3 April 2006

Ants, spiders, dogs and more ants

Who's leading who? Dog or boys?
Marian Valley is nestled in the rainforests near Canungra in Queensland. They hold many special days for various feasts as well as Saturday and Sunday devotions. This week however we pretty much had the place to ourselves.
Whilst I was helping with the accounts and computer system, Lana and the children played. (As often happens!)
Father Columba has a little dog Angus who was very excited to have lots of little people with which to play. One of the slopes was steep enough to slide down and after some sorting through boxes, Father provided us with a perfect piece of cardboard.
Unfortunately, much of the morning's fun was stopped when Clare was bitten twice by bull ants. These black ants, about 1cm long (.4 inch), clung on and dug in. Luckily most of them clung to Clare's dress, but one bit her elbow, and another her leg. Some diversion therapy worked wonders and the pain soon faded. "OK," we said, "Play in those trees over there. Avoid where that ant's nest was."
Next Clare was rushed in carried by Ariel with the news a spider had bitten her on the toe. I was there when she arrived and using the appropriate diversion therapy techniques first spoke calmly, and cleaned her toe, whilst asking questions about the spider and what actually happened. Running through my mind was a tale one of the Brothers had just told me when one of them was bitten and had to be airlifted to hospital! Anyway, as I was trying to determine which toe was bitten I hid her toes with one hand whilst I touched a different toe. "Ow!" Clare yelled. "That was the wrong toe, Clare." I replied. She looked at me sternly and made me stop hiding her toes with my hand.

Jumper Ants attacking infidel invaders!
Later that afternoon, Clare discovered a jumper ant's nest whilst trying to slide down the hill. Lana heard her yelling and saw the ground move. There were lots of these black and red ants with long pincers racing towards Clare. She had just been standing there and watching the others. It looked as if the grass was moving as each ant jumped about 5cm (2 inches) from grass blade to grass blade rushing to get closer. Lana quickly pulled Clare away and then remembering her duty to Bruggie Tales took some photos. This is a cropped close up. Lana didn't want to get TOO close. Click on the photo for a more detailed look. Once more we were glad we come from hardy peasant stock and Clare had no reaction to the bite. Other than an aversion to going anywhere near the hillside!

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