Gathering the straws of life together

Author: kjblogstraws

What’s up with the English language

What’s up with the English language

For regular blog followers you may have noticed I have not been blogging lately! Life has been busy and there has been no time for a regular blog. Now I am busy getting ready for Christmas.  I am decorating our tree today and other household […]

Manus Island – the Simple Life

Manus Island – the Simple Life

What type of life are the 600 men living on Manus Island experiencing? From all the news I hear, not a good life, but a life of fear and deprivation. They may be living a simple life, when they get the basics to live, but […]

Chicken Jail

Chicken Jail

The broody chicken Carmella has been in chicken jail for 48 hours. I tried a number of methods to stop her broody behaviour e.g. take her out of the nesting box and give her a treat after placing her in the run, cold packs under her when she was in the nesting box and three cold baths! Nothing worked and I felt mean making her uncomfortable. Although, she did seem to enjoy the bath water which did not have the effect of reducing her body temperature. The lengths I went to! On every occasion she would return to the nesting box, fluff up her feathers and settle into the comfort of the nesting box. It is all part of a hens instinct and hormones at work. Usually a hen would stay in the nest to keep the eggs warm for around 21 days, until they hatch. However, for Carmella any eggs had disappeared and she was sitting on her imaginary eggs, yet doing her duty and preparing as best she could, for motherhood.

Chickens are early risers – up with the sun! Carmella was sitting in the nesting box all night and then for hours before I got up. Though I was up early to take this photo!

The problem with a broody hen is they will stop eating and can lose condition while waiting for their young to hatch. In Carmella’s situation there would never be any chicks but she was not to know and her instincts kept returning her to her favourite nesting box. It was stressful to watch and manage. I did get advice from a “chicken whisperer” neighbour who suggested I let her work it out over time, but my O&O and I found it difficult to watch her behaviour.

At last, the folding wire pet cage became available at Kmart for only $29 (a bargain) and we went to work to set up the chicken jail for Carmella. Plenty of food and water but no bedding or the comfort of a cosy nesting box. The pet cage will also double as a “sick bay” if I ever need to quarantine one of my chickens. When I first put her in the cage she squawked like a banshee, for about an hour. It was so bad I thought of abandoning the idea. But I had to do it, for her sake and ours!

Carmella in solitary confinement “chicken jail”. After this photo was taken my O&O modified two tin cans as feeders. He attached them to the wire and the ramekin dishes sat in the top, one with food, the other with water. They could not be knocked over! The cage was off the ground supported by two planks of wood and there was plenty of air around to cool her down. You can see that she is a lovely chicken and would make a super mum!

After the first 24 hours I looked for signs that her broody behaviour had broken, but no, too early to take her out of solitary confinement. I could see the cage was not her favourite space but she was calm, eating and drinking, resting and going for short walks. There was no capacity to go for long walks and she had no ability to scratch around looking for a worm who was off guard. Fortunately, there was no rain, otherwise I may have had to surrender her back to the coop and the nesting box. Another 24 hours, around noon today, she appeared back to her old self. The repetitive clucking had stopped. I decided to put it to the test and see whether the 48 hours in solitary worked. If she went directly back to the nesting box then it was back to solitary for another 24 hours.

When I opened the door of the wire cage she bounded out into the big world once more! I directed her to the run, with the enticement of grain, to watch and wait.  As the hours have ticked by this afternoon she has made no attempt to run back to the nesting box. She has spent the afternoon scratching and exploring in the run and coop, eating pumpkin and dust bathing. I am glad she is over her broody behaviour, back to her old self and enjoying the outdoors with her little pal, Lucy.

Carmella and Lucy eating one of their favourite veggies, pumpkin. Enjoying their playtime!
Tickety Boo Meaning

Tickety Boo Meaning

Are you familiar with the words “tickety boo”? It is not a common term these days but every now and again it will surface. In fact, I heard it yesterday! I became familiar with “tickety boo” when I was a child. In the 1958 movie starring […]

Urban farming

Urban farming

For these past few days I feel like I am a farmer in Tasmania. It is wet and windy and my pink gum boots go with me every time I step out of the house. There is something about putting on those boots that gives […]

Older and waiting

Older and waiting

We all must wait, but when you are older and waiting there is another story! When you are older, waiting can be more difficult. The longer you sit, the harder it is to get up. Of course, I am not talking about myself, I am not that old yet! But there are many people who are older than me and need help getting out of a chair or walking, either with a stick or a wheelie walker.

No more was I aware of being older and waiting when I was at my ophthalmologist this week. The waiting room is long, seats all around the walls, we are all familiar with this! My “One & Only” (O&O) said “there are no young people here”! The room was full and as I looked around I thought we are here for a long wait!

We went to the only seats available, near the television monitor. John Denver was playing. I saw John Denver in Brisbane decades ago in Brisbane. I always enjoyed his songs. But after a while at 10am in the morning it got tiresome. We took the first opportunity to move seats to the other end of the waiting room. John Denver still singing away but it was not as loud.

Again, I looked around the waiting room. There was not much movement, we all just sat around, reading or staring into space. New people arrived, another wheelie walker. Usually, I wait around 10 minutes until my first procedure. But not today! Forty-five minutes later the faint sound, though clearly recognisable voice of John Denver singing, repeatedly. The video must have been set to re-play. Fifteen minutes later, down the other end of the waiting room a receptionist with a bright voice said to everyone “sorry for the wait”. More information would have been helpful at this point. I was beginning to think of asking for a discount, given that I had to wait so long. Even after the Medicare rebate the cost was close to $300.

I watched as all the older people continued to sit and wait. Then from another door out came another wheelie walker. His wife went to the counter to help him as when he sat down on the seat of the wheelie walker all he could see was the timber front of the counter. He stood up for a minute and then sat down again. A procedure for a later date was being arranged. The waiting time for this older couple was lengthy. Looks like there are new administration staff in the practice and a few are learning the ropes! The older couple were at the counter for at least 15-20 minutes. I wondered why it could take so long. My mind wandered back to the waiting room of a local surgeon. When we arranged a day-hospital procedure, it took minutes.

The clock is ticking away as we all wait! Then an older woman, her procedure over, arrives at the front counter with her wheelie walker to fix up her account. She was very small, reminded me of my 91-year-old mother, around 4’ 9” – all the older people reading this will know how high or short that is! This lady’s head was barely above the top of the counter. She handed over her card for payment and then whispered her pin code to the receptionist as it was too high for her to manage. A phone call was made for her son to pick her up and she took off. The doorman, my O&O (his new role), ensured she got out of the door with her wheelie walker, unscathed.

Time was marching on and it was time for me to march up to the front counter. Not too much marching, as we were only a few steps away and we could hear every personal conversation. An hour later and my good mood fading fast I kindly asked, “how much longer” and mentioned I would be fine to reschedule my appointment. I was told only a few more minutes. I did mention that had I been told of the lengthy wait when I arrived we could have gone to the café for coffee or a walk!

Within minutes, I was whisked away for my first procedure, a field test. After this finished a short wait until I went to another room for other preliminaries. The woman (new to the job) introduced herself as the doctor’s assistant (a very important role) who did a test of my long-range vision, wrote a few notes, took my eye pressure and placed a drop in each eye. When putting the eye drop in my left eye she thought she missed so did it twice again, just to be sure! The drops widen the pupils and they stay dilated like that for some hours. On this occasion my left eye was dilated for the best part of the day! How much was that account again? I asked the reason for the waiting time? The doctor’s assistant said it was due to the first week back after the school holidays. The doctor was away for the school holidays. Note to self: don’t make an appointment in the week following any school holidays. I took the opportunity to mention, that as much as I liked John Denver, after an hour it was very monotonous – comment noted!

I was then taken into a dimmed room (eyes dilated) to wait for the doctor. The time before when I was in the same room – waiting, I thought I had been forgotten. Was everyone having a long morning tea? On this day I looked around the room, checking out all the equipment, watching the computer monitor turn black and wondering whether I should move the mouse to keep it on? There was a button I could have pressed for a code red, if necessary, just to make sure my presence in the room was overlooked. I made a better decision – sit and wait.

Today all my waiting was at the beginning of my appointment and this time it was only a short wait in the room with dimmed lights. After I saw my doctor, a very good ophthalmologist, I returned to the waiting room to pay the account and make my next appointment. The appointment fell right after the Easter school holidays in 2018. As I had made a mental note of avoiding the school holidays, to avoid a repeat of today, I made my appointment for May.

There are lessons that could be learnt from today. What about waiting rooms set up like a lounge room? Water should always be available. A tea and coffee machine, like when we have our car serviced, would make the waiting time more tolerable. Some of us might even turn up early, just for coffee and to read the latest magazines. Maybe this is the reason waiting rooms are generally uncomfortable and unwelcoming.

When I looked around, in the waiting room, observing all the older people, I felt sad. Sad that there was not more respect shown when waiting times are unacceptable. Also, there is much professionals could learn about privacy, confidentiality and having space between their front counter and clients in the waiting space.  I also thought about going back to work, offering my services to the ophthalmologist to be her practice manager. I could teach the receptionists front office etiquette!They would learn how to treat clients well and make them feel welcome and respected.

To be fair to medical practitioners not all of them keep us waiting. When my O&O had surgery for a BCC in the past week he was lying down and prepped for his procedure five minutes before his appointment time. Sometimes, arriving early has its benefits. His physiotherapist, following his shoulder surgery, works well to her time schedule – no waiting there. Also, similarly with his Brisbane surgeon. Why can some medical specialists get it right?

When we are older and waiting we can take a good book to read, an iPad, cross word puzzles or knitting. Also, when you arrive ask how long your wait time will be. If it is an hour, reschedule immediately or go for that walk or coffee. I am not sure whether I should tell you my best kept secret for not waiting at the doctors? Just get the first appointment of the day! My May appointment is for 9am. The receptionist told me to arrive at 8.30am and then I will see the doctor at 9am. Is that an 8.30am appointment? What is the logic in that?

 

 

A no brainer – keeping our brain young

A no brainer – keeping our brain young

A no brainer is something that requires little effort. When we are young little effort usually goes into thinking about keeping our brain young! As our body ages though other organs, including our brain grow old. The brain is a very important organ, so much […]

The Human Life Cycle

The Human Life Cycle

When I was younger I did not think much about the human life cycle. I had so many years ahead of me that I thought life would just go on. As I age, though I feel young at heart, the years are adding up and […]

Digital Detox

Digital Detox

Have you had anyone talk to you about a digital detox lately? Are we spending too much time on our smart devices? If we are, is this the smart thing to do?

Are we spending too much time on our SMART devices?

We were in Mulgowie last week. Where is Mulgowie I can hear you saying? It is a small town in the Lockyer Valley, 10 kms from Laidley. The small township consists of a few houses or was that only one and the Mulgowie Hotel, no other shops! My O&O was sitting in the car, waiting for me, under a tall shady tree, 30 metres from the Hotel. A woman who lived at the house arrived home. She must have been wondering who this person was sitting under the tree right outside her home on the nature strip. Next thing they were having a conversation (my O&O was on his smart phone) about the digital age and how we are all dominated by our smart devices. I joined the conversation and suggested a digital detox now and then so we can get in touch with the real world. The “real world” for those who still have your heads buried in your mobile is about looking up, looking someone in the eye and having a conversation. When sitting down having the conversation, such as, at a restaurant or in a park, turn off the mobile and live life in the “real world” in the here and now. Another name for it is mindfulness. It is being mindful of what we are doing at any one time, aware of who we are with and mindful of our surroundings.

But then, the mobile must be close at hand to make sure we get that photo or a video of the children or pets. I am not any different. While mobiles and other smart devices have added to our lives – think of the information! Thirty years ago, most of our information came either verbally or in writing and it was slow. Now, we have information overload but that is okay if we are mindful and manage the technology in a way that it is beneficial for our life. Not taking away from our life and our enjoyment of it.

If all else fails and you cannot manage any time-off from your smart devices then you can take the smart step and book into a Digital Detox Retreat. I forgot to mention, to do this retreat you will also have to plan in a holiday to America to take part. Overall, not a bad option, a holiday and digital detox retreat package! If you want to stay in Australia then the Green Goodness Co have three suggestions.

During a digital detox, it is a great opportunity to get outside and get a dose of Vitamin N. Research has shown that we all need a large dose of Vitamin N – another name for it is nature. When we get closer to nature we do our brains a favour.

Time to get out and enjoy nature – the natural vitamin!

Getting out and about and experiencing nature helps our well-being. Research shows that nature is a panacea for many or our ailments. Time for me then to get off my computer, go outside, breath in the fresh air and take notice of the bush around me.

Chicken talk

Chicken talk

There is a lot of chicken talk going on at our place. Firstly, from us about the chickens and secondly, from the chicken themselves. Our four chickens have made their coop home. They love their coop and training them has been very easy. Such fast […]


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