Silly memories.

Screen Shot 2018-05-09 at 7.20.57 amScreen Shot 2018-05-09 at 7.21.09 amScreen Shot 2018-05-09 at 7.21.23 amScreen Shot 2018-05-09 at 7.21.40 amScreen Shot 2018-05-09 at 7.22.00 amScreen Shot 2018-05-09 at 7.22.40 amScreen Shot 2018-05-09 at 7.23.00 amScreen Shot 2018-05-09 at 7.23.08 amScreen Shot 2018-05-09 at 7.23.28 amScreen Shot 2018-05-09 at 7.23.36 amScreen Shot 2018-05-09 at 7.24.02 amScreen Shot 2018-05-09 at 7.24.15 amScreen Shot 2018-05-09 at 7.24.37 amThe past few weeks there have been a number of special little moments that have made me smile and laugh with Wesley around the home and beyond.  Here are a few of them:

  1. He loves crabs and sharks and well basically all sea creatures.  I was cooking dinner when I felt a little hand sort of pluck the material on my pants.  I looked down to see Wesley wearing the red oven mitt.  He looked up at me and said “craaaaab” which was adorable and so funny.  He loves the mean crab from moana and sort of sings along with the song whenever it gets the part where he says “shineeeey”.
  2. I saw he was about to play with our heater, when I called for him to stop he held a rag at the wall and pretended he was washing the wall instead.
  3. We’ve discovered an area in the woods that has a really cool dirt hill (almost like a bmx set up) and so were scrambling around on it yesterday.  When we were just about to walk back to the car I nearly stepped on this blue mouse spider (related to the dreaded Sydney funnel web!).  Gingerly I tucked it into an envelope and brought it home for identification and photographs.  The experts are looking at it right now and will be back with more info soon!  The blue colouring is exquisite.
  4. We’ve joined a playgroup in Jurien bay which is about 45 minutes away – there are so many kids.  It’s been awesome meeting new people.
  5. Wesley is ever adventurous but there have been a few moments in the past week when he comes back and seeks cuddles.  He’s also given a few kisses (of free will) and that just melts my heart.
  6. We read an illustrated compendium of the sea and he’s nearly memorised the names of all the sea creatures.  He’s really that into the ocean!
  7. It was wee mans first ever time out in the rain to splash in puddles and he took to it so quickly!  We were both soaked by the end!  It was so much fun.
  8. The freaky looking (and ugly) mantis creature is actually not a mantis at all.  Crazy right?  After some investigating and eventually emailing a scientist friend – it was discovered that this thing is called a mantis fly.
  9. Wesley loved running naked in the garden beds after his bath a couple of weeks ago as the full moon was rising.  It was such a warm night so we all sat in the grass enjoying the view.  Tom was with us again for the night too!

Home sweet home.

Screen Shot 2018-03-05 at 8.55.38 amScreen Shot 2018-03-05 at 8.56.15 amScreen Shot 2018-03-05 at 8.56.50 amScreen Shot 2018-03-05 at 8.57.03 amScreen Shot 2018-03-05 at 8.57.24 amScreen Shot 2018-03-05 at 8.57.36 amScreen Shot 2018-03-05 at 8.57.45 amScreen Shot 2018-03-05 at 8.58.21 amWe’ve been away from the farm for two weeks in New Zealand.  I’ll post more about that shortly, but for now I’d like to highlight some of the cool moments from the past few days back on the farm.

First Wesley has jumped into his groove and is a happy little chap running around playing with his bike, the chickens and swimming at the pool.

Last night we witnessed an incredibly beautiful lightning storm come through the region.  We woke this morning relieved to see that there were no lingering fires on the horizon.

I also managed to spot this rather impressive jumping spider, a female Sandalodes Superbus (Superb Jumping Spider) on the back gate of the house.

The chickens were very well taken care of during our trip, but sadly we’ve had to kill 5 roosters (saved the meat for the freezer) as they had completely destroyed several of the females.  We’ve got the numbers down so that the girls can recover and the balance of male to female will be appropriate.

We’re stoked to be home to enjoy the quiet space and the ease of life here in the country.  It’s clear to see that Wesley while he enjoyed New Zealand – loves his time here on the farm too.

On our second day home he pulled me close to him and said to me “I luh you” which oh my god I’ll never forget.  It was just so sweet and so beautiful.

Point Louise, Greenhead Western Australia

Western Australian WeevilWestern Australian GrasshopperGreenhead Western Australia RedterrainYellow Flowers Greenhead Western AustraliaLimestone Lichen Greenhead Western AustraliaWhite Sand Dunes Greenhead Western AustraliaCoastal Flower Greenhead Western AustraliaLimestone Cliffs Greenhead Western AustraliaBlue Banded Bee Greenhead Western AustraliaCoastal Walk Point Louise Greenhead Western AustraliaGreenhead Western Australia Indian Ocean ReefIndian Ocean Reef Greenhead Western AustraliaCoastal Jumping Spider Greenhead Western AustraliaPoint Louise Greenhead Western Australia RedterrainCrested Tern Greenhead Western AustraliaCrested Tern Greenhead Western Australia

The breeze was so refreshing at the beach yesterday.  I had a few solo hours in the bush and sand dunes keeping an eye on what’s flowering, what bugs are pollinating at midday and where the little jumping spiders are on the coast at midday.  Do they move about in the full sunlight part of the day?

A little treat to myself during this little venture was an iced coffee.  And people! Australia and New Zealand do this right!  It comes with whipped cream on top and a scoop of vanilla ice cream.  The bitterness of the coffee is all at the bottom, and as you finish the drink you’re left with the sweet taste of ice cream to cool you down.  On a crazy hot day it is perfectly refreshing.

My search for the first two hours proved uneventful, though I did see many butterflies, beetles and wasps (and even one blue banded bee) out hustling between all the flowering coastal plants.

I’d thankfully slathered on a huge portion of sunscreen before leaving.  As I wandered the beach it crossed my mind to remove my shoes and feel that soft white sand and warm Indian ocean between my toes.  As I progressed along Point Louise, I followed a path up the limestone cliffs and began to walk North.

This was perhaps a poor impulsive decision as I then spent the next hour painstakingly walking along a gravely hot path barefoot.  What’s worse?  The sharp pain of awkwardly placing my foot on a rock or the searing pain of the hot ground cooking my feet?  Both at once was fairly uncomfortable.  I had to hype myself up to turn around and walk to full track back!

The good news is during this little tortured walk, I managed to spot what I’d been looking for.  One small brown jumping spider hopped across the path and into the shade.

After several hours out in the sun, I started to make my way home.

Greenhead is a gorgeous little community, with a number of holiday homes to rent a couple of cafes and a small pharmacy.  Now that Christmas is nearly upon us the town will be bustling with holiday makers, children and plenty of happy families soaking up the sun on these lovely beaches.

We’re also settling into the weekend and will be celebrating a quiet little Christmas with Wesley and friends.  Eggnog spiced with a little rum will be whisked up by Mike after a successful and popular batch last year.  He’s keen to try again (it was so delicious and I don’t even like liquor) and today I’ve baked some old style cookies my grandma taught me how to make when I was a child.   I hope you take time to connect with your loved ones, create or uphold traditions and cherish these memories.

Western Australian Spiders

Here is an assortment of spiders that I’ve managed to photograph of the past couple of years from Perth, to Coorow and Warradarge.  They come in all shapes and colours…  Stay tuned I’ve got some exciting news about spiders to share with you in my next post.

Robert Whyte, author of the field guide “Spiders of Australia” has kindly helped me identify these beautiful spiders.  From top to bottom:

  • Lycosidae A Wolf Spider
  • Sandalodes scopifer
  • Thomisidae Tmarus sp.
  • Araneidae Araneinae Araneus arenaceus relative
  • Thomisidae Zygometis xanthogaster
  • Thomisidae Stephanopis ornata or close relative
  • Salticidae Apricia jovialis female

The comprehensive field guide he wrote has been incredibly useful, and comes with very clear images of each spider and categorises them in a straightforward and practical manner.  I imagine even people with spider phobias would enjoy the maratus jumping spider section!  If you’re looking for a copy take a peek at it here.

New Species Maratus Jumping Spider Western Australia

New Species Lycidas Maratus Jumping Spider New Species Lycidas Maratus Jumping Spider New Species Lycidas Maratus Jumping Spider New Species Lycidas Maratus Jumping Spider New Species Lycidas Maratus Jumping Spider femaleNew Species Lycidas Maratus Jumping Spider femaleScreen Shot 2017-11-18 at 5.53.29 amScreen Shot 2017-11-18 at 5.54.16 amScreen Shot 2017-11-18 at 5.54.30 amScreen Shot 2017-11-18 at 5.54.42 amScreen Shot 2017-11-18 at 5.54.51 amScreen Shot 2017-11-18 at 6.27.49 amScreen Shot 2017-11-18 at 6.28.04 amScreen Shot 2017-11-18 at 5.55.36 amScreen Shot 2017-11-18 at 5.56.00 amScreen Shot 2017-11-18 at 6.27.34 amScreen Shot 2017-11-18 at 5.56.15 amScreen Shot 2017-11-18 at 5.56.39 amScreen Shot 2017-11-18 at 5.57.30 am

Wesley and I have had a busy few days this week.  We’ve travelled inland to see some friends and hang out in Coorow.  We’ve been gardening and digging up some plants in the yard.  One of us has learned that the pool is an amazing place on a hot sunny day (and is due to start swimming lessons tomorrow too!).

Yesterday we met with a fellow Canadian and her son for a nice walk and play in Greenhead.  There is a really beautiful park there that is basically enclosed by bushes and Wesley and his little friend were able to run amok within a safe space.  We were enjoying our coffees and the scenery.  The weather has run a bit cooler this week and last night it poured down on the farm… which was a nice change as two nights prior we had quite a bit of lightning and at least one fire on the horizon.  Its safe to say that I did not sleep very well that night.

Most days when Wesley is having a long nap I move around the yard and pull weeds and take a look at what’s moving about my feet.  Sometimes I see little movements that catch my eye.  With the jumping spider I actually didn’t take too much notice of him at first.  I thought I should try and get a photo but then as I was taking the image I saw the tips of his back legs stretch out to almost wave at something. It was then that I realised I’d found something very special.  At first I was so excited that it might be a new species, I called Mike and Tessa to tell them and send some images.  I then scoured some resources online and found that it’s common and closely related to the#peacockspider maratus species.

You know what, it’s still a huge find.  This little spider called#lycidaschrysomelas was so incredibly small I strained my eyes to keep track of it.  I’ve included a photo (it’s not the best quality) to show the size next to my index finger.  Note my hands are smallish.

He’s absolutely beautiful along with all the others.  I’ve been throughly impressed by nature this week, and can’t wait to see what else is out there.  Till next time… here is a list of what’s pictured above.

  1. maratus jumping spider male and female (she’s pale and creamy).  I was able to begin to identify them with this site.  It is the second new species possibly genus of spider that I’ve discovered on the property in the past week.  A variant of this new species will be featured in another post.
  2. Solid Black Christmas Spider (the first we’ve seen that looks like this, normally they are white and black with orange
  3. THARPYNA (CRAB SPIDER)
  4. Leaf Beetle #paropsisternadecolorata
  5. Oxyopidae – Lynx Spider
  6. A little flower segue – these are white verticorida commonly named lambs ear or wild cauliflower #verticordiaeriocephala
  7. An unidentified jumping spider – may be another female but it’s not clear at this stage.
  8. The bush caught between a cropped paddock on our way home from Coorow
  9. A slender skink found just in our car port called a #westcoastctnenotus