Dec 7, 2014

Liking spiders a little bit, just a little

I don't like spiders in general, but I am getting used to them. I deal with the ones I find in my house without much fuss.

And I actually find some of the ones outside quite pretty. Was arrested by the sight of the morning sun streaming through the web of this St Andrew's Cross spider.

Here is a close-up :

yellow banded spider cross zig zag

And as I was photographing it, I saw another small spider nearby, busy building its web. It was hanging upside down, apparently in mid-air, and scurrying back and forth.

yellow banded spider cross zig zag

spider building web
Can you see the fine little strands? I photoshopped the photo below to increase the contrast.
spider building web

Nov 5, 2014

The glow worms at Newnes

I had read about glow worms and my curiosity was piqued. Since we were camping not 5 minutes drive from where a glow worm track could be found, hubby, me, the boys, and the not-yet one year old bub (who was in a sling) did the walking track, lead by an experienced scout leader who had done the trail before. It is long though, so be prepared to spend half the day doing this. We did 14 km all in all that day.

It is hard going uphill at first but becomes mostly flat. You can see some rail sleepers along the way and admire the beauty of the bush.

This is where we stopped for a snack.


You walk on for an hour plus before you get to the tunnel.

We walked in with one lead torchlight on low... and fumble about a bit 

And when we were in the center of the tunnel, the leader said, "All lights off."

As we stood in the pitch darkness, the walls and ceiling started twinkling and 'stars' slowly appeared in front of our eyes. It's a little bit of magic...if you have ever seen fireflies light up a tree, you may know what I mean.

I didn't lug a tripod with me on a 14km hike, so could only do so much with the photo, but here it is, boosted.

The boys did well for something that wasn't related to pressing buttons on a remote. Number One whinged a bit, and asked why he had to come when some others had stayed back at camp. I said because it is a family activity and since he was a part of the family, he had to be there.

I think I like outdoor activities because we are 'forced' to be present. Many times, we are there but not present. We are present in our worries, in our chores yet undone, in our Facebook updates and our networked games and our work. When we are at camp, soaking in a creek; when we are trudging up a 45 degree hill, encouraging and helping each other; when we take in nothing but the perfect beauty God created... then, we are truly present.

Oct 25, 2014

The Coke Ovens at Newnes

This is a shale rock. It was mined in Newnes.

According to Wikipedia, "Shale is a fine-grained, clastic sedimentary rock composed of mud that is a mix of flakes of clay minerals and tiny fragments (silt-sized particles) of other minerals, especially quartz and calcite."

Apparently you can get oil out of stone! One of the interesting walks you can do from a Newnes camping ground is the Newnes Industriall Ruins site. It was the site of one of the largest shale oil production schemes in Australia and operated between 1906 and 1932.

These are coke ovens. The only 'coke' I knew was the one which I drink, but this is not that Coke. These coke ovens were used to fuel the boiler plants.

Once you get past the uphill bit, the walk is pretty easy and interesting. It has an 'Indiana Jones' feeling to it as you see crumbling brick and nature re-conquering what was once its domain. You can picture in your mind's eye the hive of activity that once filled the place and contrast that with the utter stillness of today.

The other walk we did was the Glow Worm Tunnel. That was very interesting, though you had to work for that one.