“I want to stand as close to the edge as I can without going over. Out on the edge you see all the kinds of things you can't see from the center.” Kurt Vonnegut Jr.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Up came a spider

As you can see from the size of my finger, this was a substantial spider. She had an eggsac beneath her, and was not intereted in moving at all. She hung out on the wall outside our back door for a day, then disappeared. I looked it up in a book on NZ spiders at the Arataki Visitor's Center (it was a big book!) and decided it was a wolf spider, but based on the size difference between the two as described by Landcare, lead me to think it is a nurseryweb spider.
We had a two week visit from Darin's mom, so we had fun taking her around to see the North Island. During our visit to the Northland (yes, again!!), we hit the historical highlights: the Waitangi Treaty Grounds, the old stone store and missionary house in Kerikeri, and the museum in Russell. My favorite was the old stone store, where I learned that a horrendous Maori inter-tribe massacre followed the sale of guns by Samuel Marsden, the first missionary to give a sermon in NZ, to a Maori chief out for revenge. I found it ironic that a man who was there to spread Christianity also profited from tools of death. On further consideration, this isn't really too much of a surprise. Just look at what the European settlers did to the Native Americans. The Maori have survived and have a relatively intact culture in NZ, at least superficially. Given the violence of the past, our relatively peaceful coexistance is impressive.

Anyway, as I was saying, we had really nice weather again, despite rain forcasts. We loved the Kauri museum, which is off the main road back toward Auckland. This place is huge and has a robot cow that you can milk by pushing a button. The best part of that museum is the kauri gum display.
We're headed back up to Tutukaka this weekend for our second dive trip to the Poor Knights Islands, with our friend Roberta and two friends of hers from work. I've been busy at work, and will be glad to get underwater where I can focus on breathing in and out, slowly, deeply.
In bird news, we have only one Araucana left, which we really hope is a hen. We had started to hear crowing, and we can't keep roosters. Darin got up early and spent much time outside waiting to see which one crowed, and the rooster was moved with two suspected hens to my sister's house. We continued to hear crowing, however, and three more cockerels were identified. Two of them are in the freezer now, and the other went to join his mates at Barb's. Now we have the two rescues and one Araucana who might be a hen, and none are laying eggs. Any...day...now! Meanwhile, I've made feijoa and date loaf several times, with happy results. The photo is of feijoas.