2007-03-31

Wildlife, Good and Bad

This was my first week commuting from Nimbin to Brisbane and back. The commute itself is remarkably painless - the train is pleasant and fast, and has iced water dispensers between the carriages (are you listening, Connex SouthCentral...?)
As I was setting my laptop up on the train, I saw my first wild kangaroo - more than twice the size of the wallabies we get in our garden. It watched the train for a few seconds, and then thumped ponderously away across the fields - they really are big things - they somehow look smaller on-screen.
C met me at Kyogle station and we drove back to Nimbin. As we got to the corner of our street, there were 4 parrots perched in a row on the telephone wire across the road. It could take me quite a while to get blasé about the sheer abundance and variety of wildlife in this region. Talking of abundance, Fred, the spider we've adopted near the front balcony, has gone from merely obese to truly, startlingly overweight - I suspect it's the steady diet of unwary mosquitoes her/his web catches as they home in on our tasty flesh.

We were determined to get more done this weekend than last - and the garden is the priority now, as we're getting into the last few weeks of the year when many of the annuals can realistically be sown. Susie, the previous owner of the house, and her tiny daughter Delphi, are renting the downstairs flat from us for the next few weeks. Susie is moving her stuff out one car load at a time, and she hasn't got as far as the gardening implements yet, so we cheekily grabbed her spades and forks and trowels, and set about clearing the fallen leaves, and digging over the raised beds (it looks like they haven't been dug for 3 or 4 years). As I was returning from dragging a large log out of the way I spotted something moving oddly on my shoe - it was small and quick, and I couldn't quite see what it was. No sooner had I spotted it than it made a bee-line for the lacing-hole of my trainer, and slid itself through. I immediately stomped on the heel of the trainer and pulled my foot free - and sure enough, there was an inquisitive, worm-like head waving around on the inside of the shoe, looking a bit disappointed. A closer look soon confirmed this was my first encounter with an Australian land-leech. Now an ex-leech. It's only a matter of time before his cousins even the score though.

There were just enough hours left in the day to sand and oil some of the spare timber under the house to rig up as a crude temporary bookshelf, and get rid of the book-drift that's been cluttering the lounge since we moved in.

I feel thoroughly domesticated after this 48 hours - I've done some gardening, a spot of DIY, some shopping, some cleaning, and I even baked a large portion of chocolate-chip cookies. It beats spending the weekend glued to a monitor. On the way back from a particularly domestic trip to hang the washing on the line, I stumbled across what I at first thought was a flower, but on closer inspection turned out to be one of the strangest mushrooms I have ever seen - it is about two inches across, and seems to be mimicking a flower in bloom, with six curly, bright red imitation "petals" arranged around a moist black central "head". If any readers know what this is (or indeed, can point me to an online tool for finding out) please leave a comment or drop me a line!

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hi Mate,
I think I found your mushroom,it's called Aseroe rubra and here's 2 links to pictures and info on them ;
http://fungimap.rbg.vic.gov.au/fsp/sp003.html

http://images.google.com/images?q=Aseroe+rubra&rls=com.microsoft:en-us:IE-SearchBox&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8&sourceid=ie7&rlz=1I7GGIC&um=1&sa=N&tab=wi

Cheers / Darren (Brizdaz)

blogger said...

I do believe you are right sir! Thanks for that - i never did figure it out.
:D