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! ;)

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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.

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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

Spring Cleaning

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Our Grande Dame Rosie and Dark Comb were the best of friends. Dark Comb is the official Survivor, she is the last girl standing of our original 2011 flock.

The day after Rosie went to Rainbow Bridge, Snoskredland awoke to find the two Pekin girls had gone broody and poor Dark Comb was out there all by herself. I went and kicked the broodies out of their nest, and Lizzy stayed out instead of going back in, which made me feel slightly better.

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However I know those two will be in and out of broodiness all spring and summer and the sight of Dark Comb by herself was breaking my heart. Chickens cannot flock when they are all alone.

Our mixed flock originally had several different breeds of chicken – three Old English Game hens, Rosie Rosecomb, White Sussex and Ancona. Out of those breeds our favourite has been the Old English Game due to their large personalities and very happy natures.

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I did some digging and found an Old English Game breeder on the South Coast who was willing to part with some girls as his incubators are full and chicks are just hatching out now – it was a bit of a drive, down past Narooma. A bit of a drive is a bonus for us. We have that song project.

Let it be known, though. This was not our original plan. We were planning to re-do the chook pen in spring this year, then hatch out chicks once we had completely enclosed the pen, safe from rats, mice, snakes, etc, yada yada. Also, normally, one would quarantine girls before introducing as we did with our last lot of auction hens. In this case, we are far more knowledgeable in the health of these new girls than we would be in getting chooks from an auction.

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On Saturday I cleaned out the chook pen in preparation. Of course I picked the hottest day of spring thus far to do it. I raked up all the leaves and branches which have fallen in recent winds, and made a nice pile for the girls to dig through.

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On Sunday we left early, we had a great drive stopping for a quick breakfast at our favourite pie shop in Ulladulla – Hayden’s Pies – and back on the road for another couple of hours. On arrival there were literally gale force winds, making it difficult for us to hear the breeder describe his different girls to us, the colours and his Old English Game breeding projects.

We initially intended to get two girls, we ended up with five. At our first stop on the way home, the first chook was named – BeeGee because she is black and gold. That has inspired a musical theme. By the time we got home all of the girls had names, and we sat out in the chook pen for a couple of hours enjoying our new girls. Now the sun has gone down, the roost squabbling is over for the time being, and everyone has settled in for the night, including us.

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They will remain in the pen for the next week, and likely before we let them out to free range we will do some wing clipping because we have noticed these girls are enthusiastic and excellent flyers. You will get to meet them properly on Wednesday!

Chickens, country life

Jervis Bay Is Awesome.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Jervis Bay

Home Time

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

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

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

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

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

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

Home

Greatest Songs Of All Time

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

country life

Spring Cleaning Time

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

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

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

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

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

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Home

So That Was August

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Home, shopping, sparkly