April 11, 2008

Just Because *You* Have An Eating Disorder

Did you see Horomia's suggestion that the 20,000 NZ kids who need feeding at school every week are actually going to school without breakfast and with no lunch because of a desire to stay 'trim'?

Perhaps a man with such an obvious weight problem himself cannot understand this, but children who are trying to stay hungry do not ask teachers for food.

God that's made me angry. Calming breaths...

In other news, here is a charming proverb:
If your chickens come home to roost, you will have eggs for breakfast.

Perhaps I will write a book of proverbs. Although I think it may already have been done...

Posted by phreq at 09:31 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

April 08, 2008


I have learned so much about insects that I didn't know since living here.

(If you don't like sp!ders or c@terpill@rs or b33s don't read this post. It's not gross it's just insect-filled)

Did you know that those little brown bags (shaped like joints) that you see on trees and buildings sometimes belong to a moth, called a bag moth? Well, they do. But the amazing thing is (I only saw this yesterday) is that the moth caterpillar lives inside the bag - it's not like a monarch butterfly chrysalis, it's more like the caterpillar uses the bag like a snail or a crab would. I watched one yesterday, and I swear I am not exaggerating, I actually measured it - the caterpillar moved more than 4 metres in 90 minutes! The caterpillar appears to be quite large (although I only saw the front bit), between the size of a cabbage white and a large monarch, but it is black with white/grey patches and a tan head.

There are heaps of spiders out here, as you would expect - a lot of nursery spiders, but also hunting spiders and wood spiders. There are three webs across the front of the kitchen windows, which makes them easy to observe. I've been amazed how how successful spiders can be as hunters - as many as 20 catches in one web over just a few hours. I don't think they eat everything they catch immediately, they just run over and wrap it in silk for later. But after they have 'eaten' (drunken?) a catch, they're left with the dessicated remains, and what they seem to do is to take off and eat the silk threads, and then get the remains in a little bundle on the end of a long leg and dangle it as far away from the web as possible before they drop it, which I suppose helps keep the webs clean. A day that is slightly wet and windy day seems to be a good hunting day for the kitchen-window spiders, maybe because the prey insects are seeking shelter under the window eaves.

There are large numbers of bumble bees up here too. I must get at least 4 a day coming inside, and there are often small dead ones on the windowsills. I don't see many honeybees though - I wonder if there is a lack of honey bees, or if this is just not very good country for them up here? Bumble bees lead a very different lifestyle to honey bees so it may be a simple as lack of good food and nesting sites.

Posted by phreq at 09:44 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

April 07, 2008


The housewarming was great. It's a pity I had to leave to catch trains but thems the breaks, I still had time for interesting people, fascinating cupcakes, intriguing tiny hamburgers and suckfullness on Rock Band drums.

Magpies are nasty birds. They work in teams and harrass sheep, native birds and people. There's like a harrier (or maybe a hawk?) that lives around here and often I see it being chased by a group of 5 or 6 magpies, working together. Although a baby magpie would probably grow up into a pretty engaging pet I think, they seem pretty smart.

Thank goodness for the rain, there is a small fuzz of new green growth on the hills. It was getting pretty desperate.

I took Biscuit the horse for a ride yesterday. I'm sure he will become more enthusiastic as I become more competent. At the moment I think he knows I don't really know what I'm doing and it makes him simulataneously nervous and disinclined to obey. But still! Horseriding *heart*

Posted by phreq at 10:47 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

April 02, 2008

Sun, Therefore Laptop

It has been a crazy few days. First of all, hooray for rain, we bloody needed it! Second of all, I've noticed that rain tends to mean no sun, which means no power to the panels and no juice for laptops.

The craziness came from a sheep... oh my god. Have you ever seen a flystruck sheep? You don't want to. You especially do not want to have to chase the sheep down a steep hillside in the pouring rain and lasso it with a blue plastic rope. You do not want to have to take your sewing scissors and trim away rotten wool from a huge wound on its back. You do not want to have to spend an hour and half digging maggots out of the poor creature's back. The maggots had eaten away the skin from an area as big as both my hands, and there is a hole as big as an old 50 cent piece eaten right through the fat layer to the muscles beneath. OH MY GOD. The only happy creature in the whole escapade was the chicken, who thought the maggots were a thoughtful dinner present.

Posted by phreq at 09:38 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack