A cheap method of treating Mange

Back in November 2017 I wrote about our little male Guinea Pig, Percy, and how he died.  At the time I didn’t know why he died, though I had some suspicions.  Since that day we have kept a close eye on our sole remaining Guinea Pig, Betty.  While she is lonely, she has been in good health.  On the weekend, I noticed that she was crying a little, and running around her cage in a state of agitation.  On examination, I could see that she had (what seemed to be) a very slight case of dandruff… this was similar to Percy’s symptoms.  After Percy’s death I researched the illness and I suspect that he had Mange.  She was obviously suffering from the illness, so much so that she had scratched several cuts into her side.

I had heard of Mange previously, and I thought it was just a condition which affects some  animals and makes them look messy.  This is not the whole story… Mange (also called Scabies) is a skin disease which can effect mammals and, if left unchecked, can lead to suffering and death.  I am fairly convinced that this is how Percy died, and now it was affecting Betty.

Most websites I checked recommended taking the Guinea Pig to the vet.  This is something I was reluctant to do… I am not a big fan of spending $80 for a vet to have a look at her, and prescribe something I could buy at a supermarket.  The product which online vets recommended is Advantage.  It is a cat medicine which is made to kill Insects, such as fleas and mites.  I could buy this from the local supermarket, yet it was $40 for a dosage… still more than I wanted to spend on Betty.  Searching for an alternative I found one in the form of Exelpet “Vet Series” Flea treatment for cats.  It contains Firponil, which is useful in killing Mites.  I found this at the supermarket for $15, which is much more affordable.  I know the container says it is for Cats only, yet I decided I would take the risk… Betty would be grateful for the treatment.

I administered the medicine to her skin and moved her to a totally new location, in a clean cage (with new bedding and shelter).  I noticed that over the next day her attitude recovered remarkably.  She stopped crying and seemed more like herself.    She has lost a little hair, which I suspect could be a side effect of the medicine… or maybe she pulled it out.  These is still a couple of dandruff like flakes on her backside, so I will keep an eye on them and treat her again if needed.

Video of a trapped ewe that needed my help.

On the weekend one of my neighbour’s ewes became trapped in our fence.  My neighbour was away so I took it upon myself to assist with freeing the poor animal.  I apologise for the quality of the video.  My daughter helped by filming the event, yet she is not very experienced.

My eldest son actually found the animal and rushed to get me to come help.  It was starting to get dark, so I had to do this before the cold really effected the ewe.  She appeared to be pregnant and at one point started to act like she was going to be sick.  I told my son later that his actions surely saved the sheep, as she probably wouldn’t have lasted the night.

Once the animal was free she ran off to join the rest of the flock.  I went and had a wee laydown as I was very tired.

Jury nullification in Australia

I was recently in a discussion with a friend who happens to be a lawyer. We were discussing the possibility of Jury Nullification. My friend refused to believe that it is a valid option to a citizen when serving on jury and that it is not possible to do it. If you didn’t know, and according the Sydney Criminal Lawyers, “…is where juries find a defendant not guilty of a crime they perceive to be unjust despite the strength of the evidence against them.”  I told her of a situation, around a year or so ago, when I served on a jury during a court case. I was actually chosen to be the foreman of the jury, which on hindsight, I fell was a bit of a weird decision.

Supreme court of Tasmania
Supreme court of Tasmania

The case which I happened to be called to sit in on was kinda serious. There was a man who was being charged with drug trafficking. He was, according to all the information provided by both sides, a drug dealer. He dealt marijuana to people and after a cop bought a bag of drugs from him (and had it tested), the police came back in force to arrest the man.  Now, I don’t take illegal drugs, yet I believe that marijuana should not be illegal.  Due to this belief, I would not find this man guilty of any charge related to marijuana.

The judge told us, very specifically, that the man was innocent unless the prosecution could provide sufficient evidence to persuade us. Yet, every time I talked to the jurors in the private room they were positive the man was guilty. I had to keep pointing out the judge’s advice.

One example is when the police showed images of all the money the man had at his house. Around $30,000 if I recall correctly. The members of the jury decided that having so much money in his house was proof of guilt. I had to explain that I once withdrew $20,000 from the bank to buy a car, then spent the night before I handed it over playing with it (I figured I wouldnt see that kind of money again). That simple story made them change their mind.

According to state law, drug trafficking is related to either the amount of drugs in your possession by weight, or the amount of separate bags you possess (which is 20). The prosecution argued that the man sold one bag to the cop, then when they returned he had 19 bags, which meant he had a total of 20. I figured I knew what the defense would argueyet I couldnt believe the defense lawyers move. He decided to blame one of the cops, saying that the cop made the extra bag to get the man into more trouble. I really couldnt believe it. All the lawyer had to do was state that his client had 18 bags, and when he sold one he made a new onetherefore he never had more than 19 bags ever. Yet he was arguing with the cop. I would have laughed if it wasnt so sad. Eventually the lawyer realized (after 30 minutes of trying) to drop it and asked for a break.

When we returned from lunch we discovered the man had decided to take a plea, so we were dismissed. I really wanted to go up to the man and tell him that his lawyer was terrible, and that I was going to make sure he got offyet I never talked to the man.  I really wished I was able to put my beliefs into practice, yet I was not able to because the man’s lawyer was totally out of his depth.

I have researched Jury nullification in relation to Australian law.  According various websites, jury nullification is a valid option to a person serving on a jury.  I think it is both a right, and a duty as a citizen to stand up against any law which is perceived to be unjust.

“Every bad thing that’s happened to me has defined me, has shaped, has moulded me.” – Natalia Kills

I seem to be experiencing some issues with my site.  I believe it occurred during an attempt to change aspects of the blog, combined with installing a new hard drive.  I am in the process of attempting to correct this, yet it appears I have lost all posts from November and December.  I will try to locate backup versions to replace them.

I also appear to have lost a huge amount of images, so I will try to correct this too.

I hope to have most of this fixed by 14 January 2017, or at the least I hope to have the site functional once more by that date.

Blog problems

I have been without access to my blog for over a week now, just managed to get back into it.  I am in the process of uploading everything, so that should be sorted in a day or so.  I seem to be missing some of my latest posts, as well as some images.

I expect this to be fixed soon.

“Life is really simple, but we insist on making it complicated.” – Confucius

Looking back at my last few posts I realise I forgot to mention that the chicks I had in the incubator hatched.  I placed 12 within the machine and all 12 hatched.  That is a very impressive result as far as I am concerned and I feel that I can recommend the machine to people.  I will keep an eye on the amount of cycles it can run, yet so far I am happy.


Back to the point, 12 chicks hatched, yet one died.  Over the course of 2 days, I had 11 chicks hatch, yet I left the last one, to give that one a chance.  On the 5th day after the first chick hatched, I was about to turn the incubator off… I was standing there with my hand on the switch, when I heard a little cheeping noise from the incubator.  The last egg was alive and the chick wanted out.  I gave it some more time… the next day, when I checked, the egg had a little crack in the shell.  I gave it another day… and when investigated, the egg had a small hole that was just large enough to see the chick’s beak.  I gave it another day, and the hole had doubled in size, yet still not large enough.  What should I do?

This is how it should appear.

I made a decision, I broke the shell a little, to give it a chance.  I walked away and came back an hour later, the chick was still in there, so I broke some more shell.  I watched it this time, and the chick seemed to be moving a little less… making a little less noise.  The chick was dying!  I then broke enough shell for me to remove the little one, and I allowed it to lay on the floor to dry.  It looked like it had outgrown the shell and was too large to escape.  The chick could barely move, it seemed tired and needed sustenance.  After it had dried, I placed it with it’s siblings.  Within seconds they were taking turns at standing on it, pecking it, etc.  I was worried that they might kill it.  I moved it back to the warmth of the incubator with some food and water for another night.

The next day, Kitty placed the chick in the brooder box (with the heat lamp) while the other chicks went outside for their time in the sun.  An hour later, it had died.  I was a little sad for loosing this one.  I had put so much effort into keeping it alive, and it seems that it wasn’t meant to be.



“Either move or be moved.” – Ezra Pound

I have been doing something for the last month, that I haven’t mentioned here.  I wanted to get it started and get a pattern established before I broached it, as I have talked about it before… and every time I have talked about it in the past, I have always failed.  I am talking about my fitness, and Tapout XT.


I have been attempting to complete the 90 days of Tapout XT for a long time now… I first started in August of 2013.

I have tried various ways to complete the training, and I always fail in some way.  I injure myself (usually non-Tapout related), so that I have to stop training to recover.  I get sick, so I take time out to recover.  I move house, so I take time out to complete the move.  I always have some reason to stop.  Well, I am trying again.  I am two weeks from completing my first month, I have taken the Tapout schedule and redone it, so that I will work on three days each week.  Yes, I am aware that I have followed a similar schedule before.  I don’t know if making a new schedule will help, yet I am willing to try.


As always, the Tapout training is extremely exhausting.  When I started the program, I would find that the first and second set (Cross Core Combat, and Strength and Force Upper) were so hard that I had to stop the video at the halfway mark, as I was worried I would die.  Last night I completed the Legs and Back from week 6, and I managed to get all the way through it.  I admit I had to pause the DVD for a couple of minutes (I ran out of water, and I received an important phone call at that time that I had to take), which allowed me a moment to catch my breath and get my second wind.

Don’t worry, I won’t damage your eyes with pictures of me without a shirt (as most fitness people feel they need to do).  I can tell you that I feel a lot stronger for making it this far and I am sure I can keep it up.  Yet as fitness posts seem to have people showing themselves without a shirt on, here is Manny from the Tapout XT DVDs.



“Growth is never by mere chance; it is the result of forces working together.” – James Cash Penney

I had noticed that the 100 or so tomato seeds I planted were not germinating in the greenhouse, in contrast to the other seeds that had shown great progress.  These seeds were from Southern Harvest, a company which I have had many problems with in the past.  Nearly every time I have had seeds fail, they were from Southern Harvest.  While I am sure that some of the time, the seeds were at fault, I thought I would give them another try so that I could be sure.

The seed packet.

This failure was confusing me for a little while… was it the company again, or me.  Tomatoes are usually very easy to sprout (in my opinion), so when I noticed that this was happening (or not happening) I put on my deer stalker hat and started to investigate.

I examined the difference between the two area of the greenhouse, one section housed the pots with seeds that had shown great progress, the other section (with the tomatoes) showed no growth at all.  I noticed that the tomato punnets were in a direct line with my sprinkler system and the soil was incredibly moist… it was almost like mud!  This might be the problem… tomatoes do not like that much water (I doubt that any plant I would grow would like that much water).

The Tomato seeds were planted in the green tray. The punnet next to the tomato one holds Corn seeds. They are growing excellently.

I will keep my eyes on these, to see if there is any improvement or growth.  I have placed some more seeds (not from Southern Harvest, these were harvested from a tomato that I bought from the supermarket) in punnets and I will see if there is any growth.

I moved the punnets out from the greenhouse and placed them in my mini-greenhouse.  There they could dry out a little and hopefully start to grow.  So far, none of the tomatoes are growing… the corn has germinated and sprouted, but no tomatoes.  I still have 50 or so Southern Harvest seeds left.  I will

“If you have stage fright, it never goes away. But then I wonder: is the key to that magical performance because of the fear?” – Stevie Nicks

It seems that every time I have a large project on the cards, I get injured or sick. I just mentioned in my last post that I have the large project of converting my workshop/laundry into a studio apartment for my mother-in-law. I have almost completed the work I have to do on the project, with plumbing sorted, walls fixed, and electrics placed in the right places. I still have to tile the kitchen area, install the kitchen bench and sink, and fix some cracked windows.

The kitchen area, before the new cistern is installed, but after moving the pipes.

I moved some of the plumbing so that I can install a modern “Water Mixer” style tap in the kitchen sink. I decided to use ¼ turn cisterns for this, so that they would be on all the time (under the sink) In the process of doing this, I turned off the water mains, and then turned on a garden tap at the bottom side of my property. This was so that the water would easily drain out of the pipes and not make a mess as I worked in the Studio. I installed the new pipes with ease and turned them off. Then I went and turned on the water main. I had to then walk down my garden to turn off the bottom tap (which was flowing into a bucket), and it was then that I heard the noise. The sound of water rushing was coming from the Studio. I ran towards the unit as Kitty rushed out of the house, telling me that she could hear water flowing in the room. I entered the Studio, expecting to see a fault in my plumbing or a broken pipe. All I could see was the water flowing out of the tap at full strength. I had turned the ¼ turn tap in the wrong direction (I installed it upside down) so it was shooting water 2 metres into the air. I quickly turned it off, yet the room was filled with water. Luckily, the walls that Kitty had recently painted were untouched.

The Power Point resting on the kitchen bench I need to install.

The last couple of nights I have been doing some work in the electrics. I was moving a power point from one part of the wall to another and covering the wires (which previously were in the wall that we removed) with special plastic covers. Part of this job was unscrewing the power points, so that I could move them, and to do this I disconnected the power to the house. While I know it is safe, I am still cautious as I do this. Well, the night before last, I was in the room by myself, silently working on the wires. I had some music playing the background, but apart from that I was just going through the motions. Suddenly there is a loud noise and I almost drop the wires. My daughter has crept up behind me and shouted “Boo!” at me. I had my back to the door and didn’t see, or hear her enter. I have to say, I think I almost had a heart attack! I told her that, while it was funny, she shouldn’t scare me while I am working on dangerous electrical wires. She said sorry and went on to play outside.

Anyway, I forgot all about it as the next night (last night) I was again moving some wires. I only have time to do it when I get home, as it gets dark early so I have a small window to work on this before I have to stop. I again was working on the wires (this time on a ladder) and my daughter leapt into the room shouting “Boo!”. While I was a little surprised, I saw her this time as she entered the room, so I wasn’t too shocked. I laughed at her and she walked off, happy that she tricked her Dad again. It was then that it hit me… I think that she is trying to make me have a heart attack! If anything happens to me, tell everyone what happened here.

“Stay focused, go after your dreams and keep moving toward your goals.” – LL Cool J

Over the last week or so, Kitty and I have been very busy  working on a special project.  One that I wanted to wait until we had made some progress on before I revealed it to you all.


Several years ago, Kitty’s mother lived with us in our Collinsvale home.  She moved out some time ago, yet she has been asking us (almost constantly) whether we could arrange for her to move into our new home.  While we lived in Collinsvale, we had extra rooms that would allow her to live with us, now we have a much smaller home and therefore have much less space.  That, as far as we were concerned, was the end of it.  Kitty’s mother often visits us down here, traveling from mainland Australia (or, The Mainland, as we call it in Tasmania).  She really misses spending time with her grandchildren and she also loves the island of Tasmania.

My Daughter and I admiring the view from the window.


A little while ago, Kitty’s mother had a bad fall.  She has been living at a Retirement village and she is meant to be looked after.  Apparently she had been lying on the ground for several hours before she was found.  This event really upset Kitty… she thought about how we want her to have time with our children.  After Kitty told me about this, she said that she thinks we need to work out how we can get her mother down here… so we put our heads together and tried to come up with a plan.  Now, as I mentioned, we have no room at our house.  We thought about what we could do when we realised that if we worked hard at it, we could make room.  We had plans for the far future to renovate our external laundry/workshop into a studio… a place for one of our kids to live in when they are older, or maybe a retreat from the kids when they are older and have friends over.  We decided that if we put our long term plan into effect now, Kitty’s mother would have a place to stay.  To that end, we started work.  I modified one of our internal bathrooms  (we have two in our home that are next door to each other) into a laundry.  I packed up all the boxes of books, tools and gardening supplies and moved them into my secure shed.  Once cleared, I needed to knock down the dividing wall between the two rooms.  This was a pretty big job, yet I am happy I have done it as I now have enough timber to make two or three Chicken tractors.  Kitty and I have divided up the workload, with me doing the heavy, industrial work, and she does the painting.

Tear down the wall!


We have made some great progress on the studio, as you can see from the photos, yet we still have far to go.  I have to install the kitchen (the bench, tiles, sink and plumbing need to be placed), organise the laying of the flooring, curtains and blinds, and a few other items.  It should look great once it is complete.