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I ran away from teaching to the country to grow veggies. There are also some chooks and a pair of troublesome goats who were so much trouble they had to go! My simple green life isn't always as simple or as green as I'd like...but I keep trying!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Inner Space

I have been doing a bit of paving around the potager to make access easier and more logical.  In doing so I had to alter an existing path.  Under the pavers was a whole other world.  I was only tweaking the pavers a little so was able to put them back, albeit at a slightly different angle, so I didn't disturb this subterranean world too much.

Firstly there were worms...great fat worms disappearing down, what looked like, permanent passages.  The worm tunnels also provided easy access for the probing, white roots of couch grass and were home to other beasties.  There were also skinny worms and tiny frantically wiggling, white ones.  

Then were ants and more ants.  Some were reddish brown and so minute I had to put on my glasses to even see them.  There were black ones with lots of eggs and with them some brown ones with big heads.  I am not sure if they were a different ant or just a different form of the same one.
As this path is close to the house, I guess this is where the black ant invasion in the kitchen earlier in the year was launched from. 

There is one of the brown ants at the top of the picture near the middle.  When I pulled the paver up they were together.

The most exciting thing I uncovered was a centipede (scolopendromorpha) curled around a cluster of  eggs.  She was about 7 - 8 cms long (3 inches) and beautifully segmented.  When she walked the segments slid over each other like armour.

You can also see the roots of the couch grass following the worm burrows.

I also spotted a small (less than 1 cm) spider scuttling away.  I have become accustomed to seeing spiders carting around their papery egg sacs of various sizes and forms at this time of the year.  This one, however, was carrying her babies on her back.  I had to take the photo and enlarge it to make sure that is what I was seeing.  Her spiderlings were so tiny!

Didn't someone say that if all the humans disappeared from Earth the insects would continue to thrive but if all the insects were to disappear, humans wouldn't last long?


  1. Yep, I think that is so true Hazel, they do so many things that we don't know about.
    Our yard is full at night of orb weaver spider webs, so much so we cant go to the shed or out to do much at all at night as they are just spun everywhere.....but, I said to my husband, just imagine how many insects they are eating at night that would usually be bothering us....
    ( I still hate spiders though..eek)

  2. Yes they did and how true it would be.Believe it might have been our own Tim Flannery.
    Amazing creatures aren't they? I especially like the centipede and the spider and spiderlings.The life of a paver,hey?
    I see you're not resting up for Christmas.How are the goats?

  3. Oh Hazel, that spider is giving me the heebie jeebies. I worry that something like that will be found one day digging into my brain. I watch too much tv, I know.

  4. But Ali, she was being such a good mummy. I didn't think spiders took such care of their babies. You should give up the TV if it scares you that much.

    Von, I am not 'resting up' because working in the garden in my peace and joy. I hope you have a wonderful time with your sister and much, much, peace and joy.


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