Jervis Bay Is Awesome.

jb1

I think I might have killed the treadmill, again. I realise now I might not have told you about the first time I murdered it, with spider spray. We had to order parts for it, The Other Half did fix it. Since then it has propelled me for hundreds, maybe thousands of KM.

jb2_600x441

My beloved treadmill had been making a strange smell for a while. I just thought it needed a small service, and the smell might have been the new commercial lubricant that we had used. The last time I used it on a Sunday evening to catch up my missing steps, I noticed that the room seemed to be smoky and the smell was “louder” than usual. Lucky The Other Half was at home, so I called him in. When he took the cover off, we found that the motor was literally smoking. Actual puffs of smoke were appearing.

snorkel1_600x315

A quick service was performed, and the assessment was Not Great. Thankfully, Spring has Sprung and the weather has been gorgeous, so out I went, almost every single day, to get my exercise done. The one exception was Tuesday, where I tried the treadmill again and got 10 minutes out of it before it began to smell again, prompting me to use the much hated elliptical. I guess I will have to use it when the weather does not allow out time. And we could really do with some rain, so I would accept having to use the hated elliptical if we could have some rain.

jb5_600x381

I do have a problem with my mind. It tells me that if I get out to walk, I better make it worthwhile. Why walk/run 5km when you can walk/run 10km, Snoskred? And why would you want to quit when the scenery is this great? I did 3x 10km plus one 8km last week and a 5km on Saturday. I had a rest day on Sunday. I’ve already done 10km and 8km this week.. On the days I do a 10km, I allow myself a small piece of baked cheesecake for dessert. I feel I have earned it. ;)

jb6_600x250

There has been a bushfire in Booderee National Park. It has been very bad and they believe it may have been deliberately lit. They got it under control early on, but the next day it had flared up in several different places, and then it really took off with some big winds we had.

treewind_441x600

It was a hot day too, 30 degrees C (around 85F) so that did not especially help. They had to evacuate the camping grounds, HMAS Creswell, and Jervis Bay village.

jb3_600x312

The fire is mostly out now, though they’ve had a couple of flare ups. I’ve seen some aerial photos on Facebook and the amount of bush that is gone is staggering. Our favourite bushwalk there looks like it is just clear ground and burned trees now. Once they reopen the park, we plan to go in and do that bushwalk and take some photos, and then go back at least once a month to watch it all grow back. It seems like The Other Half’s favourite campgrounds were spared any damage, at least for now.

jb7_600x322

This has us thinking about our own fire plan, and I will be doing some organising in the next few weeks so we can have a grab bag of things we need to take. We already have a plan for the cats, and the chooks are my big worry because if we had to evacuate at night that is easy, they will all be asleep on the roost, we just grab them and put them in the carriers. Daytime, HA, how hilarious, to try and catch chooks who are not great fans of being caught. Rosie the Grande Dame in particular will be almost impossible to catch, as she is speedy.

jb9_600x236

So we have a plan of what we are going to do, the plan we currently lack is where we intend to go. That might depend on the situation. In the meantime, I will be out and about, doing a lot of walking in the extremely awesome Jervis Bay. I might download some step aerobics videos for inclement weather days, and alternate that with the elliptical. I need to work on core strength.

Jervis Bay

Vale Our Grande Dame Rosie

rosie2

It is 2:35pm on Tuesday and I’m sitting here waiting. I already called the vet and made the appointment for late this afternoon. I know Our Grande Dame Rosie is unwell. I took them out some tuna as a treat and Rosie did not even try to move or show any interest. That is how I usually know the time is nigh. She perked up a little, not enough to eat, but enough to follow the flock down to the dustbathing area, and I had a tiny nugget of hope for a minute there, but she is not dustbathing.

I’m not going to completely stress her out by trying to catch her right this second. Rosie is not into that kind of thing. She keeps her distance from us humans and she expects the same courtesy in return. I have a post scheduled tomorrow where I talk about our fire plan and the one issue with it is trying to catch Rosie. When she is healthy, she is very hard to catch. She is incredibly speedy. And she can fly!

So now I have the luxury of a couple of hours to sit here and think about how much we have loved having her as one of our chooks, and how much she is going to be missed by all of us. Dark Comb has not left her side since I got home from my walk and noticed she seemed off.. We’ll wait till she gets up on the roost this afternoon, it will be less stressful for her.

speedyrosie

Sometimes so speedy she was just a blur in the photo.

Rosie was originally named Blackie, when she first arrived here. She also had the nickname of Nugget for a while. I found her at the Goulburn chook auction in July of 2011. She was maybe 6 months to a year old when we first got her. She was a show chicken and her sister was an award winner, but Rosie was deemed unworthy for whatever reason, and I bought her for the expensive price of $10.

Nobody else was bidding on her, and had I not bid my $10 she would have been taken home and culled. Because she came home with me, she had 6 extra years of chicken life and she truly had an excellent chicken life, once she learned how to be a chicken. She was spoiled regularly with treats and her most favourite treat was strawberries cut into little squares.

I believe Rosie had spent her entire life prior to arriving here in a small chicken box, similar to the pens they use at chook auctions. She had no idea how to be a chicken. Here you can see her first experience with grass and learning how to dustbathe. She was always the lowest girl in the pecking order, and after Red Comb was attacked by a hawk, they became great friends.

At one time, because she is quite small, she became our escape chicken. She also flew over the fence as a surprise to herself one Saturday morning when it was a bit windy out. The amount of effort and time it took us to recapture her.. I think if Rosie had not been quite so terrified and upset at finding herself in unfamiliar surroundings, she would have been laughing at us.

She has always been a great friend to the English Game hens, and Dark Comb is the last one left. So I am a little worried about what happens once Rosie is no longer with us, with so few chooks left in the flock now. Though the main reason we did not add any more girls was because I felt Rosie would prefer to live out her years without having to go through another reshuffle of the pecking order. The girls we have left will handle it a lot better, if we chose to add more girls.

sunny2

Update – Rosie is now with her bestest chook friends in Rainbow Bridge. This was a tough one for us especially when our normal vet was on holidays. Our Grande Dame put on a decent show this afternoon, pretending to peck at the ground like she was eating when the other chooks were about, but she wasn’t picking anything up. When no chooks were looking, she would just stand completely still.

Once we got her to the vet away from the flock, she felt like it was ok to show us exactly how unwell she was feeling and we then knew that we’d made the right decision. We are not sure what caused her to feel this way, more than likely it was just old age and her time. Chooks are not built for long lifetimes.

As I always post when this happens – there are 3 other chickens in the yard for whom life continues. They live minute by minute, sucking the most joy out of each and every moment, whether it is a dirt bath, finding a bug, eating a treat from the humans.. all we can do is love them while they’re here, protect them the best we can from predators, know when it is time to let them go, and remember them when they are gone.

We will miss you, our sweet Grande Dame. We loved our time with you.

Thank you for being such a great chook.

Vale Pets

Road Trip

20170909_110150

I ran out of candles. That is as good an excuse as any for an IKEA roadtrip! Plus of course the crossing songs off our list thing, which I mentioned here last week. River commented that it might be better just to download the songs we want in .flac format. My problem is, I do not always know what songs I want until I hear them. I am bad like that and The Other Half is even worse, so this kind of project is a great way for us to recognise what songs are missing from our playlist.

20170909_115842

We stopped at Heatherbrae’s Pies twice on this trip. They are kinda hidden away at the Exeter/Bundanoon exit of the Hume Highway behind Mcdonalds. We first met Heatherbrae’s at their Newcastle location and we are so happy to have them locally.

20170909_180042

The reason we stopped twice is because I got a Chai latte on our first stop and it was *incredible*. That may have been the best cup of coffee I ever had in my life, and I have had a lot of coffee. It is definitely in the top 10. So on the way home I said lets stop again and have dinner. I got the bacon, tomato and cheese quiche. I like how they hide the tomato at the bottom.

20170909_114958

It is super dry everywhere we go at the moment. We have had very little rain this year. We have been advised that this is going to be a very dangerous bushfire season, and as I type this they are putting out a large fire within Booderee National Park, close to one of our favourite bushwalks. More on that in my Wednesday post this week.

20170909_130945

On the way to Canberra there is a large former lake. Actually I don’t know, do you call something a lake if it has no water in it presently? I have not seen much water here for some years now. I remember one time seeing this as a lake, but every other trip it has been grazing land for sheep. And now someone has stuck a bunch of wind farms way out there. One day we will drive to see them, but I have no idea where they actually are or how to get there. :) This is a terrible photo by the way, taken while driving, and the horizon is skewiff. :)

20170909_140408

On arrival at IKEA there were swedish meatballs for lunch. The other half chose to have the meatballs as well, and at some point I said, you know this gravy would be awesome in our cottage pie, and I can buy it in a packet mix from the food section here.

20170909_200520

Which of course I did. ALLEMANSRÄTTEN is everyone’s right to field, forest, and a fine meal with savory sauce, apparently. According to the packet, anyway.

20170909_200508

These Sinnlig candles are very good value at $1.69. I got one of each flavour. Normally I buy the candles at Aldi for $2.99 but these burn almost as long for a smaller price.

20170909_201139

I also bought many Sinnlig $2.79 for 30 tealights, which will be dotted in with my cheaper Glimma $4.99 for 100 tealights.

20170909_200558

The other half picked this little mini-cactus because it spoke to him. And shall we now tell the fascinating story of my dream mini-farm? It will have mini chickens, mini turkeys, mini ponies, mini pigs, mini cows, mini every possible animal. Plus now I will add a mini cactus farm and a mini garden. One day!

20170909_200526

And finally, I got some Frajen bath sheets as a gift for my Mother. These are huge yet quite thin so they dry very fast. I have been using mine all winter and they are great value at $10.99. We dropped in at Costco, grabbing some cheese and a few other treats. It was a very quick stop and soon we were on our way back home. There were kangaroos in the fields everywhere, making me realise that this would become something to watch out for once the sun went down.

We made it to Heatherbrae just after sunset, and picked up a piece of vanilla slice and a custard tart for my parents, the other half got a cream filled donut, I got a cherry and apple pie which I ate the following day for dessert. Soon after leaving Heatherbrae, we met our first wildlife friend.

Happy moments and a fun road trip for us! :) Even with all the wildlife encounters.

Costco, IKEA, shopping

Home Time

The cat grass has now been planted inside one of our large pots. The cats seem to like it here. They take it in turns to climb up and snack on the grass.

grumpy

Happy had an audience on her most recent visit to the cat grass, a game hen!

happy

We moved another one of the cat towers to the window cat happy place. They are now taking it in turns to sit in various places on these towers.

newcathome

I now have a mani to match my toes. As you can see in the background, the jasmine is flowering.

newmani

The chooks are laying again, and we are enjoying the eggs.

20170908_154324

Somewhat sadly on our last grocery shop we did not find any brussel sprouts at Aldi, and the ones available at Coles were hugely expensive and not great looking. The season might be over. That is a sad moment for us, but it is balanced out by warmer weather. I can’t handle many more of the cold nights we’ve been having.

Home

Greatest Songs Of All Time

20170909_104942

In the car we like to listen to the highest quality music files available – which these days is a file called .flac – and we have been trying to replace our entire music catalogue with songs in that format.

A few weeks ago we found a set of music files claiming to be “the greatest songs of all time”. There was over a thousand songs in this set. Before we even took the SD card out to the car, The Other Half had deleted just over 20 songs – the outright veto.

I wish I had been given outright veto options, because I would have deleted a bunch of stuff on sight. Shania Twain? Love her and her style, but I can’t stand her songs, unless I am at Lone Star cracking peanuts and throwing shells on the floor. That is the one occasion I will tolerate a Shania Twain song. I might even sing along in that rare instance. I hate the fact that I know all the words. :/ I suspect most of her more popular songs are secretly hidden throughout this list and they will all be crossed off and deleted.

20170909_120638

The Other Half printed out a list of all these greatest songs which resides in the glovebox along with a pen, and we set out to listen to all of this music and cross out the songs we downright hate. Ever since then, we have been making excuses to take long drives. We always go the longest way home now.

This past weekend we did an impromptu road trip to IKEA and Costco in Canberra. We started out late which meant we drove the last leg of the trip home in the dark. I think maybe we are odd people because we love driving around in the car. We don’t drive a lot at night anymore, and this screenshot from our dashcam shows why.

20170910-173525-1

A lot of tourists think of Australia as a big theme park with cute animals. They are not so cute when you hit them with your vehicle. When you make the trip from the South Coast to Canberra you tend to see a lot of roadkill. Wombats in particular seem to be murdered a lot by cars as people travel through Kangaroo Valley. We saw two live wombats on the way home, wombling along at the side of the road.

I think my list of greatest songs would be very different to this list. For starters, there are songs and artists we have never heard of. I’ve crossed off at least two Sugar songs. Given that is a US band, and given the high level of Shania Twain, I am guessing this list originated in the USA.

Here in Australia, we would have a lot more INXS, Crowded House, probably some Kylie Minogue and plenty of Abba on a list like this. We’ve just reached song 303, so there will be more roadtrips. :) And never fear, you will hear about the rest of this roadtrip in a future post.

country life

Spring Cleaning Time

artjunk1

It is that time of year again. The art room has somehow got very messy. I want to create art again, so work must be done. It turns out I needed to do some preparatory work in various other rooms before I could start working on this one. I started out with the hanging racks – this one you are about to see was covered in jackets, hoodies, ponchos, and tote bags. And now, not.

hang1

The scarf bar has been rejigged to give me space to hang beanies and hats if necessary.

scarfbar1

The next job to tackle is the hanging rack of bags. This is going to be a tough job and one I have put off a few too many times. I will tackle this. I WILL. :)

bagbar1

This space in my bedroom will soon become the Jewelry Bar. Watch this – and all these – spaces! There may not be much in the way of movie or tv watching happening for a while, until I get all this sorted.

jewelbar

I have a supervisor helper cat. She’s watching the spaces closely!

helpersupervisor

Home

So That Was August

beanies1

Bargain Beanies – these were $3 each from Cotton On. I wear a lot of beanies around the house these days and I figured for $3 each I might as well have some stylish ones. Why have I been wearing beanies around the house, you wonder? Wonder no more – here are our temperatures for the month of August in celsius –

temps

No wonder I was freezing cold much of the time. Two days where the low was over 10C (50F) – that is very cold for where I live. We have not had much rain at all. We have had many days where there were no clouds, so as soon as the sun disappeared the temperature dropped.

brownthings

Thank the deities I found these gorgeous and extremely comfortable boots on sale at Mathers – these are the Colorado Caffara which I managed to score for the massive price of $40 during a sale on an impromptu shopping trip with my parents which came to me as a surprise one Saturday afternoon.. They were originally $249. I have been wearing them a lot lately.

goldstone

I found this goldstone ring for $10 at a local place – I cannot resist goldstone. It is one of my favourite things. I am planning to see if my favourite rings can be resized soon but until then, I can wear this one. It matches my new boots too.

pinned

As mentioned in my No Buy July post, I intended to buy this pin from Noni B, and buy it I did, though I got it for just over $17 during a sale. It does pay to sign up for their email mailing list and rewards card thingy, if only to be told when things are going to be on sale. :)

suntrap2

We did a little reorganizing and created a nice sun trap for the kitties which happens to sit right next to the chickens favourite place to hang out and dust bathe when they are free ranging.

suntrap3

They can relax and enjoy the warm sun PLUS have chicken entertainment. Most mornings now they are both found somewhere here.

suntrap1

They take it in turns for the cat tower, the other cat usually sits on the chairs which are covered by an IKEA bath mat.

chookies

Meanwhile the chookies have just experienced their first blueberries for the season and they were very happy about it. Delicious blueberries = happy chook moments.

mani2

There were two manicures in the month of August – my nail artist opened her own shop this month which was super exciting for her and I am so happy for her. The first manicure was blue with a holographic glitter in it, which threw a rainbow of colours. I got 3 full weeks out of this mani, but in the next photo you can see why I like to stick with tips only – see the new growth which has no polish?

mani3

This particular nail colour also showed me exactly where I use my nails to do things, as parts of it turned pink with wear towards the final week of the manicure. The pinky finger in particular got a lot of wear – I figured out this is where my finger meets my tablet cover and I use my pinky nail to hold it upright while reading at night. It was so weird, there was no change in the thickness of the polish or the quality of it, not at all. Just a colour change.

mani5

I mentioned the other manicure last week, but here it is pictured resting on the outfit I mentioned. Again it is difficult to take photos of these things and do them justice. You can almost see how it matches this dress perfectly. That is a chiffon tank dress from Millers which I bought in late summer and then the weather got too cold to wear it. I have been thinking about this dress for months, waiting to wear it and finally we got a warm day.

20170826_155406

The dress and I, plus The Other Half, went to Shellharbour, then we took our new “long way home” which goes via Robertson, where I took the obligatory Big Potato Photo. It was a beautiful day, reaching highs in the 20s. The next day it SNOWED in Robertson, and we suddenly went from 16C to 6.6C here.

Home, shopping, sparkly