Campfire, community gathering.

Screen Shot 2018-08-11 at 8.31.54 amScreen Shot 2018-08-11 at 8.32.03 amScreen Shot 2018-08-11 at 8.32.10 amScreen Shot 2018-08-11 at 8.32.19 amScreen Shot 2018-08-11 at 8.32.26 amScreen Shot 2018-08-11 at 8.32.34 amScreen Shot 2018-08-11 at 8.32.45 amScreen Shot 2018-08-11 at 8.32.53 amScreen Shot 2018-08-11 at 8.33.04 amScreen Shot 2018-08-11 at 8.33.18 amScreen Shot 2018-08-11 at 8.33.38 amScreen Shot 2018-08-11 at 8.35.35 amScreen Shot 2018-08-11 at 8.38.59 amScreen Shot 2018-08-11 at 8.39.22 amScreen Shot 2018-08-11 at 8.39.51 amScreen Shot 2018-08-11 at 8.39.59 amScreen Shot 2018-08-11 at 8.40.12 amScreen Shot 2018-08-11 at 8.40.39 amScreen Shot 2018-08-11 at 8.40.48 amScreen Shot 2018-08-11 at 8.41.02 amScreen Shot 2018-08-11 at 8.41.19 amScreen Shot 2018-08-11 at 8.41.27 amScreen Shot 2018-08-11 at 8.41.36 amScreen Shot 2018-08-11 at 8.41.45 amScreen Shot 2018-08-11 at 8.40.25 amScreen Shot 2018-08-11 at 8.40.18 amScreen Shot 2018-08-11 at 8.38.34 amScreen Shot 2018-08-11 at 8.33.28 amScreen Shot 2018-08-11 at 8.31.40 amScreen Shot 2018-08-11 at 8.31.08 amScreen Shot 2018-08-11 at 8.31.24 amScreen Shot 2018-08-11 at 8.30.50 amScreen Shot 2018-08-11 at 8.30.57 amThis past week we had so many sweet little moments savour.  We’d planned a community gathering at the house to enjoy a bonfire and marshmallow roasting.  20 people came out (including kids) and enjoyed a roaring fire (on a cool windy day).  There was a bit of a spread of food too – there were cookies, pastries and savoury quiche to have too.

The kids had so much fun chasing each other and enjoying little “Spud” a mix terrier that was brought along to enjoy his first outing.  They also enjoyed some mammoth sized marshmallows.  They were literally about 4 inches long!

Mike and Wesley and I did a drive to the coast about 20 mins away and found this Arrowsmith Spider Orchid, enjoyed a delicious lunch at the beach and then travelled onward to Lake Indoon on a dirt track.   It was on this path that we came across over 200 endangered, Carnaby Cockatoo who were munching away on the bushes quite happily.

As I hopped out of the ute to take a photo, they took flight and oh my god – it was breathtaking.

There are orchids all over the place and each time I get the chance I pull over to see what’s about.

We’ve been also checking a site nearby for the Queen of Sheba orchid – and think we may have found the spot.  Fingers crossed it opens soon!

Lastly, Wesley had a little friend sleep over this week and they were having a blast together.  They had cots in the same room and fell asleep talking to each other.  They also bust into hysterics when I took them for a drive up our bumpy, sloppy, muddy road.  Since his mates gone back home, Wesley has woken each day saying “Reuben, where are you?” and searches the house for him.  It’s sad, that he misses him that much!  We’ll have to do it again – they were so good together.

Also pictured:

  • This month’s waxing crescent moon (it rises this way each month, this is the first time I’ve been alert enough to grab my tripod and brave the cooler temperature to get the shot).
  • A tribonanthes flower (with the native bee pictured) is so fluffy it could be a teddy!
  • Wesley enamoured with the tiny puppy
  • Two little monkeys jumping in the spare bed
  • Catspaws between my toes
  • A tiny black mushroom sprouting from the sand.
  • Arrowsmith Spider Orchid (opened and closed)
  • Some sort of nymph bug – red and strange looking with large antennae.

Wildflowers, Frogs & Jumping Spiders in Warradarge, Western Australia

Screen Shot 2018-06-08 at 5.35.11 pmThis preciously small jumping spider was found along a fire break track that I was following during some time spent solo in the bush a couple of days ago.  There were two spotted along several kilometres.  Not sure of the identity just yet…Screen Shot 2018-06-08 at 5.35.30 pmScreen Shot 2018-06-08 at 5.36.47 pmAn unusual flower?Screen Shot 2018-06-08 at 5.37.00 pmScreen Shot 2018-06-08 at 5.36.30 pmScreen Shot 2018-06-08 at 5.37.57 pmEarly in the week to celebrate this little boys second birthday I took him to the ocean.  We also ate raspberry pancakes for lunch with maple syrup.  Mike was away for the official day but is home now and we’ll have a little party for him on Sunday with cake and his mates.  I can hardly believe that our little darling has turned two!!  Screen Shot 2018-06-08 at 5.40.45 pmFound this tiny frog in the yard today whilst mowing the lawn.Screen Shot 2018-06-08 at 5.41.02 pmAlso found this crevasse dwelling jumping spider in the grass later in the afternoon after the lawn mowing massacre.  The ground was just a scramble of insects trying to find new homes or prevent theirs from being looted by opportunists.

Bull ants and the rain.

Screen Shot 2018-05-31 at 5.25.43 pmIt was looking pretty dire here until last weeks massive rain storm rolled through.  A week on and the ground is starting to look almost 50% green.  It’s incredible how quickly the germination has rooted and begun to bring more sustenance to these hard working mums!Screen Shot 2018-05-31 at 5.25.29 pmScreen Shot 2018-05-31 at 5.25.19 pmScreen Shot 2018-05-31 at 5.25.09 pmScreen Shot 2018-05-31 at 5.27.12 pmScreen Shot 2018-05-31 at 5.27.36 pm

This is the shell of a woman who’s not slept deeply in two years… worth it though! Wesley is the happiest little person I’ve ever known and I’m feeling so grateful to be his mum.Screen Shot 2018-05-31 at 5.27.51 pmScreen Shot 2018-05-31 at 5.28.03 pmThese are some pea flowers that were open a couple of weeks ago.  The road is starting to awaken and it’s looking like the rains are going to keep coming… hurray!!Screen Shot 2018-05-31 at 6.20.53 pmScreen Shot 2018-05-31 at 5.24.50 pmScreen Shot 2018-05-31 at 6.18.12 pmScreen Shot 2018-05-31 at 6.18.24 pmFound these two lovers this afternoon – they are bull ants and god I’m horrified by the fact that they can also fly.  The male is clinging to the females back here.Screen Shot 2018-05-31 at 5.26.12 pmScreen Shot 2018-05-31 at 5.26.22 pmScreen Shot 2018-05-31 at 5.26.31 pmHere is evidence of some of the rain we’ve had recently.Screen Shot 2018-05-31 at 5.26.37 pmThis is on the road just south of Amboseli.  It was here that frogs could be heard calling to one another – a sign that winter has finally arrived!

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.

Maratus Spider – Western Australia

Maratus Jumping Spiders Western AustraliaMaratus Jumping Spiders Western AustraliaMaratus Jumping Spiders Western Australia MaleMaratus Jumping Spiders Western Australia MaleMaratus Jumping Spiders Western Australia MaleMaratus Jumping Spiders Western Australia FemaleMaratus Jumping Spiders Western Australia FemaleMaratus Jumping Spiders Western Australia FemaleMaratus Jumping Spiders Western Australia FemaleScreen Shot 2017-12-29 at 8.34.36 amScreen Shot 2017-12-29 at 8.34.48 amScreen Shot 2017-12-29 at 8.34.59 amScreen Shot 2017-12-29 at 8.35.12 amScreen Shot 2017-12-29 at 8.35.28 amScreen Shot 2017-12-29 at 8.34.29 amScreen Shot 2017-12-29 at 8.36.40 amScreen Shot 2017-12-29 at 8.37.18 amScreen Shot 2017-12-29 at 8.37.33 am

These are some of the exquisite spiders and insects that we’ve found around the home over the past couple of weeks.  The Maratus spiders shown are both male and female (the first 9 images).  What’s interesting about them is right now they are out an about in the natural world – where as many of the species are untraceable at this time of year.

We ask ourselves – why is this particular species active?   I’ve spent the past few weeks observing the yard at all times of day and found something of a patterned emerging.  Only after the sun began to lower, and the time beyond 3.30pm would I ever spot the Maratus.

The large orange wasp, stings her prey and creates a tomb like space for the creature to lay dormant and become host to her offspring.  Many jumping spiders become entombed and it’s no wonder they are hard to find when it is warm and the wasps most active.

Mike helped me out with spotting and found the female Maratus which is so small that when you take a photo and blink – if she’s moved it’s quite challenging to locate her again.

Lucky for us all – the temperatures here have been mild (mid to low 30’s) and the breeze cool.  Summer so far has been wonderfully warm.

Do you have spiders in your yard? 

I’ve read recently that jumping spiders are the most common across the planet.