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Monday, 29 August 2016

Rats, Rats, Rats!

My Dad was big on playing cards. His catch cry when he was trumped or getting beaten was "Rats, rats, rats!" - so I had to title this post that in his memory, even though it is really about those horrible rodents.

We live in the country, and no matter what we do, there is always an onslaught of rats and mice and possums. My beloved old cat died earlier this year and I miss him. While he was here we had no bother with rodents in the house walls and roof. It's not practical for us to get another cat, so a few weeks back I bought one of these sonar devices that claims to repel rats, mice, spiders and ants. 
Electronic (supposed to be) rodent repeller

Well the spiders and ants remained undisturbed and so did the rat that we hear scuttling about and can't trap. So back to the shop it went. I don't know if they work for anyone else - or are they like the Emperor's New Clothes? 

Rats are a big problem here for our bird life. They eat our native birds eggs, so they are on the Wanted List. We have bait stations that we keep filled for them.

They were also getting into my compost bins, which upset me greatly. I thought I would outsmart them by burying vegetable scraps in the garden, but then they started going there too. The only way I discovered to stop them doing that was by layering seaweed and horse manure over newly buried scraps.
Recently I put a base of chicken wire mesh around the base of the compost bin. So far, despite obvious attempts, they have not got in. 

Not a pretty blog post, but there you are - life isn't always pretty.
Anyone else got any great ways to be rid of vermin?

Thursday, 18 August 2016

Permission to Play

Hooray! I finally finished my tax books and got them to the accountant. Now that my most despised chore is done, I gave myself permission to play.

In my last post I talked about what people were artfully doing with beach plastic. Well here are a few pieces that I made - totally without any idea of what I plan to do with them. I have put brooch backs on a couple, but well, got that out of my system.

My beach plastic creations

Some time back I joined a Make Do and Mend Facebook page. Someone on there was mending tea towels. Now most of us would just say - they're not expensive, just go buy some new ones, but I liked the quirkiness of the mend. Plus who else can admit to still using them even when they have a hole in them. So this one might come under "Lady you look like you have too much time on your hands", but I like it. 

Mending teatowels

Talking about play - a few weeks back I bought this little beauty off TradeMe (our Ebay).

 Never having owned an overlocker before, I was a little scared of it. I asked for a lesson on how to thread it from the nice Chinese man (a sewing machine fixer-upper) that I bought it off. Given that he didn't speak any English, it was very kind of him. Now I have the hang of it and am using it to make those net bags for the market (two posts ago), which I can knock out in 10 minutes from cutting to threaded drawstring.
It has been great learning this new skill from the internet and a fabulous book on serging from the library. I can now use that new knowledge helping others at SewGood, our community sewing group.

Sometimes my days are so busy that I fantasize about taking a day off! And I'm retired !! (apart from playing in the band and running my rentals) Anyone else feel like that?

Thursday, 4 August 2016

"Strands" and Beach Plastic

Once or twice a week, the dog and I head off to the beach - great exercise for both, plus I pick up any plastic I find. 
I'm looking at some of that beach plastic with new eyes after seeing some artistic uses for it lately. 
These pieces of jewelery using beach plastic are by Sophie Carnell                                 

The next photograph is from an exhibition of works by Stuart Haygarth called "Strand", from items picked up on a 500 mile coastal walk in England, after he was asked to make something for a permanent exhibition at the Macmillan Cancer Centre. 
Colour coordinated and photographed by Stuart Haygarth

There's more on this artist/photographer's work at Zero Waste London's blogspot and More here from where you can see his spectacular hanging installation, the jewel of his works.

I'm a beachcomber at heart, so when I saw that this book was in the library I put in a speedy request.

The author writes about a year's worth of beach wandering in England, with observations on all sorts of interesting finds, and then delving into some of them for a chapter. The chapters ranged in subject from archeological finds and beach plastic to how tobacco waste had been dumped there many years ago, and it's implications on the environment and more. 

One of my own discoveries was some little skeletons, thin as the finest egg shell, that I had picked up called a Heart Urchin, or Spatangoida. They are unbelievably fragile, so must just bounce around in the waves like a bubble. 

Heart urchin shell