Monday, 7 May 2018

Pandemofest

(cue deep male voice) In celebration of the centenary of the 1918 Spanish influenza pandemic that killed between 50 and 100 million people worldwide, Fernglade Farm proudly brings you: Pandemofest.

This exclusive festival is a month long celebration of all things phlegm. Pandemofest is an opportunity for both young and old to get involved with the surprising complexities of phlegm. 

Some of the highlights include:
  • Coughing demonstrations;
  • A talk by the esteemed historian Dr Snott discussing important boogers throughout history;
  • Distance sneezing competitions;
  • Market stalls, great food & beverages;
  • Free music;
  • Almost certain contagion; 
  • And more...
Be there! (cut deep male voice)

Please forgive my flight into gallows humour because I am a bit grumpy this week. Regular readers will recall that a few weeks ago I suffered from a very unpleasant bout of the influenza virus. Contagion is defined as: 'the communication of disease from one person or organism to another by close contact'. According to an article on the Spanish flu (which was a deadly form of the influenza virus), when an infected person sneezes or coughs, more than half a million virus particles can be spread to those close by. Influenza is clearly a very contagious virus.

The editor also became ill with the same bout of influenza, after I brought the experience home. The household was a sad place for a few weeks. However, just to demonstrate our excellent organisational skills, neither of us were very ill at the same time.

I cancelled a weeks work. And it is worthwhile mentioning that being self employed in my own small business, I have no sick leave benefits, which means that if I do not work, I simply do not get paid.

During this time we missed our usual robust good health. It probably isn't appropriate, but I've been reminded during this time of a 1982 song by the Australian band 'Little Heroes', titled 'One Perfect Day'. It is a sad song about lost love and the feelings that remain after that love was lost. I missed our good health and wondered where it had gone. I hope it was having a good time, because we sure weren't. Without further ado, here are some lyrics from the band, 'Little Heroes':


"One Perfect Day
We'll Be Out Walking
Something Is Calling Me Oh Oh
This Perfect Day
I Can't Stop Thinking
Are You Over There
Are You Happy There"

Eventually our rude health returned, mine before the editors. This was perhaps because I succumbed to the virus first and our recovery was at about the same speed. 

However, in a dark turn of events, earlier this week, I succumbed to a cold. A cold is different from influenza because the symptoms are less acute. Interestingly although the rhinovirus is apparently the most common cause of colds, there are quite a number of other viruses that can cause cold like symptoms. And here is the kicker. Colds are more common because those particular viruses thrive in low humidity environments. Regular readers will recall that it has been mostly dry since February in this corner of the world.

I'm in the dog house with editor this week because as per our previous flu experience, she soon became ill with the cold. Well done me.


"And Tell Me
If It's Still Raining There In England
And Tell Me What You Did Last Night
And Tell Me
If It's Still Raining There In England
The Pictures So Hard To Come By
If You Ever Come Back Just Drop By
One Perfect Day, One Perfect Day"

The third line of that stanza is a bit dodgy, but let's forgive the band because it was written in 1982. The early 1980's were clearly a time of uncomfortable music concepts because, well there is always the 1980 'Benny Mardones' smash hit 'Into the night'. It is a great song with soaring vocals and was incidentally 'the longest-charting single of the 1980's by a solo artist'. What an impressive achievement, however as an adult I began considering the dodgy lyrics. Anyway, the video (which was apparently only re-released to YouTube in 2016) did not do much to belay my concerns about the lyrical content. Watch the video (go on, I dare you). Also, for extra amusement check out the comments attached to the YouTube clip (go on, I double dare you).

Silly music trivia aside, this week, I took more time off work, again with no sick leave benefits.

The National Museum of Australia has a fascinating history on Australia's response to the Spanish flu: 1919: Influenza pandemic reaches Australia. What interested me about the response was that during WWI Australia established the Commonwealth Serum Laboratories (CSL which still operates today) and despite not exactly knowing what caused the disease, they developed an experimental vaccine which addressed the more serious secondary bacterial infections that were likely to cause death. Three million doses were distributed free to the population and troops. Strict maritime quarantine was also enacted around the continent. The virus eventually entered the country in 1918 through a single point which was unfortunately the city near to us, Melbourne.  It is worth noting that the virus was already present on the continent, but the strain was not the particularly deadly variant.

After the outbreak occurred, efforts were made to slow the spread of the virus including closing schools and places of entertainment and mandating the use of masks. I have read accounts of infected people being refused access to public transport, just for one example. Eventually 40% of the population became infected, however due to the preparations and contingencies only 15,000 people died which was a very good outcome relative to other countries death tolls.

The thing that I have taken away from this unpleasant experience over the past few weeks, given we already quarantined ourselves when ill, is to get my annual flu vaccination which neither of us have ever had before. I don't have any problems with vaccination, we just thought that we wouldn't need it because it is simply very rare for either of us to experience such an unpleasant and debilitating bout of the infleunza virus.

Oh yeah, it would be nice if other people remembered to quarantine themselves too. And it would be nice to feel well again! Shout out to the lovely lady who gave me this gift in the first place - you know who you are.


"One Perfect Day I'll Get Your Telegram
And You'll Be Calling Me Oh Oh
This Perfect Day I Can't Stop Thinking
Are You Over There
Are You Happy There"

For the first time in four years, we did absolutely no work this week. The usual farm activities that keep food on the table, had to continue regardless. I rarely mention those activities on the blog, but each week they occur, rain, hail, shine, or flu. Instead I shall tell you about some other stuff that happened...
The valley below the farm enjoyed a frost
The days have been warm, but the nights are now cool. Most nights we now have to run the wood heater. We normally capture warm air in the house during the day, so very little fuel is required for the wood heater during this sort of weather. The dogs have been keeping warm in the usual manner for a canine:
The fluffy collective know how to keep warm on a cold night (this is clearly a three dog night)
Ollie the Australian cuddle dog (err, sorry, I meant to write cattle dog) has been undergoing regular training to teach him how to protect the chickens from foxes and other predators.
Ollie the cattle dog is instructed on how to behave around the chickens
The family of King Parrots that live in the area can be seen quite often now hanging around the farm. The living must be good:
The family of King Parrots are now regular visitors to the farm
On Saturday night I spotted a Barking Owl hunting rodents in the shady orchard. I reckon we annoyed the owl, although to its credit the bird hung around whilst we mucked about with the camera.
A Barking Owl hunts rodents in the shady orchard
The fruit tree leaves in the background of the above photo is a Loquat, which looks very tropical but is actually very hardy to frost, heat, and snow.

The editor by sheer chance discovered the oldest and largest living tree that we have yet discovered on the property. The tree most certainly pre-dates white settlement by a considerable margin. And more importantly it escaped the hundred years or so of logging that took place in this corner of the mountain range. I have no problems with logging because I use timber products. Planted softwood species such as Radiata Pine and Douglas Fir are being harvested right now in the western end of the mountain range. Anyway, the tree is huge, and hugely old:
The largest and possibly oldest Eucalyptus Obliqua / Messmate that we have yet discovered
Check out the mostly intact canopy of the tree!
This tree is huge!
At some stage in the past the tree would have been much taller. However, logging activities after 1860 meant that the trees around this particular tree would have been felled, and then the winds would have blown the top off this tree.

An inch of rain fell onto the farm this week and it is nice to finally see the soil damp. The fern gully that we planted last year appears to be growing well. A few of the ferns died during the hot and dry weather. I simply didn't have the available water so that the plants could get properly established. The ferns here are very drought hardy once established, which can take a year or two.
The fern gully looks as if it has mostly escaped the worst of the summer and autumn hot and dry weather
With the moisture from the recent rains, I noticed that a few mushrooms have begun appearing. This mushroom looks like it is impersonating a flower:
This mushroom looks as though it is impersonating a flower
Forward to the flower photos!
Vietnamese mint provides spicy green leaves for salads every day of the year
Chrysanthemums, almost in time for mother's day!

This may be Russian sage
How good do the Silver Banksia's look?
A Weeping Cherry goes deciduous

Basil mint flower - with bonus camouflage arachnid
Geranium's add a riot of colours to the garden
These garden beds require next to no water other than rainfall
A Japanese maple in full on leaf change mode
The temperature outside now at about 8.00am is 9’C (48’F). So far this year there has been 229.0mm (9.0 inches) which is higher than last week's total of 202.4mm (8.0 inches).

61 comments:

orchidwallis said...

Hello Chris

Mildly nauseating!

Your flu infection will have vaccinated you. A further vaccination may not make much difference as they can only vaccinate you against the viruses that they know.

I am delighted to see that the mushroom caption says 'as though' instead of 'like' which you have used above. I am feeling like a governess!

Brilliant sunshine here and very warm. Son is re-roofing the shed that succumbed to the rain earlier in the year. He is having to do the work in the morning and evening as it is too hot up there during the main part of the day.

Elder daughter arrives from Australia, on Saturday. She and a friend will be staying in a neighbour's chalet.

Inge

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Lewis,

Once more unto the breach, dear friend! Our keyboard forces have been dealt a harsh blow, but we shall prevail in the end! Stay strong, and more importantly try to repair the old keyboard or purchase a new keyboard - check. I am prevailing - for the moment... :-)!

I had to laugh as the weeks weather just past was superb. Wide blue skies, and gentle warmth in the sun. Sunday afternoon, I sat in the warm sun and read a book. Then fell asleep in the warm sun. It was nice until Ollie woke me up.

What was the laugh about in the previous paragraph, well next weekend the weather looks set to be epic, and I will unfortunately be 100% well (hopefully) and ready and rearing to get into some work around here. It is not confirmed yet, but forecast models are suggesting that a rogue pool of cold air has broken away from Antarctica and is presently heading north and looks set to make landfall in this little corner of the continent. Ouch. The forecasts look much more feral for Tasmania (which is the island state to the south) than here. Sucks to be them. Hehe! Anyway, it sounds like a new meteorological event that I haven't come across before: What is a cut-off low and why do they matter? Sounds interesting and hopefully the event is water tank filling!

Yah, so many motivations. You know, I vividly recall feeling young and powerless, and that made me angry, now I'm old and powerless and well, I feel more resigned to the inevitabilities whilst at the same time doing my best, but it is perhaps more complex than those words convey and hard to express - which is why I write the blog week in and week out.

Hey, the Detroit book sounds pretty interesting. I reckon Detroit is an interesting place, but I have heard real fear in people’s voices whenever they speak of that place.

Nah, HTML coding is sort of like an overlay language on top of another language, on top of another language. It is complicated, and I wonder nowadays how many folks have a good grasp of the fundamentals. There is a Wikipedia page on the subject: Assembly language. Back in the Commodore 64 days, you would code a program in Assembly language which is almost, but not quite the same as machine language, and then the assembler program would 'compile' that code into an executable program. The difference between Machine code and Assembly language is that numbers and mathematics are often easier to handle. It was my poor understanding of maths (due to 2 years in hippie heaven high school, and then a further year sitting next to the school bully who was a constant distraction) that I walked away from computers as a job. Honestly, it was probably not a bad thing for me. I get to talk to people about money nowadays instead! Fun times.

I'm wary of boot camp anything. The kids either have the talent and motivation, or they don't. There really isn't much middle ground there. I occasionally encounter self motivated individuals exhibiting curiosity and it is always a pleasure to speak with them. But yeah, the student loan business will not end well. Policies can always be over used, and that is one of those. Generally, I feel that taking anything from the future is a bad idea, especially when a person could concentrate on what they can produce today.

cont...

Fernglade Farm said...

Really? Well, I never would have assumed that the Club would have a screen, if only because you never know what messages are being installed via that chunk of technology. It is nice that people can vote to have the screen turned off. I wonder what would happen if the vote was taken to turn the screen on? Oh! You've left me with a Bonanza ear worm...

Hey, in defence of the rotating electric type ball typewriter... I was really impressed with that bit of kit at the time and you have to admit that it looked really cool. As I was replying to you yesterday I had a vision of that style of typewriter at the back of my mind, but I've also used the old arm thrower onto the tape of ink. But how did the ball style type setting typewriter work? Oh my, there is a YouTube video with an engineer describing exactly how the tricksey beast worked: IBM Selectric Typewriter & its digital to analogue converter. OK, I'm impressed and I have used one of these machines, but it was so long ago.

Go Lewis! Our fortunes may yet be made, if only we could bend our ethics ever so slightly. Hehe! Honestly, I care little as I have had direct experience with graduates and to be honest it may have assisted them? What a fascinating paper that would have been. Well done too with the result. OK, I'm curious on this subject. I would have believed that the Tokugawa period would have been superior to the Meiji period except for the intervention of outside forces which could not have been countered by the Tokugawa social and military structures. What was your take on this matter? Not to feed an answer, but the shôgun structures would have been tested internally and honed to a degree that would have been difficult for anyone internal to gain the upper hand. Dunno.

Hehe! I bow to your higher authority with the pumpkins versus squash dilemma. We're just yokels down here and don't no nuffin anywho! Hehe!

You have clearly been entrusted with the keys to the city. Who knew there was a secret Master Gardeners room which was not entirely obvious to the keen observer? What manner of secrets lie within? Do you know, I feel that you are being groomed for the position of replacement Master Gardener? Just going with my gut feeling there. Of course I could be wrong though. Few are ever ready to take on the position of Master, but you know, you just do the best you can and carry on. And then read up on what you're meant to be doing like there's no tomorrow so you can make intelligent conversation! Anyway, that’s what I do. I reckon gardening all comes down to the feeding of the soil. The old timers knew that.

Cheers

Chris

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Inge,

Glad to have entertained you! Hehe! It was worse for me, I can assure you. :-)! There were so many options to choose from that I was not sure which section was the most nauseating? Hehe!

I reckon you are spot on about the vaccination, but the editor has a bee in her bonnet about it, and you know I'm frankly guilty of bringing these gifts home because I work with so many different people, some of whom go to work when sick. The editor encountered one of those today. Therefore it is easier in the long run for me to front up and get the jab. Mind you, there are a few strains of the influenza virus, so it may provide some coverage.

Hehe! Thank you for the vote of confidence in my English skills, and I learn as much as you teach me. It is a complex language, you know! Hehe!

Nice to hear that you finally have some sunshine and that your son can repair the failed roof. Were any of the books damaged in the resulting leaks?

A bout of serious Antarctic weather looks set to arrive here on Thursday. At least the water tanks are now starting to refill. I do not believe that Thursday or Friday will be very warm at all. Worse luck is that we will both be feeling better and ready to get back into work here. Maybe this is the Universe telling us to take it easy for another week?

Nice. I hope that you all enjoy a delightful visit. Chalet sounds very swisho to me!

Cheers

Chris

margfh said...

Hi Chris,

Hope this is the end of all the illness for you and the editor. Doug's mother passed away on Saturday. It was what she wanted. She actually had a great week until Friday with lots of visits from family and friends. Doug's brother from N. Carolina who only comes in once a year for her birthday did get to visit her on Friday. We wonder if she was just waiting until he came. We are in the midst of all the required inspections and by the end of the week should feel more confident that the sale will go through. As you can guess my time online will be somewhat limited this week but hopefully later in the week I can catch up. Hope the weather isn't as bad as the forecast sounds. After a long, cold, grey/brown early spring everything has sprouted and we are looking out at a beautiful emerald green landscape.

Margaret

SLClaire said...

Hi Chris,

Another busy week here, with continuing to prepare for planting more crops and mowing the lawn (it's in its first big growth spurt of the year). Plus friends from college were here on Friday evening and Saturday morning, necessitating cleaning the house.

You mentioned you had saved seed from 50 ears of corn. Carol Deppe in The Resilient Gardener suggests that isn't enough to prevent inbreeding depression. She notes (p. 282) that while the figure usually given is 100 ears, she is more comfortable saving seed from 200 ears, each from a different plant. Which means growing more than 200 plants each year. I only grow about 75-100 plants each year myself. But she does offer a trick: those 100 to 200 ears need not be grown in the same year, if you put seed together from different years. Here's what I am trying. For the past two years, I grew 75-100 plants of corn from the same large packet of commercially-produced seed, which would have more than met the criterion for proper seed-saving. Each year I saved seed from my ears. Now I have two years' worth of seed from something like 150-200 plants. For the next two years I grow that corn, I will mix seed from each of the past two years into a jar and plant from that, and save seed from each of those years separately for mixing and planting the next two years, and so on. I'll write this up more thoroughly in my blog and report on the results as they come in, but I wanted you to know about this before I get around to writing it up. BTW, you really should get a copy of Deppe's book since you are a seed-saver of some of the crops she covers. Full of excellent info on growing and cooking the crops as well as saving seeds from them, plus she's an excellent writer.

Claire

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Christopher - Pandemofest sounds like our local county fair. I'd never thought about timing, before. It kind of kicks off the flue season, here. There's some speculation that the end of WWI (all that dancing in the streets, parades and services of Thanksgiving) accelerated the spread of the flu. Was it Saturday Night Live, or a Monty Python sketch that touted the wonders of the "drool bucket." Hung from the ears and could be made by a crafty home crafter. Made from found items and hung from the ears. Also useful for post nasal drip. I used to have a little chart on the wall that outlined the difference in symptoms between colds and flu.

All those little boring tasks that must be done, to keep life rolling along. Come flue or cold. Hell or high water. Those "mundane" tasks. An interesting word. Courtesy of the Romans, by way of Old French and Late Middle English. A well traveled word. I looked it up, just out of curiosity. "Lacking interest or excitement." "Of the earthly world, rather than heavenly or spiritual." if I don't make my oatmeal, every other day, no oatmeal for me. If I forget and leave the water out, it can get pretty exciting. Tasty, but no rapture or spiritual experience :-).

LOL. So, you settled on three hounds just so you could throw the name of a music group about? A good photo of the King Parrots will look nice on your Christmas cards. So. Are Barking Owls named that, as they're barking mad? :-). Is shade different in Australia? Looks like the dead of night, to me. "In the Night Orchard." Good name for a children's book? Or, a horror novel? Cont.

LewisLucanBooks said...

Cont. That is a thumping big tree. That one big limb, way up, is either in shade or was blasted by lightening. The nail that sticks up, gets pounded down. I saw a three log load, last week. About comparable size to your tree. Don't know where they came from, but we don't see that, much, anymore.

I wonder if the mushroom flower shape was an adaption to spread it's spoor? Clever, those fungi. The cherry and the maple are quit pretty. Ornamental, but real eye candy.

"Cut off low." Sometimes I think these weather guys make up clever names or dredge up old ones to set themselves apart from the pack. Cliff Mass is guilty of that, from time to time. Yeah, we have our polar vortex and polar outbreaks. No fun at all.

I've seen many pictures of Detroit, and the neighborhoods of rotting nifty little bungalows make me want to weep. Crime wise, I suppose parts of Detroit are no worse than the areas the Editor and you used to live in, the one that gave your friends and relatives the fantods. I'm sure the author will talk about that. Next up on the "to read" list. After I get through "Nomadland."

Yup. The ball typewriters were a nifty bit of engineering. I wonder what archaeologists in the far future will make of those little balls.

Well, it's been about 50 years since I wrote that paper. But as I remember, it was all about money and business. As I remember, the Shogunate had pretty much defanged the Samurai warrior class. They didn't have much to do, other than support the arts and get poorer and poorer. But, like the rich Romans, couldn't sully themselves with "trade." But they figured out how to quietly delegate to family retainers and obscure branches of the families. And, with money came power. As I remember.

I read a short story once (New Yorker magazine?) about a young man who (treading carefully here) traded his university paper writing for less ... monetary rewards. Guess I missed the boat on that one. :-).

But I don't want to be the heir apparent to the Garden Goddess. Much nicer being The Power Behind the Throne. You get more done. There seems to be a bit more action in the pea row. And, much to my surprise (that was fast) the bachelors buttons are sprouting. Lew

Pam in Virginia said...

@ Margaret:

I am so sorry that you and Doug have lost his mother, but it sounds like she was a very fine and wise lady, and it is just as it should be. I'll be thinking of you, and hoping that the house sale goes as planned also. Pam

Pam in Virginia said...

Hi, Chris!

I can contribute to Pandemofest! I may still have a few flu germs lurking about! Actually, I think probably not. "Ere - she says she's not dead yet!" I feel fine now, though it is curious how my whole family got the flu right after you and the editor. I think it came through the internet, the way water would always shoot through the telephone lines on The Three Stooges.

Contrarian alert! I may not watch the music video.

Ollie appears most eager to go to work with the chickens.

Look at those owl eyes - nice shot. Do they really bark?

Goodness, gracious - what a noble tree.

Can you scrub the dishes with banksias?

Water runs across the brown paper into the planting holes and also soaks through it. We'll see just how tough it is, if it holds up the whole season. I planted a large bed of basil seeds through it yesterday and it was a chore. The labor saved in not having to pull weeds - should it actually manifest itself that way - is the only thing that will convince me that it is worthwhile.

A thornless loganberry surely does sound nice.

Pam

Pam in Virginia said...

@ Inge:

I have behaved, because you are the governess! In my comment to Chris I was going to say "A thornless loganberry sure does sound nice." Instead, I behaved and said "surely". Surely that is correct?

Pam

orchidwallis said...

Hello again

No books were damaged but some paintings were hit by water. Son has created a problem which I don't understand. He has banned me from going into the shed until he has cleaned up. He can't actually prevent me but I am not sure that I want to know.

Inge

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Margaret,

Thanks for the kind words.

I was sorry to read of the passing of Doug's mother. I hope that she did not suffer overly, and it sounds like the timing was as per her wishes. It was particularly touching that Doug's brother was able to speak with her prior to her passing on. Some people can hang on for such things, and there is always a bit of a mystery to that.

Oh my, you and Doug are busy. Remember to keep an eye out for each other during this time.

The rogue pool of Antarctic air should deliver several inches of rain before the next blog is written. I hope I'll have something to write about, but it may be nature’s way of telling us to chill out and take some time out!

With sympathy,

Chris

orchidwallis said...

@ Margaret

I am sorry to hear of the passing of Doug's mother even though it was right for her. Still sad for those who loved and will miss her.

@ Pam

No, no! Neither the 'sure' nor the 'surely' is acceptable. Much neater without.

Inge

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Claire,

Oh yeah, I hear you about the mandatory cleaning of the house before visitors turn up! That task is a necessary evil! Hehe! Hope the visit was nice.

Your garden is at such an exciting time of year. Mowing here is a bit of a chore due to the sheer size of the place, and occasionally the marsupials don't keep up with the growth. Have the rabbits returned to your garden?

Ouch! Thanks for the tip, and yes, I should get that book as a resilient gardener is the best outcome. Like you, I can get probably about 100 plants going, given the space which is about a 50ft terrace. Over the past few days I've been considering what you may consider to be a radical option with the corn. I may grow a few different open pollinated varieties of edible sweet corn, so as to ensure that the plants have a diverse genetic parentage. This is perhaps not an efficient approach, but it may yield more resilient seed stock. That process is often done in traditional areas with other grains, and given corn is a form of grain... Dunno, I have absolutely no idea, but I sort of feel that the lack of genetic diversity in a few generations is a real problem, which may have larger causes and genetics can be beefed up. Anyway, the worst that can happen is that I completely stuff the experiment up! :-)!

We save seeds from most of the regular crops that we grow here, and I have no idea why more people don't do that. I read recently that most of the organic farms down here purchase their seeds rather than saving them. Of course that may be an indicator that the economics of the situation are a bit borderline and that is a bit scary.

Cheers

Chris

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Lewis,

Hehe! Yeah, I ripped the idea of for the story based our brief experiences at the recent Spudfest festival (of all things potato in the nearby potato growing district). They have some of Australia's newest and richest soils and interestingly the area is a massive plateau which receives slightly more rain than here. Of course with the weather coming up over the next few days, that may present them with some difficulties. Did you like the 'cue deep voice' bit? When I was up north I'd occasionally be exposed to their television and/or radio and the voice folk were always picked for the depth of their voices. I wouldn't be able to get a job up there doing that - or down here for that matter. Hehe! I was laughing to myself as I wrote that bit of silliness in the blog. One must keep oneself amused.

Unfortunately the internet has meant that the chart outlining the differences between a cold and the flu is now superfluous - until you no longer have access to the internet. I looked up several websites describing the differences recently as research for this story, and I reckon I called it correctly. Influenza is an horrendous experience. How do you feel about the use of the word ‘an’ before a word beginning with the letter ‘h’? I usually only use the word ‘an’ whenever a vowel comes into play, but for some reason words beginning with the letter ‘h’ seem to fit that rule too.

I did a touch of social media promotion last evening for the cafe that I obtain all of the coffee grounds and roasting husks from. They're a great bunch of people, and I am inordinately pleased to be able to turn a waste product (in volume) into useful soil mineral additives. I was just hoping that nobody else cottoned onto that waste stream. Anyway, I wrote them a little bit of text and supplied a photo, and the editor reviewed it and reckons that I should be in marketing! Hehe! Here goes: Eureka Coffee.

Hell or high water indeed! None of the necessary day to day activities could be shirked. The dogs and chickens still require feeding, as do we. And we like to keep a tidy ship. It was just really lucky that we weren't very ill at the same time. Each of us had to pick up the slack for the other. Interesting. So you prepare your oatmeal in the traditional Scottish method? Well, I'd have to suggest that a bit of overnight soaking and mild fermentation would produce a very easily digestible - and possibly more complex food than simple porridge. Just thought I might mention that if you leave the oatmeal for too many days, well, the bacteria will be busy converting the food stuffs into sugars – and even longer the fungi (yeasts) will begin converting the sugars to alcohol. It would be a harsh person who would describe such a dish as 'mundane', although I reckon it would be a bit sour for my tastes! :-)!

Hehe! Ah yes, Joy to the Canine World! Hehe! Glad to see that you are onto my little jokes and word games. The Barking Owl did look a little bit annoyed at the silly human antics, so perhaps it was barking mad? My bird identification book said that the species was quite common, but this website makes the claim that there is only 50 pairs left in the state. Barking Owl. There is a short audio file that provides the call. The trees here are big enough to have plenty of hollows which the younger trees don't have - and as a result not much lives on the younger trees or in those forests.

cont...

Fernglade Farm said...

The huge tree is in very good condition and it looks very healthy to my eyes. Trees of such size do not make for good milling wood, or heaven forbid, firewood. They mostly have damaged cores which is why the loggers left them alone in the first place. What a mess us humans have left. I have no idea how one would get such a tree on a truck? Most trees on trucks look less than 30 years old to my eyes, but I can't really stop the truck to count the growth rings. And every man and their dog on this side of the mountain range would kill me if I was to be foolish enough to attempt to cut such a hugely old tree down, not that I have the skills, or know anyone who does to do that. I'll do my best to protect that area from the risk of wildfire.

The fungi will run riot shortly - especially with the big dump of rain soon to arrive over the next few days. Yes, they are very clever creatures the fungi. We have done some things in the garden just because they look pretty and the ornamental trees are part of that. I'm encouraging more of the Silver Banksia's too!

But how much excitement do the weather folks generate in the process? I'm excited at the thought of a huge storm with lots of rain - which is just the thing that is needed here – unless it causes huge damage... We tend to construct the infrastructure so that it copes with such big storms - which are quite regular and perhaps getting more so from what I've noticed over the years. Cities struggle with such weather due to all of the hard surfaces - and drainage done on the cheap.

I'll be interested to hear about any stories that you glean from the Detroit book. Honestly, the fact people I knew refused to besmirch themselves if they were ever to step into a gritty part of the city where we lived, was just outrageous. Fantods indeed! Genius! Hehe!

I reckon the little golf ball type setting devices will still be around too, because in the video showing how the machines worked, the balls were really hitting the paper hard.

Thanks for the explanation about the Shogunate and the Samurai class. You know I see a lot of people who don't want to get their hands dirty, but then I also know a lot of people who work pretty hard. It is complicated.

Yes, treading carefully indeed. :-)! I get that story, and the trade-off is worthwhile in other regards, if not in monetary terms. For example, I enjoy more free time than most people that I know, and that is a valuable thing, because during such times I can reflect. You don't see a lot of reflection nowadays.

A wise move indeed. I prefer that rank too as far more can get done, with far less unnecessary interactions. :-)! Top work with the peas and the bachelor buttons.

Cheers

Chris

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Pam,

I've just added your name to the 'Distance sneezing competitions' lists. Best of luck, and remember not to let the team down! Are you on team Fluffy? Or is it to be a competing team? I forgot to ask before putting your name onto the lists. Now you are feeling better though, you may be ineligible for the competition.

My shoulders are big enough to accept some blame for the illness in your household. Of course, on the other hand I don't really believe that I had anything at all to do with the ill health that you and yours experienced recently! Hehe! It is a long sneeze (bow) to draw! Hehe! You started it... :-)!

Fair enough about the music video, it was a silly side story.

Ollie is authoritative in his stance - and what you may not be able to see outside of the camera frame is that at the bottom of the orchard there was a large wallaby happily munching away on the grass and thumbing its nose at Ollie. Ollie was most annoyed with the situation, but I am trying to teach him to focus his attention. Now, Ollie would believe that he was focused, but just not on the job at hand.

Yes, absolutely, the owls make a barking sound. Ollie became rather upset when I clicked on the little audio link on the web page given in Lewis's reply above.

How cool is the tree. No doubts about it, to get that big, the tree must be several hundred years old already. Imagine what it has seen in its time.

That is a possibly use for the banksia flowers. We call them bottle brushes, and other native flowers also look like that. Callistemon are a good example. I'm trying to encourage a few more of the banksia shrubs and this small cluster of them looks to be really healthy.

Your brown paper situation sounds complex, but you know, experiments such as that are worthwhile because you get to see how they go over a longer period of time. I was wondering whether the paper may possibly blow away in any wind?

Sorry, but you really started this: Don't call me Shirley - Lelslie Nielsen 1980! Hehe!

Cheers

Chris

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Inge,

That really is good news about the books, and hopefully there were no masterpieces destroyed by the leaking roof? Your son has presented you with something of a bit of a mystery. And I too wonder about the ban. Mind you, it may not be safe inside the shed, or there could be some sort of very large and very dead creature in there? So many different scenarios spring into my mind. It is intriguing. Has he provided no explanation as to the ban? No hints even?

We should receive a couple of inches of rain before the next blog is written. There is truth to the saying that: 'It never rains, but it pours'.

Cheers

Chris

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Inge,

Surely you are not serious about the use of the word, 'surely'? I use that word all of the time!

Cheers

Chris

orchidwallis said...

Hello again

Aha, but you have used 'surely' correctly; I was only commenting on Pam's usage.

Son has caused stuff used on the roof to run through into the shed; I have not looked.

Inge

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - Voice overs are interesting, and some people have made life long tidy livings doing them. There was a movie, a couple of years ago, titled "In a World..." It was quit interesting and had it's funny moments.

Did you get a visit from the Grammar Police? Did they kick down the door and beat you about the head with a grammar book? Threaten Ollie or the chickens? "A" or "An." I just go with what sounds best. And, if neither sound "right", I may reconstruct the whole sentence to use nither :-) of them. I think it all falls within the realm of "Little Things That Drive You Mad." The overuse of "still" to kick off a sentence makes me twitch.

Instagram? Really? I am skeptical of all social media. Probably, because I'm old. Well, speaking in the third person was a nice touch. You should have worn the jumper. Ollie looks quit attentive. Probably thinking, "What's that stuff? Does it taste good?" He looks a bit like Nipper, the old RCA dog.

How I Make Oatmeal. I take a bowl (Pyrex, natch) and cut up an apple and fill half of it. I fill the other half with berries (blueberries, preferred). A bit of brown sugar on the apples. Cover the whole thing with 1 cup of oatmeal and a drizzle of olive oil. Soak with 2 cups of water and nuke for 11 minutes. When cool (why does oatmeal retain heat for so long?) cut it in half. Put one half in another bowl. I eat half with almond milk and a sliced banana on top. The other half gets popped in the fridge until the morrow. A splash of water, 2 1/2 minutes in the nuker and it's ready for the milk and banana. Cont.

LewisLucanBooks said...

Cont. Yeah, three log loads aren't as profitable here, either. They have to travel longer distances to a mill set up to take their large size. Not many of them left, anymore.

Oh, I think you need a bit of "pretty" in any garden. Besides, it might draw a diverse group of pollinators. I've planted the four blue flowers at the bottom end of my new space. Weeded yesterday, but left some sweet peas from the previous owner and most of the volunteer pansy. Did do in some of the pansy when no one was looking.

In other news, gas it up to $3.40 (not an Imperial gallon). Several of the Inmates from the Home got a rate and are traveling on a cruise up through Puget Sound and to Victoria. They'll be gone til Saturday. Including the awful woman who lives beneath my apartment. Good. I'll dig out the tap shoes and clogs. Hope she eats herself to death or falls overboard. Maybe gets one of those diseases that seem to sweep cruise ships.

"Fantods" comes via Mark Twain. I think he used it in either "Huck Finn" or "Tom Sawyer." I don't know if he invented the word, or lifted it from somewhere. I used to have a friend who used it. So, I'm sharing the wealth.

I noticed the library got season one and two (and, an African special) of something called "Farm Fixer." One of those "reality" shows. I probably won't watch it. The description is: "...help struggling farm families diversify their businesses to make money, and to do it fast." Lew

LewisLucanBooks said...

@ Margaret - I'm sorry to hear about the passing of your MIL. She will be long remembered.

Sounds like the house sale is moving along. Fingers crossed. Lew

Coco said...

Hi Chris,

The flu was bad over here this year. People were sick for weeks on end.

@ Margaret - I'm sorry for the loss of your MIL. May she rest in peace.

That is an impressive tree. Can you confirm to me that eucalyptus shoot up tall really fast, and then set about getting thicker trunks? The circumference of the trunks is the only difference I can see from older and more recent plantings.

I´m going to plant sweet corn this year. I worry about saving seed, since the surrounding area gets planted with feed corn every year and chances are everything will get pollinated together.

Speaking of pollination, I finally cut off the rhubarb blossom. Never saw a single bee on the flower, ungrateful wretches.

Cheers

Pam in Virginia said...

@ Inge:

Neater - but not emphatic! I think my use may be vernacular. In fact, using "sure" instead of "surely" is vernacular, for sure. Foreign language here.

Pam

Pam in Virginia said...

Chris:

If I can ever stop laughing . . .

Your Eureka Coffee promotion was superb, both the text and the photo. How did you get Ollie in there looking like old coffee grounds make his day? And flying coffee grounds? The Eureka people will be pleased that their good turn has benefited them.

Thank you for the owl barking; it really does bark.

The brown paper does not blow away because it is held down by rocks. Thankfully, we have much rocks. Many rocks? Lots of rocks.

Arghhh! Surely I remember that, Shirley!

My son now uses canola oil to grease his concrete forms instead of the bar chain oil he was using (maybe that was not a great idea for use in the garden?). The first night after he used it he left a large pool of canola oil in the paint roller tray out in the fenced garden and in the morning it was found to have been all lapped up by something. Yuk.

Pam

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Inge, Lewis, Coco, and Pam,

Many thanks for the lovely comments. I promise to reply to you tomorrow! Me tired.

Lewis - After several weeks of illness, the editor and I are now both fit and well enough to head out to dinner this evening, and so we did. Mexican food was the agreed choice, and despite the big storm of rogue cold Antarctic air wending its way to dump a bucket load of water on this part of the continent, well, to cut a long story short, we were able to sit outside and enjoy the mild Melbourne evening. Mind you, we were the only ones eating outside and that may be due to having adapted to a much colder mountain environment? Hehe! Bunch of softies down there! Hehe!

Given you are now a low-elevation-lander these days, do you reckon you've acclimatised to the milder weather there?

It was nice to be able to enjoy feeling well again. The flu and then the cold really knocked me about and I do feel a bit tired, but in a different way from sleep deprivation - and I sleep like the dead and usually require 8 to 9 hours per night. But this is a different feeling. I guess that is part of the joy of life. Oh well, mustn't grumble!

The outlying parts of the storm are now about two hours away. Fun stuff! All hands brace for impact!

Cheers

Chris

orchidwallis said...

@ Pam

You are correct about the emphasis. I should have said that 'sure' as used by you is an Americanism which has started to creep in here. I must stop this, one could continue indefinitely.

Inge

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - Mexican food. Ole! :-). More that I've adapted to adequate shelter. A couple of posts ago, Cliff Mass finally detected something in the weather patterns and records that probably, solidly indicate climate change. Fewer polar outbreaks (as you are experiencing now) of shorter duration.

Being sick makes one feel "wrung out." The bodies defenses doing 24/7. Those soldiers get tired.

Funny, when you were talking about "Keep Cool and Carry On", "Mustn't grumble" crossed my mind.

I got the asparagus in, yesterday. Dug a trench, threw in some very odiferous kitchen scraps and coffee grounds, Covered it over with a bit of soil, tossed in some transplanted worms. The Garden Goddess was out at the same time, so we chatted about this and that and I hauled around some stuff for her. Nothing over the top. A container or two. A bag of compost. Light duty. Lew

SLClaire said...

@ Margaret - I am glad Doug's mother enjoyed her final days. May she be at peace, and may she live on in your hearts.

Also, in my last comment to you, I was thinking positively about the sale of your property going through. Glad to learn that it is progressing well, and may it so conclude!

Claire

Steve Carrow said...

Coincidence- Just finished reading "The Great Influenza" by John Barry. Not the greatest writer, but very informative and really covered the history of the beginnings of modern medicine well as a prelude to the 1918 flu epidemic. Also explained the biology of the influenza virus(es), and the historical unfolding of the global pandemic. Mistakes were made.

After reading about the flu more, and hearing many stories like yours, I've come to think that I may never have actually had the flu. Just colds of varying severity.

Full on spring here now. A bit late, but everything is busting out like crazy. Our new chicks are doing fine, my two bee hives have new inhabitants ( both hives died this winter) and the fruit trees are a couple days from full blossom. Just a couple more weeks until we can plant the rest of the garden with the warm loving plants (tomatoes, peppers, etc...) as the risk of frost declines.

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Inge,

Ah, my mistake! Sometimes I have noticed that I begin picking up other people’s ways of speaking by some sort of strange osmosis just through interactions with them – even reading books can produce change. Does that happen to you, or have you seen that happen with other people?

Ouch! I forget that hot tar is used on your roofs - I'm assuming that was what the product was? Down here, that roof arrangement would melt and run during the summer and you never see it. The old timers way back in the day used shingles, or in more fancy areas – slate which looks beautiful and attracts lichens and mosses. Occasionally it gets hot enough on summer days for the asphalt roads to melt. That really leaves a whopping big mess!

Cheers

Chris

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Lewis,

Yeah, the voice over people can end up being rusted on employees with a particular network. It would be nice to score such a job with one of the government radio or television networks down here. Given that such a person works in the background, they'd survive all manner of ugly and unpleasant changes.

You know, I always wonder what happens to the front men and women in rock and roll bands when they get sick. Over the past few years I have heard of a few gigs being cancelled due to illness, and that isn't good. Pink Floyd wrote a song about that scenario titled 'Comfortably Numb', but the cheeky scamps never quite mentioned in their song lyrics about what exact medicine they'd received in order to go on with the show? You did a bit of theatre back in the day, didn't you? How often were the understudies ever trotted out, and I often wonder whether they'd give more in the way of performance? Well, they'd have something to prove.

I don't really know that much about Antarctica but given the pool of rogue breakaway air has now landed - like the proverbial eagle - I'd have to suggest that it's pretty cold down there! Hehe! Just going with my gut feeling there... Far out, it is now 2'C / 35'F outside and I discovered that I am still summer soft! Fortunately I have not been too far from the house today and have kept the fire stoked so it is toasty warm inside the house. We've been experimenting with the wood heater so as to learn how to burn the wood cleanly, whilst reducing the overall size of the combustion - which is all about saving the precious resource of firewood. I reckon we are doing pretty well too and keeping the fire just ticking along and not roaring seems to work well. Of course, we get the house up to a pleasant temperature first and that takes a burst for about an hour - or maybe two hours at worst, but it doesn’t use that much firewood at all during that time. Firewood is an enormously complex fuel to use, and I reckon the old timers knew a heck of a lot about it, and then that knowledge was promptly lost.

Nither is a word of Scottish origin. It means to shiver or tremble especially with cold. You'd sure do that if you were outside here today. I cracked out the sheepskin jacket, alpaca scarf, and woollen hat when supervising the chickens this evening. I reckon people have also forgotten about the benefits of natural fibres, and I see a lot of people wearing puffer jackets - that look a lot like strangely shaped sleeping bags to me - and those people also look cold to me. Still (! - Hehe! I promise to restrain myself in future and won't really begin sentences with the word 'still'), they must know what they're doing? I do quite like the thought of a still though, but that perhaps is another unrelated conversation...

No, I'm not on social media other than here either. Be sceptical and I wonder how those businesses make money so that they can provide their services. Photographs use an enormous quantity of storage space, and that is one reason why I have not migrated to my own website for the blog. Eventually, it will happen, but until then.

Thanks for the explanation about the oatmeal, and that sounds pretty nice - and we'd call that porridge down here. For some reason I believed that you used the Scottish method of producing oatmeal and from my reading of that method, the cooks tend to soak the oats overnight which begins the process of fermentation.

Same here, there is a local timber mill in operation, believe it or not. Where they get the saw logs from is a mystery to me, and I did ask them once, but that was a long time ago and who knows where from now? The problem with centralising such a product as timber, is that people get disconnected between the product and the source.

cont...

Fernglade Farm said...

Go the blue flowers! :-)! Believe it or not and despite the descent into winter conditions, the Rosemary is flowering. That herb is so hardy and I often find myself snacking on a few of the leaves. They clearly contain some sort of aromatic oils. Out of curiosity, how do you weed? I've been considering obtaining a hoe for weeding as it would save with a lot of bending over which I have to do when using the mattock. I'm hoping to get at least some break in the rain over the next few days so as to get out and weed too.

Yup, fuel prices are on the increase. The thing about derivative markets like 'Oil futures' is that they are affected by expansionary monetary policies. I'd be curious to see whether other futures are also on the increase? Petrol is about $1.50/litre here (3.8 litres to the US gallon). It is expensive and I noticed that the government has announced a review into the strategic reserves of Oil being held here. Reviews are great because it looks like we are doing something, when in fact we are most likely having a talk fest. Who said that talk does not cook the rice?

Fantods is hysterical. Around that time, hysteria was a rather common condition too! ;-)! Weren't they funny those Victorian era folk? No doubt, we'd seem extraordinarily strange to them too.

Oh, I'd be interested to hear of your review of that show. You know, sometimes they're really good - and Kitchen Nightmares UK is a superb show as it walks through the vast space of human interactions and then gets down to the meat of why is this person running the restaurant they way they do. Sorry to say, I did not enjoy the US version of that show because the host had to spend upto half of the show out-alpha-ing the restaurant owner, and that was a waste of time. The culture in the UK was a bit more deferential.

Ola, Pedro! I read the CliffMass blog on that issue and you know I felt for him when he wrote of the pressures that he was under and also the social costs. I absolutely applaud the bloke for his stance.

Yeah, I reckon you're spot on about the bodies system getting run down. I also had a lot of disturbed sleep during that time too. I struggle with that.

Cool! I look forward to reading about your asparagus as the season heats up. Spot on the money too with the plants, and they'd really appreciate the heavy feeding.

Cheers

Chris

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Pam,

My pleasure to entertain you! :-)!

It is not quite so entertaining here tonight as the rogue pool of cold Antarctic air has arrived with full force. Mind you, I feel that 35'F is cold, but your experience may differ in that regard! About one to two inches of rain will fall here tomorrow...

Thanks for that. I missed my true calling in a marketing job! Hehe! Nah, I wouldn't want to do that for a living as I'd feel a bit sullied at the end of each working day... Ollie was great in the photo too, wasn't he. I occasionally supply those lemons to the cafe too so it is a great loop.

I told you Ollie was upset at the sound of the barking owl. He thought that it was another dog, and his ears pricked up and he was looking around for the source. Some of the noises here at night are blood curdling and the possums are the worst of the worst, and I'm grateful that the owls clean them up.

Hehe! I am now jealous that peak rocks has not yet visited your part of the world! It is really bad that peak rock business. I may be onto something with the mowing too, and will hopefully have some news on that over the next few days... Maybe...

It was a classic that film - so much wrongness and it translates well into today, which some comedies don't. I for one was appalled at 'Caddyshack' as it was awkward. How did I ever believe that film was funny. Groundhog day was a much better Bill Murray film.

Ouch! I wonder if the critter that consumed the oil is now feeling a bit unwell? Yuk!

Cheers

Chris

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Coco,

So sorry to read that the flu season in your corner of the world was bad. This was as bad a season as I can recall. Did you and V escape the flu?

Yes, some eucalyptus trees shoot up tall, if the soil (minerals, water, aspect are issues) allows them to do so. They're competing with each other for light. Spacing is a real problem with the trees, and I did note in the photos of the recent Spanish fires, that those trees were planted too densely for my comfort levels. Yes, they'll grow well at such densities, but the trees are stressed and they are a serious fire risk. If given the space, the trees will grow up and then out and form huge canopies. Historical accounts from earlier explorers and settlers describes a very different forest environment than we see today - as the spacing of the trees was much wider than today. A truly fascinating question!

Yeah, it is a problem, but I wouldn't worry about it too much and just see what happens. I'm learning with corn, and the plants require a bit of genetic diversity, and the local plants may provide for some of those needs.

Aren't the bees little ingrates? Hehe! Down here, the bees love the flowers. Oh well, they may have better options in your part of the world?

Cheers

Chris

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Steve,

Sorry mate, I just received your excellent comment - but I'm off to the pub for a pint and feed - and this is a worthy excursion! I promise to reply tomorrow evening.

Cheers

Chris

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - "The show must go on" is a given, in the theatre world. I've heard of all kinds of actors that carried on through sickness and broken pieces. The story of the mousey little understudy who's shoved out on the stage to replace the Diva is almost a cliche. And, she becomes a star! :-). The classic movie "All About Eve" covers the topic.

I watched "Winchester", last night. Helen Mirren. "Based on actual events." It's a rousing, haunted house story. Interesting. Many of the exteriors were shot at the actual Winchester House, and the interiors on sound stages in Melbourne.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Winchester_Mystery_House

Speaking of wood for heat, I was reading a bit of "The $500 House", last night. I ran across an interesting "rule of thumb". The amount of stored wood should equal the space to be heated. The authors efforts to stay warm through winters was rather harrowing. I forgot how cold the winters can get in Detroit. But here, when we have our cold snaps, it is a slog. Here, it's week, from time to time. Can't imagine what it's like when it goes on for months. Cont.

LewisLucanBooks said...

Cont. I also got into "Craeft: An Inquiry into the Origins and True Meaning of Traditional Crafts" (Langlands, 2018). I was pleasantly surprised to discover that the author is one of the archaeologists who was on that farm series, with Ruth Goodman. "Victorian Farm," "Edwardian Farm", etc.. In the introduction and opening chapter, he pretty much beat to death the origins of the word, concept and use. Well, he's an academic. But, at least, a hands on one. It's a pretty slippery word. Over the centuries, it was applied as a translation to many different Latin words and concepts.

He only touched on it lightly (a sentence or two) but, sometimes, I think the execution of crafts appears to be quit magical. Hard won skill, dexterity, apparent ease of execution, appear to be easy. But is not something a novice can pull off. So, it appears to have an element of magic. The background, knowledge, practice, trial and error doesn't show in the execution. Maybe?

How I weed. Well, we're dealing with pretty small spaces, here. The new big chunk I received was pretty overrun with weeds. Most of that, I just layered over with leaf mulch, soil and compost. Oh, they'll pop through and make a reappearance when I stir up the soil. But, at a pace I can keep up with. The spot I'm going to plant the pumpkins in, is also large. But, not nearly so overrun. I'll probably just get out there with a trowel (small hand shovel). Loosen up the soil around them and pull them out. Into a bag and out with the trash. Yes, I know. Tossing away good biomass. :-).

I may not get to it, today. I notice it's raining puppies and kitties. But, if it clears off later, I'll give it a go. I'll just have to remember to give it a good fluff up after I'm done, with a rake, to loosen up all I've tramped down and compacted. Lew

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Steve,

Thanks for the review of the book. My understanding is that mistakes were made down here too. And most of those mistakes related to quarantine. The influenza virus entered the continent here via the port of Melbourne (which is the nearest big city to me), and the initial outbreak was quite mild so the authorities apparently confused the pandemic virus with the normal seasonal influenza virus. The Federation had not been going for that long either at the time (before 1900 all of the states were independent UK colonies) and so there was apparently a bit of unhappiness from the governments in the other states.

It is possible that you haven't experienced the flu before. There are a few marked differences between the cold and the flu. Not everyone succumbs to the influenza virus either, so you may have a predisposition that is naturally resistant? Dunno.

Nice! Yeah, it is a great time of year and certainly my favourite time. You managed to replace the bee colonies quite fast. Your winters are a lot harder than here, so the bees do it tough in your part of the world. Did you manage to score any honey from the bees? I'm considering planting out a grove of sugar maples (I already have a few of the trees happily growing) because they seem like an easier and more reliable supply of sugar than bees - which are a bit finicky to be honest. You appear to be having a very late season this year if the fruit trees are only just now a few days from blossoms. Go the tomatoes and peppers! Yum! Hey, we saved the jalapenos chilli seeds and will try them again next summer. They were zingy but not too hot, possibly because the climate is not hot enough here to produce the extreme heat.

Cheers

Chris

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Lewis,

I'd never heard of the film: 'All about Eve', before. It is a very complex and dark tale, and it has most certainly spawned a host of clichés. I would have to suggest that the story is far older than that and may point to something deeper in the human psyche. I have no idea how they go on under those circumstances of illness or broken pieces, but yes, the show must go on, I guess. Tickets have been sold and public expectations are high.

The film reminds me of a strange experience many years ago. I had a mate that used to attempt to copy some aspects of my life. It was all very weird for me and the editor, and I just did my best to pretend that I didn't notice. We'd known each other for decades since we were kids so I was forgiving thinking that what people contemplate, they imitate - or something like that. And the copying began when we were well past our late twenties. The funny thing about the friendship was that in later years there was a little bit of resentment directed at me in the form of 'negs' which is a form of backhanded compliment, but is so voiced as to lower a persons self esteem. Again, I just did my best to ignore that, but eventually I'd had enough and then said as much and apparently the friendship couldn't survive that. Fancy that, huh? Have you ever encountered anyone trying to copy some aspect of your life or seen someone try that with other people? Interestingly, the last time I saw him and his lady, they appeared to be suffering from serious stress and were frankly bonkers due to their work commitments which took them around the globe to remote spots with a small infant in tow. A hard act that one.

I hadn't heard of that film either - but the story of the heiress is quite astounding.

Well the $500 house dude may be living in an un-insulated house because that sounds like a huge amount of firewood to have stored for the winter! It would require a very big wood lot. Mind you, back in the day only a single room would have been kept heated and everyone would have huddled into that room. Fortunately the winters are milder here as that would be a huge amount of firewood to store and use - if a current average sized house were intended to be heated. Drew Philp is onto something though. No doubts about it. From what I can see, he understands what inequality means in a visceral sense. I listened to him on a TED talk (not that I usually watch those) and his world sounded a lot like the ‘World made by hand’ as he spoke about a forgotten community arising from what is left over. Even his house was made from leftovers. You've got me wondering about how much firewood we have stored under cover - and a fair chunk of the amount probably won't get used this season – although we don’t really know for sure how much we use. I saw some bloke lugging a huge trailer load of very wet looking firewood today. I'd have to suggest that after the almost two inches of rain today that the horse has sailed, and the ship has bolted...

cont...

Fernglade Farm said...

I'd never stopped to consider what was meant by the word 'craft' before. Don't you reckon it has shades of being able to replicate rather than simply knowing? So much of our education process is fixated on the knowing, rather than the doing, like reeling off facts about seeds is the same as watching the seeds grow in the soil. It can't be good as it appears to be a very unbalanced approach to me. As far as I can understand that contrast, I sort of feel like the knowing is the beginning and the replicating is the ongoing form of the art? I'd have to also suggest that refinement and/or creativity maybe part of the larger goal or mastery in that story? Repetition can breed a certain excellence in many areas and of course the mere act has an impact upon the will. Dunno, what do you reckon?

Top work, the soil critters at your place will feast upon the weeds and their root systems as well as the top layer of leaf mulch, soil and compost. A nice idea. Haha! I didn't say anything about bins! Hehe! :-)!

Yesterday I planted out a thornless loganberry, and the lop layer of soil was quite loose and friable, but below that was like concrete. That part of the berry enclosure was less than a year old, so it that was hardly surprising - but it was a sobering reminder of what things used to be like.

I'm hoping to be able to get outside and do some work tomorrow on the berry terraces. They need a good feed and weed from what I can see. I just have to see whether the rain holds off a bit.

Today the almost 6kW of solar panels produced 0.72kWh for the entire day! Anyone talking up a future of renewable energy - that looks like the sort of energy use as today - has rocks in their head. I feel much better having said that. :-)!

Did the rain ease off up your way? It is still raining here.

Cheers

Chris

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Lewis and everyone,

Forgot to mention that the capital of the island state of Tasmania (to the south of the state that I live in) is Hobart. And they copped the full brunt of the storm and had to deal with apparently four inches of rain in a day: Hobart flooding declared 'catastrophe' as wild Tasmanian storm eases and tracks north. Not good.

Chris

margfh said...

Thanks to all for your kind words regarding the passing of my mother-in-law. As I've said it's what she wanted and while she will be greatly missed we are so glad that she was in pretty good health up to a month ago. Even then she remained interested in what was going on in the world and enjoyed even the small things like a favorite food. She remained sharp as a tack up until the end. A Kentucky Derby party was planned on Saturday per her wishes even though it became apparent a few weeks ago that she couldn't physically attend. The plan was to bring her lamb dinner and we would rotate to visit her. On Friday night one of the last things she said to Doug was "Put ten dollars on Mendelson for me." No one at the care center thought anything was imminent or they would have called. Apparently she died very quickly and they believe without pain.

Margaret

margfh said...

Hi Chris,

I think your weather has arrived here. It was in the 80's two days ago and now only a high of 45 (F) today.

I wanted to comment about people going to work sick. When I had young children and was working at my accounting job I had very few sick days - six I think. Unless I was flat on my back I saved my sick days for them as someone had to be home with them. I think this is often the case. Parents who worked would send their kids to school sick as well - bad colds mostly as they had to go to work and had no one to stay with their child. When I got my teaching job I had lots of sick days so it wasn't an issue then. I think years ago it was also more frowned on if fathers took off to stay home with a sick child but thankfully that attitude has change mostly now.

We are still waiting for final approval on the contract. We have to find out what repairs the buyer will be requesting. I just got off the phone with our realtor and she does not think the deal is going south but that this just happens sometimes. She will call the buyer to push the issue today as there is a property that she is listing that sounds like what we're looking for plus if needed we have the rental opportunity too that we don't want to slip away. I'm trying not to worry too much but it is kind of stressful. I couldn't believe it but I also got a jury duty summons for June 5th.

My sister and I took Michael for a follow up on his wrist that he hurt pretty badly last week in a fall. She and I were able to talk to Michael's doctor privately about what our wishes for him are. We are looking for a quality of life and not quantity. He has lots of health issues but we don't see the point in putting him through all kinds of invasive procedures which is just what our medical system likes to do. The last thing we want to see is him languishing in some nursing home not understand why he's there. Well the doctor totally understood and agreed on how we will proceed in the future. We couldn't have been happier.

Margaret

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - On people assuming other people's lives. Well, looking at literature and films, it seems it can run all the way from mild admiration to the truly wacko (which is a highly scientific psychiatric classification.) The (something, something) Mr. Ripley comes to mind. Book and film. Oh, yeah. Negs. Back handed compliments. Pot shots.

Horse sailed / ship bolted. Back in the land of spoonerisms, etc? :-). Still great fun. I'll have to look into Drew Philips TED talk. I was reading along in it last night and had the thought that he's a man who has a pure heart (but, is perhaps a bit naive). But I have to remind myself that he was also quit young when he tackled Detroit. There's also a bit of a whiff of the Social Justice Warrior, about him. But he does a bit more of walking the walk then most of that lot. I need to read and think more. Cont.

LewisLucanBooks said...

Cont. Putting stuff into practice. Knowing and doing. No argument here that there's a world of difference. Experience vs theory. Reality "on the ground" can be quit different from speculation.

And, in local news ... :-). It dried up enough that I got out to the shared plot and got over half of it weeded. The worst half. No desert until you eat your dinner! Speaking of sobering reminders, the soil is ... well, not very good. Pretty much like my plots when I started. Not quit sandy, but a bit gritty. And, no worms. At this late date, not much I can do this year. Except in spots.

Ah! "The Talented Mr. Ripley." Speaking of Hobart, in one of those weird cosmic collisions, I watched "Lion" last night. Didn't realize it was an Australian film when I picked it up. All The Ladies were complaining of feeling cold, yesterday, which I didn't really notice. But last night. No wind but it felt pretty chill. No wonder. Temps overnight got down to the low 40sF (4.44C). But, it's supposed to warm up over the weekend.

Played bingo and won three games, but still $5+ in the hole. I might drop out, for awhile. We had computer problems (again) and it was 2 1/2 hours before we finished. Maddening. Big garage sale / flea market tomorrow. Wonder if I'll find anything epic? Lew

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Margaret,

Thanks for sharing the lovely story and again you have my condolences. It sounded to me as if Doug's MIL lived a life that was well lived.

Well that explains where the weather has gone. It is 46'F outside right now and the conditions are very sub fluffy optimal for getting into the garden. The rain has been rolling in thick and fast over the past three days.

Of course, that makes sense and that aspect of the 'sick at work' story didn't occur to me, but I can see that. Thanks for explaining that side of things. To be honest, I have no idea how people manage a household where there are young children, and both parents work full time. I know how a single mum managed that trick back in the day, but expectations on parents are very different these days - and the sort of freedoms that I enjoyed as a kid would be frowned upon today and sometimes by the authorities.

Fingers crossed that the buyers don't ask for very much in the way of repairs. Incidentally, houses down here are generally sold on an 'as is' basis and you'd never hear of your particular situation arising. I tell ya, one house I bought years ago contained a huge quantity of rotten timber and we took a look and went, yeah we can fix that - and that was the extent of the inspection! The weatherboards were the things holding the timber wall frames together.

No! Not the jury summons too. Ouch. You may not get picked as a trial juror? Maybe? I dodged that civil responsibility because I am self-employed and I can't recall whether it was $10 or $20 per day jurors pay, but that would be not quite enough to keep food on the table and a roof over my head. Our working arrangements are not very flexible. It has been hard catching up on my work due to the lost time for the cold and flu. People are sympathetic, but they still require to have the work performed. Last week I worked every day and have had to squeeze in a bit of downtime here and there.

I'm really glad to read that you are getting the outcome that you want for Michael. The thing is, the medical industry is a business and as such, they can push treatments for profit motives. In some respects there is a bit of a conflict of interest in there.

Hoping to be able to do some work in the garden tomorrow if the rain eases up. Time is getting away from us.

Cheers

Chris

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Lewis,

That would be the Talented Mr Ripley - or book, or film of the same name? It was quite good and what a trail of destruction gets left behind lies and deceit. Not worth it, as far as I can see. I mentioned a long time back that I had a housemate that went right through my stuff when I wasn’t around and when he was caught for speeding in his car at a license losing speed - he told the police that he was me. That was a devil of a problem to unwind. It never occurred to me that housemates would go through my stuff so thoroughly for their own purposes, but it was a real wake up call that one, and I am much more careful these days. After that I locked up all of my documents and assumed the worst until people are proven otherwise.

That reminds me too, the editor was listening to a podcast the other day on a lady who worked as a criminologist and achieved a PhD in the area. Apparently the story was that her mum had assumed her identity for many years and was using that to procure fake loans - and right up to the time of her mum's death she never figured it out, and the mum never fessed up to the crime. Of course the mum had inside advantages and would have kept one step ahead because of that. That story sounded like it was on the truly wacko end of the spectrum. My heckles get raised whenever they are in the presence of unusual behaviour, and whilst sometimes I'm wrong, still I’ve been right more often. I'd imagine that you'd see a few folks in the Club who had destroyed relationships because of their inclinations?

I hate negs, they just annoy me. Nowadays I call people out on them, depending on the circumstances and if there are long term implications for me from such silliness. In a rural area, ones reputation carries some weight.

Had to take a quick break from replying. Ride on mowers that can handle the sort of incline here tend to cost more than the dirt mouse Suzuki - and that makes no economic sense at all to me. However, I'm very excited because I have just bought an old school locally made, second hand, self propelled mower. I've been looking for one of these beasts for a long while as they are the safest way to mow an incline. They're nothing pretty to look at, but they just work and are as tough as old boots. This machine looks like an honest unit too. Very exciting. The little Honda push mower that I have is working well, but is showing signs of strain... It has recently had to be welded in several spots on the casing – and that was a specialist job because the casing is aluminium. Of course, just in case you feel that I've completely lost the plot, I do have scythe and can go very manual if needs be, but until then. ;-)! It should make a huge difference to that job because as the soil health improves, the marsupials can't keep up with consuming the growth in the herbage in the paddock below the house.

Mixed metaphors! Who would have thought that someone bothered to put a webpage together about such things? What fun. Here you go: mixed metaphor. My favourite chunk of incoherence on that website is: "I don’t think we should wait until the other shoe drops. History has already shown what is likely to happen. The ball has been down this court before and I can see already the light at the end of the tunnel." That observation makes little if any sense to me, but it sure sounds good!

I haven't read Drew Philps book, although my heckles raise at the thought of Social Justice Warriors - if only because their name annoys me. They take too much with that name, and I am uncomfortable with that. I wondered at how he managed to walk between the two worlds between repairing the dilapidated house and paying the land taxes and keeping the supplies rolling in? I'd be very curious as to how he managed that story as it is no small matter. Mind you, his ongoing costs are low and that opens spaces for him to breathe.

cont...

Fernglade Farm said...

For sure about knowing or doing. I once encountered a rather strange person over the internet who suggested in all seriousness that my real world experience with solar energy was somehow less than a particular model that they could point to. Thus suggesting that my experience should be otherwise. That was a very strange thing to encounter, but the belief that the person held was quite disturbing to behold. I took a long look into them and saw bleached bones.

Well, a very apt line! Hehe! "If you don't eat your meat, you can't have any pudding! How can you have any pudding if you don't eat your meat?" Such logic. I always wondered what was wrong with the meat? It all sounds a bit dodgy to me!

Top work with the weeding, but yeah, soil fertility is often not good all over the shop and it can be hard to see the loss. Ouch. Your description does sound like the original description of your original plot from a while back. You know, I'd still try to get something growing in there as the plant roots may add something to the mix. I often cut the plants at ground level when they're done and leave the roots in the soil for the soil life to eat. Anyway, garden beds get played out and that sounds like it. Your worm fixes will really do the trick. I find patches here that are very hard clay (with a small amount of organic matter on top) and they just take two or three years for the soil life and plants to break them up. The entire property was like that years ago and it was a real drama I can tell you. Are any of the ladies watching how your plots go? And have any of them added any organic matter to their plots?

I really enjoyed the 'Lion' film, although I couldn't quite empathise with the protagonists obsession in regard to his past. Hobart would be a lovely place to live, although they are in for a massive clean up effort and bill – cars were getting washed along one of the main roads. There is a huge mountain that rises up behind the city, so that mountain exerts a considerable influence on the weather there, and it is usually drier there than Melbourne. Did you enjoy the film?

The question I have for you about the bingo is did you take the leprechauns? Or perhaps you substituted another fetish that may have sapped some of your bingo mojo? Or maybe the leprechauns have become jealous of the new fetish and are now playing up? Don’t annoy the elder folk seems to be good advice…

Your weather sounds like the sort of weather we are experiencing here. It is filthy outside now, but at least it is toasty warm inside.

Cheers

Chris

Pam in Virginia said...

@ Margaret:

You always have such tough decisions to make, especially with Michael. You and your sister are so wise in planning for his future.

Jury duty - ugh.

Pam

Pam in Virginia said...

Chris:

What a horrible time Tasmania (Hobart, at least) has been having.

Will we get to see a photo of the self-propelled lawn mower? I don't think that is what we have. My son had it out a couple of days ago and it was bellowing smoke all over the place. My first thought was "Thank God I am not in California!" I think there might be a fine there for such things. In fact, I think it says on our mower "Not to be sold in California". Somebody does need to check some oil or plugs or something on ours though.

I loved the mixed metaphor, and especially your own, way up above.

You know, there are mild varieties of jalapenos; maybe you planted one. Actually, I think that you and the editor are just way tough.

We have zero cherries this year. There were SO many blossoms. I guess one of the freezes did them in again.

I have been observing the brown paper some more. It does not actually appear to be permeable, as I first thought (and reported). In fact, in low spots it will hold water for quite a while and I saw the happiest skink just lying in the pool of water, in the sun, too, so it must have been a warm bath. I am worried that the soil is not getting enough moisture underneath if the only water coming in is through the holes that things are planted in. In a silly way, this is a hair-raising experiment for me.

Wasn't there some talk above about dropping "aitches" and whether to use "a" or "an"? I do drop the H on certain words and use "an": An honorary or an honest, even an historical, but a horrible or a hairy. I don't think that there is even a rule.

Pam

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - I think there's a fine line between wacko vs criminal. Must admit I always peruse people's bookshelves and have not been above taking a glance in the medicine cabinet.

Good luck getting your mower that's half goat. Amazing what they can do these days, crossing the bio with the mechanical. On a more serious note, the first chapter of the book "Craeft" discusses the art and craft of haymaking. Using a scythe. Scythes are very handy bit of kit, especially if you plan to attend a Halloween party as the grim reaper.

I'd guess that Drew Philips property taxes are pretty low. He didn't come from money...but he came from experience. His father and grandfather (and a few uncles) were available to advise him. He pretty much camped out in the abandoned house and worked at making it habitable. No electric, no water, no heat. He pretty much scavenged and salvaged most of the materials. His kitchen cabinets came from a school that was being torn down. The bricks for his chimney came from a building that had collapsed in the street. After six months, when no one came to clean them up, he loaded up his truck. he pretty much just worked low paid jobs, worked on his house and helped out friends. There's a lot of barter, labor swaps. But, it's all pretty informal.

Sigh. About the solar. Sounds like you were treading on someone's belief systems. Sometimes, it's just better to back off and change the subject. Even though you know different and it sticks in you're craw.

As far as organic matter goes, The Ladies pretty much stick to whatever they can buy in a bag. Quality really varies and they tend to shot for "lowest price." And, also, physical stamina has a lot to do with it. There's a bit of egg shell and coffee ground, scattering about. But I'm the only one that really digs in the raw material. Cont.

LewisLucanBooks said...

Cont. I quit liked "The Lion." Of course, anything Patel is in is usually pretty good. As far as being a bit obsessed about origins, well, in our rootless world, finding out about one's roots can be important. To some individuals. To find one's tribe. Besides, you might uncover the retired rock star and super model who are your REAL parents. :-). I think it was Eric Clapton who discovered late in life that his father was a Canadian soldier (just passing through) and the woman he thought was his sister was really his mother, and who he thought was his mother was actually his grandmother.

Yeah, the Leprechauns had a night out. I did win three games. And, came within one number of winning the black out final, sudden death round. Maybe next time. If there is a next time.

Just got back from the big bi-yearly swap meet and garage sale at the fairgrounds. Once again, I was first through the gate. Only had to wait about 20 minutes, and talked with the old duffer I had met, last time, who specializes in fishing gear.

And, I found a few treasures. I like just about anything miniature. I found 1.) a tin toy mechanical blacksmith in a shed. Searching online, I'm pretty sure it was made by the German Fleischmann toy company, sometime before WWI. 2.) Found a print by an artist named Twelvetrees. He did a lot of postcards and magazine covers, circa 1920. His specialty was cartoonish children. Think of the Campbell soup kids. It's off a little girl with gypsy scarf, fortune telling cards and a black cat. I'll trot it out for Halloween. In good shape and nicely framed. 3.) One art deco cast iron bookend of a lady suffering from wardrobe malfunction. Found a set on E-Bay for $400. That's what they're asking. I doubt they'll get that for them. 4.) A blue and white salt glaze pitcher from (I think ... I need a better magnifying glass) Booth Pottery Company, England. From the style, I'd say about the 1880s. and, 5.) a bit of Chinese tat I keep trying to swear off. Boyd Bears figures. A teddy bear as Mother Goose, flying a really detailed goose across the pages of a small open book. On a spring, so she moves. Well, for $2 ....

I ran into some retired Timberland employees, so it was "old home week." And, a few dealers I know from "the old days." I had skipped breakfast, (usually do) and was about half way through when I knew my sugar had hit rock bottom. I headed for the nearest food cart and had some ghastly, breakfast sandwich. Tossed that down, had a sit for a few minutes and was firing on all cylinders, again. Got to watch that.

I finished weeding the community plot, yesterday, and planted some basil seeds I'd saved from last year. The forget-me-nots are beginning to sprout. Where or where is the Love-in-the-Mist? Lew

orchidwallis said...

Hello again

Daughter and friend have arrived and I am talked out. Shall probably vanish from here for the next two weeks.

Inge

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Pam and Lewis,

Thanks for the lovely comments. I will be unable to reply this evening as it is late and I have to get on with writing tomorrows blog.

As always though, there is a story: Due to unforeseen circumstances 12 solar panels went off line today and may have been out for a few weeks now. I haven't really required their generation potential over those weeks, until the past few days. You see the winter solstice is fast approaching and last evening the power went out for the first time ever due to low battery voltage. I monitor the system twice per day, but the battery voltage had been dropping for a while, and I was concerned, but honestly I was unsure as to the why, and put the explanation down to the recent run of really inclement weather.

We've had to work backwards today to find the problem and I'm still not sure what is going on. I thought initially that mice or rats had chewed the cables. Possibly cockatoos have chewed the cables on the roof. This evening I climbed up into the roof cavity and physically inspected the main cable run and it shows no damage due to rodents. Mind you, I had to disconnect the cable and pull it through the wall cavities which is a big job - so next weekend I'll have to re-feed it through the walls at a different point.

Anyway, it is a hideously complex problem, and as always correcting the problem will give me a chance over the next week to upgrade some of the connections to some fancy newer style of electrical connections. It is nice to have a silver lining of some sorts.

Meanwhile the system is getting by on only 18 panels (rather than the usual 30) - and that is not good as it is not nearly enough to power the house - not even close.

So, last evening I had to drag out the little 2kVA generator and huge truck battery charger to get the house system going again. Oh, the indignity of powering the house using fossil fuels...

To cut a long story short, I only began this reply at 8pm this evening and will have to type even faster than normal to write the blog for tomorrow night...

Gotta run! Will hopefully be able to speak tomorrow. What a disaster, this renewable energy stuff is good, but it is no replacement for fossil fuels and I don't give a rats bottom for people who dream that it could be otherwise. All I say to them is: Get thee in the ring!

Cheers

Chris

Pam in Virginia said...

Chris:

That is too overwhelming to imagine, try though I might (and it would be winter), so I will just say:

Cheers! And best of luck with your detective work!

Pam

margfh said...

@Pam

It's very helpful that all five of Michael's sisters are on the same page.

The last time I got called for jury duty I was glad as my job at the time was stressful. We still got paid but had to give the school district the money we earned on jury duty ($15/day I think). Well I was there for only 1/2 day and we were all dismissed as the judge was unexpectedly out of town for the entire week. Usually here you're only there a day with a max of a week. I'm sure I can figure out a way to answer questions so I won't get picked. I actually wouldn't mind being on a jury if I wasn't in the midst of a move etc.

Happy Mother's Day

Margaret

margfh said...

Hi Chris,

So sorry to hear about your electrical problems - not good timing either.

One of the reasons I changed careers from accounting to teaching was it jived with the kids schedule better. If you choose to have kids I believe at least one of the parents should be able to spend time with them though depending on circumstances sometimes that's not possible. In all my accounting jobs there was always something that necessitated long hours, bringing work home or bringing the kids to work on Saturday. I was so lucky that I landed a teaching job in the same district my daughters were in and to be honest it was pretty cushy as teaching positions go.

It seems as time goes on more and more inspections become the norm. We did have slightly high levels of radon but only in the basement so we have to get that mitigated to the tune of $1500. Nothing else requested was unreasonable. The buyer is trying to structure the purchase in an unusual way. I will see our lawyer tomorrow for his opinion.

I couldn't be happier with Michael's doctor.

It's been cold and rainy here for the last few days. The monthly recycling drive was yesterday morning and it was raining at the beginning and only in the low 40's (F). I did have my rain gear on but still got quite chilled and didn't warm up until last night.

I've been spending quite a bit of time the last few days going through file drawers of papers to see what needs to be shredded and what can be recycled. As I have all the financial records of ours, my MIL and all three brothers the amount of paper is considerable. I have a shredder and have been trying to do a bag a week for the last few months. However, a shredding day is scheduled in town in a couple of weeks so I'll be able to bring several bags there. It is recommended that you shred stuff even from people who have died and from closed bank accounts. I have boxes of my mother's checks from 20+ years ago. It's still cold and cloudy today so I'm off now to do some more paper sorting.

Margaret

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - Troubleshooting. Running down a small glitch in a complex system. Gremlins? On a much smaller and not so dire a problem, my portable DVD player stopped working. I detected a bit of fraying where the power wire meets the adapter. Duct tape is holding it in place, now, but I'll have to order a new one, this week. Amazon comes through. What will we do when supply lines vanish?

I finished reading "A $500 House in Detroit." The author has a real fear of the negative impacts of gentrification. It's really disaster capitalism. Now that they've got those pesky poor people and middle class out of the way (for the most part) there's vast amounts of capital in play. Many aspects of local and State government that do nothing to aid the citizens.

I started watching a bit of "Finding Your Roots", season three, last night. It's a show about celebrities (major and minor) and discovering their family stories. Forecast is for the mid 80sF, today. I'll get to something in the garden, in the cool of the evening.

And, a bit of something from the Land of Silly to contemplate while pulling cable. "Who Says Americans Can't Innovate Anymore? Behold the Braspberry." I'm sure you've spent endless hours contemplating all that waste space inside a fresh picked raspberry? What to do? Well, you stuff a blueberry in each hole. Hand picked, hand stuffed. The company admits they're not cost effective, unless they can come up with a machine to do the stuffing. But, they're market testing them. Might be something to try at home. I suppose you could freeze a bunch up and trot them out to wow the guests at a dinner party. Lew