This overly plump fellow has a gargantuan web inside his back pouch. He can “write” a web in a very short time, and then devour it so as to move it in no time at all. Very cool. Don’t know what kind it is. I let it go underneath the hermitage so as to encourage the writing of very cool webs up on Holy Souls Mountain! Can anyone tell me what this is, technically?
Moss ghillie suit sniper spider!
Apparently, he collects bits of moss to make a ghillie suit for himself. He moves extremely slowly. A Mawhinney of the spider world for sure:
Spiny orb weaver spider!
Here’s a shot of the web they write, right next to the hermitage:
After rushing my neighbor — on whose property the hermitage lies — down Holy Souls Mountain, and after his life was saved by the EMTs, since he had been stung, he now admits, perhaps 50 times, and he’s deadly alergic to them, I then waited just a bit more till nightfall to burn the culprits, these varmints, to death. Here’s the entrance to their underground nest burning with orange and blue flames:
And here’s a couple of feet away from that entrance, where the flames sprang up spontaneously, what with the gasoline I poured into their entrance having oozed through their nest and into the surrounding dirt:
And here’s the result I dug up the next day, three “pancakes” worth of these varmints. This is how they construct their nests below ground:
Nest destruction count so far: 04. This is how they construct their nests when they have a more open space above ground:
I like all of God’s critters, but I’ve declared war on yellowjackets, and have killed 82 of the queens so far (Only fertilized queens survive the winter). My neighbor, on whose property I live, has killed 33 so far this Spring (making 115 altogether). Multiply that by 20,000 yellowjackets per queen, and you get a potential 2,300,000 yellowjackets on the property — and that’s only talking about the ones we did get to kill. There must be very many more! There are certainly many flying around all over, in the open, in the woods…
My weapon of choice for the fertilized queens in the Spring is an old kitchen broom, necessarily the kind with the soft plastic bristles.
I bat them out of the air in the, um, space where I’m living before the hermitage is completed. The queens are a bit dopey. They fly against a window (whereas otherwise they would not). They stay there while you gently put the bristles over them. They can’t move. I then take a small plastic chainsaw oil jug and crush them through the bristles. This is extremely quick and, as far as I can tell, safe!
An eagle seen near Holy Souls Mountain
If you’re having a hard time seeing the eagle, give a thought to the combat pilots in dog fights who use the sun against each other, hiding in the glare to that they can make their strike unseen. Or perhaps they are in the sights of the one hiding in the sun… Yikes!
This friendly fellow with fangs at the ready is a regular visitor between 3-4 in the morning in the corner of the loft of the neighbor’s barn where I am holed up until the hermitage is readied up more than it is now. My camera is pretty useless, so he’s just a blur in the picture as he flaps about, crashing into everything, the wood-piles, the plastic sheeting, the ladder, the stored corrugated panels, the farm machinery… everything. I think he’s lost his sense of radar, and he is, of course, as blind as a bat. He’ll crash right into something, fall to floor, flap about it, take a breath… and… and… I can almost hear him sigh! in exasperation. But then he’s off again, often within inches of my face, providing a pleasant breeze. It probably has white nose syndrome, deadly for bats, or maybe rabbies (as a reader suggested). Surely this night-time visitor of Transylvania County is not a fox-bat, pictured to the right. I’m reminded of my childhood days when my father would “conduct” Die Fledermouse Overture (The Bat Overture) of Johann Strauss II when it was broadcast over his FM vacuum tube radio. Don’t worry, no “related video” will show up after it’s over!
There are numerous Brown Recluses on Holy Souls Mountain. They’ve become the number one enemy. They’re much like the Australian White Tail in their effect, except much worse, rotting entire limbs off people with their poison. Perhaps I should get a spider book.
The touble with these guys is that they can bite multiple times. One got me five times in one place (10 fang marks), and another did the same, while another got me seven times (14 fang punctures) in one place. They bite, spin about, bite again, spin about, bite again, and so on, until they establish a parameter within which the poison cannot but do its work. This googled image below shows the little violin in back of the eyes between the legs. The Sawyer’s Extractor sucked out plenty of poison and bits of rotted flesh from these wounds. I’m now counting 16 separate Brown Recluse incidents, which have all received the treatment from the Extractor. None seem to be ”active” right now (July 22, 2011). The others are a bit dormant, at least for the time being.
The picture to the left shows the shoulder with a wound almost healed within a larger scar, and one below it, wide open and deepening, though the Sawyer’s Extractor is keeping it innocuous, which is really cool!
First, suck out the blood and dead flesh (wipe off the wound with a tissue) with the Sawyer’s Extractor. Second: wait a day or half a day, depending. Third: Do it again. For some weeks, if it lasts that long. IF you catch it when you notice it (about eight hours after the bite), it might heal up right away. This is not what is medically recommended (not sure why). I just can’t see leaving the poison in the wound to do its work. Left untreated, the poison can make such a hole through the skin and muscle and bone, that only an amputation will “cure” it. Sometimes, amputation is not possible, if the bite is on the face or neck! The wound tends to go down, in between the chute created by the vortex style multiplicity of same site bites before the wound spreads out. The Sawyer’s Extractor is truly invaluable. People think I should be dead by now, and maybe I would be, if it were not for the Extractor, which keeps the persistent poison to a minimum.
Not as dangerous are the numerous Black Widows (which only make you deathly sick for a few days), by their thousands (much like the Australian Red Back in their effect). One lives happily under the alter. Watching her attack victims makes for a few seconds of great entertainment.
Female Hobo Spider guarding her egg ball. Careful!
These guys can also send you to the emergency room if you don’t know that they won’t kill you, though it seems like that!
Here’s what might be a baby male Hobo spider:
A member of the same suborder of tarantulas (Sphodros genus, Atypidae family, Mygalomorphae suborder):
Here’s a shot of the needle sharp fangs against the background of the yellow rubber gloves I was using to put in the concrete foundations of the support posts of the hermitage (cement having acid that rips skin right off). These guys are super abundant on Holy Souls Mountain, but are not harmful to humans. Someone said this is a mouse spider. If that’s true, I shouldn’t have been so brave. The poison in the fangs is really nasty for humans.
Tiny. I don’t think they ever get even a foot long. Another one, who was living in the sawdust of the pine sawyers:
Eastern Black Racer
I saw a totally black snake just under four feet long when I didn’t have my camera, much different than this Eastern Black Racer, which I saw more recently. Very friendly!
I thought you might want a close up:
Here’s another, I think just over four feet, very placid. Not interested in biting. Very friendly.
I’ve yet to see a Timber Rattler or Copperhead, which are common here.
Daddy Longlegs, perhaps the most poisonous spider in the world, except that its fangs aren’t strong enough to pierce human skin. The body of this one is a full half inch long. I’ve never seen them so big. Kind of a cyclops.
Don’t know what this is:
I don’t know what this is, exactly, but it was creeping around in the bottom of a box of books I was emptying out. Pretty sharp looking!
Don’t know what these are either:
Apparently, this “garden” spider is an attack specialist, and gets about the size of a human hand.
Just a baby, hiding in one of the trillion Trilliums to be seen here.
Wood ants, by the trillions. Don’t stand on the hills or on their superhighways. Here’s a 5 second video with no related video at the end!
Here’s the best I can do for uncountable numbers of onomatopoeically named Whip-Poor-Wills on Holy Souls Mountain:
That’s one of the gargantuan eyeballs that all Whip-Poor-Wills have. You would think, after sundown, or before sunrise, that this was a deer caught in the headlights, but Whip-Poor-Wills are only about the size of a ruffed grouse. Even if Whip-Poor-Wills are right next to you in the daytime, you’ll probably not see them. Their camoflauge is incredibly good. They like to sing next to or on human dwellings!
UPDATE: Unfocussed quick shot of a Whip-Poor-Will right next to me:
I don’t know if the name of the Whip-Poor-Will has more to it than people’s imagination, but… forget the words and just listen to the sound, and all of a sudden you will hear, clearly, crisply, the sound of a horse-whip snapping against human flesh, complete with a grunt of pain between each whipping. It reminds of an old black and white film I saw decades ago, which had a scene of Catholic priest being stripped down in the slavery era in the South. He was tied to a tree and whipped mercilessly. Maybe his name was Father Will, who was working for the rights of African Americans. It’s all a good reminder of the stupidity of some human beings who think they are more human than others, but also of God’s goodness, who gives to willing receivers His love which puts up even with being whipped to death for the sake of the Kingdom of Heaven.
Here’s a Barred Owl, fairly large. Not as big or upright as a Great Horned Owl, but a real predator, even during the daylight hours. In this picture, he’s resting after attacking another predator, who was eating what the owl wanted.
And here are some mallards in the bit of water just at the foot of Holy Souls Mountain:
These guys are, I guess, good for eating Brown Recluses!
Not sure about these:
For this picture, you’ll probably have to look at your screen from different angles to see the blue light in the center of the black of the mountain forest night. It seems the humidity has to be just right for them. Maybe they short out if the dew is too heavy!
I captured one on the altar:
Extreme Sport Caterpillars
But I have no idea what this turns into. There are many. They drop out of the trees on a silk thread, then climb back up to start again. They are the original extreme sport insects.
Diversely, on the stove pipe:
I don’t know what this is:
Or what this will turn out to be:
Pine Sawyers: enemy of hermits!
Pine sawyers are ferocious beetles (which is cool!). The difficulty is that they eat sick and dying and dead pine trees (meaning also much of my firewood). Their larvae…
… can be heard crunching on the wood from inside the tree, leaving piles of sawdust.
This is the delight of pileated woodpeckers, the living revenge against pine-sawyers:
The worms make the wood less burnable. If you ever see much liquid boiling to the top of a burning log, it’s probably not sap, but a pine sawyer being boiled inside the log.
Turn your volume up, and listen to this 20 second video from Holy Souls Mountain. I finally figured out how to have no “related videos” show up after it’s done!
I think these guys eat Brown Recluses, and TMB says that they eat mosquitoes as well. Way cool! He’s resting on the “drawbridge” into where I’m temporarily residing while the hermitage gets built! Right where I need him. He’s pretty long, actually.
Here’s another, I guess a yellow skink. Tiny little thing. Maybe it’s a salamander. Sure looks like a cross between a frog and a snake!
Here’s a more mature example:
I would put him in the Hermit Recipe page, but he’s too small — just hatched — and on his way to find water. Besides, I don’t have a recipe. If anyone has a recipe for this critter, that would be great.
I wonder if there are recipes for such things. They are very abundant here in these sopping wet mountain ridge forests. These nasty varmits eat the mushrooms before you can even find them.
Here’s her home:
Here she is, laying eggs for the next generation. They can live a good century:
For those who think that box turtles are never to be seen, here is another laying eggs:
Oooo. And a third, seconds later, on the top of Holy Souls Mountain:
Seen again, so, I guess, they are really pretty common critters…
O.K. This is getting ridiculous. Two laying eggs in the same place!
And now three! I didn’t bother with the camera, lest I encourage them! Perhaps I should have, since some days later I saw that all there egg lairs were dug up, and one of the three turtles was turtle soup in some beast’s stomach! Only the shell was left. I did see one egg though, which I dutifully buried, in hopes that I wasn’t too late:
Not a cockroach. Dunno what this is exactly. No wings. Very strong:
Moths and butterflies
I wasn’t quick enough to get a picture of the Holy Souls Hermitage Flying Squirrel, but Wikipedia has supplied a version of what I saw. He was inside the double-walled part of the stove. After it was going about half an hour, he popped out, thinking it was getting a bit hot! Yikes! These creatures get into everything!
Don’t know what this is:
Georgia Jumping Worms!
You would think these very lively worms, which jump around very actively, would be loved by fishermen, but, instead, they are hated, as they simply disintegrate when put on a hook. But, they are excellent for airating the ground.
In the middle of the picture, you can see the bright eyes. This is in Holy Souls Slough…
Alligator… er… Salamander!
In the middle of Holy Souls Slough. Sure does look like a pet alligator that someone let go. As I say, this is the dumping ground for such beasts. And I never saw a salamander act like this… Very cool!
Don’t think that even just one of these can’t make you go deaf if you are right next to them when they start to “sing”. They will make the trees shake. I’m happy to have the frogs around, as their presence indicates a healthy environment, kind of a canary for a cave.
A spider web you do NOT want to run into…
These are great at night, but even better in the morning when dripping with dew. These spiders can, in very short order, eat up their webs and respin elsewhere. They are very large and immediately have you waving your arms about in order to remove the sticky mess from head and shoulders, lest you be eaten alive. At least that’s the impression it gives you. Here’s another spanning a number of trees:
I guess this is a cricket up on the wood of Holy Souls Hermitage. If so, their usual orchestral offerings are drowned out by the tree frogs and peepers everywhere. It’s not a cave cricket. Must be a mountain cricket…
Itsy bitsy spider… Fatal?
Sucking out the insides of his victim…
A hundred feet…
Soft snake eggs… Which kind? TMB says “Skink Eggs!”
Another hundred legs…
He kind of more or less just fell into the water. He’s pretty upset for getting rescued:
His brother did better:
More recently, I had to rescue two little ones from the inside of the barn. They tend to poop on everything:
Beetle, with jaws…
Great North American Hornet?
A bit of red on the back, huge jaws for dismembering its prey…
Humming bird at rest in the evening
Very cool worms!
Katydids, looking like leaves!
Here’s what they sound like. The mic is that of the camera. They are actually deafening in their zillions…
Beasts I couldn’t get a picture of, so far, but which I’ve seen…
Panther, Turkey Buzzard, Bobwhite.
The panther I saw had a long tail on it, and was quite a bit bigger. I googled the image to the right. The one I saw could have been a circus animal that was let go. This is the dumping ground for animals in these parts. People look at the map and figure this place is remote, which it is.
Beasts I’ve heard but couldn’t see, much less get a picture of, so far…
Bullfrog (incredibly loud), black bear (crashing down from a tree it tried to climb to get away from the many mountain dogs), a racoon (who may soon become a coonskin cap, as a favor to the neighbor’s garden)…
Beasts I haven’t seen or heard, but I hope to get a picture of soon…
Timber Rattler (hesitant), Copperhead (shy), wild boar (tusks and all, not shy or hesitant), deer (good at hiding)…