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Archive for the 'Nature' Category

Dogsledding, Churchill, Manitoba, Canada #travel

During our visit to Churchill, we spent a morning at Wapusk Adventures, the largest dog sled kennels in Canada.

The owners are passionate about their dogs and sledding, and I found the owner’s talk both interesting and inspiring. After learning about the dogs and the sport of sledding, we got to meet the dogs and do a mile circuit with a team of sled dogs. Fun times. After our sled ride, I had to purchase a T-shirt to add to my collection. I am now the proud owner of an Ididamile T-shirt.

If you’re ever up in Churchill I recommend a visit to Wapusk Adventures.

Watch for Mushers

Some of the local signage…

Dogs

The dogs knew that some of them were about to go for a run. They barked and jumped around trying to grab attention. It was the doggie version of pick me! Pick me!

Shelley and one of the locals

Me with one of the locals.

Time for a sleep

I didn’t get picked. I think I’ll have a snooze.

Hubby and I with our dog team

This is hubby and I during our sled ride. So much fun!

Polar Bear Jail, Churchill, Canada #travel #animals

The locals in Churchill do their best to deter polar bears from wandering into town. Conservation officers patrol during the season and attempt to scare bears away from the Churchill township if they get too close. They use noise to scare them such as fire crackers and air horns and as a last resort set traps.

Once a bear is trapped, the conservation officers take them back to the polar bear holding facility, also known as polar bear jail. Here they stay until the end of the season when they are relocated. During their incarceration, the bears are not fed. Originally, the bears were fed, but this seemed to draw more bears to town, so the decision was made to follow nature and only give the bears water.

Guard

This was our guard at the the parking lot where we transferred from the tundra buggy to the bus.

Bear Trap

Bear Trap

These are the traps used to catch bears that come too close to town. Once the bear walks inside the trap, the door comes down behind it.

The polar bear jail

Hubby and I posing outside the polar bear jail. The public are not allowed inside to ensure as little contact with the bears as possible. They want the bears to remain wary of humans and stay away.

Polar Bear Jail

This is the mural painted on the side of the polar bear jail. Cool, isn’t it?

Polar Bear

A final photo of a polar bear. This one stayed far away from the traps!

My Curls Are Natural. It’s True, I’m Telling You! #cute #animals

I took this photo at the local A & P show. This fellow was a bit of a poser with his cute curls.

Angora Goat

Dinosaur of the Insect World #travel #NewZealand

The weta – it’s a large and primitive insect, native to New Zealand. The reason I chose to write about wetas today is so more people know what they are. When I used a weta reference in my book Janaya, my editor didn’t know what I was talking about and I had to rewrite slightly to describe a weta as a prehistoric cricket-like insect.

Tree Weta, New Zealand

There are five broad groups of weta:

1. Tree weta
2. Ground weta
3. Cave weta
4. Giant weta
5. Tusked weta

Wetas are nocturnal and live in a variety of habitats including grassland, scrub land, forests and caves. They live under stones and in rotten logs or in pre-formed burrows in trees.

They are mainly herbivores in the wild but are known to eat other insects. They can bite but are not poisonous. Species of weta are still being discovered and several are endangered. In the wild, they were traditionally eaten by the tuatara (a prehistoric reptile native to NZ) but these days many are destroyed by rats, cats and dogs and of course, humans encroaching on their habitat.

The weta sheds its exoskeleton when moulting.

At 18 months the male weta selects a female and they spend time together in the male’s territory. (Romance in the insect world!)

At around two years old, the female will lay 100 – 300 eggs. The parents die before the weta eggs hatch 3 – 5 months later.

The Department of Conservation in New Zealand is currently involved in weta breeding programs and translocation to safe sites such as protected islands like Tiritiri Matangi and Little Barrier Island in the Hauraki Gulf. The weta respond well to a captive breeding program.

The following video is of a giant weta.

I’ve never seen a giant weta but have personal experience with both tree and cave wetas. We often find tree wetas in our garden and will return them to live in peace. They can nip and look creepy but I don’t mind them.

My experience with cave wetas is a bit more spooky. When I was a kid, my girlfriend lived on a farm with limestone caves. It was a favorite pastime to visit the caves and wander through them with a candle and maybe a torch to search for stalactites, stalagmites and glow worms. When I think about our cave visits now, I can see how dangerous it was, but for us it was an adventure – an hour or two of wandering through pristine caves. One day we discovered a new tunnel and were all set to charge into it to explore. I happened to shine the torch over the ceiling and it was covered with huge cave wetas! I let out a screech and dropped the torch, and we all decided to explore another part of the cave. I also took to checking my gumboots carefully and shaking vigorously before I put my feet in them. This lasted for a few weeks until the initial horror passed. I’ve never been bitten by a weta, but I’m always careful not to get too close either. I can appreciate them from a distance.

How are you with insects? Do you like them or hate them with a passion? Do you have any insect stories to tell? What do you think of New Zealand’s weta?

So I Told Her Everything… #cute #animals

Camera Critters

I took this photo at the Royal Easter Show in Sydney. It always makes me smile because it looks as if the sheep are gossiping. At least, the first sheep is and she’s put the other one to sleep.

Sheep

What do you think the sheep might be saying?

Middlemarch Shifters: Sutton Salt Lake #travel #newzealand

Several of the books in my Middlemarch Shifters series mention Sutton Salt Lake. In My Feline Protector, a villain terrorizes the heroine during a visit to the lake.

Our visit was a peaceful one.

Sutton Salt Lake is an inland lake. It is an unusual lake because, as the name suggests, the water is  salty rather than fresh. During the summer the water evaporates and salt forms on the surface. These photos were taken in late November and the lake was almost completely dry, despite it not being the height of our New Zealand summer. (that’s around late Jan, early Feb). It was also very smelly!

Middlemarch Sutton Salt Lake

Sutton Salt Lake 2

Sutton Salt Lake

My Feline Protector – One of the books in the Middlemarch Shifters that mentions Sutton Salt Lake.

ShelleyMunro_MyFelineProtector_200pxA glimpse across a crowded room…

Feline shapeshifter Gerard Drummond catches sight of a human woman with innocent eyes and lush curves and he’s toast. He desperately wants to meet her, and with his best friend Henry as his wingman, he’s soon chatting with the gorgeous London Allbright and her sister Jenny.

Despite swearing off men, the sexy Middlemarch local charms London, and she agrees to take part in a zombie run, even though she isn’t athletic in the least. The longer she spends with Gerard, the more she’s tempted, but no…she’s heading back to England and has no time for romance.

The obstacles aren’t only on the zombie run course. Gerard can’t let London leave, and now it seems Henry is hitting it off with London’s sister. There must be a way…

A shocking murder changes everything and throws their lives into turmoil. Gerard and London, Henry and Jenny. Nothing will ever be the same as danger stalks London, and Gerard struggles to keep his English beauty safe.

Warning: Contains a sexy feline male who knows exactly who he wants and isn’t afraid to chase her, to woo her, to protect and love her until she decides to stop running.

Read an excerpt here

Hanging Out With My Buddy #animal #cute

Camera Critters

I took this photo during a visit to my father’s farm. The pigs and cattle were grazing peacefully together and these two seemed like best friends.

Shelley 153

To see more animal photos visit Camera Critters

I Spy With My Beady Eye #animal #cute

Camera Critters

I snapped this shot at my local agricultural show at the end of last year. This hen was certainly watching me closely!

Hen

To see more animal photos visit Camera Critters

Struttin’ My Stuff #animal #cute

Camera Critters

I took this photo at the Sydney Botanical Gardens in December of last year. He was strutting around and posing for all the tourists.

Cockatoo

To see more animal photos visit Camera Critters

Moon Called – Facts and Superstitions About the Moon

Moon

The moon is fascinating—at least I find it interesting. There is nothing more romantic than a walk under a cloudless sky with a full moon.

Facts about the moon:

  1. The moon is the Earth’s only natural satellite.
  2. The moon is 384,403 kilometers from the Earth.
  3. It takes the moon 27.3 days to orbit the Earth.
  4. Neil Armstrong was the first person to step on the moon. He is one of 12 people who have walked on the moon.
  5. The surface of the moon is covered with craters from collisions with comets and asteroids.
  6. The Earth’s tides are caused mainly by the gravitational pull of the moon.
  7. A lunar eclipse causes when the Earth is between the moon and the sun.
  8. The moon is shaped like an egg. The larger end points toward Earth.
  9. A survey was conducted in 1988, and 13% of those questioned believed the moon was made from cheese.
  10. The moon has no atmosphere.

Moon1

Sometimes the moon is visible during the day, which was when this photo was taken.

Moon2

There moon is the subject of many superstitions.

Here are a few:

  1. A full moon is when men transform into wolves.
  2. A full moon is a good time to start a new job or finish old business.
  3. A full moon can make you crazy. Police and hospitals will confirm that there are more problems around a full moon.

Do you have anything to add?