Octopus’s Garden or Spider’s Web


If you had to choose between living in a world filled with hyper-intelligent spiders or one ruled by PhD level octopuses which would it be?


Would negotiating with arachnids be preferable to appealing to a mollusk’s better nature?

Why, you might ask, am I entertaining such thoughts?

I just finished Adrian Tchaikovsky’s, Children of Ruin, the sequel to his groundbreaking novel, Children of Time, that’s why.

Good sci-fi should force readers to contemplate the imponderables, to think beyond previously constructed boundaries, and Tchaikovsky has given me more to contemplate than my little brain can handle right now. My mind is blown, and that’s a good thing.

Peace, people.

Gutsy Potion

Don’t be skittish, dear

Brewing potions takes some guts

Among other things

“The Witches Brew” by Adrian Higgins

(“The Witches Brew” by Adrian Higgins)

Tongue of toad, fileted

Eyes of newt, plucked one by one

Rattle of snake, sliced

“Witch’s Brew” by Angus McBride

(“Witch’s Brew” by Angus McBride)

Stir in spider eggs

Black widow for best results

Simmer, chant, enjoy.

Wanted: Dead or Alive

I am currently sporting two spider bites. One’s on my right ankle and gets little notice, but the other bite is in the bend of my right arm. I think the lady at the post office today thought I might be a heroin user. She certainly asked me a bunch of suspicious sounding questions about the package I was mailing: “Does this parcel contain anything fragile, liquid, perishable, or potentially hazardous, including lithium batteries and perfume?”

Okay, so they ask that about every package mailed in the U.S. these days, still I thought she might be looking at me with an odd mix of pity and fear, thinking, “Poor old biddy, hope she doesn’t rob me for drug money.”

And while I have but the two bites, poor Studly Doright has six: five on his stomach and two on his arm. Everywhere he goes he wafts the scent of calamine lotion. It’s not sexy.

We figure we must’ve been bitten while working in the yard on Monday. Neither of us took precautions against spider bites, such as wearing double thick armor and sealing up any chinks in the metal with a combination of duct tape and bailing wire. Indeed, we worked bare armed with loose clothing just begging for a spider to come inside. We tempted fate and fate won.

Now, though, I’m convinced that our home is infested with the little critters. I’ve sprayed every nook and cranny with the scent of peppermint, and I dressed for bed last night in long johns and a hoodie.

Seriously, I had a horrifying experience with a spider when we lived in Kansas. I dreamt that I was eating a salad. The lettuce was crisp and crunchy. When my alarm went off I could still hear the crunching of the lettuce, but it was coming from inside my head. I thought, “oh hell, I’ve lost my mind!”

I began tossing my head and slapping at my ears as I stumbled to the bathroom. Miraculously, the crunching stopped, and I looked down to see a tiny spider on the bathroom floor. I killed him. No hesitation. The whole experience made me wonder if there are people sitting in insane asylums who just need their ears checked for spiders.

Silken Promise

Sitting slyly perched within

The silver strands stretched tightly

I’ve woven this silk for you, my love

Come lounge here with me nightly

Your gossamer threads cannot hold

Your liquid words won’t bind

I’ll sit with you for just a spell

Then leave your web behind

Of course, she whispered soothingly

Here, rest in my embrace

Through half closed eyes he watched

As she moored him to her place.

Peppermint Scented Cat

Whiskers a foot long
Her black coat soft, tinged with gray
Smells of peppermint

My own bonny cat
Thirteen years to her credit
Smells of peppermint

Like a dowager
Awaiting a grandchild’s call
Smells of peppermint

Luxuriant pose
Paws stretch horizontally
Smells of peppermint

Scout, my feline fair
Lingered, languished within sheets
Smells of peppermint

I’ve been trying to ward off spiders by using peppermint essential oils mixed with water as a spray for our bedding. Scout, our older cat, has become something of a peppermint junkie. She lounges about on my bed all day, smells wonderful, and seems to be spider-free.

peace, people!

Spider Bait

“O what a tangled web we weave when first we practice to deceive.” 

Walter Scott


“Ouch, dammit! Stupid freaking spider!” 


“Spider Bait”

Spiders help or hurt

Depending on one’s point of view

Mine is somewhat jaundiced 

Having suffered bites of every hue.

Apparently my bedclothes

Harbor an arachnid

A sneaky little bastard

Who preys upon my bare shins.

Thoroughly I search the sheets

Looking for this menace

If he be wise he’ll run away

Or serve a fatal sentence.


Back to Back

Invertebrates have no idea just how fortune smiled upon their meager lives

by denying them the gift of a spine. No backbone means no bulging discs, or

shooting pains from hip to shin. On most days I’m proud to count thirty-three

vertebrae from stem to stern, to be among the higher order of God’s creative will,

but today I’d gladly trade places with a spineless critter, preferably a

butterfly instead of a spider or mollusk. Certainly not a sponge.


What’s Up, Pussycat?

Patches had been in this position, motionless for the past five minutes.   
I don’t believe her eyes have blinked the entire time. 

If I weren’t a chicken I’d look up to see what has her so fascinated. Please, oh please don’t let it be a gigantic woman-eating spider!

Peace, people!

Banana Spider

We have a small area just outside of our front door that as far as I can tell holds no purpose other than to propagate weeds. The folks who built the home had a gardener to care for the ground cover plants that grew there, but when given a choice between employing a part time housekeeper or a gardener, there was no contest. Housekeeper won by a mile.

Logically I should have known that the pretty plants would need tending eventually and that I probably would end up with that job, but denial runs strong in my family. 

Last summer I stumbled about trying to maintain some semblance of respectable home ownership, but this year the courtyard has just gone to pot. Not literally–pot isn’t yet legal in Florida, so don’t send the sheriff’s department out our way, but figuratively. 

Things that made for pretty ground cover a year ago are sprouting tufts that look like an old man’s whiskers, and the uglier stuff is back with a vengeance. We plan to do something creative with the area, but it just hasn’t happened yet. Why? Golf. I blame golf.

Periodically I go out and talk to these plants/weeds as I bend, sweat, and pull, bend, sweat, and pull. It’s all very tender talk: “Go away you ugly sons of bitches, you’re making our home look bad to the UPS and FedEx guys.”

Today I was bending, sweating, and pulling while cursing these plants, and I stumbled into a banana spider’s web.

I didn’t realize at first that it was a banana spider’s web. I was too busy slapping at my head and shoulders to remove any arachnids that might have transferred from the web to my body. When I stepped out of the web I looked up and there she sat. Huge. 

Banana spiders in Florida are not poisonous, but they will bite and I understand the bites are quite painful. I continued to pull weeds, but now I had one eye on the spider. Cursing, bending, sweating, and pulling.

Peace, people!