Wednesday, April 20, 2011


Some creatures on this earth are beautiful, some downright ugly, some delightful and some scary. Spiders fit into the last category, though I do know that spiders may only be scary to a few ... I am one of the few!

Until I came to Australia spiders were mainly only seen outdoors and none, apart from the Katipo which I have never seen, were harmless. The Katipo I suspect is a first cousin to the Red-back spider in Australia and perhaps the Black Widow is of the same genre. As you may guess I try not to study the habits, or the varieties of spiders! Too often spiders form part of my day in the mid-west of Australia; some I ignore, others I scream loud and long enough for My Man to come to the rescue.

My last encounter did however grab my attention. My Man was sitting outdoors under the verandah; I was indoors knitting. Sounds a boring type of late afternoon doesn't it?

My Man called out, "Your friend is out here."

"Pardon?" Well my hearing does leave a little to be desired especially if I am not really expecting conversation.

"Your friend!"

I decided to go out and take a look. There on a rubber mat, half hidden from my view by a chain, sat, or stood [how does one tell?] a rather large spider. I resisted the temptation to cry out. It was a huntsman and rather large ... [a ball point pen is to its left in the photo ... carefully placed there for a size comparison].

My Man commented on the unusual lumps on its body. Quite frankly I hadn't taken that close a look! A glance had told me it was a spider; there was no more I needed to know. He poked at it with a piece of wood and it jumped/dropped/fell to the concrete. It was then I noticed a large number of what at first I thought were ants rushing from the accident scene. I looked again. Ants do not moved like that! A closer look told me the little creatures were baby spiders. It was then I remembered that somewhere, sometime, I had read spiders carry their young on their back. I know that to be a truth! Junior spider uses a parent as a taxi.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Roo Highway

This planet, viewed from above, must appear as a series of highways. I wonder what extra-terrestrials, if they exist, must think when they see the criss-crossing of roads and tracks, some leading to the city, others out of the city, and many simply tracks to scattered homesteads. I know that map reading is not the easiest! It's OK if we are on country roads, but city streets ... no way! I leave navigating to the driver; it is easier on my nerves.

Today we drove to an air show choosing to take the byways instead of the highways where traffic is invariably always in a rush. Admittedly the byways are seldom tarsealed but one gets used to hanging on to the bar placed in front of passengers who have travelled on sealed roads.

Not far from our venue we stopped; it was coffee and biscuit time; not an essential stop I know, but after rising early and breakfasting as the sun rose, I deemed it desirable to indulge in a sugar hit.

To our left My Man pointed out the 'Roo Highway'. I did stare blankly for one moment until it dawned exactly what he had said. I looked out.

A distinct track led down the berm, a roll of fur on the bottom wire of the fence showed that a kangaroo had pushed its way under the fence line. Initially I assumed kangaroos jumped a fence! However the evidence pointed to the truth. Across the road three different tracks down the slope merged before the Roo Highway.

Had we been earlier we may have witnessed kangaroos crossing their highway as they headed to the thicker ground-cover down the hillside.

Friday, April 15, 2011

What was that?

The weather is cooler making life in the Mid-West enjoyable again. Once the almost unbearable humidty left our shores the habit of carrying a hand towel all day just to wipe excessive perspiration is no longer necessary.

The creatures of a stifling summer have departed. Little gnats that managed to find a small entrance indoors to congregate around the light bulbs have diminished. An outside light left on all night did help to redirect them outdoors! Moths crashing into the glass door have found other places, or perhaps our adult tawny frog-mouths have devoured them.

After a long hot dry summer when dust and wind were the order of the day, a couple of small showers [Yes ... RAIN, if one can call the almost 2mls of water in the rain gauge rain] brought to light other creatures. Australia is a land of creatures!

Yesterday as I dropped momentarily into the armchair I happened to glance downwards. There, near the edge of the mat a creature with what seemed a million legs, lay quietly. I didn't scream! [Now had it been a mouse I may have!] I looked closely. A centipede, or a millipede ... I am not sure which is which ... carefully camoflaged by the mat, lay on its back. Something had caused its demise; for which I was thankful. My task was simple ... tell Dave to put it outdoors. He obliged ... just imagine if one had to knit little socks for such a creature!