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» Sunday, October 12, 2003Blasting Off in the Kingdom of the Spiders
Wildlife always ends up surprising me.
We had a rocket shoot today out in the horse pasture of our friends who live in the country and as always drove the truck out to the site, parking near a handy tree to retreat under when it got the warmest. (Unlike yesterday it was quite warm and sunny; at least it wasn't broiling.)
We had no sooner stopped the truck than dozens of tiny spiders began to pounce on the truck. I wasn't particularly frightened by them, but it was as if we were surrounded by multiple clones of Nellie, Aranea, and Joy. They had no sooner landed on the truck than they began to send out tendrils of webs! When we left there was spider silk waving from the doorframes, the rear view mirror, and other parts of the truck body--and we had brushed most of it off as we saw it. Quite amusing.
One could have taught an entire wildlife class in that meadow: we had a close encounter with a caterpillar who kept playing dead, an ant bed which we easily managed to avoid, crickets, butterflies, houseflies and a constant horde of gnats (Atlanta is "above the gnat line" only if one lives in suburbia). I don't envy the horses--but of course they seemed most eager to get those idiot humans and their hissy things out of their grazing area! The first time we drove the truck back there they investigated, puzzled that there wasn't any hay or oats in the back of that big horsie food transporter. Now they just ignore us. :-)
Oh, the rocket launch was fun if we did come home exhausted (I swear the sun sucks every bit of energy out of my body; I could barely move by the time we drove into the yard). James lost a new rocket in a thicket of brambles and weeds, though, and a glider that had two successful flights made a final suicidal dash into a stand of pine trees. But we all had fun.
Three of the participants were the daughters of two friends of ours and their friend from school; they came along to work on a badge in Girl Scouts for aerospace. Nice to see Girl Scouts can do cool things for badges now: when I was a kid I remember friends talking about boring things like cooking, sewing and crafts with popsicle sticks.