Delicate Nirvana – Panels.

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On one of our many trips to Bunnings, while purchasing the plastic for the chook pen door and bemoaning the fact that The Other Half would not let me buy the glittery plastic they have there for the task, I spotted another plastic that seemed interesting. It is a diamond pattern – in the right light it produces rainbows. We have two small side panels that needed doing and I suggested we try this diamond plastic as I thought it might produce an interesting effect. Almost like glass.

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I believe Bunnings consider all this stuff as plastic tablecloth material. Sure, it works for that, but there is really no reason it cannot be used for other purposes. We made this panel the same way we made the sarlon panels and I am sure all of you are looking at that photo and thinking – the wood batons are the wrong way around. Yes they are – because The Other Half worked in a place where they made large canvas for art and he saw how they did it.

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So you first staple the plastic or (sarlon shadecloth) to the wood like this, then you roll the wood over so the corners meet up, like this –

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When you are finished you staple the corners together and you have something like this –

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The finished product – yes that is a chicken on the other side, shaped into almost something else entirely. I’ve left this as a slightly larger file so you should be able to click on it to make it bigger.

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What do you folks think is the learning curve on a cat? Having put the actual flap into the cat door now, I’m going with never. Far better to wait for your human minions to have a need to go into the house than to learn how to get through the door yourself!

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There is a lot of staring at the flap willing it to open magically via the Jedi Cat Mind trick. They can go through it in an emergency, eg The Other Half is operating the masonry drill. or Snoskred is vacuuming inside the house and they need to get outside to safe and less noisy surroundings.

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We are now two doors away from full enclosure here in the Delicate Nirvana. The second small plastic panel was completed not long after the first, and then the other half shocked me with a large side panel which is Not Square. He can do magic. :)

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The Old Chook Pen

Any chicken owner who has built a chook pen of any kind will tell you all the things they would do to improve it next time. I have a list of things so, so, SO long. Some of them we have already done – you see the winged roof we added to protect the run a bit better from rain. There is just one thing I would never change..

That one thing I would never change is the type and colour of the paint we chose to paint it with – both the exterior and the interior.

I first heard about Taubmans Endure on the TV show Selling Houses Australia. I’m not usually one who follows recommendations but the folks on that show explained enough about how the paint works plus I read the tin when we bought it.

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Seven years later, this chook pen has been out in the weather 24/7 and we have only had to replace one door just a couple of weeks ago – due to our bad design water runs straight off the roof onto the nesting box lid and due to a poor choice of materials water collected there and ended up, eventually, after a heck of a lot of abuse, causing a small area of rotted wood.

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I chose my favourite shade of teal green for the exterior and a pale yellow for the interior. Here you see some recently painted batons which we used for the sarlon screens with my most recent manicure in the foreground. Is it coincidence that they almost match? Nope. Not even a little bit. I love that shade of green. ;)

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We have just replaced the door with a new one – this time we are using marine ply, and we are protecting it better with some plastic tablecloth material, instead of the leftover linoleum flooring we used from inside the chook pen.

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You really cannot tell the freshly painted door from the 7 year old painted parts. There are some areas where a good clean of the surface might be required however for the most part it looks as good now as it did when we first finished it.

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And that is quite a feat considering the amount of dirt, rain, dust, chook poop, and that one time Rosie tore off a toenail and splattered blood all over an interior wall. Lucky for me I already knew what to do after that one time I cut her toenails – you dip the toe into cornflour and it stops the bleeding.

That roost in the photo above is where the chickens sleep at night – you would expect it to be a lot more dirty from 7 years of chicken sleeping and pooping but this Endure paint is a bit awesome.

Anyway, if you have something you want to paint once really well and then forget all about it, I can’t recommend Taubmans Endure highly enough. They rather sadly are not paying me anything to say this.

If they happen to stumble upon this post and wish to offer me another tin of paint I will take it, in the exact same colour of green – and that is another point. We are still able to use the leftover green paint from 7 years ago. I’m sure that is probably a big No No and not supposed to be done, but it works for us. :)

Chickens

Delicate Nirvana Part 3

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Thus far we have talked about why our new pergola is known as the Delicate Nirvana while showing you the beautiful fairy lights we installed, then we talked about what we did to make it a Kitty Delicate Nirvana.

So what did we need to make it a delicate nirvana for humans? Oh, just a few things, which will take at least two posts to describe.

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First up, my most favourite thing out here thus far – copper coasters. These came from a shop in Berry called Few and Far – there are other locations of that same store, too. Why are they such a favourite? They are gorgeous, reflect the fairy lights, and somehow probably because of science or because of the design, they do not attach themselves to the bottom of my cup as a surprise.

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The KALAS bowl from IKEA is perfect to protect ones cup from flying creatures and dust. It is dishwasher and microwave safe, plus it is plastic, so I have a lot of them in my cupboard. :)

Until we have the sarlon installed, we need citronella candles and mosquito coils.

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I found these gorgeous BORRBY candle lanterns at IKEA. They were originally $19.95 each but on our Take That visit these were on clearance for just $5. Candle lanterns are a must when you have candles in a place kitties can reach, you do not want them sniffing at flames. These lanterns are huge with a big height of 44 cm.

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We have these cute and colourful citronella mini lanterns – if we are sitting out here they might sit on the table – generally the kitties do not get up there and if we go inside, these can hang from hooks far from kitty noses. This has inspired a bit of a primary colour or rainbow scheme out here for various additions.

Sneak peek – we did get one of the sarlon panels installed this weekend. Now two are up, late Sunday as I type this.

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Long story made shorter, we had to paint the wood to go inside the sarlon and we had some chook pen paint left over, so we have used that. You can’t see it anyway – it is more to protect the wood from the weather. I’m going to talk more about that paint on Wednesday. :)

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Something Different

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Many places held a bit of a Christmas shopping night this past Thursday, with nibblies, bubbles, free gift wrapping, live music, and an atmosphere of happiness. We dropped into a local shop, and then to Aldi to pick up mushrooms for a late pizza dinner.

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We are hosting Christmas this year in our delicate nirvana. While in the first shop I had mentioned to The Other Half that I wanted a cheese board. The first shop did not have one, but Aldi had.. well.. something quite unusual.

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I rarely buy anything glass but this was quite special and just $24.99.

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If you like it maybe drop into your local Aldi – they had a few other awesome things. I wish I’d seen the marble knife set, might have to drop back and grab that.. I get the Aldi catalogue delivered to my email address, so I can always search it to find out what time last year they had certain things I am wanting to get.

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The food covers which went on sale Dec 24th 2016 – which we did not need back then but definitely need now – should be placed out in special buys on December 23rd, if they stick to the schedule. I bought some teal ones for my Mother last year. I hope they have teal again this year!

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The box has already been repurposed as a Kitty Haven.

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Delicate Nirvana Part 2 – 4Kitties

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One of the main reasons we wanted to build a Queensland Room was for the kitties to have a safe outside space they can visit when we are not at home. This is still our intention but we are not quite there yet, obviously the panels with shade cloth to screen the room in are still a future plan right now. Until they are built, outside time is mostly still supervised.

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I say mostly because we do have surveillance cameras out there, and if we need to go inside and do a chore or task, either one of us can fire up the cameras on our phone or tablet and keep an eye on these occasionally bad kitties. I cleaned the toilets while Grumpy remained napping outside, we’ve emptied and filled the dishwasher, cooked dinner, and various other things.

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Mainly the kitty to keep an eye on is Happy, because she likes to pretend stalk and chase the chickens, who are just one tantalizingly thin chicken wire fence away from her. Grumpy does not chase the chickens. She likes to watch them and have conversations with them, but she does not stalk and chase.

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We are not concerned with their escaping the yard. Our kitties are not jumpers. Grumpy cannot jump up onto our bed, she pulls herself up with her front paws and claws. While Happy is able to jump, she generally does not like to jump anything over 1 metre tall. She is able to get over the fence between the yard and the shed/mancave area.

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So what makes our delicate nirvana = kitty nirvana? Plenty of cardboard boxes placed in strategic positions. A lot of box swapping goes on as you can see in the first two photos of this post – same box, different kitty. But they have many boxes to choose from and you see here just a small selection of those –

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Plenty of kitty friendly chair sleeping options –

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The ability to watch chickens from the boxes and chairs – and for humans the ability to watch all of these –

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A large water container for kitty drinking at the perfect height so kitties do not have to bend down at all – turns out the Christmas lights containers are perfect for this purpose –

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Cat grass specially cultivated for kitty use –

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A kitty door so they can come and go as they please without filling the house with flies and mosquitos –

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Coming soon will be some shelves purpose built for kitties to climb on, and maybe a custom built kitty tower or two.

Home, kitties

What Is It?

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Anything in this shade of green stops me in my tracks, but in this case it took me a little while to work out exactly what I was looking at. Shades of teal green are my favourite as well as a great favourite of my Mother.

I very nearly bought it for her for Christmas, but it turned out to be $77. It is quite large, so I can justify the cost. However I cannot justify buying her random glass items just because they are her favourite colour, or because they are something I might love to own. ;)

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The Oldbies

Writing about the older girls always makes me worry I am putting a jinx on them somehow. But they deserve their moment in the sun just like the new girls.

Lizzy

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Lizzy was recently at the top of the pecking order – she seems to have been overthrown by Dark Comb now – and she is truly the mean girl of our chook yard. If she were human I would have nothing to do with her.

I understand why she is the way she is – anyone who has watched Wentworth or Orange Is The New Black knows you don’t get to be “top dog” by just chilling out and eating bon bons while your fellow chickens fan you with fern fronds. You have to work hard to be Top Chicken, and that means chasing the other girls away from the treats by pecking at them – though generally she never makes contact.

Lizzy can also be pretty nasty when she is broody, there are times when I have had to use a stick to push her out of the nesting box because she has pecked at me, but there are also times when I am able to pick her up and remove her with no trouble.

Kitty

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Kitty is Lizzy’s sister – they are both Pekins – and presently third in the pecking order. She also rules with an iron fist but slightly less meanly than Lizzy does. The two of them have been broody for a while now which does give the other girls a break from their beaks, and when they are not broody the newbies have been broody.

Both Kitty and Lizzy were brought up with Twiggy who had serious nutritional deficiencies – this we discovered when we sent Twiggy for necropsy as we were concerned about respiratory symptoms she’d had. Both these girls are not expected to live as long as a normal chook due to that – the damage was done before I knew them and it cannot be repaired now. However I suspect their diet since arriving here has helped them somewhat, and I do hope they will be with us for a while longer. Their time with us will involve as many treats as they can enjoy and they will be nutritionally excellent treats.

Dark Comb

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If I were allowed to have a favourite, Dark Comb would win that competition hands down. This chicken! Where do I even begin to explain all the awesomeness of this chicken? I do not believe there is a combination of words that will express it. She makes me laugh all the time, then she makes my eyes water thinking about how she is the last girl of our original flock still standing and how our time together is now limited. She is nearly 8 years old. That is like 100 in human years. There will come a day when she is no longer with us and just typing this is causing salt water to form in my eyes.

She loves blueberries more than, well, anything else on the planet. She also likes watermelon, spinach and strawberries, but if I arrive at the back door with the blueberry container she runs up to greet me and it is the cutest thing. I will have to try and get The Other Half to capture it on video.

She is extremely friendly to humans and loves to be near us. I think she believes we are her flock and if the rest of the chooks are out free ranging she will sometimes ignore them in order to be near us. If we are not in the yard she likes to sit or stand on the windowsill near Dust Bath Central where she can look in the house and see what we are up to.

It has surprised me greatly that she now is Top Chicken. I’m not sure whether it is because four of the newbies are broody right now, or whether it is because Lizzy and Kitty have recently returned from a long stretch of broodiness, or whether it is because 6 out of our 8 chickens are now English Game Hens, or if she just convinced them all to accept her as the leader. She is the only chicken to be found on the inside roost at night now. She does not rule in a mean girls way, more in a “I am your leader and therefore all the best treats are for me” kind of way.

She does spend more time sitting down chilling than she used to, especially on hot days. I try very hard not to completely freak out at this. As long as she fronts up anytime I appear with the blueberry tray, I will be happy.

Here is Dark Comb with her two English Game Hen duckwing sisters when they first arrived in Cluckingham Palace. Red Comb and Purple Comb sadly went to Rainbow Bridge in 2015/2016 and are now both buried in the garden near the lemon tree – . All of our girls at Rainbow Bridge are much missed but especially the last three as we had them the longest, that is Rosie, Red Comb and Purple Comb.

So every moment with Dark Comb is extra precious now, and she does get specially spoiled with blueberries. She knows me well enough when the blueberries are being fed, I will throw some off in another direction to send the other girls running, then drop a couple near my feet just for her.

Chickens

Delicate Nirvana Part 1

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Our delicate nirvana aka backyard Queensland room project is almost completed. We only have one final step which is screening in the room, and we will likely tackle that on upcoming weekends around Christmas and the New Year due to the tourist invasion due to hit from mid-December onwards.

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We bought two sets of LED fairy lights from Aldi, and one set of LED blue icicle lights. At 16.99 a set these were very reasonably priced, but they might have an even better deal coming up this week if you are looking for a set of fairy lights.

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Delicate Nirvana was born thanks to our love of Seinfeld. George Costanza has a rant about “delicate genius” which is one of my favourite moments of that show ever.

GEORGE: I love these people, you can’t ask ’em questions. (getting excited) They’re so mentally gifted that we mustn’t disturb the delicate genius. Unless it’s in the confines of an office. (worked up) When huge sums of money are involved, then the delicate genius can be disturbed!

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We mustn’t disturb the delicate nirvana. :)

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