(This picture does not do her justice, as to her size; she is actually about 3 times bigger than this picture of her, in reality.)Well, it was on the news today; another person has died as a result of being bitten by a mosquito carrying the West Nile disease. It was the lead story. Not a most pleasant topic to fix one's mind on first thing in the morning. Bugs. Louisiana has plenty of them. Not all of them are pests, tho. When I first moved to South Louisiana, I noticed that the mosquitos were more clever and sneakier than their slower, but still pesky, cousins to the North. In New York State when you want a 'skeeter' dead, you just reach around and swat it. It stays there 'til you do. Not so down South. If you can't reach the varmit in a nano-second it will perform some of the most incredible flying escape acrobatics imaginable. Scientists say that UFO's cannot exist because they defy the law of physics; primarily astrodynamics. You just can't be going full speed in one direction, turn a sharp 90 degree turn, then drop down at another 90 angle, all the while increasing speed. I don't know how UFO's navigate, but these mosquitos have them beat. And sometimes I swear they can wear 'cloaking devices'. This last couple of days there've been a couple in the house that I just couldn't get. Dang it. The other night while I was watching television, a curious thing happened. Were my eyes deceiving me? On the end of the coffee table sits a little plant. Somehow a small spider had been busily building a fancy web that was strung from the plant to the edge of the television. When I watch television at night, I usually have all the lights off and notice that those darned mosquitos keep buzzing around the light of the screen, but I can never get them. Hmmm. Apparently this industrious little spider had taken note of the fact and decided to set up shop there. Now I was more interested in what was going on in front of the television, rather than what was on it. I let the little fellow finish his fancy little web, then watched as he walked to the center of it, curled up into an inconspicuous-looking little 'ball', and sat there 'hidden' in plain sight. His trap was set. I don't know who was more excited about the prospect of him catching one of those miserable mosquitos. I almost looked forward to watching one land in his net and begin screaming, like they loudly do in my ear when I'm trying to sleep. I wanted to see that mosquito flail around yelling his little head off while I clapped and said, " Yah! That's what you get for biting my face when I'm alseep. That's for parading around in front of the tv like a wise guy while you eye us up, the dogs and me, looking for the best landing approach. We GOTCHA!" I fell asleep on the couch waiting. The next day I was outside hanging out the laundry, with pretty colorful dragon flies flitting around. Cappy had told me early on not to be afraid of them because they grow so huge down here. He said folks around here refer to them as "Mosquito Hawks". I kept calling them mosquito 'jets' for a long time. I got so I loved watching how they would come around, sit on my clothesline, fold their front little 'paws' together, turn their little heads almost as though they were looking directly at me as if to ask, "...You got any skeeters for me?" One time while I was trying to plant something, a particular mosquito kept pestering me. Suddenly a dragon fly flew right in front of me and whisked away the offending blood-sucker. Well, that touched my heart. They've been my buddies ever since.
While I was hanging the laundry yesterday, the lawn was still kind of wet from recent rains. All at once I felt the now familiar 'sting' of a fire ant on my bare foot. Oh no! I looked down and saw that there was only one on my ankle. They usually work as a team, letting the whole village sneak onto a person's legs before the 'mayor' yells "NOW! Everybody bite NOW!!" But this time there was only one, but I could see more looking around for my flip flops. I musta looked pretty stupid dancing and hopping around while I was hanging the rest of the clothes, trying to avoid anymore scavanging passengers. This morning, bright and cheery, I went out to fetch my fresh smelling laundry, but at the last second checked to see if I could see any of those danged ants spoiling for another go-round. Nope, not today. Gorgeous out today, too. Bright blue sky, no clouds. I decided to go to the far end of the clothesline and work my way in, so I breezed that way. All at once somebody was screaming and flailing. It was me. I had walked into a giant spider web, made by a non-poisonous Banana Spider. It was made with thick shiny 'silk' threads. There was an huge butterfly encased cacoon-like in there with me. The butterfly had given up, but I didn't. The spider's body was literally 4" long and that didn't include it's long legs. I thought she had me for sure! I was shrieking and jumping, and waving my arms all over. The sticky,thick web was in my hair, all over my clothes and laundry. In all my commotion I must have knocked her out, cuz there she lay in the grass on her back. I yelled at her, "Don't you ever do that again!" I hoped she wasn't dead. She wasn't; I had gone back out later to fetch the remainder of laundry and saw that she was gone, banished back to the banana patch. She left her butterfly there, tho. Too bad she had gotten greedy. She had seen me I guess, and like any good Cajun spidey, she just wanted to live off the fat of the land.