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Sunday, April 22, 2012

Stick insects, snakes and other new chums...

Good Morning all:

 Louise here again at the helm of the blog, letting you into all the goss, glamour and goings on that make Maggie Island so attractive;  what an exciting time Matt and I have been having since my last post on 16th March;  so (like Julie Andrews says in that dreadful song)  I should start at the very beginning and take it from there...

Weather wise its been rain, heat (32C) and more rain, but mercifully since the La Nina event we are having in here in Australia has been ending, the high humidity has gone down.  And that concludes the weather report for the tropics; same, same;  Honestly  - when we get a correct forecast here, we cheer!

As my blog title suggests we have had a few run ins with critters, and below is the biggest one for sure.

After much rain, on 20th March, we decided to get off our bums and go for a walk up the road, and we found a HORSE!

20.3.12 Apjohn St, Horseshoe Bay.

As with most things in my life, there is a story attached;  Across Apjohn Street runs a creek about 50cm deep and this horse was on one side of it, and we were on the other; it obviously was lost, and being a bit of a 'dog whisperer', I called to it.   The horse just trotted through the water towards me and followed Matt and I up the road;  We assumed it had come from the local horse ranch. (see pic below)

Matt outside Horseshoe Ranch April 2012

Luckily for us a lovely lady named Hiker drove past us and stopped us and asked us where we had found the horse, we explained that it was following us home and she explained that she knew the owner:  he was one of the wildlife carers at the Bungalow Bay Backpackers.  She then kindly drove to the Backpackers to let the owner know that his horse was out.   By now we are out of the front of our house, the horse is munching away on the grass and the police have turned up.  Did the local constabulary think we were modern day horse rustlers?  I lamely explained to the officer that we 'found' the animal and the owner was hopefully coming soon.  

A few minutes later a blue Ute truck arrived with the owner of the horse:  A small nuggetty man who looked about 50 got out and gave me a stern look.  There was no 'Thanks so much for finding my horse " or similar.  I explained what had occurred and twice he said to me in a very 'I don't believe you' tone of voice 'my horse walked through the floods on the road?'  He then made a bridle from some rope and walked "Primrose" down to the Horse Ranch, leaving the girl he was with to drive his Ute; it turned out she couldn't manage the clutch, so Matt drove it down to the Ranch; again not a word of thanks was offered.   Maybe I'm just being old fashioned here but when someone helps me out I profess my thanks in no uncertain terms.  I thought we were being neighbourly but maybe I am wrong.

On Sunday 25th March Matt called me into the garden to show me a praying mantis he had found, I grabbed the camera and as I was making clucky noises the damn thing actually turned to look at me... Who said insects are dumb...???   He was big too, about  6 inches (20cm).

Who are you looking at?  25.3.12 In our garden.

The next day I was wheeling out the rubbish bins onto the street and I found this:

Here is the junior version of his Dad (or Mum) I found 2 days before.  He/she is a spotted python and is harmless I am happy to say.  Snakes don't bother me, but Matt ran for the broom on seeing this!

Our neighbour Sally is not too keen on snakes, so when I told her what we found (above) she turned   a bit pale.  She found a black whip snake under her bin the next week, and it was then Matt called the council to get the next door empty block mowed to prevent any more snakes visiting.

On Thurs 5 April we ventured into town to see stand up comic Ross Noble do a show at the Townsville Civic Theatre; and very funny he was too:  How that man can just pick on a subject and go off on many weird tangents is just beyond me.  But he does and bless him for doing so, as Matt was nearly choking with laughter next to me in Row X at the back.  Our next show is Stephen K Amos and then the Melbourne Comedy Festival is coming to town.  Should be good.

On Friday 13th we decided to go mental and attend the Full Moon Party at the Base Backpackers down the road, a Sydney DJ, Tydi, was playing and we have been saying for ages that we should go and see if its any good.   I should point out that if one is a resident of Magnetic Island, the entry fee is $10 and not $20!  Bargain!  So we went and gyrated around for a bit and left at 4.30 am so it must have been good.  Tydi did a banging 2 hour set, and we will go again if he is on:  the DJs on before were not that good and I can't remember their names, which says it all I think.

Rain,  lots of rain, rain like I've never seen before, like the roof was going to cave in it was drumming so hard, and the garden turned into a lake;  welcome to the tropics, where it RAINS!  As mentioned in my opening, a rain storm came over the island on 16 and 17th March, and we drove around to see how bad it was;  On Horseshoe bay beach, which is always flat as a super model's chest, it was blowing hard and it had waves (see photo below) rolling in.

Horseshoe Bay beach 16.3.12

And driving around was a major achievement, due to all the streams emptying from the surrounding hills, onto the main road.

Horseshoe Bay Road; 17.3.12

And outside our house, the road gave way with the rain!  18.3.12

Now for something completely different:  

Yogurt, do you love it or hate it?  Me, I love the damn stuff and eat tons:  So, luckily for me,  I was poking about the Internet when I found on Youtube a vid on how to make yogurt at home, using, wait for it...  a crock pot (or slow cooker ): no need for a thermometer or double boiler, and its all in 3 easy steps.  Well -  I gave it a whirl and it came out fan bloody tastic! Highly recommended and very, very easy.  check out the link below and give it go; I am never buying the shop stuff again.

Last Wednesday, 18/4/12  Matt was taking some lentils out of the microwave (yes, we eat hippy food!) and the dish slipped and he badly scalded himself over his left wrist;  Lentils were strewn all over the kitchen floor and I rushed him to the laundry sink to run the cold tap over his arm for about 5 minutes.  It looked very pink, and I left him there while I cleaned up the floor and then sat him in the chair, with his arm resting in a 3L stainless steel bowl of cold water; he was not happy!

About 830pm we heard a commotion on the decking.  Thinking it was the wallaby and the possums fighting over the food bowls, I put on the outside light to check what was going on;  the next thing I am yelling at Matt 'Quick its a Koala!'  For there,  before my eyes, was a koala hanging onto one of the the poles that supports the roof.  Matt sprang out of the chair, water flying in all directions, to see for himself (as I suspect he thought I was on a wind up).  'Get the camera Lou!' was his cry and I ran for the compact digital and Matt got close and took this shot:

8.30 pm: 18.4.12  Our furry new chum on our decking.  What a spinout!

Now for all the David Attenborough fans out there, koala eat gum leaves and nothing but.  There are NO gum trees near our house, so we are confused as to what he/she was doing at our  house...  We quickly turned off the decking lights and our chum ran along the side of our house, never to be seen again...  It was all very bizarre...  The noise was the possums and wallabies fleeing in terror; those claws in the pic are sharp and these animals are not to be trifled with.

And he left scratch marks on the pole too, the little bugger.

 I have seen koalas here on Maggie before, about 1999 I think, on the way to 'The Forts' an old WW2 area south of Horseshoe Bay on top of a hill.   But this one being so close take the biscuit;  Nah,  the whole packet!

Now dear reader(s), I shall end on this furry note.

 I have some good chums coming from Sydney on Thursday for a week, so I will regale my fans with all the adventures we have with them next time I write.

Adios amigos