31 July 2003

Living in America

The wildlife is different:
  • It is quiet during the day and noisy at night. At home, we are used to magpies, cockatoos, Gallahs and kookaburras sharing their “songs” with us. Here it is quiet until dusk when all the “Katydids” – grasshopper type insects (Look in A Beka Science 4) starting their mating rituals.
  • Also at dusk the fireflies come out. (called lightning bugs locally) These are pretty interesting, giving flashes of light throughout the woods. (A Beka Science 4)
  • Daddy long legs here are Grand daddy long legs – they are bigger than what we are used to but basically the same type of spider.
  • White Faced Hornets are mongrel things. One stung Peter on the first day they explored our new house and so they all retreated back into the house. Just as well, too! There was a huge nest of the things. That night, Ward Ogburn used a common wasp and hornet spray that jets a stream of poison up to 22 feet to kill them. Whilst destroying the nest and killing all its occupants, he was stung too.
  • Yellow jacket wasps are not pleasant either. One stung Lana in the first week when she accidentally brushed it off her arm. The mark is still there and occasionally is irritating.
  • Ticks are in the untamed areas of ground and latch on to the legs. Lana got one so we know about them now.
  • Squirrels are cute. There are lots around the house.
  • Bears are apparently in the area, but we haven’t seen any yet.
  • There are lots of Deer around.
  • The birds actually sound OK (when they actually sing) rather than variations of squawks most of the Australian birds are known for. We also saw some “Red Cardinal” birds – pretty little bright red birds.
  • Chiggers are the worst. They hang around in unkept areas of gardens or bushland and are about 0.1 mm in size. They leap on to anything warm-blooded passing and crawl as high as they can until they get to a soft bit of skin, then start sucking. After about 3 hours a little lump comes up and they are very itchy. So, everyone avoids areas chiggers are reputed to be, once they get inside all clothes are washed and everyone jumps in the bath. The funny thing is, chiggers are not meant to feast on humans – they die from our bodies. Dogs and birds don’t get the irritations, as they are the correct host. See here for more information.

Placing our stake in a new land

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