It’s official……………

8 03 2017

I am now an old fart.

Yesterday, I turned 65 (will she still love me…?) and am now officially a pensioner. To celebrate, I did the unthinkable, flying over 2,500 km to join my family and friends in Queensland who all wanted to see me. Love miles George Monbiot calls them……. not only that, we also drove more than 300km in Glenda’s little car, though it would have only burned 15 litres of petrol doing so. I’m over feeling guilty over my travels now ; whatever I do (or don’t do) will not make one iota of difference to the outcomes of western civilisation…..

If ever I needed reminding of why I will never return to the big island, the weather while I was burning all those fossil fuels was downright awful. Maybe it’s because I am getting old, or maybe it’s due to climate change, but I could not remember the heat being as oppressive as it was……. as I type, in Geeveston, it’s 21 degrees (C of course…) and I have my shirt off……. after harvesting in the market garden, more later.

Everyone I spoke too was mumbling through the thick air about the oppressive heat, and the lack of rain…… worst summer in living memory, etc etc etc………… in the end, I spent most of the time eating, drinking, sweating (when not in airconditioning) or traveling by oil powered transport. Now I’m back, I have to wear off the pounds I put on in just three days!

Glenda and I made the time to see Bruce at Mt Glorious. Where too it was hot….. Mt Glorious? For Pete’s sake, it’s 600m above sea level..?

There’s never enough time to talk to Bruce. Like me, he is short of people he can have an actual conversation that makes sense with, and after just three hours, we had to go back down the mountain to the pea soup.

Bruce related a story to me that relates highly to an article I recently published about PV’s negative ERoEI. It goes something like this……:

His in-laws, who live off the grid near Stanthorpe in Queensland, had a pretty good 20 year old 24V battery bank charged with an array of 12V solar panels. It worked just fine, until the lady of the house decided to replace the fridge, and voila, the system could not cope. So she contacted the company who installed the original system to upgrade it. “But everything’s changed now” she was told…… you will have to replace the whole lot…. nonsense said Bruce (as I said when he was telling me what happened). 12V modules are a thing of the past now, unless you’re willing to pay for ‘camping’ versions of these things that cost ten times as much per Watt as the ‘conventional’ gear being screwed to everyone’s roofs these days…… talk about an expensive fridge.

The company involved could not be bothered to tinker with the system, they reckoned the batteries and associated inverter and charging gear were too old and not worth the effort. So off it all came, now replaced with the latest stuff, including the ridiculous use of a grid tied inverter needing to be hooked up to an ‘island’ bit of gear to make it work as a standalone inverter. And at 20 years old, all that stuff was right on the verge of paying itself off in energy return, but now it’s a pile of waste with a negative ERoEI. Bruce has the panels, but I suspect he doesn’t need them, though they could be good backup for his old system should anything go wrong with it……….

The other interesting thing that happened to me was on the flight up…… I just happened to sit next to this Canadian, who, after some banter, it was discovered knew all about peak oil and ‘the end of capitalism’. Maybe there are more and more people ‘getting it’ these days.

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Steak from the neighbours, mashed potatoes with parsley and garlic from the garden, plus home grown beans – all washed down with home brewed cider made with apples from trees I can see from here…

Back to reality. I was a tad concerned about leaving my garden unattended, particularly not being watered in this warm weather, but I need not have worried, it seems to have thrived on neglect! This morning I harvested 7.3kg of tomatoes, 9.6kg of snow peas (!) and a 3kg zucchini that was as long as my arm…… a zuccini that big is not salable, so I chopped it up for the chooks. Waste nothing (unlike solar power companies).

I’m actually starting to feel like I’m living in abundance, at least for the time being. I ate a watermelon from the poly tunnel before leaving for Qld, and this morning I got stuck into a delicious rockmelon. I’ve been making blackberry jam, and there’s such a glut of berries now, I will be making more for the next couple of weeks…. and just before leaving, I bought half a pig from my neighbour, and is it soooo delicious……. Eat your heart out Queenslanders……

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10 responses

8 03 2017
MargfromTassie

Great post Mike! Welcome to the ‘Old Fart Club’.
Gotta try that parsley and garlic in my mashed potatoe.

8 03 2017
Danny

will she still need me, will she still feed me when I’m 64 … now you’re 65, it’s a given (hopefully)

8 03 2017
Daniel Boon

I know a bloke who turned 65 about two years ago, they made him jump through hoops to get his pension

On Wed, Mar 8, 2017 at 1:05 PM, Damn the Matrix wrote:

> mikestasse posted: “I am now an old fart. Yesterday, I turned 65 (will she > still love me…?) and am now officially a pensioner. To celebrate, I did > the unthinkable, flying over 2,500 km to join my family and friends in > Queensland who all wanted to see me. Love miles George” >

8 03 2017
ejhr2015

I’m nearly 12 years older than you and I definitely do not feel like an “old fart” There’s not enough hours in the day even now. I’m not sleeping properly recently maybe its the PD, but my health seems pretty good. Frequent bushwalking keeps me active, so no regrets there. Sites like yours, and TC and Billyblog etc keep my mind busy. There’s lots wrong in the world and that keeps me active too. You cannot yet be an old fart!

8 03 2017
mikestasse

“Old fart’ Is of course a figure of speech….. 😉

I walked 2km this morning, just to harvest my goodies! I’m about to walk another, just to water what’s left…. All that fresh air and sunshine and physical activity will hopefully see me grow old enough to watch the Matrix fall to pieces…..

10 03 2017
Blue Peter

G’day to all DtM peoples
I ask no names please, I have mentioned before to remember our manners.

Sticks and stones may break my bones but names cannot hurt me, BUT nice names can comfort me and nasty name can kill me.

Comments?

8 03 2017
Chris Harries

I am a little bit troubled by the line: “…whatever I do (or don’t do) will not make one iota of difference to the outcomes of western civilisation…..”.

This can be seen in the same light as the John Howard doctrine… ‘Whatever Australia does won’t make a jot of difference unless the rest of the world takes a lead’. That was such a powerful meme it defined Australia’s failed leadership on climate change… and still does define it.

But I know that’s not where you are coming from, Mike. We all have these ethical dilemmas when we make life’s decisions. Keeps us all from ever feeling too smug.

9 03 2017
lemmiwinks

Be that as it may, he’s right. The average person a) doesn’t want to hear about it – only good news thanks! and b) won’t believe it/will argue against it or “technology will save us!” type bollocks.

Business as usual will continue, right up until it can’t and by then it will be too late. So, IMO, Mike’s got the right attitude.

9 03 2017
mike

As they say, one can always justify one’s position…… but let me tell you Chris, after two decades of campaigning to get all sorts of things changed, absolutely nothing has… and besides, the quicker we run out of oil the better, because the ensuing collapse will be the only available answer..

9 03 2017
Glenn

Chris … i suppose we all sit in different camps .. sometimes more that one. Im made friends with the idea that civilizations tend to have a used-by day and find WALKING AWAY a perfectly acceptable way to go.

The blog post “Hope In The Age Of Collapse” makes pretty good sense of such things.

glenn

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