Dabbling with fact, fiction, good fun

I am quite sure that most everyone shuddered just a little last week when they saw the story in the papers and on the T.V.

I am quite sure that most everyone shuddered just a little last week when they saw the story in the papers and on the T.V. about the couple in Red Deer who purchased some grapes at a supermarket and after cleaning them at home discovered a black widow spider crawling among those tasty morsels of fruit. In browsing for information about this nasty lady spider I found that their venom is 15 times more poisonous than that of a rattlesnake but thank goodness the spider fell out of the bag and they quickly directed it into a jar.

So why was a black widow spider in the grapes you might ask? Apparently in the California orchards they have found that it is much safer for both the grapes and the consumer to not use insecticides during the fruit’s development. Their newest method is to introduce a natural biological predator to the crops, which is the black widow spider family, who in turn build their funnel shaped nests and go hunting for other insects and pests that may harm the crops. At harvest time there is an extensive cleaning process of picking, cleaning, shaking and washing the table grapes but apparently this lady with the ominous red logo on her back managed to hang on for the long trip to central Alberta.

Canadian Food Inspection Agency officials state that a black widow spider will bite in self defense if physically disturbed. Anti-venom is available but should be treated properly and promptly. My question is how many other creatures are being transported in the produce and whatever that is arriving every day in our stores, and what precautions are being taken to protect both the employees who handle them and the customers who purchase them?

One thing for certain around our house, my wife does not like bugs of any sort — especially spiders — so it is yours truly who is the chief exterminator and stomper, and will likely now have to do the picking and shaking when it comes to buying the fruits and veggies. In the meantime, have fun shopping.

A new problem for the wily old crow

It has been claimed down through the ages that the crow species is among the smartest birds in the world and that is why they rarely become road kill. However with the ever-increasing volume of traffic and larger vehicles on our highways and byways, a morbid discovery was made in a busy area near Saskatoon last fall.

The Government of Saskatchewan found about 200 dead crows near the Saskatoon and there was concern they may have died of some sort of virus. They immediately hired a bird pathologist to examine all the crows and he confirmed that the test results showed to everyone’s relief that it was not any type of illness that had caused their demise. He did however determine that 98 per cent of the crows had been killed on impact with trucks, while only two per cent were killed by cars. The province then hired an ornithological behaviourist to determine why there was a disproportionate percentage of truck versus car kills for these big black birds.

The OB specialist was able to determine the cause in short order, concluding that when crows eat road kill, they always set up a lookout on a nearby tree or power pole to warn their buddies of impending danger. His concluded was that the lookout crow could warn the other crows by letting out a shrill “Cah,” but have yet to master how to utter the sound “Truck.”

Some old men can really think fast

An elderly gentleman had owned and operated a large farm on the prairies for many years. He had a large pond in the back that was properly shaped for swimming, so he fixed it up nice with picnic tables, horseshoe pits and some apple and peach trees for everyone to enjoy.

One evening the jolly old farmer decided to go down to the pond as he hadn’t been there for a while and he wanted to look it over. He grabbed a five-gallon bucket to bring back some fresh fruit and as he neared the pond he heard voices shouting and laughing with glee. As he came closer, he spied a bunch of young ladies skinny dipping in the pond and when he made them aware of his presence they rushed over to the deep end. One of the ladies shouted to him, “We’re not coming out until you leave.” The old man frowned and explained, “I didn’t come here to watch you swim in the nude or to make you get out of the pool naked.” Holding the bucket up he quietly said, “I’m just here to feed the alligator.”

Whether you believe it or not, always try to have a little fun, make people laugh, and have a great week, all of you!

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