Tag Archives: Irish life

Recovery mode

Recovering from a moderate dose of the flu this week. Not COVID, just a bog standard dose of the lurgi which has left me with a morning cough and heavy sense of lethargy. Bloody thing. It’s been hanging around like the last guest at a party who doesn’t know when it’s long past time to go home.

That’s not really important because the meadows are cut, the grass crop is in and I’m out seeding just before dusk. The idea is to create a wildflower meadow with a particular native species called Yellow Rattle, a parasitic plant that cuts down the grass content of a given meadow by binding to the roots of various types of grass, allowing easier germination of other types of native species of meadow plant. Well, that’s what I’m told anyway.

One issue with grassland over here, because of Ireland’s geology, the soil tends toward wet and poor nutrient, which means rushes. Rushes (Juncus Effusus L), are little use for man nor beast and a pain in the bum to get rid of from pastureland. Experiments have been done, trying to turn them into some sort of biofuel, but so far nothing commercial. So I’m trying a parasitic planting to reduce the rushes in our meadows and thus improve the pasture and forage.

We’re doing our land management in partnership with an NGO which promotes the creation and maintenance of native plant species for pollinators and native bee species. My neighbours are all watching with interest, as their land has a similar set of problems.

We could be setting a trend here, if it works. Especially with the new ‘Green’ agenda being forced on us small farmers from above. The politicians can’t force you to stop using artificial fertilisers if you don’t use them anyway, but just you watch the townies start screaming as yields drop and food prices soar. ‘Sustainable’ my left buttock.

Speaking of bees. Last hive inspection before Winter is done, and I may have to wait until Spring before I split my colonies into heavily insulated ‘Nuc’s’. However, instead of feeding, I’ve elected to leave a ‘Super’ on top of the brood box on each hive so that my bees have plenty of winter food already. This means I have a reduced crop, but it still leaves me with a healthy surplus for gifts, mead brewing and personal use this year. So, win-win for both me and the bees.

As for me, I’ll feel a whole lot better in a week or so when I’ve shrugged off this damn flu. Because there’s a whole heap of things to be done before Winter comes, and people owe me favours, which I intend to do a little cashing in on.

Could, if, therefore

I think I’m having to give up on growing any brassicas after losing all my precious plants to cabbage white caterpillars. I mean totally wiped out. Broccoli, Cabbages, Pak Choy, everything vaguely brassica-ish. Leaves chewed to a filigree, almost to the stalk. Well, at least until I can sort out some garlic and soap spray for the next planting. My onions, tomatoes and beets on the other hand are in fine fettle. Salad stuff is kind of okay, but some of it has ‘bolted’ due to the weather and me not sorting out some shading for my salad greens.

Hindsight is a wonderful thing, but at the time of planting I was sans-Interweb, and so unable to source the advice of the many gardening gurus out there. That situation has been remedied and I am looking forward to a more successful planting and growing season of Winter veg. Of course, I have been barraged with advice, much of it contradictory and counter intuitive, however, wheat is being sorted from chaff and I will need to evolve a different planting plan for all my green stuff.

Speaking of the future, father of the atomic model, Niels Bohr was once quoted as saying; “Prediction is very difficult, especially if it’s about the future!” I had no way of predicting that a blast of hot air sweeping in from Europe this year would affect us this far west, but it is what it is and my mind has been pulled every which way, what with the builders and all.

Temperatures are back to oscillating between 14 and 22 Celsius every other day, and despite all the hand waving about ‘Global Warming’, and how it’s all our fault, the weather remains cooler than usual for August. A petition of 1100 proper scientists saying there’s little, if anything to worry about will not make much headway, especially since the politicians love the drama of ‘saving the world’. Apart from a cold Winter. Then people are going to freeze to death, and you know whose fault that will be? The ‘Climate activists’ who can’t even keep up with real science (Or even look at weather history events from other centuries). And the politicians who made the decisions.

The IPCC report doesn’t help, even though all the claims don’t hold up under even the most cursory scrutiny. The report says that there ‘will’ be an increase in weather disasters, and predicts an increase in same, yet when you get down to it, it’s governed by conditional statements like “Could, if.” Yes well, I could fly by flapping my arms if I grew feathers, and therefore I’d be able to fly like a bird. But as I am unlikely to undergo such a transformation, I’ll be stuck buying an airline ticket and getting bored in an airport queue just like everyone else.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, my bees are doing okay, filling out the frames, and with a good nectar flow, I may get a decent crop of honey next week, weather permitting. I’ll have to check the brood box for Queen cells, but as these are young Queens in my hives, the likelihood of swarming is not so great. However, it never hurts to check and do a split if need be. And this is the time of year to do it.

What with having the household upended for over six months, which I also did not foresee when we first made the decision to spend money on refurbishments. But we have adapted and improvised, making the best of a tricky situation. Mrs S got crocked with a nasty dislocation, but she’s on the mend and doing her physio exercises as directed. Definitely didn’t see that one coming, but we’re coping. All things considered it’s been a bit of a rollercoaster.

However, am grimly confident about my assessment from April 2020 that the fallout from the COVID debacle will be worse than the disease ever could be. I take no satisfaction whatsoever in being proven right. Along with a lot of other, far more eminent people who were deliberately ignored and silenced by those claiming that established epidemiological protocols were ‘disinformation’. How was that allowed to happen?

In the beginning the threat of the disease was unknown, but over April 2020 the figures told a more hopeful story, but the politicians ignored the unfolding data in favour of ‘worst case scenario’ data projections. By June 2020 the worst was over, but still the mainstream media and politicians, presumably seeking affirmation from the drama, kept upping the ante. I mean, mask mandates were imposed in August 2020 for crying out loud. Long after the worst was past in June that year. The data was unequivocal. The models told a story at 180 degrees to reality. Yet the model output was used as opposed to empirical data and standard disease control. People were kept indoors when they should have been outdoors getting some fresh air and exercise. Children, those at the lowest risk of all have had their emotional and psychological development severely damaged,

Again, the fault lies with the noisy activists and cowardly politicians. Also with those who had a vested financial interest in mRNA ‘vaccines’ which do not convey much protection compared to a healthy mixed diet, fresh air, sunshine and moderate exercise. Don’t forget the culpability of those using the “Science Denier” and “Conspiracy theorist” pejoratives. They bear much of the blame too. Ignorant, bigoted bastards.

Well the truth isn’t just out there, it’s kicking down our front doors and spitting in our eyes for letting ourselves be treated like cattle. And what’s coming soon is a completely artificial economic depression, caused by the lockdown enthusiasts and those pushing ‘net zero’.

Well I hope they’ll be happy with what happens next, because the rest of us won’t be. Right, I have some trading to do. Catch you later.

Here we go

The honey is almost ready to be harvested and I will be getting ready to start brewing in three weeks time. There will be spare honey, but half of that will be going as gifts and for personal use rather than for retail. My crop won’t be big enough for much more.

I’ve ordered my brewing gear and lined up the water, yeast and other materials for the mash. A still is in the mix and I’ve lined up some small barrels for ageing. So we’re almost all good to go.

Money is a bit tight, as we’ve run slightly over budget on the house alterations. Which is easily done on a major refurbishment like ours and we’ve had to keep a careful eye on what the trades are doing. However we’re on top of it and having heaved a shuddering sigh knowing that costs are still on the rise (Especially labour costs) and we got most work done before the worst occurred. Even so we’re having to take a small divot out of our reserves. No matter, we have enough. Better to spend some now before inflation annihilates it’s value.

I’m still watching world events with a wary eye, knowing the financial fallout from the COVID debacle will be with us for some time. However, we’ve done our worst case scenario calculations and heads will be kept above financial water. Unfortunately this is an outcome that many will not share, and Western politicians will be looking to rob Peter to pay Paul as they usually do, because they’re small minded vote-grubbers with no real courage or vision.

As for penalising Nitrogen. 71% of an inert gas? Who gave these people science lessons? Nitrogen Dioxide is no fun but Nitrogen Oxide (Laughing Gas ) can be. The politicians making these rules are a bunch of scientific illiterate morons, as are the people advising them.

Besides, adding Nitrogen compounds to the soil can be done with a Clover crop. It used to be part of the old Norfolk four course rotation system before chemical fertilisers were introduced in what was called the ‘Green revolution’ of the late 60’s and early 70’s. One of my Aunts participated in a few of the early Market Gardening trials during the 50’s and 60’s which she said increased her yields several times over.

The problem is that the politicians and others behind this assault on agriculture see nothing but the money to be made pricing farmers off their land and monopolising food production. Modern agricultural chemicals can feed several times more people than the old farming practices and despite all the unscientific brouhaha of ‘only 70 more crops’ before the soil is reduced to little better than sand, can, with small alterations to soil management, keep feeding people until the cows come home. If the politicians and activists don’t have them all slaughtered and replaced with massive insect farms first.

Fun fact: maggot farms are big business, or used to be, the output of which is mainly used mostly for feeding chickens. KFC anyone?

Personally, I’d rather have my protein from chicken than the insects.

Getting a grip

Mrs S and I now have our house back. True, there are bits that don’t work and look a bit dog eared, but nothing that can’t be fixed without a few gallons of elbow grease and cleaning materials. We have power, we are once more connected to the jolly old Interwebs. We are home.

True, there are no paintings on the wall, some of which are not painted, no curtains grace our windows, but we are home. There is wine and beer in the fridge and food in the larder. We are not stumbling over a rats nest of extension cables. The heating works. Our showers are hot and even the dishwasher works. There is even the promise of a modest crop of honey in the next few days.

So we will be taking tiffin out in the yard this evening with two ever refilling glasses of Prosecco (Neither of us think we’re at the champagne stage yet) and a dry little Sauvignon blanc to complement our repast. We’ve spent a chunk of hard earned change to get to this point, but we currently owe no-one anything, at least until our next tax bills come in.

Mrs S is still hobbling around on crutches because she has to wear a brace on her leg, but we get by. Money moves to where it does most good, which is daily business by the way, not money laundering as one feckin eejit intimated. I take a dim view of being accused of something I do not do, and tend not to forgive such slurs. Call me any name you like and it won’t raise an eyebrow. However, false accusations will always get short shrift. My customary good humour always goes into failure mode on such occasions.

Notwithstanding, we are finally getting our lives back in some sort of order. Getting a grip, as they say.

Speaking of honesty, I keep on seeing some academic or luminary popping into the public press stating that they are ‘following the science’ and therefore anyone else is a heretic and should be publicly burned at the next barbecue. As one whose training includes courses on Technical writing and editing, I thought I’d have a look through the literature they claim is so air tight. I’ve deliberately left the TV off the hook, no Amazon Prime, no other televisual entertainment, so I downloaded a few tools and set to reading. The following is what I know to be true.

Let me explain; in technical writing and editing there is a thing called an ‘executive summary’, which is to put it in it’s simplest form, a list of talking points. Not definite facts or figures, but talking points. Things which look like facts, but sometimes don’t reflect the original document or can actively misrepresent what the original documentation says. Say a scientific paper presents with the interpretation that states that such and such might happen if the figures are right. If the mathematical modelling turns out to be accurate, In the executive summary this may be rewritten to read that such and such is definitely true, so help us God, so send more money please. We may have to recheck our figures to be sure. We really mean it about the money.

Now what is stated in the executive summary is often written by people who are not the original researchers, but those paid to interpret the information for the lowest common denominator of intelligence, politicians.

In the commercial world, a board of directors or senior manager requires an ‘executive summary’ to provide information that is timely and reflects the situation as presented. In the public sector, these rules seem not to apply and executive summaries are often posted as the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, cross my heart and hope to die, terrapins tickle me if I lie, when the source documentation is often more vague on a topic. In the public sector the requirements for the summary can say “What’s the worst that can happen?” so those who produce the interpretations of the summaries provide the worst that can happen. Whether this is supported by the studies in question or not. Even NGO’s get involved in this cavalcade of glossy misrepresentation and very few people have the time and energy to tell them that’s not what the study says at all. Thus failure and inaccuracy have thus become baked into the system. ‘The science’ becomes “What we say it is. So there!” rather than the result of diligence, experimental replication and erudite investigation.

Scientific researchers who contradict these narratives constructed on the back of such executive summaries can find themselves out in the cold, because if they do not provide what the politicians underlings or the NGO’s want, bang goes their funding. They can even find themselves losing tenure, which is academic death. Unless they can get a decent social media channel going and have the skills to explain their work to the public direct. Even so, they risk being publicly derided by the dishonest as ‘conspiracy theorists’ spreading ‘disinformation’, even when such a statement is a bald faced lie.

We caught a glimpse of part of this phenomenon in a Twitter stream observed by Spectator Editor, Fraser Nelson during the ongoing COVID debacle, where the then head of SAGE was caught stating that they had been asked for a worst case scenario, so they had torture the data models until that’s what the pandemic looked like. A worst case scenario.

So politicians produce legislation based on bad information. Because that’s all they can do with the information provided.

Now if only we had politicians educated and motivated enough to see through the misrepresentations…. Bugger it. We’re screwed aren’t we?

What can I say…..

I’ve been offline for over a week… Anyone bothered? Nah. Another ranting blogger gone, no great loss eh?

Well I’m back, kind of. But I may disappear again because life is getting in the way. So what have I been up to?

Moving back in to our refurbished home for one. Trying to get our various tradespeople to finish the job we want to pay them for, which has led to the disappearance of our electrician who hasn’t finished and is supposed to have got our new distribution board connected by ESB, the Irish body which controls electricity supply in Ireland. But he’s buggered off. So. No electricity connection. We’re currently powering the entire house off two 13amp sockets via a tangle of extension leads. I have no kitchen, the oven and hob are disconnected. And the dishwasher is sitting in the middle like some odd piece of non-functional installation art.

This has pissed off our builders, who can’t finish because stuff has to be reconnected. Our firm of plumbers are swearing they’ll never work with that errant sparky again. In the meantime, we’re subsisting off four standard lamps for lighting, a jury rigged hot water system (Thank goodness for gas), and in the midst of the latest tranche of ‘Man made climate change’ I’ve had to deploy one of our mobile propane heaters to keep warm. In late July already.

The only reason I’ve got Internet at all is by configuring my phone as a mobile wi-fi hot spot.

Then there has been a series of events, one of which was my better half being injured. An event which entailed over an hours wait for an ambulance while Mrs S passed out from the pain. I couldn’t do anything and was reduced to the level of despairing onlooker. All I could do was ensure the ambulance had the right address and Eircode (Eircode = Post or Zip code for all you non Irish residents) and an accurate recounting of symptoms. Making an hours drive to the hospital, then stooging around for over six hours while she was treated. Then over an hours drive back home with a whimpering Mrs S in the co-pilots seat at around four in the morning. Followed by another early morning to let our builders and plumbers on site.

Then there has been tiling and grouting two bathrooms, building multiple items of IKEA furniture, clearing builders debris and playing bodyservant and caregiver to Mrs S. In the meantime managing to refurbish two antique pieces of furniture.

So. Pardonnez-moi if I haven’t cheered the closing of the UK centre for child abuse Tavistock clinic, remarked upon how racist and divisive the BBC is, pointed out that the USA elected an Alzheimers case to their highest office, or that the heatwave that lasted for a few days is not proof of ‘man made climate change’, or that the Monkeypox thing that certain people want us to get all uptight about is currently restricted to promiscuous gay men. Or even that the Ukraine / Russia fixture was occasioned by bad US foreign policy. As for Justin Trudeau, he’s still Canada’s biggest shithead.

Never mind that all the ‘woke’ garbage we’re supposed to swallow is getting called out as pure grift. According to the ‘woke’ all the calling out is only being done by ‘internet trolls’ as opposed to being a well deserved pile on from across social boundaries. Hint; it’s not the ‘trolls’ guys. Everybody with an operating brain cell thinks all you woke are complete eejits.

Notwithstanding. I’ve been very busy and it’s catching up with me. I’ve got to finish a range of tasks before getting back to my normal routine. So if anyone missed me…

I’ll be back.

Following the science

Pulled half my fence posts this week only to find over half of them have rotted through at ground level. This means I’m left with around 10 four foot stumps with another seventeen more or less intact. This is not all that bad because I only wanted that many to be sticking up two feet out of the hard standing in their new location anyway. The full height ones are to be re-sited closer to the house to increase the size of the main meadow, the rotten remnants will be used to bulk out my raised beds.

We’ve done the maths and we know we can recover enough posts to partition off part of our yard for our walled vegetable garden. I’ve recovered enough wood to make all the raised beds and when the rain lets up next week will be getting another three beds set up for planting. Our great experiment is well underway and our first plantings are almost ready to be harvested.

I will have to make some frame covers out of scrap timber and clear builders polythene to turn some of the beds into mini-greenhouses for winter time. The beds themselves are in a sheltered location and camouflaged from the road behind two lockable gates. This is a simple precaution against the fallout coming our way late this year and next. I’ve seen the figures, read the crazy ‘Net Zero’ policies and foresee such a forthcoming big hiccup in the food chain that we’re all going to have to hunker down and get growing or suffer.

We’ve been threatened with a 23% rise in electrickery prices over here, despite running LED’s throughout and having our house totally re-insulated. So we’re not immune. Then there will be the ‘fart tax‘ on livestock, which will put the price of meat up. In economically straitened times like these this is insane. Personally I will be looking to put out a few traps for trespassing greenie urbanites. Got to get our meat from somewhere. Fancy another kebab? Very fresh, very nice. Yes, like our vegetables, local supply and totally organic. Erm, no, it’s not Pork… More chilli sauce anyone?

Not that these taxes will bother me too much as we little to do with the department of Agriculture, no matter how many ‘subsidies’ they offer. I’d rather earn less and pay lower taxes than feed the monster of big government and corporate influence. Probably end up eating healthier that way. My neighbours do livestock, and we will, as I have mentioned several times before, be bartering honey and chicken for beef, lamb and pork. Might have to cut down on the bread, but that’s no big problem. Low carbohydrate diets appear to be healthier anyway.

Don’t mind me, I’m just following the science and best practice. Doing the whole organic thing and flying below the radar. You Mr Sticker, arch ‘science denier’? Yes me, but I don’t deny science, not proper science, verified by experimental proof anyway. I’m actually quite a fan of empirical science and unfudged data, because they rarely send you wrong. So I spend a lot of my evenings, instead of waiting for the next prognostication of doom from the idiot maker in the living room, reading, watching videos on topics like distribution boards and plant propagation, and generally trying to sort the wheat from the chaff.

In addition I’ve started recovering mesh and timber for the chicken coops, which will be concealed up on my top meadow, behind a small stand of trees. Not invisible, but just concealed enough not to be obvious in case officialdom comes a-sneaking around. Just like where I’ve sited my beehives. If you know what you’re looking for, they’re plain as the proverbial pikestaff. If not, nothing to see here, catch you later.

Notwithstanding, the Teagasc will not be interested in our little operation. We’re too small scale for them. And I don’t want to get involved with grants and suchlike. They’re always a double edged sword. Too many conditions and rules. I want to get by without being tempted by the public purse because of the attendant terms and conditions these ‘incentives’ always drag behind them. Like the corporate ‘Green’ agenda, which is anything but environmentally friendly.

So yes, I do follow science, but maybe when someone swears up is sideways and left is down and tells me I’m ‘anti-science’ if I don’t automatically fall in line with their version, well, colour me sceptical.

I’m not a saviour…

“What do you do?” I was asked today.

“Mostly I move money and keep bees.” I replied.

“You keep bees?” They seemed pleased to hear this. “So you’re helping save the planet?”

I smiled gently and tried to keep a straight face. The planet is fine. It doesn’t need a saviour, and least of all me. I just nodded and smiled while the eejit in front of me waxed lyrical about how vital bees are to agriculture and how important beekeepers are. Eventually I managed to extricate myself without bursting into fits of giggles.

‘Planet saver’ my cute and furry arse. The whole beekeeping thing was a complete fluke. We’d put a bid on our current house and land long before I even thought of keeping bees. I knew I didn’t want to keep livestock and Mrs S wanted a wildflower meadow so the whole bee thing came out of that. We wanted to do something integrated that wouldn’t be too much work and had a nice end product, like honey, mead and distilled mead. So bees and honey fitted the bill nicely. That and I’ve always been a conservationist at heart and have been ‘growing my own’ since I was a toddler. Indeed, one of my most cherished memories is still being in nappies (diapers) and Ma teaching me how to put seeds in a little furrow. I think they were carrot seeds.

The whole ‘saving the planet’ bullshit is just complete nonsense. A complete load of cheap, badly patched flannel. Bees are needed for pollination and that makes more flowers, fruit and vegetables. Which lets me use the knowledge culled from my ‘O’ level biology classes. That and I find growing things calms the spirit and steadies the soul. my motives are purely selfish.

As for the planet, frankly I don’t think it is at risk. At least not anything we mere humans can do anything about. We’re just the tenants, for the moment, and as long as we don’t burn the feckin place down in a stupid war, it’ll keep ticking over nicely until we all go extinct from our own stupidity. Or at least until our planets core solidifies and Earth ends up like Mars. Or a meteorite triggers a massive ice age.

Won’t need any help from me. Whatever. I won’t live to see the end of the world. The only people who do want to see our little blue green marble die are immature self aggrandising drama queens who like the idea of starring in a horror movie no-one will ever see.

No wonder Aliens ride through our solar system with their windows wound up and the doors securely locked.

The shape of things to come

Mrs S and I were talking over lunch the other day. She’s finally giving up the day job this year and being totally freelance, doing her own thing, doing creative production of real goods. Her comment on the transition; “I don’t know whether to cry or scream with joy.”

I know how she feels. When I made the transition from employee to freelancer I was very ambivalent about the whole process. The transition was tricky but not traumatic as I stepped out of my comfort zone into the great wide blue yonder of self-employment. I recall that getting away from the 9-5 felt really good after the first few months. Not being a wage slave was hard work but not so much of a chore as being ‘managed’, which I always hated. Show me a job and let me get on with it has long been my philosophy. Stand over me with a stopwatch and I’ll be so busy looking over my shoulder that I won’t do a good job.

On the home front, my raised beds are all showing signs of germination, and the ‘fast salad’ stuff I put in last week is going gangbusters, as are the spring onions, leeks, white cabbage and beetroot. My tomatoes and peppers are beginning to poke tiny leaves out of the soil, as are the cucumbers. The bees have settled in nicely and have already filled their brood boxes and one ‘super’ before starting work on the upper super (as in cropping) frames.

It’s been a bit of a delayed spring and summer this year, despite all the wavy hand predictions of heat death and climate doom. I put it down to increased particulates in the atmosphere from several large volcanic eruptions around the planet, and Ireland has always been a bit like Wales and western Scotland, a buffer for the British Isles from all the Atlantic weather. So getting my seeds in a month later than planned hasn’t worked out badly. At least as far as germination is concerned.

At this rate I should have salads for the summer by the end of July and a full crop of honey by early August. It may even be a good idea to buy a couple of new hives to act as bee traps If I miss a swarm. Then I have to invest in some honey processing gear. No matter, better to invest the money now than see it disappear in the coming waves of inflation.

Marketing game plan is to give out sample jars of raw organic honey to our neighbours for taste testing and to sell at the farmers market, when it finally gets going again. Another bright spot is that one of the local stores has expressed an interest. So I have a tacit agreement that at least one local outlet will try my product.

Mrs S will be handling the wax products side of things, but we’ve also been talking about supplying bee venom and propolis (Bee glue) for cosmetics and pharmaceutical use on a small scale.

We’re doing this because we don’t want to rely on pensions alone (Even though we have been very careful to plan for our frail dotage). The value of a pension can be reduced to worthlessness by politicians cocking everything up (as usual). And I have no intention of starving.

Why? I look at it this way. We live in an age where the old biblical quotation “Put not thy faith in Princes” is ever more appropriate. The politicians have given themselves godlike powers to intervene in people’s private lives but seem determined to reinforce another old saying about idols having feet of clay. Or should that quotation read “Yeah, but those eejits all have feet of clay.” and brains of lard to boot. In their desperate search for votes the political class pander to vociferous urban minorities and in doing so neglect the care of the majority. That’s even without the malign anti-human influence of organisations like the WEF.

If, and I’m not holding out much hope here, the powers that be don’t parlay us all into a global war, we will have built a bolt hole for the rest of our clan, with enough food to eat and a little left over to barter. If the worst case scenario doesn’t happen and the can gets kicked a little further along the road we’ll be quids in.

If the politicians keep on following the road of sanctioning everything vaguely Russian, then we’ll all be screwed. See one American commentators well argued points below.

Hunker down and grow your own folks, because Green policies are giving us all the shaft.

Looking forward

Mrs S and I were having a chat about the current geopolitical situation regarding Russia and Ukraine today. Not the rights and wrongs or how many people are getting killed and dispossessed. That we can do nothing about, tragic though it is for the civilians on the ground. We have no resources to spare, the builders and trades are seeing to that.

Resources. It is upon that topic I wish to pontificate. September is going to be the economic crunch time for a lot of reasons. The time when all the chickens come home to roost. It’s even got us talking about putting up solar power for our three sheds. Which might not be such a bad idea for emergency lighting and a grid independent security system.

Much to my chagrin I’m not being allowed AI driven autonomous gun turrets or drones and plasma weapons because of the strain on the budget, so cameras and a twenty four inch crowbar will have to do for security. I did think about getting some cheap carbon shafts with broadheads for my two bows. My fifty inch classic hunter recurve draws about fifty five pounds at full thirty one inch draw and is quite capable of dropping someone at fifty yards plus, but perhaps the local Gardai might frown on that. So I’ll just stick to target practice instead.

Although everyone I know, from my physio to my neighbours, tell me they have firearms available and are quite open about being willing to use them on any hostile intruder. We do live in the Irish countryside after all.

Anyway. Mrs S and I were talking about worst case scenarios. Now I’m fairly confident they won’t happen, but I was a good little boy scout (Until that unfortunate little incident with Arkela and the two girl guides), and ‘Be prepared’ has proven a useful mantra on occasion. My gut is telling me to set up a fallback position, a bolt hole, so that is what I’m doing. Call me paranoid if you like, but my paranoia is based on my life experience and rarely steers me wrong.

What makes us feel this way? Not the many hand waving articles and videos about how nice the Ukrainians are and how bad the Russki’s are. We take a more studied view of the geopolitics. Did you know US warships (for example, no aircraft carriers or submarines) are bound by the Montreux convention of 1936 and aren’t allowed up the Dardanelles into the Black Sea and through the Bosporus? The Bosporus is also a massive trade bottleneck for the resource rich Russians and Nations with seaports on the Black sea coast.

The game changer here is the ‘Kanal Istanbul‘ Erdogan’s project to create a second waterway into the Black Sea to free up the massive congestion that has always throttled trade from the Black Sea nations. What it will do to the ecology of the region is another matter. Or the balance and power.

It may happen, it may not. Like the next Earthquake. The potential is there, but according to local geologists, there is regular slippage in the major fault lines at present, so there is less stress that can lead to a quake.

Mostly the pressure in the region is due to the wait times of shipping needing to pass from the Black sea into the Mediterranean and thus to Suez or out into the Atlantic via Gibraltar.

So we plan to set up food reserves, digging deep into memories of childhood when my parents were still ‘digging for victory’, or just growing stuff to keep the food bills down. Which is never a bad idea. Also very calming in these overstressed times. The many ideas Mrs S is coming up with about chickens are proving very entertaining.

For my part I’m going to be pulling fence posts tomorrow and moving them into the yard to form a border around the raised vegetable beds. I’ve got a post hole digging tool which should lighten the workload, and we’re also looking at ways of re-using the old tyres the last owner left hanging around the property.

It’s going to be hard work all through until September, but by then I’ll have started on the chicken run and put out some Mink traps. The idea being to kill the Mink that come sniffing around the chickens then skin them and let the flies lay eggs on the denuded carcases, chuck in a bucket with holes in the bottom, hang up bucket in chicken run so the maggots fall through the holes into a bowl for the chickens to eat. There’s a kind of poetic symmetry in there don’t you think? That and Mrs S gets free Mink moccasin slippers for those cold Winter evenings. Win-win. Although not for the Mink of course.

In a perverse sort of way I’m quite looking forward to the next couple of years.

Speaking of the last couple of years, even Bill Gates is saying that this whole COVID thing with all the masks and lockdowns might have been a mistake. See Ivor Cummins on Jimmy Dores exposition on Gate’s recent revelatory interview.

Next they’ll be saying that Human CO2 emissions don’t matter, fracking is great and energy self sufficiency is a good thing. Miracles do happen.

Local swarming

I got stung. Completely my fault. I was careless. I dropped a Nuc while taking it out of the car. I thought it was securely taped up, but the whole thing came apart in my hands as I picked it up. Next thing I’m running down the field, slapping off enraged worker bees as they kamikaze dive bombed me until I was over fifty yards away.

Tally was twelve stings overall, only one of which caused any real swelling. An hour later, smoker going, I walked back up the field, fully suited up, smelling like a bonfire, looking like an urban spaceman to clear my abandoned car of bees and see whether or not I’d lost a colony.

Fortunately the queen had stayed put and the colony looked mostly intact. I think I perhaps lost about a couple of hundred workers. Phew. So I smoked and carefully put the Nuc back together again and put it next to the hive. I’ll go and give it a visual before moving the Nuc frames into their new hive tomorrow. I may just have gotten away with it.

One observation post stings; I have a touch of arthritis in my left knee. All the discomfort and pain I’ve grown to know and curse has disappeared. Not sure if this was down to me getting stung or last weeks physio session. However, my knee now has no discomfort at all, which is very nice indeed.

In the outside world I see the Davos party is in full swing again with talk of people having a ‘tracking app’ (Which doesn’t and probably never will work) or not enough people having continuous injections for a respiratory virus whose time has come and gone. Neil Oliver has a few words to say with which I wholly concur.

He has a point; who do these m0the#rfuck*rs think they are? If looked at dispassionately the WEF’s meddling can be seen as behind many of the world’s problems. Perhaps they would do us all a favour by looking to their own affairs, and not meddle so blatantly in the lives of others?

As Neil observes, there always has been a social contract between rulers and ruled. Leave the peasants alone or suffer the consequences.

Or maybe they should suffer the fate of those anti-meat activists who got sprayed with slurry at a Co Durham NBA meeting. It would be well deserved. Like the time that sanctimonious b!tch Emma Thompson came close to getting slurried. Why can’t she just stick to acting?

The thing is, most meat eaters don’t really care about what vegetarians do, so maybe if these well-funded activists and meddlers wound their necks in a bit, maybe the world would become a better place. As suggested below.

Wouldn’t that be grand, eh?

Ermm….

There are sheep in the driveway and garden of our temporary domicile this morning. No idea where they’ve come from, but they’re merrily lunching on the lawn. I suppose the neighbour who owns them will be along shortly with his dog to round them up and herd them back into their proper meadow. See picture below taken from the kitchen window.

They’ve obviously squeezed between strands of a barbed wire fence as the Ewes are missing chunks of fleece. The lambs, about ten of them, appear relatively unscathed. Sheep are great escape artists and will get out of anywhere.

Wincing slightly at the UK Chancellor trying to do something about high fuel bills by imposing a ‘windfall’ tax on the energy companies to give to the people currently suffering from fuel poverty who can’t pay their fuel bills.

Now I’m no economist, but what do you think the energy companies hit with such a tax bill are going to do? Got it in one! Raise their prices to the already hard pressed consumers even further, thus increasing fuel poverty for the most vulnerable. Never mind the ‘better off’ giving their four hundred knicker payment to charity, the ‘rebate’ will easily get swallowed up by the increased bills.

As a more sensible approach, the UK government could cut energy bills overnight by almost fifteen percent by cancelling all the ‘Green’ levies and not collecting the tax from the poor bloody peasants in the first place. That would make far more sense.

Why is it so obvious to me but not to the supposed big brains currently in power?

Next!

Matters with the house proceed slowly. Mrs S and I are slightly hors de combat at present, her with a gastric illness and myself with a bout of stress related muscle spasm which has locked up my back. Not much fun while it lasts but all afflictions and difficulties will pass in their own time.

The pills I’ve had prescribed have limited facility, so just by way of an experiment I’m backing them up with plenty of cold steeped green tea and lemon. The quack has told me to drink plenty of water and the green tea and lemon mix makes plain water a little more palatable, at least to me, so for the next month I’m going on the wagon and seeing what happens.

Talking of afflictions, the latest scare to hit the headlines has arrived. Wait for it DEE-DAH-DAAAH! Monkeypox. Okay, Right. How bad is it really? 7 UK cases since 2017. (Update; 20 overall now) Riight. Is it fatal? Ermmm… Not really. How do you catch it? Close proximity droplet infection or via the mucosa.

Indeed all cases reported to 16th May 2022 were men who had sex with men. So if you aren’t a promiscuous gay male or bisexual, I wouldn’t lose any sleep over it. Just be careful who you snog. Besides, it’s not that contagious so your chances of getting covered in those nasty blister like lesions are minimal. So you won’t need a vaccine and masks and lockdowns won’t help one iota. Just keeping your naughtier urges under control will keep you pretty safe. So there. Good news there eh? Right. Disaster averted. Home for tea and medals.

As for that WHO pandemic treaty. Seriously? Putting that much power in the hands of unelected bureaucrats of limited intellect? Whoever thinks that is a good idea needs a large dose of cascara. Then when they’ve (eventually) come out of the toilet, their constipated brains might start to work and they would see all the downsides.

At this point I’ve lost all trust in the powers that be. None of them have a clue, leading the rest of us into the situation that, in to part quote the words of late 19th century writer Elbert Hubbard “just one damned thing after another”. However, I’m sure another ‘crisis’ will turn up to divert attention from whatever cockups the powers that be and click hungry media are trying to bullshit us all to death with.

The problem is, that all the current powers that be have to offer are more problems, not workable solutions. They aren’t interested in fixing the problems of ordinary people, just stumbling from one shitshow to the next. Everyone from the USA to China, it seems, are firefighting by chucking gasoline on the blaze. And the fallout is the worldwide inflation we’re seeing.

Contrariwise Mrs S’s car developed a difficult to trace fault and needed an expensive fix. Fortunately we have a good mechanic nearby, and he knew how to solve the issue long term. All done, but still an additional expense we didn’t need.

However, because of the disparities in exchange rates, I made enough on a recent Dollar to Euro transaction to cover it. Just. Because of the incompetence of Brussels over this Ukraine business, the Euro has been dropping in value faster than the Dollar or Sterling, despite huge amounts of money printing, so overall we’re at least no worse off.

On a more bucolic note, Swallows have arrived and are colonising odd places around our property. I swear, these silly birds have even built one of their mud nests on a power cable (See below) between the electricity meter and the front door. Well, they’re in for a summary eviction when the ESB arrive and the power gets reconnected in two weeks time. I’m happy to let them nest in and around the sheds, but in this particular case I’m afraid they’ve picked the wrong spot.

Well that’s all for now, the great works proceed, we’ll have a house worth living in by the end of June (Or else! Says Mrs S) and I can get back into my own bed at night. Then perhaps my back will settle down. Next!

Gated

Back at the house the new floors are in and curing. The last of the insulation is going in this week and our house is starting to resemble one again. As the wall insulation goes in the noise level from the road has dropped significantly and there are no more cold spots. Unfortunately for me, things aren’t happening fast enough for Mrs S and she has begun to fuss.

Any married man knows this; nothing is ever enough and even a minor delay is cause for a fit of the vapours (Intensity varies). This is where I have been for a couple of months now. It’s very stressful. More stressful than it should be. To the point where I have almost been driven to tears on one occasion. My comments about house renovations leading to divorce still stand. The actual statistic is that 12.5% of all couples will divorce after or during a project of this scale. Not a happy outcome, for anybody.

The one thing I have done recently is successfully hang a double gate for the main working yard. Never done it before, but with a bit of ingenuity and flexible thinking we are now securely gated. There were all sorts of issues like no-one had the right gate of the right width for the opening, but those were solved without breaking the budget by purchasing two gates of the same style but unequal size.

We were also looking for a throw over gate latch, but for some reason nylon string is the preferred way of securing double (or any) farm gates in Ireland, so our local agricultural supplier doesn’t stock them. Ergo, Mr Bezo’s boys will be called upon to provide for under twenty Euro’s. Providing Irish customs will let it through during the current bout of EU petulance.

As an aside; still seeing a lot of people about wearing those useless scraps of paper or cloth over their faces in vain hope of avoiding the dreaded COVID lurgi. Perhaps they should listen to a real live certified expert on the topic of health and safety like Stephen Petty, rather than some know-nothing media talking head?

I think perhaps that the truth of the matter has been so abused that no-one knows what to believe any more, so we’ll be stuck with the fallout from the last two years of Government-instigated insanity for years to come. So much for “three weeks to flatten the curve”, more like two years to screw over the peasants like you and me.

Now all these so-called ‘experts’ like Neil Ferguson are changing their tune. A bit late for that now they’ve f*cked us all, isn’t it?

Now I’m off to lock up after the builders. Hasta luego.

Any damned fool

Laid three new concrete hive bases today ready for their new stands. I’m told fifteen inches is about the right height to keep rats and mice out. So I built three stands of that height to place the hives on and oriented them south and east, like the books say you should.

There’s been a lot of ‘project slippage’ caused by unforeseen events. Supply availability, people not doing what you wanted in good time. Getting bees is proving a sticking point and I’m told that the next Nuc availability will be in a month.

As for the banks, the oft repeated words “We are experiencing extremely high call volumes.” have already reduced Mrs S to floods of tears twice this week and thus got me thoroughly discombobulated.

The money is all there, we just can’t get at it without the landline that the builders trashed. So until we’ve sorted out the phone access next week, I can only pay the trades guys half. Which should be an incentive for them to get us up and running, asap.

However, I’ve stripped out the last of the window glass intact, meaning I have plenty of glass panels for various projects like cucumber frames and citrus growing. Ever since I germinated my first lemon seeds I’ve had this notion to grow my own citrus fruit and store it as frozen organic fruit juice. Might even barter a little. We’re a registered farm business now, so why not? I’ve a location in mind and know how to build some hot water solar panels to retain some residual heat during the depths of winter to keep the frosts at bay. Some cheap half inch black plastic tube under double glazed glass over a black back panel is easy to make. An insulated hot water storage tank (or several) might be a good idea too. All do-able on a budget. Primitive but useful.

As for the outside world, the more I step away from the news, every time I have a brief peruse of the mainstream, the more I’m inclined to think; “Surely any damned fool could see that would happen.” It often reduces me to a near permanent state of “WTF!”

Which begs the question; am I ‘any damned fool’? Because I can see the harm done? By the very people we entrust with the public good? Real life measurable harm like (takes deep breath) Overt sexualising grooming of pre-pubescent children in schools by policy, interrupted education by lockdown, children (and adults) psychologically damaged by obsessive mask wearing and social isolation. People driven to madness by the incessant news media diet of fear. And people hate what they fear, so they are driven to hate. Because they are taught to hate by the very people squawking about ‘misinformation’. To name but a few. Yet who are the mis-informers? No pressure. Answer in your own time.

Not to mention the damage to the fabric of society. Despite increased institutionalised enforcement, under the surface we are observably more divided than ever before. There is more racism, more hatred, more intolerance. And it bubbles up from the poisoned wellspring of mandated ‘diversity’ and enforced ‘fairness’. The “You must think exactly this way – OR ELSE!” corporate mindset. Or else you will go on a list. A publicly visible list of the ideologically impure and unemployable ‘haters’. Available to hiring managers, credit agencies and local authorities to name but three. These lists should not exist in a truly civilised society, but they do. I cite the confirmed existence of the Non-Crime Hate Incident list in the UK, where people not convicted of any crime are put in an effective digital pillory.

Fortunately this matters little to me personally. Out here in the rural west of Ireland people are more down to earth, more in tune with the real world and the turn of the seasons. Social media is seen as the province of teenagers. And very few children have cell phones. Neighbours talk over their garden walls, do favours for each other, show unbidden kindness.

In my mind it is a fundamental truth that authoritarianisms suppression and censorship divides us all, while free, open and honest speech allows people to discuss, examine and challenge, not only the beliefs of others but also their own, in a roundabout way promoting ‘social cohesion’ more effectively than any other method. But then any damned fool should be able to see that, and if that is the case then I am happy to be so described.

The law of sausage

According to lawyer-poet John Godfrey Saxe in 1869 (Not Bismarck) that “Laws, like sausages, cease to inspire respect in proportion as we know how they are made.” This law should be firmly applied to building work.

Our house has been stripped to it’s very bones, exposing many grievous sins. Said domicile now looks more like a 1970’s Dr Who set than a once habitable building. Old wiring and heating stripped out, new wiring dangling like a jungle of ersatz creepers, it is quite depressing. Places where damp has rotted wood, spawning filigrees of fan like fungal growth spreading across long hidden wallpaper. Gaping holes for windows. Frankly me deario’s, it looks awful.

However there is hope; our plumber and sparky are working in concert. The builder and his merry men have sent in their first invoice which will be paid by Friday next. Said payment will cover the first tranche of new windows, lintels, wall and subfloor insulation. Then the pipes and manifold for the ground floor underfloor heating go in, followed by a fine screed and floor tiles.

Despite the possible threat of having our home confiscated to house ‘refugees’ for ‘the common good’ (Whatever the hell that is) we are ploughing ahead, working on the premise that it will take the powers that be a while to work their mendacious way down to our level. By which time we will be so well established and secure that they’ll have a serious legal fight on their hands. Besides, doesn’t it say in the Irish constitution (Article 43) that; “The State guarantees to pass no law to abolish these (property )rights”? Let’s see how that stands up against constant political pressure for ‘social injustice’. Which to me is nothing more than cover for a housing racket at the very highest level. It’s criminal.

Bill Stickers rule one about crime; always make it look like an uphill battle for the potential criminal. Make it quite plain in many subtle and diverse ways that they personally may suffer consequences should they try to make your life full of drama. Good locks and property lawyers are essential.

For my part, I always try to deal with prodnosing officialdom by being like McCavity the mystery cat; never there when they want something. Nod, smile, deflect and divert all the while, before making the object of their desire disappear right under their noses. Well it’s worked for me so far. Stuff their ‘refugees’, many of whom aren’t even Ukrainian, or even proper refugees.

Offshoring the processing of these ‘refugees’ to Rwanda sounds like a pretty good idea to me. It cuts the flight risk to a minimum and puts badly needed capital into the third world. And if that observation makes me a Xenophobic right winger, so be it.

Speaking of which, I see the French haven’t learned their lesson and have apparently voted Macron back in again. The majority appear to have been sufficiently frightened that Le Pen might boulverser le panier de pommes. Like with most electorates, they will always, in the words of Hillaire Bellocalways keep-a hold of nurse – for fear of finding something worse!

All of the above makes me think that making real change for the better in your life takes a gnats nadgers of personal vision, a soupçon of courage and a sound dose of unswerving commitment. Without these, you’re just counting down the days to your coffin.