Image

Mole Cricket

I always get mixed reactions when I post pictures of creepy-crawlies.  Some of you are quite squeamish! 🙂   I must admit, I am not particularly brave with critters that have six legs, especially if they’re the jumping, flying, leaping-about kind, but I do think they have as much right to be here as anyone else does, and they are all quite fascinating in their own way.  Creepy, but fascinating.

Take, for example, Mr Mole Cricket.  A fairly ugly son-of-a-gun, let’s face it.  But look at those little moley-mole front legs!  They use them for burrowing, of course, and do so in gardens across Western Australia (but they are found all over the world).  They have a loud, shrill song which many people confuse with the chirping of frogs.  The males even make special burrows to amplify their song, to attract the ladeez.

One of the more unattractive traits that mole crickets posses is that they can (and quite happily do) squirt a stinky brown fluid at potential predators.  If you’ve ever dealt with anal glands of any species (and I have, having been a vet nurse for ten years in my younger days) you want to avoid this happening.  Don’t pick up a mole cricket unless you have to.  And I really don’t know why you would ever HAVE to.

They’re not very jumpy so they don’t tend to leap out or suddenly land on you while you’re minding your own business.  They are, by all accounts, pretty pathetic at jumping.  Which makes other crickets and grasshoppers look scornfully at them and snub them at parties.  These guys are not winning any popularity contests or prizes for athleticism.

They are a reasonably large insect – this one I photographed was about 5-6cm long – and can cause damage to people’s lawns, with their constant burrowing.  They eat roots and leaf matter, and some are also predatory, consuming grubs and worms and other squishy delicacies.  I apologise I don’t know which type this one was…I’m gonna go ahead and say he was a vegetarian.  He was also sitting on a bike path so he may well have become quite squishy himself shortly.  I wasn’t going to move him…y’know, the anal gland thing.

I see lots of different critters on my walks.  Mr Moley is probably not the prettiest of them all, but he deserves a spot in my blog as much as a beautiful swan or dainty duck.

Hope I didn’t freak you out too much 🙂

IMG_7253

Image

Bandy-Cute

Hello, everyone 🙂  I meant to post this a few weeks back but got sidetracked… My Mum turned 70 in November and she had several little get-togethers to celebrate.  On the Sunday afternoon, we met my brother and his family for afternoon tea at a large garden nursery, which also has a delightful cafe and children’s playground.  It’s a very popular spot and can get very busy so we were lucky to get a table for all of us in a nice sunny spot.

As we drank our tea and baby-cinos (obligatory for the four munchkins) and scoffed cake, we were joined by another guest – a Southern Brown Bandicoot  (or Quenda).  These little guys are normally quite shy and tend to come out at dusk, to forage.  Our visitor is was well known to nursery staff, apparently making guest appearances on a regular basis, in order to pick up any table scraps and crumbs left by lunching customers.

img_4257He (I’m going with “he” for now) was happy to wander around our table, under our feet and chairs, and wasn’t the least bit disturbed by the children or my attempts to take photos of him.  I even got to stroke him, which he didn’t seem to mind at all.

img_4252

He was wiry to the touch, and very solid (he eats well :)) and about the size of a small cat (with albeit shorter legs).  Bandicoots have long claws, used for digging out underground food items (they are omnivores and will eat insects, fruit, lizards, seeds, mice – pretty much anything they can get their paws on!) and are marsupials (meaning they have a pouch that they carry their babies in).  They live alone, rather than in social groups, and have a running style described as a “gallop” rather than a hop or a scurry.

img_4253

We were delighted to have his company and hope to see him again if we visit the nursery. It’s so nice to see wildlife, of any kind, and I’m always very grateful to be able to experience them close up and in a non-captive way.  I guess these little guys are learning to adapt to being part of our community and losing some of their shy ways.  Survival is survival, after all.  I just hope that this particular fellow is healthy and protected and doesn’t come to any harm, being around human beings so much.  He seemed happy enough though – very fat and not stressed at all.  He’s probably living the dream and wondering why other bandicoots are bothering to hunt for their own food in the bush.  As his “people” are solitary creatures, it’s unlikely he’s going to let anyone else in on the action.  This territory is his and his alone!

img_4261

Have you had any close encounters with a wild critter lately?  I’d love to hear about it 🙂

Thanks for stopping by x

img_4255

Image

My Week in Pictures

It’s been a hectic week.  I have been madly making cards and other crafty goodies for my upcoming market stall.  I’ve been organising things to sell at a car boot sale this weekend (I have so much junk-that’s-not-really-junk to get rid of).  I’ve been organising quotes for air-conditioning in my rapidly heating up house.  I’ve had several birthday events to attend and catch-ups to arrange before Christmas.  It’s all happening.

I finally updated my phone and now have a much better one that doesn’t take blurry photos and doesn’t keep shutting down for no reason.  My old phone looks and behaves like something from the stone age.  Well, to be fair, it was about eight years old which, in phone terms these days, is practically a millennium.

I can take selfies now without having to guess if I am pointing the phone camera in the right direction.  And then edit the photos on the spot if I am not happy with them (ie don’t like the way I look in them).

img_4171

I also managed to fit in a spot of op-shopping.  I haven’t been for aaaaaaaaages, mostly due to lack of funds but also I just haven’t had time.  I broke my shoes this week so I actually did need to go and find a new pair.  Not wanting to spend a fortune, I of course when to the op-shop to check out what they had available.  I scored these lovely buckle-detail wedges.  I cannot walk in wedges, normally.  I fall down, a lot.  I wobble and am very unsteady because my ankle tends to turn in and I am a super klutz.  But these had a nice chunky heel and were very stable and comfortable.  And my perfect size! Better still, they were only $3.00!  I mean!  How could I not get them?  I wish they had been black as they would be more practical for work, but beggars can’t be choosers, right?

IMG_4233.JPG

My garden has gained a critter.  This VERY LARGE grasshopper.  Who only has one back leg.  He has been on the same tree for about a week now.  I am not sure if he is resting or waiting for a bus, preparing to die, or just hanging out.  I must admit to being a bit squeamish about crickets and grasshoppers but I wouldn’t hurt one and, as I have no garden to speak of, there is nothing for him to destroy, so he can stay.  I don’t know if he can get around on one back leg – I’m assuming they don’t grow back like a spider’s does.  He is quite magnificent though – he looks like he is wearing armour.  He was kind enough to let me get in his face and take his picture without leaping off and scaring the bejeezus out of me.  But I do fear he is not long for this world, which is a shame.

IMG_4221.JPG

I had a lovely afternoon of Lego and tea with my Mum, brother and his brood.  Playing with Lego is an age-old tradition in my family.  I don’t think we will ever tire of it, and I am so glad the littlies enjoy it (because it gives us an excuse to play too).  That’s my castle there in the middle of the table – it’s been demolished by Master Nine, despite my protests.  I used to love hanging out with my big bro’, back in the day, building all sorts of creations.  I’m lucky I even had a big brother who didn’t mind his little sister hanging around playing with his stuff and probably taking all the good bricks.

IMG_4222.JPG

I went walking with a friend and found this beautiful cockatoo feather (shortly after having a spectacular fall and landing on my face).  Isn’t it gorgeous?  The Red-Tailed Black Cockatoo is endangered and always having its habitat destroyed by various construction projects and deforestation.  They are lovely creatures and it would be a shame to lose them.  I have treated them when I was a vet nurse and, despite their large size and FEROCIOUSLY STRONG beak, they are quite a gentle bird and very intelligent.  I love this feather and it will have pride of place on my hall table.

IMG_4205.JPG

I have not been looking after my plants at all, but they continue to amaze me with their resilience and growth. My “Mother of Thousands” plant is doing so well and is producing so many babies I feel I should open a nursery.  It is doing so well despite my neglect and  inability to remember that plants like water occasionally.

IMG_4230.JPG

Even the “dead” leaves from my Kalanchoe Feldtschenkoi I threw into the garden have sprouted bubbies and they are so cute!  They’re like tiny little rose buds at this stage.  I love that they propagate like this.  This is why I never throw any part of a succulent away – it still has life in it even if it looks dead!

IMG_4229.JPG

I got glasses.  Proper ones.  Not over-the-counter-chemist ones.  Actual optometrist-prescribed ones.  I am still getting used to them.  I really only need them for fine, intricate work, particularly when crafting and drawing, so I keep forgetting I have them.  They are currently buried under a pile of card-making supplies.

IMG_4176.JPG

My cousin in England sent me this STUNNING photo of my Mum.  I have never seen it before.  She looks so beautiful.  She would have been about 18 years old, just engaged and living at home with my grandparents.  Check out those nails!!!  They’re her real nails – not some fake stuck on ones.  And her hair is amazing (although I know now where I get my split-fringe issue from!).  The photo would have been taken by my Grandad who loved to shoot very posed pictures – he would always have a prop and a theme going on, ha ha.  No candid happy snaps for him, oh no!

IMG_4209.JPG

Now I just have to concentrate on my market stall on the weekend and then I can relax or, at least, make sense of my house and maybe start decorating for Christmas before Christmas has actually been and gone.

Hope you have a wonderful week and accomplish everything you you have planned (even if your plans include lots of napping, day-dreaming and generally lounging about 🙂 )

Thanks for reading, as always x

Image

Wolf Pack

Hello everyone 🙂  Hope your weekend was nice and relaxing, or busy and challenging if you prefer that kind of thing!  Mine was lovely – spent much of it with family and friends and the weather was gloriously warm.

As it was my Mum’s 70th on Saturday, I spent Saturday night and all of Sunday with her.  She had planned various little get-togethers, so we spent a lot of time sitting drinking tea and feeding our faces.  Can’t complain, but my diet has been seriously derailed.

We also had another guest come to tea, and she brought her whole family.  This Wolf Spider decided to hang out in Mum’s kitchen with all her babies.  Hundreds of babies!  If you look closely, you will see is she hauling them around on her back.  It makes her look much bigger than she actually is (even though these little critters can get pretty big and scary ha ha) and you can see in the second picture how much smaller she is.  It was a really hot day when she came in so we put a dish of water out for her.  We’re a bit weird like that 🙂  We used to have a spider that came down every day for a drink of milk – fascinating to watch and really cute.

img_4211

img_4276

Anyway, this baby-momma had LOADS of little free-loaders on her back and basically proceeded to dump them all in Mum’s house overnight.  Tiny wee things they are and they will eventually make their way outside because that’s where the food supply is!  A few of them sadly met a watery death in the bowl of water we had left out.  Whoops.  Not sure if they fell in there when Mummy Spidey was having a drink or if they wandered in by themselves.  RIP little dudes – your lives were cut tragically short!

Wolf Spiders are venomous but not in the deadly sense – they can give you a painful bite if provoked, which can lead to swelling, itchiness and general localised pain.  If you’re really unlucky you might have a worse reaction, like nausea, headaches, dizziness etc.  But I’ve been around these critters my whole life and they pretty much mind their own business and don’t go around attacking people unless provoked.  For instance, there was the time I got out of the shower and wrapped a towel around me.  Hmmmm, I thought, there’s something scratchy in this towel…opened the towel only to discover a VERY LARGE  Wolf Spider sitting rather grumpily on my hip.  Cue screaming and panicking.  Now, I am not squeamish about spiders – I don’t kill them or worry too much about them in general –  however I do draw the line at a humongous hairy beastie the size of my hand catching a lift on my naked body.  But she didn’t bite me, that’s the point I was getting to.  They’re not overly aggressive – they will sometimes rear up at you a bit if you provoke them or try to relocate them with a broom or something – but they’re not jumpy, bitey creatures.  Unless you’re a fly or another insect.  Apparently, some of the larger species of Wolfy can also catch and eat frogs and toads.  Am I freaking you out yet?

This little lady in Mum’s kitchen was only small and has a lot of growing to do.  Having incubated and hatched her babies, she has done her job and now she will go off and live her life again.  The babies have to fend for themselves now (actually, even when they are with her she really only protects them by having them on her back – if one falls off it’s tough luck!) and hopefully not fall in to any more bowls of water!

img_4213

Enjoy your day everyone – hope your spidey senses keep you out of mischief 🙂

x

P.S : I had to include this close-up shot from the Australian Reptile Park (all photo credit to them) – isn’t it gorgeous? Those eyes!  And, um, those fangs!

spiders_au_wolf2-994x1030[1].jpg

Image

Gecko

Had a death in the house this week… This tiny little gecko decided to meet his maker, under a pile of my crafting supplies (which I am sure will be my fate someday).  So sad.  I had seen him earlier in the week and had desperately tried to catch him (which also involved me having a conversation with him whereby I tried to convince him he should come out so I could take him outside) but he had disappeared into my book shelves.  Then, when I was clearing up on Sunday, I found his little corpse in between some sheets of scrapbooking paper  😦

Look at his tiny little toes!  Those pretty, gem-like and almost metallic eyes!  The patterns in his skin!  So sweet.  I don’t think he was long gone…his body was still soft and pliant.  I’m glad I didn’t squish him – he wasn’t flattened or anything like that.  Just looked like he was sleeping really.  He may have just gotten dehydrated, stuck in my house, or maybe he was already sickly.  But he’s so tiny!  And perfect!

Apparently geckos are nocturnal and eat insects.  That’s about all I know.  Other than them being cute.  I did have a much larger one in my shed a while back and he scared the living daylights out of me.  He leapt off the wall as I opened the door and basically flung his tail at me.  Which was a bit horrifying.  I (again) was having a conversation with a reptile – “Please keep your tail!  I don’t want to eat you!”- but to no avail.  His tail wriggled and flipped for ages by itself as he ran off into the undergrowth.  Icky!

I’m not sure what kind of gecko this one is.  I guess he’s just some sort of common house gecko.  Let’s go with that.  He wasn’t wearing a name tag.  You can look at some other kinds HERE if you’re in to that sort of thing.

I’ve kept him for now, as my brother sometimes does resin art and uses, ahem, dead things.  But, besides that, he (the gecko) seems too lovely to get rid of.  I’ll bury him if nothing else.  He deserves that, and will go into the earth or be dinner for other critters.

RIP little dude x

IMG_3199

IMG_3190

IMG_3192

IMG_3191