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. :)

Home

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.

Home

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

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. :)

Home

Narooma Time

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When we drove down the coast to pick up our new girls we realised we have not been doing many day trips in this direction, so we chose to remedy that on Saturday with a drive to Narooma. They have a gorgeous inlet there, it is incredibly pretty.

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I’d chosen us a place to have lunch on our previous trip however we ate pies from Haydens Pies instead, so no lunch was required. We drove past the place I picked and it was packed full of people, virtually bursting at the seams. So this time we decided to make that our destination.

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Unfortunately it did not turn out especially well – the best we could say was average. Just ok. I’m not going to name the place as I would not recommend it and I would not go back. The worst part was that they had all the doors and windows open, it was windy and cold even inside the cafe. That might have impacted on how we felt about the food. Maybe on a hot summer day when there is no wind, this might be the Place To Be. I will show you our food photos. :)

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I chose flathead fillets and chips, The Other Half chose a burger. You know it is bad when I leave half a large cup of Chai Latte behind. To be fair, the Chai Latte at Heatherbrae pies is amazing and it takes a LOT to beat it, but this would have been the worst coffee I have had in a few years.

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We made a better choice of heading to the boardwalk for a stroll – that is probably going to be a post on its own. On arrival in the carpark we spotted this large rock wall and chose to walk out there. We were glad we did as there were seals just chilling and hanging out in the channel.

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It was very windy, though. I was glad that I keep extra jackets and a beanie in the car for such situations. There were huge granite rocks and we saw the coolest thing. There were surfers in the water and I saw something odd shaped swimming under the surface, just a dark blob. The water here is so crystal clear it is unbelievable. I thought it might be a stingray or a large fish.

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It turned out to be a seal, who was checking out the surfers. The seal swam right up to them, and then did a little surfing. As if to say no, here is how you do it. You don’t need that board!

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On the way home we stopped in Mogo for a stroll around the shops there. One of them – IndoDirect – had a stunning black rainbow vase for $125. I loved it but I would need a whole new house if I bought it. That needs to be the centrepiece of a formal entry way with white tiles, white walls, white everything. It was so beautiful I did not take a photo of it, for fear that I might talk myself into going back and buying it. I did take a photo of this elephant which my Mother would love, but it was a bit up money at $159.

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On the way home we made a diversion through Booderee National Park, to see if the trail we want to walk is open yet. Sadly it is not. Both sides of the road here are usually green, so you can see how much of an impact the fire had. If it had been a natural fire started by a thunderstorm, it would not be so upsetting to see this. But this fire was deliberately lit, they believe.

New South Wales, NSW

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