Sunday, June 15, 2014

Aliens in my garden.







This sweet young maiden seems to have some sort of green garden slime on her back. Might be part of her disguise, I guess, helping her to blend in with her surroundings...in-between photo shoots...

I know this next picture is slightly out of focus, but it intrigues me. With her face and front legs all blurry, I think she almost looks like a member of the Army of the Dead, from the Lord of the Rings. It's possible you may not see what I see, of course...

Another option is that those two dark circles on either side of her middle are in fact eyes, meaning that she isn't a stick insect after all, but an alien creature with no body, a long wispy beard, and a cone head...Surely I'm not alone here...?







Saturday, March 1, 2014

Nature's precious jewel.


Can't really get much more versatile than water, really. You can drink it, cook with it, wash with it, play in it, generate electricity with it, put out fires with it, make plants grow with it, dance in it (insert raindrops keep falling on my head soundtrack here), use it to get from A to B, either by boat, or hovercraft, or walnut shell, if you are Thumbelina. 




You can probably do many more things with water that my brain hasn't connected the dots with yet. But it is both friend and foe. A giver of life, and a taker. You can drown in it. Even if you are on land. Hurricanes. Tsunamis. Floods. Swimming pools. Bathtubs. Puddles.

And you can also die because of what is lurking in it. Whenever I watch those wildlife documentaries, the ones about the lions and zebras and giraffes, I feel an overwhelming urge to go to Africa and build bridges for the wildebeest. So the crocodiles lurking in the rivers can't get them.




But yeah, I know what would happen then...the crocodiles would starve...and the wildebeest population would explode...and then the lion population would blossom too, but then the wildebeest would run out of food, and then the lions would as well, so they'd start eyeing up the elephants instead and...and...and so my meddling would upset the delicate balance of the whole ecosystem...

So I will just have to extend my deepest sympathies to the wildebeesties, and to all of the animals who experience chronic anxiety issues triggered by the very basic need to put their heads down to drink at the local watering hole. Yikes. Imagine that. Having your jugular coveted by creatures in, and out of the water. The perils of being thirsty.

No element of choice involved though. We all need water. Many animals, including humans, die without it. Many die from drinking it as well, because it's contaminated. It might kill you quickly, or slowly, delivering a lethal dose of bacteria, or other scourges like heavy metals, or parasites.


But there's something else important we can do with water--admire it, which is the purpose of this blog post, of course. Oceans are a visual feast, as are many rivers and lakes, the unpolluted ones, at least. And let's not forget waterfalls, rock pools, and rainstorms. Hell, I'm often mesmerised by the ensemble of swirls that congregate in my morning coffee. Bewitching.

But the individual drop is also noteworthy, imo. A delicate jewel. An often mobile one thats whimsical journey has to be captured before it morphs into a different kind of sustenance, like plant food.

Water is, in essence, a magician. It can be a solid, or a liquid, and can make the transition between the two in an instant, like a chameleon. Fluid with fluidity.


It can make a dramatic statement of its power in the form of a mighty glacier, yet still woo us with both the simplicity and complexity of a single snowflake. It can find a path around many obstacles in its way. It can take on any shape, and also shape its surroundings. In seconds, and over centuries. Not only can it descend from the sky above, but it can bubble forth from below the ground too.

It can do other fancy stuff as well, like dissolve solids. Salt. Sugar. Itself in a different form. And it can dissolve and dilute at the same time. It really knows how to multi-task, doesn't it.




Magician, and musician. It can lap playfully, gently, against a rock, or murmur softly as a warm rain. It can  drum roll as a torrential downpour, or thunder over a waterfall.

Water is the quintessential nomad. A traveller that wanders through life weaving in and out of the lives of others. Sheesh. Talk about a mindboggler. Sure makes my water based brain pulse with intrigue. What can't water do? Walk on itself...? Maybe...? Actually, yes, I guess it can, if a snowflake can float before it dissolves... that's water walking on water, isn't it? It is in my book, anyhoo... Holy water, if you ask me...


Wednesday, January 1, 2014

A Christmas buzz.


I was thinking about Santa the other day. Guess a lot of people do, at this time of year. My thoughts weren't full of anticipation of the gift wrapped delights he might bestow upon me this festive season, however. Santa and I are no longer on speaking terms. Irreconcilable differences. Tis safe to say he won't be making his way down my chimney, or back onto my Christmas card list, anytime soon.






Anyhoo, I was thinking about him cos I was wondering if the jolly old chap ever tires of his attire. If he ever craves a makeover. I know his devotees expects him to wear a red and white ensemble, but sometimes it's good to shake things up a bit. To challenge those stereotypes. Besides, not everyone can wear red.

NB, I'm not saying Santa doesn't suit his suit...I would never be so audacious, I'm merely suggesting a change might do him good. It's nice to have options. And I have the perfect alternative outfit for his wardrobe in mind--a bumble bee costume! Imagine that! A stripey Santa! How cute would that bee...






And of course, Donna and Blitzen, and Rudolph and all the other reindeer whose names I can't quite recall at this point in time...how adorable would they look with matching outfits... Their horns could easily be transformed to look like antennae.

The symbolism would be spot on, cos we all know how hardworking bumblebees are, and the reindeer can fly too, in defiance of the laws of physics...and they give children everywhere a Christmas morning buzz...and they probably deliver a fair few teddy bears...






Can you picture it too? Thought so. That's settled then. I shall write Santa another letter, not requesting presents, or complaining about the duds he has dished out in Christmases past, but one with my well thought out makeover plans.

Best if I send it a.s.a.p., as it will probably take a while to stitch those new costumes. Especially the antennae for the reindeers' horns...I'm guessing they will have to be custom made. Of course, the elves will need matching bumble suits too...since they're a hive of activity and all that...

Curiously enough, the politicians in my country reside in a building called The Beehive, but that's where the resemblance to flying balls of cuteness ends...

On the subject of bumbles, I've had to implement rescue plans for quite a lot of them lately. The most dramatic--a bumble was lying on his back waving his little legs about frantically, in the middle of a driveway...the entrance to the supermarket, would you believe. Yikes. There was no time to dither with that intervention. I'm relieved to say that when my finger appeared in his visual field, bumble features latched on without hesitation and was airlifted to the safety of a nearby garden.





Sunday, December 1, 2013

Bugs in love.






Romance is in the air again, in Stick Insect Metropolis. Don't these two just look like they were made for each other...

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Yoga for bugs.

My verandah seems to be very popular with the stick insect community. Couldn't help but notice this lass doing a headstand;






When I checked on her the next day she was practicing more advanced poses in her yoga routine. This position doesn't look very comfortable to me; 





Not from this angle either;





Or this one;





Rest assured I kept a close eye on her to make sure she didn't venture into the foot traffic area. Luckily the birds didn't notice her yogic stretches. On the third day I was relieved to see she had moved into a more spine friendly position;






And on the fourth day she did the upside down sticky thing that they do so well;







Sunday, September 1, 2013

Climbing the walls.






I'm used to seeing bugs in strange places. All the same, I would've liked to have perused a copy of this sticky's itinerary. Where was he heading? Other than up the wall... Was he planning to go around the bend too? He's right beside my front door, so maybe he just stopped by to say hello...

His side profile is also quite fetching;






That little dark spot on the wall to his right is a moth. Maybe they made the trip together, an insect bonding thing. Or a competition...

Just to give you an idea of how far up the wall Mr Sticky and his winged companion were;






The light is just above my head, so it's quite an epic journey for a bug. 

Later on that day, the sun offered another photo opportunity--a bug and his shadow! Yay! 

Btw, that's a bit of garden debris attached to his bottom, just in case you were wondering. It could, of course, also be the insect equivalent of a fashion accessory;






Once again, my subject showed how versatile a bug can be when a photo opportunity presents itself;






Work that camera, sticky;






I was faced with the familiar dilemma I experience whenever I see a bug far from their natural habitat...do I intervene? Provide some assistance? 

I've seen praying mantises climb the walls, presumably to lay eggs, but I do believe this sticky is a boy...and I was concerned about where he might end up, like underfoot. (Don't worry, I wrote myself a note--on a sticky of the other kind, actually--to remind myself to check for wayward stickys before setting foot outside...)

He stayed in this spot for two days, and then, sure enough, my safety concerns were realised when I opened the door the next morning and found him sitting on the actual doorstep. As much as I like to be greeted first thing by an adorable bug, nevertheless, intervention was most definitely required.

I hope sticky approved of the flax bush I put him on...


Thursday, August 1, 2013

Raspberry maiden.


Dishes are not my idea of fun...unless while doing them I glance out my window and spy an exquisite creature like this lass. Perfect excuse to swap the dishcloth for an image capturing device instead, of course. How could I resist.

She--assuming I have made an accurate gender diagnosis--is dangling from a raspberry cane, seemingly effortlessly. I don't think I could dangle like that for very long, if at all. 






In fact, I'm going to rebel against the positive thinking brigade and propose that we should focus more on the things we can't do. And celebrate these things, and the creatures who can do them. In the interests of keeping our egos in check. 

Your challenge, should you accept it, is to spend the following week completing this sentence;

I can't ______ like a _______.

But back to more important things, like clever bugs...

This lass did have an admirer--other than me--a much smaller sticky lurking on an adjacent stem who I assume was of the male persuasion. Talk about a cute couple. Just watch out for those prickles, boy sticky. Not only the ones on the raspberry cane.

 Let's admire her spiny bits close up;






And here's another shot of her doing something that I can't, something remarkable;






Oh Sticky, you're-so-fine, you're-so-fine-you-blow-my-mind, Stick-y! Stick-y!