Friday, October 31, 2014

Halloween preparations

New mountain bike, in Halloween colors, taken earlier this week before it started raining.

Look what I found inside my pumpkin last night!  I think this makes the pumpkin sort of an anti-zombie, as its innards are procreating rather than decomposing.

Kiddo as steampunk aviator trapper chick.  What you can't tell from the photo is that the LED's on the goggles have a fun animation where the colors swirl around the edges of the circle.  Oh, and they blink randomly.  (I made them based on an Adafruit project.)

Mini pumpkins


Friday, October 17, 2014

Bike Loads

I ran across Chad putting together an amusing load for the bike trailer the other morning.
What wasn't immediately apparent was that he was towing another entire bike in the trailer attached to the back of one he was riding!

Spider hike

A couple of weeks ago, I signed us all up for a docent-led hike that would allow us into Montebello preserve after dark (normally not allowed).  As an added side bonus, it was a spider-themed hike, which was a topic of interest for Nim.  As an added incentive, I picked up a bucket of fried chicken on the way over, so there was a promise of greasy crunchy goodness for dinner up on the hill.

We started in the sun, with characteristic views of oak grassland:

At this point of the day, one can find holes belonging to tarantulas and their close relatives.  I would have dismissed this as a rodent hole, not knowing otherwise.  However, the white thing is the remnants of an old egg sac that the arachnid (just below it) had cleared out of her nest.  If you pick apart the old egg sac, you can actually see the skins from the initial molt of the baby spiders, as they grow a bit and molt before they head out into the big wide world.

Another member of Family Theraphosidae.  We enjoyed our chicken right next to this one's house,

while also enjoying the sunset.

It was dark for the hike back,

so we used red flashlights, which made the orb weavers look particularly Halloween-y.

It is still kind of a spooky spider under normal light:

Most entertaining, however were the scorpions. I did not previously know that: (1) there are scorpions in the area, and (2) they fluoresce under UV light.  One of the docents loaned Nim his flashlight so she could search for the eerie glimmer of glowing scorpions on the bank adjacent to the trail.

 (Chad gets credit for this most excellent photo)