I’m not afraid of spiders, snakes, or most critters (the jury is still out on alligators since I haven’t met one up close on dry land yet). I’m a Pennsylvania girl at heart, raised by parents who were raised on farms; nothing, but nothing that walked, crawled or slithered scared those two.* And they raised me to take care of business. I got no time for vermin.
Prior to moving to the Low Country of South Carolina I researched the critters who reside here. You know, so I might recognize a poisonous spider or snake before it attacked me. For the first few months I was here I donned knee-high rubber boots when I was outside in the yard. I must have sweated off 5 pounds wearing those boots in the heat, but I wanted to be sure no snake slithered out of the pine straw mulch and bit me before I could identify it. I’ve relaxed a little since then. I only don the knee-high rubber boots if I’m inspecting the pine straw mulched planting beds now. The rest of the time? I feel pretty confident wearing rubber half boot in the grass and on the dock.
But I digress. We have a screened-in porch. It needed to be dusted and vacuumed, and I’m that woman. I was humming and swiffering along, focused on the task at hand. Then I saw a movement out of the corner of my eye, but when I turned toward it? I didn’t see anything. After I finished dusting I pulled out the vacuum. With a flick of the switch it roared to life and I worked my way from one end of the patio to the other, sucking up dust with every pass of the wand.
Then I saw it. A spider! But not just any old common household spider. Oh nooooo. This spider? It was the biggest hairiest spider I’ve ever seen outside the dead ones labeled and stuck to presentation boards in the Museum of Natural History. And those spider, if I remember correctly, once lived in the Amazon.
The spider ran toward a convenient corner. I hustled up to get a better look. And the damned thing charged me! It was the fastest spider I ever saw.
I stumbled backwards, headed to the patio door and a narrow escape. The spider returned to its corner. Never taking my two eyes off of it, I hugged the far patio wall and eased my way inside to get my phone. I snapped a few photos. You know, so I could Google the spider before I decided how to dispose of it. Mike was hard at work upstairs so I texted the photo to our neighbor Gabe, asking him if he knew if it was poisonous or not.
I’m used to disposing of critters that invade our home. My husband Mike only knows about most of the beasts from my dinner table stories about how I vanquished them. Yes, he has disposed of the occasional already dead raccoon, but if he hadn’t been home guess who would have done it?
But this spider? I needed reinforcements! “Mike! Mike?” I yelled. Bless his heart, he must have heard something in the tone of my voice because he arrived at my side almost immediately!
Call me cautious. Laugh at me. I’m a planner! I’m the one who insisted we bring our gas-powered leaf blower from New Jersey, no matter that we hired a lawn service here for our “mow and blow” needs. We’re going to use that sucker when it’s time for me to execute my massive landscape plan. Mike will bllow the pine straw off the planting beds. And then and only the will I commence planting. NO pine straw cover for the snakes! I will see those buggers coming.
But back to the HUUUGE spider on the patio. Mike and I approached it slowly. It turned to face us. Eyeballs. All its eyeballs, all stared at us. We moved. It moved. Mike decided the best approach was the one Gabe suggested.
He sucked the spider up. And then he let the vacuum run a bit. You know, to confuse the spider. Make it dizzy. So it didn’t try to run when Mike emptied the vacuum trash bin into a ziplock and tossed it in the outside trash can.
Score: Snedens 1: SC spiders 0.
What critter have you vanquished lately? Share in the Comments section below.
*You want to know what tough is? My Mom. When my sisters and I were young kids, he hand carried buckets and buckets of coal into our house during a raging whiteout snowstorm to keep the furnace going during one horrible PA winter when my Dad was working in NJ. Yeah. Tough. That’s my Mom.