Sunday, July 22, 2018

Spiders and snakes

Is it me, or have the spiders arrived early and in force this year?

I spent a good part of my day yesterday with broom in hand trying to clean away spider webs. And not just a few spider webs. A ton of spider webs. The balusters on my front porch are clearly woven together with silky webs.

The mailbox attached to the front of my house appears to be particularly attractive to spiders. So do the corners of most of the windows on my house.

Spiders have done their work everywhere, including our flower boxes. Some of our geraniums are now connected to the siding of our house, and the steps leading up to my back porch are also webbed.

It's amazing.

I try to clear away the webs as often as I can, but spiders apparently are insistent. I can remove a web one day and it'll be back the next.

Caught in the act: This spider is already at work this morning...
I'm not a big fans of spiders – I don't screech "Eeek" when I see one; I emit more more like a groaning "Yuck" – but every once in a while, like early in the morning when it's still dark and I head to my car in the driveway as I prepare to go to the YMCA, I'll walk face-first into an unseen web that was spun overnight. That's a "yuck" moment.

The back of my mind keeps whispering "recluse" or "black widow," but what can I do beyond setting up Klieg lights?

I started noticing the spiders in early June and thought to myself that this might be unusual. Don't spiders usually show up en masse around September and October? Isn't that why they're so popular around Halloween? I don't know.

Spider webs are all over my front porch...
Snakes haven't been much of a problem in our neigh-borhood, although some of my friends on Facebook are posting pictures of the black snakes and occasional copperheads that show up in their garages and driveways. Nice. Thank you for that.

Still, I keep a wary eye out whenever I'm doing yard work. Shortly after we moved here about 15 years ago, one of our neighbors was bitten by a snake while clearing his backyard. Thus the lane behind us has been known as "Copperhead Alley" ever since. Local lore there.

The good news is that we live in a neighborhood where there are a couple of free-ranging cats, who happen to be natural foes of snakes. We've been told the cats have been bitten so often that they are now immune to the copperheads. Consequently, now and then we might see a baby snake carcass lying belly-up in the yard. Good cats. Kim occasionally puts a bowl of cat food out for them. I don't know if she's rewarding them or enticing them to stay. Maybe both.

Spiders and snakes. I don't know. We share the planet with them, so I guess we just have to cope.

And hope we don't live near a road named Sharknado Alley.

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