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.

Home

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

A Kmart Trip

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Let us go for a quick virtual wander around Kmart together. Here we have some pet brushes for $6, a pet toy set for $3.50 – Happy loves the mouse on a stick in this packet so I have bought a few of them and keep them aside for later – at the bottom we have two different solar globes. I love the copper ones at $4 and the crackle glass ones are only $2.. Sadly these seem to be white only and we prefer the LED colour changing kind.

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Things got a little scientifical in the home decor section. There is a $4 beaker vase, some test tube vases @ $7, a gorgeous marble tealight candle holder for $9, and a coral pink cactus for $7. Do you see that little ceramic sausage dog? $5. I love that!

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This $12 copper vase we went back that night and bought, to fit in with my reflectatory candle shelf. Not that I will ever have flowers to put in it because The Other Half believes that is murder. *boggle* Yeah all those florists are secretly Dexter!

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I really love this mini shopping trolley. For $5! They call it a pen cup. I’m not sure how that would work but I can see it in my collectible cabinet.

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I already have the silver version of this but I am loving that light pink which is supposed to be a big colour this year fashion wise. At $2.50 this is a glittery awesome kind of contact paper.

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These coloured pencils are great value at $5 – especially the watercolour ones. The bear is super plush, and that is a pig moneybox which makes a noise when you put in a coin.

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The Other Half prefers his fashion chaotic and with skulls. At $10 these seem decent value. The second one with flaming skulls is a bit awesome!

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These jumpers with sequinned arms seemed a little bit odd to me. I really love the concept, do not get me wrong. There should be more sequins in the world. But the jumper part seemed a little cheap looking. Still, at $17 I might have bought it, but the sizes were all teeny tiny. Oh well. :) They made for a great photo!

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Hello Kitty pyjamas marked down to $8 from $15, these seem reasonable. And I love anything Hello Kitty.

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These jars with blackboard paint on them were reasonably priced given the amount of hassle it would be to paint them yourself. $4 for the smaller jar, and $5 for the larger one.

There, I took you to Kmart. Happy moments for all!

Home, shopping

Ice Spheres

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When I was little, my Grandma had this wonderful ice block which would create round ice cubes. I loved that thing. There is something about an ice sphere that is so pleasing to me. So when we saw some wacky sphere ice cube moulds at Kmart for $2.00 we thought we would pick them up and give them a try. It was a trip down memory lane for me, somewhat.

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To begin with they were quite successful, though, over-filling them did create an Icicle Incident in the freezer.

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However as time went on, they developed leaks where you open the spheres to let the ice out, and generally caused a mess and became a bit of an epic fail. Instead of spheres, you got half a sphere and then a space with no ice because that water had leaked out onto the plate I kept them on. I could probably have filled them a second time once they had frozen enough to seal, but it was a little too much hassle and annoyance rather than fun.

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We’ve stopped using them now because of this epic failure. I’ll keep looking for something more like this and hopefully one day I might find one that makes the mini ice balls like my Grandma used to make.

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Grandmas was more like this but it had 3 lines of ice spheres. I already have an ice cube tray which makes those large square ice cubes and for the time being I will enjoy those.

Late Breaking Ice Sphere Update

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At the end of August, during our fortnightly Aldi shop, we spotted these ice sphere moulds.

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This mould makes large ice spheres very successfully. If they have some more of these on our next visit, I intend to pick up a couple more.

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They are not wrong when they say it creates a slow melting ice sphere. I made a drink at 6pm and by 8pm there was still a sizeable sphere in the glass. I suspect these will be fantastic in summer. Now, if only I can find a triangle ice mould, things could get really mathematical! :)

Over to you

Do you like a wacky ice cube? :) Do you have any ice cube memories?

family, growing up, Home

Pineapple Collection

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Gold and Silver pineapples at Pillowtalk

A while back, Kirsten over at Kirsten & Co wrote this post – My DIY Bar Cart Project – and in the comments I mentioned I would check out Target to see if I could get me one of the gold pineapples. When visiting Shellharbour to see Take That live back in July, I did drop into Kmart and they did not have any gold pineapples left. They did have metallic pink ones, but every single one was slightly damaged.

With my Kmart pineapples I bought as gifts for family, I regularly visited until I found a non-damaged pineapple. We have a Kmart nearby so regular visits was not a problem. With Target being a two hour round trip, regular visits were not going to happen.

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My friend who I went to see Take That live with suggested that I visit Pillowtalk to see if they had any pineapples. And it turned out, they did. The gold one was a little pricey for me at $49.95, but they are local and I can keep checking back until they go on special or on clearance which they eventually will.

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So, I bought the silver pineapple for $29.95 from Pillowtalk, and added it to my candle shelf in the entry way. I can see it from where I presently sit, reflecting the late afternoon sun rays from the sliding door. When it is night time, lighting the candles creates a lovely reflection from the silver pineapple, and also from the gold foil sleigh I have sitting on that shelf.

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The yellow one was originally a gift to my sister, but apparently it did not suit her partner and his design ethics and standards (alternatively it could be because he is an a**hole), and thus it was left behind when they went home after their visit.

After all those visits to Kmart to get a perfect one, I figured it would fit in well at my house, though yellow might not have been my personal first choice of colour. They had white and jade ones too, once upon a time. I never saw a perfect jade one, I did find a perfect white one which I gave to my parents, and it now sits on their stairwell shelf.

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So now that I have two pineapples, I guess I am starting a pineapple collection. I’ve seen a couple of others I would like to add eventually, as well. Kmart no longer stocks the pineapples, at least, not that I could find on my recent visits, otherwise I would still be trying for a jade one because that was gorgeous.

I will like to mention, Happy Actual Birthday to Sephyroth today. You may recall I changed his birthday to February, for reasons I explained in this post.

Sadly though, the movie Triple 9 which was meant to be released today has been delayed until March 2016.

Happy Snoskred, Home, Sephyroth

Sunday Selections Week 34

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Today I will like to share with you our lovely new vast vista of concrete. It will probably look a bit boring to you. I have to tell you, it is most definitely NOT boring to us. This has greatly improved our life. The area we got concreted was formerly gravel and potholes and one heck of a mess in wet weather.

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The concrete was done in 3 separate pours because there is a large rectangular area with a side triangle out the back which needed quite a bit of shaping and a drain put in. In the above photo you can see the triangle, and you can see the area which has some of our old gravel there. I am thinking this might be a great area for a cactus garden – inspired by River.

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This is the drain side and you can see my Polo is happily chilling out in her new and much improved home.

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There were also two pours for the driveway itself – one for the back half, and one for the front half. This photo shows where the first pour and second pour meet, taken from the laundry door facing the back of the property.

The laundry was a room where gravel regularly got tracked in. This meant doing the laundry 99% of the time you would step on a piece of gravel. I can tell you that stepping on one piece of gravel as a surprise to yourself is akin to stepping on a lego with bare feet, which I am sure has been declared a form of torture by multiple governments *and* is almost certainly used in some cultures as a replacement ritual for the ritual of stepping on hot coals..

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This view is taken from the laundry door and shows where the second and third pour meet. Our gates had to have some work done as one of the concrete trucks got bogged out there and ended up hitting the fence, sending everything out of square and the gates no longer met in the middle.

The laundry which opens onto this area is the entrance to the house which we use the most. This is the best place to bring in groceries without worrying about a cat escaping, plus, you can pull the car boot (trunk for our US friends) right up next to the door.

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Here you can see the concrete sealer shining in the sun. The driveway sparkles like a *Twilight vampire! YAY!

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This final shot shows where the new concrete and the old driveway at the front of the house meet. The old driveway is white concrete with one of those colour spray ons over the top. For the new driveway, the concretor suggested adding some grey colour into the concrete itself to match the spray on – it would last a lot longer and work better for everyone. I think it turned out much better than the original driveway.

Every day this week I have gone out to open the gate for the other half when it is his home time, and every single day, I have found myself trying to step *up* to the old concrete because I am so used to stepping up right there. When I go out the laundry door, I find myself hitting the concrete much earlier than my body expects the ground to be there. It is a massive change and it is taking some getting used to.

Would you like to join in? The rules are very simple:-
1. post photos of your choice, old or new, under the Sunday Selections title
2. link back to River at Drifting Through Life, somewhere in your post
3. leave River a comment so that she knows you’ve joined in and can come over and see what you’ve posted.

* No Twilight vampires were harmed in the making of our concrete driveway. :)

Weekly Wrap Up –

This week I was quite determined to stay at home and go absolutely nowhere, after two weeks of “Toodling” and “Gallivanting” with holidays and my Aunt and Uncle visiting. Don’t get me wrong, I loved having them visit – it is just lovely to sit still in one place after so much travelling about.

Last Sunday we did the fortnightly shop, and I settled back in at home intending to write quite a few posts for the blog(s) and chill out with the kitties, some colouring in, NYPD Blue, a little Lumosity game I have become quite addicted to, and catching up on my reading.

The LCN Jig, It May Be Up.

I spotted this in my feedjit earlier today –

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I guess we’ll have to wait and see if they keep using the same name. That particular post continues to get a lot of views and comments here on the blog

Did you miss a post this week?

Monday – I told you about my holidays.

Wednesday – Sipowicz Says #1 – quotes from NYPD Blue will be a monthly feature here on the blog for the foreseeable future.

Thursday – I mentioned that 7 would be airing the first episode of Mr Robot. You might want to circle back and read my angry comments that I left on Friday while waiting for the show to actually air, for your own amusement. :) Can you guess how many minutes it was delayed by? Did you catch the show? If yes, leave a comment over there, I would love to know what you thought of it.

Friday – we revisited the Six Feet Under finale.

Over to you –

Did you get up to anything interesting this past week? :)

Aussie Culture, Happy Snoskred, Home