Flat Jumping Spider, Lycidas scutulatus – Western Australia

Screen Shot 2017-12-15 at 11.36.00 amScreen Shot 2017-11-10 at 8.24.13 pmScreen Shot 2017-11-10 at 8.25.02 pmScreen Shot 2017-11-07 at 8.03.41 pmScreen Shot 2017-11-07 at 8.04.23 pmScreen Shot 2017-11-07 at 8.05.09 pmEach day (or nearly each day) I’ve discovered a number of curious little bugs that live near our house.  The West facing side particularly has yielded a number of jumping spiders and strange critters.  It’s a bit like a treasure hunt, Wesley will go down for a nap and I have limited time to get on my knees and start peering at the sand and soil.

The images above are only from the past couple of days.

The grey flat jumping spider looks almost like his tush was squished.  It was found by Mike in the kitchen.  Keeping it safe from harm (Wesley) I transported it to the yard and took a few snaps as it scuttled away.

The lycidas scutulatus was found in the front yard on a warm sunny morning. I think it might be a female, but it’s an uneducated guess at this stage!

The wildflowers of Warradarge

Screen Shot 2017-09-06 at 7.46.23 amScreen Shot 2017-09-06 at 7.44.21 amScreen Shot 2017-09-06 at 7.44.36 amScreen Shot 2017-09-06 at 7.45.04 amScreen Shot 2017-09-06 at 7.44.11 amScreen Shot 2017-09-06 at 7.45.18 amScreen Shot 2017-09-06 at 7.45.59 amScreen Shot 2017-09-06 at 7.46.10 amScreen Shot 2017-09-06 at 7.45.30 amScreen Shot 2017-09-06 at 7.46.57 amScreen Shot 2017-09-06 at 7.45.39 amThis past week while Mike was home, I was able to take some time and wander through some native bush about a 10 minute drive from the farm.  At one location there were some very large gumtrees that I’d been observing as we travelled around and decided there must be some orchids sprouting at their feet.

As I carefully searched the forest floor, I was greeted by several kookaburra cackling in the trees above and even a small euro kangaroo – which took off from her resting place only about 10 feet from where I was walking.  The roo particularly was of interest as you don’t really see many euro’s in the area.  It’s had a more red colour to it’s fur and was more broad in it’s features.

Wandering the bush I felt this sense of excitement and that joy, that comes from looking at beautiful colours and observing the bugs and birds.  We were all moving through the lazy pace of the day, enjoying the warmth of the sunshine.  There were at least 4 species of orchids out – though I’m having trouble confidently identifying the green hooded orchids.  They all look so similar!

I was only away a couple of hours, and when I came home Wesley greeted me with this big beautiful hug.  It was so nice!

While I am here I may as well report that camera has since been smashed.  The lens is in 4 pieces – and I’m not 100% sure my camera body works – as I’ve not got a lens to attach to it.  I had run outside quickly to capture some bees for Mike as he wanted some for a hive.  They had swarmed so I ran out quickly – thinking Wesley was safely playing in the house.  I came back to my camera on the floor…and the discovered that it was a goner.  What a silly mistake!  Thankfully wee man was not hurt at all…the body and lens together are very heavy and could have badly injured him.  Phew!!

We also had about 500k beetles swarm the farm yesterday.  The air was very still and at first all the noise I thought we were being swarmed by the hive I had caught the night before.  The trees were dropping leaves, and the sound of the things hitting the house was almost comical.  The devastation to the bottlebrush trees is incredible – these little beetles sure know what they want to eat!  The were around for about 2 hours – and if I had my camera I’d love to have shown you all the madness.

I’ve been prepping our living room for a bit of a makeover.  Over the past three evenings I’ve been taping, touching up the trim and starting to put up a prime coat in the shade that would replace the current medium green shade.  I was hoping to brighten up the space and make the room feel more open.  I’m now second guessing my colour choice.  It’s this really pale yellow – which I thought would make sense with the 50’s style of the house but it’s not quite right.  We had previously painted several of the rooms various shades of soft grey and I have a feeling that might be the route we take for the living room too.  In a few weeks our shipping container should arrive from NZ so hoping I have finished this before our furniture arrives.

Have you ever painted a wall and immediately regretted the choice of colour?  

It happened so quickly…

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Friday 14th April

I have been periodically looking at the stationary caterpillars this morning and was away from them about 20 minutes when this amazing transformation had already taken place.  We have one left to make the change into a chrysalis and I’m hoping to capture it on film…we’ll see if it manages to happen when we’re paying attention.

I honestly cannot believe how quickly the caterpillar shed it’s skin to become this capsule of green.

Saturday 15th April

The more smooth capsule photo was taken (3rd image down) after 24 hours.  The golden markings are quite beautiful and it’s simply amazing how delicate and yet ornate it is.

This morning we went to a little boys first birthday.  We’d wrapped a few books as gifts and were getting ready when I decided it would be nice to also gift him a monarch caterpillar with some swan plant leaves in a mason jar in the hopes that it too would transform for him and become a butterfly.  We were at the part enjoying the good food and company, when it came time to open the presents.  The mason jar was unwrapped and quickly a hush fell on the crowd.  The little boys father looked at me and said “My grandfather passed away one year ago, he bred butterflies.  My son Te Ahorangi was named after him’.  He had the faintest smile and it was apparent he was feeling sentimental…almost emotional.  It was a beautiful revelation.

It’s later in the evening on the same day – and Mike and I still are baffled as to the sheer coincidence and connectedness of the universe.  We have been pondering the odds of this happening…

Hopefully when the butterfly emerges we’ll be ready!  I’ll be posting more images as the week progresses.  I think we should have 2 butterflies emerging in approximately 6 days.

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Thursday 20th April

So far there have been little changes in the pods – the lines of the wings can be seen more clearly and the top end of the structure appears to be getting darker… this could mean maybe tomorrow we may see one open?  Finger crossed!

Last Nights Earth Quake in New Zealand

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Last night like the rest of the Nation, Mike and I woke to a light rumbling.  At first I thought it might be the train down the road…but this began to feel just a little bit more aggressive.  Very quickly that vibration started growing and turning into rolling movements.  We ran to Wesley’s room and scooped him up.

I was utterly hopeless in the situation.  I just said “Oh my god” and tried not to fall over.

It was as if our house had turned into a boat on rough seas.  I felt like I couldn’t keep my footing.

Mike calmly got us to the front doorway leading into our home, it’s large and sturdy and the safest place to stay.  He learned in school what to do in these times, I might need a crash course!

As we stood in the doorway the house continued to roll with the earth.  We looked outside and sparks were flying off the power lines up our entire street.

The moon was full, round and bright.  It lit up the trees around our home and filled the sky with a pale light.  Wesley woke quite stunned at the thought of being taken from bed before he was ready.  I saw him look at the moonlight in awe.  Mike ran back and grabbed a wool blanket to keep the baby warm.

Looking out into the sky, we saw the silhouette of pine and aspen trees against the moonlight.  To look at them, the world seems so steady.

It was in this moment, I realised how small and insignificant we are against the power of the earth, nature, gravity…  I just wanted us to be safe and hoped that no one was in danger.

It didn’t last too long, and caused no damage here in this area.  We checked online and saw that the rest of the country was doing ok around 1am, but saw that there were much worse movements in the Southern Island that did cause some damage and evacuations.

I did not sleep well.  My brain was spinning.  Mike promptly feel asleep and Wesley did too (he even sung himself to sleep).

Waking this morning the ground is still and steady the trees are tall and firm.  Almost as if nothing had ever happened.

If you are in New Zealand or even abroad and want to see what is happening this website will give you the location and seismic details of each earth quake.  We live in the North Island several hours North of Wellington.  Checking the GeoNet site it looks like the South Island is still experiencing moderate to severe quakes this morning.  There are reports that state New Zealand experiences up to 15,000 earth quakes each year, but that only 100-150 of these are felt by the population.

We are now going to prepare an emergency kit just in case and are relieved to hear that most people got through this in good health.  To read more about the damages click here.

About the photos:  A very tiny monarch caterpillar is living with it’s brothers and sisters on some swan plants Mike planted when we first arrived (the butterflies love them!).  An apple seed sprouts to life in our kitchen…and the view from the front porch this morning.

Heating our little home.

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Last night it rained heavily.  We lay on the couch listening to it pound on the roof and I felt some comfort knowing the rainwater tank we use will be filling up quickly.  Our house is not actually heated (well, only with firewood) and is also not connected to council water, so we are conscious of our usage, and have to be careful when showering.   Often we just shower together (though this is proving to become more challenging as my belly’s radius takes up more and more space – ahah).

Winter is just around the corner so we won’t be worrying about it much longer…there will be buckets of rain!

We did manage to sort out a load of wood when we first moved in, and have stacked that on the front porch, and now two more loads will be turning up.  Mike’s dad has been an advocate on behalf of the baby, and assured us we needed much more.  He’s gifted us with two loads.  It was such a thoughtful gift!

We’ll be stacking the next lot over the coming few days – and I know someone whom will be thankful….for the heat…

My dad will be here in 6 weeks for a months stay, and despite being a bit of a miser on home heating as a teenager – he does complain when he gets cold!  We’ll all be toasty warm this winter, and our baby will probably be grateful as well.

Here are a few tracks I’ve been listening to lately…they all have a similar relaxing feel:

Atom – Stay

Wanderflux – Aubade

Droeloe – zZz

I wasn’t sure I’d be lucky two days in a row, however I did spot this colourful little jumping spider rather quickly up our driveway, yesterday.  I ran back inside and grabbed my tripod and thankfully was able to capture a slightly closer image.  I’m still trying to find a reliable source for identification…but for the time being I think it might be a juvenile trite auricoma?

Also because I’m still obsessed with this film – please check the trailer out:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n8Xvsjy57X0