Friday, October 31, 2008

The antechinuses are back

The antechinuses are back. They've crapped all over the kitchen cupboards and even made a nest or two in the drawers. It's a losing battle we're fighting here or more to the point we've been a bit lax in laying out the traps. So I guess we have to start all over again tonight.

Dog ignores them. We started letting him in at night in our room (he has a bed on the floor), 1. to stop him waking us up with his barking (at the deer, wallabies, possums etc), 2. to chase the antechinuses. It's obviously not working, he just snores his way through their nightly raids. That's right Dog snores. He is so much like M, they both snore (though not in a loud obtrusive way) and they both sit there and sigh a lot.

Dog and Goanna

Dog was feeling morose in the heat yesterday. So I let him in the house where it was cooler. The heat and humidity seemed to suck the energy from everything around me. Well not the birds though. They were out in full force. Dog was woken up from his afternoon nap by the laughter of four kingfishers on the gum tree. I took him out to the yard (the deer fence free section) to check out what all the noise was about. Dog went ballistic at the kingfishers. They took a break from their gossiping and sat high up in the tree watching him. Dog wasn't happy. To vent his frustration he lept off the ledge and ran into the bushes. There was a frenzy of activity. I wondered what he was up to the little bugger. Then I realised he was up to his usual no-good, chasing goannas. The little bugger had chased a goanna up another gum tree. One of these days they'll realise he's all bark and no bite, then we'll see who'll be chasing whom.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008


Living out in the bush, we get our fair share of wildlife, both inside and outside the house. We get the occasional antechinus invasion. So once in awhile we do an ethnic cleansing. We set elliot traps at night and release the little buggers into the bushes near our driveway (which is the farthest we can get without crossing the road and without the need to go bush-bashing). Last week, early in the night we caught one in one of the traps laid out on the kitchen floor. As we had just come back from wildlife spotlighting around our yard, we made the usual decision to wait till morning to empty the trap.

The next morning I went to empty the elliot trap, but found to my dismay that the little bugger had managed to escape. But the poor thing had lost three of her babies in the process. So we had the hard decision to wrap them in paper towel and hope the mother came back for them or euthanase by freezing them. We decided to give the first one a go first.

That night we caught another one. We checked to see if it was the mother. It turned out that it was another female with a litter of her own. Her pouch was full, so there was little chance of her adopting the babies. We tried though. We put them together in a container, even though we knew that the likelihood for a positive outcome was low. The next morning we found out how low. The mother had killed and partially eaten one of the babies and then she escaped. But in the process she lost one her own babies. So then we had to make the tough decision to euthanase.

It's been quiet in the kitchen in the past few days. No droppings all over the kitchen of late, but that could all change soon!

Saturday, October 18, 2008


What a magical day it has been. M and I went kayaking for the first time together. We borrowed the double kayak from P, who also came with us on his individual one. It was absolutely beautiful. There were so many fish in the river, as well as jelly fish and stingrays. We paddled to a small waterfall, where it was so quiet and peaceful. The only thing marring the day, was our team work issues. Towards the end, we started getting better.

After kayaking, M and I went for a swim in the river. Or rather I swam and M did his usual wade in, wait an hour for one part of the body to acclimatise before moving on.

Friday, October 17, 2008


One of my pet hates are parasites. Personally I don't see the evolutionary purpose of most of them. I concede that some like tape worms, hook worms etc play a role in stimulating our immune system, but leeches and ticks how do they fit in the scheme of things? Unfortunately I live in a place where leeches and ticks are common. I guess living in paradise does have its downs.

I was taking photos of our house and yard to send to my friends. I decided to try my hand at nature photography while I was at it. Meanwhile M was bush bashing with Dog and calling out for me to join them. No thanks, I was in my sandals and I had a feeling...M and Dog head back to house and catches me in the process of trying to take a photo of a flower on a vine. M suggests I should also take a photo of the African Lillies that are growing in the bush as well. I agree and still standing in the driveway focus the camera. M insists that I should take a macro photo, so I wade into the bush. Suddenly I feel something moist and cold land on my toes. I look down and see something black and yellow, looking suspiciously like a leech or caterpillar between my toes. I start screaming and jumping up and down, trying to take off my sandals. While M is telling me to stop jumping around so that he could get to it. In my panic I'm kicking my legs about and trying to thrust my foot towards him. Finally he calms me enough for him to check it out. He wasn't quick enough for me, I'm trying to shake the thing off while yelling at him to grab a stick to flick it off. At this stage the thing has crawled deeper between my toes and closer to the sole of my feet. Finally he manages to flick it off me.

I run out of the bushes, convince it was a caterpillar. M follows at a slower pace. I asked him what it was. He tells me it was a leech. I immediately jump into his arms. Gross. I feel so violated. Lucky for me the leech didn't have a chance to sink its suckers into me.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

How not to meditate

It was a lovely day today so I thought I should try and meditate. So I locked the dog in the house (leaving the back door open in case he wanted "out") and picked a nice spot under the shade of the lillypilly tree. Since I love the outdoors, and I am very "airy fairy" I like to be around earth because it grounds me. Therefore this was the perfect spot. I lay my yoga mat down, and started off with some exercises to open up the hips, ready for sitting in the lotus position.

I close my eyes and start to meditate using a breathing exercies (mouth slightly open, tongue on roof of mouth, and breathe through both mouth and nose). I am aware of some noise in the background. All of a sudden Dog runs out to the backyard and starts barking. He doesn't stop, so I take a break from my meditation and go see what he is barking at. I walk to the edge of the hill and look in the general area that Rusty is barking at. I hear something go crashing through the bush and spy a large monitor climbing the eucalypt tree. I rush in the house to get the camera but when I get back, the monitor is nowhere in sight.

I wait around for a bit, hoping to see him again, then give up. I get back to my lotus position and start meditating again. Something crawls up my leg, I try and breathe through the discomfort and send a plea out to the universe to get rid of the bug for now. It doesn't work, I get bitten anyway. So I kill it (I know not good karma). I don't miss a beat, and continue to breathe slowly. Then another bite, this time on my foot, then another and another. I open my eyes. There's ants all over me. I jump up and realise I had put the yoga mat on top of an ant nest. Good one!