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Entry 617, on 2007-10-01 at 20:07:20 (Rating 1, Activities)
Yesterday I spent a day tidying up our garden. The weather is starting to improve here in New Zealand (southern hemisphere spring) so its good to get out and tidy up the section a bit. Wait a minute - no it isn't - there are plenty of other things I would rather do! Really the worst thing about gardening is the feeling I get that the constant battle against weeds is one that I will never win!
Anyway, the most interesting part of the whole thing was when I moved a pile of bricks from one part of the garden to another. They had been stacked ready for a paving project which never eventuated. There were about 100 bricks which had been sitting in one spot for a few months. The cool thing was how many small invertebrates I discovered in the pile. There was even a transition in the species from the drier top part of the pile to the damper areas at the bottom.
I scanned through my guide to identifying New Zealand "bugs" (yes, I know the word bug means something else in the scientific sense, I will use it with the common meaning here). These are the species I identified: slaters (hundreds of them), flatworms, some vagrant spiders, a scarab beetle, several sheetweb spiders, several slater spiders (presumably enjoying the slaters), some silverfish, a tree weta, a slug, and an earthworm (I think I identified those correctly but I'm not an entomologist). There was a real little ecosystem going on in there and it had established itself after just a few months.
No doubt there would be some casualties after I moved their home, but I did carefully relocate the weta (I like wetas). The best thing about bugs in New Zealand is that we don't really have anything dangerous here. There is the native katipo spider which can have a painful bite but it is rarely dangerous and only lives in tussock. There is also an occasional (unwelcome) spider imported from Australia, but these tend to live further north. So I didn't need to worry about being bitten by anything nasty.
So that was my adventure in the garden yesterday. See, even when I'm out enjoying the great outdoors I can still be a science geek - that takes skill!
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