True Bargains

Sometimes you are not sure if the thing you are buying is a bargain or not. Especially if it is not something you regularly keep an eye on the price of. An example – you may recall in June, I bought a new blanket. I paid $42.50 for it. I use it on my recliner and Grumpy LOVES it.

So I thought I might go back and see if I could get another one around the same price, giving her other places to sleep other than my lap which she finds disruptive as I tend to get up more often than she would like AKA not stay perfectly still in one place for hours at a time. :) It turns out though, this was a genuine bargain.

At $79 she is going to have to put up with my disruptions. I will wait to see if these go on sale again and if they do you bet I will get another one because they are toasty warm and very pleasing to the Grumpy. Though we will soon arrive at a point where I switch back to my other rug – there are some days where this current rug is *too* warm especially with a cat added to it.

But not this week, as it is icy here at the moment. We got down to 3.1 on Monday, yet these past couple of weeks we have been having bushfires. Very little rain, no clouds in the sky, gorgeous blue sky days, but many of us are wishing for rain. Not flash flooding type rain, just long term sustained rain.. We need it.

Home, kitties

Delicate Nirvana – Chimes Akimbo

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It has been a while since we checked in on the Delicate Nirvana. Don’t you worry though, we’ve been enjoying it just as much as ever.

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Once we completed the pergola, we wanted to get some wind chimes. We are wacky like that. Some folks hate a wind chime, my Mother is one such person. This is likely one reason why I wanted one, being a wind chime deprived child. If you want to buy a wind chime on the South Coast of NSW, Mogo is a top location to pick. We had plenty of wind chimes to choose from here.

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The plan was we could pick two wind chimes each. I chose a sparkly chicken wind chime.

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The Other Half was looking for one perfect sounding wood and one perfect sounding large metal wind chime. He found this large wood wind chime.

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I chose this rainbow seashell wind chime.

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The Other Half was unable to find a perfect large metal wind chime. A couple of weeks later at the Berry Markets, he decided on this silent windchime instead.

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I also chose three long seashell and mirror strings – one blue, one red, one dark grey. I wanted green but they did not have the right shade of green for our Nirvana and The Other Half loves all things black and grey, so I chose that instead.

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While there we discovered this stunning mirror which contained all three of our theme colours – blue, green and red – so we chose it for the wall.

We had a good month of great wind chime time, then once we installed the shadecloth it cut down the wind so much we rarely hear a wind chime anymore.. even when a big storm blows through we do not seem to get any wind or breeze.

Delicate Nirvana, Home

Delicate Nirvana – Panels.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Delicate Nirvana, Home

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. :)

Delicate Nirvana, 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.

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Delicate Nirvana Part 2 – 4Kitties

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

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

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

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

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

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Plenty of kitty friendly chair sleeping options –

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

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

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Cat grass specially cultivated for kitty use –

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

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

Delicate Nirvana, 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. :)

Delicate Nirvana, Home

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