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2018-05-16 / Loose Ends

Bugged out

Me on the menu
Susan Nienow

From my desk I can see a spider suspended in midair in the corner of the ceiling. I know – it’s not suspended in mid air – it’s in a web that I can’t see from here. Webs only show up in the evening when we have company, and the light shines on them.

That’s only one thing on my “To do” list. Even though I don’t like spiders, getting rid of it isn’t even in the top 10 things. I’ll give it a name. Then I don’t have to, uh, dispatch it.

It would require a ladder. If I try to get it with a broom or some other weapon and I miss it, it could get away. If there’s anything worse than a spider in a web, it’s a spider on the loose. I have a 100 percent success rate with biting insects. If there is one within 100 yards of me, it will munch.

Next spring I am investing in the companies that make anti-itch stuff for bites. I have made two trips to the drugstore already to stock up. I keep one “stick” in my garden cart along with an antibiotic cream, another in the car, one in my purse and one in the bathroom closet. That’s my emergency one.

If that seems excessive, then let me introduce you to just a few of the insects and arachnids I have met. They stalk me, fly at me and hide in the grass to launch a silent attack. The ticks are the masters in May and June but most go into hiding when it gets hot. The gnats own the air around my face in May. The horseflies will chase me for juicy bites at my ankles and are not the least bit intimidated by a towel swatted at them. Mosquitos hardly count against these formidable opponents.

I am never sure how to judge them. Is the best biter the one that draws blood, leaves the longest-lasting itch, creates the best/worst looking bite or itches the most?

We have some critters here that I have met face-to-face. I have been six feet from a groundhog when he was sitting on my deck railing and I was sitting in a chair. I don’t know who was more startled, the curious critter or me.

I have stared into a rabbit’s face as I was weeding while he munched on leaves in my flower garden. He was young and not at all concerned about me. It was one of those moments I wish I had captured with my phone.

The encounter with an adult opossum was not magical or even curious. He was walking across the driveway after dark and when he saw me, he fell over and played dead. His teeth were nasty looking and very yellow. It was definitely an unflattering look at a rodent with a long tail! Give me a stuffed animal any day.

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