Every once in awhile I'll go through my digital pictures. I'll click through events and look at all we've been doing - sorta like looking at a scrapbook. Only it's on a monitor instead of in a nice book on the coffee table. Also, there are no captions or journaling. GAAAHHH - I feel guilty already.
So anyway, I look through them and find pics I've forgotten. Pictures around which I had entire blog posts planned. Pictures so interesting - so beautiful and touching - that it seems a shame to let them lie dormant, unknown to anyone but me.
Today I'm dusting some of them off.
Way back last June, when we were in Kansas, I posted a bunch of pics of the kids on the farm. There were the tractors and wheat fields, cousins and animals but I neglected one of the most important activities in which we engage when we go home - spider hunting.
Oh yes. Spider hunting.
And I can hear you - all of you - saying, "Eeeuww!"
OK, maybe that was me. Because I'm a sick, twisted individual. My fear and loathing of spiders is well-documented on this blog. So why - you ask - would I expose myself to nasty spiders on purpose?
Well, because it's . . . . um, uh . . . . and there's always . . . uh . . .
I have no idea.
My mom taught us how to do it when we were little kids. We grew up doing it when our friends came over or our city-cousins came to visit (hey - can we show you a good time in the country or WHAT?). My siblings and I have taught our kids to do it, too. What can I say? I guess I haven't grown out of it. I prefer knowing when and where I'll see the spider versus seeing one unexpectedly and having the crap scared out of me. I like control over my spider-sightings.
So, I bring you a beloved tradition, handed down generation to generation in my family:
We begin by walking slowly around the field or in this case, Grandma and Grandpa's yard. We're looking for holes in the ground. These holes have a border of grass and webbing built up around the rim. I think they're some kind of trap-door spider but we always called them Wolf spiders. And they're big. And fast. And nasty.
I can't remember - why do I do this?
This particular hole is pretty big, as indicated by Daniel's thumb. And just so you know - the bigger the hole, the bigger the spider. Thought I should clarify that in case you couldn't figure it out yourself.
If you haven't yet realized, I'm a master at stating the obvious.
Tear down the spider's carefully constructed perimeter and expose the hole.
Start pouring water down the hole and have a stick handy.
OK, we're pouring water and pausing to look for the spider coming up. And we're pouring, pausing, looking, pouring, pausing, looking, and . . . . .
Jackpot. Big spider whom we have just completely pissed off by flooding its home.
"What the $%!?/#! Are you kidding me with the *!^#-ing water? I JUST CLEANED THIS PLACE UP. Darn you to heck you horrible humans!"
Try to distract your kids from the profanity being uttered by the spider and get the stick behind it. It may be mad but it also has a highly developed sense of self-preservation. It will try to go back down the tunnel despite the flooding and you need to block its way.
If it can't go back down the hole, it'll start running around. We don't do anything mean to the spider, we just freak ourselves out, looking at it. When we're done freaking out we'll guide it back to it's flooded home and let it go back down the hole. Then we'll move on to another one.
To nobody's surprise, this spider was a big 'un - around 2-3 inches long and with it's legs spread out, about 3-4 inches in diameter. I'm just very slightly freaking out as I write those words.
In this particular case, the spider went on the offense.
It tried to attack the stick.
And, if I could make a tiny suggestion? Click on the above pictures and they'll blow up to screen-size. You can see the freaky, nasty spider at 20 times his size.
Yep. You'll sleep well tonight.
At this point, we had an unexpected visitor to the farm -
My brother, Dan.
Ain't he purty? He's also a smart ass. Which is the highest compliment I can pay another human being.
Still think he's purty? Doesn't matter, we don't love him for his looks. We love him for his spider-hunting capabilities. Dan's the only one of us who ever had the nerve to touch - with his bare hands - one of the spiders we were abusing.
So of course his visit was providential. The kids and I begged him to participate.
"Will you do it? Huh? Can you pick it up? With your hands? Huh? Please? It'd be AWESOME." And that was just me talking.
Now, if you're going to try this at home, you have to prepare yourself. You have to be in the perfect position, above the spider, so you can grab it around it's thorax, or middle part, very slightly squeezing its legs so it can't move.
So, Dan was psyching himself up for this, kneeling on the ground, still dressed in his nice work clothes and here's what I said,
"Don't hurt it! Be careful and don't squeeze it too tightly, OK? DON'T HURT IT."
To which my brother responded, "What about me?"
Anyway, Uncle Dan successfully captured the spider and was preparing to give it a big smooch, to the horrified delight of my kids.
Uncle Dan is a rock star for that reason alone.
So, if you've ever had any doubts about my capabilities as a wildlife expert, I hope this post has put those to rest.