into the wider world. And this afternoon and early evening I was able to do some work (which has been building up in my sick state).

Yeah, the liquid mess left by an exploding zucchini is quite unfathomable - until you fathom it. And yeah, I can fully see how it would stain a table. Not good. Fortunately here it drained onto 100% artificial materials and I was thankful for small mercies. The smell must have been bad though as I could still smell and taste it through my flu addled senses. Yuk!

I reckon fall is a good time for planting potatoes. I haven't quite gotten my brain around the plants life cycle so we probably are in sync. Things grow here over the winter, but it is much slower. I've noticed the fruit trees still produce woody growth over the winter despite being deciduous. The trees here look set to begin producing buds and I can see the colour changes in the branch extremities. It all seems a bit early though this year and I hope the frosts hold back. Probably not.

Exactly, the little green potato seeds form entirely new plants. And who knows what genetic makeup they may have? I guess a lot of that depends upon the diversity of potato plants grown in your area. In South America, they have a huge variety of potatoes. Massive. Most likely they hybridise easily.

Arnie the groundhog may get "what for?" by the coyotes? One can only hope! ;-)!

Thanks. It is a cool hat. The specialist hat shop was even cooler.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi crowandsheep,

No stress, my brain was spinning around and around looking at those statistics! It was like being a Repo man - Intense (dodgy 80's film reference)!

Fortunately lots of fresh air up here, so that is covered. Salt water, hmm, not so much! It is quite bracing and cool here today. Brr! And a huge storm missed the farm completely and hit the minor city of Geelong (about now as I type this). That storm looks very intense on the weather radar, but may run slightly north of the city.

Ah well, you are onto something with that train of thought. Back in 1967 the government developed a solar thermal powered desalination plant in the town of Coober Pedy in South Australia. In 1985 that was replaced with a modern desalination plant which I assume is powered by electricity this time (a mix of diesel and small wind contribution). The water there is excellent from memory - although that was the late 90's. South Australia has a lot of limestone and I generally didn't enjoy the taste of their local water, but that is a personal preference. On the other hand they have the highest number of rainwater tanks per capita than any other state on the continent. Dunno.

Public amenities Coober Pedy

Cheers

Chris

Pam in Virginia said...

@Lew:

That is good - three cats. It will be a huge distraction for Nell, help her to not wonder where her old human scratching post went. I never go back either. The past is in the past, it can never be the same again. Many years ago I had to give away my horse and felt that it would be unfair to her new owners (and to the horse) to interfere. I never visited her, though when I would run into the casual friends I had given her to, they would make reports. It worked out well.

Pam

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Lewis,

Yeah it takes a while doesn't it, especially you have moved into a smaller volume of space. And routines are like rituals aren't they? I'm hopeless first thing in the morning (a real life Romero zombie!) and that is the time I count on routines to slowly ease me into the day. There was a great line in a book I read a long time ago about a character telling two other characters off for squabbling before breakfast and it went something along the lines of: "Please desist. The day is not yet clear". What a laugh those lines were and I thought to myself, mate I hear you bro. :-)!

How did the first night go? I hope there were no loud noises in the middle of the night - or blood curdling screams... It makes your imagination run wild does it not?

Losing Nell is tough and she will leave an empty hole. Sorry, but animals are companions that do their own thing and they choose their own paths which sometimes align with ours. Mate, I had Mr Toothy as a constant companion this week and in my weakened state it was a comfort. Are you sure they won't let you have a cat in your new digs?

You know, where there is a hole, sometimes providence fills it in? Not just words. True story. A very old cat that had more or less owned me since I was a kid died. Then a few days later a young kitten walked past the front gate and I happened to notice the kitten. I looked at the kitten and said: Mate, if you have the brains to walk in the gate, then this place is yours. Now of course our feline friends speak perfect English and so the kitten just waltzed on through the front gate. The funny thing about that cat was that the old and now long since deceased boss dog "The Fat" who was a dorgi (Dachshund / Corgi cross) took the kitten under her protection and the two were inseparable mates. The cat acted as if it were a dog. When The Fat died after a very long life, the cat died soon afterwards of a broken heart. It was a very emotional time.

All I'm saying is that you never know how the various animals and people in our lives touch us.

I recall someone once saying that the interstate highway system constructed after WWII was a response to the nuclear threat? Does that ring true? Or did the explosion of the vehicle manufacturing process precede that? It is a bit like computer hardware versus computer software in that is one a response of the other or the other way around? Dunno. I haven't personally seen much benefit with any recent upgrades of computer hardware. Sure, it does say that it is working faster, but it is not like the days when it took overnight to create a batch of ten mp3 sound files. Maybe my expectations have been achieved? What a horrendous thought that we could be contented and not want more! Hehe! Manufacturers and developers would cry out in anguish.

cont...

Cherokee Organics said...

Yes, of course it was Nick Frost. Oh, you know I had confused Nick Frost for Edgar Wright, but clearly they are different people. Thanks for the correction.

Your observation about greater contact with people leading to a higher immune response is more probable than it is not probable. Like I was saying, I barely notice colds, but far out a flu takes me down like a sack of spuds. Yes, working with the public certainly has that affect. I recall reading about an Australian doctor on one of the horrendous WWII Japanese Burma railway POW camps. The doctor had been sprayed with diahorea and he thought that that would be it for him, but no he pulled through. I'll see if I can track his story down. Not so easy.

No, the Dunkirk film that people are talking about is a recent cinema release. I don't really do realistic war movies as my imagination needs no feeding.

I have spotted those vending machines with movies but to be honest, they don't appeal and I could not even tell you where the nearest one would be. In the local town there is a real deal old school video shop (just possibly like Mr Tarantino would have worked at!) It is good stuff.

There is real beauty in the gardens of Versailles and having Kate Winslet hanging around them wouldn't hurt the eyes either! ;-)! Down here some of the major Victorian era garden designers were women. People get such strange beliefs in their heads about the role of women in the past. The editor is the brew master here after all. Why ever would anyone let that role out of their hands is well beyond me.

Good luck with the printer. May the dork be with you and the light side of the force shine down upon your printer! :-)!

Man, I finally felt well enough this afternoon to tackle some paid work as it had been piling up for days. The rain is absolutely pouring down outside now too. All being well, tomorrow I'm hopefully going to begin doing something about protection works due to last year’s landslip. Who knows, it may just work. My take on the world is that with climate, what has happened once, may happen again at some point in the future.

Cheers

Chris

orchidwallis said...

Hello again

I have a mystery here, both Son and I are totally puzzled. Don't remember whether I mentioned it last year when it first occurred. Anyhow it has happened again exactly as before. A pile of moth wings (all from the same kind of moth) has appeared in the centre of one of my sheds. Son says that bats eat moths on the wing so they can be discounted. My researches only mention owls and spiders. No sign of any other creature in the shed. Neither of the cross beams is over the moth wings. I have a clear view of the wooden ceiling, just one started and abandoned wasp nest; otherwise it is completely clear. All very strange.

Inge

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - Yeah, I'm pretty much staggering around this morning, trying not to fall over anything. I didn't have any problem sleeping, but then, I usually don't. There are train whistles. But I'm not near enough to the tracks for it to be a bother. Unlike Centralia, where I was a block from the tracks. And, after a couple of fatalities, they really upped the volume. Rattle the windows.

For a small extra fee, you can have a small dog or cat, here. But the cats can only go out on a leash. I just really felt that it would be very cruel to Nell, who is pretty much an outside / country cat to be cooped up in an apartment. Drive her nuts ... which would eventually drive me nuts. I figure, sooner or later when a tenant with a dog or cat has to move on, one will be on offer. I'll decide, then.

Yes, the highway system was "sold" as a method of evacuation of the cities in case of nuclear war. But I think it really had more to do with commerce. They bypassed the business districts of small towns. That was the beginning of the end for small towns. Malls and big box stores "out on the highway" was the final death blow.

Well, the printer works! Fancy that.

The movie about Versailles wasn't bad. There is a rather cheeky disclaimer right at the beginning. "There was an outdoor ball room at Versailles. That part of this story is true."

Well, I better get on with it. Don't overdo. Or you'll be flat on your back again. Another few days of the paying work might not be a bad idea. Lew

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Inge,

Well, I can't say for sure, but we have some spiders that could potentially achieve that outcome with the moth wings: 'Massive and mean' giant huntsman spider traps Australian couple in home. Those are quite large spiders, although rarely malicious which is sheer hyperbole, but they do move rather quickly. In an interesting side story some of those spiders have been working their passage to the UK, so who knows: 'Giant' huntsman spider terrifies removalists after hitching a ride to Britain .

Spare a thought for the poor editor as one of those climbed onto her hat one day whilst we were in the surrounding forest. I spotted the spider which had moved by that stage onto her hair. I said stand very still and flicked the huntsman spider off onto the ground. No harm done.

My next guess is a small reptile like our skinks or even a gecko like critter would leave that result.

Third choice goes to some form of rare tree frog in from your surrounding forests and enjoying a bit of protection from the recent rain.

As an outside choice, some wasps are parasitic and they can consume the guts of the moths which is a rather unpleasant business.

Then there are insects here that outgrow their outer skin and they leave them abandoned...

How likely do you consider those choices?

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Lewis,

It is funny that you mention the staggering around bit in the morning as I had a very disturbed nights sleep last night. There were dog incidents, trucks going past, text messages at ungodly hours. Asleep, Awake, mix and repeat. That leads to zombietown this morning. Took today off as another recovery day today. There's been not much work going on this week, so I reckon I'll do a story on art - but not as you know it... :-)! Should be amusing at least.

I usually have no problems sleeping either. Do you know how rare that is among the people I speak with? I feel that people aren't leaving themselves enough spare "fat" in their lives and they seem to be rather stressed out. I have wondered if this is a recent thing because nobody mentioned sleeping poorly when I was a kid. I just don't recall it. I wonder how long such things can go on and not affect the overall health of the population? I recall reading about deer populations under environmental stress and strange things happened to them.

Sometimes noises can be quite soothing and other times quite jarring. Everyone is affected differently by that. Trains are certainly a polarising noise and down here the freight trains are usually run at night. Adelaide no longer has a deep water ship port and so goods travel from Melbourne to Adelaide by train and/or truck.

Sometimes those fatalities are deliberate. I used to know a train driver and he always said it was a matter of when and not if... A very unpleasant business and sometimes not thorough enough.

Oh yeah, Nell would hate that. The dogs here are country dogs and they would hate being dropped back into an urban environment. I think they would know some sneaky tricks too and end up being a real nuisance. They're happy here. Nell would definitely not enjoy a lead. It would take a lot of training and the indoor life would make her send you bananas. Fair enough, and the dog or cat will be perfectly trained too.

They bypass smaller towns here too, but there are no businesses along the highways (unless they are petrol stations and fast food outlets). That is interesting about that difference.

Go the printer. The power of the dork is strong with this one... :-)! Well done!

That is a nice way to start the film. Very cheeky too.

You so busted me. I did overdo it last night and will wind it back this evening. You know me better than I do! Thanks.

Cheers

Chris

orchidwallis said...

Hello again

As an odd note, I quite liked Huntsman spiders when I encountered them in Australia.

Thanks for the many suggestions re the moths. My sister made her fortnightly phone call from the US and I told her about them. An e-mail was here this morning from her with info. on where to go for answers. She is good at research. So now I know! The moths are yellow underwing moths (may be the lesser or the greater variety). They fly at night from July to September and bats love them. Finding piles of the wings in barns is known to occur. Bats don't just feed on the wing.

Son had hunted for any bat in this shed but couldn't find any sight of one. We certainly have a large variety of bats here in the woods. So for a second year running a bat has hung from the same spot to feed. I am utterly fascinated.

Inge

Pam in Virginia said...

@Inge:

I have seen mice eat moths. Perhaps some rodent carries them to that safe spot to eat?

Pam

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - LOL. Maybe back in the old days, we didn't hear so much about sleep problems, as people didn't complain about it so much. They just got on with it? :-). Well, probably a lot of it has to do with our every increasing obesity problem. Here, there seems to be a booming medical industry in sleep labs and sleep studies. My friend Scott mentions getting up three and four times a night for one thing and another. it also helps to practice Good Bladder Management. :-). No liquids, too late in the evening.

I'm surprised at the number of couples that sleep apart. Maybe too much information, but if you get to know a couple, long enough, sooner or later something is dropped in the conversation and you trig to the fact that they have, what used to be called, "separate bedrooms." Habitual thrashing about, stealing covers or snoring is usually the ascribed reason.

I think it's interesting that in some places? Countries? Societies? we've reached the affluence that we can afford the space of a second (or more) bedroom. I've also seen articles about how, at this time, there's more people living on their own, than at any previous time. Guilty as charged :-).

I moved stuff yesterday, I'll move stuff, today. Well, you know. Sort, clean and then move. Try and keep myself clean and fed along the way. So, I guess I'd better get a move on. :-). Lew

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Inge,

Mostly harmless would be a good way to describe huntsman spiders. I used to work with a bloke who removed them from his house by hand, receiving the occasional bite from an unhappy spider. Anyway, he was unfussed by the bites until one of them became infected. Occasionally the spiders fangs can be infected with bacteria which is fair enough. Dog bites have to be washed thoroughly too for much the same reason.

You sister is on the ball with that response. The funny thing about the marsupial bats here is that I generally can see them silhouetted against the sky with setting sun and then that is that, and I have no idea at all if they are continuing their flights into the evenings. Most likely they will be, but they are very elusive. The sugar gliders make a zip, zip, zip, sound which I originally thought were the bats.

Your bats are clearly no fools to have chosen so successful a feeding site. Do you have any lights that attract moths?

One tree here is up lit at night and the wildlife descend on the light source to feed upon the juicy moths.

The other night it was so wet here that the earth worms were sheltering on the veranda tiles. The birds pick them off the veranda the following day.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Pam,

Oh yeah, I can see the mice eating moths. No dramas at all. I came across a rats nest in the wood shed yesterday. They do know how to make a cozy warm little winter nest for themselves in a dry woodshed...

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Lewis,

Not complaining about sleep problems was certainly one way to reduce the reported incidence of sleep problems. :-)! You may well be right. We were more stoic in days gone by than at present based on my gut feeling. You know getting on with it is a learned skill, anyone can do it, you just have to put one foot in front of the other and be prepared for the unexpected. I do worry about resilience in the general population. Oh! I went into the big smoke today (by bus as the trains were cancelled as the government is removing train and road crossings with weekend construction works - which is an impressive bit of infrastructure as they're removing most of them across the entire city), what were we saying, that's right, resilience, and the Green Wizards meet up and yet again I found myself banging on (albeit in fifty words or less - I try to keep it very short, punchy, and amusing) about the recession in the early 1990's as people younger than I down here would never have experienced a day of official economic decline. I keep feeling that there is a difference between the abstract of what I can communicate with them, versus the feelings of the lived experience that I had during that time. I have no idea how to bridge that divide.

The state government here are actually constructing a new underground railway link (Melbourne Metro Tunnel) through the city with five new stations. There is already an underground rail loop but this is going to be a second one. There seems to be lots of heavy digging machines in the city as I walk through it. It is good to see them investing in such infrastructure. On the other hand I rather suspect that they are intending to move a lot of people out to this otherwise quiet corner of the city.

GBM (or Good Bladder Management). Mate, all I'm saying is that if Mr Poopy in his sheer exuberance over the thought of breakfast can't seem to manage GBM (TM pending) then your mate Scott may well be in good company? A complex problem with a simple answer as you put it so well - don't drink too much late into the evening.

Speaking of drinking of an evening, I had a pint of a new type of stout last evening with an amusing name: Dead Dog Stout. It was actually far tastier than the name would otherwise suggest.

That can happen about sleeping apart and I have read stories, and of course there are friends who share horrific tales (which they needn't) because it unburdened them. Snoring is not a vice of mine or the editors, although over the many long years I have been exposed to other peoples snoring. A truly notable occasion was in a hotel where I got to experience the epic snoring from the neighbouring hotel room. It was unrelenting and it was like an aural attack. At other times, other peoples early morning activity noises in adjacent hotel rooms sounded as if they were watching a very cheap and unsatisfying adult movie. I fail to believe that anybody is that excited at five am. Am I ranting... Oh, you set the Chris, and off he goes into an epic rant! ;-)!

cont...

Cherokee Organics said...

Yeah, I hear you about living alone, but how much space have you got relative to the average house size? That is the question if you really want to delve into the world of relativism? The other thing to recall is that back in the day there would have been a lot more couples who didn't have kids and they would have served a useful purpose in society. In these enlightened times it looks like both you and I are perhaps bucking the trend? Dunno? You know what, I reckon you just do the best you can.

Now after your suggestion, I am reading Fire Monks. There are aspects of Buddhism that I disagree with. I read today that:

"And since reality does not align itself with personal preferences, organising yourself to support them is usually an invitation to suffering.

Zen has a solution to this problem: 'The great way is not difficult, just avoid picking and choosing. Just follow the schedule.'"


I read that explanation on the bus on the way home and I could not help but be outraged. No. I totally 100% disagree with that sentiment. I accept that there is little in the way of free will, but that does not mean that the student is somehow a passive actor in a larger play or that there is not the merest of wiggle room. I almost threw the book down in disgust at the sheer outrage to my own personal philosophy. Anyway, you started me reading this, what is your take on that?

Cheers

Chris

orchidwallis said...

Hello again

The only lights are mine until I close the curtains. I tend to wait until it is really dark because I like to see the bats flying. The moths will come close to the windows, so the bats follow.

@ Pam

Definitely bats or a bat.

Inge

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - Oh, boo. Computer spontaniously re-booted ... lost the post. Have to get on with my day. Might try again, tonight. Lew

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - Once more into the breach :-). I think a lot of the increase in sleep problems is also due to the obesity epidemic. Larger people have more sleep problems. Dead Dog Stout? I wouldn't check the vats, too carefully :-).

Rants are good for the soul. Also good for your blood pressure. Probably good for the complexion :-).

Oh, heck. I'm sorry you didn't like "Fire Monks." I probably skipped most of the philosophy, and skipped right to the fire part. LOL, when I made my first attempt, is was before 8am and I hadn't had my first cuppa, yet. I'm generally uninterested in philosophy. Or, dogma, of any kind. It probably would have gone down easier if it had said "....SOME personal preferences..."
So, what to do with the book. Bin it? Leave it on the bus?

Seemed like I spent most of the day dealing with plants. Repotting some house plants. So, cleaning out pots, etc.. But the pressure is off. I talked to my landlord and if I need more days, I've got them. I had lost the pins that hold up the shelves in my bookcase. It's been driving me crazy for days. Found them, last night ... in a bag with two skeens of yarn sitting on the bedroom floor. Now why I thought that was a good place to put them, gosh knows.

A mystery. The dumpster is emptied, once a week. Usually, it's just one guy. But, I heard voices, and thought one guy might be someone I know from The Program. Nope. It was the Evil Step Son. Rummaging through the back of the garbage truck. Then he threw himself into the back of the truck and began rummaging around. With his long stringy hair and general rat like appearance, it was quit a sight. I checked later, and he had thrown some of the garbage back into the empty dumpster. And left quit a bit on the ground. Which I cleaned up.

The postie seems to have gotten confused. I mean, I put through my change of address and talked to her yesterday. But, today, I had mail in the box. I think she got it backwards. So, I'll have to take care of that, Monday. I have to wash the truck, tomorrow. Repair on Monday. Homeless guy is supposed to help me move a file cabinet to storage, tomorrow. Hope he shows. I still managed to get boxes into the storage unit (for auction), anyway.

How's that for a rant? My complexion is glowing :-). Lew

LewisLucanBooks said...

PS: Alternet.org had an article on a new movement. The Right to Repair. How much of our stuff do we really own? How much still belongs to the company? Several states are drafting laws. An example is John Deere tractors, beloved by farmers, everywhere. Now that they're all computerized, if one breaks down, the farmer has to wait for a certified repair person. While harvest is delayed. Farmers want to do what they've always done. Tinker until it works.

There was also an article on Pyrex on the NPR website in the "Salt" (food) section. History and how collectible it's become.

Oh, and I kissed my telecommunications company goodbye, yesterday. Closed the account. Free at last! :-). Of course, the nice young man had to run through his usual survey of my feelings about Century Link. I did not rant. But I did say, "Look. Both you and I know that your company would rather their rural customers would just go away. We're not cost effective. It's a business decision. I get that." So, I got to vent, a bit. But didn't unload on an innocent bystander. Lew

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Lewis,

Nobody wants computers that think and act for themselves, let alone re-boot at random? Who knows what they would decide to do if they could think and act for themselves? Frightening stuff.

Ah yes, apologies, I over stated my frustration at the characters in the book. I can see a less emotionally loaded explanation is perhaps in order. The fire was heading right for them. This to me appears to a very changeable and volatile situation. And the adherence to a pre-organised meditation schedule may normally be a functional behaviour, but in this particular instance it appeared to be very dysfunctional. Some of the students who had stayed behind to defend were asking whether they should continue with meditation practice in accordance with the schedule and I was a bit gobsmacked by that concern of theirs. My take on that was that they should have been preparing the site and training to defend the site with the tools they have available to them - otherwise they need to evacuate. They're not ready. We see a lot of that down here where people are oblivious to the conditions and yet have expectations of early and repeated warnings. I don't know what to make of that level of disconnect.

I'll continue reading the book, no dramas as I hope to learn something in there. I feel that I have already learned that Buddhism is not for me. I'm a bit feisty for them. :-)! And maybe if I was being honest, and I really searched my feelings, I had a bit of frustration at being asked about moving to a farm. The thing is, I would prefer dissensus and see what people come up with in their own lives. If they're asking me, I feel that they're not ready to move to a farm, and it is not for them - otherwise they would simply do. The asking of the question smells to me like a reassurance technique and I don't have comforting words for people based on what I see going on in the world around me. Dunno. Again, please accept my apologies as I was perhaps a bit over the top.

Glad you scored a few extra days. They have been enormously flexible on that score. With an overall shortage of houses (and an apparent over supply of apartments) things are ruthless on leaving dates for a house down here. I do things like that too. I'll just put this widget over here and that'll be a great place to store it and I'll never forget where it was stored. Two weeks later, I'm looking for whatever it was... We try hard to store things very neatly and in an ordered fashion. If it works...

I'm starting to get a mental image of Riff Raff from the Rocky Horror Picture show. You only have a few more days to go. I wonder what was going on in the garbage that was so fascinating? He may have been attempting to recover some item which had been inadvertently disposed of? Is he still mucking around with the bull whip?

Good luck with the post. I once set up a post box and because of some administrative error, all of my mail was returned for two weeks. The editor was furious as she was expecting responses for a research thesis. All of them were returned to the senders. Ouch. I hope the mail lady sorts out your mail redirection.

cont...

Cherokee Organics said...

Hopefully the repair ends up being OK? I forgot to mention that there were deer in the orchard again the other day, and I believe someone has shot the stag as the does were clearly without a stag.

Yes, your complexion is looking up! All that summer sun, good deeds, and epic rants you know. Gotta be good for the blood pressure.

That concept about right to repair was tested down here a few years ago. The car manufacturers tried to claim that new vehicle warranties were only valid if purchasers had their vehicles serviced at the dealership. Not so down here as they lost that battle. Tractors are probably the same.

I'm starting to feel at some point in the future that there will be a market for brand new basic machines such as tractors and cars. Honestly, some of the rubbish they fill new vehicles with only appear to add weight gain (and extra fuel usage). One of my personal favourites is automatic high beam lights as they don't seem to work so well in country areas and they dazzle me as they go blink, blink, blink. And why would any normal human being possibly want window wipers that automatically sense the rain. What could possibly go wrong? Bird poo or squashed bugs over the sensors? Well, my blood pressure now feels much better!

Oh, is Pyrex collectible? You see a lot of it at op-shops down here. Some of it looks unused and I wonder whether it was a long ago wedding present or something like that. Pyrex is amazing cook ware.

Well done with the communication company and that was reasonably gracious all things considered. :-)!

Oops! Almost forgot. I suspect there are all sorts of contributors to sleep problems and obesity appears to correlate with that problem. I also suspect a sedentary lifestyle doesn’t help either. Also inflammatory foods can also be wreaking havoc on peoples sinuses. Oh, and I guess won’t get the chance to check the bottom of the stout barrel to see what the magic ingredient is.

Going to write tonight, and hopefully I wake up tomorrow feeling better again. It has been a rough week.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Inge,

I like the bats too. In Melbourne they have fruit bats and there are two large colonies of the fruit bats. They fly out across the inner city and tuck into whatever fruit they find and you can see them against the lit up night sky. My neighbour used to have an ancient apricot tree and the fruit bats loved that fruit, and the neighbour hated the fruit bats because of the mess they left. I used to offer to pick some of the fruit as it made the tastiest apricot stews. The neighbour couldn't work out whether she liked the bats more than me... Yum fresh sun ripened apricots! People are strange about wildlife in the city and I once stopped a neighbour from scaring away a huge Powerful Owl (which had disturbed his sleep). Instead we got the bird book out and had a chat about the bird and what it was doing in the street.

Cheers

Chris

orchidwallis said...

Hello gain

I so agreed with your comment to Lew on doing not asking. I am definitely someone who has done all her life and not asked. I find it very tedious that people are prone to asking me what they should do in varied circumstances.

Inge

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - Do this in a document, in case every thing goes blooie. :-). That’s a technical term. If the computer reboots, will the document still be there? We’ll see. Before I forget, Wednesday and Thursday our temps are supposed to hit 100F (37.77C). And some places in western Washington and Oregon may hit 110-115F! Records will fall ...

There’s all kinds of reasons the monks might have inquired into maintaining the meditation. Everything from clinging to routine to just being stupid. Some people just can’t make decisions on their own. There may have been a bit of “scoring points” with the higher ups, going on. In disasters, people react in different ways.”Someone else will take care of it”, “It really won’t happen”, to “It’s so out of the ordinary that it can’t be real. That’s not to excuse their behavior. Just possible explanations. LOL, and, like someone asking you about moving to a farm, if things go wrong, there’s someone to blame :-).

It was one of the Evil Stepsons kids who was into the bull whip. It either broke or he finally tired of it. I may be moving just in time. Last week, a box showed up from the Fender company. Famous for their guitars. But it obviously wasn’t a guitar. It suddenly dawned on me. It’s an amp! So far, there hasn’t been blasts of poor heavy metal music.

Well, it irritates me when you can’t have something that’s just the basics. Or, if it’s a matter of leaving something off or out (I’m thinking of food here) they charge you more for it. Here, no frills cell phones are only marketed to senior citizens.

Seems like someone, somewhere collects just about everything. There’s a couple of books on collecting Pyrex. Identify the patterns ... all the shapes within a pattern. The article mentioned a rare shape and pattern that was “worth” $3,000. Which sounds mad. Of course, the trick is to find someone willing to pay that much. That’s why I like the “sold” button on E-Bay. What the stuff actually sells for.

Spent most of yesterday fiddling with plants. Repotting house plants and digging horse radish root. But, had a load for the storage unit. So it goes. Lew PS. I guess there's a Pyrex collectors web site. I'll check it out when things calm down.