It must be Nature Week for my family. We visited stunning beaches, coastal board walks and lagoons during our weekend away. We returned to knee high grass and a garden fertile with flowering shrubs and insects. Regarding the creatures which share our yard, you could say I'm a bit jumpy.
I'm in a pickle, because I want to raise adventurous kids, and do all the fun things like camping and bushwalking with them, but I dread encounters with ants and mosquitoes. It doesn't help that we're all sensitive to bites, which cause excessive swelling and bruising. Anyway, I'm trying to be philosophical and use these encounters as opportunities for learning.
Our resident Blue Tongue lizard has returned to our backyard after an extended holiday, wherever it is that lizards go for a break. The kids know to keep a safe distance away from him, as last month we watched some you tube clips of people getting too close and being told to go away. In lizard language this is communicated by a swift nip.
On a nicer note, we found a stick insect camouflaged on the brush screen wall of bush fort (cubby house). The kids enjoyed watching him for a while as I read about stick insects from a handy book. They were amazed to learn stick insects can grow a new limb if one is lost.
First photo in this blog ... Miss 4 with the stick insect in a bug catcher just before we released him back onto the cubby house wall where we found him. See our new hanging baskets?
We have just potted 5 hanging baskets with varieties of cherry tomatoes and strawberries. We did this in the sun room, to avoid the ants which populate our back pavers. I am hoping that by putting the kids in charge of watering, I will give these plants a shot at survival. My record with potted plants is atrocious, perhaps due to my reluctance to spend quality time in the garden. Nevertheless, I am determined to let my children have the pleasure of growing delicious, fresh fruit. They already love picking lemons for our drinks. Citrus trees seem to be more forgiving than vegetables :)
Back to ants, busy little creatures that give me the creeps ... we've removed 3 huge bull ants or jumping jacks from the backyard this fortnight. They live at the start of the bush trail across the road. I discovered this when one attached itself to my leg several years ago. Green ants are breeding in the back yard somewhere, so its a quick dash to the swings for the kids, and hanging washing is very scary for me. The kitchens in our holiday cabins last week were both sprinkled with little black ants. Arrrrgh!
I have a love-hate relationship with nature. I love looking at it. I want to be in it but hate when it hurts me. Can we happily coexist? Will my children continue to love nature, as they now do, or succumb to the same paralysis as me, limiting their interaction to the audio visual and behind glass variety?