1. says

    Hey, at least you don’t have ants in your throat! I’ve been enjoying the ants at my little outdoor spot in Bismarck, by the Ash Dragon tree. They like tea. I do not eat them. :D

  2. jazzlet says

    They are one of those irrational reaction things, like spiders encountered suddenly and close up, for me. I did say all those noes out loud, I can enjoy watching them go about their business, except on flying ant day when I just hide, I can’t bear the idea that they might get trapped in my hair. Daft, but there we are, ones irrational fears are after all irrational. Seeing someone licking them up was a bit more than I could take :)

  3. says

    Yeah, a lot of people have that kind of reaction to ants, especially as they can get to all those places you really don’t want ants, like your pants. ;D

    For the most part, ants don’t bother me unless they are of a variety which can hurt me. Speaking of spiders, I spotted one new to me in Bismarck last week, one speedy spider, but I would have sworn it was a Red-backed Spider, but I’m not in Australia. It was either a Castianeira walsinghami or a Castianeira crocata. Couldn’t get enough of a look for a certain ID, but the butt looked more red than orange, so I’m inclined to the Walsinghami.

  4. rq says

    Wow. Well, that crocodilian freaked me out more, the ant-licking was somehow very sensual and full of satisfaction.
    If it had been spiders, though…

  5. says

    Yeah, I find them to be amazing, but I don’t know if I could stand in the water with meat and have one coming at me…

  6. Ice Swimmer says

    I would have been quite uncomfortable with the monkeys and I can’t feed any bigger animal from my hand. However, the monkeys looked quite smart and thoughtful. Crocodile crawling in the mud looked quite sensual for me. Not that I’ve ever tried mud baths. Overall, a fun video.

  7. gobi's sockpuppet's meatpuppet says

    Hi Ice Swimmer!
    Best ever crocodile warning sign:
    At the bottom of a grassy slope (presumably too steep for crocodiles) leading down to a river, on a stick, was a small white sign about the size of a sheet of a4 paper that, in hand drawn text said:-

    Big ‘uns

  8. says

    Those aren’t ants, those are termites. I wonder how they taste like.

    I would not dare to approach a crocodile this close and I consider feeding one in this manner extremely foolhardy. I have seen first hand how quick they are and how tall they can leap. One idiot on the Uni tried to provoke one in terarium by dangling his shawl in front of its eyes. One second it was completely still on the bank, next second the jaws are snapping one and half meter in the air. Sadly the croc did not manage to take a bite in the assholes hand, but life cannot be all pleasures.

    I have just spent three evenings and one whole day doing absolutely nothing of value or worth. Apart from cooking meal, washing the dishes and watering the plants I have spent the whole time in bed watching a Skyrim Let’s Play on YouTube, drinking tea and eating chips and cookies.

  9. jazzlet says

    I guess termites are a bit better than ants, but I still don’t think I’d want to eat them alive.

    Charly for me that would mean I was feeling depressed or at the least rough, I hope you aren’t feeling that and just needed a break, or that if you were feeling that you feel at least a bit better now.

    Rather enjoying feeling comfortably warm under clouds rather than too hot wih sun.

  10. says

    @jazzlet, not to worry, I did not have a depression (although those are not unknown to me). It was entirely voluntarily imposed period of rest, because I was overdoing things lately a bit and I was a tad bit too tired.

  11. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Another day stuck inside when I need to do some yard work. Seem to have a weather system where rotating small storms come and go all day and night, and its been sitting there for days. I can see more rain headed my way over Lake Michigan by radar.

  12. jazzlet says

    Good on you for taking rest because you needed it!

    Our clouds have gone and we have a clear blue sky again. We could have done with more rain.

  13. lumipuna says

    I finally went to swim in the local river. It was awesome and water was actually warm enough for my tastes (ie. well over 20C). It was kinda chilly until recently , and then it got suddenly super hot so I’ve been mostly hiding under rocks since last weekend.

  14. Ice Swimmer says

    lumipuna @ 16

    I’ve never swum in that river (assuming it’s the river I think it is).

    Sea water was also something like 25 °C on Saturday, which is already less refreshing than I’d like, not unpleasant but mainly wet and not so good at cooling one down. Matters of taste…

    Last night was just awful, much too hot air. Luckily I found my mosquito net today and was able to put it up in the ventilation window. Mosquitoes aren’t that numerous this summer, but a few have been able to breed in the nearby wetlands, I think.

  15. rq says

    It is still way too hot over here, and not likely to let up for at least another week. 19 degrees in the shade this morning, shortly before 7AM. Once again, I will not be going out midday, not until I have to leave work.

  16. Nightjar says

    lumipuna, Ice Swimmer and rq:

    If you have the chance please show the hot weather a map and point it our way. I believe it is lost.

    Brrr. *puts coat on*

  17. says


    I’ll leave the 8:55 slot open for you from now on, if you like. (That’s 7:55 in actual time). Unless you’d prefer earlier? Let me know, and it will be open, so there’s plenty of time for people to see it.

  18. StevoR says

    All the five planets visible to the unaided eye are out in the evening skies right now for the next few weeks. Six if you lookdwon or around and count the Earth.

  19. says


    ’ll have to figure out what 7:55 is in Giliell time, but that seems fine.

    7:55 blog time is 13:55 our time.

  20. rq says

    Ah, that makes 14:55 my time, which makes sense, because I’d noticed first post of the day tends to go up around 3PM. :D Not that I’m anticipating or anything…
    I like the idea of recipes, but I’d be more like ‘Random Recipes’ because I couldn’t be bothered to schedule something delicious every Thursday, but probably ever time I got hungry. But then, your mileage is not my mileage. :)

  21. Ice Swimmer says

    Congratulations, Giliell!

    rq, should we call our timezone (EET) Potato Time (I think I’ve grown more fond of potatoes lately)?

  22. voyager says

    I’ve been posting Tree Tuesday for 10:00, but I’m totally flexible.
    Also, for various reasons I’ve been having difficulty getting Jack’s Walk up by 14:00. I have 2 ideas for dealing with this.
    1) Adjust my posting time to later (which has been happening anyway) or,
    2) Post tomorrow’s Walk the night before. In other words be out of sync with the actual day.
    I don’t like either option which is why I haven’t made a change yet. I’m still hoping I can make 14:00 work and my goal is to actually move to an earlier time, say around noon, but that won’t be possible until the end of September.

  23. rq says

    Ice Swimmer
    Then daylight savings time is Potato Time With Dill? Works for me!


    I finally got an idea about who sits where, timewise. That’s interesting.

  24. rq says

    Don’t worry, you’re not on Potato Time anyway. :) You’re PT-1, if I remember correctly, and thus, you can have Beetroot Time. Or any time of your choosing.

  25. voyager says

    I resize my photos when I export from my photo handling program Lightroom into an Affinity file on my desktop. It asks what size and I use 1600 pixels on the long edge with resolution of 240 pixels per inch. Those are the numbers Caine gave me and I’ve had no trouble.
    Also, when you import media on the right hand side of the page at the bottom it asks for display settings. If you link to the media file at full size your photos will be clickable for full size.
    I’d appreciate it if you could send tree photos to me. I’ve created a file to keep track of submissions and postings.
    I hope that all makes sense. It’s still all new for me, too.

  26. Ice Swimmer says

    rq @ 35


    Giliell @ 39

    I was close to suggesting Flammkuchen Time for CET.

  27. says


    I’ve been posting Tree Tuesday for 10:00, but I’m totally flexible.

    That’s a good time, but you might want to check and see if Charly has anything scheduled, because his usual time slot is 10:00. In that case, 10:30 is always good. (10:00 actually being 9:00 FTB time. Gad, I wish that would get fixed.)

    As for Jack’s Walk, I say post it whenever you like. This shouldn’t be a source of stress for you. There’s a lot of morning posts going on; when I’m posting regularly, I started putting up some late afternoon/early evening posts, just to spread things out a bit, and to reach other time zones a bit better than I usually do, so I think late afternoon posts work. I know it can take a while to get a post together, and it helps if you can do it at your leisure, while you’re relaxed.

    Fixed times are by no means necessary -- if we all check the posts page to see if we’re going to collide with someone else, it should all work. (Just in case -- if you go to the ‘all posts’ page, and put your cursor over a post title, edit options will show up. Click ‘quick edit’ to see a scheduled time, then click ‘cancel’ to exit.)


    I use photoshop to resize photos (mine is ancient, pshop 6), and save at 9, which is a high setting, but keeps the file size down. All images have to be under 1.0m, but you can get away with generous sizes. If you keep the file size down, you can do a 2000 x, or 1800 x. Generally, I go with 1600 on the longest edge; it’s a very workable size and it’s easy to keep the file size down. If you want me to add you to the sidebar box for submissions, send me a quick email with the address you’d like to use, and I’ll get it fixed up for you.

  28. lumipuna says

    Friday’s lunar eclipse will be an unusual viewing opportunity here in southern Finland. Conveniently before midnight, before full darkness, dramatically low on the sky. The weather will be likely clear and super warm, like warm enough for swimming and sitting at the beach after sunset. I even managed to invite a friend for watching it.

  29. says

    Oh -- if you want to add a category, you certainly can. When you’re composing a post, under the categories, you’ll see ‘add a category’. So, frinst., if you’d like Tree Tuesday or Tummy Thursday to be a category, just add it to the list.

  30. says


    How do you feel about a Tummy Thursday?
    I was thinking about all the fun recipe sharing that used to happen on Pharyngula and also dinner was delicious.

    Obviously, I’m fine with it. :D There’s no need to ask really, I trust all you, and you can put up whatever content you like. It’s always fun to talk food, and I’m looking forward to this.

  31. says

    FWIW, I am resizing my picturesin Xnview. I has an option of batch-resizing and batch-renaming, so I can sort my pictures thematically, rename them in sequence and resize them all with just a few mouse clicks. The intervace of Xnview is very easy and intuitive.

  32. Ice Swimmer says

    Giliell @ 37

    I resize my photos in Gimp (a bit like Photoshop, but free), however resizing is rarely the only thing I do with it.

    Most of the time in editing goes to rotating to get the picture straight, cropping for the best composition and tweaking colours and contrast. I think I should learn how to keep the phone straight and get the composition right already when taking the picture.

  33. voyager says

    Ice Swimmer
    Every single photo I take is crooked. I had an aha moment looking at my photos from Russia. In one shot I saw my reflection and I was holding the camera straight enough, but I was lopsided. I have scoliosis and lean to the right a bit and I seem unable to figure out how to compensate for it when holding a camera.
    My sympathy on the migraine.

  34. Ice Swimmer says

    Giliell @ 48

    Concurring voyager on the migraine.

    Voyager @ 51

    I wonder if there are spirit levels for cameras, also pretty much all smartphones have acceleration sensors (which can tell you which way is down when one isn’t in accelerating motion). I should check if my phone’s camera app could be set to use the sensors to indicate the angle of the phone.

  35. Nightjar says

    Ice Swimmer @ 52,

    There are spirit levels for cameras, they go in the hot shoe instead of the external flash. I don’t have one, but my tripod has a built-in spirit level. I confess I never pay much attention to it. :)

  36. voyager says

    Ice Swimmer @ 52,
    A spirit level is a great idea. It would probably help for many of the shots I take. Might even help me train myself to learn where straight is. Thanks.
    Nightjar @53
    I have a level on my tripod too, but I seldom use the damn thing because I mostly have Jack with me and need to keep one eye and one hand free. Sometimes I have to shoot one handed because I’m holding his leash. When we’re on trails its better because he can be off leash, but a level on my hot shoe might just do the trick. I’m going to look into that. Thanks.

  37. voyager says

    It isn’t stressful. I’m enjoying doing this, but mornings have been difficult lately so sometimes my days are starting a bit later.
    I’m also a bit frustrated by not being able to write the way I want to. I have some ideas for posts, but fibro fog (from what you write I think it’s akin to chemobrain) has been plaguing me lately. Next week we’ll be travelling and hopefully a day or two after arrival I’ll be able to think more clearly. Jack’s Walk is going seaside.

  38. StevoR says

    Long lunar eclipse tonight / this morn which will hopefully be well worth seeing and hopefully people will have clear skies for :

    & no, its not necessarily a”Blood Moon” or needing any over-hyping -- it is special enough for what it is, a neat natural astronomical event, as that link above explains.

    For those hoping to photograph this (or any other really) lunar eclipse there are some tips here :

    (Free despite that online paper often having things behind a paywall.)

    Plus, if it is cloudy there’s also the option to view it online although not quite the same experience I know as thsi space dot com link notes :

    Incidentally tonight Mars is at its opposition (closest to Earth, brightest, in sky all night) which is also worth noting and veiwing although currently a planet wide duststorm is raging and obscuring a lot of its features.

    Hope these links are interesting and helpful for folks here and wishing y’all clear skies.

  39. says

    We’ve got a new family member. Fleckchen (Patches). The (lucky?) boy has an irregular (but damn cute) fur colour and is therefore not suitable for breeding.
    He’s currently still separated from Molli because he needs to be neutered first.
    #1 is hoping for an accident.

  40. Ice Swimmer says

    Thanks for the heads up, lumipuna. It’s a beautiful night, but so far, the clouds are hanging in the way. Still looking south of southeast.

  41. Ice Swimmer says

    The moon can be seen through the clouds around midnight (Potato time with dill).

  42. says

    Woke up early enough at 35 Degrees South and managed to get some blurry shots of the orange blob before it slunk off behind the trees to the west. Beautifully clear skies and warm, a worry for the middle of winter.

  43. Nightjar says

    Gah. Focus was indeed guesswork, and it turns out I only got it right after the blood moon. So I have a few blood moon shots that are out of focus, and a few good shots of what is basically not that different from a typical crescent moon. Took me the whole eclipse to realize manual focus should be done through live preview and not through the viewfinder. Duh.

    Oh well. It was pretty anyway.

  44. Nightjar says

    voyager @ 54,

    I only use the tripod with the telephoto lens, 2 kg is a bit too much for me to handheld properly. Although with birds I’m not the kind of person to sit in a hide for hours, I’m always moving, so I end up using it more as an improvised monopod. I probably should get a real monopod, now that I think of it…

  45. Ice Swimmer says

    Me and my phone weren’t up to the task of photographing the moon shining through the clouds. With naked eye it was actually quite dramatic and ominous looking, but I couldn’t get anything worth showing. Everything is grainy and mushy.

  46. voyager says

    A monopod! Why didn’t I think of that? I might be able to manage with one of those. :D (also, I’m still only wishing for a telephoto lens)
    Congratulations! I’m looking forward to Fleckshun’s baby pictures.

  47. says

    So. Today morning I have checked the weather forecast. No rain warning there. I went to paint the roof. An hour after I finished a storm and a deluge came in.

    All the work and pain down the drain.

    Fuck. And I had a foul mood this weekend from the beginning.

  48. jazzlet says

    Oh Charly how infuriating.

    It’s ‘changeable’ here, between blue skies, grey skies and pouring, torrenting rain with the odd bit of thunder, but no obvious lightening. Still warm, though not as hot as previously.

  49. Ice Swimmer says

    Charly @ 69

    I’d be cursing, loudly, as well.

    There was 10 % probability of rain here and that was probability enough for there to be rain, at least a few km:s from my place, where my friend lives. He just had to haul his laundry inside from the balcony.

  50. jazzlet says

    After last night’s over cast sky with no view of the moon, tonight it is beautifully clear. Uff.

  51. Ice Swimmer says

    Today was a nice day. I like swimming, but I’m not very fond of being at beach, in the sun otherwise. My friend and me, we went to this small lake that’s on a big hill or the edge of an area that’s at higher elevation, surrounded by cliffs (no, not a caldera AFAIK). The shores were mostly rock or cliffs and it was quite deep even close to the shore. The lake is surrounded by a nature preserve.

    There have been rather nasty blue-green algae blooms in both lakes and the sea in Finland, due to the hot and sunny weather and the amount of phosphates (from fertilizers, municipal waste water and other pollution) in the waters.

    The water in the lake was clean and a bit cooler than sea water is currently. I think much of the water in the lake comes from direct rain over the lake and from natural springs in the lakes. The terrain around the lake was rocky and sandy (the path to the area near the jetty from which we could go swimming was quite challenging, rocky terrain and tree roots), pine trees growing right next to the lake.

    That all meant that there was some protection from direct sunlight and for a public swimming place it was a relatively quiet and calm environment. The biggest noise was kids jumping to the water from the jetty, there were no power boats or jet skis, just one inflatable boat in the whole lake at the time.

    I didn’t take any photos. There were at least some scantily clad people on all the cliffs around the lake, and to be honest, I was quite preoccupied by swimming and chatting.

  52. voyager says

    Ice Swimmer,
    It sounds like a wonderful place and a good day. Who cares about photos…sometimes a camera just takes you out of the moment and puts something between you and the experience.

  53. says

    WE returned from Mr’s brother’s wedding, which was probably the most heterosexual gay wedding I’ve ever seen, only missing the three tier cake. But that’s what they wanted and therefore it was good.
    Also, catholic nuns seem to be a lot cooler than you give them credit for, because they had no problem hosting it.
    But I’m tired as fuck because I’m no longer used to dancing until 2:30.

  54. rq says

    Ah, shit, Charly, unco-operative weather is the worst. :(

    Here’s a song for all the moon photos.

    Ice Swimmer
    The algae blooms have become an issue here, as well -- several beaches in the Bay of Riga were closed down (well, they had their blue flag revoked) due to the algae, but I know people were going ahead and swimming in it anyway.
    The river, thankfully, is still free from it, we spent a nice time Saturday afternoon just sitting in the water (warm but cooler than the air).

    Yesterday morning promised rain -- well, we had rain… for about ten minutes. The clouds remained, though, so I was all set for an oppressive, heavy, overcast day (it was surprisingly dark), which… if I move slowly, like a lizard in winter, I can manage. Then the sun came out shortly after noon, and it was like a fucking hammer. Today -- more of the same, ‘cept I’m in the city.
    It’s going to be so much worse by the time evening rolls around…

  55. StevoR says

    News just in :

    Pope Francis has accepted the resignation of Adelaide Archbishop Philip Wilson — the most senior Catholic in the world to be convicted of concealing child sex abuse. .. (snip) .. In May, Wilson was found guilty of covering up the abuse of children between 2004 and 2006 at the hands of paedophile priest Jim Fletcher in the 1970s. Fletcher died in prison in 2006.

    In a statement, the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference said Wilson had “decided that his conviction means he can no longer continue as Archbishop because to do so would continue to cause pain and distress to many, especially to survivors and also in the Archdiocese of Adelaide”.

    Taken, well, far far too long and he should have been sacked not allowed to resign.

    Ex-Archbishop Wilson also tried to get out of being tried and get himself an (even!) lighter sentence by claiming to be ill with Alzheimers so clearly he shouldn’t have been in any high office anyhow. Staggered that he didn’t go sooner and disgusting really. How it took him that long todecide and why he wasn’t just sacked is .. I don’t even …

  56. StevoR says

    Fuck cancer thirded by me.


    A few items of possible interest that may have gone under the radar :

    Seems Mars may have too little carbon dioxide to terraform -- certainly with our current technology.

    Thinking Mars it’s currently at about its best and brightest and closest ever in our skies :

    and will continue to outshine Jupiter until the 7th September although will fade soon from its current peak. I gather the planetary dust storm there is clearing now too.

    Plus :

    the ecological impact of Trump’s wall will be awful if the wretched thing is ever built which thankfully I think is very unlikely. Also first time I’ve heard of the jaguarundi. Quite a cool medium sized cat!

  57. jazzlet says

    Fuck cancer fourthed.

    I’d never heard of the jaguarundi either, distinctive little beasts. I had wondered about the ecological impact of the wall, not that it’s ecological effects would stop the likes of trump.

  58. gobi's sockpuppet's meatpuppet says

    Fuck cancer to infinity.
    It has taken most of my family.
    Jaguarundi does sound like a secret order of jaguars…
    I bet they have a secret Jaguarundi paw shake

  59. says

    For those who are interested in the Hugo Awards: This year’s nominees include an Ohkay Owingeh Pueblo/African-America woman named Rebecca Roanhorse, who is up for both the John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer, and the Hugo for Best Short Story. Her BSS nominee, Welcome to Your Authentic Indian Experience, involves virtual-reality VIsion Quests, and is about questions of identity and cultural appropriation.

  60. says

    Hm… there’s supposed to be a trademark symbol at the end of the title. Not sure why the blog software felt like excising that glyph.

  61. says

    Ahhhhh, dealing with bureaucracy…
    It’s not just that they are annoying, they’re also incompetent.
    Traditionally, German teachers have tenure, which has some advantages. One of them is that you don’t get a regular pension for which you and your employer paid some 10% each every month, but a state pension for which you don’t have to pay during your working days. Now, for the time of the training I was “tenured for a limited time”, but now that it’s over I’m a regular peasant again and they sent me a letter asking if I was planning to apply for a tenure position again within the next 2 years. If not they would pay into the regular pension fund.
    The information leaflet said “if you’re planning to and if it’s realistic that you get a tenure position again”, so I ticked the “no”, because even if I got a tenure track position, I’ve been officially told that fat people don’t get tenure.
    Today a lady called and asked if that was correct, because I wanted a tenure track position, and that was the most important. I quoted their own letter to her and she was like “oh, then I got to talk to my colleague again, because those things together don’t make sense…

  62. says

    I’ve been officially told that fat people don’t get tenure.

    WTF? How is that legal?

    I must say that I am getting more and more pissed off at corporate work culture. Dead horse riding seems to be way to popular for my tastes. I think that getting the sack with semi-decent sewerance package might be actually a good thing.

  63. says

    WTF? How is that legal?

    Because fat people are disgusting.
    The official reasoning is that tenured people are always entitled to pay, even if they get very sick and can no longer work and because fat people are too much a risk of becoming seriously sick, it’s justified discrimination.
    Of course, the whole fuck is unscientific and discriminating as fuck, but I’ve decided that I have no resources to be upset about it. When I had the health check before the “tenured for a limited time” thing I got a leaflet about fat people and tenured which basically claimed that fat people are just unable to cope with their lives and simply need to stop being fat. The doctor who informed me about these issues (one of those bony people who probably couldn’t get fat if she wanted to) tried to be sympathetic and told me about her sister in law who’s been struggling with diets for the last 20 years and all I could think was “and that’s what you think is healthy? Obsessing over your weight for 20 years? Maybe instead you should tell your sister in law to get some exercise, eat a healthy diet and be happy at whatever size”, but I didn’t say anything.
    I can still get a normal unlimited contract as an ordinary employee.
    Of course, once you get tenure you can grow as fat as you want to. Duh, 15 years ago I was skinny, too. And then came the kids and left every single pound on my ribs…


    I think that getting the sack with semi-decent sewerance package might be actually a good thing.

    Ein Ende mit Schrecken ist besser als ein Schrecken ohne Ende (An end with some horror is better than horror without end)

  64. lumipuna says

    Whoa. The dew point, or measure of absolute air humidity is about 21 C, which is probably the highest I’ve seen during many years of closely following local weather data. This is forecast to be the summer’s last day when the air temperature gets close to 30 C. Good riddance, I’d say.

  65. Ice Swimmer says


    It’s raining. I just hope that the two kayaks one of the neighbours have on their parking spot (given that there have been flash floods in multiple towns or cities in southern Finland, it’s quite sensible to be prepared 8-) won’t be needed for getting around.

    ETA: The rain stopped.

  66. says

    Ice Swimmer, send the kayaks over, I flooded the cellar.
    Forgot to turn off the water for the front yard last night and the connection usually lightly drips so we got a bucket underneath, only that the bucket didn’t last.
    As a punishment I had to carry the 45 kg door we need to install all by myself so it wouldn’t get soaked.

  67. rq says

    Good riddance, indeed! *highfive*
    We were promised the same -- no more than 27 today, they said! -- and it is 34. But next week, next week…! 20s across the board.
    Let’s hope it sticks.

  68. lumipuna says

    What the what? Temperature actually peaked at 31.5 C today (one of the highest temps this summer and ever), but absolute humidity has gone way down since morning: 13.8 C is lower than it’s been since weeks. I’ll have to try swamp cooling at home tonight.

  69. lumipuna says

    The dew point has fluctuated wildly between 11 and 17 C since the afternoon. I think it depends on small rain showers passing nearby, creating localized high pressure systems in their surroundings.

    I’m going to swim.

  70. dakotagreasemonkey says

    C asked me to post here that she is in hospital, and won’t be able to post for a bit. She does have her Nook tablet, though, so is able to read posts.
    She has a bowel blockage, common with Ostomy patients, and hospital is trying everything short of surgery to get her bowels moving again. She did have her 3rd to last radiation treatment today,
    Hopefully, she will be out of radiation therapy and back home for a little rest by next Wednesday.
    Thanks for your support, it means the world to her.

  71. dakotagreasemonkey says

    That’s my hope, too. They have already made a small bit of progress, and she does feel better,

  72. Ice Swimmer says

    Thank you, dakotagreasemonkey!

    I wish her speedy and as painless as possible recovery!

  73. rq says

    Thank you for the update, dakotagreasemonkey! I hope the doctors are successful, and here’s to Wednesday arriving soon! ♥

  74. Nightjar says

    Thank you so much for the update, dakotagreasemonkey. Hoping Wednesday arrives soon and there are no further postponements or setbacks. She’s had enough of that already. Best wishes for you both.

  75. Nightjar says

    So, it turns out that if you manage to catch a cold (or whatever this is) a few days before a heat wave, your body’s temperature perception will be all messed up and you won’t care at all that it’s over 40ºC outside, you’ll feel fine. On the other hand you’ll feel the need to wear a coat inside air conditioned buildings, leading everyone to give you the weirdest looks.

    Ah, the unforeseen consequences of bizarre weather. Well, at least this heat wave is completely passing me by. It’s 22 pm and it’s 28ºC outside. Just means I don’t need a blanket. *shrug*

  76. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Thanks for the update. Hope things go well enough to get through this phase of the treatment. IIRC, a few weeks of R&R are in the offing.

  77. Nightjar says

    Me @111,

    22 pm

    I blame the headache. You know what I mean. *wanders off to bed*

  78. says

    Yay! Yesterday I succesfully negotiated replacing one of the old window nets with a new one. An extremely frustrating endeavor. First I tried to build one from scratch. I failed, because we have atypical windows and I forgot about that. After over two hours of extremely frustrating work I had to toss the result on the scrap pile. In my overheated, tired and sleep-deprived state I lost my temper and bent the damn thing out of shape. I wish the heat did not affect my mood so strongly.

    So I went and bought a kit for (urinating dog) 80,-€ (urinating dog, urinating dog, urinating dog). I must compliment the manufacturer, it is constructed really well and it all went smoothly right until the last point, where its intended mode of fixing in the window clashed with the atypical construction of our effing windows. So I have spent 2 hours annealing, bending, drilling, quenching and tempering four tiny pieces of stainless steel so I can actually use the damn thing.

    I need to replace the nets in five more windows. I am not looking forward to that, I hope to find a way for less labour intensive modification of using these damned expensive things.

    But the best thing is, the weather cooled for this one night finally, so I got enough sleep today. Hooray, the foul mood is gone. Until next heat wave. Tomorrow.


  79. StevoR says

    Hope isn’t lost.

    It is sometimes fucking hard to find.

    Sometimes I feel (metaphorically) like a porcelain vase chucked inside a hessian bag and whacked repeatedly with a cricket bat.

    There is so much evil, awful, unfair, terrible, shit going on in the world. And those words are an understatement beyond words.



    There’s also good going on too. Good people, living their lives well, working on creating good ripples, working on making things better, making the planet better , working on making everyone happier and better off too. There’s lots of those people. They don’t often get much publicity but F knows they are out there and striving and fighting still.

    Know that.

    Be comforted by that.

    Be that. As I know so many of you here are & respect and rate you for being FWIW.

    We ain’t alone and we cannot and will not give up and surrender to the bullying douchecanoes out there.

    There are good people in the world, there is much worth fighting for and saving in the world. And I for one, ain’t giving up yet however broken I & you and everyone and anyone may be.

  80. StevoR says

    .. & I have a hell of a sheltered and fortunate life compared to most people here and I know that.

    How a lot of others cope I really don’t know except that they have to and do.

    Respect and solidarity (that old slogan /word/truth) to them & y’all & thankyou.

  81. jazzlet says

    Blackberries and blueberries picked in the garden, warm from the sun on my (late) breakfast muesli. Small pleasures.

  82. rq says

    I got a stack of giant zucchini and summer squash from a friend today. Oh whatever shall I do?

  83. rq says

    I’m all out of nukes after seeing pictures of those peas in Charly’s otherwise perfect recipe for shrimp.

  84. lumipuna says

    In northern areas, the yield of heat-loving vegetables such as summer squash is highly unpredictable, both in professional and hobby gardens. This year, everybody gets a big stack of squash, while many other vegetables have grown poorly in hot and dry weather.

    I’m looking forward to Finnish watermelon and sweet corn -- they should arrive in stores any day now.

  85. says


    I’m all out of nukes after seeing pictures of those peas in Charly’s otherwise perfect recipe for shrimp.

    Ouch. What have you got against green peas (apart from nukes)?
    I quite like sweet green peas in most of my vegetable mixes.

  86. rq says

    The only peas I like are fresh peas from the pod, eaten raw. Best! But I’ve had too much contact with surprise canned peas in too many otherwise delicious dishes that I have declared vendetta against the whole strain of nitrogen fixers. Pea flowers, on the other hand, are lovely.

  87. voyager says

    Hooray! I finally have the internet! I ran out of data on my phone 2 days ago and it is literally impossible to get any kind of internet service here on the weekends.

  88. Ice Swimmer says

    Can you see the video in this? It’s an Ural owl bathing in a brook in summer night/very early in the morning. The article states that owls bathe to get clean and in order to get rid of parasites.

    Being nocturnal, the owls aren’t that much affected by the hot weather, but the low numbers of voles mean that they suffer from a lack of food. Vole populations grow and shrink cyclically and the wet autumn and harsh winter killed a lot of voles.

  89. Ice Swimmer says

    Thanks, Lofty and chigau. If you can see the video from your countries, then the Yle Areena* (the net broadcasting site of Yle) should be visible pretty much everywhere apart from videos/broadcasts that are restricted for copyright reasons.

    BTW, according to the article, the bath of the owl lasted almost an hour.
    * = Yle (Finnish Broadcasting Company, state-owned) has taken to using the Areena for the embedded videos in the news articles at their site.

  90. gobi's sockpuppet's meatpuppet says

    Hello rq -- me too :(
    it is something I have seen far too many times

  91. gobi's sockpuppet's meatpuppet says

    and, Giliell, I am both sorry and glad you were the one to pass on the news -- thank you

  92. rq says

    Hello, gobi. Too many times, and so unfair. I had some photos I wanted to share with her. :(
    (Yes, thank you, Giliell.)

  93. Nightjar says

    Yes, Giliell, thank you. Never easy to pass on this kind of news. It’s still so difficult to believe she will never be back here again.


    I had some photos I wanted to share with her. :(

    Me too. I had so many photos in a folder, waiting for her to get better. :(

  94. Ice Swimmer says

    Thank you, Giliell. Thirding rq and Nightjar on photos with the difference that I somehow couldn’t find the words for the texts accompanying the pictures while Caine was in the hospital.

  95. Raucous Indignation says

    I have photos of a tree I was going to submit. It’s one of my aged apple trees that have died. I haven’t removed it yet. Now I am just sad. I lost a friend in the real world to rectal cancer a few years ago, My friend was only 41 y/o.

  96. rq says

    Last night, I realized it was dark enough to see a huge array of stars (winter is coming) and firstly, the meteors were out, but secondly -- I hadn’t seen the Milky Way for months, and there it was, laid across the sky. I looked up for a long, long time.

  97. Ice Swimmer says

    rq @ 141

    You had clear skies? We had clouds and occasional proper weather (ie rain) on Friday here, some degrees north of your place. Starry nights are wonderful.

    I actually loved swimming in under the mostly overcast skies, the water is somewhat more refreshing at 22 °C and the waves were gentle. I did have a scare when my toes started to give indications of cramping, but was able to get out of the water and one egg with some salt restored my electrolytes balance and there were no further muscle problems. I hadn’t slept enough the night before, because I had reserved the laundry for 8-10 am and had to wake up for it, so that may have been a factor.

    Life must go on. Of the lives going on, I’m best qualified (and a bit awkward) to talk about mine. My life is on a bit more sure footing now that I the powers that be decided that getting a Master’s degree in Electrical Engineering will significantly improve my employment prospects and they’ll let me be a student while on unemployment benefits.

  98. Ice Swimmer says

    To clarify: By “Life must go on.”, I didn’t mean that it’s wrong to grieve quietly or honour the memories about her with silence. It isn’t. But we’ve had a community and I would like there to be a community of some kind also in the future.

  99. lumipuna says

    I often considered spamming more of my favorite YouTube music in Caine’s email (the last time was a year ago) but didn’t want to hog too much attention when there was clearly no shortage of music supply.

    This song (Korppi/Raven) by Värttinä always made me think of Caine, for reasons that may or not be founded in her actual personality.

    The top comment has the lyrics and a (fancy, not very literally accurate) translation.

  100. rq says

    I really want for this blog to go on in some incarnation, too. You all and this place are very important to me, have been a relief and a comfort and a discovery.

    Ice Swimmer
    We had clear skies last night but all of today has been heavily overcast and now it is finally and properly raining.

  101. Ice Swimmer says

    lumipuna @ 144

    There’s something there, but I can’t put it in words.

    rq @ 145

    Tomorrow there should be thunder here. We’ll see and hear. Today was partly sunny and partly cloudy and the temperatures have been nice, at long last.

  102. Nightjar says

    Over here we are finally having some kind of summer, at least during the day. Nights are still too cold and mornings too cloudy for summer. But at least that is keeping the forest fires at bay, so it’s good.

    Yesterday and today a hummingbird hawk-moth showed up on my zinnias and I think I got the best hummingbird hawk-moth shots of my life. I wish I could share them with Caine. I was thinking of her every time I pressed the shutter button.

    I think I’m going to plant a tree or a shrub in her memory. I’m still trying to decide the place and the species.

  103. says

    @Nightjar, I do not know what kind of shrubbery fares well in your place, but in Caine’s memory I would plant something thorny but with plentiful and colorful blossoms and lots of fruit for birds to eat in the autumn. LIke Crataegus or Berberis, or the classsic -- a briar rose.

    I would much like this community, and this blog, to continue. But we must give some times to things to sort out and settle before proceeding.

  104. rq says

    I’m going to keep a small collection of shareable pictures, just because. You never know.

    After yesyerday’s rain, it is again sunny and windy… But well below 30 degrees, and it is lovely!

  105. Ice Swimmer says

    It rained on Sunday here, a bit, but after that, no rain, but it was cloudy enough that I didn’t try to go to the dinosaur watching tower to see the Perseids (besides, I was tired after baking and then sauna and swimming).

    The temperatures are lovely indeed, about 20° C.

    Charly, yes, I can see it’s better to do things properly, in a calm state of mind and with all the relevant people on board/consenting in one way or the other (my guess and in no particular order: You, Voyager. Giliell, Rick and PZ+FTB folks).

  106. Nightjar says

    Charly, thank you for the helpful suggestions. I agree and I had considered Crataegus, but it grows wild all over the place here. Berberis is much rarer, although it should fare well here too. That’s a good idea and I hadn’t thought of it, so thanks.

  107. Raucous Indignation says

    I agree with all of you. I’d like Affinity to go forward as well. Whether under the current name, or as a new blog, an Affinity II? It’s a big ask from me because I know I won’t be able to offer any real time to help make it real. Only moral support, as moral as I can manage anyway.

  108. chigau (違う) says

    I would very much like this space to continue.
    That will depend on FtB PowersThatBe and the current co-bloggers.
    On a related topic:
    The lawn could use water,
    I could turn on the lawn-sprinkler but there is a bunny right in the path.
    What should I do?

  109. lumipuna says

    Chigau: Is that a philosophical trolley problem?

    I’d like some heavy rain even if it meant soaking all the feral rabbits living around here. It’s for their own good, to stimulate some late-season grass growth.

  110. says

    @chigau, this is a moral no-lemma. The bunny won’t mind the sprinkle much, if it is as hot at yours place as it was lately here, it might even enjoy it.

  111. rq says

    I say sprinkle away! We had a starling farm back in June the Superdry due to evening sprinkling, they loved it. Bunnykins will, too.
    By the way, lumipuna, I have your rain. Where should I send the leftovers?

  112. Ice Swimmer says

    rq @ 156

    It seems that Estonians in Hiiumaa, Läänemaa, western part of Harjumaa and Raplamaa are enjoying the leftovers now.

  113. rq says

    Ice Swimmer
    I hope the Estonians pass it on to you, I told them they can’t have it all.

    I’m loving these highs of 23 to 25 or so. That just means that the roses, crying out for attention, might finally get deweeded again.

  114. lumipuna says

    I’m barely able to work & feel normal now that the temperatures are close to seasonal average, about 15 C at night and 20 C at day. Still no rain, and the wilting of vegetation is somewhat depressing.

  115. chigau (違う) says

    The bunny was in the path of the sprinkler but I turned it on, anyway.
    Bunny did not care.
    Now I know.

  116. chigau (違う) says

    This afternoon I just walked up to the faucet and turned it on.
    Turned around and saw I was watering a deer.
    She seemed OK with it.

  117. Raucous Indignation says

    I am going to plant a tree in Caine’s honor. Does anyone have any suggestions about what kind. I already planted two giant sequoia and three dawn redwoods a couple of years ago. Would she want something gigantic but out of place East of the Rockies, or something less grand but native to the Hudson Valley?

  118. lumipuna says

    I’ve been mass harvesting dry saskatoon berries. Normally I’d freeze the berries because it’s much easier than oven-drying, and preserves the quality better. Now the berries are already sun-dried on the bushes, and there’s lots of them left late into the season because the local birds and other people don’t seem to be interested in dry berries.

    (The bushes are ornamentals in my neighborhood public park, not officially for harvest, but who wants to look at rotting berries in the autumn?)

    Also the geese have arrived. They must be disappointed to find vast stretches of sun-scorched earth on their migration route.

  119. Ice Swimmer says

    lumipuna @ 164

    The drought’s been out of control this summer. Today it almost rained in downtown Helsinki.

    Your post reminded me that I should go and refill the wildlife drinking vessels (actually plastic bucket lids). I haven’t seen anything bigger than a wasp drinking from them, but who knows.

  120. says

    The drought here is terrifying. I really fear for the future. If this goes on for more years, we are screwed. The ground waters are at 50% or lower already. Some rivers dried up.
    I only have enough water to water my plants because I collected about 6 cubic meters during rain. I am down to last 1 cubic meter now, if no rain comes within a month I am seriously screwed. And current prognosis is -- no rain until end of September.

  121. Ice Swimmer says

    Here ground water levels are a bit above average at large groundwater aquifers and below average at smaller ones, but the situation isn’t yet as bad as it was 2002-3. Last autumn was incredibly wet and the winter was snowy and that may have some effect still. There’s quite a lot of variation, some places have been more and some places less lucky.

  122. says

    35 Degrees South is still in winter of course, rain here has been down 60% but still enough for us. Other parts of Australia are suffering badly from drought and bushfires have arrived two months early to New South Wales. The climate looks screwed.

  123. Onamission5 says

    I might presently be located in the one region of this hemisphere that isn’t either on fire or underwater. We’re positively seasonal with our regular summer afternoon showers, it’s winter what we have to worry about. Our seems to go missing on occasion between (less and less frequent) bouts of snow.

    All the talk of wildlife reminds me we had a bear come through the neighborhood a few weeks ago. Big guy, trundled out of the woods across our “lawn” (aka mowed weeds) and down the neighbor’s driveway while our Pyrenees barked her fool head off and the Malamute growled, whined, and attempted to throw himself against the front window panes in a frenzy of bear-hating dogness. We thought he might be after their chickens but it was the feed he wanted. Grabbed himself a bag and dragged it back across our lawn to eat under an apple tree in the patch of long grass between our house and another neighbor’s. When he got bored with eating the feed he tried to help himself to some early apples and that was when we realized he had an injured front paw. :(

    Took me hours to dredge up the courage to retrieve that bag of feed from its place in the tall grass after the bear took himself back to the woods. HOURS. When I finally put on my big girl boots* and went out there, I discovered the bear had been dragging the feed by its bottom and there was a loooong trail of pellets across our yard, across the street, down the neighbor’s drive, ending in a pile at their coop. I scooped as much as I could and retuned the bag to its totally unsecured original location. (insert eye roll here)

    Anyway, that was a very exciting morning in sort-of-suburbia
    *actual boots. it’s tick season

    I miss Caine.

  124. gobi's sockpuppet's meatpuppet says

    We are getting the winter winds up here now (in time for Ekka) -- they are sucking the moisture out of anything that wasn’t already bone dry.
    The static electricity is bad -- I just got sparked from one of the dogs.

  125. jazzlet says

    Gosh, and wise of you to take your time going out!

    I’ve been picking more blackberries. Some of the stands have completely finished fruiting, which is just wrong for August, even the early ones should only just be in full production, most should be just starting. A lot of the stands are producing very small berries this year too, plenty of drupes, but they are small because of the lack of rain, though that will stop now as we’ve had some good downpours, filled up our water butts even. It’s affected our crops too, lots of small potatoes, the onions are small, the garlic pathetic, only the shallots have done really well, many larger than the onions. The beans and peas are cropping, but far less than you’d expect from the size of the plants, we have watered, but it’s just not been enough.

  126. Nightjar says

    So I planted the barberry shrub this morning. It came with a few dead branches that I pruned and also with a few berries that I left on the plant. I can see it from my bedroom’s window and imagine my surprise when in the evening, just hours after planting it, I saw a bird flying off it! I couldn’t see if it was eating the berries or what species of bird it was. Now the shrub needs to grow and it has plenty of space to do so. I will take pictures tomorrow. I miss Caine.



    I’ve been picking more blackberries. Some of the stands have completely finished fruiting, which is just wrong for August, even the early ones should only just be in full production, most should be just starting.

    Climate is upside down, I think we’ve exchanged our summers. I don’t remember a summer as cold as this one. I picked the first blackberries this week, they are just starting, but they should be more advanced by now here. They are behind but not as much as the figs. There should be a lot of figs by now and they are still so small… as if it was June! Every time I look at the fig trees I have to shake my head in disbelief. I don’t know if they will even have time to ripen before autumn comes. Either September/October will be very hot and dry or there will be no figs this year.

  127. Onamission5 says


    Thanks! I was a nervous wreck at first, thinking maybe the bear was just sleeping in the tall grass or something, so I took a broom. Don’t know what on earth I expected a broom would do against a large three legged bear but it’s what I take when I have to shoo smaller wildlife away from risking their lives inside our fence, and force of habit is what it is.

    We passed right on by blackberry season. Blueberry season was short, and wineberry season practically non existent. Also possible that bears helped themselves to all the blackberries before they were fully ripe; it’s been an active summer as far as that goes.

    We planted about an 8 foot tall apple tree this spring. We’re in growing zone of 7. Any guesses as to how long we’ll have to wait before there are apples?


    You had me at figs. I hope the crop is just on delay and you actually get to harvest this year.

  128. says

    Worldcon is almost over—it ends on Monday—and the 2018 Hugo Award ceremony happened, whcih of course means that the 2018 Hugo winners are known.

    Rebecca Roanhorse won both the John W. Campbell Award for new writers, and the Hugo Award for Best Short Story. I won’t pretend that her story was my cup of tea, but I can recognize quality writing when I read it, and she damn well earned her honors.

  129. Nightjar says


    I hope so! I love figs. I have to confess, the image of someone shooing a bear with a broom gave me a laugh. Who knows, maybe he would run away out of puzzlement! :D Or not… waiting a few hours was probably a good idea.


    Temperatures this week are predicted to stay in the 30s. That’s good for the figs and for this damn summer cold I’m still not completely recovered from. Of course what I really need is holidays and a break from the lab’s air conditioning. I don’t know what I was thinking when I decided to take holidays only in September, it still seems so far away.

  130. Ice Swimmer says

    It’s raining here, at last. And it’s the kind of rain that will make a difference if it lasts long enough; not too hard but not just drizzle, but the kind of rain that will be absorbed into the ground.


    About the bear: Quite an experience you had. I’d guess yelling and cussing at the bear and shooing it away with a broom may not have worked. (There’s this video in which an angry Finnish man scares away a bear by yelling at it some choice curses and orders to go away while brandishing a brush.)

    I think it was quite logical for the bear to take the chicken feed. It’s probably easier to eat, with less bones and feathers.