I used to be the brave one...

Spider in containerWhen I first met DH, he was terrified of spiders. If there was a huntsman spider in the house, I was the one to get the container to take it outside. Both of us were happy to have them around, and neither of us wanted to kill them, but we preferred it if they were not patrolling the inside of the house.

I don’t know what happened. Now they freak me out. I still admire them, I respect them, but I can’t be near them - at least, not the big ones.

Spider on cardboardThe other night, the kids noticed a huntsman crawling around behind a curtain in the bedroom. It looked moderately-sized - not huge, but certainly not small. For perspective, that’s her in the photos - the cardboard in the second photo is about A4 size, and the short side is at the top of the photo. DS2 was very anxious and had trouble going back to sleep. He eventually succeeded by pulling the covers completely over his head.

Last night, after they were asleep, DH noticed the spider on the wall right above DS2’s head. She was in an awkward spot for catching, and even if she hadn’t moved below the mattress level, it would have been difficult. I was picturing the horror of DS waking up after being disturbed by DH missing the spider and ending up with her on the bed. Needless to say, after she moved, we had to resign ourselves to leaving her alone.

Today, I was doing some washing. I went to the bathroom to pick up the laundry that had been dumped on the floor, and almost put my hand on the spider. She stayed put long enough for DH to rescue her (and me) and he delivered her to the garden.

What I want to know is - how did DH and I switch places? I used to be the brave one…

Permalink Sunday, 2 November, 2008 11:26 pm, by Mamma Email , 321 words, Categories: Fauna ,

Backyard spring cleaning

Before - western gardenIt’s been a while since I posted in this blog, and lately I’ve been thinking that I want to start it up more regularly. It’s spring, and we’ve really been inspired to get back into the garden. We’ve neglected it badly, and while the breaking of the drought has resulted in a lot more green, most of it appears to be weeds, or all sorts of stuff out of control. This first photo was taken on 27 September.

Preparation - western gardenAnyway, a few weekends ago, DH got stuck into one particular part of the garden near the western fence. It was full of weeds, buried plant pots and assorted junk. For a while I had been thinking that I’d love to use that space for something better, but didn’t have the fortitude to clear the rubbish. He pulled everything out of there and covered the area in compost and mulch. Already it was like a breath of fresh air! Here it is on 29 September.

So, I’ve decided to document some of our progress here in this blog - not because we’re doing anything that remarkable, but because I’m inspired, and I want to share it with you. And because if we can do it in our humble backyard, I’m sure you can do something in yours, too - and if you already have, I’d love to hear from you!

Anyway, I’m not going to go into more detail today, just a little “teaser” … Watch this space!

Permalink Friday, 31 October, 2008 8:33 pm, by Mamma Email , 243 words, Categories: Backyard ,

Smells like spring

It’s still officially winter here. It’s been pretty cold (for Queensland!) but now the sun is rising earlier, the days are becoming milder, and driving DH to the train station at 6:30am isn’t as painful as it was even a week ago.

This morning there were still patches of fog lying around at that hour. The sky was overcast for most of the day. There was a shower of rain early in the afternoon. And then I smelled the air. Yes, there was the smell of fresh rain, but there was something else too. I thought about it - there was something familiar about it, but it seemed as if it were a memory from years long past (you know those “smell memories” you get that take you straight back to a moment in time?)

Finally it hit me - it was the smell of spring. The smell that usually seems to arrive right on the first day of September. It’s in the air. It’s coming. And it’s not far away.

Permalink Friday, 22 August, 2008 11:20 pm, by Mamma Email , 171 words, Categories: Seasons, Weather ,


We (OK, mostly DH ;) ), in the process of cleaning up and shuffling things around in the shed, decided to dig out and clean up the old fish tank. It still scrubs up OK, even after all this time sitting in dust. Using the waste water that we redirected from the reverse osmosis filter (i.e. pretty much perfectly clean, previously just sent down the drain - I really have to post about that some time) the tank was filled, the old heater and light were checked and installed (they still work!), new gravel/stones and plants were added. Finally, on the weekend, DH took the boys to the pet store, and they came home with the new residents. We now have four pacific blue-eye fish, and two little catfish to help with the “housekeeping” ;)

Master D has adopted them and is taking the feeding of them very seriously. He has decided that it’s his job. I guess he’s happy that we finally acquired some sort of “pet” - they asked for a baby sister, then a dog…

When Master A was sick in hospital, there was an aquarium in the common room, and the boys loved visiting the fish. We’ve been told that watching fish swim lowers your stress level and heart rate, so now that I’ve given up on getting a clear photo, I may just try that out.

Bung-eyeApologies for the quality of the photo; apparently fish don’t like to pose, and these guys are quick, not to mention the light reflecting off the glass! If you want a good photo, check out the link I included above. This is really just to show the eye of the one on the right - if you look closely, you can’t see the pupil; I’m not sure if it’s blind in that eye, but it seems to like checking out the fish that keeps looking at it in the glass. ;)

Master D has already named three of them:
“Camera Shy” is the catfish that hides under the wood and in the pebble “caves”, or scoots around cleaning the glass at the back of the fish tank;
“Gardener” is the catfish that likes hanging out around the plants;
“Bung-eye” is the pacific blue-eye with some sort of deformity of its right eye (as mentioned above) - DH said “that one has a bung eye” and it stuck ;D (I also suggested “Dudley”, as a play on “Dud-eye”, but he didn’t like that so much - however, today he told me that he was using both names… so complicated!) [I realise that we’re verging heavily into the realm of political incorrectness, but I assure you we don’t talk about people this way.]

The other three look far too alike at this point, but I suspect we’re going to see some personalities developing (yes, I know, they’re fish, but we’ve already seen some behaviours unique to some of them, so…) We’ll see…

Permalink Monday, 11 February, 2008 2:18 pm, by Mamma Email , 489 words, Categories: Backyard, Fauna, Pets ,

I love, you love pineapple

Window sill

A couple of years ago, as an experiment, we started saving the tops from bought pineapples and trying to see if they would grow. We place them in jars of water on the kitchen window sill, and it’s fun to watch them grow roots and leaves. Pictured on the right are the ones we’re currently “sprouting”.

Eventually we planted the pineapple tops, some in the ground and some in pots. When we were still allowed to use a hose (we’re now under water restrictions due to the drought) they would get some water, but other than that they’ve been neglected pretty thoroughly. The plants along the edge of the (also neglected) vegetable garden are still hanging in there but sunburnt, while the plants in the pots are closer to the house, so occasionally had some greywater from the kitchen thrown at them. However, they are also sunburnt, and one of the pots barely has any soil in it.

I’ve included a lot of photos here, but I know what page loading can be like, so I’ve resized them. You can click on the photos to see larger, clearer versions.


First pineapple 28 April 2007Way back in April we discovered that one of the potted pineapple plants was actually doing something… We missed the first part of the bloom, and when we realised, some of the pretty purple flowers were already open.




See, weeds really can be useful

Pineapple plants 28 April 2007Note that there are actually two pineapple plants in this cramped pot! And a weed - which, incidentally, came in handy as an umbrella for the plants in that pot…






Pineapple plants 29 October 2007…as you can see in this photo, taken six months later :D And to think we nearly pulled that one (weed) out!







Leaning tower of pineapple

Still green 29 October 2007It was fascinating to watch as the ripening fruit leaned more…










Getting there 11 November 2007and more…











Leaning 16 November 2007and still more…
Yes, they are potties and various receptacles in the background - handy for catching rain ;)







New baby 29 October 2007October 29…
… we discovered that the other plant in the same pot had decided it didn’t want to miss out on its close-up. Because we were watching the other one, we caught this slightly earlier, so we managed to get some better photos of the budding/flowering stages.



New baby 11 November 2007November 11…











New baby 16 November 2007November 16…










Harvest! 18 November 2007OK, so this photo was posed, but it was still a pretty cool moment ;) Yes, that’s the top of the pineapple on the barbecue in the background… Oh, and the pineapple weighed 714 grams (without top) and was totally yummy!







Our very first homegrown pineapple!

Permalink Sunday, 18 November, 2007 8:00 pm, by Mamma Email , 480 words, Categories: Backyard, Flora, Fruit ,

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