Weekend now means both time to play and time to work. Houses come with a stack of chores, so after spending some Mother’s day time with my mom, I pulled out the lawn mower and took another pass at the the wild jungle of a lawn. (Okay, it’s not that wild.) When you cut it down really low, lopping off all the dandelions and cabbage-esque weeds and what not, it almost looks like a real lawn!

While I was mowing by that infamous box, I saw my first real critter of the day: a huge spider. This wasn’t a huge spider like last week, where it was actually just a tiny body and long spindly legs, this gal was moving in on tarantula turf. She was somewhere between 1-1/2 and 2 inches long, and that was just her body. She had stubby legs, wasn’t hairy like a tarantulay, and was a dark reddish-brown to black color. I tried to look her up online, but the purse-web spider is the closest thing I found. It doesn’t look quite right, and it seems too small. I tried to get a picture of her, but when I came back with the camera, she was gone. I’m pretty sure I mowed her up in the end – with the blade as low as it was, there wasn’t any place for her to hide in the grass.

After I finished mowing, I started rooting up our rock garden, beginning with the “stepping stones” scattered around among the smaller pebbles. Taking good advice from my mom, I wore gloves. There were about 3 score stones to turn over, and about a quarter of them hid ant colonies. As quick as the leaf-filtered light hit them, they’d go scurrying off deeper among the pebbles, carrying their children. One of the colonies had a few big warrior ants (and by big I mean 3/4 inch long) that stuck around to threaten the stick I poked at them with. Half of the remaining stones had salbug colonies under them. I never realized salbugs rolled in crews like that, but each colony probably had 200 salbugs or so. There were a bunch of beetles and spiders and centipedes and whatnot as well, but they were far too fast for me to come back with a camera.

Lastly, I saw a blue-tailed skink! Man, was he fast, and spooked out about being caught out in the open. He tried to make a mad dash up the garage door, but the surface was too slick and he kept sliding back down. Finally he ran off and disappeared into a crack.

Update: I fixed the link to the skink picture.