I\’ve noticed many people have trouble knowing how to get started using The Handbook of Nature Study. I found Barb\’s Getting Started section on her blog helpful and even though we live in the Southern Hemisphere many of the challenges she has put together on the blog can be used in our location, just at different times of the year.
We did the cat challenge in the mammal section this month which was fun because our kids love this great slug of a creature regardless of the fact that he\’s not very affectionate most of the time. It\’s amazing how much there is to learn about such a common animal and how much you take for granted just because it is so familiar.
He\’s three years old, sleeps most of the day and likes to find a cosy place where he can fall into a coma for a few hours between feeds. He squeezed into this box my Mother\’s Day present came in…
He\’s made himself comfortable in a suitcase my husband had half unpacked after a trip overseas and one morning I found him curled up in an empty fruit bowl. He wouldn\’t condescend to sit on anyone\’s lap but does give the first one or two people he sees in the morning an affectionate nuzzle.
A few months ago he disappeared for a day or two and our neighbour found him curled up under bushes and brought him home. We noticed he had difficulty moving his back legs and was very docile, which is out of character for him, and we guessed he had a paralysis tick (Ixodes holocyclus). So off to the vet he went. One of the boys now checks him regularly for ticks when he\’s in his sleepy phase. If you can get them before they burrow into the skin they can be removed fairly easily. Once they burrow under the skin and symptoms start they need to be treated with tick anti-serum.
This month we tried to find an easier track to the bike trail we went on last month. We didn\’t find it but we had a good walk along a different trail that eventually led us back to where we first began our walk.
These days we don\’t take our notebooks as we\’re doing a decent walk and no one wants to carry anything. I take my mobile phone for photos and on this walk we tried out the compass app which I only just discovered I had on my phone.
We sometimes get confused where we are because the gum trees blot out a large part of the sky at times so we used the compass to help us to go in the general direction of the bike trail. We could also tell we were going in the right direction from certain landmarks but the bush was too rugged in places for us to go off the beaten track. Maybe next time…