Friday, September 11, 2009

An afternoon with Aussie Mueller

Last Sunday I drove out to that Kansas land since I had nothing better to do while waiting for my computer to get repaired (errrgh, a whole week of waiting).

And who should be waiting for me? Aussie Mueller, of course.

This is a "before" picture taken before we went stomping around looking for property markers (I should have taken a "before" picture of myself). Not too many things stuck in her fur so far...

I have stomped with Aussie several times looking for those property markers. I have found just two. Two! They weren't hard to find because the surveyors marked those two corners with pink paint and lots and lots of flags. It's just that there are supposed to be up to six other markers and those six continue to be exceptionally elusive.

At this time of year, the orb weavers are busy and have their webs tethered to just about every tree in the area. Aussie Mueller and I stomped through these dense spider areas in search of a marker, any marker.

At first I was respectful of the spiders and their enormous webs by trying to walk around the webs and their tethers but after a while, there were just so many, I just walked right through them and then brushed the web off me while I walked through the next one. Aussie was lucky because the spiders weren't building their webs at her eye level. Every web seemed to be built for my particular eye level. I haven't met any of my neighbors yet and am glad no one got to make a first impression after seeing me with a couple hours of web remnants collected on my face.

The first time I saw a spiny backed orb weaver a month or so ago, I thought it was the most exotic and rare and peculiar thing I had ever seen. One month later, I find they are the most ubiquitous insect on my property. They are absolutely everywhere. That doesn't mean I don't find them any less fascinating.

Such odd looking things...

This one has a plain bottom but others have designs on the...bottom of their bottoms.

Aussie was pretty good about letting me stop and take pictures. She would run ahead of me and sit with her back to me and wait. I'm not sure if she was waiting for me or perhaps waiting for someone to whistle for her to return to her own yard. I guess it doesn't matter because when she wandered off, she would always come back to check on me.

I saw a red spot in the distance and thought it could be a marker. It didn't make sense for a marker to be where it was in the middle of the woods and on a hill like that but the color was so crazy bright, it had to be something.

When I got closer, I found out it was a tight bunch of Jack-in-the-pulpit berries. I had never seen a Jack-in-the-pulpit before, let alone the berries. And there it was, all alone in the woods.


...but not for long.

Oh good grief. I was on the ground trying to get a good photo and then all of a sudden...THIS (notice the new collection of bright green seeds of something that Aussie is wearing).

Aussie got all over me and then stomped all over the Jack-in-the-pulpit. Dogs don't make the best photography assistants but I am not complaining. :-)

At the end of the day we were tired and full of burs and seeds and leaves and webs and who knows what else. We never did find any of the markers but I'm calling it a successful day because we had such a good time together. And yes, the two of us looked pretty bad when we were all done stomping a couple acres. At least I didn't add to the look I had acquired over the day by ending it with a jump in the creek.


Maureen said...

What a treat to take a walk in the woods with you and Aussie. More please!

Leenie said...

Glad your 'puter is fixed. Welcome back. Fun exploring. Refreshing to find someone who is fascinated by spiders not freaked out by them.

Mental P Mama said...

LOL. That poor dog with all those burs. And the spiders? I'm glad they are there and not here.

Maria said...

Aw Maureen-You got it! I hope to get out there again this weekend.

Leenie-I am sooooo happy to have my computer back and it is sooooo nice to BE back. Yeah. Have to admit I have a special fascination for spiders. I think the fascination started when I saw the faces of jumping spiders enlarged on my computer. I cannot get enough of their expressions. I've been trying to photograph other spider faces but those jumpers are special.

Mental-Maybe you ought to stay away from this blog for a couple days. I think I'm going to write more about spiders and that means photos.....of spiders. :-)

Yes. That poor dog was a mess when we said our good-byes. I think it's a full time job for TWO people to keep a country dog free of burs. I might stick a dog comb in my car so I can at least contribute a little with the bur removal. I owe Aussie that much. :-)

Country Girl said...

When I take walks in the woods in September, I often take a big stick with me. I wave the stick in front of me back and forth to collect all the orbs and spiders so I don't have to walk through them.
I call those little burr things hitchhikers. I think.

Maria said...

Kate-Why, that is so smart. I'll definitely do that next time. I just didn't know there were going to be THAT many spiders and that they'd be at all levels, especially eye level.