Terror In The Nursery

So, working in a nursery as I do…for the moment… I have occasion to see all kinds of cool critters!  This is a perk!  I have yet to really be SUPER freaked out by anything there…except grasshoppers and some of the people.  They are pretty freaky. The grasshoppers.  And with the jump/flying??  Is that really necessary?  Rude.

It’s literally a Cinderella job.  One day I am just SURE that I will go out onto the patio to begin my grunt work; I’ll sing really badly and the birds, squirrels, bees, dragonflies, praying mantes, butterflies, moths and lacewing flies will absolutely help me attach my radio to my belt, and wind up my hair; straighten my clothes and rinse the soil that sticks to my legs.  A girl can dream, right?

The other side of this pretty picture is littered with the European honeybees, the big bumbly bees, the zillions of different wasps and…the SPIDERS.  People are always reaching their hands in grasses and flowers and picking up whole flats with their BARE HANDS and I’m just like…  are you sure you wanna do that???  Take a look…

Image

Oh noes, what IS it!?

Okay now look again at what I caught and released

Image

Southern Black Widow

Have we learned something???  Granted, there are signs to look for that MAY indicate one of these beauties has made a home underneath a flat.  My co-worker, Emmie, still ended up with one on her shirt this year.  Needless to say, Emmie is of the find-and-destroy variety and I have zero problems with that.  To each his/her own.  I’m more of a catch-and-release.  Unless it’s a brown recluse and/or it’s in my house.  If it’s in my house or even in a spot where it can come into potential contact with childrens and it’s a potentially dangerous spider??  Is dead.  But at work or when I am able, I will take the flat it made a home out of to the north forty and release it.  As long as she’s not overly aggravated or moving around like a nut, which she usually is not, this isn’t a problem.  You simply have to keep your eye on them when you coax them out, maintain good distance, and pay attention to which way the wind is blowing.

Their web is irregular and the strands are surprisingly strong and somewhat sticky.  Generally they can cover an area much larger than just the flat.  The one we found today went from the bottom of the bench leg (3’+), to where she was hiding under the flat, to about 3 ft above the flat.  It doesn’t look as strong as it is.  I noted this today when I caught and released two lovely ladies.  I took them out to Susan Savage’s (former mayor) Up With Trees plot and let ‘em fly.  I didn’t get to take a picture of the second’s release, because honestly?  As I was coaxing her out with a stick, she came out of that sucker WAY too fast and all I could think was “GET AWAY FROM ME, YOU BITCH!!!”.  So I raised the flat up to a tree limb and sure enough, there went that invisible strand of silk and she dropped rather than be safe perched up high.  And I wanted to get a picture, but was extremely uncomfortable remaining in the area.  SO!  Into my golf cart I hopped and back to the nursery I went, wishing her the best.

I have also caught and released them from larger pots.  If I see spider webs, I’m going to inspect further before I touch anything.  They can tuck into small spaces pretty well.  When I caught this one in the larger pot last year, she was under the lip of it.  Yes, exactly where you put your hands to pick them up.  I saw what I thought was something caught in the web and looked closer.  It was her legs.  I HAD my trusty nitrile-covered gloves on so when I’d tried to brush it away and make sure there was no spider/egg sac, OFF SHE WENT and I jumped about two feet.  I LIKE spiders.  But I’m not stupid about ones that can damage me.  I did eventually coax her into a dustpan and she settled down and I took her out to the Susan Savage plot.  To date, no one has traced a catch-and-release back to the nursery.  Haha…I kinda made myself laugh just then.  So let it be known!!!  Just because we maintain the plants and they are moved a lot?  It does NOT mean that critters that bite or sting won’t be in them.  TONS of pollinators and their predators live in our nursery alone.  We had a lovely Argiope (black and yellow garden spider, garden spider, St. Anthony’s Cross spider, corn spider, writing spider) who moved in strung up between two Altheas.  Ooooh hers was sooo pretty.  She’s moved on, probably to lay eggs by now.  But she was left undisturbed by us for as long as she wanted to stay.

Image

When you see it…

And a note about the stinging things?  I’ma knock on wood now.  But I have yet to be stung.  Co-workers have.  And I sure have had those big bumbly ones be a bit more intrusive toward my personal space than I was okay with.  Otherwise, I just go about my job and that’s that.  Today we got to watch a Cicada Killer.  Big, beautiful wasp.  They aren’t usually aggressive, but they look positively frightening.  You should check them out sometime if you’re feeling froggy.

Next time you need to acquire some plant material, may I suggest you take along some gloves?

Wild Card

Some moments are better than others.  And it literally changes at the ticking of each one.  This little sphere of life I live inside.  It’s like one of those stormy little marbles you could stare at for hours and still not see every aspect.  Very chaotic and tumbly. A kaleidoscope.  One twist… everything changes.  A new reality opens wide. 

 

Everything is so precarious these days.  Nothing is certain.  Nothing to hold onto.  Except that the sun rises and sets.  As do the moon and the stars.  The earth for any foreseeable future.  It exacts a certain toll to maintain this façade of confidence I assemble like armor every day.  It pretty much crumbles to the floor not long after I return to my room each evening.  The sky grows darker and all the fears I determinedly shove away every morning resurface.  It’s literally the difference between night and day.  And just now, night is coming.  It used to be really comforting. Like before it was all I wanted to live in; in the night. Now it’s like …I either have this huge sense of vertigo or panic.  I suppose that it’s to be expected.  I’ve never lived life how I am now.  I feel…underequipped for the technical aspects of it.  I am grateful for the mornings, because the terror subsides and that’s when I can move forward.  I am not comfortable admitting my fear now.  But I can’t escape it.  I asked for almost all of this.  And I knew it would be… considerable.  The fallout.  So it is.  I just can’t see another way that I could live with. Where I could hold my head up high because I was…just honest.

 

I have to believe that I will make it to the other side of this….disaster.  There is no choice but to believe and to make it to the other side.  If I don’t, I’m….just lost.  And despite everything that’s come tumbling down…life as I’ve known it; all these hopes and dreams I had that couldn’t follow me, everything I’ve willingly set on fire and stood back to watch, I’m not ready to lay down and die yet.  Not ready to give up.  Though I am pretty tired.  Sleep hasn’t been very kind to me lately.  It just speaks in terms of fear and loss.  It wakes me up several times a night. 

 

But that’s not ALL there is.  Two of my children are going to live with their dad this school year.  I know I’ll continue to feel that too.  But it’s okay.  It’s okay.  I hope it works out well for them.  My two middles.  My fair haired ones.  I’d say my favorites, but I’d say that about any of them.  I still have the youngest boy and girl and the oldest.  And I have visitation with the two that are going to their dad’s.  I’m sure at the end of these final three weeks of them in my primary care, this will all be revisited in every way imaginable, but I’ll try to spare you the worst of it.  I’ve not known life like this.  I knew what I had to do??  For YEARS.  Now I’ve done it.  I can only hope that with a lot of hard work, more toil and tears…  I’m going to come out the other side.  Into the sun, the dark…where ever I reside.  Maybe both.  I just don’t want to be bitter.  I don’t want to live with regret.

 

It’s frightening…terrifying.  Sometimes I look at it all…and I’m just like…what the hell happened???  How did ALL this happen???  It’s too much!  Too soon!!!  But…I merit every single moment…the good and the bad.  In the day or the night.  It all has this…price…that you just take on and hope for the best and pay for in blood.  So I hope for the best.  There’s not a moment of it I wouldn’t own..  Not all of it was my choice.  Some of it I have had to just accept.  And it’s…very very hard.  It’s only by sheer force of will that I don’t lose my entire soul to it.  And that means I choose me.  No one else chose me.  I choose me.  It’s like…standing on the edge of blade looking at the entire universe.  You can see safe endings.  You can see utter failure.  But you still have C.  You, like me, are a wild card.  The best you can hope for is exploiting the fuck out of that. And…branching out from there.