Did you know that there is such a thing as a mountain crab? Part of homeschooling for Oscar was learning about trips to the seaside and he found rock pools and crabs really interesting. It turns out that the jungles around Kovol have their own crabs and so to tie in with his lessons we arranged a little hunt.

We asked a small group of ladies and kids to lead us around nearby to hunt for crabs. These little guys make tiny holes in the ground and live in a little puddle of water at the bottom of the hole. They’re also edible and the Kovol kids were happy to take us hunting.

Oscar made a crab

It’s a good thing we had guides with us because none of us could spot the holes where the crabs lived! Once again our jungle skills were shown to be lacking! After watching the kids a few times Gerdine plucked up the nerve to try herself. After lots of digging and with her arm shoulder-deep into a hole she finds the water and learns that you don’t just grab the crab. No, you have to let it crawl onto your hand and then you pluck it out. Just grabbing it means you’ll get pinched. This unnerved Gerdine and after all that digging she couldn’t bring herself to grab the crab!
Kovol kids to the rescue again!

Gerdine reaching for a crab

She did better than I did… I didn’t fancy getting my hands dirty 🙂 Someone had to look after the babies after all 😀
Our little collection of crabs grew. A quick thumb was applied to the head to kill them and they were all deposited on a spade that Rhett was carrying.

There it is

Next up was the cooking. You pull their toes off and then put them into a bamboo to cook on the fire. After a quick roast, it’s time to eat them, shell and all. We distribute the food to all the kids around and we tuck in. My impressions were… crunchy and fishy. There you go, mountain crabs. Afterwards, we learned that it’s more of a kids’ food. It’s one of those things that people lose their taste for as they grow up.

Ready for cooking

Our 2nd creepy crawly story this week is that Oscar spotted a termite nest in our house. The little guys had eaten through the plywood behind our freezer and built a fist-sized mud nest. 4 months ago we had the same thing in the exact same spot, so I decided it was time to pull the plywood off the wall to take a proper look. A spray of insecticide over the surface didn’t do it last time and it looks like the colony is well-established again. Pulling the plywood off the wall means taking the pantry shelf down, moving some wiring for the fridge/freezer and then popping off 4-5 plywood edge strips before finally being able to crowbar the plywood off the wall, working loose the panelling nails.

Crowbar them away!

That took an afternoon away from language time, but what we found underneath showed us it was time well spent. The fist-sized glob of mud we removed was a tiny part of a big old termite nest. Lots of spraying with poison and scraping termites into a bucket later it’s time to assess the damage.
We’re pleased to see that they mostly seemed content to leave the wall stud alone. The blue plastic house wrap between our plywood and bamboo exterior was a chewed-up mess, the plywood wall itself is all holey, but all the structure around is still strong. A good result I’d say!

The leftovers

In the end, it was two full buckets of termites and nest material that I removed from inside the wall and we’re leaving it open for a few days to see whether they attempt to rebuild. I had a quick look in the walls on either side of the panel the nest was in to see that it hadn’t spread there and found that it was surprisingly clean in there. Over the years we’ve lived here I’ve found myself wondering what it looks like in there behind all our plywood panelling. I was assuming it was FULL of bugs, cobwebs and rodents, so it was a pleasant surprise to see how clean it was in the panels on either side of the nest.

After an exciting termite day, Gerdine was spending the evening at Natalie’s house and I was home with all 3 of our kids sleeping when suddenly a big earthquake started. We later found out it was a magnitude 6 quake not far from us at all. We had a magnitude 7 quake 6 months ago and we’ve been quite scared of them since.
I climbed up our ladder to wake up Oscar (who was happily sleeping through it), grabbed him and carried him down the ladder. Putting him on the floor I shouted at him “Go outside, now!” while I ran in to get Alice and Millie.
I picked Alice up, ready to grab Millie when things started to settle down. Poor Oscar was wandering around aimlessly, totally confused. Earthquake over.

You can never tell if they’re going to get worse or not and we’re always wondering at what point we need to burst into kids’ rooms and wake up sleeping children, grabbing them quickly and running with them. It’s all probably quite traumatic for them! Except it turned out in the morning when I asked Oscar about it, he didn’t even remember! It’s tricky trying to solo grab 3 children while the house is shaking!

Unfortunately for my sleep, my adrenaline was up and that wasn’t the last earthquake of the night. There were a dozen more during the night, one of which had me up in Oscars’s room next to his bed ready to grab him again, the others merely ramping my heart rate up ready for action. Needless to say, it wasn’t a restful night 😀

There’s a good chance tonight will be termite and earthquake free though, right? 😀

Banana falling over? No problem, prop it up!


Karen Worsell · 20/06/2023 at 6:46 pm

It certainly makes life interesting…I thought that having bats in the ladies’ bedroom on the Oxford Christian Answer mission recently was ‘interesting ‘ enough!!😁

    SteveStanley · 21/06/2023 at 10:30 am

    We have bats too 😀 There’s a papaya tree just outside our bedroom window and a sneaky bat keeps flying in and eating them as they get ripe. We hear his wings flapping around, it’s probably a flying fox. We should shoot it and eat it…

Lois S. · 20/06/2023 at 11:23 pm

Termites are a mess–we had to deal with them at my dad’s house, though we called an exterminator, so didn’t have to deal with them much directly. Earthquakes sound scary. Earthquakes here are more mild, we have more the “get out of danger response” for tornados.

randrbaghurst · 21/06/2023 at 1:39 am

Termites – use kerosene to get rid of them. 🙂

    SteveStanley · 21/06/2023 at 10:27 am

    Unfortunately all the kerosene we have here is for the helicopter 😀

Carol · 21/06/2023 at 6:46 am

Hope you catch up with your sleep! Nice to see you o the big screen at conference!
Grandma C

    SteveStanley · 21/06/2023 at 10:28 am

    All caught up! It was fun to talk to Yolanda and be on the big screen, unfortunately it kept Oscar up 😀

    SteveStanley · 21/06/2023 at 10:29 am

    All caught up! It was fun to talk to Yolanda and be on the big screen, unfortunately, it kept Oscar up 😀

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