On the Big Island we live an uneasy truce with a few scary varmints though, on the good side, we have no snakes. The latest critter to cross our path was the cane spider, so called because it used to hide in the sugar cane fields. They’re apparently harmless, but their huge size creeps me out. Last night a high-pitched frantic scream came out of Jade’s room. “Daddy!” Thank God she called him and not me. The cane spider perched on her window sill. It had a wingspan of 3+ inches.
Of course, BG doesn’t kill interesting specimens. No, he collects them. We have multiple 5-7 inch centipedes in pickling juice up in his office. This beats his previous method of preserving things through freezing. More than once I took a Ziploc twist-top container out of the freezer, wondering if I could cook up the contents for supper, only to find a scorpion staring back at me. I don’t think the cane spider’s legs would survive freezing anyway. My friends tell me that they break off easily when you push them with a broom. So this little guy (I’ve heard talk of larger ones) is destined for the juice.
I wrote an essay on a similar topic for my book, Manifesting Paradise. Here’s an excerpt:
Banana slugs and other critters. From Chapter 5.
May 15. My sister Grace was here last week for Jade’s confirmation. She was surprised to see that I tolerate geckos in the carport, on the lanai, even in the house now and then, though we do shoo them outside. They’re cute and they eat bugs. We who live in the subtropics have an interesting relationship with critters. It’s best not to be too squeamish. You have to know when to live and let live, and when to kill.
. . . I’d brought copious roach products when we moved, but I’ve hardly seen a roach in the house since we arrived. Large cockroaches that live outside are another matter. They’re big enough to outfit with a saddle. I swear one of them wore a bandana as he galloped across the top of the hot tub. But as long as they stay outside (and they do), I don’t care.
Plant pests are a totally different animal. I finally harvested enough green beans for a good meal. Then something ate the leaves and they were pau, done. The leaves had more holes than leaf. But I didn’t see any bugs, so their demise is a mystery. If I do find them, respect for all species and sustainability be damned. This is my garden we’re talking about. My peas are coming, but I only have two producing vines. The neighbor’s chickens ate most of the pea seeds and scratched up the rest of the young pea plants as they sprouted. Bloody chickens.
The strawberry plants have taken hold and are growing. Now they just need to produce some berries, though locals warn me to guard against banana slugs. One of the women in the Women’s Circle told me “try corn gluten meal . . . It’s best if you lace it with crushed up egg shells to cut up the little buggers when they gobble it.” I thought that was a bit harsh until I saw my first banana slug the other day, actually a herd of them. They were huge, light tan on one side, yellow on the other. As I expanded my front walkway and lined it with large rocks from the yard to make a border, I uncovered nests of these slugs. Ack! But armed with my salt, I waged war.
Finally, a note on the egg situation: about 7:30 am yesterday, BG noticed a hen sitting inside our carport on our Christmas boxes. She appeared to be dozing. When I went out with Jade at 9 am she was still there with her tail in the air. That afternoon BG went to investigate. The hen was gone, but he found four small eggs in her spot. Now that’s a Mother’s Day effort. To honor her, we ate them for breakfast this morning. The shells were hard and the yolks a beautiful orange color, probably from eating pea seeds from my yard! Of course we had to supplement them, and what a contrast between the small chicken eggs and big duck eggs we’ve been buying. Altogether, it was tasty and economical when you get half of them for free. Well, free if you don’t count the aggravation from enduring the roosters and BG bellowing back and forth.
I saved the shells for the slugs.
No tools to talk about here, unless you count “selective tolerance.” Sometimes a story is just a story.
Postscript: Based on the pleas of some Spider Do-gooders, we let the spider go – outside. BG told Jade that it made a bee-line for her bedroom again.
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