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*this* John W. Hays' take on things and experiences

Posts Tagged ‘spider

Impressive Specimen

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Last weekend, while I was up at the lake biking, Cyndie sent me a picture of a spider she was startled by in her garden. I don’t mind at all that I was not home to see it in person. The image alone revealed an impressive specimen of a black and yellow garden spider.

It’s about sixteen times bigger than spiders I’m not bothered by. I glanced toward the garden from the safe distance of my lawn tractor seat as I mowed around the perimeter, but didn’t spot the gargantuan arachnid. Thank goodness.

Despite the possibility of thunderstorms yesterday afternoon, I got out to finish the last of the mowing. Now I am ready to head back up to the lake for the weekend. Cyndie is due to return this afternoon, and as I understand it, the plan is that we will take Delilah with us. Maddie will still stop by to tend to the chickens while we are away.

Speaking of impressive specimens, this beautiful cumulonimbus cloud sprouted overhead just as I was preparing to start mowing.

Based on that beast and several others developing close by, I was prepared for my plan to be foiled soon after I started. Alas, that never happened. They moved off to the east and a fresh dose of dry air flowed in behind them.

The yard looks nicely manicured and gives the impression someone actually lives here. That is, until one approaches the overgrown paddocks in front of the barn.

I guess you could say we have an impressive specimen of tall grass going to seed out there.

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Written by johnwhays

August 8, 2019 at 6:00 am

Spooky Creepy

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Is October the spookiest month of the year? Possibly. Maybe it was in honor of that, that our September ended last night with a nauseating amount of creepiness.

Feel free to stop reading right here and save yourself from reliving our horrors.

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Couldn’t do it, huh? Well, don’t say I didn’t warn ya.

So, I was back at the ranch again last evening after work. Changed clothes and headed out to do some chores. First up, check the mouse traps that hadn’t been looked at for a day. The house garage was all clear. The shop still had a funky smell to it. The trap on the workbench was fine and the water bucket trap that had a chipmunk in it the other day was also untouched.

On my way back to the door, I smelled it. My brain flashed a memory of having placed an additional trap by the door! How many days had I been looking at the other two traps and completely forgetting about this one?

There was no question in my mind about there being something in the trap. It was behind a waste basket, on the floor beneath a small built-in bench. When I moved the basket, my eyes detected what looked like a wet spot around the trap. Yep, the rodent carcass was liquefying.

I carried the trap out toward the trees and tried to fling it as I squeezed the jaws of the trap open. It stuck in the trap. A second try got it to release, but it probably didn’t go as far as it should have. When I placed the trap back down on the floor to reset it, I spotted the pile of maggots on the wet spot.

The smell doesn’t really need description. Go ahead and imagine it yourself.

When Cyndie took Delilah out for a final walk of the evening, I headed downstairs to clean Pequenita’s litter boxes. We strain the litter and dump the scoop into a bag inside an empty plastic litter bucket. Once a week, we toss the collected waste. Last night the bucket was just one day short of full for the week.

As I was scooping, some movement in the bucket caught my eye. Yikes! It was the spookiest, nastiest, Halloween-end-of-October-looking spider I’ve ever seen indoors. It was the size and had the look of a kind of spider that I do not want to be anywhere near. With extremely impressive bravery, I snapped the lid tightly on the bucket, made kind of a whimpering squeaky sound, and dashed a hasty exit from the laundry room downstairs.

When I got upstairs, I found Cyndie had come back inside with Delilah. Cyndie was standing in the front sunroom with her hand over her nose and mouth, breathing funny. I paused, waiting for her to sneeze. The sneeze didn’t appear, and she held this pose and made that breathing sound long enough that I had to ask what was up.

She furtively was able to explain that she was trying not to throw up. Delilah had found something disgusting over by the shop.

Oops.

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Written by johnwhays

October 1, 2015 at 6:00 am

Posted in Chronicle

Tagged with , , , , ,

Creepy Crawlies

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I was mowing the labyrinth yesterday when I had a series of episodes that made my skin crawl. Well, crawl more than usual for a day when I was sticky with sweat from summer’s heat and humidity, working outside with chainsaws and trimmers. There is always some dirt or plant matter pasted to the exposed skin of my arms. In the area I was working, there was also an ongoing battle with a multitude of insects that were taking great interest in my flesh.

DSCN2145e2Down in the corner of the grazing pasture, on the edge of the woods, I was cutting up the tree I dropped to the ground on Friday, soaked with sweat and covered with debris. It gets hard to know when it is a bug on my skin, or something else. The gloves I wore had loose cuffs, and more than once I pulled them off because I wasn’t sure if what just landed inside was alive or not.

I gained a new appreciation for the horse’s ability to twitch their muscles hard enough to dispatch flies. With both of my hands occupied on the chainsaw or trimmer, I was easy prey for the biting flies and mosquitoes. After a while, it becomes impossible to tell whether I am feeling something on me in a moment, or if it is simply residual sensation after whatever landed has flown away.

It was also a bit unnerving picking up freshly cut logs when I had seen millions of ants had been living inside the tree. Add to that, I am pretty sure that feeding the wood chipper and trimming the trail the day before put me in contact with poison ivy again. My skin was in a state of constant irritation.

It culminated in creepiness late in the process of using the trimmer in the labyrinth. It had been a long day, I was tired, and I really wanted to be done. I had already been forced to stop earlier to reload the supply of plastic line in the trimmer head, so the only remaining delay would be a need for another refueling.

shieldproIn my push to finish, I didn’t stop to use my toe to convince the little frog to move out of the way, I just cut up behind him, assuming the noise and motion would naturally drive him off like usually happens. For some ghastly reason, he turned and jumped into the lethal spinning line.

That stopped me. I shut off the engine and decided I would fill the gas tank anyway, setting my over-ear hearing protection with face shield on the ground. I topped off the fuel tank while swatting at things bugging my ears and trying to shake the heebie-geebies that frog had just caused.

When I resumed trimming, I continued to have the feeling like there was a bug flying around my right ear, and wanted to let go of the trimmer to wave it away, but I realized I had on my ear protection, so I figured I was feeling residual phantom sensations. Or was it just left-over creepy feelings from watching that frog?

DSCN2143eI had to check, stopping to pull off the head-gear. A bug flew out. Really. What are the odds of that? It’s not as far-fetched as what happened next. I tried again to resume my task, and in moments, my left ear felt weird. I figured I was just being paranoid at this point, but was also feeling jumpier by the minute, so I paused the trimmer again and whipped off the ear muffs. GAH! I did the squiggle-jump-flinch as a spider crawled out.

I gotta say, it felt extra-specially-good to finally step out of the shower last night, scrubbed as squeaky clean as physically possible.

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Written by johnwhays

July 27, 2014 at 8:40 am