A Nature-Filled Halloween in Mexico (a post not for the faint-of-heart)

First a reader/viewer advisory. If you are creeped out or scared of spiders, maybe you shouldn’t read this. I joked with Lourdes that she has cotton spider webs and plastic spiders decorating her Casita when she could just come to my house and gather plenty of the real thing.20171009_193632

There are many types of spiders here, from very tiny ones that you can barely see to large, scary-looking ones about 3 inches long – my best estimate as I refuse to get close enough to one to accurately measure it.  There are webs spun all over my property and outside my house and unless they are covered in dew or you see them at just the right angle, they are basically invisible. So – there have been quite a few times that I have walked right into one, and then frantically brushed the web off my face and run my fingers over my face, hair and upper body hoping there is no spider there and hoping if there is one, that it quickly gets brushed off.  So now, before I venture into my property, I carry a rake and probably look a bit unhinged waving it into the air to catch any spider webs that might be there.

The good thing is that the web-spinners come out during the rainy season, so they are not to be found – or at least very few – during the 8 months or so of the dry season. During the dry season I see a different type with no web. If you blow on them they scurry away, and while I would not touch one (large and round), I am not afraid of them.

So first, the least scary one. It is fairly small but very strange-looking. I have never seen a spider that looks quite like this, as if it had some dark crystallized sugar attached to its body – a spiky brown lump that would appear to be the source of its web material.

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A closeup of the little creature

See? It seems more strange than scary, and not only likes high places such as attaching its web from my roof, but also doesn’t mind starting a web from the back of one of my porch chairs….   Hmmm, guess I definitely have to take a good look at the chairs before I grab them and sit down…

Next, the large, nasty-looking ones. I haven’t gotten close enough to do an accurate measurement, but I would estimate them to be about 3 inches in length and their webs I have seen have been as large as about 3 feet. Definitely don’t want to come into direct contact with this type. So here it is – the current stuff of nightmares and horror movies:

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I do have to admit, as creepy and scary as it looks, it IS fascinating to watch how it spins its web. 

 

So I guess that should be enough about the spiders. On to something a little more palatable now – like pumpkins. A few months ago I planted at least 10 pumpkin seeds in anticipation of a large pumpkin patch from which would grow mounds of pumpkins just waiting to be decorated or turned into pumpkin pie.

It was a good thing that so many were planted, as it turns out there are male and female vines. Eventually the vines grew and decided that they want to have their pumpkins high up in the air, and began climbing the peach tree, and up and over the brick wall alongside the patch. One of the vines wrapped itself around an electric wire before forming a pumpkin. The weight of the pumpkin started putting a strain on the wire, so I bought some shelves and placed the pumpkin on top of the shelf. Days later I was horrified to discover my poor pumpkin covered in larvae busily drilling holes into its skin.

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It literally looked like someone had taken an electric drill to it and created tons of holes. So I hosed it down, washed it with detergent, but the darn things kept coming back. I even wrapped it in a plastic bag, but they still managed to get in.

Finally, I was directed to a local homeowner who told me about a poison that I could mix with water and spray it on. He gave me a capful and I used it as he directed. So far the destructive creatures have not returned, but I no longer think this pitiful looking thing is suitable for eating in any way, shape or form.

However, I DO have a healthy specimen growing and hopefully the pests will not discover it before I can harvest it…

In the meantime, grocery stores are a wonderful thing, and I have purchased two store-bought pumpkins (imported from the U.S.) with which I will make some pies until mine are ready for the kitchen. IMG_5187

In addition to the store-bought pumpkins, my coffee berries are starting to turn red, so hopefully I will have enough to process and make at least one or two cups of coffee, my green chayotes are starting to be ready to pick in numbers greater than one or two at a time, and I found some fabulous pale spiny chayotes that I will plant before very long.

So – all is well here South of the Border, and I wish you all a HAPPY HALLOWEEN and a Happy Pumpkin Season !!!!!

 

 

 

 

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