Snoskred-land Lately

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We are more than halfway through No Buy July – for me that means no buying of clothes. The very last thing I needed to do clothes wise was to update my sleep wear because that was anywhere from 4-6 sizes too big for present size me. Kmart was having a clearance and on the 30th of June I picked up 4 very comfortable new nighties in size 10-12 for $5 each. YAY!

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As we walked through the shopping centre to pick up one item from the supermarket that same day, I said to the other half – “I might just check Noni B. They had that dress in my size on the clearance rack when I was there yesterday but it was still very Up Money.” As I walked into the store the staff member greeted me and then told me everything on the clearance rack was $20. “Even the dresses?” said I? “Even the dresses” said she. I grabbed that thing so fast nobody saw it. I am sure if you could watch it on CCTV I became a blur of movement. I dashed into the fitting room so quickly The Other Half was messaging me “where did you go?”

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I fits, I buys. I had been wanting this dress for over 6 months, I even mentioned it here on the blog. And I got it for $20. That is CRAZY TALK I am telling you. :) The material feels amazing, it has kind of a crimp in it is the best way I can explain it.

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I did pick up another gorgeous top for $20 at the same time, and I pointed out my next wanted dress to The Other Half..

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Unknown to myself, I had matched my new kettle to my upcoming new outfit. This is the Breville 1.7 litre kettle in Dragonfruit. She is a sparkly delight. We’d had our previous kettle for over 10 years and the spout was plastic and beginning to biodegrade somewhat meaning hot water would go everywhere when I tried to pour it. Very dangerous, it had to be replaced. I was worried because my Mum had bought a stainless steel kettle which is the noisiest kettle ever, you have to shout to talk over it. But this one is whisper quiet and it makes a gorgeous BING sound when it is finished boiling. I love it.

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Speaking of things I love, no, I did not enjoy spending some serious cash on a new coffee machine but I love the one we’ve ended up with. We’d had the previous one for 6 years and when we did the maths, it cost us 12 cents a cup. I’d like a bit more than 6 years out of the next one, thanks appliance deities! We do use it quite a bit – 4 cups of coffee a day minimum, plus occasional extra shots for iced coffee or adding to a smoothie or milkshake.

I’ve been cutting down on dairy lately because I had a bad flu which just dragged on and on. It seems to be uncooked cheddar cheese which is my main problem – if I eat it I have a stuffed up nose for the rest of the day. I figured while I was eliminating things I would give some different milks a try for coffee. The new coffee machine froths coconut milk perfectly and almond milk not quite as well but it is do-able. I am loving my coconut milk cappucinos. You get a coconut flavour as a bonus. Our afternoon coffee is accompanied with one serving of Dark Kit Kat.

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June is my birthday month and Crabtree and Evelyn were having a sale plus they sent me a $15 birthday voucher, so I grabbed a couple of hand creams and some salted caramel fudge. They did not quite bring enough salt for my liking. Rose and Pineapple hand creams smells like a toilet freshener according to the other half – it just so happens that is the one I most love. ;) I gave him the Spiced Earl Grey to try and combat his winter hands. Carribean Island Wild Flowers is super loud in a good way and the fragrance sticks around through several hand washings.

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TVSN were also on sale. I am clearly not the only addict to this channel in the family but my biggest addiction is to their clearance pages. Grumpy suggested I buy this top.

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While I did not take that particular advice as I felt it was slightly up money though I may well buy it later on when it is reduced if it is still available in my size, I did purchase one Diane Gilman top which I had been watching for months in clearance that suddenly jumped down to $9.95, and one set of tops with rainbow holographic sparkly sequins. I am always impressed with the quality of the goods once I receive them.

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The Berry Bypass is now officially open – one lane of cars each way with a speed limit of 60km/hr. We ventured over to Berry on Saturday to check out the town minus all that traffic – seems like most other people in the world had a similar idea. We drove the bypass on Sunday on the way to Costco, it was brilliant.

Home

Quick Note

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No movie post this week, we have been too busy to watch movies. Part of the busy was an overnight trip to Canberra. We went to IKEA and picked up a few things, including another HODDE.

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One presently resides on the floor in front of my recliner. Something about this rug just makes me happy. If I could, I would cover the entire house with them!

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For now, I have settled for replacing an older rug in the Kitty Hang Out Area. This is a spot where the sun shines for much of the day. There are places for cats to sleep at varying levels, many including floor mats placed inside or on top of cardboard boxes.

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There is a pot of all the vegetables we did not eat over the last two and a half weeks bubbling away on the stove. Red capsicum, leek, one lonely carrot, cauliflower, zucchini, brussel sprouts and potato. It will be ready for lunchtime. Happy moments here!

Home

Kitchen Update

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Our new Westinghouse fridge has been a great addition to our household. So much space, and everything has a specific home. Today I will take you on a fridge tour.

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The top shelf is where lunches for The Other Half reside. Those are his cans – every second can is a Solo can. While I no longer drink my calories he is losing weight without trying so the occasional can is cool with me. The next shelf down is mainly dairy storage AKA extra cheeses, chook yoghurt and meats.

Then we have a treats shelf, that grey storage container there holds all our dark chocolate, there is some hommus for me and on the other side is a roll out shelf with things like garlic, chili, ginger, jams, and our aioli. I get the wasabi aioli from Aldi, it is amazing.

The final shelf here has tinned tuna, our cheese in use drawer, eggs, and in that little alfoil package is a ham and cheese croissant snack. I made them for lunch for The Other Half yesterday and there was an extra one, so I saved it as a snack for myself in case I wanted it for lunch today. For lunches now I find it really difficult to go past my protein shake. My body needs the nutrients in there way more than it needs a butter croissant, especially after a tough workout.

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The shelf with the large pink container – that has all our potatoes – sweet and normal. I can fit about 10kg of potatoes in there. We found a place that sells a 5kg bag of potatoes for the same price I buy 2kg for normally, so when we go past there we tend to stock up.

I keep them in the fridge now which extends their life significantly BUT it makes my hands super cold when I have to peel them. I try to remember to put them out an hour before peel time.There is a watermelon treat for the chooks there too. Next to it in the grey container is my apples.

Then we have two fruit and vegetable shelves. Carrots, mushrooms, broccoli, leeks, zucchini, then in the bottom crisper there is a cauliflower, green capsicum, red capsicum and 1.5kg of brussel sprouts which finally returned to the shelves at Aldi this week. The Other Half had to stop me from buying even more of them! I have missed them so much, we will incorporate them into every single meal this week.

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Some more treats reside on the top shelf here. Peanut butter on apples is my daily treat right now, and we usually have something dark chocolate with afternoon coffee – kit kat dark is the present go-to, but I limit myself to just one serving.

San Pellegrino is my other more occasional treat. I grab them if I am headed out for errands or if we are going for a drive in the car. When we are staying here I mostly drink my Soda-Stream carbonated filtered tap water.

Next to that some more condiments – the South Aussies will recognise the Beerenberg tomato sauce. When we first moved here we could not get it, relatives would bring us 2 litre flagons from the store in Hahndorf. Now it is available on the shelves and it is the only tomato sauce I could imagine using. It is that good.

The vegemite is not for me – I am perhaps not Australian enough because I do not like it. The Other Half does, though. The olives are mine.

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My soda stream bottles, the Costco maple syrup which I was surprised to find should be kept in the fridge, a bottle of mineral water with lemon for visitors, bottles of water, and then all that milk. I switched to almond milk for my smoothies – it is less calories and tastes incredible to me. The A2 milk you see there will last us for 2 weeks.

Right at the bottom there, some more bottled water, my lemon and lime squeeze bottles and some whipped cream which I will *very* occasionally put on top of a hot chocolate, milo or coffee.

We are down to one grocery shopping trip a fortnight, made after 6pm on the weekends when everyone else is doing other things. The bigger fridge has helped a lot – I can buy milk for two weeks now without having to worry about where I will put it, and the next time I go to Costco I will probably buy 4 of their large cheeses which keeps extremely well, that will mean I don’t have to buy cheese for 3 months at least, maybe 4.

We buy all our meat in bulk once every 2-3 months then foodsave and freeze it except for beef mince which I buy fresh each fortnight. But the freezer and how we organise it, that is a story for another post. :) I just did a big pantry clean out this weekend too. That is also a story for another post.

food, Home

Getting Organised

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Sometimes you just need to de-clutter and reorganise. This process is happening all over my house at the moment. Everything from getting a new fridge to cleaning out the cupboards to reorganizing my wardrobes and letting go of a lot of clothes that no longer fit me, and welcoming in new clothes, shoes, even underwear that does fit.

Part of this process which came to me as a surprise on a recent Saturday was organising our movies. There are a lot of movies which The Other Half likes which I do not enjoy, and vice versa. We went through the list to organise my movies into two groups – watched, and to be watched.

After the sorting, I now have a directory on the server with over 70 movies that are marked “to be watched”. These are movies I have never seen that somehow got lost in our movies directory. When I would go in there to pick something to watch I would often get tempted by something I have already seen and love, or there would be so much choice I could not choose.

My plan now is to work through these movies one by one. After I watched the first one, I thought maybe I would keep a little list, maybe once a fortnight – or once a week depending on how much watching I get done – and post it here on the blog. I might organise it similarly to how Zandria does her book posts, but maybe with loved, liked, disliked.

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Here is a fridge preview – on Monday next week I have a post where you get a closer look.

Movies and maybe some music will be Wednesday posts for a while, going forwards. I am slowly getting my blogging mojo back. ;)

blog housekeeping, Home, movies

The Bin Theft

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Twas the week before Christmas, and all through the house..

Not a creature was stirring, except for the mice in the chook pen.

The bin had been placed on the kerb with care..

In the hope that the bin truck would soon be there.

The Other Half and I were nestled all snug in our bed..

While visions of sugar plums danced in our heads.

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When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,

but because we were asleep,

nobody sprang from our bed to see what was the matter.

Luckily the security cameras caught the bin thieves,

who rather stupidly live just up the street

and chose to use their quite recognisable 4wd to try and steal our bin.

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Because they took off like a bat out of hell,

This bin theft did not go very well.

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Because I use very recognisable bin bags,

we found our bin right where they left it.

Just between you and me,

The council replaced our broken bin for free.

And they would have provided our caught on CCTV thieves with a free bin regardless of why it went missing. Your results may vary depending on your council.

Perhaps in the old days before CCTV, people might have snuck out in the night to steal someone else’s bin if something happened to theirs, and the destiny of the bin would forever remain a mystery. These days, not so much.

Home

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

Cup Clean Out

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Having cleaned out the mug cupboard, it felt like it was time to keep going with some decluttering and donating. I moved on down to the next cupboard – the cup cupboard.

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Kitty supervisor was otherwise engaged and oddly chose not to wake up from her long sleep in front of the gas heater. It was a cold day so I understand, but I need to be supervised!

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I took all the cups out and put them on the counter. Many of them are the IKEA Vaken which has been available in different colours (and names I think) over the years.

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These cups above and below are from Costco – it was this set. My parents have the same set. The tall cups are favourites of The Other Half. To be specific, he loves the tall blue ones. He also has a tall blue acrylic cup not seen here and I have a matching pink one which can be seen in the overview shot above next to the purple travel coffee mug. He likes to use one cup a day. I’m more of a three cup a day person.

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I like to use the small version of these cups when I visit my parents. At home I prefer the Vaken because they hold exactly 2 cups of liquid, it makes it easier to track my water intake.

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These are the IKEA KALAS childrens cup. They are part of the Kalas range of childrens tableware. I have many MANY of the KALAS plates and bowls. These cups hold exactly 250mls so they are also great as a measuring cup. The whole range is microwave and dishwasher safe.

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Here is the finished cupboard – much neater, and much easier to use. I’ve sorted it into sections, which will make life a lot easier for me. :)

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Goodbye cups! Thank you for everything. :)

Home

Mug Keepers

Continued from last week – we now have the mug keepers.

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These mugs come from Haven & Space in Berry. They are not very expensive – I think I paid $3.95 for them. There are three different sets – the emus seen here are part of a “hearts” set, and the beetles are part of a “bugs” set. I believe we did once have the four heart mugs, however, daredevil adventures killed them, and we only have this one left.

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These two sets have a small image on the inside of the mug.

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Dragonflies and bees!

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Beetles and butterflies!

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Then we have the Geisha set. Some of these mugs met with daredevil adventures. I went back to Haven and Space hoping to replace them and sadly they were all gone.. some months later on another Berry visit, they were back and I managed to replace the missing ones. Plus I bought a set for my Mother, who also has some of the mugs from the bugs and hearts sets.

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The two tall mugs on the outside were both Secret Santa gifts. They have gone a lot of places with me over the years, to several different work places. The stripey mug in the middle is my favourite cup of soup mug. I am not sure where the flower mug came from though I know it once had a partner. These are my sentimental keepers.

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These were a gift, there were two more but they met an untimely daredevil adventure death.

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These two were a gift, though I think there may have been 4 originally. They are a great size so they are definitely keepers.

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These mugs are all from IKEA. They are the workhorse of our mug collection, and you can kind of tell on the TILLBAKA mugs at the top there, they are getting old. The bottom mugs are called the IKEA 365+ mug.

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These are the non-mugs – lids from my Nutri Ninja live within them.

And now to mention my most favourite mug of all. Most mornings this is the mug I drink my coffee from, but we only have the one gorgeously huge IKEA mug – I used to have two of them but one got broken. In fact I can even tell you when I bought these because I posted about it on the blog.

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It isn’t looking too bad for nearly 9 years of constant, regular use. All the other mugs are lesser mugs compared to that one mug. And every time we go to IKEA, I have this tiny bean of hope in my heart, that I might find another one. But I never have. :(

Home

Mug Friends

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Laura over at The Occasional Nomads wrote a post about mugs the other day. It has inspired this mug post from me. It also inspired a winter-clean-out of the mug cupboard! As you can see above, we had more mugs than space.

The truth is, our coffee machine does not have a lot of height for mugs. All the tall mugs had been pushed to the back of the cupboard because they are too difficult to use. Supervisor Kitty appeared, as she always does when anything is happening in the kitchen –

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Under her careful supervision, I pulled all the mugs out of the cupboard and now you can see why many were stacked on top of each other –

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How did all of these mugs ever fit in that cupboard? I have no idea. When I pulled them all out, I realised that every mug has a story to go along with it – where it originally came from and memories from times they were used. Some of our mugs were gifts – some wanted, some most definitely not wanted. Some of our mugs were purchased in an attempt to find the perfect mug, but when it came to using them they did not live up to expectations.

The Other Half and I made some difficult decisions – to say goodbye to some much loved mugs and send them off to find homes where the owners might have a coffee machine with more height available, or maybe they drink instant and don’t have to worry about the height of their mugs.

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The brown and white mugs were part of a dinner set but the handles are weird. Not a fan. The mint slice mugs were a Christmas gift. The cartoon cats were a gift from my Mother, but these are super tall and thin and do not hold a lot of coffee. The need more coffee set are very small – good for the afternoon coffee, but one of them is now chipped. The other four were an unwanted gift and they are too small.

Mugs are in constant danger in my kitchen. Life is a daredevil adventure for them! There is a reason many of my plates, cups and bowls are plastic.

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These are some of the too tall mugs that I would have loved to keep but am letting go of. We simply do not use them. Here are the goodbye mug friends all packed and ready to go to their new home –

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And here is the mug cupboard when the task was completed.

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There was even space for the non-mugs to reside in their own area. Measuring jugs, plastic mugs which I usually use for making chicken stock or reheating soups..

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Much better! I did keep some tall mugs which you can see at the back because I sometimes use them for tea plus they have sentimental value. This has actually turned into two posts – I will tell you about the keeper mug friends next week.

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Sunday Selections Week 40

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I think for the foreseeable future, we will make the first Sunday of the month Garden Check In day. The Dianthus in our older planter pot from 2014 are flowering again.

About four weeks ago we did some new planting and two weeks ago I posted this update post.

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The flyscreen wrapped garden box is doing very well. We’ve had a praying mantis which has been hanging out on top of it.

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The sunflower seeds have turned into tiny plants.

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The Nasturtiums are having a wonderful time in their new home. The chooks quite often stand on the hardware wire but they do not eat the plants. In a couple of weeks I will feel secure enough to take this ex-kitty door off.

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As you can see, the jasmine has climbed high up the arch. It is smelling awesome!

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Next time I will show you the progress of some new plants we have purchased, including my first ever succulent – Portulaca. Here they are as I was buying them in the garden centre.

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And a close up of the Portulaca. There were 6 seedlings in here.

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The chooks have been getting plenty of free ranging time, and Kitty Supervisor is on the job. I’ve kept that pot on the table for a couple of weeks to make sure the sunflowers get a decent start without a chook eating them incident, but that meant the cats could not eat the cat grass. It was good for the cat grass because they had been chowing down on it, and it needed a break from kitty teeth! ;)

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Kitty Supervisor can watch them down here from a side window which is good, because they like to venture down here to some very old lawn clippings and leaves which were left here for a couple of years to turn into bug filled mulch – AKA happy meal time for chooks! There is a gate which shuts this area off if and when new clippings are left here – however that has not happened in some time, the bag catcher is broken.

Weekly Wrap Up –

Daylight Savings starts today here in Australia. Normally this is my favourite time of year because in previous years I have suffered from SAD – that is Seasonal Affective Disorder – however this past winter I did a lot better than usual. I’m crediting the evening candle show, an LED light changing shower head, and LED lights throughout the house for that improvement.

So today I am a little bit sad to be saying goodbye to 5-6 hours of candle time a day. I’ll still be burning candles of an evening and I think that is a long term change for the better for me, it will just be candles for a shorter amount of time each day, and more time outside in the evening for plant watering and chooky chores.

In scheduling news, I already have two posts scheduled for 2016. All my Wednesday posts are written for the rest of the year, and I am scheduled out to November for the other blog days. I like to write ahead, and sometimes posts come up that are time sensitive and the other not so time sensitive posts get pushed out further.

There Was An Incident –

Grumpy is extra grumpy this week. She did something to her eye – we are not sure what happened to start it off, but she was squinting a lot and somehow her bottom eyelid was turning in as a result. After making a vet appointment for Monday we were trying to get some photos to show the vet because we could fix the eyelid – turn it out the right way – and sometimes it would stay fixed for a decent length of time, so we could not guarantee it would happen when we were at the vets with Grumpy. Happy did a little photobomb.

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I did manage to get a decent in focus shot which showed the vet everything she needed to see, plus after I showed her the photo the eyelid started to turn in while we were there. That was the last time it turned in and I hope it never happens again!

Ever since Grumpy had that terrible Kidney Shutdown of 2014, she has not been a fan of vets at all. The only person that can hold her when we are there now is The Other Half, and he is the only person who can hold her when she needs to be medicated – which she has needed twice a day this past week for a tablet and ointment in her eye.

We went back to the vet on Friday for another eye dye and blacklight look. It seems like progress has been made, not just on the eye front but also a trip where the only thing that happens is dye in her eye might help her a lot with her vet fears.

We’ll keep up the ointment for another 7 days then take her back again next Friday. This time Happy will go along for a check up as well. I fully anticipate that once the vet finds her melty spot, she will lie down on the table, purr a lot, and ask for belly rubs. :)

The Martian –

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The Martian Official Website

We went to see The Martian this weekend. I’d started reading the book a few months ago. The book was something I knew The Other Half would deeply love, so I made him start reading it – and he finished it before I did! That is the fastest he has ever read a book in his lifetime.

I read the book again this week in preparation for seeing the movie and loved it just as much the second time. I was curious about a few things – would the movie begin with the same line as the book, which contains a pretty serious swear word? That would be fine in Australia but I really cannot see the US audience enjoying that. And how would they handle the night soil stuff?

The truth is, I suspect this might be the best space movie ever created, or at least a tie for first place with Apollo 13. Yes, there was some swearing. Yes, there was vacuum sealed poop. Yes, I did cringe at the whole poop thing being a germophobe, but I actually cringed more at Mark performing surgery on himself. There was nothing in the movie that I did not deeply enjoy. Matt Damon was brilliant as expected, so was everyone in it.

So if you have not read the book and you like science, space, Matt Damon, NASA and/or movies set in space, go and see the movie. If you like the movie, read the book. The movie runs for 2h20m, and it felt to me like it went for 30 minutes maximum. Sephyroth wrote about The Martian too. Beware though his post contains some spoilers if you have not seen it.

garden, Home, kitties, movies, Sunday Selections, weekly wrap up