As I lowered my foot for the crushing blow on the Black Widow covering her egg pouch I said to myself, "This is not Charlotte's Web."
Just because I rattle a shovel around the dark areas housing water valves before I stick in my hand doesn't mean there's not a spider lurking there waiting to get me. I recall my first visit to the Valley Center Water District office to discuss our water allocation 5 years ago when a man telephoned asking what to do because a Black Widow had just bit him when he turned on his irrigation valve. Lesson learned.
We do have a cast of barnyard critters here in the vineyard who greet us most days: RockySquirrel (who defies death daily avoiding every trap I spread for him and enjoying the snack of an orange or avocado slice I leave him; his fur is getting lush from the avocado oil); OwlGore (the barn owl whose pellets we inspect daily in hopes of finding skeletal remains of Mr. Gopher); RoadRunner (beep, beep) and of course WylieCoyote (whose pack prowls the valleys surrounding us); Bugs Bunny (who is baby bugs this time of year and a treat); HawkEye Pierce (a family of hawks who float on the currents in the sky); DanQuail (a covey of quail which our dog can't quite figure out); CarlRove (the neighbor's cat who prefers hunting on our property -- he knows what to do with the quail); fortunately, we haven't seen Simba the Mountain Lion (though he was caught on a neighbor's surveillance camera) but I've had three sightings of the bobcat (for whom I don't have special name other than The BobCat).
Some mornings as the fog lifts there's a sparking web across vines spun by one of those large fruit spiders which I examine carefully trying to find the letters: S-O-M-E-D-O-G