13 November 2012

Bits and pieces

Ugh. I have been sick for a couple of days and mostly off work. And my car is getting fixed so I can't drive anywhere.

Here is a bunch of postcards for nephews and nieces. Two of them are book covers. The Ladybird one is actually the total cover, empty. I wrote inside and sewed it up to be cut open when it was received.

The cricket returned to work! Well, it was probably a different one as I found a mostly dead one outside the door too. Definitely female, it has an ovipositor. No mistaking those Latin words.

On reflection I should have moved it further as there is certainly no dirt in the yard at work for burrowing. I thought the males built the burrows anyway - they serve as echo chambers for their chirping to attract females. I heard a very loud one for a little while at home tonight but it stopped quite quickly, so perhaps it found a mate. Now there are many softly chirping in the distance.

There is a solar eclipse tomorrow morning. It can be safely viewed in Canberra from Mount Stromlo for free. The Obervatory has an online site where you can check for cloud cover etc before making the trip up there. This is what it looked like last night.

I have been cactus rustling. This involves collecting bits of cactus for my collection. It has not been as fun as I hoped so far. First trip, got some nice pieces of Pachycereus - possibly, tall columnar species anyway. Pretty well spiked in the back of my hand. It swelled up for a day. Those cuttings are healing now before planting. Second trip I got some pieces of an Opuntia variety. Nasty, nasty, nasty. They don't tend to have "hard" spikes or thorns, but collections of little hairs. I had to pick quite a few out of my forearms, plus throw the bag and the gloves away. Then those particular cuttings rotted within a day for some reason, so it all went in the bin.

You never know how long it will take a cactus to take root from a cutting. A piece collected in Adelaide last Christmas has just started growing. It could have been the dormant period and a lack of light too, but it went into a pot in January I think. What was a round ball seems to be elongating upwards.


Unknown said...

where do you rustle up cacti?

Alf said...

I usually visit Cactopotamia, in the north, or the Cactus Freelands that start at the western border of the Australian Capital Territory; depending on how my horse feels.

Wehn I ain't travellin' equestrian style, I just keep an eye out, so mostly anywhere cactus is found.