The old washing machine died last week. The appliance was over 15 years old, and in its day it had provided sterling service, but alas it has now passed on. Passing on, in this instance, means that the machine will most likely be shipped off to a far distant country where any usable components are recovered and the remainder will end up in landfill.
On Friday afternoon, the editor and I visited a huge warehouse shop in a nearby town that sells appliances. Apparently that day was also "Black Friday", whatever that is, and retailers were making a big song and dance about the fact. Black Friday is a strange name for a celebration of all things consumerism. To me that name brings to mind wildfires. Down here there was the disastrous 1939 Black Friday fire which burnt 4,942,000 acres (or 2,000,000 ha) of land. Of course there was also the more recent 2009 Black Saturday wildfires, which I recall rather vividly, which burned 1,100,000 acres (or 450,000 ha). However, both of those fires pale in comparison to the notorious 1851 Black Thursday wildfire which burned a quarter of the land mass of this state at approximately 12,000,000 acres (or 5,000,000ha). Yes, you read those numbers correctly.
As a side note, retailers concerned about growth and a bigger impact, may want to consider re-branding the shopping frenzy day to Black Thursday?
So the retailers talk about Black Friday does not float my boat (nor did we get anymore than a token discount). The introduction of this marketing concept down here is a fairly recent initiative. Anyway I can't gauge the effect of all that marketing because, the large warehouse shop didn't seem particularly busy to me as we were served straight away. This was a good thing for two reasons: Firstly, we had no idea why there were such discrepancies in the prices for a replacement machine; and Secondly, I'm not a fan of shopping and I like to know what I'll buy and then get out again as quickly as possible. However, in this particular instance (the first reason) we had no idea, and that meant that the editor and I had to discuss washing machines with the friendly staff.
The question that we posed to the friendly staff was: "What's good and what's gonna last?" Alert readers will note that in the question, I swapped the words "going to" for the more base word "gonna". This is a deliberate ruse on my part because I'd prefer that the friendly staff believed that I was a bit thick and a bit broke. If they form this desired opinion of me, then it does me no harm, and there can sometimes be embarrassing disclosures such as: "we get a lot of returns with brand X"; and more importantly, they also tend to feel sorry for myself (and especially for the editor who plays along with the game of having a really stupid husband) and they sometimes provide good discounts.
After further discussion we decided upon a brand and then looked at two nearly identical models of washing machine for that brand. The models were the same capacity, but one was $200 cheaper than the other model. In keeping with my blunt and difficult persona, I asked what was the difference between the two? The difference in price related to the country of manufacture. All was now as clear as mud.
I do recall the days when white good appliances were manufactured in Australia, but alas such situations are much like the heard about but rarely seen: Magical Christmas Unicorns (hopefully more on that topic next week!) So, we took a gamble and purchased the model that was manufactured in Germany. We hope to get at least 15 years from this purchase.
I installed the washing machine on Saturday afternoon. As expected from a German machine, the instruction manual was quite thorough. However I don't know whether something was lost in translation or not, but the sheer number of warnings rather alarmed me! Apparently this washing machine is lethal as.
Purely for research purposes for this blog I quantified the serious risk that owing this washing machine presents to myself and the editor. The instruction manual contained:
- 8 x Warning: Risk of death!
- 1 x Warning: Risk of suffocation!
- 4 x Warning: Risk of poisoning!
- 1 x Warning: Risk of burns!
- 3 x Warning: Eye/skin irritation!
- 9 x Warning: Risk of electric shock/fire/material damage/damage to the appliance!
- 6 x Warning: Risk of injury!
- 1 x Warning: Risk of explosions/fire!
- 4 x Warning: Risk of scalding!
It amused me that apparently just using the washing machine for its intended purpose presents a risk of death:
|Yes, you read this correctly and were warned!|
In work around the farm I use tools that genuinely present the risk of serious injury and/or death. Those tools are to be treated with respect. They also come with much better warnings, such as this one on a tree stump grinder:
|Again you were warned! Use of almost any product could cause serious injury or death|
Speaking of using tools, death and flies and stuff, and also to prove that love is indeed a battleground, the editor spotted a massive female huntsman spider consuming its now deceased male friend. Perhaps the male spider should have heeded the warnings?
|A female huntsman spider consumes its now deceased male mate|
After a couple of early morning mowing sessions, almost 60% of the farm has now been mowed. The prevailing weather conditions mean that the grass which was mowed a few weeks ago is now almost ready to be mowed again!
|About 60% of the farm is now mowed for the summer|
|The walnut has broken its dormancy. The pin oak will have to be relocated|
|The garden beds on either side of pathways and concrete staircases were cut back|
|Mr Poopy enjoys the now easily accessible paths|
|Prunings are unceremoniously dumped into a developing garden bed|
|A second year garden bed which is grown on composted prunings|
|The tomato enclosure was planted out with summer vegetables|
The many fruit trees are slowly producing ripening fruit and the next few photos are a sample:
|Apricots are plentiful as long as the wallabies don't first destroy the branches that are hanging heavy and within reach|
|This is my first summer with fruit from the slow growing European pears and I'm looking forward to tasting them|
|Asian nashi pears are prolific and the birds will do a good job at thinning the excess fruit|
|The many horse chestnut flowers have turned into buckeyes which are used to produce a valuable and gentle soap|
|Homegrown almonds are very tasty|
|Blueberries are very slow growing here and this example is only a couple of weeks away from becoming sun ripened|
|I picked and ate my first ripe mulberry today! Yum!|
|The tastiest fruit at the moment are the cherries. I better get onto harvesting the early ones before the birds notice them!|
|Blue cornflowers are now found in the pasture below the house|
|The flowers for this tri-coloured sage are attractive|
|Salvia's are as delightful as they are heat and drought tough|
|The foliage on this Japanese maple is really stunning|
|Massed daisies. Nuff said!|
|This foxglove comes back in the same spot in the garden every single year|
|Geraniums and Elderberry are a delightful and heat hardy combination|
|Poppies, Pyrethrum and Granny's Bonnets make an attractive display|
|This is a plant from the Canary Islands but I am unsure what the name is. Does anyone have any ideas?|