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Yours *TrulyJuly*

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Reduce the flow by lowering the water pressure.

You can easily save water by reducing the water pressure.

You can easily save water by reducing the water pressure.

High water pressure in the system is actually not desirable:

Typically, lower pressure systems have lower operating costs, as they use less energy to produce and pump water, spend less repairing pipe breaks, and lose less water through leaks large and small.

The reason why we have high water pressure is convenience – so the kettle fills up quicker, and fire safety – if there is a fire you want a lot of water and quickly.

But with the current drought crisis in Cape Town, the City of Cape Town has urged residents to adjust the water-isolating valves (stopcocks) on their properties to reduce the flow rate and save water.

Reducing the water flow means you’ll need to wait longer for water to refill, giving you time to realise how much water we waste and become more mindful with water.

In addition you can always learn to stop the flow altogether and close the tap more frequently.

 

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Plastic Bags: The Ocean's Deadliest Predator.

Plastic Bags: The Ocean’s Deadliest Predator.

 

I cannot remember ever buying a plastic bag.

 

But we started early with the whole environmentally friendly idea in Germany.
I was a teenager when we had the green revolution and I always used proper bags or at least reusable shopping bags.

 

Then I moved to the UK where they still gave away free plastic bags in the supermarkets.
We used them as our bin bags and still accumulated so many that I regularly brought a whole bunch of them back to the supermarket for recycling.

 

Then I moved to South Africa. Here plastic bags are flying around on the streets and get caught in barbwire on every other house where they form a grotesque flag waving our own waste at us.
The cashiers don’t even offer me a plastic bag anymore, they know by now that “we really shouldn’t use them, they’re so bad for the environment.”
Although plastic bags cost something, be it ‘only’ 50 cents, I see people buying them for one item, walk out, take the item out of the bag and throw the bag on the street.

 

It’s so easy to never buy a plastic bag ever again and save a fair share of money:

Simply use a reusable shopping bag. Any bag can do really, practical are a backpack or shoulder bag.

At least reuse the plastic bags you already have. It’s surprising how long they last. Always keep one folded up in your pocket, you never know when you might need it.

 

Even without buying plastic bags ever, I still get them given at so many places that I never run out of bin bags.
Everything is packaged in plastic too, so I never run out of dog poop bags either.
I do a weekly MOOP Swoop and pick up so many clean and intact plastic bags that my dog poop bag pile never gets depleted.

 

It can take 100 years for a plastic bag to break down, but it never disappears: It only disintegrates into toxic chemicals such as bisphenol A (BPA) and PS oligomer.

 

Please! Don’t buy plastic bags!

 

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Close the Tap! Save Water! Every Drop counts!

Close the Tap! Save Water! Every Drop counts!

 

Reducing your water consumption often means changing your habits.

One particularly bad habit is to leave the water running without making use of it.

 

Learn to close the tap more frequently!

 

Save water when brushing your teeth

When brushing your teeth, you only really need water for rinsing.

Instead of running the tap, pour a bit of water into a cup to gargle with and clean your toothbrush in.

 

Save water when washing your hands

For washing your hands you don’t need running water when lathering soap.

Switch off the tap and only turn it back on to rinse off the soap.

 

Save water when shaving

Don’t rinse your razor under running water.

Shake it clean in a bowl of hot water.

 

Save water when taking a shower

Back in the day taking a shower instead of a bath was considered saving water. Nowadays this is not good enough.

Even a short shower can take up less water by switching off the tap altogether for shampooing your hair or lathering the soap.

Apparently you don’t need to do either anyway, so you can save even more water! 😉

 

Save water when doing the dishes

Don’t use running water for doing the dishes.

Cups, glasses and bowls can be washed with the water they hold and then this water can be used for the rest of the dishes.

 

Save water when cooking

Polish rather than rinse your veggies and fruits, or wash them in a bowl of water.

Only ever fill the kettle with as much water as you’ll use.

When boiling food, use just enough water to cover it or even better: steam it.

 

Remember that on average about 8 – 12 litres flow out of your tap per minute. So every second counts!

 

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Whereas I only got South Africa’s desktop theme beforehand, I now have 4 more themes added to ‘My Themes’.

Whereas I only got South Africa’s desktop theme beforehand, I now have 4 more themes added to ‘My Themes’.

 

It’s like taking a mini holiday at your desktop:

By default Windows lets you see only desktop wallpapers from your region.

But if you activate themes from another country you get to see amazing landscapes right on your screen.

 

1) Unhide hidden folders:

Open Windows Explorer, unfold the drop-down menu beneath ‘Organize’, click on ‘Folder and search options’. Select the ‘View’ tab and ensure ‘Show hidden files, folders, and drives’ is marked, whereas ‘Hide protected operating system files (Recommended)’ is unticked.

 

2) Activate hidden themes:

Go to: C:\Windows\Globalization\MCT

Go into the different country folders that are presented to you and click on ‘Theme’ to double click and run the theme.

It will change your background image immediately. You can change it back to the previous version and reactivate it again later, as it is now saved in your Control Panel.

 

3) Change between themes:

Go to: Control Panel\All Control Panel Items\Personalization

Click on the Windows Start button and chose ‘Control Panel’. Tap on ‘Display’. Beneath ‘See also’ on the bottom left corner click on ‘Personalization’.

Now you can simply select the theme of your liking and the desktop images update right away.

 

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Top Ways to Save Water indoors

Top Ways to Save Water indoors

 

For years we’ve been warned about the scarcity of drinking water, and yet we continue wasting it down the drain.

In Cape Town we’re living with a water shortage and it puzzles me most how we could ever be so wasteful to literally flush our shit with perfectly clean and healthy drinking water.

Unfortunately it seems that us humans first have to experience a crisis in order to change our habits.

 

So it comes that the City of Cape Town activated water rationing to forcibly lower water usage, as we’re still not saving enough, even with level 5 water restrictions in place.

They started a whole campaign urging us to make water saving a way of life: www.capetown.gov.za/thinkwater.

Because let’s face it: This is not going to be the last drought crisis.

So be the change and be mindful with water: There are steps everyone can implement to save water.

 

Let’s all learn from this and share our #WaterSaving tips in order to create a universal Drought Crisis 101 manual.

Email me your ideas and I’ll try and test them and blog about it: TrulyJuly@web.de 🙂

 

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What a find: A sealed Heynes Mathew Ltd. vial. It even still got some liquid inside.

What a find: A sealed Heynes Mathew Ltd. vial. It even still got some liquid inside.

A lot of the items we excavate from our garden are puzzling: I have no idea what they are or what they were used for, nor how old or from where, and most importantly: why they are buried in our ground.

The more surprising when it’s still intact and traceable: I’m always amazed that it is still possible to excavate entirely intact bottles. After removing the garden soil with a digger back to ground level, hacking at the clay earth to loosen it up, and dogs digging up the rest:

How amazing that this vial didn’t break. And it’s sealed! With something inside! 😮

It is even possible to read the pressed imprint of the manufacturer’s signature: Heynes Mathew Ltd.

Now, there’s something to research! And it comes up with results, even with dates:

Extract from The Cape Town Guide (1897) p139:
“Heynes, Mathew & Co. – This firm so widely know throughout South Africa was established in Cape Town at the beginning of the century. Their operations increased so rapidly that they found it necessary a year or two ago to construct new premises, and these are now amongst the most attractive in Cape Town. Heynes Mathew & Co.’ Building is six stories high, and is situated at the corner of Adderly and Longmarket Streets. The first floor is let to various tenants, but the remainder of the building is devoted to the requirements of their large business. They manufacture numerous specialities for their trade, and are agents also for many remedies which have a world-wide reputation.”

Even though the Heynes, Mathew & Co. building has been demolished, it appears the company still exists: HEYNES MATHEW LTD – DIVISION OF SA DRUGGISTS

Maybe they can help me date the year when this vial was made. 😮

If you know more about The Broken Palace, please get in touch: TrulyJuly@web.de 🙂

 

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Really Windows, it takes you 1 day to move not even 2 gigs?

Really Windows, it takes you 1 day to move not even 2 gigs?

 

Of course this didn’t take 1 day. How does the PC even come up with this time frame?

 

The time references Windows presents us are really sometimes quite hilarious, especially when they’re so totally beyond reality.

 

#UXFail

 

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Yoshi and Sybil are bosom buddies.

Yoshi and Sybil are bosom buddies.

 

This friendship forged already long before the #RattieSitting:

 

Apparently these two met at work!

Yes, some are lucky enough to take their pets to work, even when the pet turns out to be a rat. 😉

 

Obviously Yoshi was totally smitten by gorgeous Sybil and because they get along so well, they got to meet for playdates at work.

 

While #RatSitting they got 2 weeks of that, just play play play, adventure and mischief and all: Because it was these two who’d go roaming about.

 

If you let your pet rats roam freely it’s important you ratproof your home. But you can only do so much, best is to keep your ratties in an enclosed and safe space.

 

So while all the other ratoots were mostly content hanging about rat city alone, making me feel at ease managing 17 ratties, here we have two adolescents who venture further. That calls for trouble!

 

And of course Sybil managed to chomp a piece out of our monitor cable – just a tiny bit, nothing to worry about; but she did give it a try.

And of course Yoshi was already on the top of the stairs – greeting me friendly, what a lovely welcome; but he did go quite far.

 

Still the cuteness of these two is just heart melting, and it is so lovely to see how they care about each other.

Rats are so gentle, they have so much love to give.

And so much entertainment to offer, it never gets boring with these critters, because one thing is sure:

Rats make great pets! 🙂

 

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My projection for profile views looks rather gloomy on LinkedIn:

Who knows how these forecast algorithms work, but this one seems to be quite a downer. ;)

Who knows how these forecast algorithms work, but this one seems to be quite a downer. 😉

 

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Unfortunately cycling the MyCiti bus route is not always safe.

Unfortunately cycling the MyCiti bus route is not always safe.

 

Hi, good evening.

Are you security staff for the train station?

May I just quickly ask:

I came this way, it’s such a cool shortcut from Woodstock to the CBD.

You know it’s so nice cycling along the MyCiTi bus route, as I have my own separate cycling lane. It’s lovely and quiet with no cars around. You can even hear the birds singing. And the flowers, when they’re in full bloom, amazing colours! And the path is so smooth and well maintained. It’s just wonderful, it makes cycling worthwhile.

So now that it’s getting dark, is it still safe to cycle back that way?

 

Let me put it this way:

If you go in there now, you won’t come back out the other end.

 

Oh.

 

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I excavated this from our garden. What could it be?

I excavated this from our garden. What could it be?

 

After excavating what appears to be a door knocker, I thought I had dug out a door bell next.

Wondering why you’d want both – maybe the people at The Broken Palace were especially hospitable – I’d better double check.

 

As I started researching my find I quickly realised things didn’t add up. The mechanism of a push button door bell would look very different:

This 'original art deco vintage wooden electric door bell push press button' looks similar to my garden excavation, but when it's opened up to show the mechanism, it's clear that this doesn't match up.

This ‘original art deco vintage wooden electric door bell push press button’ looks similar to my garden excavation, but when it’s opened up to show the mechanism, it’s clear that this doesn’t match up.

In contrast:

 

Instead there are three prongs sticking out at the backside similar to the Australian thee pin plug:

This ‘black 3 pin extension lead AU/NZ plug top’ looks quite similar to my find.

This ‘black 3 pin extension lead AU/NZ plug top’ looks quite similar to my find.

In comparison:

 

 

So maybe this is an antique cord plug for lamps or fans like these:

These antique replica mid-century plugs look quite like my excavation.

These antique replica mid-century plugs look quite like my excavation.

Quite a resemblance:

 

However, the shape of the three pins is quite different. Some similar looking plugs refer to ‘early’ electric style, so maybe this is what plugs used to look like in South Africa in the early days of electricity?

If you know what this could be, or have references to antiques in South Africa, or remember The Broken Palace, please get in touch: TrulyJuly@web.de 🙂

 

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Committing to a #ABlogPostADay helped me establishing a daily writing routine.

Committing to a #ABlogPostADay helped me establishing a daily writing routine.

 

Like with any craft, it’s not about the quantity but the regularity in which you do it:

For example when learning a music instrument, practicing frequently is better than practicing long.

 

If you want to be a writer, make writing your daily habit.

#ABlogPostADay can help with that, as it adds accountability to the task: There is a very clear goal, and the public is your witness.

This might hinder a creative free flow, but it teaches discipline in return.

Unfortunately waiting for inspiration will keep you doing just that: waiting.

There’s only one way to become a good writer, and that is: to write.

To write to publish is like a job and presents the chance to get to know a new side of you: the professional writer.

 

And to make it proper professional, here some rules:

–  There is no word goal, but a time goal: Keep your focus by limiting or at least watching the time you take to write.

–  The angle must be clear: Even if your piece of the day fits into a bigger story, it needs to be possible to be read as a meaningful standalone.

–  While it is best to write daily, you can adapt the type of days to your personal situation: For example, it can be daunting having to write from zero to every day, so break it up a little: Write every workday or allow yourself a midweekday breather, or if you’re in a demanding job then swap it around: Write every weekendday.

–  You’re allowed to cheat: If you miss one day, don’t beat yourself up about it, just make up for it on a non-posting day.

–  The purpose is to establish a writing routine that works for you, it’s about the consistency to get writing.

 

If you struggle on your own, find a writing buddy or organise a Write-Up which always yields results.

Join WriteClub for more writing support. 🙂

 

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Having a puppy is pure bliss. But taking pictures of your dog can be a tricky undertaking:

 

Beautiful Gigi is chilling in the sun. What a sweet opportunity to take a photo!

Gigi is enjoying the afternoon sun, minding her own business.

Gigi is enjoying the afternoon sun, minding her own business.

 

But as soon as I get close for that special shot, this is what happens:

Always responsive, Gigi gets up to greet me.

Always responsive, Gigi gets up to greet me.

 

Boom! Photo opportunity gone! Good thing Gigi always looks cute.

Cutie pie Gigi photobombs my shot.

Cutie pie Gigi photobombs my shot.

 

Well then, time to put the camera down and indulge in some puppy play! 🙂

 

#AdoptDontShop

 

Also read: #PortRATure: The art of taking portraits of rats

 

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It is hard to believe, with all its probiotic goodness: But because yoghurt contains lactose it’s a no-go when you change to a low FODMAP diet.

I cannot remember a day that I didn’t eat yoghurt. The only reason would be that I’m in a country where they don’t do yoghurt, like when I was travelling South East Asia.

Or where they don’t know how to make yoghurt, like in South Africa. Thank goodness for Amasi, which by the way contains less lactose, as that is what the yoghurt cultures eat: lactose. So the more sour your fermented milk tastes, the less lactose it contains. To me, a big fan of kefir and buttermilk and such, a fair trade.

So yes, I like yoghurt, but if I want to eliminate FODMAPs from my diet, I need to find a replacement, for two reasons:

1) The lack of calcium causes my fingernails to break, so I need to find an extra source of this mineral.

2)  What I’d actually miss about yoghurt is the yummyness with which it binds together my muesli.

You can read the answer to 1) here: #FODMAP #Tip: 5 calcium rich alternatives to dairy

As to 2) I think I found a good compromise: Replacing milk with coconut milk for the low FODMAP diet, I’m left with coconut pulp. It has a lovely yummy consistency and can be used just like yoghurt. It has no sourness to it, so less sweetening is required, and the coconut oil is filling. It is of course nutritionally completely different from yoghurt, hence 1), but for the time where no yoghurt is allowed it works well as a substitute.

Would you believe this is not yoghurt: Coconut puree makes for a great substitute.

Would you believe this is not yoghurt: Coconut puree makes for a great substitute.

Check out my low #FODMAP muesli recipe for breakfast: Banana, Buckwheat Granola and Coconut Puree.

This tastes as healthy as it looks: Low FODMAP breakfast cereal.

This tastes as healthy as it looks: Low FODMAP breakfast cereal.

 

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Even though I’m not actively looking, it’s good to know my LinkedIn profile still delivers results.

Even though I’m not actively looking, it’s good to know my LinkedIn profile still delivers results.

 

When I moved to London I had to very quickly catch up to the fast paced environment of this mega city.

Things worked differently in London: Where in Germany the illusion you’d work your entire life for one company and they’d look after you was still high flying, in London we were simply thrown into the future of the job market: Freelancing, contracting, project based work.

I came to London to study full time, but this city was so expensive, I also had to work – full time.

 

Luckily I already had work experience, as I had served an apprenticeship before starting to study. So I upgraded quickly from waitressing to admin temping to translating to copywriting.

 

Then I made a discovery that would boost my career: Recruitment agencies!

All you had to do was send them your CV, and they look for a job for you.

 

And they did another great thing: They all used LinkedIn.

Forget about the laborious task of emailing updated CVs around. All I needed was the link to my LinkedIn profile: https://www.linkedin.com/in/trulyjuly

 

Now recruitment agencies would get in touch with me based on the keyword search results on LinkedIn. Not requesting my CV, but inviting me to an interview for a job that matched my LinkedIn profile.

Eventually companies followed suit, with some moving their entire recruitment process to LinkedIn.

And since LinkedIn started actively suggesting ‘Jobs You May Be Interested In’, all I got to do is check the job matches.

 

LinkedIn is a powerful online networking tool, and the one social media professionals sign up to with one purpose in mind: business.

Ensure you make the best out of your LinkedIn presence, here’s how:

How To Promote Your Business On LinkedIn

How To Market Your Business On LinkedIn

 

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The dynamics of rat clans are very sophisticated and quite impressive. Impressive because if even little rodent animals like rats can learn to live together in unity, why can’t we.

 

When new recruits arrive, the previously settled roles within the rattie bunch are shaken up and maybe even up for grabs, so might some of the more opportunistic pet rats think.

 

Luckily, my ratties have gotten so used to visitors, they are super relaxed about sharing their territory. Somehow that makes their home a neutral zone: It is often their cage everybody flocks to and shares a meal or some cuddles.

 

But the visiting ratties are coming in their own cage, with their own smells, so they indeed have a home away from home.
Rats are super sensitive to smells, and they mark each other and everything in between to reconfirm belonging to one clan. I think it’s important for rats to be able to go back to their familiar home and not be completely uprooted when going for RattieSitting.

 

But of course that makes their cage equivalent to their territory.

 

My observation is that if there are many ratties, like for example Camilla’s 8, they are pretty relaxed about their space, as they are used to ratoots coming and going.
But if it’s only 2 pet rats, like Fendi and Cher, and they’re new to the whole ‘let’s meet other rats’ idea, they can turn a bit possessive over their space.

 

So when Mulan and Harley, two black hooded cutsie sisters, visited their lookalike Cher, she was not so impressed.

Mulan says hi to Cher, who however reacted in a territorial manner to these advances.

Mulan says hi to Cher, who however reacted in a territorial manner to these advances.

 

Whenever they encountered each other, there was some huffing and puffing going on, a rat’s way to indicate they are ready to fight for their right. The right for what is not always that clear, so I just kept on separating them when they came to close for comfort.

 

Rats can be very persistent, and Mulan and Harley kept on going back to Cher, but yet again, it wouldn’t go well.
I sometimes had to lock Mulan and Harley in one of the other cages, because they wouldn’t leave Cher alone.
They even managed to sneak into Cher and Fendi’s cage every now and then, and that was really a no-go zone for them, also Fendi agreed on that one.

 

However, outside of this specific Fendi and Cher cage area, everything was totally fine. They could eat, sleep and cuddle together, no problem.

 

So maybe there was hope that they could transfer the friendship’s locale.

 

And indeed: On the very last day of the RattieSitting Cher and Harley were one heart and one soul in Fendi and Cher’s travel cage.
Where they had stood upright, confronting each other, swaying in the attempt to dominate, they now sat side by side like good old pals. Some stretching, and then some more relaxing.

I couldn't believe my eyes: Cher and Harley in harmony side by side in Cher's travel cage. Forgotten are all territorial disputes.

I couldn’t believe my eyes: Cher and Harley in harmony side by side in Cher’s travel cage. Forgotten are all territorial disputes.

 

Even with 17 ratties from 4 different clans, they manage to achieve harmony eventually.

 

To me, this is the bliss of RattieSitting. I love watching these clever little munchkins, it’s better entertainment than TV.

 

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It’s like Microsoft resorts to the double opt-out to really prevent you from quitting Skype.

It’s like Microsoft resorts to the double opt-out to really prevent you from quitting Skype.

 

If you use Skype you know how difficult it is to close it:

Because when you click the right top red x button it doesn’t close, it only minimises.

And when you go into the Skype menu and select ‘Close’, it doesn’t close, it only minimises!

 

So you have to be really really determined to indeed close Skype:

The only way is by right clicking on the Skype icon in your desktop toolbar – this is not available anywhere in the actual Skype menu, where you can only ‘Close’ or ‘Sign Out’ – and select ‘Quit Skype’.

 

But halt!

Not so fast!

Even if you made it this far, Skype still has a comeback, trying to deter you from finally exiting this program:

 

A pop up window asks quite patronisingly: “Sure you want to quit Skype?”

Followed by a FOMO inducing warning: “You won’t be able to send or receive instant messages and calls if you do.”

 

Dark Patterns at work:

Microsoft is famous for their really bad way of trying to manipulate you.

This one feels like they got it all wrong all together and created a double opt-out when they learned about the double opt-in.

 

Yet, don’t despair: It is possible to quit Skype, you just have to click buttons a few more times than any good practice usability guide would allow, but it is possible, eventually!

 

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Our new garden design: Chillout area with braai at the back.

Our new garden design: Chillout area with braai at the back.

 

Progress in our garden is slow: There’s still so much fixing going on around the house, that our backyard is mostly abused as a storage facility.

So when finally the east wall got done, we had some extra space freed up to move the concrete blocks.

And the rest was left to play:

Like tending to a zen garden, an empty space is quite inviting to be reflective and creative.

 

The first time the concrete blocks turned into an interactive group seating area:

 

Now the concrete blocks form a centre piece, as the garden work will continue along the garden wall. They cover quite a bit of ground, which will prevent dust being blown around. And they stretch out like a giant sofa, an outdoor lair, complete with backrest and bird bath. And of course, the braai at the back:

 

With water restrictions plans for our garden are changing, so let’s see what the next giant lego reshuffle will look like. 🙂

 

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I’m a muesli fan, and I enjoy my muesli with yoghurt.

During the elimination phase of the low FODMAP diet however, both wheat and lactose need to be cut out.

So here’s an alternative breakfast cereal recipe, low FODMAP and still yummy:

 

Being a muesli fan, this works as a low FODMAP alternative for me: Diced Banana, Buckwheat Granola and Coconut Puree.

Being a muesli fan, this works as a low FODMAP alternative for me: Diced Banana, Buckwheat Granola and Coconut Puree.

 

Add in equal parts:

Diced Banana

Buckwheat Granola

Coconut Puree

 

You can use any other fruit of the season or a combination of fresh fruits or fruit salad.

I use the buckwheat granola as is. Some prefer to soften it by letting it soak, but I like it crunchy.

The coconut pulp is a leftover from making coconut milk. It works well as a yoghurt replacement.

 

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The tan I get in 1 day in the African sun.

The tan I get in 1 day in the African sun.

 

All day we worked in our backyard, because finally the east wall got done and we could resume shaping the garden from storage room into living space.

Our garden is situated at the ideal angle to South Africa’s weather: Facing north and sheltered towards the back where the south easter comes from. Meaning it’s all day sunny and protected from the wind.

So while it’s maybe averagely warm in Cape Town, let’s say 19 degrees, it’s quite hot in our garden. Which makes it just perfect for winter, and well, all year round.

 

Our yard is also full of treasures, as there seems to be an entire house buried in it. – When it comes to garden work it’s easy to get sidetracked.

While I was digging up various artefacts, and Christian was redesigning our garden with concrete blocks like playing giant lego, we got burnt. Well, almost.

 

Whereas the African sun is unforgiving, it is at least so right from the beginning. I can feel my skin burning as soon as I venture into the midday sun. So I just can’t stay long enough in the sun to get seriously burnt.

 

According to the calendar we should move into summer, but hey, with global warming who knows what and when is summer these days. This was a relatively mild day and at 19 degrees you don’t seriously burn. You just get a taste. Your skin flares up in the swelter to give you a caution.

I only tan during winter in South Africa, my skin is too fair for summer. But who needs a summer tan when the winter sun is so warming already.

 

So this was probably my last day of tanning. Almost coming too close to my skin’s tolerance, I can feel the heat encaptured in my body. But by next day my skin will have calmed down again, and all that’s left is a nice bronze shine.

 

With its early warning the African sun should not get the chance to burn you, it’s more like a kiss that got too fiery.

 

Sunkissed at 19 degrees, that’s why I love South Africa.

 

Rat City is spreading: Across the south wall, and further on top of the desk, and beneath it, and across the bridge to the original cage location.

Rat City is spreading: Across the south wall, and further on top of the desk, and beneath it, and across the bridge to the original cage location.

 

Looking after 17 ratties!

 

Rat City is taking over our bedroom with 4 medium sized rat cages, 1 small cage, and 3 travel cages:

Across the south wall, all blocked up so no chance of draft, the cages continue onto the desk. Which is where the rattie exploration must stop, with office cables on the far end.

Same below the desk: 2 travel cages give the opportunity to play and settle, as the ratoots are not allowed further.

Instead, why not give Agatha and Eleanor a visit, who have their cage in my original rattie cage location. Because they don’t react well to stress, they sit a bit apart from rat city, only connected by the bridge, which can be removed if they need a bit more quiet time.

 

I thought it’d be a big job.

 

But besides having to do some more cleaning, all the ratties are well behaved. You hardly notice it’s so many, because all they do is cuddle in bigger packs.

The variety of cages and rattie friends is enough entertainment for them to stay put. Most of the ratoots only interact within the boundaries of rat city.

The few curious culprits who roam the entire room are noted and easy to watch out for. Especially when they actually come to greet you, like Yoshi does when he’s on top of the staircase. What a nice way to be welcomed into your own bedroom. 🙂

 

It is inspiring to see how all these different characters manage to find harmony.

Because not all of them get along: There is quite a bit of rivalry and territorial protection going on.

 

A rat who’s boss in one clan might clash with a rat who’s boss in another clan.

And rat who is used to only one other rat messing about in their cage might get a tad irritated when another rat comes not only to visit, but actually to stay and set up camp.

 

There are a few odd squeaks of protest, but rats have the most funniest and actually impressive way to solve conflict: Through cuddles.

A rat’s way of showing their domination is through vigorous grooming of the inferior rat. So there might be a lot of huffing and puffing going on, but it always gets resolved through devoted preening.

 

Rat City offers enough space for the ratties to avoid each other and sort any conflicts in their own time. And because I leave the cages open, they can choose who to hang with.

Sometimes with surprising results: Rats who might have not gotten along so well in their own clan all of the sudden team up, with so many other ratties around. New pet rats meet and make friends. Odd pairs match up in their quest to explore.

 

The dynamics and interactions are more entertaining than the best soap opera.

Maybe that’s because as soon as you, the spectator, come forward you’re totally engulfed in rattie attention. And when it’s 17 of them, that’s a lot of rattie love! ❤

 

Rats are so tender, timid and sweet, it’s the most humbling experience: For these little skittish critters to trust you, come to you, and shower you in rattie kisses, to be acknowledged, inspected and not only welcomed into their clan, but actively sought out to be part of it, I can only ever conclude:

 

Rats make great pets!

 

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If you want your belly to stop grumbling, try cutting out wheat for a while.

If you want your belly to stop grumbling, try cutting out wheat.

 

I love bread! Not white bread, proper brown whole wheat bread.

And I love muesli! Not the sugar loaded clusters, but the proper bran flakes type.

And I love couscous and pasta! Or at least the sauce for it… 😉

 

All of these however contain wheat. And thus need to be cut out during the elimination phase of the low FODMAP diet.

 

Finding alternatives to wheat is quite simple if you switch to the usual replacements: rice, corn, oats.

But I already eat brown rice as a staple with my lunch or dinner.

And I already snack on corn chips and corn flakes – watch out that they’re indeed wheat free and preferably non-GMO by the way.

And I already enjoy my porridge every day.

 

So I don’t want to just add more of the same staple I’m already eating in order to replace wheat. If I want to get through this FODMAP diet I need a bit more variety.

A great opportunity to try out some new, more exotic, and supposedly super, foods:

 

Sorghum and quinoa taste great as couscous and pasta substitute.

Buckwheat and amaranth make for a great breakfast cereal, and millet can be cooked into a delicious gruel.

As for bread, well, being German I can tell you that from steam bread to crisp bread, from spelt to rye, from potato to carrot to beer bread, everything is possible. Find a great bakery or supplier of wholesome flour and bake it yourself.
Or be creative and swap bread for a different ingredient altogether: How about a saladwich?

 

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Gigi, you cutie little cuddle munchkin.

Gigi, you cutie little cuddle munchkin.

 

Everything takes a bit longer with little Gigi who was stunted in her growth and had rickets disease due to severe malnutrition when she was rescued as a puppy.

 

I could hardly pick up Lola after 3 months already!

 

And Gigi still behaves and looks like a puppy after 4 months.

 

But then, we don’t know how big Gigi is supposed to get, she might just stay this size, or maybe fill out some more, or she might end up outgrowing Lola.

 

We’re just curious about the end result. Her cute and hyper manners make her such a big part of our life, her actual size doesn’t matter.

 

Here’s to 4 months in which Gigi blossomed into a mischievous dainty little lady, surprising us and mostly herself with her newly learned stunts, always tail wagging, a happy chappy.

 

#AdoptDontShop 🙂

 

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This matter of fact humour can work well as a Call To Action to click on 'Explain, Please'.

This matter of fact humour can work well as a Call To Action to click on ‘Explain, Please’.

 

Humour is a real tricky thing. Not everyone finds the same things funny. Some don’t find it funny at all!

 

There’s a fine line between satire, irony and insult, and in nowadays time of post-truth it’s difficult to know if your audience indeed gets it. They might just start a shitstorm on you…

 

But humour is also an incredible means to bond: Laugh together and the ice is broken. Share the same humour and become friends.

 

So if you’re after strengthening the relationship with your existing customers, a little humour might help.

 

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Digging stuff out from our garden: What could this be?

Digging stuff out from our garden: What could this be?

With a new puppy in our home, we got a new force for digging at work. Gigi has reached that stage, where digging is the coolest thing ever.

Luckily our garden is not yet done and our dogs can dig as much as they like. In fact, they’re actually helping us: With the clay ground it’s super hard labour and with an entire house buried in our backyard, there’s still plenty to excavate. So wherever you dig, you’re bound to dig something up.

This time it’s an Iron Ring Pull with Flower Rosette. At least that’s the closest I came to finding something on the internet that resembles this.

An 8 petal iron rosette with a twisted pull ring. Was this perhaps the door knocker of The Broken Palace?

Could this be the door knocker of The Broken Palace?

Could this be the door knocker of The Broken Palace?

If you remember this door knocker or know anything about The Broken Palace, please get in touch: TrulyJuly@web.de 🙂

 

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Calcium is an important mineral for the human body, as it helps maintain healthy teeth and bones and prevent osteoporosis.

Calcium is an important mineral for the human body, as it helps maintain healthy teeth and bones and prevent osteoporosis.

 

When I came to South Africa, I couldn’t find acceptable yoghurt at first, as most supermarket yoghurts are loaded with preservatives and emulsifiers.

So I didn’t eat yoghurt for a while, because I boycott products with additives. As a result, my fingernails started to break. Thank goodness I found Amasi.

However, as I have IBS, it’s part of the low FODMAP diet to cut out dairy for a while.

In order to keep my fingernails, I did some research on:

 

How to Get Enough Calcium Without Dairy

The total recommended daily allowance (RDA) for calcium is 1000 mg.

 

Eggs

One large egg provides 28 mg of calcium, 2.6% of the Daily Reference Value (DRV). But more importantly, eggs are a good source of vitamin D and when fortified maybe the only source of vitamin D we need.

Vitamin D helps to absorb calcium, without enough vitamin D, the calcium you eat won’t have any beneficial effect.

 

Leafy greens

“If your lactose intolerance is severe and you need to avoid all dairy foods, you can get plenty of calcium from leafy green vegetables,” suggests Barto. Vegetables high in calcium include rhubarb, spinach, broccoli, and certain greens like kale. For example, one cup of cooked spinach has about 250 mg of calcium.

 

Beans

Beans are a fantastic source of calcium in plant-based diets.

Especially Soybeans are high in calcium with 175 mg per cup. Accordingly tofu is generally regarded as a high calcium food.

 

Fish

The amount of calcium in milk is 125 per 100 g. As calcium percentage of the RDA this is 13%. Comparing with Fish, caviar, black and red, granular, in 100 g it contains 275 mg of calcium. As a percentage of the RDA this is 28%.

Sardines do not only contain high amounts of calcium (383 mg per 100 g, that’s 38% DRV) and vitamin D, they are also less contaminated with mercury than other fish.

 

Nuts and Seeds

Almonds and brazil nuts contain about 100 mg of calcium per serving and are recommended snacks for people on low carb diets.

Just a tablespoon of sesame seeds delivers 88 tasty mg of calcium and an ounce of chia seeds has 179 mg of calcium.

 

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Martial arts instructor Kenneth showed us ladies that it doesn't need muscle to defend yourself. Take part in self-defence classes to be safe.

Martial arts instructor Kenneth showed us ladies that it doesn’t need muscle to defend yourself.

 

During heritage month the Cape Town Self Defence Institute (C.T.S.D.I.) offered free self defence classes for women and girls.

I had only heard about it on the radio and was lucky enough to catch where and when it would take place. So on a Saturday morning I made my way over to Oude Molen in the hope to find the class.

Organised by the Yes We Can Sport & Jazz Foundation they had a great gym facility and quite a big group of women battling it out. Some of the women were devoted regulars, who had attended all the classes already offered, and helped teaching others to defend themselves.

 

I had taken part in self defence classes also in Germany, but yet again, I would soon learn that South Africa is of a different calibre:

Whereas in Germany the key to the self-defence class was to learn that there’s always a way to free yourself from the attacker, that was it, as it was assumed once free you can run away.

However, in South Africa, that is not enough: While we also learned that no matter what debacle you’re in, you can always fight back your attacker, here it doesn’t stop with running away:
The risk that your assailant will attack you again is too high. So we went a step further and also learned how to hurt people. Because in South Africa, fending someone off won’t help: You also have to incapacitate them before running away.

 

In a country with the highest rape rate in the world, and the most women being killed by their partners, this should not come as a surprise.

But to me it is.

Will I ever ‘get used’ to the high crime rate in South Africa? Where when your home got burgled the police tells you to be more vigilant? Or where the police is not even reachable and all you get on the emergency number is that ‘our agents are busy right now’?

Here in South Africa us women have to overcome our own caring nature and learn how to injure others physically, so that when the assault happens, we are prepared.

Well then, if that’s what it takes, let’s get training:

Check out the Cape Town Self Defence Institute (C.T.S.D.I.) for their classes. As their slogan rightly says: Make the attacker your victim!

 

Jenni Leibbrandt is doing a fantastic job talking us through the behind the scenes tour a the Two Ocean Aquarium.

Jenni Leibbrandt is doing a fantastic job talking us through the behind the scenes tour a the Two Ocean Aquarium.

 

I always enjoy visiting the Two Oceans Aquarium.

 

But do yourself a favour and go on a night / behind the scenes tour at the aquarium.

You’ll look at the displays with all new eyes:

 

The night tour has a calm and relaxing feel to it, without the hustle and bustle of the day visitors.

Lights are dimmed, because also fish need their sleep.

The information displays are switched off, which points all the focus on the tanks and their inhabitants.

With the surroundings in complete darkness, you might get lost a little like in a fun fair labyrinth.

Fun effects in daylight turn into startling surprises at twilight.

 

The behind the scenes tour is actually more worthwhile during day, as then the kitchen is still open.

Yes, the fish have their own kitchen, as maintaining the tanks is a large scale operation with its own water recycling and air filtration system the size of a wastewater treatment plant.

The aquarium offers a lot to learn and accordingly even features a classroom, designed to make studying fun with open fish tanks in the middle of hexagon tables for groups.

You can even train diving, as submerging into the tunnel tank counts as a logged dive for scuba certification.

 

As a member of the Two Oceans Aquarium you get access to a range of awesome events such as sleepovers and yacht trips.

Alternatively check the Two Oceans Aquarium blog for the latest happenings.

 

In the middle of a busy city and yet it's possible to breathe! Reclaim the streets! #OpenStreets shows that streets belong to the people, not cars.

A busy city road and yet it’s possible to breathe! Reclaim the streets! #OpenStreets shows that streets belong to people, not cars.

I’m a fan of Open Streets since I first participated with the 100 in 1 Day initiative in 2013. See the photos: 100 in 1 day at Open Streets in Obs.

We hosted a Giant FREE content swap & Digital Be-In intervention where we set up free wifi on the streets to close the digital divide and offered anyone who came along to access it with their device and swap some bits and bytes.
We had great content donated from music by Hrh Spinsista Mitzi to edutainment by OGLE Media kiosks that could be freely downloaded. It was great fun, read the press release: Bitswap event takes free digital content sharing to the streets.

Since then I visited most Open Streets events and took some more photos in 2015Fun Activities at Open Streets Bree Street.

I enjoy Open Streets, because there’s always something fun to do and great performances to watch.

This year Open Streets took place just up the road from us, it was the biggest yet with 5km of Main Road (Cape Town’s M4) reserved for people and closed to motorised vehicles.

So I popped by, but with no intention to take pictures. Although I did: Open Streets Cape Town: More often please!

Because this time it was such a peaceful event:

5km is a long stretch to fill with activities, so there were patches where nothing special was going on besides that the road was closed to traffic and people reclaimed the streets in their own way.

Where usually I’d be met by taxi drivers shouting, angry people hooting, bikes cutting corners, busses coming life threatening close, pedestrians and general chaos in between, this time a scenery of peaceful serene flow welcomed me.

Even though there were no rules, everyone was so relaxed, no-one was in each other’s way; space was so open, everyone could move freely without worries; a colourful variety of people and people-powered forms of transport mixed and intermingled like everyone took part in one long dance.
It was lovely. Every now and then I’d be like: What do you hear? Nothing? Exactly!
The only loud sounds came from people playing or making or singing music, which invited to move from one street party to the next.

Children were playing and cycling, scooting and jumping, or just simply sitting down. The asphalt covered in chalk drawings.
Couples went for a stroll, families came for their afternoon walk. A lot of people walked their dogs.
Many just came out to have a look and stayed, caught up in a conversation with their neighbour or bumping into some friends.

If you wanted to get inspired about non-motorised transport, here you could see it all: roller skates, roller blades, skateboards, longboards, bmx, holland, mountain and lying bicycles, wheelchairs, onewheel, scooters and hoverboards, you name it.

All in all it was such a pleasant experience, we should do this more often: How about every Sunday? 🙂

 

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The Making of a Criminal: Part 2 was performed at the Artscape as part of the See Me: I Am Human Indaba.

The Making of a Criminal: Part 2 was performed at the Artscape as part of the See Me: I Am Human Indaba.

 

While the radio was talking about the Jazz Masters Tribute at the Artscape Theatre Centre, just around the corner at the Arena a very different kind of event took place.

 

The real deal

But that was not apparent to me at first, because I was late: I had booked the ticket over 3 months ago and the time had changed. This meant I entered the performance with very little context: My knowledge about it had fainted to ‘something to do with prisoners’, and because I had missed the introduction, that was all I was left with.

So I just opened up all my senses to make sense of what was unfolding on stage.

Two things sprung out at me after only a short while:
–  The performance was highly emotionally charged.
–  The acting was somewhat unprofessional but in a very human way.

It dawned on me that this might be the real deal: That these were real offenders, sharing their own personal story through a platform provided to them as part of their rehabilitation: the theatre.

And indeed: During interval lovely Janine next to me explained these were all real prisoners currently in jail and pointed out the guards on duty, who I had not seen in the darkness and now noticed were many.

Watching the next performance I realised that the provided context made little difference: I was just as much taken on a rollercoaster of emotions from laughing and crying, to cheering and applauding profound truths.

The audience was moved and responsive, from secretly wiping tears away to snapping fingers in agreement.

The message was clearly stated in the last poem: Nothing That is Human is Alien.

And that is really what we learned that night: A glimpse into the human side of offenders, past stereotypes and prejudices. Raw and real. Touching to the core.

These are real people who deserve real chances.

 

How can we help?

This was the question circling our minds, as this had been the last performance of this year’s group and it meant for everyone: ‘back to normal’, but what is ‘normal’ in these circumstances.

A discussion opened up in the theatre and continued in even more depth in the women’s bathroom resulting in these suggestions:

–  Don’t judge.
–  Share the message.
–  Provide space for theatre and rehearsal.
–  Support outreach programmes for offenders.
–  Bring more outreach programmes to prisons.

 

Driving home they announced on the radio that after the interval they’d get back to the Jazz Masters concert at the Artscape. I had just left and already this was how everything went back to ‘normal’ for me.

But of course there is more we can do:

 

Get involved

For another amazing example on how acting helps rehabilitate offenders listen to this podcast about the Prison Performing Arts initiative.

This just shows that theatre works as a crime prevention intervention. And why not? Why do we pay actors millions of bucks for faking it when we could use a fraction of the money to upskill people who can tell the real story?

So support future productions of The Making of a Criminal:

Follow the Help I Am Free cultural outreach project: https://www.facebook.com/HelpIAmFree.

Like the NGO Nicro (the National Institute for Crime Prevention and Reintegration of Offenders): https://www.facebook.com/NICROSouthAfrica.

Donate to their crowdfunding campaign: http://www.backabuddy.co.za/champion/project/the-making-of-a-criminal-part-2.

 

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Painting the Ranzani Design Salt & Pepper Grinders is very meditative work. The focus lies on getting the colour contrasts neat.

A calm and collected environment is established by bringing order and discipline to the paint job.

Unless you’ve got pet rats! Their curiosity knows no boundaries.

Even the paint – non-toxic of course – gets examined with some funny results:

Blue rattie paw prints everywhere! 😮

 

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Interesting piece of art. But what does it mean? Is there an explanation somewhere?

 

I don’t see any museum labels. Wait! There on the floor, is that it?

 

What does it say? I can’t read it. It’s such a small print. And on the floor! You have to kneel down to read it.

 

It says: “DISCLAIMER – Tickets are valid for 7 days from the chosen date. This ticket is not refundable.”

 

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'Rooms of the Ballenesque' by Roger Ballen at Zeitz MOCAA.

‘Rooms of the Ballenesque’ by Roger Ballen at Zeitz MOCAA.

 

Mommy, why did somebody draw on the doors?

 

Because it’s art. But only here at the Zeitz MOCAA, not at home!

 

 

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Nicholas Hlobo's 'Iimpundulu Zonke Ziyandilandela' ('All the Lightning Birds Are After Me') in the Atrium of the Zeitz MOCCA.

Nicholas Hlobo’s ‘Iimpundulu Zonke Ziyandilandela’ (‘All the Lightning Birds Are After Me’) in the Atrium of the Zeitz MOCCA.

 

Cape Town for free: At the Grand Public Opening of Zeitz MOCAA entry was free for the long heritage weekend.
If you hadn’t snatched up complimentary tickets online you could still get them at the museum on the day.

Queuing wasn’t bad: It went quick and was well managed. We spent the time waiting productively by browsing through the brochure about the Grand Opening Weekend.
While I had difficulties reading out aloud some of the extravagant wording it gave a good overview and interpretation of the gallery exhibitions.

The museum alone is worth a visit: The atrium shows the architectural craftsmanship that turned an industrial building into an art piece itself:
The silos are carved out half way in at various heights, revealing the skeleton of the construction, forming an organic bulb, with honeycomb sockets for elevators and staircase.

Down the spiral:

 

Turning silo into art:

Turning the silo into art at Zeitz MOCAA

A post shared by TrulyJuly (@creativecommunications) on

 

Walking through the different sections of MOCAA reminds of the Tate Modern, where you are taken from experience to experience.

But in the end what we are looking at is art, which is subject to subjectivity – you might like it or not.

From comparing MOCAA with a colonialist cathedral dazzling the illiterate with trophies to temporarily mistaking a lost ticket for an art piece’s most important museum label,
from parents’ speechlessness to children feeling at home amongst the art,
from ushers’ personal account to the curator’s contextual explanation as he mingled informally with the visitors:

The contemporary art is stimulating, triggering a reaction which turns into interaction and conversation.
The space is open and intimate enough to allow for spontaneous comment and individual reflection; it’s a bit like you can feel the art.

Or well, at least smell it!

 

Go see for yourself, free every Wednesday from 10am to 1pm for African citizens.

 

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Since I have pet rats, salad has always been a staple addition to my ratties’ diet. I even met a pet shop owner who fed salad as a water substitute.

So to my great surprise I see iceberg salad show up in lists of ‘what not to feed your rat’. Digging a bit deeper I find the reason for this: Apparently iceberg salad has little nutritional value and consists mostly of water.

That makes it a great snacking treat!

Especially on hot days, salad is a great way to keep your ratties hydrated.

As long as they have always access to their usual complete and balanced pet food they can also eat iceberg salad.

Ratties simply love chewing salad, to the degree that they turn into salad thieves!

Watch how much rattie MJ enjoys munching away on the salad:

If you’re really concerned about nourishment, stick to more nutritional salads such as romaine or butter lettuce or go for leafy greens such as spinach or kale.

Alternatively, turn the low nutrition levels into a benefit feeding iceberg salad to ratties who need to lose a bit of weight.

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Most social media limit the space you can use to communicate your message.

Twitter is one of the extremest, giving you only 140 characters per tweet.

Similarly your profile copy for your Twitter bio is also restricted, here Twitter is a bit more generous with 160 characters.

So use what little space you have wisely, as every character counts!

For example: Why repeat your username if your social media handle already clearly identifies you. Rather use the space to promote your current hashtag campaign.

Like in this well executed Twitter marketing:

Well executed Twitter marketing: This sponsored suggestion is doubly effective, promoting the Twitter profile and current hashtag campaign.

Well executed Twitter marketing: This sponsored suggestion is doubly effective, promoting the Twitter profile AND current hashtag campaign.

 

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Rattie Yoshi cannot believe this #rattie #treat is for him.

Rattie Yoshi can’t believe this #rattie #treat is for him.

 

Most breakfast cereals are unhealthy

Generally most breakfast cereals are not actually healthy, not for us and not for pet rats either.

They contain too much sugar, salt and fat: Those crunchy mueslis are baked in oil, those great flakes are sugar coated, those crispy pops get their taste from salt.

You might as well eat a dessert for breakfast. So don’t give this unhealthy, non-complex carbs, loaded with artificial flavourings and other additives, ‘breakfast’ to your pet rats.

 

Read the labels!

If you don’t read labels already, do it for your rattie’s sake:

Pet rats should only eat cereals which contain less than 5% sugar, or 5 to 10% sugar if it’s entirely from fruit.

On the food label find the row for carbohydrates and take a look at the amount of total sugar per 100g: It should not exceed 5g.

 

Tip: Only as a treat

Because of their high sugar content, breakfast cereals should be regarded as a #Rattie #Treat, like a dessert for your pet rats.

If your pet rat is old / ill / underweight, breakfast cereals can provide extra energy, in addition their sweet taste cover any medicine you might need to administer to your rattie.

 

Bonus Tip: Add yoghurt

Pet rats need animal protein. If you give them breakfast cereal high in carbohydrate countermeasure it by adding plain additive-free yoghurt. I use amasi, as most yoghurts in South Africa contain preservatives.

This can also help to keep your pet rat’s weight in check: The yoghurt fills them quicker and they consume less carbs.

 

 

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Chino is having a great time exploring balconia.

Chino is having a great time exploring balconia.

 

Keeping plants outside makes them vulnerable.

Putting a plastic crate upside down over your plant pots safeguards them from birds who would otherwise pick seeds and seedlings.

The plastic create also gives your pet rats a feeling of protection and allows them to roam their rattie garden freely without having to be anxious something might be out there to get them.

The openings of the plastic crate are the perfect size for their cute heads to pop out and check that everything is still alright. 🙂

 

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Rattie Bean enjoys hanging out in the rattie garden.

Rattie Bean enjoys hanging out in the rattie garden.

 

Our first rattie garden started by accident:

 

To my surprise something began growing in the abandoned flower pot on our balcony.

It was tomatoes!

 

Seems like rats have a green thumb, well if they had a thumb.

 

Because this is what happened:

One of our pet rats wanted to hide her treat – a cherry tomato – away from the rest of the clan.

She left it in a flower pot on our balcony. Really a great hideout, especially if you bury the treasure.

 

The tomato plant thrived and everyone had a good portion of delicious cherry tomatoes.

 

I contribute this to our pet rats:

They played an important part in loosening up the soil to the point that it flew in form of sand dust into our apartment, planting new seeds even if they were no seeds at all but rather food stolen from our plates, and trimming the plants sometimes with the result of total destruction.

 

Well, without our pet rats, the rattie garden would’ve never started.

So if they want to demolish it all and start anew with a different plant, then so be it.

 

It’s a bit like tending to a zen garden, just that the ratties add a random wrecking factor which teaches you to let go of the things as they are and understand that nothing is lost, it just comes back in a different way.

 

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Tipsy is in good spirits, despite having lost her tail.

Tipsy is in good spirits, despite having lost her tail.

 

In the 20 odd years that I have owned pet rats, I have witnessed several times that a rat can lose their tail.

So be warned that this can happen to your rattie.

 

Rats are quick and nimble, but their tail can get easily caught.

Rats are tough little fellows, but don’t overestimate their tail: It can break!

 

Do not grab your rat by their tail: I’ve seen the skin rip off like in Robbie William’s “Rock DJ”.

 

Luckily rats are great healers and will take good care of any injuries.

But a rat’s tail is really important, for balance, and furthermore for heat release.

 

Always remember that rats are actually quite fragile little creatures.

 

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In my search to find yoghurt without preservatives I came across amasi.

 

I grew up with buttermilk and kefir, so when I discovered amasi, I was delighted. It’s taste is creamy mild and has a refreshing tang to it.

 

My favourite amasi uses only goodness in their ingredients: full cream milk, amasi culture

My favourite amasi uses only goodness in their ingredients: full cream milk, amasi culture

This is what I like to see in the ingredients list: Only goodness.

 

Amasi is fermented milk and what those cultures eat away in the process is the lactose. So amasi is naturally low in lactose, giving IBS sufferers like me a bit of a break.

 

In addition, 2 litres of amasi cost around R20, which means it costs less than half of what you pay for supermarket yoghurt in South Africa.

 

Bonus Tip: Shake it up!

Amasi comes in a handy bottle, perfect for liquid yoghurt. All you got to do is shake it up a little.

The amasi turns so creamy and fluffy, you’ll want to gulp it down like a milk shake.

 

Pour it over fruit salad or muesli, soften up a curry, use it in salad dressings, make lovely smoothies and deserts. Bake with it.

Use it instead of milk, yoghurt, cream, sour cream, kefir or buttermilk.

You can also feed it to your pets as a healthy source of calcium.

 

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In Europe I used to go to the cheapest supermarket and buy 100% yoghurt.

 

In South Africa simple yoghurt is surprisingly expensive and full of stabilisers and preservatives.

“Ingredients: Low Fat Milk, Stabilisers (milk), Yoghurt Cultures, Preservative (pimaricin).”

 

While Whoolworths hail their yoghurt as preservative free, it still contains stabilisers and they added emulsifiers and whey powder instead.

“Ingredients: Full cream milk – Stabiliser (Plant-based stabilisers – Emulsifier) – Milk solids (Whey powder) – Yoghurt cultures – Bifidobacterium (HN019) culture.”

 

What’s going on? Clearly it’s possible to make yoghurt without all those unwanted additives?

 

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When ticks are crawling up your wall… You know your dog had a good run in the bushveld!

When ticks are crawling up your wall… You know your dog had a good run in the bushveld!

 

Ticks…

Rats, snakes, spiders I don’t mind, but ticks! These sneaky parasites are a true horror for me.

That is partially because I always get them!

Let it be an entire group that ventures into a tick area, be sure it is me who ends up with a tick bite.

 

Since we have dogs I’m even more prone to tick bites: Lola’s thick fur is heaven for ticks. In addition she loves roaming, especially through the fragrant fynbos grasses in the bushveld.

But that’s where the ticks are: We can go to the sand dunes, we can go to the forest, our dogs are fine. We take a walk through fynbos and our Lola comes back with ticks.

 

You can try to deter or prevent them, but if you own pets, it’s about facing the tick phobia:

Check your dog for ticks after every walk, and be prepared to find some after you went into the bushveld. Remove them right away in a safe way.

 

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How to safely remove ticks with a tick card.

How to safely remove ticks with a tick card.

 

If you have pets who roam outside, you’ll sooner or later encounter ticks.

Ticks can actually be very dangerous if you get infected with one of the many diseases ticks can carry.

However, for the tick’s disease to spread to you, it needs to stay attached to your body for a day.

So, as soon as you find a tick on your pet or yourself, remove it!

But only, if you can do so properly!

If you do this wrong then the head of the tick stays stuck in the skin and is likely to cause an infection. It is therefore very important that you consult a professional about this.

Alternatively there’s an easy and cheap, and safe and secure way to remove ticks: The tick card!

Even with struggling animals, it is easy to slide the notch under the tick. Simply lifting it pulls out the tick intact with its head.

 

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