27 December 2011

What do you do when you see a bird on the deck?

In Zari's case you catch it, bring it inside, meow a lot, demand praise then wander back out onto the deck - leaving it in the middle of the lounge for me to clean up.  

Mmmm terrible cell phone photo.

In Basil's case you spot it while still inside, chatter you teeth madly (first time we'd ever heard him do this - hilarious) then race out on the deck at full speed, screech to a halt under the railing where the bird is perched and... well... sit.  Perhaps pace back and forward a bit, or reach up to it (he could've tapped its toes if he'd tried), or get distracted by other birds flying past.  But definitely don't try and actually catch it.  

After about 10 minutes (I kid you not) Zari joined him on the deck, although this time she seemed to be about as clueless as he was...


Huh?  What are you doing here?

Go away, I saw it first!


Wikipedia says:
Cats use two hunting strategies, either stalking prey actively, or waiting in ambush until an animal comes close enough to be captured. Although it is not certain, the type of strategy used may depend on the prey species in the area, with for example, cats waiting in ambush outside burrows, but tending to actively stalk birds.

It truly was the most pathetic display of cat hunting we had ever seen.  Did he get mixed up, thinking he was meant to ambush birds and actively stalk burrows?  He'd never got this close to a bird before.  Did his brain overload and shut down?  Was he trying to figure out a way to get on the railing without it noticing (after he'd run at it across the deck oh so subtly)?  Or is that giving him too much credit?

25 December 2011

A Santa Sack for Alex

Next time I have the genius idea of appliquéing something, shoot me.  

I'm not really happy with it - I managed to miscalculate where the middle was so her name's too low down, and I probably should've just chosen stars as they were the easiest to sew!  But, alas, I'm lazy and can't be bothered doing it again.  I will instead be counting on the fact that Alex will be too busy ripping open her presents to critique my sewing skills.  Though if she's anything like me, mocking should ensue as soon as she's old enough to know how (to mock, not sew).

Click for bigger (if you dare)

My favourite

Don't click to make bigger on this one, there's some wonky sewing on the A.  I think the holly berries look OK though..?

Stuffed full of presents on Christmas morning
On a semi-related note, play pens around the tree are a great idea as the tree cannot be pulled over.  Unfortunately toddlers have long skinny arms and can still reach the branches and pull things off - so the tree only has lights and the star on it.  Also, evil girl-cats can fit through the bars, climb over the presents and sit in the middle of the tree chewing the branches - all with a smug expression on their evil girl-cat faces because there's nothing you can do to reach them.

14 December 2011

Staglands, or Duck! Duck! Duck!

I bought two 50% off vouchers off a daily deal website and they were about to expire so we thought we'd better go.  Alex had much fun with all the animals, though the Kea was a bit loud and scary and apparently invisible.  Where was that noise coming from?!?!

I took some semi-decent shots of some of the (very exotic) locals, which I am going to make you scroll past to get to the Alex photos.  HA.

Kunekune piglet!
Ringneck dove (I told you they were exotic animals..).
Peahen.  I felt bad for her as everyone was photographing the Peacock.
Wow, amazing shot of a Peacock with his tail fully spread.
The Clydesdale, whom I thought was pretty cool.  Alex found him to be a bit large for her liking.
Donkey:  Oh hai, baby!  You has food??
Alex:  Argh!  It touched me!
Much concentration is required.
Toe-nibbling sheep.
It generally helps if you open up your hand so the sheep can actually get to the pellets...

It was good fun, though I'm a bit torn - she'll like it more as she gets older, but having to carry her meant that she didn't have the chance to get covered in all the many kinds of animal poo like she could as a proper walking toddler..!  I suspect we'll go back one day, despite the horrible narrow road you have to drive along to get there.  

02 December 2011

New Deck is Finished

Well, it was finished about a month ago but I'm slack (or sleep deprived...damn you tiny baby teeth).  As promised, here are some photos of the process and the finished product.  The only thing that would make it better is if we could find some outdoor furniture that won't blow away, isn't ugly, isn't uncomfortable (I'm looking at you wooden chairs), doesn't have a wafer-thin glass table top and doesn't cost a small fortune.  I'm not fussy, really!

Here's my post before we started, just in case you wish to admire the awesome rottenness of the original deck one more time.

Once the uprights were concreted into place, the builder knocked some of the original deck off.  He only really had to threaten the handrail with the hammer and it was more than willing to fall down.  When finished, he walked inside, shook his head and said "amazing...." - and I don't think he meant it in a good way.  

The builders were well supervised throughout the process.  At one point they were wiggling their tape measure back and forth so Zari could attack it through the glass.

Once concrete was set, they knocked off the rest of the deck.  At this point they confirmed that the water issues we'd been having in our bedrooms downstairs were due to water getting in via the rotten joists.  That's all sealed up and has brand new weatherboards over it now, huzzah!

Then we got some framing...

And some decking.  Cats of course felt it best to sit as far out on the individual planks as they could.

Old deck!

New deck!

Zari for scale next to middle upright.
The tiny human and the not-so-tiny cats all approve of the new play area.

And then Basil figured out that he could do this.  I've seen him almost fall off twice, but it is quite hilarious watching him run along the rail after the birds in the tree.  I'm sure it's just bad luck and not his complete failure at stealthiness that's kept him from catching any.  Dork.

And one more before/after shot, because I can.

What a year to drop to one income - we've spent about $28k on the house this year.  BUT with the new deck and new windows the house is weathertight at last!  It's almost like we can finally sit back and enjoy the summer.  At home.  Because we're too poor to go anywhere.  :(