Bluegrass, quiet evenings out, and the shiny reflective spider-eyes of doom.

July 16, 2007

I’d intended to take Friday off in preparation for my folks arriving, but ended up at the office all day putting out fires. We spent most of Saturday at the local bluegrass/traditional arts/pioneer-day festival. It was, in short, a blast. Hotter than can be, but that’s what ice cream, lemonade and creek-wading are for. Our oldest wants to learn to clog. Saturday night, my folks took over the brood and we escaped downtown for a quiet dinner away (our first in many months). Dinner was followed up by a walk around the town square and a decent cigar from one of the two (!) tobacco shops. Home again and everyone to bed.

After Mass, Sunday was mostly spent laying around the house, though I did sneak out to get the lawn cut before the rain blew in. The epic contest of man vs. nature had me literally running back and forth across the yard as the first drops fell. I barely made it back to the shed before things opened up.

After we got the kids to bed and cleaned up the dinner mess, I snuck outside to try out something I’d read regarding spiders and flashlights. It happens that spider eyes are reflective, and a handy method of collecting them involves going out into the yard at night and looking for the little pin-point reflections in the grass. Curiosity mixed with horror, I went out and flailed for awhile but didn’t find a single one. I reconsulted the website and realized I’d been doing it wrong. You don’t go out there and sweep the yard like you’re looking for an escapee from Stalag 17: the trick is to hold the flashlight right along the side of your heard. Angle of incidence = angle of reflection, right? You want the reflections to come straight back to your eyes.

It works.

Tiny blue-green pinpricks of light, almost like dewdrops or specks of mica showed up here and there. Until you got closer, that is, and they scrambled under a leaf or turned just slightly so as suddenly go dark. Even the tiniest little guys had reflections. Pretty cool, and a little bit creepy. So if you need to collect spiders for some horrible, nefarious science project, grab a flashlight and do it at night when it’s easiest to find the little monsters.

I will most certainly be showing The Children this tonight.

Speaking of spiders, I noticed the first few large orb-weavers during my morning ride on Sunday, and saw another one last night building its web. I normally associate these with the turn of summer and the slow, delicate slide into autumn. A fluke? Mid-July seems a bit early, but we’re also a bit further to the north than in previous summers. Time will tell.

Reading: The Two Gentlemen of Verona


2 Responses to “Bluegrass, quiet evenings out, and the shiny reflective spider-eyes of doom.”

  1. Joseph Says:

    Cool! I can’t wait to try that spider thing. I will definitely show that one to my sons. They will love it. I am actually VERY creeped out by spiders. I had an alergic reaction to a spider bite five years ago that sent me to the hospital and nearly to the morgue. So I certainly won’t be collecting them.

  2. fosco Says:

    My kids were pretty impressed. After they got the hang of it, they were darting all over the front yard to see who/what was making the reflection. “SPIDER!” was the call of the night.

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