Smoke shroud

19 02 2012

For the past 10 days, the south-west of Western Australia has been blanketed with smoke from bushfires south of Northcliffe, some 360 km south of Perth. The smoke has extended right up past Geraldton, some 600+ km from the source of the fires. We’ve only had a couple of days of respite from the smoke, so everything gets locked up tight and the air conditioning goes on to try to filter the air. The PM10 recording in Perth one day last week was 89 (normally 13!), which compares to polluted cities like Bangkok.

Here are some photos I took of the smoke in our area a couple of days ago. Click on a small photo to show it full size. The scenes of the estuary are telling because there’s a long range of sand dunes on the other side of the estuary, which is almost always visible. Not with this smoke though.

See also:

Tiny tomatoes

19 02 2012

I’ve now picked FOUR tomatoes from the EIGHT bushes I planted in spring last year (the saga of me growing these bloody tomatoes: And they’ve been TINY. I picked three of the four today, and can see no more on the tomato plants, so I suspect that’s it. That was an awful lot of effort for basically nil return.

Here are the tomatoes I picked today to show you their size against blueberries and a store-bought tomato. I had all three for lunch, and they weren’t even particularly nice. Not as sweet as I’d hoped; in fact, they had a slightly tart taste.

Tiny tomatoes with blueberries for size comparison

Tiny tomatoes with normal tomato and blueberries for size comparison

Too bloody right!

19 02 2012

(received from an older relative; source unknown)

The Green Thing

Checking out at the store, the young cashier suggested to the older woman that she should bring her own grocery bags because plastic bags weren’t good for the environment.

The woman apologized and explained, “We didn’t have this green thing back in my earlier days.”

The clerk responded, “That’s our problem today. Your generation did not care enough to save our environment for future generations.”

She was right — our generation didn’t have the green thing in its day.

Back then, we returned milk bottles, soda bottles and beer bottles to the store. The store sent them back to the plant to be washed and sterilized and refilled, so it could use the same bottles over and over. So they really were recycled. But we didn’t have the green thing back in our day.

We walked up stairs, because we didn’t have an escalator in every store and office building. We walked to the grocery store and didn’t climb into a 300-horsepower machine every time we had to go two blocks. But she was right. We didn’t have the green thing in our day.

Back then, we washed the baby’s diapers because we didn’t have the throw-away kind. We dried clothes on a line, not in an energy gobbling machine burning up 220 volts — wind and solar power really did dry our clothes back in our early days. Kids got hand-me-down clothes from their brothers or sisters, not always brand-new clothing. But that young lady is right; we didn’t have the green thing back in our day.

Back then, we had one TV, or radio, in the house — not a TV in every room. And the TV had a small screen the size of a handkerchief (remember them?), not a screen the size of the state of Montana. In the kitchen, we blended and stirred by hand because we didn’t have electric machines to do everything for us. When we packaged a fragile item to send in the mail, we used wadded up old newspapers to cushion it, not Styrofoam or plastic bubble wrap. Back then, we didn’t fire up an engine and burn gasoline just to cut the lawn. We used a push mower that ran on human power. We exercised by working so we didn’t need to go to a health club to run on treadmills that operate on electricity. But she’s right; we didn’t have the green thing back then.

We drank from a fountain when we were thirsty instead of using a cup or a plastic bottle every time we had a drink of water. We refilled writing pens with ink instead of buying a new pen, and we replaced the razor blades in a razor instead of throwing away the whole razor just because the blade got dull. But we didn’t have the green thing back then.

Back then, people took the streetcar/tram or a bus and kids rode their bikes to school or walked instead of turning their moms into a 24-hour taxi service. We had one electrical outlet in a room, not an entire bank of sockets to power a dozen appliances. And we didn’t need a computerized gadget to receive a signal beamed from satellites 2,000 miles out in space in order to find the nearest pizza joint.

But isn’t it sad the current generation laments how wasteful we old folks were just because we didn’t have the green thing back then?

Please forward this on to another selfish old person who needs a lesson in conservation from a smart ass young person.

Remember: Don’t make old people mad! We don’t like being old in the first place, so it doesn’t take much to piss us off.