Spider Daze

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It’s that time of the year when the garden spiders are building their webs in the flowers and pathways. Last night I moved the hose from one drip system to the other, and felt something crawling on me — it was one of the zipper spiders. It had apparently built its web across the path and I didn’t see it in the low light of dusk. I felt bad that I had inadvertently destroyed her web. I moved her over to some tall grasses and she crawled off me into the grasses where she could build another web. Walking through her web reminded me of an old Far Side comic where a couple of spiders have a web built on the end of a slide and one spider is telling the other “If we pull this off, we’ll eat like kings!” You can see a copy of the comic here: http://blogerinblog.files.wordpress.com/2010/04/eat-like-kings.jpg.

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Thunderheads

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Thunderheads over the Sandias taken from Hwy 528 just south of Hwy 550.

Thunderheads appear, change and disappear very quickly in the desert southwest. They can produce sudden and heavy rains, high winds, intense lighting storms and hailstorms. But often they form and put on a show, changing into all kinds of shapes, and then evaporate without a sound or drop of precipitation.

The first four photos were taken over a timespan of 10 minutes while driving on Highway 550 to Highway 528 and on to Corrales Road. The Weather Service interrupted the radio to announce the there was heavy rain and flooding on the other side of the Sandias from these thunderheads.

The last photo was taken from our deck where we sit and watch the clouds form and change over the Sandias through the bamboo and cottonwood trees.

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Thunderheads over the Sandias from Corrales Rd. just east of Hwy 528.

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Wider view of thunderheads over the Sandias and stretching down the Rio Grande Valley taken from Hwy 528 just south of Hwy 550.

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Thunderheads over the Sandias from Hwy 550 west of Hwy 528.

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Thunderheads as seen from our deck.

Creatures in the Moonlight

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While walking out to the ditch to turn in the irrigation water at 2:00 am under the Harvest Moon, I saw a critter scurrying my way. Skunks don’t see very well, so it got pretty close to me before it stopped and we had a brief stand off — long enough for me to sweet talk it into letting me get a couple of photos. The skunk wasn’t sure what to think about a giant troll talking to it in the middle of the night — it stomped its front feet and stepped from side to side trying to decide whether to scurry past me, spray me or retreat. It finally decided on a compromise and ran into the tall grass on its right. Fortunately, it turned out to be an uneventful encounter, but I had a difficult time getting a clear shot of the nervous little skunk as the shutter speed was only 1/5 of a second at ƒ/1.4. On the other hand, it was easy to get a clear shot of the spider that had built its web on the irrigation gate. It held perfectly still.

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