This Makes No Sense

Kitty Litter is A Thing in our house. With two cats and a much larger than the usual litter tray – formerly an under bed storage container which seems to solve fighting over the litter tray issues we have experienced – we go through a decent amount of this stuff. So we would like to buy it as cheaply as possible.

In the past we have tried various different options. One that tends to work quite well for us is to buy in bulk when we get a special spend more to save offer from Petbarn. At least, that is what we thought, until we did the maths. We would have to buy 8 bags to get over $250.

8x 33.19 = 271.92 – 70 = 201.92 /8 = $25.24 per bag. And that also depends on them having 8 bags in stock, which is more of a problem than you would expect. Sometimes the kitty litter would be on special which made it more worthwhile.

This is what we’ve done for a few years now and the best part is having 8 bags on standby in the mancave, you can forget about it until you need to go and get a new bag.

Every so often we like to sit down and work out if we are doing things the most efficient way – and the cheapest way – possible. Having run out of kitty litter, and having received the spend more save more email, we did some maths on our end and looked at the “autoship” options.

Having worked in a warehouse for some time and knowing how much shipping costs are, I don’t think the pet companies have done any maths on this. I suspect it would be better $$$ wise to encourage people to go to their stores and purchase the bags at a reduced rate. But instead, they offer autoship. Which is basically they send the stuff to you every so often.

Sure, it is nice for companies to know that they have orders to fulfill regularly, but on the other hand folks can cancel at any time without a penalty, so there is no incentive to stick with the autoship option.

Sure, there are probably people who appreciate getting the kitty litter shipped to their door meaning they don’t have to lug it home from the store. But it costs money to ship things and a bag of kitty litter is *heavy*. 15kg to be precise.

One has to be at home to receive it, otherwise one has to go and pick it up from the post office, removing the handy factor.

We did the maths and it worked out to be slightly more expensive to do autoship – $26.09 per bag – *but* if we bought it from Petstock we earn points with them which kind of balances it out. And we don’t have to pay out $250 at a time. Shipping is free for the customer – but quite costly for the business. We thought we would give it a go.

When they shipped it, we discovered it gets shipped from MELBOURNE. We have a Petstock about 20kms away from us. Melbourne is over 800kms away from us, plus they likely send it via Sydney which adds on at least another 400kms.

But then let us add on $$ for cardboard and tape.. really this is not a good idea for any business $$ wise. It certainly isn’t good for the environment. The cats love it because they get more boxes. We ordered two bags and each had a box to itself. You couldn’t really put them together in a box, it would be far too heavy at 30kg.

Next time I am in the area I will ask our local Petstock if they are willing to match the autoship price so they get our $$ locally. That is the other aspect – when you buy online the money often does not go to your local store, it goes to head office.

Overall, autoship makes zero sense to me. Transport costs in Australia are enormous. When you think of the fuel, the wear and tear on the vehicles, paying the drivers, etc.. it is Up Money. I would think it would be far better to encourage customers to click and collect in store.

They could still make it a regular thing so the stores would know how much stock to have on hand for these orders. Allow the customer to pay a better price for the goods than the autoship price. That way the folks doing the buying are also doing the lugging, and rather than 1200kms of lugging our items to our home, it is just a short trip home in the car. But if you want to click and collect in store, you pay the highest price of $28.99!

At this point, I am not going to rule out the option of purchasing in bulk direct from China if I can find a supplier and the price is right. We have purchased plenty of stuff from AliExpress over the years. I’m thinking of ordering that kitty litter scoop – the plastic ones break way more often than I like.

country life, kitties

Quick Catch Up

Callala Bay on a 34 degree day, where my cousin’s wife and I chose to do a 7km walk because we could. It was actually lovely, a nice breeze blowing for much of the time. But this is one of just three times I have been anywhere near the beaches since School Holidays started. Too many tourists, too much traffic, way too much litter, and not enough patience within myself.

We’ve been offline for almost 7 days thanks to our internet service provider. It began the Thursday evening before the Australia Day long weekend. We’d gone out for dinner and when we returned home, no internet. Friday, no internet. Saturday, Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, more of the same. Tuesday we put in an application to move to a new provider because we’d had enough. The internet returned finally on Wednesday.

I actually did not mind so much. I had some teevee to catch up on and my Sticky Prints arrived on Friday so I had two collage walls to build. Sticky Prints are amazing – they essentially work like octopus tentacles – you don’t need any adhesive, no hooks or nails or anything at all. The back of the print is like a mass of tiny suction cups.

You simply peel it off the protective sheet it arrives attached to, and place it onto a clean wall. You can peel it straight back off again, or leave it there long term and when you are ready to remove it, you simply peel it off. They will stick to most surfaces – fridges are another popular place to put them, but you really can put them anywhere you like.

One of the collage walls I can show you – the other one has a lot of photos of people including myself, The Other Half, Sephyroth and various family members, so that one will remain private, but I might take some photos of the non-people photos.

This is a memorial wall of our Big Cat and our chickens who are no longer with us. It is a happy-sad. Happy that they were with us and had wonderful treat filled lives, sad they are no longer here.

Speaking of treats, drumstick x messina is now available in supermarkets and is half price (AKA $5 for 4) at Coles this week. I’m about to go try one and then catch up on a LOT of reading your blogs.. ;)

OMG I had the mango and salted coconut.. amazing. Get thee to Coles!! :)

country life, Home

Sun Trap

If you are looking for some weekend reading, I am finding the North Korea trip of Dancing With Frogs incredibly fascinating so you might want to drop over and check it out. North Korea is not somewhere I would have considered travelling but after reading this I would, now.

I am also loving the trip of Kay from Musings, who is blogging about one of those river cruises through Europe which you always see advertised on teevee here for seemingly obscene amounts of money. :)

country life

An Aussie Visitor

On Easter Monday there was a kitty commotion. Grumpy is our door guard, and sometimes she behaves like there is a cat outside and there *is* and other times she behaves that way and I can see nothing at all. But this time, there was quite a sight to be seen! And she was freaking out. I looked out the window and dropped everything I was doing, ran out the back and told The Other Half to put down the hose and follow me.

I’d read on Facebook that a property nearby had a resident Echidna and it had dropped in to visit.

It climbed up on the windowsill to stare at Grumpy, and you can see Grumpy was Not Amused, or perhaps just not sure what the heck this was. But it did not just want to visit us in the front yard, and promptly went and dug under the fence. Seeing what was likely to happen, we had already locked the chooks up. The minute this thing climbed under the fence, the girls went crazy, side eye-ing, bagerking and clucking up a storm.

It was starting to get dark, so something had to be done. Lucky we have a country farm boy living here, and lucky he is a welder and had some serious gloves handy. You do not want to handle one of these creatures without major protection.

The first thing they do is try to dig themselves in. They are very determined creatures, but so is The Other Half.

This lovely creature was relocated back to the property it lives on. :)

Aussie Culture, country life

Currently In Snoskredland

READING: All of the Agatha Christie mysteries in the order of detective and when they were written. I’ve completed the 12 books of Miss Marple and am just a few books away from completing the 45 books of Hercule Poirot.

WATCHING: Every Sunday night 13th Street presently is airing one episode of Agatha Christie’s Poirot with David Suchet. I am not sure whether I enjoy them or hate watch them. A few of the episodes take well known stories and changes them for unknown and seemingly zero reasons at all which makes me side eye this show so hard. Some of the episodes are true to the original story and some of them feature quite the cast – Murder on the Orient Express was one of the better ones with Jessica Chastain.

HATING: myself for getting sucked into Married at First Sight this year. This is truly trash television, it is so bad but I can’t look away. Thank the deities it finished last week and I can “reclaim my time“.

COOKING: I made a version of Chicken Cordon Bleu which was epic. I coat the chicken in Dijon mustard and pan fried, then towards the end I placed Beerenberg Cheeseboard Chutney spread underneath some very sharp cheddar that was left over from a cheese platter we had in February which needed to be used up. On the top I placed freshly cut smoked ham from Aldi.

LOVING: This Cordelia Street dress from TVSN, but #yobn2018 means I cannot buy it. There are some dresses which are the essence of me put into a dress and this is one of them. It is sold out in my size now. I feel like this is a great price and I probably would have bought it, if not for my current challenge.

CREATING: More choc-honeycomb no-bake cheesecakes.

WORKING: out very hard with the workout I have nicknamed “Yvette Hell” – I have chopped it into bits with Handbrake, so I can repeat the bits I most love until I master them. I just started on the Jenny Ford Hawaii workout last week and with any step workout it takes time for me to get the steps right.

MASTERING: There are some super challenging combination steps in my workout videos and every time I get one right I feel like I am winning at working out. Coordination has never been my strongest thing but I am getting better at it every day. I do enjoy these workouts.

MOURNING: The loss of my afternoon coffee mug. I was taking it out of the dishwasher and it hit another mug, and the game was over. I could go and buy another one from Few and Far for around $7, but we have plenty of other mugs I can use, and #yobn2018.

PLAYING: Diablo 2 with The Other Half. I am old school when it comes to games and this is one of my favourites. I am not a fan of the newer games. I prefer to play the older games that I know.

CLEANING: out the freezer in preparation for autumn and winter.

FREEZING: all the mushrooms. That has to be the best thing I ever learned to do.

country life, stuff

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

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

What Happens In SnoskredLand?

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There’s a chook lurking back there!

So much stuff, almost too much to type. Things are very busy and I am not sure when I will get back to regular blogging. In the meantime, here are a few tidbits that might eventually work their way into posts of their own.

– We got a new fridge, which is all fridge no freezer.

– The reason we most needed the new fridge – eating so much of our food prepared from scratch takes up a lot more space

– Buying things in bulk saves us money but things like potatoes keep better and longer in the fridge.

– I have been shopping for clothes at my new size and you can bet that is going to be a post by itself.

– I have discovered a new snack – peanut butter spread on apples. I like to eat this at 9:30pm while watching Tabatha’s Salon Takeover reruns on the Style channel on Foxtel. The Other Half believes this is a freakish snack, not eaten by “normal” people. He has never seen Tabatha’s Salon Takeover, but I am sure he would think that is freakish as well.

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– We have had so much rain, the chook pen is a flooded mess. This means we are in the process of planning a new chook pen.

– The chooks have been getting a lot of treats as a consequence. They had lactose free yoghurt today.

– The colonoscopy did not happen as scheduled. Unfortunately all the “low fibre” foods I was told I had to eat to prepare actually cause a lot of irritation and inflammation in my bowel. I would have been better off sticking with my protein shakes only but they were “not allowed” even though chicken and eggs were.

– We have been revisiting the 80’s and 90’s musically – our car stereo is like a Delorean, taking us back in time.

– My oldest nephew has decided to become a pilot. This is terrifying news for me but happy and great news for him.

– The chook pen rebuild may mean less time for blogging but I will try to keep you updated.

Reading – Persuasion by Jane Austen, previous to that I re-read Game Change which is such a great book about the 2008 election campaign. It is not just about McCain/Palin as it was in the movie – it covers the democrat side fairly comprehensively as well and says some very revealing things about the Clintons. Worth a read if you like US politics.

Watching – Season 2 of Billions – Season 6 of Homeland – Big Little Lies which is just amazing.. I loved the book but the show is even better.

Drinking – We did an overnight trip to Sydney recently for a wedding and I had a glass bottle of San Pellegrino sparkling water. It was perfectly chilled and in a glass bottle which made it feel very fancy and awesome. The next day we were at Costco and they had a 24 pack of San Pellegrino in 500ml plastic bottles on special so I bought it and once a week or so I treat myself with one.

Eating – just cooked the first Brussels Sprouts for 2017 tonight. So glad they are back on the shelves!

I’ll try to post at least once a week for the next month, we’ll see how it goes. This post might actually inspire a few more to be written. :)

Chickens, country life

Building A Chook Fence

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The previous fence arrangement was Not Great. It worked for the most part AKA it kept the chooks on the lawn where they were meant to be and NOT on the concrete pooping up a storm. However as time went on, it began to biodegrade and holes began to appear.

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It was originally meant to be temporary until we built our Queensland room onto the back of the house. Realistically that is a HUGE job and may even require getting council approval depending on what we want to build and how we want to build it.

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Normally the chooks ignore the holes but sometimes one would find their way into the promised land. That was no big deal. But when all 5 of them scratched up my seedling bed – seen above with Grumpy before I planted the seedlings in it, it was time to get to work on something a bit more permanent.

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I never question the how, what, why, where or when. The Other Half just creates a plan and implements it. I am purely there to assist and sometimes this causes problems when I do not understand his vision. But I must say I am usually very fashionably attired to assist. These are my Aldi $15 wellies which originally were gorgeously shiny, several months of doing chook jobs has dulled them a little. They are due for a good clean.

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So his plan involved stardroppers, chicken wire, and wire to tie the chook wire to the stardroppers. That was the time consuming fiddly part of the job.

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It did turn out very well indeed.

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Here are the girls back out free ranging once it was finished. This photo was taken on the Sunday before Purple Comb became so unwell. You can see she seems perfectly fine, free ranging happily with her besties. However it is more likely she was starting to feel unwell and just very good at hiding it.

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I had become very sick of our hose arrangements, and it was time to find a better solution. You know when you change something and it works so well, and you are left wondering why did I not change this thing before? That applies to this hose purchase. It is incredibly useful and has me out watering the plants way more often than ever before. Which can only be great for the plants in the long run.

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Life goes on, for the girls. They do seem to be sticking together in their flock more, just recently. They are still being spoiled rotten with blueberries, baby spinach, corn on the cooler days, tuna, strawberries, and occasionally scrambled eggs as well.

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If we make it through the summer with 4 chooks remaining, we will be very lucky. Rosie and Dark Comb are over 6 years old now. Lizzy and Kitty are expected by our vets to have shorter than expected lives due to the early vitamin deficiencies their previous owner inflicted upon them by feeding the wrong food. We will make their remaining days as great as they can be.

Chickens, country life, Home