Author Topic: General Discussion Thread  (Read 638345 times)

Sc0ut

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Re: General Discussion Thread
« Reply #17445 on: July 17, 2017, 04:26:49 AM »
Róisín, thank you for the update on Australian adventures :D I think laugh and swear is an appropriate reaction, to this episode and just Australia in general.

Feartheviolas

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Re: General Discussion Thread
« Reply #17446 on: July 17, 2017, 08:48:39 AM »
Don't know whether to laugh or swear. At present I'm doing both. Weather in southern Australia is extremely bleak at present, temps hovering around zeroC, bucketing sleety rain or rainy sleet with the occasional bit of hail.  So I decided that it was probably unwise to work outdoors all day, but didn't want to spend the day indoors when there were flying stormclouds and beautiful light and flocks of wild birds going over..... Anyway, I decided to work out on the back verandah, where I could still see the sky but had a bit of protection from the wind. Weeded and tidied the plants there, distangled the piles of string and twine, pruned back some of the grapevine, sorted out empty boxes, straightened the chairs, discovered lost tools, that sort of thing.

Then I found my gumboots, which had been knocked down from the boot tree, probably by cats, possums or the owl that hunts along the verandah at night. These are a new, quality pair of gumboots which I bought this Autumn just past, having realised we were in for a bad Winter, and my old ones having started to leak. Went to pick them up, and gave them a shake, this being Australia where venomous wildlife is quite likely to take up residence in neglected boots. Recognised what started to fall out and hastily tipped the boot flat again so as not to dislodge them further.

My gumboots - both of them - have been colonised by bullants in the couple of weeks since I last wore them. I can't tip them out,because in this weather the bullants and their larvae will die. So I moved them, very cautiously, on a shovel, and have put them under the porch ramp where they will be warm but visiting kids won't find them and get bitten. Looks my gumboots are out of commission for the winter. As I said, don't know whether to laugh or swear.

I'm curious, why do you keep your boots in a tree?
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Róisín

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Re: General Discussion Thread
« Reply #17447 on: July 17, 2017, 09:29:34 AM »
Heh. Hadn't realised what that would sound like. No, a 'boot tree' is a thing that looks a bit like a coat rack, only shorter and with the spikes pointing upward. It is usually placed outside but under cover near the back door, and when you come inside you hang your boots on it, each on its spike, open side down. This allows the boots to dry and the mud to flake off, while discouraging the small but venomous wildlife from taking up residence in your boots. Except that the larger wildlife had knocked my boots down and I hadn't noticed, which is why the bullants had chosen said boots as an overwintering site, which has put the boots out of commission until warmer weather. I'll reclaim them in the Spring, when the bullants will move out and dig an earth nest and build up their numbers again. They overwinter in small numbers - a queen, a few dozen workers and some eggs and larvae - in a warm sheltered spot so they don't freeze or drown.
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thorny

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Re: General Discussion Thread
« Reply #17448 on: July 17, 2017, 09:50:03 AM »
I've got to say that I like knowing other people who think it's entirely reasonable to go without their boots all winter rather than ruin an ants' nest.

Róisín, I hope you can manage to get another pair of nonleaky boots! you deserve them.

Feartheviolas

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Re: General Discussion Thread
« Reply #17449 on: July 17, 2017, 01:33:12 PM »
Heh. Hadn't realised what that would sound like. No, a 'boot tree' is a thing that looks a bit like a coat rack, only shorter and with the spikes pointing upward. It is usually placed outside but under cover near the back door, and when you come inside you hang your boots on it, each on its spike, open side down. This allows the boots to dry and the mud to flake off, while discouraging the small but venomous wildlife from taking up residence in your boots. Except that the larger wildlife had knocked my boots down and I hadn't noticed, which is why the bullants had chosen said boots as an overwintering site, which has put the boots out of commission until warmer weather. I'll reclaim them in the Spring, when the bullants will move out and dig an earth nest and build up their numbers again. They overwinter in small numbers - a queen, a few dozen workers and some eggs and larvae - in a warm sheltered spot so they don't freeze or drown.

Ahh ok, we have things like that for our winter boots, they are heated and you use them to dry and warm your boots after the snow, but ours are usually inside. The combination of boot tree and outside had me picturing some kind of old knarled tree with boots hung all over it... XD
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Róisín

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Re: General Discussion Thread
« Reply #17450 on: July 17, 2017, 07:26:53 PM »
Nah, just dowel rods, though I have seen the other kind.

And thorny, I'm glad you don't think I'm crazy! I figure I can get more boots more easily than the ants can relocate and move their babies in this level of cold and damp. I will kill things if they are an active danger, or an animal I am going to eat, but I see no reason to kill anything wantonly, or just for convenience.
« Last Edit: July 17, 2017, 07:33:49 PM by Róisín »
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midwestmutt

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Re: General Discussion Thread
« Reply #17451 on: July 17, 2017, 08:15:34 PM »
Nah, just dowel rods, though I have seen the other kind.

And thorny, I'm glad you don't think I'm crazy! I figure I can get more boots more easily than the ants can relocate and move their babies in this level of cold and damp. I will kill things if they are an active danger, or an animal I am going to eat, but I see no reason to kill anything wantonly, or just for convenience.
Of course the trees have thorns. It's Australia! I looked up bull ants too. Are these the jumping variety? All your daily life is missing is Richard Attenborough to narrate.

Róisín

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Re: General Discussion Thread
« Reply #17452 on: July 17, 2017, 08:34:53 PM »
Jackjumpers, which is the local name for the ones that leap and sting, are a kind of bullant, but they tend to build a gravel mound nest which they can inhabit over the winter. These are a different sort, larger and shiny black. We have maybe six or seven kinds of bullants in our area, and who knows how many kinds of smaller ants. Lots of ants in Australia, because the climate and conditions suit them. They can be a nuisance, but they are useful creatures. They kill a lot of worse pests, clean up carrion, keep the soil aerated in areas too dry for worms to survive, and help to germinate tree seeds.

But yeah, sometimes living here it does seem as if all it needs is an Attenborough in the background....
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Kelpie

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Re: General Discussion Thread
« Reply #17453 on: July 18, 2017, 12:44:10 AM »
I know I'm barely here anymore, but I finally brainstormed with friends and came up with a name to replace the one I never really liked. That only took a year and a half. So hi now I'm a shape-shifting horse that will drown you.
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Róisín

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Re: General Discussion Thread
« Reply #17454 on: July 18, 2017, 01:04:44 AM »
Or you might rather be the beautiful Australian herding dog called a kelpie. They are supposed to be part blue merle collie and part dingo.
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Re: General Discussion Thread
« Reply #17455 on: July 18, 2017, 02:44:57 AM »
Or you might rather be the beautiful Australian herding dog called a kelpie. They are supposed to be part blue merle collie and part dingo.
Oooh I didn't know about them! They are rather beautiful!
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Róisín

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Re: General Discussion Thread
« Reply #17456 on: July 18, 2017, 09:05:25 AM »
Apparently the original kelpie pup was named 'Kelpie' because there was at the time a fashion for giving pets and working animals mythological names, and the breeder was a Scot. Later on, when the black form of the dog emerged, they were named 'Barb Kelpies' after 'The Barb', a famous Melbourne Cup winning pure black horse, since like the horse they were beautiful, black and very, very fast.

My older son used to own one of these hyperactive dogs when he was working in the Outback, and when he came to live in a rural area just outside the city where it, and he, didn't have to work so hard, he would take the dog for a ten-mile run every morning before work. This slowed the dog down a little for the rest of the day, but not by much!
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Re: General Discussion Thread
« Reply #17457 on: July 18, 2017, 07:52:22 PM »
Apparently the original kelpie pup was named 'Kelpie' because there was at the time a fashion for giving pets and working animals mythological names, and the breeder was a Scot.

I've always vaguely wondered what the connection was! I suppose it's lucky that the breed didn't end up named after the nuckelavee.
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Róisín

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Re: General Discussion Thread
« Reply #17458 on: July 18, 2017, 11:23:27 PM »
That would be really scary!
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Re: General Discussion Thread
« Reply #17459 on: July 19, 2017, 10:00:00 AM »
So now I've had to look up the nuckalevee.

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