The Gross National Debt

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Well, afternoon ma'am.

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If you have arachnophobia, quit reading now. If the thought of spiders does not bother you, lay on MacDuff.

The memories are very very very vague now, but when I was somewhere between 3 and 5 I had a hallucination of spiders, big'uns, on my bed. Scared me to no end.

Spiders no longer terrify me. Rather, they impress me immensely. I do respect the dangerous ones and will destroy them if they are around places kids are apt to be. On opening day, I took a stick and swirled it around the inside of my deer blind to remove any spiders and their webs. It was not malicious on my part. I just didn't want them, especially possibly dangerous ones.

So. I sit in my stand and watch what I call wolf spiders climb around. They are not wolf spiders, but I call 'em that. Every now and then, I pop the blind fabric just enough to make the spider leap away. They can jump amazing distances.

Similar to the one at my stand
I've watched 'em ambush and attempt to ambush insects. I once watched a spider spinning down a single line from the roof of a blind get ambushed by a green anole. The lizard lept across the blind, snagging the spider mid-leap. How quickly the predator becomes the prey.

This year I headed into the woods to refill my feeder and a pair of spiders, beautiful creatures, had spun their hunting webs across the path I needed. As I was pulling a wagon, by hand, with 200 pounds of corn and other stuff, finding a route around was not going to happen.

"Sorry about this ladies," I said, breaking down one of the limbs they'd spun to. I did it carefully and slowly as to not kill them.

Ladies, yes. Male spiders do not spin that kind of web. They are also smaller and far less colorful. Males spend their time wandering around looking for a female to mate with.

Truly I was a bit unhappy at disturbing the two spiders. They are major insect predators. They delight in skeeters.

Imagine then my delight when I returned the next day to find the largest of the ladies had rebuilt a web across the path.

"Well, afternoon, ma'am. My, aren't you beautiful," I said to her, thinking what a shame it was gonna be that I had to ruin her work again.
A very cool crab spider.

Except I didn't. One of the support lines was strung to a tree limb high above my head. With a minimal amount of ducking, I could ease under that line where it attached to the main web. I did so. Coming back, I got a look at her equally amazing underside.

I again exchanging pleasantries with her. Whether she replied or not, I do not know. Regardless, she stayed where she was and I sat in a deer stand admiring her cousins climbing around me.

Coming out of the woods at night I see many many many many many tiny green dots on the ground. One day I stopped and got down to see what it was. Tiny spiders. Hundreds, nay thousands of them. Several per square foot.

This bothered me because I knew I was killing some every time I walked in the woods. Cannot be helped, there are so many of them.

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