A Quick Fashion Post

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Recently I was looking through one of the fashion websites and one of the new dress arrivals at Noni B made me gasp out loud. This is the Viviana, it is currently nearly $127 and that is 25% off, which is not something I am likely to pay. But that store regularly does $50 dresses so next time I am there, I will try it on and establish what size I need, and whether I actually like it on, and if I like the material.

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I was in Target recently – well not the real Target, because we have “country” Target here, which is like removing all the awesomeness of Target and leaving.. well, whatever is left. I am not a fan.

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Maybe 20 years ago I bought some t-shirts at Target which I still have and wear to this day. I thought I saw something similar on a recent drive by the store but it turned out they were a thin material and Not Great cut. They had just got the Christmas t-shirts in, and it was yet another time where the plus size option was far better than the option for not plus size.

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The smallest size they had was 16, it would have been far too big for me. :( When you look at these two side by side, you will notice the sleeves are also shorter on the “normal” sized option. I prefer the design on the plus size option, too. When you write Merry Christmas on something, there is a smaller chance you can wear it at other times of the year, whereas the plus option you could likely wear that anytime and nobody would really notice it is a Christmas shirt.

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I have been hunting for weeks to find t-shirts that I like and epically failing. What do I want? Material that is not see through, too clingy, too thin. I want a decent sleeve length. I would prefer that it goes to the elbow. I would like cotton if possible. I already have quite a few super short sleeve tops and they are fine for hot summer days, but on cooler days I would like a bit more sleeve. Something with a gorgeous design. I like skulls, I like koi fish, I like a foil print, a metallic accent or stud embellishment, I love sequins, probably what I really need is a trip to Hawaii because I found plenty of all of that there!

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Ghanda make a great range of long sleeve crew neck tees – perfect material, great designs, quite a bit of tie dye which I love, but the short sleeve tees are just too darn short for me. Sometimes I have found the mens range will work for me but this time too many of the tee designs I liked had one pocket and I was not a fan of that. The sleeve length was also not the longest I have seen.

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One night after a Chinese dinner at Greenwell Point, we were sitting in the club listening to music and The Other Half was browsing Ali Express, as he sometimes does. He found these utterly gorgeous t-shirts which I am very tempted to order a couple of just to see what they are like – despite the apparent shortness of the sleeves. And at those prices, how could you go wrong? They have some incredible hoodies, too.

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This is something I found browsing Ali Express. If I could find something like this in a shop where I could try it on and then buy it, that would be perfect. If you see it or something like it in your travels, let me know. :)

Fashion

A Beach Walk

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Recently I have put myself through a “30 day bootcamp” of sorts. Generally this meant getting out to run and walk as many days as I could. On the first Monday after my bootcamp, I did my usual 5km run/walk, then decided I would “reward” myself with a barefoot beach walk for my remaining 5km.

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Remind me never to reward myself with a barefoot beach walk again! I discovered exactly why I like walking the path next to the beach and not on it. There are a few reasons.

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1. Sand. 2. Water. 3. Sandflies. 4. Sea Lice.

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5. Dead Fish. 6. Jellyfish. 7. Unrecognizable Objects Washed Up On The Beach. 8. Sand.

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Did you notice how I mentioned sand twice there? Sand is really hard to walk on! It slowed me down significantly. My time for this 10km was more like my time for a 15km walk. I was on that beach for an hour and a half, using muscles which apparently do not get used in my regular workouts, the way they screamed at me.

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I do enjoy the occasional sea shell, I do like the occasional wave washing over my feet, I do enjoy the scenery.

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But I think barefoot beach walks should be limited to around 2km, preferably on beaches which have a shower or some kind of tap arrangement where I can wash the sand off my feet.

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I will wait till my next 30 day bootcamp is over, before I “reward” myself with a beach walk again!

Speaking of rewards, I finally made it to my goal weight. I had some ideas of things I wanted to do once I saw that number on the scale – horse riding – indoor sky diving – some kind of adventure course. I may do all three. We will see! ;)

beach walk

Dark Time

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On two recent nights, terrible indignities have been occuring to our chickens. Thursday night last week they were dusted with powder that prevents nasties like lice and mites.

One who does not own chickens might be curious about this process. First up you want to wait for the girls to put themselves to bed. That process begins around twilight and can take up to an hour or more to be completed. Especially when you have new girls who are still working out their place in the flock.

There are two times of day when you will notice who sits where in the scheme of things. Feeding time, where the “lower” girls will be pecked away from the “good food” by the higher girls. It is not usually actual pecks, just acting like they are about to peck is enough to send a lower girl running away. This time of day is easy to document with photos and video.

The other time of day is bedtime. Lesser girls will be told in no uncertain terms to get off the roost of the higher girls. The girls have three roosts to choose from. At present we have two roosts in use – one inside the coop where the higher girls sleep – one in the run where the lesser girls sleep.

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Apologies – I will not use flash at night if chicken eyes are aimed at me. So this is a dark time photo!

Once the girls have found their spot, they settle in and sleep. They usually remain asleep until about an hour before sunrise, at which time they start to wake up. Some early birds will be up and about, looking for food, water and early morning bugs to eat.

That is, unless they receive a surprise visit from two crazy lunatics who shake dust onto their feathers. In that instance there is much squawking and outraged clucking, some reshuffling of half asleep hens, and all the girls placed onto the internal roost inside the coop just so we know who has been dusted and who has not. I do not have photos for you of the dusting – that is a time when you need your wits about you and you can’t be trying to take photos.

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On Saturday night there was another surprise visit – this time to do some feather trimming. The new girls have been here with us for two weeks now and it was time to allow some free ranging. These girls can really fly and BeeGee, Queen and Diana are more flighty than our usual chicken so we wanted to make sure they would not take off over the fence into parts unknown.

We did not bother with wing trimming our older girls – they have been living here for a long time and also are less athletic than some of our newbies.

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On Sunday, the chicken enclosure door was placed in the open position, and we collectively held our breath hoping all would go well. AKA the girls would find their way back to the coop at the end of the day. Because Queen and Diana have been having a little trouble with that even inside the enclosure, often ending up on top of the coop rather than in it.

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The girls had a grand time wandering about and exploring new areas they had been gazing at longingly since arriving. The grass was a big hit and much enjoyed, but the garden beds were also a source of happiness. They also found the secret dust bathing area where the cats can watch them from inside the house.

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While the girls wandered, The Other Half got to work on building them a new way into the coop. He took apart an old fence we had lying around, and created something pretty awesome out of it – they now have an impressive ramp and they are enjoying it a lot. There are times when standing at the top is The Place To Be.

Chickens

Day Out Saturday

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We were out super early on Saturday with many items on our to-do list.

First up was to pick up our large pet carrier from our friend who had borrowed it. Said friend lives right around the corner from destination two, which was a wood yard. We ordered just over a thousand dollars worth of wood in order to build our next project, which is the pergola beginnings of our Queensland Room.

For those not from Australia, a Queensland Room is essentially a screened in porch. Usually the screen is mosquito net or shade cloth.

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The next stop was Shellharbour shopping centre. We picked up 15kg of potatoes which will last us about a month and a half. These potatoes are far cheaper than buying potatoes locally. This is just one bag of the three bags, having been sorted into large potatoes for chips and smaller potatoes for other things.

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We then headed up the 9 into the Southern Highlands. The 9 is probably the best of the roads that go from the South Coast to the Southern Highlands. There is a small section which is bendy but after that it straightens out beautifully. It has the fewest potholes and lumps and bumps.

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Our next destination was Heatherbrae Pies and a cup of that great Chai Latte for me. All the while, we were listening to songs and crossing some of them off our list.

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I also enjoyed the cherry and apple pie. I did mean to bring it home and save it for Monday night when I would have warmed it in the oven but I realised that it would have to travel all that way back without any pastry companions to place in the cooler bag.

We returned via Kangaroo Valley, a quick stop at Bunnings to get some needed bits and pieces, then home. Not for long though. There was a twilight market on at Huskisson so we headed out for an afternoon 6km walk and a quick market stop.

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Then it was home again to discover that the chicken ladder had lost a rung. A quick and dirty solution was made though I am not allowed to show it to you, as The Other Half says it is not his best work. Plus it was built in the dark while we were trimming the new girls feathers in preparation for The First Free Range Day. That day is a story for another post.

Home

Here In Snoskred Land

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Brussel Sprouts are either nowhere to be found or extremely Up Money. We’ve had to improvise. I decided to use baby spinach in our Meatball Mix the other night. The result was somewhat odd, as the spinach turned everything green, even after it was cooked.

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It was still delicious!

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The new girls have settled in well for the most part, however the flock layout has turned out totally different to expectations. At the very top of the flock are Dark Comb, Lizzy and Kitty. Dark Comb was clearly determined to be the Queen Bee. Just under them is Foo and Finn. BeeGee is next, followed by Diana, and Queen is at the very bottom of the pecking order.

When we took Rosie in to see the vet, who was not our normal vet, she was surprised to find how observant we are and how quickly we had picked up on Rosie not being her usual self. The vet said many flock owners do not notice anything is wrong until things are *really* wrong. This can be of great benefit to the chooks if something is wrong, but it can also be to our detriment.

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Foo at the front, Finn behind, then Queen.

Last Saturday around lunchtime, Foo separated herself away from the flock and was standing inside the run on one of the roosts. By 2:30pm we were starting to get quite worried as this was not like her and it was contrary to the usual chook routine, normally Foo and Finn are inseparable, or sometimes they split up a bit to hang out with some of the other chooks but they are usually within each others sight line.

We suspected she might be egg bound, and thus we tried the spa treatment. She hung out by the laying boxes for the next hour and a half, with Finn coming in to check on her pretty regularly. Finally to our great relief she laid the larger than usual egg around 4:30. More than likely this would have happened quite naturally without any intervention or worrying on our part at all. But who knows, maybe the spa treatment helped her out. ;)

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Most days the girls get at least one treat. In the past week they have had a variety of awesome new things to try. They pecked some cauliflower into a new alien landscape.

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They were unsure at first about yoghurt but they soon discovered it was brilliant. It has to be lactose free for chickens. You also want to make sure to have at least two separate feeding stations so if the girls lower on the pecking order get chased away from one container they can visit the other one. I can cut these egg cartons in half so they have 4 locations to choose from.

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BeeGee has discovered blueberries – she has one in her beak there, it is a bit hard to spot – and they are her favourite treat so far. She used to run away from us whenever we went out to the enclosure – now she waits to see if we have her most favourite thing. My expectation is that she will eat them out of my hand within a couple of weeks.

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Last weekend was a long weekend here. We’d been talking about our fire plan and also preparing our home. The dry leaves were all raked up and placed in the chicken pen where they will be an endless source of amusement until they compost down.

The house gutters were cleaned out. Gutter guard was installed on some of the house guttering, this job will be completed next weekend as we ran out of gutter guard.

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The cats enjoyed plenty of outside in the yard time, where Grumpy was fascinated by the moving leaves in the small birdbath pond, and Happy spent some time getting to know the new chooks. We did not get out for any Jervis Bay walks over the weekend, however plenty of exercise was enjoyed right here at home. Everything is much tidier now.

Chickens, Home

7 Days Of Jervis Bay

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Day 1 – a group of tourists take a selfie on the beach while the dolphin boat heads out.

I have lived near Jervis Bay for over 10 years now. You would expect that the stunning effect would eventually wear off. I’m here to tell you, it does not. There are days when the beauty stops me in my tracks and I cannot help but stare.

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Day 2 – swimmers are surprised by a pod of dolphins on their way to meet the Dolphin Boat.

There are days when I reach my “goal” of however many KM that I set myself, and decide to just keep going instead. However the past 2 days I have not been able to get to the bay due to a long weekend and I knew this would happen so I made sure to add on an extra 5km to my 10km walk on Friday. Traffic was bad on Friday. I got stuck at one notorious intersection for over 20 minutes.

Long weekends are great times to do a lot of work at home when you live in a holiday destination but you have to plan ahead, make sure you have everything you need well before the weekend, and choose your moments – and places – if you do need to get out and get something as a surprise. Between 5-8pm on Saturday and Sunday are generally good times to go places as long as you are not wanting to eat out in a restaurant.

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Day 3 – The dolphin boats await their passengers.

I have been trying to get to the walking tracks at least 6 out of 7 days for the past 3 weeks. The weather has been excellent. I would actually prefer it to rain because we really need it. If it did rain, I would still go for my walk. Thunderstorms and lightning, not so much.

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Day 4 – Kayakers head out into the bay.

Lately my photos have not been doing any justice to what I am seeing with my eyes. It might be time to replace this camera. Here you see 7 photos from my most recent 7 days at the bay. Most of the photos should enlarge if clicked on, except for day 6.

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Day 5 – Rays of sunlight break through the clouds.

It is school holidays here. I don’t mind the extra people about. It is so lovely to see more people enjoying the bay. Everyone I pass says hello. I do mind them being endlessly inconsiderate of others walking the path – and alternately being completely unaware of anyone around them which means I tend to scare them when I walk or run past them – littering – and somewhat memorably last week someone set fire to the toilet paper in our public toilets.

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Day 6 – I made a lizard friend.

I do think sometimes I could use a bike bell to let people know I am approaching, but I wonder exactly where I would put it. Both my wrists are spoken for – one with my fitness watch, the other with my camera cord. Maybe I should wear a bell around my neck, like a cat or dog.

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Day 7 – Shark Net beach is usually very calm, perfect for swimming.

I also do mind when they cannot allow the beauty of the bay to distract them from their problems and issues. I overhear things. Who cares about work, you are not there right now, you are here in the bay, enjoy it!

Sure, none of the overheard things are “No Mummy, PLEASE, NOT the mineral water, Mummy!” which was our most remembered overheard snippet of conversation ever, in a supermarket in Adelaide and we have been laughing about that ever since. We have no idea what Mummy does with the mineral water but we have imagined many things. More than likely the child wanted Coca Cola instead.

What is your most remembered overheard snippet of conversation?

exercise, Fitbit, Jervis Bay

The New Girls

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BeeGee – After the BeeGees, and also because she is black and gold. She was named by The Other Half at the petrol station in Batemans Bay, while I went to the bathroom. This is a terrible photo, I will get a better one. However BeeGee is the least approachable of our new girls and she is speedy. Most of the photos turn out as a blur. I might have to try the bigger camera.

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Foo – after the Foo Fighters. Foo is facing the camera.

Finn – After Neil & Tim Finn AKA The Finn Brothers. Finn is looking away from the camera. Finn has a floppy comb at the back. That is not dirt on their chest, that is their colouring.

Foo and Finn are the most approachable of our new girls and not at all afraid of humans. One of them spent quite a bit of time under my chair while some of the first flock jostling was going on, just happily scratching and chilling out. When I go out there, they walk right up to me and peer at me curiously, do I have a treat for them? I do not think these girls have any ambitions to be Queen of the Flock. They are happy being part of the flock and do not wish to lead.

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Diana – After Diana Ross initially, but after observing her she is more like Princess Diana. Determined and persistent. She saw there was green grass on the other side of the fence, and spent at least 2 hours trying to work out how she could get to it.

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Diana has a green band on her foot which helps us to tell her apart from Queen. She has been very busy working on her grass project which has kept her distracted from the flock positioning. In the photo above she has progressed from walking the fence line to standing on things, trying to see if there are any gaps in the mesh. There may have been, but seeing her determination, The Other Half got out the staple gun.

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Queen – After the band Queen, and also she is the largest of the new girls and extremely perfect looking. She’s had a couple of run ins with the older girls and it seems she has been the winner of those runins. I think she wants to be Queen and has the same level of determination to get that job as her sister Diana has to get to the grass. These two girls are incredibly graceful, how they walk around is a thing of great beauty. Almost like ballet dancer chickens.

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Lizzy (our Black Pekin), Kitty (our Grey Pekin) and Dark Comb who is keeping an eye on Queen.

They were living in pens of 5 girls and one rooster – three of these girls are from different pens. Foo and Finn were in together and were already good friends. They are all a year old and were raised by a human so they are friendly and easy to handle once you have picked them up, they will calmly sit and accept their fate, which is good for medicine and health checks.

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Out in their new pen they have so much more space – and height – than they did previously. They were not at all sure about the arrangement of the coop and run. It took them a while to get the confidence to explore it and figure out where the roosts were, and the nesting boxes, and a couple of them originally tried to sleep on the roof before they found their way to the roost.

They received blueberry treats and kale yesterday. Kale they understand. Blueberries they have never seen before and they are clueless, and slightly scared of them. It will not take them long to understand that these are a treat. In the meantime the older girls run around picking up all the blueberries before the other girls get a chance.

On Tuesday, after I got home from my walk I spent some time watching the girls just to see what was happening in the yard. Queen found herself a huge spider – I think I saw it while I was raking things up on Saturday – and all the other girls both new and old chased her around the yard trying to steal it from her.

They have settled in nicely and they are dustbathing up a storm out there as I type. I’m not allowed to have favorites as you all know, but Foo and Finn did not have to work very hard to steal my heart. Plus I love if you call them together you get “FooFinn”.

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At night there is still a little uncertainty about how to get into their sleeping area, but I expect by the end of the week they’ll remember exactly where to go. It is still a bit hard to tell who is where in the flock positioning. The girls have so much room out there, they do not need to encounter each other if they don’t want to.

It seems like there are three groups forming – Foo and Finn are usually not very far from each other, Diana, BeeGee and Queen hang out together a fair bit, and the older girls are sticking to their group however Dark Comb is often letting the newer girls know they are below her with a peck or two.

Chickens