|This is a Weekly Coffee Share Essay.|
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Good day all.
If we were sitting down to share a great cup of coffee, I might default to my normal darjeeling tea, but this week, I could be induced to enjoy the ground fruit of the blessed caffeine tree with you — if peanut butter cookies could be the bait. . .
So what kind of week are we having? Well you already know that June has arrived and for us, work continues and there always seems to be something going on in the back yard that deserves some kind of acknowledgement.
This week, we had a blatant attempt at an unusual cross-species mugging. Fortunately, the culprit chose a bad time to set his (or her perhaps) trap and was discovered before any unpleasantness could occur.
I walk a lot in our backyard and am fortunate enough to have some material choice in which circuit to take around the miniature estate. One path diverts from following the parameter fencing to short cutting between the kids old play structure and our plum tree.
I was indoors chatting with the my wife about something fully unrelated when I glanced out the window and notice something blocking the path only because the angle of the sun was just right, the lay of the trap was just right witha suitable contrasting background present and, “hello!,” noticed that something was not playing nice.
The distance between that play structure and the nearest branch of the plumb tree is about 15 feet and the evidence is hard to confuse with any other suspect. A spider with delusions of grandeur had started a web project where, from just above knee level, an anchor was set and one very long strand of non-sticky web was run from knee-level across the path up to about 6 1/2 feet high in the plumb tree.
I had to try and get a photo of this insidious device. Can you see it? The quality of the reflection was fading but look close from the ladder heading up into the tree at the far left.
But how do I know this thug started from the play structure? Okay, I don’t, but it makes more sense because my kids are now all in the mid to late 20s and rarely visit the old play structure so the spiders have taken over and use it as a infrastructural base for their thousands and thousands of web creations which are interesting to look at (spider art, you know) and must be making a huge dent in the population of flying critters in the yard – so are tolerated as allowing nature to play out as intended at least in this corner of the yard.
I adjusted my camera angle to show the web art at the base of the trap. The assailant did a decent job of camouflaging the trap by building a normal web creation near the play structure suitable for actually catching bugs, but that long anchor line could not be mistaken for anything other than an attempt to snag some unsuspecting human daring to walk this path. I often take this route as I move the sprinkler about, so there could be no mistake. The spider knew, indeed had to know that I would be an easy catch in a trap thus placed. What foiled the plan was that chance alignment of the sun, the contrasting background and my glancing that way at just the right time of day and noticing how that anchor line caught and reflected the sun.
I promptly returned to the yard to examine the trap and was impressed at the strength and length of that long anchor line. That little thug must have created a web parachute and rode the wind up into the tree where it was pulled tight and secured to three healthy plumb tree leaves – 15 feet away. Almost every afternoon this time of year, we get some ripping strong winds from the west which blow exactly the right direction and are strong enough to carry off small children so could easily transport that spider. Impressive indeed.
I hooked a finger around the non-sticky anchor line and pulled as I stepped back — several steps before the line finally snapped. Amazing stuff is the web of the spider. And this spider was no Charlotte, as taking on a creature many orders of magnitude larger that itself argues more for a vainglorious teenager trying upset the natural order of thing by biting off much more than could ever be chewed.
And yes, this is what passes for adventure when this old guy confines his travels to the backyard for too long. Good thing that covid protocols should fall by fall. . .
So – how was your week?