What gives, Ms. Spidey?

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She’s waiting!

The weather here is still pretty warm, and to my dismay, about a week ago I noticed yet another wasps’ nest being constructed in a corner of the porch roof, against the house, and not far away from the front door.

At the same time, I noticed that, directly under the wasps’ nest, a very large and beautiful black and yellow spider was artfully spinning a gorgeous web.    During the next few days, the web grew larger. It’s so large now it’s about 2 feet across and stretches from the overhang of the roof near the next, to a pillar about 3 feet away.  The web is also angled perfectly to catch those annoying and useless bee-wannabees; I wondered how much intelligence actually went into the spiders’ building of that web, since it’s so perfectly situated to be a perfect trap for any who try to leave the immediate vicinity.

Last week, I  bought a can of wasp and hornet killer, which can be aimed from about 20 feet away and will kill the wasps and destroy their nest, but my daughter begged me not to do that, because the fallout from the blast would also destroy the spider’s intricate creation, which is really quite lovely.  I also realized that the way the spider built it was perfect for trapping the wasps.  So we decided to wait and see what happens.

The spider has been waiting patiently in her web for over a week now, but the wasps haven’t gone near her web at all!    There aren’t any other insects caught in the web either, which makes me wonder how Ms. Spidey is managing to get food! But still she sits quietly and waits.  Even Job would not have been as patient.    I’m sure she’s waiting for one of the wasps to make one dumb move, but I’m beginning to doubt that’s going to happen. They might have outsmarted her.

I’m going to give it another few days. If by this weekend, she still hasn’t caught any wasps,  I’m going to Raid that nest and its unpleasant stinging residents, regardless of what effect that might have on Spidey.    I hate to kill her, but I don’t know how much longer I can tolerate those wasps either.  She’s not doing her job well enough. Either that, or the wasps are too smart for her.

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A very unique trip to the grocery store.

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I’ve seen all kinds of strange animals this week.  On Monday I saw the two mating black snakes at the lake.  Today I had a surprise waiting for me at the nearby Ingles supermarket.

I was loading the groceries into my car, looked up for a minute, and there by a shady area near the service road were some animals I definitely didn’t expect.  At first I wasn’t sure what they were, so I walked a little closer to get a better view.   They were llamas, grazing on the grass under the trees!  What were llamas doing here of all places?   Then I saw two trailers parked nearby, and a man who appeared to be their owner.  He said he was returning from an exotic animal show in Virginia and was letting his llamas out for air and exercise.

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I started taking pictures.  The llamas seemed friendly enough.  They came in every color–tan, brown, russet, black, greyish.  A couple of the llamas just ignored ignored me.  A few of the others looked up curiously, then got back to munching the grass.

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Never in a million years did I expect to see llamas at the grocery store.   You just never know what kind of surprises life has in store for you.

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Click on the photos to enlarge.

Meaning in things we take for granted.

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Today’s the fourth day I’ve been snowbound, after the big winter storm that hit the East coast on Friday.

I had to get to the store, and still can’t drive anywhere, so I walked the mile to the gas station. The weather today is fairly mild and sunny so the walk was pleasant and the snow is melted down enough to no longer make walking so difficult.   While walking I could see that the snow is beginning to melt and a few patches of ground are peeking through.

It’s kind of amazing what we take for granted under normal circumstances. I came across this patch of newly exposed wet earth (pictured above) and saw how dark and fertile the soil looked. Since it was under a stand of large pine trees, this soil is especially rich, having been fed by rotting pine needles over time. It’s a little thing that holds promise of new life in just another couple of months. Everything in nature has a story and is connected to everything else.  Just like all of us.

Little gifts on a crappy day.

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Latest additions to my rock and geode collection.

Life can be surprising. On the whole, today has been a crappy day, but there’s always something to make a bad day more tolerable, if you just pay attention. God doesn’t forget about you even when things seem hopeless and you’re ready to either pull out all your hair or kill someone.

My day started like this. I’m trying to get my car legal but everything about it has been so hard. It failed inspection because of the emissions test. I go through this crap every year. Because I’m off work this week I finally have time to get this shite taken care of, but after everything I need to do is finally done, it’s going to eat up half this week. Cars require more maintenance and cost more than kids, I swear. Especially if you are too poor to buy a new one and are forced to drive an old beater like mine.

Sitting in the repair shop at about 9 AM and feeling put upon and surly, I posted this on my Facebook wall:

So i’m sitting here at the car repair shop trying to get my 13 year old junker fixed so it can pass the emissions inspection…or i can at least get a waiver from the dmv so i’m not driving this pos illegally anymore…gonna spend some time at the library or the rock shop while i wait. Then tomorrow probably going to have to wait around at the dmv all day for the waiver if i still fail inspection. This state just wants to suck money from you any way they can…if i lived in south carolina, florida or tennessee i wouldn’t have to put up with this shit, spend money i don’t have, and waste half my vacation on this. Sorry about all the lower case letters but i’m trying to type this on my phone.

They told me there were 5-6 cars ahead of mine and they probably wouldn’t be able to get to it until late this afternoon and I didn’t want to wait that long, so I decided to start walking home (I had no access to a ride and taxis are way too expensive). The walk home was 5 1/2 miles, in the burning hot sun, along roads with no sidewalks. I will NOT walk back today, but am prepard to walk back there in the morning to get the car early in the morning when it’s cooler (I’ll be sure to wear better shoes instead of the flip flops I wore today).

But it won’t be over. Not anywhere near it. Once I get the car, I have to take it back for a second inspection. If I don’t pass, I can take the second “fail” inspection plus all the receipts for the work I had done (you are required to spend at least $200 to prove you at least tried to get it fixed) to the DMV and stand in line for a waiver so I can drive the car legally. THEN I have to take the waiver to the tag office and tax office (two separate buildings) and pay for the registration and taxes. This crap is going to eat up most of my vacation week.

My court date is August 6th (I was pulled over last month for a expired tags because of the failed inspection) but this week is the only time I have to get all this crap done. I probably won’t have a day to just relax and do other things until Thursday. It really pisses me off because the car is safe to drive, and would pass inspection anywhere else. It’s a waste of time and money in my humble opinion.

But there were a few small things that happened that made this ordeal a little less aggravating and even made me smile. Before I made the decision to walk home from the repair shop, which is in an area with a lot of funky shops and outdoor eateries, I decided to get coffee and a muffin from one of the cafes. I sat down at one of their little outdoor tables, read a book I brought with me, and ate the muffin and drank the coffee, which were both delicious.

I happen to collect rocks and geodes, and across the street was a rock shop. Most of their rocks and geodes are indoors, but some of the less expensive ones are displayed on tables in front of the store or in little fountains. I found a large geode filled with white crystals that kind of spoke to me. The shop wasn’t open yet but an employee was just pulling in. I asked him how much the geode was and he said he thought it was $5. I was shocked such a big, beautiful rock would be that cheap. He said he’d have it held for me and to come back in 15 minutes.

When I returned, the woman in the store told me I’d been quoted the wrong price and it was actually $15. I guess she saw my disappointment because then she smiled and said since $5 was the price given to me that she would sell it to me for that price. I was overjoyed. I selected 3 small colorful stones (the red one in the photo is actually a piece of glass) from one of the outside fountains. So I walked away happy, prepared to trudge the 5 1/2 miles back to my house.

Along the way, I saw a dead bush whose branches intrigued me because of the pattern they made. This is not a black and white photo but looks like one:

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About 45 minutes later (when I was about halfway home), I had to stop and rest and refill the water bottle I was carrying. I found a Shell station that had a little sitting area next to it complete with a bench to sit on near the curb. I placed the rocks down on the curb and took the beautiful photo of them you see at the top of this page. When I looked up, I saw something else–a magnolia tree in full bloom, so I decided I needed a couple of pictures of that too:

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I walked the rest of the way home thinking about the post I was going to write and suddenly the issue with the car seemed a little less aggravating and overwhelming. I even felt that these little gifts from nature were God’s way of letting me know he was always there no matter what.

ETA: About 15 minutes before the shop closed, I called them and was told they were actually able to FIX the problem and I should be able to pass inspection, but was told to drive about 100 miles first to make sure the engine light doesn’t go back on.

So I got the idea to go back to The Light Center in Black Mountain tomorrow, which will put about 100 miles on the car. I found this place to be very peaceful and healing when I went there last September and wrote this post about it (this blog was exactly one week old!) I’ve been wanting to go back anyway while I’m off. (I don’t think this is incompatible in any way with my Christian faith). If the light doesn’t go back on, then I should pass inspection and will be able to bypass the waiver thing at the DMV and just be able to go get the car registered and that will be the end of it, God be willing.

The progression of spring: April 12th

I went a little crazy with my camera today. Flowers galore and so much color everywhere! The dogwoods are blooming, and most trees are becoming green now. A few trees are showing autumn colors before their chlorophyll kicks in.

It’s also my daughter’s 22nd birthday today. Okay, I know that’s off topic, but I had to say it. 🙂
I remember her psychiatrists and counselors used to say she would be lucky to make it to age 19. Well, she’s still here!

Enjoy this week’s photos. You can click them on to see more detail.

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Previous posts in this series:
1. Winter into Spring: March 8th: https://luckyottershaven.com/2015/03/08/winter-into-spring/
The Progression of Spring:
2. March 15th: https://luckyottershaven.com/2015/03/15/the-progression-of-spring-march-15th/
3. March 22nd: https://luckyottershaven.com/2015/03/22/the-progression-of-spring-march-22/
4. March 29th: https://luckyottershaven.com/2015/03/30/the-progression-of-spring-march-29/
5. April 5th: https://luckyottershaven.com/2015/04/05/progression-of-spring-april-5th/

The progression of Spring: March 22

Last Sunday I decided to make this a weekly series until it looks like summer again. This is the third post in this series, and this is the week that all of nature seems to be going crazy! There are so many birds chirping and calling I feel like I live in a jungle. Unfortunately, the photos can’t capture the aural delights, only the flowers and trees.

As with the first two posts, these photos were taken around my neighborhood about an hour ago. A week ago none of these trees were flowering yet, although they definitely looked about to.

The weather’s a little on the cool side and somewhat overcast, so not a great day to sit outside but I’ve heard cloudy weather is the best for taking photos because of there is less contrast or chance for overexposure.

Enjoy!

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Here are my two previous posts:

March 8th: Winter Into Spring: https://luckyottershaven.com/2015/03/08/winter-into-spring/
March 15th: https://luckyottershaven.com/2015/03/15/the-progression-of-spring-march-15th/

Things sure have changed in two weeks. 🙂

Winter into Spring

I love very late winter, because it’s when suddenly nature returns from the dead and gloom of that season. Even though the trees are still pretty bare and it’s still pretty cold, the lengthening and slightly warmer days have cause the buds to begin to open, showing their true (fall) colors before the chlorophyll starts kicking in.

I snapped these photos this morning in my neighborhood, after church. If you look closely, some of the trees have a yellowish tint and others, a reddish one. It really doesn’t look much like winter anymore. Birds were chirping everywhere and I heard children playing outdoors in the distance.

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Experiencing this simple moment was the perfect gift just after having attended mass during the third week of Lent. Late winter/spring and the Easter season is all about resurrection and rebirth.

I decided to post the Youtube link to George Winston’s piano music, “Winter into Spring” here. It’s the whole album. Listen to it while sitting outside or appreciating the rapid changes nature is undergoing even if only from your window. No matter how poor, sick or beaten down by life we are, we are all blessed to have these gifts that cost nothing.