Slug eggs.

16 04 2012

I often come across what I suspect to be slug eggs when digging or planting or just moving things from one spot to another. Today is the first time that I’ve found eggs I could identify without doubt as the nascent slugs were visible curled in their translucent beds, these tiny eggs of a transparent beauty to rival the wildflowers of early spring.

Slugs inhabit a no-man’s land of disquieting sliminess, small and harmless but unloved. Why is it, I wonder, that snails are beloved, cute, pictured on greeting cards and in children’s books, while slugs are so reviled? When I had a bed of strawberries I reviled them both equally, despoilers of my food; they would nibble the first bit of the berry that turned red, then eat it from the inside. I’d smash them and slice them and drown them willy-nilly, a fierce if futile war between farmer (such as I was) and pest. But now I have no competition with the slugs, so I mostly leave them alone and I’m able to simply appreciate the beauty of these tiny jewels enclosing tiny bits of life.

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Not everyone has a marsupium.

23 06 2009

There are firewood rounds sitting on my driveway arranged around the basketball hoop.

A tree leaned its way across my driveway in a winter windstorm and the inexperienced handyman cut all of the rounds at an angle, so they are devilish to split, but I’m making progress, if only to make basketball less treacherous now that Robin has grown large enough to play.

Lifting one onto the chopping block, I disturbed dozens of tiny shelled creatures who had made their home in the decaying wood at the bottom.

Woodlice.

Sow bugs, these are called.

They’d be pillbugs, if they rolled that way. (or any number of other names)

Crustaceans, like lobsters and shrimp and such.

Woodlouse seems like a nasty name for a creature that come out of the wood looking so clean and does no harm in the world, really – mostly just helping already decaying things along their way.

Detrivores.

One of them was the largest I’d ever seen, as big as my fingernail, bigger than the biggest watermelon seeds from my childhood memories of gargantuan Hempstead, Texas watermelons. In Texas I was told that like armadillos, they could carry leprosy. This is a canard, but there is some size at which crawling things go from almost cute to almost creepy, and this one edged toward creepy. She was large enough that I after I coaxed her onto my hand, I could feel her individual feet as she ran along the back of my finger and eventually to my arm. I flipped her over to see the gills on her undersides, the 14 wiggling legs, and what I think was the white marsupium where she would store her eggs – or could have been storing them yet.

In this picture you can see one shedding its skin – they do one half at a time, for some unknown reason.





Don’t be shy.

31 05 2009

Deer eyeing me.
I walked out on the front deck this morning to knock the dried bits of grass off of my best pair of jeans so I could wash them. I shook them a couple times and startled the young deer that was feeding on my landscaping. My deck is high off the ground, and he spun around, a bit of greenery still in his mouth.

It doesn’t seem to matter how quiet I am – the deer run away. So I went ahead and shook the pants some more, struck them against the railing and brushed them with my hand. The deer must have decided that I was noisy enough to be harmless without being too startling, since he went back to feeding.

He looks young and frail, ribs showing, tiny nubs of antlers barely visible, if I’m even seeing them right.
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Sunset Sky

15 05 2009

Click on the images for higher resolution versions.DSC_0006 - Copy

DSC_0009 Stitch Shrink
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