IT’S THAT TIME AGAIN…

I was all set to be ready, this month.Even if I had to resort to a “grocer’s bunch”…I was going to wow everyone with my Flowers In The House.

And then it rained. I mean, really rained.The sort of rain that whooshes down, drenching everything, then goes out to sea and we all dash about washing the curtains that got wet and rejoicing in the lovely, soft, damp earth that makes weed-pulling a picnic in the park.

And then it rains again.Look, not to bore you, but we have had quite a few rainy days.And some thunder storms.

So…back to the “grocer’s bunch.” Um, no. I think someone left the grocer’s would-have-been contribution out in the rain!And the cheeky blighter was still asking half my housekeeping budget for the wilties!

So what does Dinah do? Calls on an orchid to step into the breach…IMG_4346

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Phalaenopsis. It may have a cultivar name, but its label is long gone. The Man brought it indoors last week, fearful that the rain would mash its petals.Mostly, it sits on the dining table, looking lovely. No, this is NOT the dining table! This is a scruffy old table where we do all sorts of grubby things. Like mixing shellac, painting things and potting seedlings. But the orchid is indoors in the top picture.

I’ve done a massive amount of weeding and some more pruning and hope to get some things out of their pots and into this rich, soft chocolate-y soil. Soon, very soon. And I re vamped the herb boxes and put in some rocket/arugula which is coming along very nicely.I always have trouble with that in summer heat, but it’s looking good. If I can find a space that gets enough sun I might plant some chard(silver beet).

The orb spider’s cocoon is still under its leaf and tied back to a pole for safety.Another female spider is looking quite plump on her web, but the other one was gone yesterday morning. Still very slender, I think she became a snack. :-(

Is it just me, or are other people struggling to keep up with blogging? I know some of you feel “empty” and I can understand that. But blogging , for me, was  a comfortable way to write. And I felt connected.But lately? I find it harder to write what I think people might like to read. Maybe I’m being pulled in other directions? Yes, I do venture into Facebook’s waters, but that’s hardly “writing.”

I suspect that I’m getting a taste for gallivanting! Good thing I renewed my passport!

I’d better get back to the kitchen and show my Kerala coconut curry some respect…

Here’s my spider and her beautiful golden egg sac…020

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If you click these pictures you will (should!) see that beautiful golden silk shining in sunlight.No wonder it was used on the raiments of the wealthy and clergy!

Time has passed…the curry was, indeed, delicious. As was the juice of the crushed grape. And, to top it off, we enjoyed a re-run of QI.

 

 

SPIDER POST ALERT ! ( in case you’re a spider-wimp!)

 

Not a scary, horrid-hairy, ginormous, swallow you in one gulp sort of spider.

Oh, no. Dinah wouldn’t be so cruel to her  readers.Would she? Read on to find out.If you dare!

We have been doing some long overdue work in part of the garden.

 

Our new-ish neighbour has cleared the boundary strip and we (that’s The Man, mainly) have cleared our side of the fence. This has allowed in a lot more light and created some open spaces that just cried out for plants. So I’ve been relocating some of the overgrown pots  and cuttings. Shade-lovers, mainly, because although on the north-eastern side, they still have quite dense shade from the palms.

 

 

Probably a Christella of some sort. It (and several others), like Topsy, “just growed.”

And this morning, while hosing yesterday’s newbies, I noticed droplets on a damaged web.A neat quarter has been broken away from  an orb web. The spider is still in residence and I managed a photo. Better still, I’m pretty sure I’ve identified it. Yay! It’s not often I can.

I thought it was in the Tetragnathidae so I Googled that and found this interesting (well, interesting to spider buffs, that is!) link  http://tolweb.org/Tetragnathidae/2799. Known by a common name of “long jaws” for good reason, these cute lil guys have a courtship technique not unlike snogging in the back row of the Gaumont Cinema.

This is a macro shot that I did manage to get. Not the best, but neither was the weather! Clicking should make it a little clearer.

 

 

Now that I’ve managed to educate you on   scare the tripe out of you, I’m off to the purveyor of plonk. A girl can work up a navvy’s thirst just to plant a few ferns, y’know!

 

 

MORE TALES FROM ACROSS THE DITCH

The view from Takapuna, across Waitemata Harbour to Auckland.
I took this picture from the site of one of my favourite watering holes of the ’60s,The Mon Desir Hotel, now a very up-market apartment complex.But, on a quiet evening, if you listen carefully, you may hear ghosts!

The author beside a Maori carving in the Arataki Centre.
I don’t remember who this carving represents, but I know it’s not Ure as Ure’s “statue” is just off-camera, to the right.
Looking south from Arataki Visitor Centre in the Waitakere Ranges.
Beyond this reservoir is Manukau Harboour.

One of the (many!) things that caught my eye on the recent New Zealand trip was some clever welding, where someone had fashioned a novel letter box in the form of a weta. “wetabox”? Unfortunately, the road up the Waitakere Ranges is very twisty and the “weta box” was on a blind bend so I couldn’t take a picture. But I want a weta box like it! (I think I’ll have to have some other kind of box as our letter box is cemented into the front wall beside the gate.)

For those unfamiliar with these creatures,they are like very large crickets and are among the world’s oldest survivors. Scary-looking? Maybe, but they are pretty harmless. They have had some bad press, though, including being blamed for killings of sheep and less than fifty years ago a woman claimed that some weta had carried away her baby!

And yes, I did see one in Auckland.Not a very big one. In our bedroom. It probably came indoors while the window was open and crawled across the sleeping face of My Hero. Wasn’t he lucky that the Lady Who is Not Scared of Crawlies was on hand! Yep! I’m the one who deals with weta, crickets, roaches. Even spiders, although it took half a lifetime to overcome my “arachna-cringe.” And there is NO WAY I’d tackle a funnel web spider.
I should, perhaps, mention that my dealing with bugs et cetera involves removing them without killing them.Unless said bugs are mosquitoes or flies. These I squish and toss into cobwebs.But I would be a fool to try removing a funnel web!
I have never eaten weta, although,as a child I occasionally ate the larvae of the huhu beetle. Not keen on raw (ie,live!) grubs, I rather liked them tossed on a hot griddle. A sweet, nutty flavour as I recall; some people liken them to chicken.
And before my comments box is flooded with “yecchs” and “ughs” let me remind you that there are many people who are willing to pay top dollar to eat snails (as long as they’re called escargots!) and oysters and caviar and all manner of other meat.
Writing this has whetted (weta’d?) my appetite…time to raid the pawpaw tree!