Wednesday, 19 February 2014

A Helpful Resident !

Damhnán Alla
or in English

The damhnán alla or spider may not be your favourite creature to look at, but you have to admit they are fascinating. There is no shortage of wonderful facts about them that get them noticed either.

All spiders have 8 legs. They arthropods which are invertebrate insects  having an exoskeleton (external skeleton) , a segmented body, and jointed appendages.

Spiders spin webs that they use to catch food in. They have glands that make silk.The silk that they make is stronger than steel and as yet science has yet replicate anything similar.

They are the largest order of Arachnids and are 7th in the world when it comes to diversity among their populations.

Antarctica is the only continent in the world where you can't find spiders.

They don’t have antenna which is what separates them from insects.

There has only been one species identified as vegetarian the rest are all carnivores.

Within the home they consume about 2,000 smaller insects and mites per year. So love them or hate them, they are an important part of our ecosystem by helping to keep the insect population in check. It is estimated that the spiders in 1 acre of woodlands consume 80 pounds of insects a year.

Spider superstition: Never kill a spider or you will invoke bad weather.

The Spider's webs were used to stop bleeding when de-horning cattle and they were also used in wound care in ancient Ireland.
ref: The Tadhg Ó Cuinn (1415) manuscript.

Tuesday, 11 February 2014


Birds in a snow storm and on the right a clutch of hardy greenfinches
at 1515 hrs

Two minutes later snow has lessened
photo at 1517hrs

Photo taken five minutes after the first one
in sunshine

Saturday, 8 February 2014

Aged Hoodie & Spiders

One of the quirks of living in a centuries old cottage, is the amount of spiders who share themselves liberally around the place. So much so that I spend a lot of time looking at their regular web sites (no pun intended) Mrs H used to have a pet spider in the bathroom called 'Itsy' which I fear may have been inadvertently sucked up by the dyson !

All of our rooms have wooden ceilings. Our front room, which was the old kitchen until I relocated that function to the rear of the cottage; it has a hipped ceiling which is donkey's years old. Twenty-three years ago when I first moved in it sagged a little, so I stiffened it up with a few equally spaced small beams which gave it adequate support.

This is our turf (peat block) basket which our small cat Squeaky frequently adopts as a sleeping nest. She is very fortunate in that I always check the basket before tipping in a bucket of turf.

I acquired this colourful hoodie for five Euros yesterday in a Birr charity shop, it had been sitting there for several weeks and is brand new. I can only presume that it is too loud for the average person in this area. It is light in weight and keeps me warm which to my mind is the sole purpose of clothes.