Many Trails
Insects and plants...
by Adrien Taylor
May 22, 2014 | 461 views | 0 0 comments | 26 26 recommendations | email to a friend | print
I have planted my garden for the season. Since there is just me living here now, as opposed to six people some years ago, my garden has shrunk proportionately. My garden consists of two tomato plants, one each of two different varieties, and a red bell pepper plant.

I don’t care for the bigger, better Betty Boop type tomatoes that have been popular in recent years. I like the heirloom varieties because I feel they have more flavor. More acid, to be sure, but maybe that’s part of the flavor. My two tomato plants and one pepper plant join several varieties of herbs already growing outside my back step (the quicker to pick you, my dear).

I might add an eggplant and a couple of squashes. Saved in a jar are seeds to one of my favorites, the kobacha squash, which I’ve never found available here in plant form, and almost never in adult squash form. My sister buys them for me in the Denver area and brings them over when she comes to visit.

—aft—

I read somewhere recently that we humans are within l5 feet of a spider at most any point in our daily lives. Brrr.

That’s too close for comfort for me, but the experience of an afternoon earlier this week was even worse. I had just seated myself on the off-kitchen john when I glanced at the wall about 18 inches from my head and immediately recognized the occupant thereof – a black widow spider.

Even young children can be taught to recognize the black widow, since she is so elegantly and distinctively made: eight long, graceful legs and a shiny black body. On her belly is the unmistakable red hourglass. You have to kill or trap her in a glass jar to see the hourglass. In the case of most insects they are free to go their own way when I find them. With the black widow, she had met in me her demise. And so she did.

As a child I was very afraid of spiders. My family lived for a time out on Redwood Road in the Salt Lake Valley and large field spiders abounded in the then-agricultural area. It wasn’t until I had children myself that I decided to deal with this awful fear. I caught (or more probably had Sam catch) a spider and put it into a quart jar with holes in the lid. Into the jar went hapless flies.

After about a month of watching this spider go about his business of devouring flies, my fear left me.

And speaking of spiders, who can, I ask you, help but be afraid of the tarantula, with all his hair and gigantic size. But he is one of the most benign, interesting and interested of the spider, or arachnid, family. I believe, in hindsight, that my study of arachnids in junior high school in Los Angeles, Calif., must also have been part of my wish to calm my fear.

I remember with great clarity one visit to my parents when they were living in southern Arizona. Daddy had invited me out for a walk in the desert one morning. We paused to rest and visit a bit, when a small stone arose from the desert floor before us and a tarantula emerged. Had he spoken English, I believe his first reaction to our presence would have been: “What on earth are you two doing here in my domain. Out. Out!” And we did.

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