Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Nature soothes my soul

Medical 'stuff' has occupied much of this past week and will continue to do so for a few weeks to come.  However, the beauty of Nature serves as an antidote -- at least to me.

Abalone shells are a relatively common find on Phillip Island beaches.  The fleshy part of this animal is considered a delicacy, by many people.  Usually the flesh is pounded to soften before cooking hot and fast.

Abalone used to be plentiful, but have been over-fished and are therefore less common today.  They cling to rocky ledges at or below the low tide mark and feed on algae.  The inside of an abalone shell has a pearl-like sheen sometimes called marine opal.  The shells serve many uses: I like to fill mine with other beach treasures.

This week I found my first sea squirt of the season.  It's quite a small specimen, but intact.  Usually fist-sized, sea squirts form colonies near low water mark on rocky reefs in southern oceans.  These filter-feeding creatures live on tiny food particles.  Anglers often use their red fleshy meat as bait.

These squat red to-orange to-brown invertebrates have two tubes, one for the intake of water, the other one for its exit.  They also possess a large pharynx, gill slits, a strange heart and a well-developed digestive system.  So they are more complex than they seem -- at first glance.

In this blog I'll include a couple of photos of succulents I've placed in bowls on our table.  I love their unique structure and unusual beauty.  They grow in our garden, here on the island, without any special care or any extra watering.

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