Anxiety Level: High


I have just taken my first Valium in nearly a year.

I think the last time was around the 16th of July 2014, for work related reasons. Since I left work I really have not had much to stress me, until today.

When it comes to medication for anxiety, I feel much the same as Abbey Bartlet from The West Wing –

Do you know what this lifestyle does to the body? The minute your system senses stress it releases a hormone that constricts the blood vessels, contracts the heart muscles, stimulates the adrenal gland.

You stay in this state for not a hundredth of the time that you and I have existed like this and the vessels begin to shred. The heart permanently constricts. The intestines, the immune system, shut down. Relieving those conditions is the one responsible course of action I can take.

One of my biggest fears in life is The Other Half using power tools. Some of them I’m good with, like cordless drills. But anything that involves the potential for terrible injury, I am very fearful of those things.

There are good reasons to be fearful of these powerful items. The immediate story that comes to my mind is that of Gayle Shann which was on Australian Story – they just did an update on it in the last few weeks.. She survived but was terribly injured, losing one arm and the arm that was left has not regained any movement at all.

We’re going to have some concrete laid in weeks ahead, between the house and the “man cave” and to cover the gravel driveway. But before that can be done, The Other Half needs to dig a few trenches, one for the power to the shed, and a couple of drainage trenches.

So, until the ditch digger is returned, I will be under some stress. Fortunately for me, the Valium is starting to kick in, and rather than sit here curled in a stressed ball all day, I think I can get up and do the vacuuming and some other indoor jobs I have planned.

And that is a good thing – both for my mind, and my body. :)

A small technical note – the blog might go down for an hour or so later today, hopefully not, but the servers are in the man cave and the power will need to be turned off and reconnected.

fears, Home

The Catching


We have a bit of a rodent issue in our yard. Some people would say that chooks and rodents go hand in hand – in our case we have two very elderly people who live at the back of our block and their block is completely overgrown, full of weeds and rodents. If we can’t fix that, it is very unlikely we are going to fix the rodent issues on our own.

If you go out there at night, you can hear the rodents scampering and squeaking on what was once a tennis court belonging to the elderly people but is now an overgrown mess..

Traps do not work for these creatures, either because they are way too smart or they don’t like what we’re putting in them. Usually peanut butter has worked for us in the past. Maybe we’ll give cheese a try.

However the other half bought an ultrasonic pest controller which might be stopping the rodents from going near the traps at all.

What we are catching instead – without even trying – is some very poisonous arachnids. And here I will put a read more for those who do not like eight legged creature tales to come as a surprise. Click through to read a fascinating yet terrifying story.
Continue reading

animals, Chickens, fears, Home, spider

I can see there from here..

A few weeks ago, I had to go to an appointment about 40km away. This was the first time I’d been out by myself on the roads driving a decent distance in a while.

3 separate times, I saw vehicles in front of me cross to the wrong side of the road, while they were busy doing something.. I could see they were texting or reading something on their mobile phone.

And my car horn is like the horn from a clown car. Nobody takes my beeps seriously. In fact I don’t even think they hear them, it never seems like anyone does. I asked the other half to install me a more serious horn, because these people need a wake up, when they are doing this. If there were cars coming the other way, they could kill someone, even themselves!

There was a time recently, after watching one too many episodes of Crash Investigation Unit, that I found myself sitting in the car, at the end of the driveway, unable to leave the driveway because if I went X way, then Y could happen, and if I went A way, then B could happen. No way seemed safe, and my mind was screaming at me.. don’t go anywhere, put the car away, it is too dangerous on the roads.

And then rational me said err, no, lets’s get going, I have to live life. I need to buy stuff, like chocolate and icecream. I can’t become a hermit and just order my groceries on the internet and never leave home again. But I could see there from where I was. And part of me wanted to do exactly that – become a hermit, stay home where it is safe..

I mean, I could easily do that, Coles and Woolies home deliver here now. But if I let those fears take over, then there will be no end to it. What will be, will be. If I get taken out by an unlicensed idiot driving while texting, I’ll be pissed, sure. And I’ll haunt that person foreverz, because seriously your text couldn’t wait, you couldn’t pull over?

fears, NaBloPoMo, NaBloPoMo 2014, power of positive thought

Officially Un-favourited.

I wrote this comment on Dancing with Frogs just over a month ago now. I have an update, and some photos. :)

My favourite (Red Comb) was attacked by a hawk this morning. She is sort of ok. We have not been able to find any injuries. She did have some blood on her beak but my thought now is that blood belongs to the hawk and that is why she is still with us now. She is no shrinking violet and I am sure she gave that hawk one heck of a pecking.. and was thus unceremoniously dumped as too much trouble.

I don’t think this can have happened too far from the ground because she was still in the chook pen..

She was unsteady on her feet, but I think maybe that is shock, and also that she was probably dropped though none of us saw the attack, we did see the hawk sitting in a tree nearby right after. Nothing is broken, though I suspect she might have bruising we can’t see. She is still alert and still her regular loopy self personality wise.

She stayed in the nesting boxes all day with all the other girls comforting her, except for one girl on the lookout in the run, anytime a bird flew by there was much bagerk-ing and posturing from the lookout. They took it in turns – one keeps the watch, the others comfort – until it was roost time. As soon as it got dark and the other girls put themselves to bed, we took her inside because it was going to be a cold one tonight.

Right now she is safe in a box, all toasty warm (but not too warm) by the gas heater. I am resisting with all my might the constant urge to check on her. She needs her sleep. I must not touch that box until 5:30am at the earliest.

If she survives the night, before the other chooks wake up in the morning, I will install her back in the nesting boxes in a warm box she can get in and out of with food and water nearby so that she will not lose her place in the flock. My hope is that she’ll have had enough time and rest to be back to normal – if not, we will keep up the night time warm inside sleepovers until she is.

It does not matter what it is, if anything happens to the chooks it is always her it happens to and I think this is because she is my favourite. I have now officially un-favourited her, and I am going to have no favourites now. I must like them all equally. It isn’t fair to the favourite!

We will now be installing bird netting over their area, to keep them safer from flying predators. Though it is entirely possible that hawk will not return – too much trouble for no reward. If the hawk had picked one of the other girls the hawk might have had better success.

It might be time to re-visit the design of the chook pen, too.. I really want to just suck it up and bite the bullet and make them a huge totally enclosed area like the one on henblog..

So.. what happened next?

Red comb did survive the night. At 6:05am I opened the box, which had been in front of the new gas heater overnight. I tell you, this was the warmest chicken I have ever held. And she was so happy to see me, and I was so happy to see her. It was raining outside so I wrapped her up in a towel so she wouldn’t get wet, and took her back out, putting her in a safe box in the nesting area.

I knew she was not out of the woods yet, that there might be internal injuries we could not see. The other half – who grew up in the country – had checked her over very carefully and could not see anything wrong. I crossed my fingers and went to bed about 6:30am (night shift) and when I got up that night she was still fine. Each day that went by and she was still here, I got more hopeful.

She did have a limp for a while and it took her a while to get back up on the roost but otherwise seemed fine.

She has made herself a new chicken friend by the name of Rosie and all appearances suggest she has been lowered on the pecking order. She used to be second chook, right after White Sussex. Now, it is White Sussex, the other two game hens, Ancona, Red Comb, and then Rose Comb (Rosie).

Now Red Comb and Rosie are inseparable. Where one goes, the other must follow. Rosie is the black chicken below next to Red Comb, eating a corn treat.


I think the reason for the demotion was that Red Comb had a limp for a while, was not on the roost at night, and was not her usual speedy self.

The chooks were locked in their run/coop for a good couple of weeks. They were not a great fan of this, being it is winter and they like to be out scratching up a storm of bugs and worms in the softer ground. On Sundays they would get let out early when the other half got home at 4 and he would be out there with them for a couple of hours so they could free range a little under his watchful eyes. Many healthy treats were given in the coop/run to keep them from being bored.

Then a couple of weeks ago, we re-did the outdoor pen. It now looks like this –


You can see the height of the pen has now been doubled to walk in height. It used to look like this – this photo was taken just after we put in a fresh sand floor back in the summer –

Chicken wire now covers the top of the enclosure. It took a good couple of days for the other half to sew it all together with binding wire.


We put in a beam at the back to support the wire some.


After this photo below was taken, I got out the pitchfork and made some holes in the dirt, for the girls digging pleasure. They had a blast.


I don’t know. I think if a predator is determined to get my girls, no amount of chicken wire or protective measures is going to be enough to save them. I think this is a reasonable compromise for the time being. In the summer, it might be rethink time. I want to build me a chicken batcave safe enough no fox or quoll or other unfriendly predator can get through. For now, I think this will prevent further hawk attacks during the day while they free range, at least.

The other great thing about this is pigeons can no longer get in and steal the food. I like the pigeons, don’t get me wrong, and I mean to set up a proper bird feeder for them. I just am not a huge fan of the lice and mites they can sometimes carry with them. Our girls have been lice and mite free for a fair while now, though.

I’ve been on the overnight shift for a month or two now, as in starting work at 10pm or midnight – I have been meaning to post this for ages but events conspired against me.

I am not sure yet if Red Comb knows she has been un-favourited. She doesn’t get treated any differently, it is just in my mind I am not allowed to call her my favourite anymore.

As I type this, White Sussex has begun her ba-gerking. There are a tonne of cockatoos and galahs flying about overhead. She will ba-gerk for that or anytime one of the other girls lays an egg.

Speaking of eggs, these crafty girls were hiding theirs somewhere. Now that they are in this enclosure, hiding is no longer an option. I also suspect our resident blue tongue lizard was eating some of the hidden eggs! But maybe one day when spring rolls around and I get back to the garden, I’ll pull out something which has gone rogue over the winter in the garden only to find a huge clump of eggs hidden there.

Chickens, country life, fears

The Comfort Zone

We’re pretty used to our favourite little river now.. It is our comfort zone. We know what to expect – calm, clear waters, occasional boat wakes which are not too scary, sometimes a little bit of a wave, but for the most part it looks like this –

comfort1We’ve talked about going out into the bay a few times – which contains sharks and dolphins and at certain times of the year even whales – but this time the water looked fairly calm so we decided to have a go at it. This is taken from out in the bay looking back towards our comfort zone.

comfort2Note to self – it always looks calmer than it actually is, even in photos. Once we got out there it was a bit scary. I didn’t take too many photos because we were concentrating on what we were doing.

comfort3Both the dolphin boats were out, packed full of people as it was a gorgeous day. They did not seem very far away when we were out there, but they were a long way away as you can see in this photo. :) It almost seemed like we could paddle out to them in a few minutes.

comfort4Hey, what’s my boat doing out here? ;)

We ventured out a couple of kilometres and it seemed like we were out there for ages but that was the fear making time go very slowly.

I had a sad that no dolphins approached us. Maybe next time we venture out of our comfort zone, they will. It certainly is a good reason to get out there and get used to it. :)

fears, kayak

Fires and Floods

Obviously Australia is a little challenged weatherwise at the moment. I’m sure you’re all aware of the horrible fires in Victoria where the death toll is predicted to reach 200. The Other Half has a sister within flying ember distance of the big fires, so we’ve been worried but we finally got in touch tonight and she’s ok. It has been horrible watching the news and hearing what has happened to people. It also has me thinking about our personal fire plan – and if you live in Australia I hope it has you thinking about that too.

Up the top end of the country – where we are travelling to in exactly 10 days time – there are floods. And also Dengue Fever, which is something horrible you get from mosquitos. And just in case you didn’t know, mosquitos ADORE me. They’ll travel out of their way to bite me. So this = me covered in insect repelling goodness.

Sephy told me to make sure to get one with DEET in it. Note to Sephy – all those ones smell somewhat like a chemical warfare potpourri. With a squeeze of lemon! So I will smell bad, in case you all happen to be there and meet me or anything. Also, Cairns has no food in the supermarkets. Cindy from Artistsblog is up there, and has been writing some very interesting posts like this one.

So the whole fire thing and travelling to somewhere there is a nasty mosquito thing that could possibly dead me and floods and possibly not brilliant roads has me thinking some pretty weird thoughts. Would it be bad to say that if something happened to me tomorrow and I died, I’d be thinking that I had a pretty decent life? That is if I were able to think, of course. ;)

Because I have. As I sit here now, I’ve had 10 wonderful years with a man I truly adore and who makes me laugh all the time. I’ve lived in a couple of places that have made me vastly happy. I’ve been blessed with a fantastic family who have only made me want to banghead very occasionally. I have a wonderful online family – the mudflats, and aussie bloggers – who have made me laugh, cry, and every emotion in between. I’ve been the President. Not of anything especially important, but of something I cared about and believed in.

The only things that would upset me would be leaving people I love behind and the concern of who would take care of my pets, and a concern over would they do it the way I feel it should be done as far as keeping them inside.

I think that since I have taken up kayaking and the exercise thing, some kind of bizarre inner peace and general contentment has settled in. It is hard to explain. I’m not sure I want to try and explain it.

Anyway, I will be blogging more than usual while away, we have organised wireless for the laptop and I can even do it while we’re driving, how cool is that? It’s an easier way for people to keep up with what I’m up to, etc. ;)

First we go to my sister’s wedding on the Central Coast of NSW. I bought a dress, and I have shoes! w00t! I might even post a photo of such – with the face blurred for obvious reasons. ;)

We’re going to the Marriott on the Gold Coast for 2 nights, the one with the lagoon pool and actual real live fish in there. I’ve got swimming goggles which are prescription so I can see the fish. We got nose plugs today so we will still be able to use the snorkels – I actually think this will work better than using the masks.

We’ll be staying overnight in Rockhampton, 2 nights in Airlie Beach, 3 nights in Cairns, 1 night in Mackay, 2 nights in Maroochydore, a night in Port Macquarie and then back home. We’re heading up the Pacific Highway and then onto the Bruce Highway I think it is – if there is anything must see that you know about, leave me a comment. Especially butterfly houses, because we love that kind of thing. The furthest I have been before is Brisbane (World Expo 88 – how many other people went too?) – we do plan a stop at Australia Zoo while in Maroochydore.

I’ve almost got all the ironing done for the trip already and we’re still 10 days away from leaving. I have begun to collect items to pack on the dining table. ;) I plan to be organised this time.

I also have been fake tanning. This is not out of any desire to look pretty or because I am wearing a dress, but because I got very badly burnt on my hands a few weeks ago while wearing a rash vest – so my arms were completely covered – and I look a bit like I dipped my hands in brown ink or something. So I am just trying to even it out so people stop looking at me with the “OMFG WTF HAPPEN TO YOU” look on their face.

In fact one guy in a surf shop actually asked me what happened, this was right after it happened. I was in there looking for longer shorts that had SPF protection in them. I told him what happened, which went something like “Well, I bought some new sunscreen because I didn’t like the one we had, and it was sucky and didn’t work even though I reapplied it more often than it told me to reapply it, and therefore I got extremely crispy even though I am totally anti sunburn”.

Well, this has been a bizarre post. But that’s what’s going on here at the moment. ;)

Australia, fears, travel

Nobody Likes Spiders In Their Shoes.

I live in Australia. We have some of the biggest, ugliest, most venomous and scariest spiders in the world. Do not fear, I am not putting photographs of them here. :) But I did want to mention that I have found a great solution to something many Australians have experienced and tend to fear quite a bit.. spiders climbing into your shoes.

This has happened to me a few times. There seemed to be no solution to it. There never seemed to be any easy way of putting shoes somewhere that spiders can’t get into them. I tend to bang my shoes on the ground so that if there’s any spiders inside they would fall out.

Long time readers of the blog know that I am a major fan of IKEA. The last time I was there I saw these shoe cabinets that you attach to the wall and I thought that was an excellent idea. I couldn’t find a price on them and I thought they would be hugely expensive but today I was at their website and I thought to look for them. I nearly fell over when I saw how cheap they were, only $79! I also found that they have this gorgeous shoe cabinet which will fit in my hallway perfectly. I just have to double check to make sure my shoes will fit. I have huge feet for a woman. :)

Why am I suddenly worried about this? Eeek it is too scary to link to it, but last week a woman here had a Funnelweb spider in her *towel* which bit her. Funnelwebs are big, black, ugly, and VERY poisonous. Don’t do an image search, your skin will crawl for hours. I had been told they were only to be found within a 20km radius of Sydney, but the local hospital here treats several cases of funnel web bite each year. Wonderful! We have them here too. So now I think I need to get me a shoe cabinet.

And believe me, I am carefully checking my towel like my life depends on it every morning. I’ve held myself back from going into a major vacuuming and cleaning everything to make sure there’s no evil creatures fit, but only barely. The urge is growing. If I vanish for a couple of days you’ll know the urge took over.

fears, IKEA, spider

I’m still alive!

Jaws did not eat me, and while I saw jellyfish washed up on the beach, if they stung me I didn’t know it. The water was pretty wavy today, so we didn’t stay too long at the beach we went to yesterday, it was impossible to snorkel there, too evil. So we went to this other place all the surf shop people told us about called Stony Creek, its a freshwater creek that meets the sea, and we were the only ones there, and it was fantastic. I saw fish in the water! That was so much fun, I wanna do it again.

I have now been fully underwater in the sea, which is something I have *never* done before. I just have always been terrified of it.

So now we’re planning a trip on Monday/Tuesday next week, to Narooma and Mystery Bay. I couldn’t find many decent pics of it on the net, so I’ll have to take them myself.. ;)

fears, snorkelling

Holy cow.

Well, a small miscalculation on my other half’s part. Thailand is actually three hours behind our time zone – not half an hour!

Had I known this earlier today, it would have eliminated the.. well let’s be honest.. panic.. when I did not hear from him around the time I was expecting. I’ve just had a funny feeling about this trip from the start, but when it got to 2pm and I was expecting him to land around 10:45am Thailand time, which would have meant hearing from him by say noon at the latest.

I did not realise just how anxious I was until he finally sms’d me. If I hadn’t bitten off all my fingernails by 1pm I would have had crescent shaped marks in my palms.. so it’s a good thing I chewed them all off, right? ;)

fears, The Other Half, travel