1. jazzlet says

    Thanks. Of course you’ve got lots to learn, inevitable under the circumstances. My contribution to that is -- you may wish to add a link to the previous thread. I want to repeat how grateful I am that you, Charly and Giliell are taking on the job.

  2. says

    Hey folks
    Thanks for opening a new thread, voyager

    Oh dear, one of the “perks” of my new job is that I make my own timetable (not much flexibility with 27 hours spread over 30 hours of school). It’s not something I would wish on my worst enemy. I got to coordinate the needs of 24 kids spread over 7 classes, but i finally came up with something.
    I’m basically waiting for the first person to complain.

  3. says

    @voyager, I hope to sort my PC problems on Wednesday. I screwed up and moved some data from the backup back to the damaged drive (aargh). So my stupidity set me back one day.

    I do not know whether I am able to close comments in topics that I start. I will have to test that. If I can, then future TNETs are my responsibility as agreed, you need then only change the link in the sidebar (that definitively can be only done by an admin).


    @Onamission5 you can expect apples in about two-three years, and depending on how you prune your tree, you can expect a good harvest of apples every second to third year. Apple trees are actually tricky to prune properly, I have seen even seasoned gardeners to do it wrongly. Do not expect apples every year from the same tree.

    My fig trees have recovered magnificently, although I can forget figs this year of course. Unless the warm weather lasts until October. If it does, I could have a few low-quality figs. Should that happen, it would mean we had a mediterannean weather this year. I know already that I will have a few kilos of grapes and we harvested about fifteen kilos of tomatoes, with about twice as much ripening on the plants right now. And over one hundred kilo potatoes. We are set, potato-wise, for the winter. Walnut has gone nuts, as usual, the boughs are hanging to the ground and I have to put up support this week. The same goes for apple tree -- our tiny tree is so weighed by fruit, that I have to support it so it does not break apart. Only plums are not great, due to drought the tree is throwing off a lot of unripe fruit, but it looks still like we will have more than we can eat.

    The warm weather was a boon to the garden overall, but only because I have relatively enough water for trees and veggies from my sewage cleaning plant. All the rain water is used up by pot plants and bonsai trees. The lawn is of course parched, because I do not consider grass to be important enough to waste precious water on it.

  4. voyager says

    Thanks, everyone. The link to the previous thread should work and I’m pretty sure comments are closed on it.
    24 kids with differing special needs is a huge class and making your own schedule doesn’t sound like a “perk” to me. It sounds like a job no-one else wanted to do. I’d be feeling pretty frazzled.

  5. Ice Swimmer says

    Giliell @ 5

    I don’t envy you for the timetable task. How many periods with different timetables are the in the school year at your school? That is, how many timetables do you have to make/year?

  6. Onamission5 says

    @Ice Swimmer:

    When I told the story elseweb, someone posted that video! That was a brown bear, too! They have a more fierce reputation in the States than black bears do as far as potential threats to humans. Mostly our local bears just want to be left alone to eat their chicken feed, apples, and garbage in peace, and so long as you don’t corner them or get between them and their food you’re ok. Still, people shoot them every year for encroaching on human property, and despite that being quite illegal so long as they aren’t actively threatening people or livestock (in addition to the illegality of discharging a firearm in residential areas), nothing is done about it.


    Thank you! We’re planning to slowly turn the otherwise useless front yard into a mini-orchard and this apple tree was the first tiny step towards that goal, but I really have no idea what I’m doing. When I was a kid it was my mom who took care of all the fruit trees; I definitely remember more about gardening than orcharding. We could grow apricots! Plums! It’s kind of exciting. I also want to experiment with stuff like pomegranates or figs which have been hybridized for cold hardiness, Spouse is more traditional in that he’s thinking apples and pears. We already have a third of our front flower beds planted in blueberries.

    @Giliell: That sounds very stressful.

  7. voyager says

    Thanks. Trouble is I don’t know yet what I don’t know.
    Thanks. We’ll figure things out as we go.

  8. kestrel says

    Thank you, Anne, Cranky Cat Lady -- love pillow forts!

    Our orchard is packed with fruit this year, there are even pears, although looks like only about 5 pears, but hey -- better than usual! I’m about to start picking apples for realsies.. I need to store them in the barn for about two weeks before chopping and pressing for cider. Anyone else make cider? It’s a fun time of year. We don’t always get fruit as sometimes our spring is too cold and the blossoms freeze, but we got lucky this year and the trees are making up for lost time.

    I too made a submission and if I did anything wrong please let me know so I can correct myself and not make the same mistake. I reserve the right to keep making new and more interesting mistakes.

  9. rq says

    *raises hand*
    Do you mean sparkling alcoholic cider or what they sold as cider (basically unfiltered apple juice) back in Ontario?
    We go the apple wine route, usually, and bag any unused juice. Two years ago that was somewhere near 300 litres, which is a bit much for the extended household even out country. This year would have been huge again, except the heat and the drought has ‘ripened’ everything about 2 months early. Early apples should be falling end of August, not since July… And the walnut, usually dropping fruit in October, is already doing so now.
    We have a baby apple tree in the backyard, had about 10 beautiful unblemished apples, a delicious variety… And the dog ate them: dearest Ronja smacked them off with her paw, chewed them up, and left them all over the backyard. I has sads.

  10. Nightjar says

    Thanks for the new TNET, voyager, and thank you, Anne, for setting up the pillow fort and the pile of hugs. *throws more hugs into the pile*

    So sorry about the apples, rq, that’s really sad. I hope the apple tree grows fast and past Ronja’s reaching range.


    On the subject of fruit trees, I don’t know if what we have could be called an orchard. Side yard is packed with everything from flowers to fruit trees all mixed together and with bird and chicken aviaries in between. Old trees we eat fruit from every year: peach, pear, persimmon, plum, damson, cherimoya (doing surprisingly well!) and tangelo. Trees recently planted: pomegranate, nectarine (first fruits this year!), fig (very young, planted this year) and pitanga (not doing that well as far as I can tell). That’s the side yard. Then we have a property 500 m from the house with more fruit trees, and that’s where the big fig tree is, together with more plums and persimmons, many citrus trees, two loquat trees and other younger trees, the most exotic being an Acca sellowiana. Oh and my favourite, a lemon tree with a clementine-bearing branch! I actually remember when my grandfather did that, he was so proud of that tree. He taught me how to graft, but I haven’t practised nearly enough.

  11. Nightjar says

    Oh how could I forget the guava tree? I am forever surprised by how well it does here, packed with fruit every year. Of course the guavas are tiny and don’t taste like the “real” guavas grown in tropical regions, but I love them anyway (and so do all the local birds, it seems).

  12. kestrel says

    @rq: I guess it would be the unfiltered apple juice although I do usually ferment some. There is typically a lot… the way our press and grinder works we can make about 50 gallons/189.271 liters in an afternoon. Our friends bring over their apples too and we make a sort of neighborhood party out of it: I think this year one neighbor will bring his drums, one his guitars and bass, and of course we have enough musical instruments to open up a music store, so there will be music and song. We try to do most everyone else’s apples on that day, and our own, we go through as we can. But when we run out of the neighbor’s apples to press, there are always STILL MORE of ours…

    @Nightjar WOW! You have some amazing fruit trees! Oh, I would so love it if pomegranates would grow here but it gets way too cold both at night and during the winter.

  13. says

    Yay for a good harvest!
    My tomatoes are ripening, the tits are reaping what they sowed, i.e. sunflower seeds. I have brambles (i need to pick them, if only I had time) and I might even get apples. I don#t think I’ll get apples from The Old One, as it is still too overgrown, but I love how the tree is recovering.

  14. rq says

    Wow, your collection of fruit trees…!!
    As for Ronja, well, I guess she just figured someone was growing some balls for her (and to fully satisfy my inner 12-year-old, Giliell, every time you talk about your tits…).

    That sounds like one happy gathering and a lot of fun! We just have the manual press, so it’s usually a two-day slog, after which nobody wants to see any apples for about half the year. Hope it’s a good time this year, too!

  15. Nightjar says

    kestrel, that neighborhood party sounds like a lot of fun! We had an apple tree that died recently, but we’ve never been lucky with apples. It seems it is impossible to harvest any without applying insecticide and we prefer not to do it, so they always ended up falling full of fruit fly larvae. The pears fall too, but not as much.

    I do love the diversity of fruit that can be grown in our climate and I try to take advantage of it. But now I’m getting really worried about its current unreliability, climate change is fucking frightening.

  16. says

    Hooray, I succesfully replaced my damaged HDD drive for a new one and it seems I have managed to salvage most of the data that was not yet backed up too.

  17. jazzlet says

    Well done!

    Gosh that’s an impressive collection.

    That sounds like a lovely day.

    That sounds fiddly and headache inducing, hope you’ve recovered.

  18. Onamission5 says


    Your assortment of fruit bearing trees is quite impressive! Mind if I ask what kind of climate you live in that you can grow such an astonishing variety? We’re officially a mild humid subtropical (Köppen Cfa) with a long growing season but unlike some of our southernmost neighbor states winter temps can regularly reach well below freezing so citrus generally doesn’t fare well if it’s outdoors year round. Cold hardy non citrus varietals originally grown in Mediterranean climates do alright providing one bothers to cover them if temps plummet. I would be delighted if we could somehow grow clementines-- without having to roll the planters into the garage, that is!

  19. Nightjar says


    I live in a warm-summer Mediterranean climate, Csb. Temperatures here almost never drop below freezing temperature (and when they do it’s only one or two ºC at night and for only a few days), winters are mild and rainy, summers are dry but not too hot as in most Mediterranean regions that are Csa. Some trees need help (watering) during the driest months, but all survive winter easily. Of course everything is getting more extreme now and just plain weird. This year we had a rainy summer, which isn’t normal, but helped with the drought that carried over from last year. Now summer is back to normal (maybe a little too hot) and I hope the dry season lasts a bit more, because figs.

  20. says

    Damn its hot. We’re supposed to get some relief come Friday. This summer will have killed quite a lot of trees because the species growing here are not adapted to dry hot summers.


    Do you mean sparkling alcoholic cider or what they sold as cider (basically unfiltered apple juice) back in Ontario?

    That’s one of the BE/AE differences that seriously confused me. I mean, in Europe you’ve got cider/sidra/cidre all meaning more or less the same, fizzy apple wine, and then you read books by American authors where they give cider to kids or a character is offered cider or wine and they take cider because they don’t tolerate any alcohol.

    Yep, work is stressful. Right now there could be five of me doing the job.

  21. quotetheunquote says

    I don’t have any experience of ordering cider in Europe, but here in Canada, it is more common to come across the unfermented version. Cider with alcohol (a.k.a. “hard cider”) is certainly out there (usually canned, although some places will have it “on tap”), but in my experience, that is not the first thing that comes to mind for most people in my part of Canada.

    As far as I know, the “soft” version differs from “apple juice” only in that it is not clarified; I don’t know the details, but as well as filtering (as rq mentioned above) I believe there is some clarifying agent involved, which assists in getting some of the solids to precipitate out. (?citation needed?) I think some of these agents are animal-derived, making “apple juice” unsuitable for some diets, while “soft” cider is still okay.

    The two drinks (juice and soft cider, I mean) certainly taste vastly different, I can attest to that!


  22. Nightjar says


    I hope things calm down for you eventually. Hopefully it’s just the start?

    I think one of me would be enough right now, problem is I feel like there’s only half of me available. Or less. No holidays until September is killing me.

  23. rq says

    Sympathies. I hope you find a good groove that makes things if not less, at least easier.
    Two of me would be fine, but would it be enough to go around?

    Did not know that about clarified apple juice! And yes, the two taste vastly different -- I much prefer the flavours of ‘soft’ cider, but unfortunately, it’s very seasonal. If the apples pull through, we’ll be putting away some jars for christmas, it’s always a delight to drink warm cider then (choice of un/sweetened, un/flavoured, it’s wonderful).


    I have a few more days of holidays left, then it’s back to work and back to school. On the plus side? The kids have all their school supplies. Still have to get some decent clothes that fit, though -- Middle Child is upset that he’s grown out of all his flamboyantly coloured pants (And seriously, can someone make a colourful clothing line for boys???? Cranberry red cords are impossible to find, neutrals-and-blues are so boring!), and Eldest throws up the pout every time I remind him the torn two-inches-too-short camouflage jeans are not acceptable school attire (they’re not even decoratively torn). And the jeans that fit in April don’t, anymore. I fear this hot sun has had additional effects.

  24. says


    The kids have all their school supplies.
    May I thank you in place of your kids’ teachers? It’s incredible how many people manage not to manage that feat.
    I think some stuff will get better as I get more routine.
    Not only am I new in that place, not knowing the kids very well yet, I’m also new in that area and need to do some serious catching up with being a special ed teacher.
    And I’ll need to distance myself a bit more emotionally because right now I’m still at the “I want to punch people in the face for what they do/did to their kids” stage. Because special ed is somewhere between psychologist, social worker and teacher and you get to hear stories of abuse that make you want to cry.
    And there’s also organising a ton of stuff like token systems and such.
    And some things will get worse before they get better.

  25. rq says

    I just discovered that Youngest has learned to read. I am impressed, since it’s not something we’ve been actually pushing for, he has some speech issues to sort out that have taken priority. Well, onwards!

  26. says

    I had today all neatly planned.

    then I got a call that the four tons of wood dust briquettes that I expected to be delivered sometime next week will be delivered today.

    I ache all over.

    PC works, but now I have of course haul all relevant data back from the (network) backup drive onto the shiny new one before I can meaningfully do anything. It goes faster than the backup went, but still it looks like it takes at least a day. I did not know that I already have nearly 100 GB of photographs.

    Giliell, fingers crossed for your work. It seems like a pretty big thing, I hope you won’t get too overwhelmed. I know you need not me to remind you, but do not forget to take care of yourself too. I am sure it will be frustrating and tiring job, but it also can be very rewarding and satysfying. I loved teaching, even though I do not have the right aptitude for it (short fuse, prone to stress induced burn-out).

  27. jazzlet says

    New jobs are stressful enough without adding in the situations of your pupils. Maybe punch bread dough? Used to work for me, particularly with an odious boss taking the place of the dough as I kneaded it. Anyway as Charly says look after you as much as you can.

  28. voyager says

    4 tons of anything is a lot of work. I’ve no doubt that you’re achey.
    Yeah, it sucks, but a certain emotional distance is necessary in some professions. I never much worked with kids, but it must be especially difficult. I don’t know how you stop being angry at abusive families, though.

  29. says

    Yeah, I know, own oxygen mask. Thing is that the nature of the job kind of prevents me from doing too much. There would need to be 5 of me during school hours to work with the kids individually, and since there is only one I can only work with so many kids in a given day.

    I don’t know how you stop being angry at abusive families, though.

    I’m angry, but I also know that my anger isn’t doing shit. I generally affirm the kids in their right to be angry, but we need to work past it and work on their skills. It’s no use if they fuck up at every opportunity and blame it on their bad childhood.

  30. says

    Sorry guys, it looks like I will not be able to post for a few more days. Today the new HDD simply stopped working and I am scratching my head regarding why this can be and trying to solve the problem. At this moment, I do not have a reliably functioning computer.

  31. Nightjar says

    Sympathies, Charly, I hope you figure out what’s going on with the new HDD, that’s weird.


    I must report that I ate the first figs today. First figs usually come in late July/early August, and full production usually is in late August. If the first figs are coming now, I’m predicting full production in… late September? Who knows.

    This was a terrible year for grapes here, it seems. I can see that in our table grapes, and every vineyard owner I know is complaining as well. It won’t be a good year for wine production, that much is certain.

  32. says

    Good luck with the machine from hell, Charly

    I has envy. I love figs, though I can only eat them once they#ve been heated because of allergies. So I usually bake them with honey, black pepper and goat cheese.

    We got the main part of installing light in the Lego room done. Now for making blackberry muffins.

  33. jazzlet says

    I hope you manage to track down the problem quickly.

    I too have fig envy, though I do have some boughten ones to console me.

    If you are making blackberry muffins you must have found time to pick blackberries or did the kids do it for you?. I’m going out to pick some in a while, from the last stand to come in, most of the rest are completely over, which is crazy for round here. My mother taught me not to pick blackberries after Michealmas, because the devil pisses on them then! Not bad advice as blackberries picked after the end of September here are nearly always watery, but I don’t think there’ll be any to pick by then this year.

  34. says

    I had to run errands this morning, and this time I made myself go to a coffeeshop for breakfast first. I haven’t done that in several weeks because I kept telling myself I didn’t deserve/was too fat/didn’t have time for it. It was just what I needed -- I had iced tea, a lovely bad for me omelette, and a reread of Wintersmith, and I brought half of the food home to share, as is my custom.

    Then I picked up my library holds and bought groceries. I even found at a yardsale a vermin-proof storage container to replace the one the squirrels chewed through. Vermin-proof does not include determined rodents, apparently, especially if there’s birdseed and peanuts to be had. At least they keep ants and moths out, if the squirrels haven’t chewed a hole through the lid. Tupperware isn’t squirrel-proof either, as we discovered when one of them dragged the container out of the shed and chewed it open to get the jays’ peanuts.

    I hope you are all having a good day. I’m going to finish my cup of tea and then see if I can put away more of the supplies from the last art doll project. I may need help, but that’s what daughters are for.

  35. Nightjar says

    Giliell and jazzlet,
    I would gladly share them if I they could somehow survive being mailed. Sadly, I’ll have to keep them all for myself. Oh, the sacrifice. :D


    I too went out to pick blackberries, but mostly came back with photos instead. The problem is that to get to the blackberries, I first have to pass through what I call a “flycatcher hotspot”. Flycatchers are migratory birds that only show up around these parts from late August to early November, and I hadn’t seen them this year yet. Not knowing what to expect, and not wanting to carry all the gear around while picking blackberries, I threw the superzoom point-and-shoot in the bag. Just in case. And there they were. I think I got a few shots worth sharing, but I will try to find some time tomorrow to go there with the 500 mm and see if I can do better.

  36. says

    I just got a notice in the mail that the homeowner’s insurance policy has lapsed because it wasn’t paid on time. The mortgagor was billed on time, but it looks like they just paid it, two weeks past the due date. Of course, both the insurance company and our credit union are closed for the weekend. I left messages, and I’ll be spending Monday sitting by the phone worrying about something bad over which I have no control. Story of my life.

    If anyone wants me, I’ll be in the pillow fort, practicing my primal screaming.

  37. Ice Swimmer says

    Anne @ 43

    I hope things will work out for you and the corporate bureaucracy can be appeased without huge costs.

    I’m tired as hell. There was a student event, the first I’ve been to in ages. It was fun, but also exhausting with, among other things, the crazy pseudo-football, multiball ballgame, sauna _and_ a hot tub and a lot of people shouting in a relatively small space.

  38. says

    Ice Swimmer, thanks. I plan to yell until any penalties are imposed on the credit union, not us, since they’re the ones who screwed up.

    That sounds like an exciting day! The nap corner is nice and quiet, if you want to rest a while.

    Stupid autocorrect “corrected” my correction! The word is mortgagee, dammit.

  39. kestrel says

    @Anne sympathies on the credit union/mortgage/insurance thing. Yikes what a nightmare.

    Also sympathies to Giliell, that must be so difficult but sounds like you are coping as well as possible under the circumstances.

    We started picking apples. So far we have 4, 50-pound feed sacks filled with apples, aging in the barn. That’s not very many but it’s a start. We should be able to do the first pressing in about two weeks or so, and by then should have a lot more apples ready to go. The raspberries are looking very good and I hope in another 2 or 3 weeks we will have a lot. Does anyone use raspberries to make a fermented drink, or a liqueur or cordial or anything? I make plum liqueur with the plums but this will be the first year we have a lot of raspberries.

  40. voyager says

    What a mess! They should give you a warning before canceling your insurance, especially if it’s only 2 weeks late. Sheesh. I’ve been late with a few payments from time to time, but I generally figure I have 30 days before the shit hits the fan. I hope the primal screaming helps, but until it’s sorted out I think I’ll avoid the pillow fort! Good luck.
    I can’t help with a recipe for raspberry cordial, but if you need a hand drinking it just let me know.

  41. says

    Thanks, all. The pillow fort is quiet, don’t worry. I’ve built a special soundproof screaming space, because we all need to from time to time.

    I’ve calmed down, mostly, but I think I’ll be getting into that bottle of wine tonight.

  42. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Had more progress in cleaning out the house. A neighbor has a rummage/yard sale every year, and the proceeds go to the American Cancer Society (cancer runs in the family). Found some cooking stuff in the basement, most still in its original container, that the Redhead had purchased, but not used. Donated those items to the sale. Saw most of it being sold as time went on. Another neighbor may try to sell the remainders in a couple of weeks. Saw ideas for what to donate next year. Might be a good way to get rid of the contents of three jewelry armoires, if I don’t flood the market

  43. says

    Good luck with all that corporate nonsense, Anne
    I’m often wondering at how badly things are run in the USA. If you miss a payment here, you’ll just get a friendly letter assuming that there was just some mishap, a lost letter, and could you please pay within the next 10 days?
    The second one will be less friendly, but still.

    I sent the kids. To be honest I was hoping they’d simply eat them, but no such luck. The ones in our garden are a thorn free variety. Last year a deer ate all the buds, but this year we got plenty.

  44. says

    My in laws have done it again.
    Their washing machine broke and because they are very capable people who don’t need no help they didn’t say anything and didn’t take the time to actually go looking for a replacement (it’s not like they couldn’t have used ours for a couple of days) they talked to Mr’s uncle about what washing machine he has and then went out and leased the fucking thing.
    My mum in law cannot even say how much they’re paying in a month, how long they’re going to pay for it and how much the machine would have cost if they bought it.
    But if you suggest that they’ve made a bad, rushed decision one of them will get angry and the other one will cry.
    Yet in a few months there will be more crying because they are already unable to pay their monthly bills and will then have to ask us again to bail them out. I’d rather have bought them a fucking new washing machine.

  45. jazzlet says

    Oh no, it is so bloody frustrating when people make the same mistakes again and again and again, especially if they expect you to bail them out. Really shitty of them in fact, it’s not as if you’re rolling in spare cash that you have no good use for. Besides even if you were you would have earned it, and you have the kids to buy things for as well as the two of you. All obvious I know, but still …
    I suppose it was kind and considerate of the kids to bring you back some of the blackberries even if you didn’t really want them to. But if you will bring them up to be nice people what can you expect (note intentional victim blaming ;-) )? We bought two lots of blackberries with us from our last garden that were particularly well flavoured, but the rest are self sown, if they taste good we control them, but keep them, if they don’t taste of much or are very small they come out. They have a lot of space to grow through our neighbours hedge. But we also pick blackberries from the field at the bottom of the garden, so we have access to a lot of them. It’s interesting (to us anyway) how the different stands vary in taste and size, partly due to the weather and aspect, but mostly inherant.

    That is ridiculous, you’d certainly get a warning letter here too. Sorry you will have to do shouting and I hope your throat will be up to it after all the screaming. If you’ve finished with the sound proof screaming place I might go there to groan in frustration.

    Raspberries, the simplest way to use up a lot if you are short of time is to make raspberry vinegar, 2 lbs raspberries to 2 english pints (20 floz, so 40 floz here) cider or white wine vinegar, mash raspberries into vinegar in a bowl, cover and leave in a warm place for two weeks, stirring occasionally. Strain through a jelly bag and bottle into sterilised jars. You can add sugar to the strained liquid to make a very refreshing cordial if you like sweet/sour flavours, just heat enough to dissolve the sugar and proceed as for cordials below bearing in mind the jelly neck danger!
    Liqueur, probably just the same way you make plum liqueur -- 2lbs raspberries, 17floz brandy or spirit you prefer, 11 oz sugar. Mash raspberies, put in sterilised jar with the brandy and sugar, seal and leave for at least two months. Strain through a jelly bag/muslin, then drink liqueur and make a seriously boozy jam with the raspberry mush adding an equal weight of sugar to mush and cooking up as normal. The jam won’t set firm, but is great with ice cream, thick cream on good bread etc.
    For cordial you can extract the syrup in two ways 1) Put 2 lbs raspberries in a bowl over a pan of simmering water for one hour, mash occasinally. 2) Whizz 2 lbs of raspberries in a food processor, put in a bowl, cover and leave to stand for 24 hours, this method is reckoned to give a better flavour. Which ever method you use put the puree into a jelly bag and strain for a few hours, squeezing the bag when it has stopped dripping to extract as much liquid as possible. If you want a clear cordial strain again. Measure the juice into a pan and add 13 oz sugar for every 17 floz juice, slowly bring to the boil sirring until the sugar is dissolved, skim off any scum and bottle in sterilised bottles. If you are making a lot you can then sterilise the bottles, if you are going to do that the second method of extraction is better as the 24 hours results in a small amount of fermentation that will break down the pectin in the fruit so you don’t end up with jelly in the neck of your sterislised bottles. Oh yes, I’ve done that! If you have a set up where you can be sure of maintaining a particular heat over time you can safely sterilise at a lower heat for a longer time which will avoid the jelly neck problem, but I didn’t have that when I did it. If you go for the cloudy corial just remember to shake it up before you use it so every one gets a bit of the tasty cloud.
    Our favourite raspberry pie is made in a deep dish so when it’s almost cooked you can add a cream and egg curdle to make custard in the pie as it finishes baking, just gorgeous. *sigh* I miss having lots of raspberries, the ones we put in here have not amounted to much, we’re going to rip them all out this winter and put some new ones in in a different place to see if we can do better.

  46. says

    Of course they are proud of what they’ve done, in this very “look at us, how clever we are” way. *sigh*
    It’s not as bad as it could be. In the end they’ll pay 300 bucks extra. Or we will, I guess.
    It’s not the money. It really isn’t. We’re not poor and we believe in family helping each other out and they’re doing a lot for us by babysitting the kids. It’s just that they’re making the very same mistakes time after time again.

  47. kestrel says

    @jazzlet: That is great! Thank you! It’s true my plum liqueur recipe is very similar, I do add in spices such as cloves and cinnamon. This is perfect! I want to try all of these and I may just get the chance!

    @Nerd: yes, selling jewelry at little at a time seems to work the best, and trying to do it on Etsy or eBay kinda sucks and is sure not worth the hassle in my book. Sounds like you’ve made good progress in cleaning things out but it takes time.

    @Giliell: yeah that is really hard to watch someone do the same ridiculous thing over and over and apparently never learn from it, especially someone in your family. It seems family knows best how to mess with your head. I sometimes tell people that’s the difference between humans and animals: humans do the same thing over and over and expect different results, whereas animals can figure out to try a different strategy. And you would think it would be the other way around…

  48. says

    @Giliell, I feel for you, I know how frustrating dealing with financialy illiterate relatives is.
    I am currently eating grapes for dinner. Freshly harvested grapes definitively taste better than supermarket bought ones, do not let anyone tell you otherwise. I did not expect to harvest grapes mere two years after planitg the vine, but I do, over two kilos already.

    And it looks like we will have a lot of plums, so we bought a small fruit drier.

    My computer is working again, so I am back at “downloading loads of data from the backup onto the hard drive”. What is however frustrating is that I did not identify the problem. I run several diagnostic programs and they found nothing. Then the PC started to work again as if nothing happened.

  49. jazzlet says

    It’s very difficult to help someone who doesn’t want to learn any better.

    We used to have a grape vine in Sheffield, no grapes, but I did use the leaves for stuffing and they were so much better than bought preserved ones. I bet your grapes are gorgeous.

    No being able to identify the problem with the computer would worry me a lot, I’d be constantly wondering when it was going to pop up again. Hope you don’t fret about it.

  50. Nightjar says

    Freshly harvested grapes are wonderful. Ours are, as everything else, lagging behind. I mean the ones that survived this weird weather, of course. Interestingly enough, last year we had a severe drought and lots of delicious grapes. They like dry summers.



    Oh, I love the owl thingy!

  51. StevoR says

    So, here we’ve had our huge political dramas and a near miss with someone best described as horrendously evil Mr Potato-head taking over government this week :

    But meanwhile on Nauru in our concentration camps for refugees who’ve done nothing wrong and pose us no threat :

    WARNING : Confronting content, self-harm, suicide attempts, abuse of minors, extreme real life horror in following links.


    Oh and this has gone barely reported in our media here that I’ve seen. Because priorities and (sarcasm voice) of course it has. (Sarcasm voice.)

    Well Dutton the most evil of three choices didn’t become PM there ‘s that.

    It was only the second most evil and unsuitable guy that won the back-stabbing contest to beat the almost as popular as unpopular opposition leader guy to be PM so .. yay and obscenities here.

  52. StevoR says

    Palate cleanser news items from science where good people actually do remarkable things worth doing and learn astounding, awe-inspiring things :

    No Jurassic Park but fascinating as far as Dino DNA really goes.

    Approaching another asteroid and set to learn some awesome stuff.

    Astonishing science here to precisely nail down the mass, orbit and more for Beta Pictoris b. One of the first proplyds (protoplanetary disks) discovered along with Vega’s & Fomalhaut’s by IRAS back in 1983. From infra-red excesses to knowledge in rather extraordinary detail considering distances and relative luminosities and more about other new-found worlds around brighter, younger, superlative stars.

  53. lumipuna says

    Nightjar -- years ago I visited with my student colleagues a vineyard in Douro valley. It was just this time of year, and it was bizarre to me, as a northerner, how barren the landscape was (for a fruit plantation) and how tortured the vines looked like.

    Fresh figs were indeed delicious. Here in Finland you can rarely find decent fresh figs or table grapes in stores.

  54. says

    Good news! Homeowner’s insurance called, they did get the payment, and there’s no lapse in coverage. I’m still giving the credit union what-for when they call, because I shouldn’t have to be stressed out like this, grrrrr.

    Hugs to all, and there’s fresh tea available.

  55. says

    @Anne, good for the good news! Having been stressed like that over the weekend is not something I would wish on anyone.

    Today I went and bought a new car. I am not happy about having to burn fossil fuels, but I cannot afford any of the electric or hybrid cars and I simply cannot get to work using public transport or on a bicycle. And not only without car I would not get to work, I would not get my parents to their physician appointments either, and as they age and lose mobility, the car becomes more and more a necessity and less and less a luxury.

    I am slighly peeved that they had no colour that I would like on offer, I had to go with one that I really, really do not like. I have chosen it for its visibility (I prefer to be seen from afar when driving and this takes precedence over any aesthetics).

    An intersting thing though -- ever since I am not using public transport to get to work I have never had bronchitis or lung inflamation and I have common colds or flu at a much lower rate than I used to. There is something to that germ theory after all…

    PC is working, I am able to acces my pictures again. Yay.

    I also had to sort and pile up over one cubic meter of wood cuttings near my workshop so I have some fuel at hand for the winter. Did I mention that I ache all over? I did. It is still true. I hope to be able to work on knives at least a few days this vacation, but there are not that many days left anymore, that damn PC problem ate four days of my vacation time :(. Well, at least I am able to repair the damn magic box and need not pay technicians. Silver lining, I guess.

  56. Ice Swimmer says

    Anne @ 64

    Good to hear that things are better.

    Never go between a moose and his food.

    According to the article in the SVT (the public TV broadcaster in Sweden, Swedish Television) web site, the white moose got annoyed with a robot lawnmower that got between him and the apple tree he was about get some apples from in Sysslebäck in the province of Värmland in Svealand/Central Sweden, near the Norwegian border.

    The moose wasn’t afraid of the car of the lady who filmed the video. As for the mower, I’ll invite you to make conclusions. The moose attacked the lawn mower multiple times, took a good look at the lady who was filming him and continued eating the apples.

  57. Ice Swimmer says

    Charly @ 65

    Yay for the working computer.

    I hope sleep will take care of the aching. Over a cubic meter isn’t insignificant. In Finnish we have a word that’s used specifically for one cubic meter pile of firewood logs and by extension more generally for cubic meter*: motti. A one cubic meter (one meter high, one meter wide) of one meter long split logs is “motti halkoja”.
    * = Though kuutio (= cube) is a more often used word for cubic meter for most things other than firewood.

  58. says

    More good news. A nice lady from the credit union who holds our mortgage called. She apologized, and said she’d already fixed the incorrect due date for our insurance so it won’t happen again next year. No yelling required.

    There was a brief panic later this afternoon with some trust changes I’m overseeing for Aged Mum -- a document the attorney wanted that nobody had. After I went through the Binder of All the Documents six or seven times, I concluded that said document was listed only as an option in the boilerplate and had never existed. The attorney was cool with that, phew.

    Elder Daughter arrived today for a visit -- she took the train up and really enjoyed it. The route goes along the coast and over some saltmarshes with birds. That’s my girl.

  59. jazzlet says

    Glad all of the insurance mess is sorted out.
    The document difficulties take me back, when my father died we discovered he had never probated my mother’s will -- she’d died almost thirty years earlier -- she’d left everything, including their house which she owned, to him so it didn’t make much difference day to day. However in order to probate his will we had to do hers first and to do that we had to prove they were married, no marriage certificate to be found. None of us had any idea of where they got married, it was a wartime wedding and while the bride has to live in the place for at least four weeks we didn’t know everywhere they had ived then, but did know that they’d moved around with postings. In the end Mr Jazz managed to find the right local office and get us a certificate, but in some ways it was pure luck he managed it as they had married somewhere none of us had known she’d ever lived.

    Yay for fixed computer!
    I used to have to go down to London every couple of months and you could guarantee I’d come back with a cold, whether it was the train travel or that the bugs in London were just different enough that I didn’t have any immunity I don’t know, but I dont miss that regular cold at all.

    It’s my 58th birthday today, we are off out to eat at Bundobast in Manchester, southern Indan street food and good beer. I shall have a dosa, I adore them and no where very locally does them.

  60. says

    Happy birthday and enjoy your meal.
    It’s been quite a while since I went to Manchester’s curry mile and I do miss it so.

    Yay for sorted out mess. Enjoy your time with both daughters at home.
    Your stick dolls are adorable.

    I feel with you. One day I’ll have to write a ranty post about people who live in cities with infrastructure and working public transport who sneer at people who have to rely on cars.

    First I forgot my breakfast at home
    Work was the usual circus of monkeys on LSD
    Then I went shopping. While standing at tghe check out, I noticed I’d left my money in the car
    So I went back to the car.
    Then I grabbed the wrong trolley.
    Then I forgot my yeast in the trolley.
    But the kid’s tooth extraction went well, so there’s that.

  61. says

    Things are going pretty well today! Yay!

    I drove Elder Daughter around this morning (she doesn’t drive, don’t start with me). She got new sneakers, and a new suitcase because the zipper had broken on hers. It’s purple. I am jealous, I want a purple suitcase, and while I’m wishing, someplace to take it. She’s getting sent to a conference in Canada next spring. So grown up, sniffles.

    Younger Daughter is back in college. Cat was not pleased and spent yesterday looking for her and complaining loudly.

    Hugs everyone, extras are in the basket on the teacart.

  62. Nightjar says

    Happy birthday, jazzlet!


    So I had to anticipate the holidays one week because I’ve been feeling sick again, felt feverish during the weekend and I just don’t have enough energy to do what I had planned this week. Not only is it physically demanding, it requires being in and out of the cold room which I don’t think is a great idea given my current symptoms. I’m not at all happy about this.

  63. says

    Happy birthday, jazzlet. Enjoy it to the max.

    Giliell, looks like one of those days after which I tell to myself “At least I did not forget to pull down my pants in the loo.”. Fingers crossed for a good rest.

  64. Ice Swimmer says

    Nigthjar @ 73

    I’m sorry to hear that. I’ve got a sore throat and a runny nose, because it’s late August (summer holiday season is more or less over, so people have come back to work and school and diseases have started to spread), but it’s nothing like you have.

    The drought is marginally better here in Helsinki area thanks to the little rains, but in Southwestern and Central Finland private wells are getting dry in rural areas. One municipality in Central Finland* is handing out water at the firehouse and residents of the municipality whose wells are dry can reserve the washing machine at the town hall and do their laundry there. According to the article at the Yle (Finnish Broadcasting Company) website, in the municipality of Multia** (population 1600 according to Wikipedia), most of the residents rely on their own wells.

    * = Central Finland is actually almost totally in the southern part of Finland. However, what’s north of it is Northern Finland (Northern Ostrobothnia, Kainuu and Peräpohjola) and north of that, Lapland.
    ** = Multia is in Suomenselkä drainage divide area between the coastal plains of Ostrobothnia and the Finnish Lakeland, which most of the Central Finland is a part of.

  65. Nightjar says

    Ice Swimmer,

    Thanks. I’m sorry about your sore throat, I seem to have escaped that particular symptom this time somehow. It’s “just” the head, the nose and overall fatigue from the low-grade fever of the previous days. But I’m recovering.

    Summer holiday season here is not over yet, while most people take summer holidays in August, the first two weeks of September are still relatively popular. Days are shorter, yes, but beaches are not as crowded, weather is usually still hot but the sun doesn’t burn as much, and for me personally the light is better for photography. Oh, and migratory birds begin to arrive. I really need to recover fast, I have a wedding on Saturday and on Monday I’m traveling over 400 km south. Maybe a few swims in the ocean will cure me. :)

    Droughts are scary. I hope yours goes away soon.

  66. Ice Swimmer says

    Nightjar @ 78

    Going to sauna and swimming made my throat and nose a bit better. Hot and humid air is good at opening the pipes. Good to hear that you’re recovering.

    July is the main month for summer holidays here. People who like to fish may want to have their holiday in September, but otherwise, not very many would here.

    I’m hoping you can have fun at the wedding!

  67. jazzlet says

    I hope you are feling better today and that you are well enough to enjoy the wedding come Saturday.

    Ice Swimmer
    I hope you are better today too

    I hope your aches have gone away.

    I have started making chutney, one called Doverhouse at the moment with Victoria plums, apples, raisins and more. Then damson chutney, then maybe more Doverhouse. Mr Jazz uses chutney instead of butter on his sandwiches so we get through quite a lot. Well on the days he’s not having mrmite and lettuce sandwiches.

  68. says

    I hope everybody’s health is recovering.
    Mr called in sick today, but he’s staying at his flat until tomorrow.

    The idea of a drought in Finland is bizarre, but I guess the problem might also be that you’re probably not prepared for one, because the idea of a drought in Finland is bizarre.
    We’ve been having some rain and you can already see the grass recovering.

    Today I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry in school. Some kids got into a fight and kid A, let’s call him Mohamad, yelled at kid B, let’s call him Firaz, “Go back to your country”, at which point kid C, let’s call him Salih*, shook his head and sighed with all his 11 years old wisdom: “I’m asking myself, what has the world come to?”*

    *All names changed but still reflecting the kids’ ethnic origin.

  69. rq says

    Ugh. Fie, brain weasels, fie. Not everything is personal.


    Pre-elections are upon us, and it will only get worse. Appropriate proverb: “Same crabs, different sack.”


    (One half of the duo Instrumenti, their current popular song about hydroelectric dams here.

  70. says

    Yay, it rained today. 9,7 mm of water. Totally insufficient to battle the drought, but at least I have water for bonsai trees again, so hopefully I will manage.

    Works on the dagger continue at a snail’s pace, because making the chape is the most technologically difficult part and I have found exactly zero information on the internet regarding how to do it.

    And to top it off I am battling depression again. It has not gotten a firm grasp on me, but it looms nefariously over my shoulder and it takes an inrodrinate effort to get started on anything, since everything seems pointless.

  71. jazzlet says

    Huge hugs or whatever is most comforting to you rq and Charly. Depression stinks, I have pretty constant battles with it, the CBT helped, but chronic pain likes to undermine all my efforts.

  72. voyager says

    Hi everyone,
    Sorry I’ve been mostly absent from comments. My brother-in-law’s dog ate part of a carpet and has a bowel obstruction. The only vet is a hour away and we’ve been going daily for 3 days. The vet is trying to push the blockage through. First with barium, then with mashed potato, neither of which has worked yet, but the vet is still hopeful it will. He goes back tomorrow morning and then surgery if still no poop. We’re now at day 5 with almost no food and he’s pretty lethargic. We’re supposed to leave here on Saturday. We have to be in Montreal on Tuesday because my mother-in-law is booked for pre-op tests. And we’re trying to close the house up for the winter, but we’ve had workman here all summer and, and, and….

  73. voyager says

    Happy belated birthday
    I hope you’re continuing to improve
    Ice Swimmer
    I hope you are no worse, and are possibly even better. Sorry to hear about the drought.
    $300.00 extra is a lot, even amortized over a few years. But, I’m sure they think they’re saving money because tomorrow may never come. My mom is exactly the same way.
    Cleaning out someone’s things is a huge task. You want to take time to honour the memories and feel like you’ve given them a good second home.
    I love those twig dolls! I might like to try that if you don’t mind. And I’m glad about the good news on the paperwork front.
    Congratulations about the car. And the computer. Don’t you feel good that you fixed yourself? You seem like a fellow who likes a good challenge.

  74. Ice Swimmer says

    voyager @ 86-7

    Hoping your BiL’s dog can get the carpet out.

    I think I’m about the same or a bit better.

    As for the drought here, I think partly it’s like Giliell said, we’re relying on there being a lot of water here. Also, it’s been quite green with the exception of lawns and some vegetation in marginal places, even when pretty much every crop apart from cucumbers and pumpkins has suffered from too scarce water.

  75. Ice Swimmer says

    Charly @ 84

    It good to hear you got some rain.

    Chape is a somewhat erotic-sounding word. Other languages seem to use quite different words, Ortband in German, doppsko in Swedish (i think doppsko could be translated as dip shoe) and in Finnish the word, at least for puukko sheaths, is kärkihela (tip ferrule). Whatever the name, I can see that making one that will look good, fit well and will not fall off isn’t too easy, however it will be made, from sheet metal, bar stock or by casting from brass/bronze.

    You’ll be the Internet pioneer for blogging about making a rondel dagger scabbard chape.

  76. Nightjar says

    rq and Charly, I hope the brain weasels and looming depression don’t stay with you for long. I’ve been there not that long ago.


    Yikes! I’m so sorry about your brother-in-law’s dog situation, I thought your absence just meant you were enjoying your stay there. I hope the carpet comes out.


    I feel much better today compared with yesterday. But I probably won’t be around much for the next few days, Saturday is the wedding, today and Sunday I have to prepare everything for the trip and Monday is travel day. Hopefully we will be all settled by Tuesday. Maybe I will even get some shareable seaside photos.

  77. Ice Swimmer says

    Concurring with Nightjar about depression. All of you/us with the issues, hoping for the good days being plentiful and bad days being scarce.

  78. jazzlet says

    Yikes indeed, I hope the obstuction has moved, poor boy. Also that closing up the house can happen in time. That’s rather a stressful end to your holiday

    Yay for you feeling better, I hope the wedding and holiday preparations go smoothly.

    I hope everyone else is feeling better or at least not worse.

    We actually have sun, blue skies and fluffy white clouds today after several days of grey.

  79. says

    It never occured to me that chape could sound erotic *scratches head*, however czech word for scabbard is the same word for vagina so there’s that.

    I do like a challenge now and then, but it seems that with this particular thing I swam way out of my depth. I am floundering and I do not seem to be getting anywhere. With the rondel, the first failure at least showed that I am on the right track. With the chape I have three failures so far and I only found three ways how not to do it, whilst not moving an inch towards how to do it. That is exhausting, I am working on the project nearly half a year by now, I would like to finish it and move on to other things. What I do not want is to have another unfinished artwork collecting dust in the attic, there is enough of that already.

    That I had to haul four tons of wood briquetes into the cellar yesterday of course did not help things along either. Heatint with renewable resources has its downsides -- with fossil gass I would only need to turn on a valve, coal gets nowadays delivered in the cellar via conveyor belt, but wood one has to at least carr, and sometimes cut and split as well.

    Car hating rant ahead.

    I picked up the new car today and drove home without problems. I cannot drive a car that I do not own, because I have trouble getting accustomed to cars and.I do not enjoy driving at all. In fact I hate it. But the new model is not so different from the old one that I have owned these last eight years, so there are just a few small things to get used to. But I am a creature of habit and I strongly dislike the new driving shaft’s geometry. It feels wrong in the hand. The same goes for the steering wheel’s surface. In- built bluetooth is a nice touch, one of the few things that I like.

    But the color is shit, I do not like it at all. Why the fuck does everyone insist on making cars dull and dark? I wanted bright green, like the one I had before -- nope, they did not sell too well, that color was scraped. So metallic orange that was previously offered? Nope, those did not sel well too. Light blue? Nope, only dark blue is “cool”.light blue did not sell well… You get the picture. So the only bright colours that are currently available are red, white, metallic grey and metallic blue that are both almost white. And white cars are not too visible either (not only in winter), not to mention that you see every speck of dust on them instantly. I hate ordinary red, so I went for the metallic red. But it is much darker than I thought it would be therefore it is not as visible as I hoped. It sucks having multiple choices when one does not like any of them but must choose nevertheless.

    Well, my mom likes it at least.

  80. says

    Re: renewable energy
    Our pellets get blasted into the silo, so most of the trouble is getting a date and time from the people delivering it.
    Charly, you would hate our car arrangements where Mr and I switch semi regularly for practical reasons.
    But I sympathise with the “feeling wrong”. When our car was in repair I had a rental where the “too small” size of the wheel drove me up the wall.

  81. jazzlet says

    Charly you have my sympathy on the car colours, ours is metallic grey, it’s a very common colour here and has far too little visibility in far too many road conditions. We would have liked a good bright red, but no not in that model.

  82. says

    voyager, thanks, and I would love to see what you come up with! I got into twig dolls from an online class a few years back, but there are tutorials all over the internets. The owl wand was inspired by some other stick dolls I saw on Pinterest.

    We got the official homeowner’s insurance policy paperwork today, yay! Now I just have to worry about some trust stuff I’m wrangling for my Aged Mum.

    I’m behind on reading comments, so hugs and good thoughts to all of you.

  83. chigau (違う) says

    My Aged Mother is now safely in her new digs at a very nice Care Facility.
    Two months of Groundhog Day:
    10 get up, have a bottle of Boost,
    20 get newspapers, go to hospital, sit with AM while she reads newspapers,
    30 have conversion about “people shouldn’t live this long”
    40 return to house, throw stuff away, have something to eat, something to drink,
    50 go to bed,
    60 GOTO 10
    I am not doing this again.

  84. says

    Higs and hugs and everything. Ageing relatives can be a serious stress factor. My BFF is currently struggling with her dad and his holiday plans. Despite there having been very clear agreements like “not while both daughters are on a holiday as well” and “a place specialised in the care of elderly people with slight dementia” and “organised travel” he and his partner booked an ordinary pension while both daughters are away with individual travel and two changes in locations completely unknown to either of them.

    Oh dear
    We just had an appointment with our energy consultant about the calculations of the plumber about the heating. In short, they’re complete bullshit with imaginary walls, wrong numbers and everything.
    Problem is that the people who become plumbers and roofers etc are usually people who do not enjoy academic work much, but this is becoming an ever increasing part of the job.

  85. Ice Swimmer says

    chigau @ 97

    I’m hoping you’ll both have better times now. My warm thoughts and one part of Martinique black rum with one part Sabroso coffee liqueur.

    Giliell @ 100

    Shall you have to redo stuff already done?

  86. lumipuna says

    I recently bought some roaches, and they tasted better than I expected.

    For those unfamiliar, “roach” is, among other things, the English name of a common European freshwater fish, the kind that modern people don’t usually bother to eat. It’s quite small and bony and bland tasting.

    It’s a common bycatch in our coastal fisheries, and larger individuals are sometimes sold for cheap at fishmongers’. I’ve eaten them many times, but the ones I bought last weekend were fatty (It’s the right season) and really fresh. I just gutted them, added some salt inside, and roasted them whole in the oven, then removed the skin/scale armor while eating.

  87. chigau (違う) says

    Thanks, all.
    It is 10:20 and I’m still in bed.
    It’s all windy and horrid outside, I think I’ll stay in bed.

  88. says

    Ice Swimmer
    Thank goodness no.
    The actual work has all been done to specification. But we also need proper documentation. We financed the insulation measures through the “Kreditanstalt für Wiederaufbau”. If you ever heard of the Marshall Plan to rebuild Western Germany lest we decide that socialism might look good, that money is still here. So this bank finances environmentally friendly renovations with low interest credits and subsidies, but you have to do it according to their specifications and document everything.
    And now the documentation is all wrong.

  89. says

    Ah well.
    Today our biggest bully got a dose of his own medicine. The boy he’d been tormenting all day finally hit back and left a small, vulnerable boy. That’s the real tragedy that yes, the cliché about bullies just hiding their own insecurities is often true. It was the first time I could actually communicate with the kid because his arrogance had been literally slapped out of his face.
    While I cannot write the other kid a thank you note, I doubt that he will be in much trouble.

  90. Ice Swimmer says

    Giliell @ 104

    Ouch. Will it be an expensive job to get the documentation correct?

    Giliell @ 105

    Sometimes, justice will come.

  91. Nightjar says

    Hi everyone
    I’m tired, but the trip went well, and so did the wedding… as soon as the church part was over! It was hot as hell and the church looked like it was in the middle of the desert, no trees, no garden, no place to be outside in the shade. I usually wait outside (and I’m never alone in that choice), but this time everyone was forced inside the church. My godfather, who is an atheist but plays music in the local church, spent a while making fun of us people who usually wait outside (although he does too when he’s not playing). When it was time for the communion, someone joked that it was “snack time”, someone suggested that what would be fun was to show up in front of the priest holding a bottle of beer to go with the Host, and someone remarked that if red wine is Christ’s blood, then perhaps beer could be… Everyone giggled. Quietly. Note that no one had started drinking yet, it was 100% alcohol-free, boredom-induced silliness. Just goes to show waiting outside is the right choice for my family’s nonbeliever members…

  92. voyager says

    I expect both boys learned a bit about themselves.
    And good luck with your paperwork. We got into trouble once building a fence. We checked with the city in November, but didn’t actually build it until April by which time the rules had changed. The city said it was our fault for not checking again.
    The wedding sounds like a Monty Python sketch. Outside might be safer, but I’ll bet there’s less comedy.

  93. says

    I once spent a particularly boring communion mass explaining the paintings to the kids. Of course I taught them that Death’s horse in called Binky.

    Ice Swimmer
    The plumber has already been paid for said documentation, so he’s going to move his ass here and correct that shit before we move his ass in front of a judge.
    The annoying thing is that all he had to do was to enter the correct data into a program in order to calculate how much energy we’re losing through walls and windows and stuff and how much energy we therefore need and how the valves and the heating need to be adjusted.
    But the data he entered has very little resemblance to reality. In one case he calculated with an uninsulated concrete wall to the outside when all outside walls are insulated except that this isn’t even an outside wall but the wall we share with our neighbour.

  94. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Ah, the joy of being a senior citizen. Landline rings, not some company/individual I deal with. I suspect a spam call. Sure enough, as they (an actual person) asks for the Redhead. I inform them she’s been dead for 18 mo., and “goodbye”. A reverse phone number check indicates suspected spam. I also reported the number as such.
    While posting this I got another call (recorded, not live) about my credit card account. Seen both accounts online within the last week and no problems. Took me four seconds to hang up.
    I think preying on confused people, as some seniors are, should be subject to severe jail time.

  95. kestrel says

    Nerd, @110: Oh my word I completely concur. WTF is up with these people?! Normally I feel sorry for people who have to have some job or other but not in this instance. Hey, how about behaving like a proper human being and treating others with respect? How hard is that? My mother gets subjected to this same *&^%!!. I admit, I have in the past ripped the phone from her hand and given whoever an earful. It is a subject that really gets me worked up.

    Still picking apples. So far I have picked 800 pounds (about 363 kilos) and it doesn’t even look like I’ve started. Sigh. The plums are not quite ripe yet but any day, I should be able to start picking plums. Yay? And in amazing news, I have found Mysterious and Fantastic Help with my website! I am thrilled beyond measure. I had lost complete control with a series of disasters which included lightning hitting the house and melting my computer, but I have found strange and Unlooked for help and am exceedingly grateful!

  96. rq says

    I have found Mysterious and Fantastic Help with my website!

    Uh, you did remind them that you don’t even have a soul before signing, right? Fine print and all…?
    (I’m glad you’ve found help, I hope it keeps being fantastic and helpful! Can it pick plums, too? ;) )

  97. voyager says

    While I was still working I did presentations to senior’s groups about the many types of elder abuse. Phone scams were always high on the list. Trouble is that many seniors don’t hear well, don’t understand technology and are lonely. A nice person on the phone trying to “ help” them can get a lot of info. In Ontario the police take it seriously, but it’s hard to track down and a lot of seniors don’t report it because they’re embarrassed.
    How lucky….I hope. And congrats on the back breaking good harvest.

  98. kestrel says

    @rq: OH! Oh yes, that _is_ what they wanted and I just assumed… I mean, I thought it was *obvious*… oh my… oh dear… :-) Seriously, though, a super nice Mystery Person offered to help and is doing amazing things. I’m pretty sure they have apple cider and plum liqueur in their future, cajeta as well.

    Maybe I will make some cajeta and submit it as a recipe. I can not possibly be the only person who loves caramel!

    Happy Wednesday, eveyone!

  99. says

    OMG I hate these people. Elderly people aren’t fucking rich and they literally steal the butter off their bread.


    Maybe I will make some cajeta and submit it as a recipe. I can not possibly be the only person who loves caramel!

    Ther IS a Tummy Thursday, just sayin’

  100. jazzlet says

    I don’t know what cajeta is, but I do love caramel and am always interested in recipes.

    I hate the preyers on the old of all sorts. My dad had someone convince him he needed his drive redoing in brick, they did an awful job and charged him three times the going rate. Unfortunately for them oldest brother lives next door to my dad, realised what had happened and went to the bank my dad used, that oldest brother had also used for about fifty years, so when my brother asked the bank manager to put a stop on the check the bank manager did, even though it wasn’t oldest brothers account. The police were called and were thrilled to bits because they really wanted to nail the compay concerned, so all the good guys were happy. But that was pure luck and my dad still had a crappy brick laid drive.

  101. says

    Yeah, my grandpa’s sister once had somebody call claiming to be “her nephew” who is in a “tight spot”. The only reason it didn’t work was that she said “oh why don’t you call your mum in law” and gave him her number. The youngest sister was still clear in the head and told him that a) he isn’t her son in law b) she wasn#t born yesterday and that c) she was going to call the police now.
    My parents recently had somebody claiming to be their neighbour who’d had his wallet stolen in Bordeaux and they were the only phone number he remembered so could they wire him some money?

    Oh gods, another day.
    We’ve got a complete lasting crisis in one class and instead of being able to actively do something, we’re too busy managing catastrophe after catastrophe.

  102. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    The telemarketers make it harder for me to do my transports for a local group that helps senior citizens. I volunteered to drive seniors to their medical appointments. I receive e-mail instructions from the group’s office, and a few days before the transport call the client to arrange the pick-up time. I’m supposed to use *69 prior to the client’s phone number so it appears as “private caller” on caller id, as there have been problems with some clients abusing the phone info. Some telemarketers also come up as “private caller”. Some clients won’t pick up the phone unless they see a name/phone number on caller id. So I leave a message on voice mail, but don’t give out my number (per policy). Sometimes they pick up when I call again. A couple of times the group’s office had to act as an intermediary, or give me permission to call the client without the privacy code.

  103. Ice Swimmer says

    The whole day (also, most of the week) has been new student stuff, both from the University and Student Union. It’s been fun, but I’m no longer 20.

  104. Ice Swimmer says

    Thank you, rq. I’ll be doing my best, so I hope so as well. Finding the balance on studies, student life and hobbies will be of paramount importance, but studies will have to come first.

  105. says

    Happy start of uni, Ice Swimmer
    Going back as a grown as adult was strange, yet also interesting.

    Didn’t come too late. serious, work is damn stressful right now with that one class being a constant problem we’ll have to solve. But solving it will take time and every day kids suffer under the conditions.
    I would also like to see the people who made my life hell the last year and half do my job right now. By Tuesday they would quit…

  106. Ice Swimmer says

    Thank you, Giliell. It is strange indeed and I have a lot of social dynamic to figure out as well as the actual curriculum.

    There’s a goodly amount of academic freedom and a lot of social circles to choose from. Compulsory courses are about one quarter of the degree, another quarter is to be chosen from a list of optional courses, one quarter is the thesis and one quarter is whatever courses I want to take. Clubs range from aikido to whisky and architecture students’ club to traffic engineering students’ club.

  107. Ice Swimmer says

    Giliell @ 122

    Have a nice weekend! You’re doing an important job, you especially deserve one!

  108. lumipuna says

    Ice Swimmer -- Tervetuloa universtaalle*. I’m an adult grad student longtime hanger-on at the Uni of Helsinki.

    * A long-running joke in Finnish academia. The Latin word universitas sounds like Finnish artificial word combination uni + verstas, “sleep factory”**.

    **To get really into inside humor, a sleep research unit at the UH is informally known as Helsinki Sleep Factory. You could also translate uni as “dream”, but only in association with sleep, not like MLK dream.

  109. says

    Sorry guys for not posting anything today, I got sucked into chasing missing money problem in my bookkeeping and I had not much time for anything else. The worst thing is that I did not find the money and although it is not something that could cause me trouble, it pisses me off no end.

  110. rq says

    In a weird way, you’re all making me want to go back to school, too. It’s always been in the plan, but I feel strangely encouraged. Perhaps I will put some action toward the thought, for next year or so.


    First week of school is done, so far so good. No major drama from the kids, yet.

  111. says

    Clubs range from aikido to whisky and architecture students’ club to traffic engineering students’ club.

    I know where I’d go…

    Got a call from #1’s English teacher on Friday. Teachers calling parents who are teachers is probably an understudied but interesting area. I internally checked all the boxes (believe it or not, there ARE entire books about “how to talk to parents”) and then made professional suggestions (“how to deal with kdis who refuse to do their work”).
    I probably left her confused…

    I hope you can sort it out.

  112. Ice Swimmer says

    Charly @ 127

    Concurring Giliell. I would be deeply annoyed as well.

    Giliell @ 129

    Apart from whisky club, there’s also a photography club and an urban gardening club.

    Apart from Universtas, you can play with the Finnish word for university, yliopisto*. From yliopisto, you can get yölipasto** or ylipoisto. Yölipasto would be night chest of drawers (nightstand is yöpöytä (night table) in Finnish) and ylipoisto would mean overdepreciation (depreciation as a bookkeeping term). So, people can say for example: “Mennään lipastolle” (Let’s go to the chest of drawers) to mean “Let’s go to the university”. Lipasto for university is actually quite idiomatic.
    * = Yli- means over- and opisto is derived from “oppia”, to learn and “opettaa”, to teach and it means basically a tertiary school.
    ** = lipasto comes from lipas, which means a small case or box.

  113. says

    @Ice Swimmer, it looks like you are having student life fun already. I am envious. Years at the university were the best years of my life. Almost all of my friends I hae gained there, before as well as after that I found it difficult to relate to people and vice versa.

    @Giliell, I bet you have made her confused and maybe even sligtly angry at another parent telling her how to do her job :-).

    I did not solve my missing money problem. I had to write off 300,-€ as a loss. I do not actually think that I have really lost that money, I suspect I have either spent it during the last year and lost the receipts, or I have made a mistake when entering some money transaction. However I could not find any mistake of that caliber despite double-triple checking everything.

    The problem is I was putting it off for way too long. I thought I am a few months behind and suddenly I was half a year behind.

    Most people do not bother with keeping precise-ish book-keeping but I have done it in one form or another ever since University, when I was poor as a church mouse and the habit never left me. And I am keeping the habit because I think it is important to know what one spends one’s money on -- in that case should times become hard again, I would know where I can cut and how much I really, really have to have to make ends meet.

  114. says

    This morning, I got into a bit of a traffic jam. The place where I have to leave the Autobahn is always a bit unpredictable. The turn left signal is green for a very short time and sometimes there’s a backlog. This morning it was extreme and I decided to turn right and then make a U turn at the next possible place. Standing in the “turn right” lane, I saw that the problem was that a car had broken down and now everybody had to pass it on the right, which was especially difficult for the bus.
    I let a truck pass in front of me and somebody on the left used that big gap to pass me and get in front of me, too.
    While I was muttering under my breath I saw that it was our headteacher who cheerfully thanked me for letting him pass…
    And this is why you never loudly yell your insults, children.

  115. kestrel says

    Since it’s been brought up, I’ll chime in: I too miss her so much.

    I will say that since the blog has continued, that has helped to fill the Caine-shaped hole in my heart. I so appreciate that you guys took on this task, thank you.

  116. jazzlet says

    I was just getting to knw Caine, I especially miss her posts on art, I found them a welcome oasis amongst the shit storm.

  117. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    The present projected path for hurricane Florence shows it going over upstate SC where my FIL & MIL live. Only tropical storm strength projected, but still a problem. One more worry.

  118. voyager says

    I miss Caine too. I never even heard her voice, yet I always hoped that I would get the chance to meet her in person.
    The blog is also missing her. We’re only maintaining a part of her vision and even that is keeping all three of us busy enough. I seriously don’t know how she did it all. I have a few ideas, though. One is a Quoting Caine column. Another is to start looking around for interesting art to share. Another is trying my hand at writing about socio-political ideas. I’m still not very confident about my writing, but the only way to get better is to practice, right? Right now, though, I’m committed to being in a play at the end of September. Once that’s finished I’ll have some energy and time for other things.

  119. voyager says

    I imagine a tropical storm is still plenty destructive. I’ll keep good thoughts for your in-laws.

  120. says

    {hugs everybody} Thank you, all of you who’ve stepped up to keep Caine’s blog alive.

    I’m dealing with Aged Mum worries, so not feeling very social, but I’m here and I care about all of you.

  121. voyager says

    I forgot to say that the idea for Caine Quotes was Charly’s. He raised the idea when we were talking about how to manage the changeover.
    The other ideas are just me trying to find ways to keep people interested in the blog.

  122. says

    I hope all of you affected by Florence are safe.

    Sorry for missing the Friday Feathers, I promise a spectacular Tummy Thursday.
    In other words, #1 finally decided to celebrate her birthday and despite her fucking up the invitations, three people showed up. I’m so glad.

  123. says

    Your #1 had birthday party? Good for her. I hope everyone involved enjoyed it (well, I guess you less than the others because I expect you had the most work).

    Nerd, lets hope your in laws won’t be affected.I generally hope (in vain) Florence does not end up in a disaster exacerbated by incompetent response.

  124. says

    Yes, we had a birthday party, thank goodness.
    The actual birthday was back in July, and I was very happy when #1 finally felt like inviting friends. That was last Saturday.
    Of course, this doesn’t mean she’s getting off the hook, so I told her yes, but she needs to clean her room. Of course she would do it, only not Saturday. or Sunday. Monday she diodn’t feel like it. Tuesday she started. On Wednesday it had progressed to the point I allowed her to write invitations.
    Of course, simply writing one with place: here date: now wasn’t for her so she wrote whole letters, which took so long she had to get up early on Thursday, only to forget them at home. So yeah, she invited people on Friday for a party on Saturday.
    But some kids showed up and expressed a wish to return.

  125. says

    Looks like your #1 has a bit of a problem regarding procrastination. That is not good. I hope she does not turn out to have depressions later on. You mentioned that she is slightly autistic and this unholy trio goes together.
    Yay, I found the missing 300,-€! As I suspected, it was not missing at all, I only forgot to take into account my purchase of a welder early this year. If I did not put off doing this for too long, the problem would not have occured because I would still remember the purchase.