Archive | August, 2013

100 posts and counting! Giveaway time!

31 Aug

It seems like only 99 posts ago I was just starting this blog, and here we are already at 100.  Wow!  Time flies when you’re being nerdy and freaking people out with spider pictures.

I’ve seen this blog build from literally a few of my Facebook friends visiting to nearly 75% or more of the traffic coming from search engines traffic from (at last count) 100 different countries. (100 posts and 100 countries on the same day!)  There’s definitely a community of fellow “buggers” out there that enjoy reading what I enjoy writing.  I started this blog mainly because I wanted to spread the excitement I felt when I found something interesting.  And let’s face it,  some of the information out there was too hard for me to understand a bit wordy.  I wanted a blog for people like me, written in a language everyone could understand.

So, as a thank you for everyone that stops by, follows me in email, sends me pictures, asks me questions etc., I want to do a giveaway.

There are two prizes and this time one guy and one gal will be walking away with a prize! First, I’ll show you what you’re playing for then we’ll get to those bothersome rules.

First up, this beautiful, sterling silver dragonfly necklace.  The chain measures 18″ and the pendant is a dainty 3/8″ (10mm).

dragonfly necklace

Second, this pair of unique bronze and glass, steam punk cufflinks with bumblebee pictures in them.

cuff linksNow for the rules:

1. You must be a follower of this blog.  Not in your heart, although that’s sweet, but by email.  To do this, just go to the homepage, look in the right hand column and put the old email addy in the appropriate box.

2. You have to either ‘like’ this post at the bottom (if you’re a fellow blogger) or share this post on Facebook.  I could count shares and likes but we’ll go on the honour system here.

3. And last but not least, please leave a comment (below) about what you love most about me about what you like about the blog or what you would like to see on here.

When all is said and done, I’ll put everyone’s name in a hat and pull out one guy and one gal to be the winners.  How much time do you have? The winners will be announced around this same time, exactly one week from today. (September 7th, UTC+10)

Best of luck! May the best man, and woman, win!

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Common Large Paper Wasp

30 Aug

This picture was taken about 5 years ago when I had only been in Australia a short while. I found these wasps making their nest on my laundry line. Since, as you know, I am a lover of all creepy crawly and even stingy (unless they buzz around my head, then I’m a ninja) I left the nest there so I could watch them build…and get a few pictures of course.

DSC_0023-1

 

My husband warned me to knock the nest off the laundry line, but as usual, I ignored him and continued our communal existence with the wasps. I would go out every day and watch as it grew, hang my laundry and snap a few pictures.

Well, one weekend I was going to travel into another town about an hour away to visit the in-laws. Since it was winter, I went out to the laundry line and removed my beloved American fleece pajama pants and packed them into my suitcase. You may be able to see where this is heading…I didn’t.

Well, apparently wasps are not that dumb and in the cold of the night decided my pajama pants were just the perfect place to get out of the cold. And I had folded up the pants and packed them all. I’m sure the trip into town and being packed in a suitcase had them quite pissed disoriented and boy, did they let me know the minute I pulled those pants out and pulled.them.on.

Yes, pulled them on. All the way up.

I’m not sure how many stings they got out before this clever old gal put two and two together, but I can guarantee you that if there’s a prize for the quickest undressing, I’d have won it, pants hands down.

And no, to answer your question, I didn’t remove their nest after that. I was just a bit more careful about checking my clothes before putting them on.

So, after removing said pajama pants, I took them outside where I saw not one, not two, not three, not four, not five, but six paper wasps crawl out. You couldn’t have paid me to do that in a dare.

Wasps:6 Lisa:0

Spider eyes, they’re watching you.

29 Aug

Okay, sorry for the lame Hall & Oates reference in the title.  Or for creeping you out.

Anyway, the other day I noticed this little guy in my baby’s bouncy seat…

hunstman seatYou can’t tell from the picture but he was about the size of a fifty cent piece.  And that little lip of cloth you see just above his right front leg is this little head rest where my child would have laid his head a few minutes later.  And if you know anything about Huntsmen, they just love to flatten out and lay in inconspicuous places like that.

But luckily, he was just on his way there.  Had I been a bit later walking into the room, I may be telling a different story.

But seeing this guy got me thinking.  We all know spiders have eyes, lots of them. But how well do they see?  This guy seemed to spot me coming from across the room but I’m sure mama’s anger/panic/excitement must have been shooting off some serious vibes.  Spiders pick up vibes right? Wait, that’s hippies.

But before relocating Spidey to a more fitting location outside, I, of course, had to grab my new macro and take a few shots.

Good night, sleep tight.  Don't forget the bedroom light...

Good night, sleep tight. Don’t forget the bedroom light…

 

So, exactly how good do spiders see? Here are some fun facts.

*Most spiders have 8 eyes, although some have 6 or fewer.  The Huntsman above, as you can see, has 8 in which to see you with.

*Very few spiders, despite all those eyes, actually have good eyesight.

*To hunt, most spiders rely on touch, vibration and taste stimuli.

*Wolf spiders and Net casting spiders have one to two sets of eyes specially equipped for night vision.

*Spiders have ‘simple’ eyes, which means each eye has only one lens unlike the many-lensed, compound eye.

*Jumping spiders are one type that do have really good eyesight.  Great, good eyesight and they jump, right?

*If you shine a flashlight into a wolf spider’s eyes, they will reflect back like a dog’s eyes. So those red eyes in the dark really may be something scary…if you think spider’s are scary.

Korean folk tale: The Green Frog

28 Aug

green frog close up

 

Long ago, the green frog lived with his widowed mother in a small pond. The green frog never listened to his mother, and when she told him to do something, he always did the opposite. If his mother told him to play in the hills, he went to the river. If she told him to go up, he went down. If she told him left, he went right. If she told him this, he did that.

The mother frog worried about what she would do with her son—he caused her so much distress and embarrassment. “Why can’t he be like other frogs?” she said to herself. “Why can’t he respect his elders and do what he’s told?” She worried about what would happen to him when she was gone. She knew she would have to do something to break his bad habits.

Day after day, week after week, the mother frog scolded the green frog and tried to teach him the proper way to behave, but he continued to ignore her and did just as he wished. The mother frog was growing old, and she worried so much that eventually she became sick. But even then the green frog did not change his ways.

Finally, when the mother frog knew she was going to die, she called her son to her side. She wanted a proper burial on the ountain, and since she knew that the green frog would do the opposite of what she told him, she chose her words carefully. “I don’t have much longer to live,” she said. “When I die, do not to bury me on the mountainside. You must bury me on the bank of the river.”

The green frog looked at her forlornly with his head bowed.

“Promise me,” said the mother frog. “You must promise.”

“I promise,” said the green frog.

Four days later, the mother frog died and the green frog was terribly sad. He blamed himself for her death and he was sorry for all the heartache he had caused her. He knew it was too late to undo all of his past misdeeds, but he could become a good frog for her now. He resolved finally to listen to his mother’s instructions. “I always did the opposite of what she told me when she was alive,” he said to himself, “but now I will do exactly as she told me.”

So, even knowing that it was unwise, the green frog buried his mother by the river. And when it rained, he stood watch, praying to heaven that the water would not rise. But when the monsoon rains came that summer, the river rose higher and higher—it flowed over its banks and washed his mother’s grave away.

The green frog sat in the pouring rain by the river bank, crying and crying for his mother. And that is why, to this day, the green frogs cry when it rains.

Story from: www.sejongsociety.org

Weekly Photo Challenge-Focus

27 Aug

fo·cus

/ˈfōkəs/

Noun meaning:
The centre of interest or activity
Now, as a lot of us bloggers are, by default it seems, also amateur photographers, I’m guessing most of the posts this week will focus on the photographic version of ‘focus’…see how I did that?
Aaaaand, I hate to say that besides the clever use of the word ‘focus’ above, I didn’t think much outside that box this week.  But that’s mainly because I had a photo that I really wanted to use.  Even if it is…typical.
But what makes this picture different, is that it also is an example of pareidolia.  And since, like me, you probably have no idea what that word means, I will explain and you’ll say to yourself, “Oh, yeah!”
Pareidolia is the tendency to see faces in inanimate objects.  Now, this picture does not have a human face and is not an inanimate object but according to Blogger Loophole #343, which states that anything close to the truth is the truth because we “read it on the internet”, I’m allowed to bend the rules as I see fit.
So, without further ado, here is my contribution to this week’s challenge.
Moth with lion face.

Moth with lion face.

Now, is it just me, or does it look like there’s a lion face on the back of this moth?
Not moth, real lion.

Not moth, real lion.

I’m sure I’m not the only one to notice faces on insects; it seems everything has a disguise these days.   There are the butterflies with ‘eyes’ on their wings, spiders that mimic ants, and bloggers that pretend to be actual writers. (Not me, of course.)
I’d also like to brag about how I purposely zeroed in on that ‘lion’ on the moth’s back and deliberately left the rest of the picture out of focus.  But, to be honest, I’m just trying to figure out my new macro lens and combined with my whatever-the-opposite-of-20/20-eyesight-is, I was just shooting a hail mary.  A great photographer once told me, you’ll take a hundred pictures just to get that one.
There’s my ‘one’…hope you like it.

Reader’s Photos-Emerging Cicada

26 Aug

It’s not often that I get jealous over things…well, except for that one time I was about thirty seconds too late to grab the last jam doughnut at the doughnut shop before some guy, who probably ate it in one bite and didn’t even savour it, got it.  Oh, and there was that time when I was eight and a girl named Carter (I know, right?) got the lead part in our tap dance recital.  True story.

But other than those times, I am not a very jealous person by nature.  I’m just nerdy (or is it narcissistic?) enough to think I’ve got a bit going for myself and don’t tend to look over the fence much.  Buuuuuut, a friend of mine posted (very casually, I might add) some photos on Facebook the other day that made me see green!

Look, I’ve lived in the heart of the Byfield Rainforest.  (If you want to know what that is like, visit my post about it HERE.)  I’ve seen everything from a Giant Golden Orb spider as big as my face…

IMG_0039

(That may not seem cool to some of you.)

…to katydids and grasshoppers nearly as big as my hand.

katydid grasshopper

And I’ve seen and held many, many, many cicadas and seen ten times as many empty cicada exoskeletons. 

IMG_1585 IMG_1622

But, I never once was lucky enough to see this…

kevin2

kevin4

These photos were sent in by Kevin Ivey from Avon, Indiana.  That’s right, Indiana.  The place I moved from.  Thousands of cicadas buzzing all around me in the rainforest.  The noise was deafening.  The shells were everywhere. And not once did I ever get so lucky to actually get to see one of them emerging from the case where they had lived (for some) for nearly two decades.  But over in my home state, more known for its corn than anything else, apparently miracles happen.

I’m kidding, of course.  Sort of.

No, really.  How cool, that if I couldn’t get to see this, at least someone I knew was able to enjoy it and get a couple of really good snapshots of to rub in my face send in.

So, there you go.  Cicada emerging…from shell.  In Indiana.  Have I mentioned that yet?

So, what was it?

25 Aug

Well, there were  a few guesses but only one was right.  (Congrats Brenda Fish!) This is a picture of a Bag moth or Case Moth caterpillar’s ‘case’.  20130823-203352.jpg

Contrary to what I thought, this is not just the place where the caterpillar will pupate into a moth, but it is also its home while in the caterpillar (larva) stage. For some, this stage can last a few years.  There are two openings, one at the top and one at the bottom.  The top is the exit/entry while the bottom is where the excrement will fall.  Some female species of this moth will never even develop wings, but will wait in the case for a winged male to come and mate.

You can’t really tell from the picture but this case was attached to the bottom pane of glass along a hallway of a hospital.  Nearby was a refuge of sorts, with rocks and trees and such, but this case was just there all by itself.  I’ll have to keep an eye on it now that I know they can live inside them for so long, and just see if I am able to see the caterpillar.