Friday Funny 2


First up, best photo ever used in an ad trying to sell something!

Secondly, let me see if I have this straight. This rust bucket will cost me $200, unless I choose to risk my life and try starting this car which has not been started in five years, and for risking my life I have to pay an extra $300? WTF?

If I try it and it does not work, is that still an extra $300? What if I buy it for $200, take it away on a trailer, and try it without you knowing, will you hunt me down for the extra $300?

I “recon” that the seller will be keeping this rust bucket for a while! ;)

Fail Whale, wrong world

An Aussie Visitor

On Easter Monday there was a kitty commotion. Grumpy is our door guard, and sometimes she behaves like there is a cat outside and there *is* and other times she behaves that way and I can see nothing at all. But this time, there was quite a sight to be seen! And she was freaking out. I looked out the window and dropped everything I was doing, ran out the back and told The Other Half to put down the hose and follow me.

I’d read on Facebook that a property nearby had a resident Echidna and it had dropped in to visit.

It climbed up on the windowsill to stare at Grumpy, and you can see Grumpy was Not Amused, or perhaps just not sure what the heck this was. But it did not just want to visit us in the front yard, and promptly went and dug under the fence. Seeing what was likely to happen, we had already locked the chooks up. The minute this thing climbed under the fence, the girls went crazy, side eye-ing, bagerking and clucking up a storm.

It was starting to get dark, so something had to be done. Lucky we have a country farm boy living here, and lucky he is a welder and had some serious gloves handy. You do not want to handle one of these creatures without major protection.

The first thing they do is try to dig themselves in. They are very determined creatures, but so is The Other Half.

This lovely creature was relocated back to the property it lives on. :)

Aussie Culture, country life

Vale BeeGee

The Vale posts are always hard to write but especially so this time. My wonderful BeeGee was euthanased on Monday morning. She had been making so much progress. We had got both the infections under control and in fact her ear infection was completely gone when the vet checked it Monday. But on Sunday she began to go backwards as far as progress. It became clear that the infection had spread to the one place we had no chance of fixing it, her brain.

For the past two weeks BeeGee was the center of our world. Looking after her took the number one place on our to-do list. We became masters of finding a solution to whatever problem was happening at that moment. The Other Half built a Raspberry Pi thing to do the camera stuff we needed, so we could have an eye on her without having to disturb her rest time. I made many bowls of chicken crumble mash, making them the right consistency for easy eating.

BeeGee has taught me so much about myself. I had no idea I was even capable of this level of chicken handling. While the outcome has not been what we wanted, I would not take back one minute of that precious time I got to spend with my BeeGee. Even cleaning up her poops has been a joy. I’m feeling a bit lost without her.

When she was a well chicken out in the flock, she loved all the treats but especially lactose free yoghurt and watermelon. She had gained a high position in the flock and was much loved by the other girls. She was never once mean to another chicken, even the Mean Girl Pekins who would have deserved it. She was a kind girl with loads of personality and a beautiful spirit.

As I always post when this happens – there are 7 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, BeeGee. We loved our special moments with you. We will remember.

Thank you for being such a great chook. Thank you for fighting so hard to stay with us, you very nearly won your fight, and you won our hearts along the way. Now you are safe, warm, free from pain and hanging out with our loved girls at Rainbow Bridge, where I am sure they serve endless plates of lactose free yoghurt.

Vale Pets

Things I Did Not Buy March

Those candle holders outlined in pink are just perfect for my candle shelf, but #yobn too bad so sad. I am a *bit* sad about this one though, because I think they would reflect the candle light beautifully and also allow me to put a couple of candles up higher. They are at Haven & Space in Berry and the deal with that place is a little bit like Costco – if you don’t buy it when you see it chances are you won’t see it again.

Maybe I will add this to my List Of Things To Look For in 2019 which will be very easy, just look back through all these posts and see what I did not buy. And speaking of things I want to add to my List Of Things To Buy In 2019.. I would like to get a decent ring.

I have several rings which no longer fit me. One of which is mystic topaz that I bought in Hawaii and I am thinking now maybe I will get that put into a new setting of some kind. More than likely silver because I prefer that.

It might be time to take my stuff in and get a price on having this done, because jewellery sitting unworn is a bit of a waste, and it is technically not *buying* something. I’m probably going to visit a local jeweller to do this and will likely buy a ring locally in 2019 but I do like some of the rings available on TVSN, mostly the NY Gems and Dallas Prince stuff.

I have been eyeing this ring for about 6 months now. But I have no idea what ring size I am. Interestingly I asked them to send me a ring sizer back when I ordered my Pilates machine, and it has never arrived. I wonder if this is fate, or perhaps #yobn special powers.

This top is totally my thing, except for the neckline.

This is the kind of thing I went looking for in the latter half of 2017 and did not find, so I ended up with these tops from Factorie.

TVSN had themselves a little Easter Saturday sale, and HOOLEY DOOLEY I would so have bought a couple of things, if not for #yobn magically selling out my sizes. My Boo Radley dress I did not buy in January at $59.95 was now $34.95, but totally sold out in my size.

And this cute little dress which I totally would have bought in black was only available in grey in my size and I did not love the grey one. You can see why – look how all the details pop on the black one and kinda vanish on the grey. I have seen a lot of their garments locally and have always been impressed with the quality even if the item was not my style.

These would have been a great addition to my winter wardrobe and at those prices I would not have minded breaking my #yobn pledge – when we are talking about saving over $100 and it is a designer one loves and enjoys, it becomes a bargain and we have a rule about that in this house, too.

This post became too long to add in the IKEA stuff so that will be a post on its own! ;)


The BeeGee

At what point does one decide their chicken is on the mend? Is it when you place your chicken on a towel on a chair while you run to grab something and when you return you discover your chicken has decided to take off, fly down, and run over to visit with their chicken friends who are on the other side of the shadecloth? They had a lovely chicken chat.

Is it when this chicken decides it will prefer to keep the large plant pot in between itself and yourself? When you have to chase her to pick her back up? Or does one want to keep from thinking this in case of jinxing her? I’m a bit superstitious like that.

In some ways all of this progress stuff is a very excellent sign. Sure, she is not anywhere near ready to rejoin her flock. When she walks she is still a little off balance. But this time last week she was not even able to stand. She does not seem to want to eat on her own but she will eat when we offer her food held at the precise location most convenient for pecking.

More than anything else, I want BeeGee to get back to living her optimal chicken life. Having said that, these moments I am getting to spend with her, where she is sitting on my lap eating chicken crumble mash out of a bowl.. these moments are very special for me.

The hours – quite literally – that she has spent sleeping on me after a feed while I gently trace the patterns in her feathers.. the way her gold feathers reflect the light in the evening, these are all memories I am storing in my memory banks and keeping.

For now, I’m just planning to enjoy these moments. I have a lot of hope that she will get back to her normal chicken life. It may take a bit longer than any of us would like. We’ve done everything possible for her and we will continue to do so. The rest of it is up to her.

I’m not going to bore you with too many updates – non-chicken posts for this next week on the blog are already scheduled. Until she is back with her flock you may get a quick Saturday post.


Sick Chicken Update

This has been by my side pretty much everywhere I have gone since Friday last week. I do not know how we would do any of this without the video camera. It allows us to keep an eye on her without having to disturb her all the time. At night it is infra-red, so we can see her in the dark.

On Friday I spoke to the vet from Easter Sunday as well as the exotic animals vet, who wanted to see her at her next available appointment which was Saturday morning. I felt it was important to point out that the symptoms we were seeing on Thursday were quite different to what we saw on Sunday, where she just seemed unbalanced. Partly it is our fault for picking up on the chicken being unwell so quickly – the tell tale symptoms took more time to develop.

Saturday morning we took Beegee to the vet, who wanted to do some tests and an x-ray, she would call us in a couple of hours with any results. We returned home and energetically cleaned the delicate nirvana. I’m not good at waiting at the best of times.

The x-rays showed two different internal infections – one in the ear, and one in the last stage of the digestive tract. Either one of these on their own would be no big deal, but the two together means her chances of survival are around 30%. So we had a tough decision to make – euthanase or throw everything possible at her and see how she does.

This is never an easy decision to make. Beegee had shown me over the previous week that she is a fighter and we wanted to give her every chance, so the vet loaded her up with antibiotic injections – meaning we would not have to dose her for the next 24 hours therefore she could rest as much as possible.

Saturday evening we managed to get some good feeds into her, and she was eating beautifully. We’ve noticed she is more alert in the afternoon and evening which is not quite normal for a chicken, they usually sleep at night and you can’t really wake them up to the normal stage of chicken alert-ness.

On Sunday we focused on medication, food, and making her super comfortable. Sunday night we needed to get some good sleep, so I asked Sephyroth if he could help out by watching my chicken and letting me know if she tried to stand up AKA poop, or if anything weird happened. Above you see a screenshot I sent him so he could know what he was seeing on camera. He could message me if I needed to get up and check on her. That worked out great.

Monday we began to see some positive signs – her poops began to smell the way chicken poop should instead of OMG get that smelly thing out of here! She stood up and stayed standing up, then she took off across the room without falling over.

I spoke to the vet and gave her the link to the camera so she could see what I was seeing. She said that the standing meant we were having success on the infection in the digestive area. It did make life slightly harder for us, because we needed to find a way to best support her in sleeping and standing. An extra rolled up towel mostly did the trick.

Monday night around 11:30 we went in to check on her and she was looking a lot better suddenly. The ear infection was making her tilt her head and neck to the side – this straightened right up. When I checked on the camera feed about 2:30am, I was so freaked out by what I saw..

Beegee had decided she needed to be “up” on a roost. This was an incredibly good sign.

So we both got up and created her a roost with a piece of wood sitting underneath her, like she would be used to in the coop within the “nest” we had made her which was supporting her neck and head. We slept a lot better with the knowledge that if she did poop, she would not be sitting in it, which was the thing keeping me awake the most. Once a chicken is settled on the roost they usually stay there all night.

Tuesday has generally been a day of medication, feeding and trying to get her to stay in her special chicken roost bed. She is making progress. We are by no means out of the woods yet. The biggest concern is that the ear infection might spread into the brain, and that she would be unlikely to recover from.

We have hope, and for now that is enough. :) But just so you know, I am a bit sleep deprived and not around much, and I have a lot of unread posts in my feed reader. I will catch up eventually. :)


In The Sick Tent

For 99% of their lives, our chickens have it pretty darn good. They are regularly spoiled with healthy treats that they love, everything from tuna to tomato to lactose free yoghurt to blueberries and watermelon and many other treats in between.

They have a large chicken pen where they can safely roam. They have a great chicken coop plus an indoor run where they can hang out if it rains, and an area underneath that which mostly remains dry where they can dust bathe even if it is raining. They have food and water inside the indoor run itself, plus several choices of water to drink from in the large chicken pen.

Most days they get to “free range” a grassed area, garden beds, and hidden away safely from most prying eyes, they have their own special leaf litter dustbathing extravaganza.

And if all of *that* wasn’t enough, they have two owners – Snoskred who loves to observe them and notes when one of them is Not Feeling Great, and The Other Half who grew up a country boy and is able to handle them very deftly when required, plus he is technically crafty and can create solutions when they need them. We have needed the latter this week and Snoskred has begun to learn more handling skills herself.

On Good Friday I began to notice something a bit off about BeeGee. She was not her usual speedy self, and seemed to be having some trouble with reaching the ground to peck. It almost seemed like her crop was swollen – the crop is the area all food goes into once it is swallowed. It is kind of a chicken fuel holding tank, before it moves into the stomach.

Most of the time when something goes wrong with a chicken the best thing is to observe. As long as they are eating and drinking and pooping and flocking, many issues do resolve of their own accord. It can be difficult as a chicken owner to know when to step in, especially when your girls are a bit flighty and catching them causes stress on its own.

The next morning – Saturday – the swelling had mostly gone down and she ate her food like a normal chicken. As the day went on, however, we began to notice that swelling again, and when I took them a treat of tomato in the afternoon she did not show a lot of interest. I figured some lactose free yoghurt might be a good idea, and she certainly did not miss out on any of that.

My general rule is, as long as they are eating, drinking and pooping, we observe and don’t intervene – and if we do have to examine the chicken more closely in that instance, we would do it at night time once all the girls get up on the roost and are less.. upset about humans because they are half asleep. So after the yoghurt, we’re back to observing her some more. There are some exceptions to this rule but this post is going to be long enough. Another time.

On Easter Sunday, she was not at all interested in the scratch mix, and I could see she was pretending to be a chicken – pecking at the scratch but not actually picking any of it up. That decided our next course of action – catch her, put her in a carrier and head to the vet.

Of course it had to be Easter Sunday, so this would be an Up Money vet visit. I’m firmly of the belief that you buy it, you bought it, you take care of it whatever it costs. We were not sure what the outcome would be or even if our well versed in chickens vet would be available – sadly she was not and the vet on duty admitted she knew a little but not a lot. As a chicken owner that can happen fairly often – many times we’ve done our research and we know more about what could be happening than the vet we were seeing.

Even if you do get lucky and have a vet with loads of chicken info, chances of getting a solid diagnosis are pretty slim. The vet did find a temperature variation with one leg, which could mean there is something going on in that leg. Chickens do a lot of jumping and they can sometimes injure themselves. But it could also be a host of other things, everything from ear mites to a stroke. She was off balance, that was for sure.

We came up with a plan of treat with anti-inflammatory, isolate, syringe feed if necessary, and see how she does. We also included in this plan to dose all the chickens with Ivomec which treats external and internal parasites aka worms, mite and lice. This is something we do from time to time, though it has been a while since we’ve done it.

We do have a zip up tent we can use for isolation. So on arrival home the tent was set up with a roost, a feeding and water station, and a cardboard base for easy cleaning.

I personally find isolating a chicken to be Tough Work, not for them, but for *me*. It is really difficult when a girl cannot be a part of the flock, out in the world living her best chicken life. If you isolate for too long they will lose their place in the flock and have to fight for it all over again, so you want them to be in the best shape possible before you re-introduce but it is difficult to know what shape they are really in when they have a small area to reside in.

BeeGee is an incredibly sweet girl though she has always been of the opinion that humans should stay a respectable distance away from her. Since becoming ill she has decided humans are not so bad, and is quite happy to sit on us and be given medication or food. During her sick tent time thus far, we have had many discussions – she talks in chicken which I can speak. Of course I have no idea what I am saying, but she does not seem to mind.

By Easter Monday we were able to get some fluids into her each time we gave her medication, and she was eating watermelon, tuna, sweet corn, and soft chicken crumble mash.

One minute you think things are going well and she is eating up a storm which is always a great sign, the next minute you are not so sure, the following minute you think something really terrible and unfixable is wrong with her due to a new symptom you spot or – warning tmi – a not so great poop. We think the medication is the cause of that.

On the Tuesday after Easter, we were starting to feel like she needed a bit more space to move around, so The Other Half looked for a large box while at work, and we set up Sick Chicken Palace. This box is huge!

First we laid in a plastic table cloth. Chickens can be messy- everything from spilling water to food to pooping – and we wanted to protect the base cardboard.

Really, there are only two things missing in here – a dustbathing box, and some turf, and you would have everything a chook needs in one convenient spot. And considering that she might be here long term, we may well add those things in.

Wednesday she was eating and drinking on her own. She was still not very steady on her feet, but she was now able to reach the ground and peck and eat.

In the afternoon I went out and sat her on my lap and offered her all manner of treats but the only thing she wanted was chicken crumble and water, and she ate a fair bit of that which made me very happy. After she finished eating I sat there with her for an hour, with her falling asleep and me supporting her head with my hand. I’m getting very attached to this chicken by now.

Update –

Things took a turn for the worse over the weekend but it is a bit of a long story, for another blog post. Right now on Sunday evening, Beegee is resting in a smaller box indoors and we are keeping a very close eye on her mostly by a video camera stream so we don’t have to bother her too often in between her regular feedings and waterings.

We do have a diagnosis – it is an ear infection, plus another infection internally. If it were just one of those, there would be a good potential outcome but the two together makes it less certain.

Not much sleep has been had in Snoskredland the last two nights, we’re both pretty exhausted. This chicken is a fighter and we will do everything we can to help her win. She is comfortable, she is receiving antibiotics and pain medication which is helping her and she has everything she needs close by plus two doting humans to attend to her every need.

Please keep a good thought for my lovely Beegee. :) I will update on Wednesday.


Last Friday Was Good Friday

They’ve locked us out, Happy! What now?

A few years back we had an influx of white tailed spiders in the house. We believed they were mostly living in the ceiling and on days when it got too hot they would find a way to enter the cooler house, and then walk around the cornices like they owned the place. This was Not Cool. So one weekend we packed up the cats and went to visit my parents for a few hours while those pest bombs fogged the house.

The cats were Not A Fan of this concept, and Happy hid in the kitty litter tent or the cat carrier for most of the time we were there. Grumpy spent her time sniffing the house, perhaps looking for scents from other cats. Sadly my parents do not have a cat. When they go away for a trip, we often drop over after they leave and pest bomb their house.

It is not so easy in Chez Snoskred. At least, it wasn’t. Until we added on our Delicate Nirvana. We’ve been planning a pest bombing for some time, and we figured Good Friday was as good a day as any to “lock” ourselves and the cats out of the house.

These Humans Be Crazy, Grumpy!

So what does one need to take out into the Delicate Nirvana when one knows one will be stuck happily ensconced there for at least two hours? The cats need very specific items.

1. The Kitty Litter Setup. Our eventual plan is to have this out here all the time, once we work out a safe and secure way to install a 24/7 cat door. We would like to put this inside a box but we find these two will lay in wait for each other unless there are multiple entrances and exits – that is also a difficulty we have with the cat door.

2. The Kitty Food Setup. Our cats have access to kibble 24/7, though one of them perhaps should not have. They already have a water bowl out here but we brought a second one just in case. It turned out to be popular, perhaps because of the novelty factor.

The humans required –

1. Lunch in the form of protein shakes – not pictured as we drank them fast, it was warm out here! – and snacks just in case. I brought all my vitamins, too.

2. Laptops, tablets, phones. I had actually suggested we leave all of this inside and bring out actual books, but The Other Half was not a fan. I am writing this post out here right now, and we are 45 minutes into our two hour exclusion from the house.

3. I did bring an actual book. I am not the slightest bit interested in scuba diving but this book is amazing and you should seek it out and read it. I wrote about it on the blog before.

We don’t need to bring drinks because we have a fridge out here filled with all our favourites – for me, that is San Pellegrino mineral water and teeny tiny Cascade ginger beer.

On top of the fridge – which used to be a freezer but The Other Half reprogrammed it – is the favourite sleeping spot of Grumpy.

About 15 minutes before we were due to be “allowed” back into the house, I felt a blast of cool air approaching. A cool change, just in time for us to open all the windows in the house and let the “fog” out. The kitties were left outside for another hour while we vacuumed and wiped down surfaces. The minute we put the cat door back in, they lost all interest in going back inside and found themselves warm places to remain in the Delicate Nirvana.

After that, I got a head start on dinner = spinach, bacon and ricotta canneloni. I wanted to cook once this Easter weekend and then eat leftovers for the rest of the weekend. First I made The Bolognese Of Snoskred. While that bubbled and simmered, I cooked bacon and fresh spinach, and added that into 1kg of ricotta to make the filling, which simply gets placed inside fresh lasagne sheets and rolled up.

Aldi have fresh lasagne sheets now, and a much better price than the Latina Fresh ones. $2.59 VS $5.17. I found the Aldi ones much easier to work with as well. The Latina ones tend to be easily breakable, the Aldi ones are far stronger and much easier to roll up once you have placed your filling inside.

Not only did this cook once feed us for the rest of the weekend, but we got 6 lunches out of it, and I made Fake Lasagne the following Thursday with the leftover sauce.

While this was going on two loads of washing and two loads of dishwashing were done, and overall we got Shiznit Done. Dinner was delicious. It was a great day.

Delicate Nirvana

Mathematical Protein Soup

I’ve been buying Whey Protein Isolate in bulk from Bulk Nutrients since 2016 now. The quality is excellent. I get the raw flavour AKA totally unflavoured because I like to add my own flavours to my shakes, and if you get raw protein you can add it to soup without even blinking. Yes, soup. Sounds crazy? It actually isn’t, though I suspect I am one of the few people on the planet who do this.

I bought 5kg of protein in December 2017. One serving of protein is 40g though sometimes I use a little less depending on how active I have been and how long it is till my next meal. My protein shake is very filling so if I have left my shake a bit late, I will not be hungry enough for dinner unless I cut down the amount of protein to 30g.

So a quick math workout – 1000g of protein = 25 servings. Therefore each 1kg bag of protein should last me 25 days.

I should have got 125 days of protein out of this last order, right? However on weekends we often both have a shake, which muddles up the maths. There is now a new variable, which is The Other Half having protein shakes for lunch at work. It would be fine maths wise if it were X days a week. But it never works out that way.

What I usually do is wait until I open my last 1kg bag and make another order of 5kg. But this time I did a little maths first.

It costs me $7 flat rate shipping no matter how much I order. Also when you buy more, the price is slightly cheaper. Here is a quick table. OMG listen to me doing maths like I like it! ;)

.10 cents per serving does not seem like a big saving. When you consider there are 375 servings in 15kg, it works out to $37.50. But you also have to consider, if I bought 3x 5kg, I would have to pay an extra $14 in shipping. Suddenly we are up to $51.50 in savings. I’m going to buy the protein anyway, it keeps long term, and I won’t have to order it again for some time, so we bought 15kg.

We’ve worked a rough calculation for how many protein shakes The Other Half might have, and essentially we think this is enough protein for the two of us for 250 days. If that turns out to be correct, I will next need to order protein in December 2018, but I might be able to make it to January 2019, because I only just opened the final 1kg bag from the last order.

Protein Soup

If you do a quick google there are not a lot of places talking about adding protein powder to soup, so it is not Officially A Thing. But I did it all last winter and it worked out great for me. With my present thyroid issues I really feel the cold so a shake with frozen stuff in it is not the most optimal for me on very cold days.

It works best in soups you have whizzed up to a creamy consistency. You do need to stir it in well – whisking might work best but I just use a spatula and stir like a person possessed. You could also use a immersion blender, like the Thunderstick.

If you want to see other places you could squeeze in some extra protein, here are a couple of good articles – 15 Genius Ways to Add Protein Powder to Foods41 Sneaky Ways to Add Protein Powder Into Every Meal.

health, Soup