These are Not Chickens…

Hi folks, Sephyroth here…Snoskred is very busy with her job, so asked for me to pop in with a little surprise. :)

Earlier this summer, we were graced with the presence of this lovely couple of ducks who would stop in and enjoy the food we put out for the other birds in the area. However, unlike the birds of Australia who take to sunflower seeds like kids to candy…these birds don’t seem to like it as much in the States…

Note from Snoskred –

Sorry folks, I am in the middle of a 7 days in a row at work thing. One person quit, and the other person went on holidays to Europe. I only had two shifts with her before she left so it was a big learning curve for me, and that poor girl did not know where anything was because the previous person kept hiding things from her.. so I did a huge cleanout and found all the missing things.

I’m handling this new task far better now that I organised everything the Aspie way I like it, but it took a lot more energy to organise than I expected, plus the person who resigned from this job did a little creative throwing out of manuals and deleting of files that I actually needed, so that took a lot of phone calls, downloading instruction manuals and sorting out.

I am hoping to have more spare time this week. I will try to schedule a few posts ahead. The bonus is I am really enjoying this new task. Happy moments!

guest post, Sephyroth

Get Moving Mix

Recently The Other Half did some work on a dance/trance playlist for the car and also for his playlist at work. He finds that kind of music keeps him awake while driving – I find it impossible to keep still when this kind of music is playing, and I recently did a day of work with him where we got so much shiznit done thanks to this music it was unbelievable.. Here is one of our favourite tracks at the moment.


The Plan Thus Far

The Other Half is on a decluttering binge, inspired by the fact that he can never find what he is looking for when he is looking for it. I think this is not due to having too much stuff, just not organising the stuff one has in a smart way. Whatever it is, seems like we’re dedicating some serious time this year to decluttering.

His decluttering binge has been somewhat interrupted by the arrival of my Aunt and increased hours for me at my work. If my Aunt and I have the day off, we want to go out walking if the weather is good, which it has been. You see at the top of this post a photo of the stunning Jervis Bay on a recent walk we did. But even so we are Getting Shiznit Done here at home.

A few rooms of the house have been tackled, but one room needs a LOT of work and that is my Book Room, which also became the dumping ground for anything else that did not have a home. Before I take on this task head on, I need to make some decisions.

The Problem – E-books VS Physical Books.

Some of my heavy books – the Shakespeare one is very heavy!

I like to read before I go to sleep. I have a lot of physical books. Over 300 at last count, some of which I have owned for 20 years or more. They have travelled from house to house with us as we lived life. They have been good friends, there when I needed them. Which makes the decision to let them go quite difficult and I have never been able to manage it.

Sure, sometimes I have done a small book declutter and let books I was no longer interested in reading go. I would always take them to the second hand book store for credit, where I could get secondhand books with that credit. This is really no longer an option I am interested in, because I do not want more second hand books.

Click on this photo for a larger view

The reason why I do not want more second hand books is simple. Over the years I have mostly switched to reading on my Samsung tablet for many reasons. Here are some of them –

1. I don’t have to have a light on when I read because the tablet lights up.

2. No page turning = complete silence so The Other Half can sleep.

3. I can store a lot of books on my tablet and take them everywhere I go.

4. There are a lot of older books available for free via various sites – Project Gutenberg is the one I use most.

5. E-books cannot collect dust or take up room in the house.

Click on this photo for a larger view

6. Some e-book readers will keep a record of when you read an e-book, how long you have spent reading it, and it even works out how many words a minute. Mine has the Recent shelf, where it stores the most recent reads in the order I read them – or did not read them, if I was looking for a new read and then decided to look for another book. Those show up with 0 hours in the time spent reading.

I know a lot of people have not made this switch to e-books yet, but I am telling you it is awesomeness wrapped up in a nice neat tablet bow. I don’t miss physical books. Especially not on a cold night when I only need one hand available to tap the screen to turn the page.

I would read a physical book once every 6 months or so these days, but I mostly read them during the day rather than before bedtime. I have collected a lot of e-books over the years and my collection now contains nearly 12,000 books though some of these are the same title just in different formats – epub & mobi mostly.

I don’t carry them all on my tablet, I have narrowed that down to a select few, just under 4,000 books there which is nearly 4gb of data. I add in new folders every few months or so. Can you imagine trying to carry 4,000 actual books around?

Question Time

The next logical step in my life is to decide – do I want to keep physical copies of the books I have? If yes, do I want to box them up away from the elements so I could get them out never? If I am doing that, what exactly is the point of that? Would it be better to take some to the second hand book store so they can find new owners who will love them as much as I did/do? Donate some? Try to sell them online? I can use that money to buy digital copies of books.

Do I want to try and find digital copies of my entire library? There are some books I have which I would really love to own digitally, especially the very heavy ones. I have been slowly adding these books to my digital collection over time, one author at a time. For example I have a collection of Arthur Hailey books which I want on my tablet. They are available, I just have to buy them.

I guess what annoys me about this is, I already own these books. I just need them in the digital format. While I have no problem buying them again, it seems a bit unfair especially when I paid $25-40 for some books I own. I think there should be a scheme of some sort where you pay a lesser cost for the digital book if you already own it, and then you can return the book to the seller so they can sell it as a second hand book. Maybe there is such a scheme, does anyone know of one?

If I am going to buy digital copies is it worth joining something like Amazon Prime, do I get a discount if I buy them that way, are there other digital book services I should consider?

But then some of my books are not available digitally, so if I want to be able to read them again I will have to have a small bookshelf somewhere in the house.

The Current Plan –

I have a lot of questions without much in the way of answers as yet, so I think I will begin by sorting my books into – books I own digitally, and books I do not own digitally, and then decide what to do with the physical books that I have digitally.

I’m using my Timer to set 25 minute sessions, playing some of our great new techno/trance playlist, bopping along cleaning and sorting. I am finding if I do one timer session a day they do add up and I can get a lot done but in small, non-annoying chunks. Before I could even tackle the books I had to clean much junk out of this room and sort through all the Avon and various bits and pieces. I’m now ready to jump head on into this task.

Most of these I have in e-book format now.

I never thought I would want to let go of my physical books. Ever since I was little books have been a touch stone for me, a way to escape the present and visit other worlds in my mind. However it seems nonsensical to keep so many books when it is unlikely I will ever read them again in that format. The tablet is so much more convenient, I do have multiple backups of these books in case anything happens to the files, and I am feeling ready to say goodbye.

books, e-reader

A Quick One

Adding just one Aunt to the mix can add in a LOT of unexpected events. The other day we both had the day off so we went out for a lovely 5km walk near Vincentia, then we ended up going into the nearest “big” town for crepes, shopping, and general wandering.

We had a chai latte with the crepes – the cafe had a gorgeous open fire – and we have since decided we will try as many chai lattes in the Shoalhaven as we can. We suspect the one we had may well be the best one we’ve both ever had, so it will take some beating. We both have today off, so who knows what kind of mischief we will get up to, or where we will end up. I suspect perhaps Berry, or maybe Milton or Ulladulla. We do have a plan to catch the train to Sydney at one point, more for the journey than the destination.

While we were in the “big” town, we ordered a carrot, orange and walnut cake for my Dad for his birthday, which was yesterday.

We’ve volunteered to hold a BBQ at ours yesterday so that the cake can be experienced by all. I have to tell you, my Mother is very Anti-Cake. If it were up to her there would not be one. I bought candles for a significant Dad birthday 9 years ago now, and she has never once let me buy a cake to put them on. It had been so long I thought I had lost them. I guess, lucky me that I did not buy numbers of any kind.

If I do manage to get these candles on a cake and lit, hopefully a photo will be added to the post here. If there is no photo, Mother won the battle and the candles remain in their carton, perhaps for another 9 years. I mean really, can’t we just set fire to these things for a short moment, so I can enjoy the coloured flames? YES WE CAN.

These are the most gorgeous candles ever, well worth the 9 year wait. Even Mother enjoyed them. The photos do not quite do them justice. Perhaps I will be allowed to cake and candle again sometime this century. :) If not I might print some of these photos and put them into frames, for posterity.

We are in the midst of a major decluttering at the moment – more about that another day – and I have a bunch of Avon which I used to sell some years back that I want to find new homes for. I just don’t wear makeup myself, not even the cool liquid eyeshadows. I had a lot of perfume samples left over some of which people in Australia for are really missing now that Avon has left Australia. Mother has been receiving Avon perfumes for some years now and using and enjoying them, so she left with almost all the full bottles I had left. Even the men at the table found things to take home in among my decluttering pile.

The cake was delicious. Three bottles of wine were consumed, considering Mother and I do not drink and The Other Half only drinks bourbon, the remaining four people were quite happy when they left, if a little wonky getting into the car to be driven home by the always sober Mother. A great night was had by all.


The Sleeper

You may recall this photo from a previous post. Since I got this new rug in June, we have an incredibly happy Grumpy. We have never seen her sleep this deeply before. Something about this rug sends her far away into cat dreams.

Recently there has been a new development – if we are not here of an evening, she will actually climb into my rug and curl up to sleep, surrounding herself with warm fluffyness.

What is that white thing you see? Toes.

We really should buy another one and cut it into four so she can have several cat sized new places to sleep.

Why are you disturbing me, if you aren’t turning the heater on? The least you could do is take a better photo of me, if you are going to post it on your blog!


Currently In August

I sent out a plea for Beerenberg to my South Australian family members. My Aunt was headed our way because she is filling in at work for someone who took a spill from their motorbike and broke many bones. They will be off work for at least 6 weeks.

When we went to pick my aunt up at the airport, something happened to me. Back when I worked in Adelaide my day would start by catching the train into town and then picking up a Hudsons Coffee on my way to the call centre. I’d have another one for morning tea, some days! I always really loved their coffee and I have missed it enormously, though they update me via my Facebook feed.

For the most part in NSW they can be found in hospitals and airports. While it is fantastic that those in the airports and hospitals can get a great cup of coffee, these are not usually places that are easy to visit if you are not picking someone up at the airport or visiting someone in the hospital.

When I walked into the arrivals hall at Terminal 3 and saw there was a small Hudsons kiosk.. I completely forgot about everything and made a beeline to the counter to order all the coffee. Plus I got this lovely keep cup which despite appearances is not glass. This is a Marble Mocha which was my standard order back in the day. It was as good as I remember.

It was a very South Australian day as there was a 2 litre flagon of sauce in the suitcase for us. Now we can sausage roll again without fear of running out.

I’ve been taking on a new role at my work just lately as someone is going on holidays and I need to cover for them. It has been a steep learning curve for me. So posts over the next month or so might be a bit light in content even though there are a lot of things I want to post I might not have the time to write. Sometimes you might just get a photo.

I’ve been doing some art classes during winter. I did succulent wreath making – I think River would have LOVED that class – I found you one South Australian option here and here is a how to do it yourself guide! – and playing with polymer clay.

I struggled with the wreath making to be honest, but the polymer clay class was totally my thing. It was five hours long but it felt like five minutes. I could have kept going another five hours without even blinking. I was so completely absorbed in what I was doing, I forgot everything around me and focused in. Sometimes you just need a mental circuit breaker and this was perfect for me in the midst of learning all this new stuff..

I hope you are all well and happy. I may not have as much time as I would like for blog reading and commenting in August, but I will try to keep up as much as I can.

When was the last time you were challenged by learning something new?


The White Rabbits

Remember when we visited Eat Street back in June? They had an art installation of giant white rabbits in the mall especially for this evening.

These white rabbits may have been on their way home from the Vivid festival which had just ended.

Is Your Airbag Safe?

There is a new website so you can easily find out. Click here – and enter your car rego and select the state from the drop down – mine is not safe. :/


Vale Queen

Last Saturday I noticed Queen was sitting down. This was unusual for her, she is normally a high energy girl. She also is Not A Fan Of Humans, so when I approached her and she was unable to take off like she normally would, fleeing like I am a demon chasing her, I knew she was a sick girl. In fact my first thought was we should take her to the vet right away to be euthanased, because she must be very sick if she would not flee me.

The Other Half was a bit more optimistic than I was, so he suggested we isolate her, examine her to see if we can find anything wrong, dose her with Ivomec which kills worms and any nasties, and keep an eye on her. Sometimes a chook just needs a bit of time away from the flock if they are not feeling the best.

After 24 hours we had seen some signs of improvement but we really had no idea what might be the problem, so I called the vet on Sunday to see if our exotic vet might be available that week. Unfortunately she was on holiday, but the vet on call convinced me to bring her in for an exam as she did have some experience with chickens and wanted to feel her abdomen etc.

We’d already done all of that ourselves but I wanted to at least get an antibiotic for her. If we’d put BeeGee on an antibiotic right away we may have had a better chance of fighting her ear infection. Queen had a high temperature. We took an x-ray – the only thing being seen was slightly larger kidneys, which pointed to a possible kidney infection.

She was still eating and her poops were fine, so those are good signs. She was able to stand and move about. We decided we wanted to give her a chance to fight the infection, so the vet gave Queen a long lasting painkiller shot, an antibiotic shot, a vitamin shot, and some medication for the next few days.

We set her up with our chook cam, so we could watch her 24/7 without disturbing her, and gave her some time. We only disturbed her twice a day for medication, adding more food and changing the paper towel in her enclosure, and at night we settled her in our special towel setup. Healthy chickens are able to tuck their head under their wing to sleep – unwell chickens are sometimes unable to do that, so you want to give them somewhere for their head to rest.

After our experience with BeeGee, I struggled quite a bit because I had done a lot of work with her, trying to bring her back to health. I really missed her. I was very determined not to get my hopes up and not to get too attached to this gorgeous chicken who suddenly was not fleeing away from me. But I knew that was her personality, so she must not be feeling well to be compliant and allow us to handle her.

We did see some encouraging signs – usually at night right after we gave her the painkiller she was able to tuck her head under her wing for a while. By Wednesday all of the signs were bad, so we made the difficult decision to let her go. It was the right decision for her. By the time a chicken shows you that she is unwell, she is usually *very* unwell.

Queen was one of our new girls, so we really did not have as much time with her as we hoped to have. She was not a fan of humans at all, which made her difficult to get to know. She was very flighty and able to fly. Her greatest joy was to fly up onto the fence next to the man cave and consider escaping to the other side, but the one time she managed to do it she did not enjoy being returned to the yard by the humans, so she would just stand there and look around.

She loved all treats but her most favourite was yoghurt and mealworms. When we first got her it took a while for her to work out how to get into the coop at night, and she would often end up on the roof of it rather than inside it. Eventually she got the hang of how to go to bed.

As I always post when this happens – there are 6 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.

One night at chook pen lockup time, The Other Half startled our Queen as she was returning to the enclosure. She took off like a crazy thing, flying over the fence. The Other Half called me and we had to run around to the other side of the fence to retrieve her, but she’d gone to ground in some blackberry bushes. I was to guard one end of the escape route, and the other half tried to capture her, but she’d seen enough, so she flew up into the sky and did a complete circle over the top of our house.

She flew right over the top of me like a majestic 747. It was a sight to see, and if I close my eyes I can still see it now.

Fly high, my Queen. Until we meet again, but next time please do not be quite so scared of me. :)

Vale Pets

Year Of Buying Nothing Update #7

Another successful no-buy month. Keeping the tally – Our record thus far – January, February, April, May, July = nothing bought. March, June = something bought. Out of 7 months, two = a buy month.

I did have to buy some clothes for work but I was reimbursed for those. I want to give a shout out to W.Lane and their comfort jeans which don’t really look like jeans at all but are super comfortable for work.

July No Spend Days

Almost made the goal of 7 days. Unfortunately the total was 8.

So on the list of spending, not counted this month will be my dentistry, the dentistry for Happy who broke a tooth, and other cat related vet bills, plus one chook related vet bill. These are things that were necessary and not something I could arrange to pay on specific days.

No Spend Goals For August

I would like to try for 4 spend days in August. We don’t have anything special planned, other than a possible night out in late August. But we do have family visiting and it is my favourite Aunt who loves to shop, so.. crossing my fingers on this one.

July Grocery Spending

Coles sent us a 10,000 points offer and this time we decided to see if we could do it. Three of the weeks were in July.

So how did we do at spending $50? It seems like a small amount but I found it was really difficult to get to that amount. I could usually make $30 in a shop but after that I began to struggle, and I don’t like to pad it out buying extra chicken roasters especially if they are not on special.

Week 1 $55.90 (bulk potatoes & eggs)
Week 2 $56.03 (bulk bread mix & paper towel)
Week 3 $54.52 (bulk a2 milk here instead of Aldi, eggs)

There was also a small shop in the first fortnight before I got the offer which was $15.50.

With Aldi I have been keeping a decent stock of the things we regularly use so we could do a smaller shop for the second fortnight (just $34) and use up all our stocks, buying any extras we needed from Coles. I ran out of pineapple, feta cheese and olives. The last was a good run out because I am now using up stuffed and marinated green olives which are not pizza olives but needed to be eaten.

Grocery Budget for July – $620

Coles – 181.95
Aldi – 327.20
Woolworths – 30.97 total
Total grocery spend – $540.12
Grocery cost of $17.42/day.

Bulk Items Budget = $100
Bath & Body Works bulk toiletries $92

Grocery Spending Goals For August

August has 31 days = $620

July Thoughts

I ran out of freezer mushrooms for the first time in a while. I can’t tell you how awesome it has been to not even have to think about it, to just have them there and available on Pizza day each week.

July was a difficult month teeth wise. I mentioned that I broke off part of my long ago fixed by a root canal but waiting for the restoration tooth and had to finally suck it up and do the restoration.

I did not mention that when we arrived home from our Sydney trip we discovered that Happy had broken off quite a bit of her large canine tooth. You know the ones right at the front that look a bit like vampire teeth? So The Other Half went to google and returned quite upset at some of the horror cat teeth tales he’d seen. It didn’t seem to be bothering her and she certainly was eating well enough but we knew a vet visit was called for.

We learned that root canals for cats are not a done thing for the most part. It is mainly extraction, so that tooth had to come out. She also needed a cleaning – we knew that from our last vet visit – and we found out about Prozym which is something you can put in the water to help keep the teeth cleaner and that will be good for her because she gets tartar building up very easily unlike any of our other cats.

While they were doing the extraction they checked all the other teeth and found another broken one, on the other side of the mouth. She likes to do “crazy run around cat” at super high speeds and we think she’s run into something and that is how this happened. But we weren’t here, so we don’t know for sure.

Let us hope for a less tooth eventful August. :)