Food chain

It was definitely an overcast sky – heavy mist still hung in shrouds over the valley – but it was pleasantly warm.

I had jumped out of bed a little later than usual, expecting sunny skies, but heavy dew still clung to everything. I soon found myself out on the front porch with my breakfast: a couple of poached eggs on toast, a third piece swiped with a layer of jam, and a fresh cup of hot coffee in my other hand.

When I reached to place the coffee on the railing, I noticed a huge spider web that had obviously been spun there the night before; it spanned a two-foot section of the upper corner. Huge sparkling dew drops clung here and there on the web.

As I leaned back to better position myself I must have startled a snoozing insect. It flew dead center into the web. From somewhere up there in the upper corner, out rushed Mrs. Spider; she was as large as the average thumb nail.

She looped a couple of additional webs to secure whatever it was and settled down to have breakfast with me. Not unusual as I suppose it has happened, unseen, many times during my lifetime.

About halfway through my jam and toast my eyes shifted to the steep hillside up which now the goats were heading.

They now number well over 40, but Boer goats are a bunch of wimps; they hate to go out while the grass is still wet, but the sun had popped out, burning off the lingering fog patches, so they were now tip toe following the leader who new well that the sun would soon dry the hilltop.

It was a rather impressive sight watching this number of goats evenly spaced about each length one behind the other. It looked not at all unlike a giant chain being pulled up and over the hillside. The “wait for me mom”, bleating of the young kids could be heard, as they too followed, bobbing along in an ever changing group which looked a lot like the handle reluctantly following the chain.

At that moment I could hear the flutter of wing beats so close to my head that I could feel the air displacement ruffle what little hair that stuck up beyond my visor.

On glancing up, I could see that the spider, with completely shattered web, was gone. In the branches of the young maple out front I could see the two robins that were moments earlier hopping around the lawn. Mom robin was stuffing into the mouth of her speckle breasted youngster one thumb-nail sized juicy spider. I’m sure that if I’d listened closer I’d have heard the youngster smacking its lips.

Kind of makes one stop and appreciate the fact that we as humans are on the other end of the food chain. Somehow, my poached eggs, toast and jam seemed to taste a lot better.

Take care, ‘cause we care.



Barrie Hopkins