The Husband Can Cook - Home on the Range Blog at - 136622

Home on the Range

The Husband can Cook 
Nov. 12, 2009 9:29 am 
Updated: Nov. 16, 2009 2:25 pm
Many, many years ago, too many to confess to, I was driving down the mountain road from the family ranch, into the little town of Tehachapi. As I came around a corner, to my horror, there on the ground in front of me, blocking my lane, was a TARANTULA!!

I may as well clue the reader, here, that nothing with more than 4 legs belongs on my planet. (Butterflies don't count, they hide their legs) I don't even care if it has NO legs, but not more than 4...but... I digress...

I had our 4 WD truck, so I took careful aim, and lined up my driver's side tires to dispatch my dismay, as I looked in the rearview mirror, he was still making his way up the road toward my house at the ranch!!!!! It took a very long time, and countless attempts to achieve my objective. Thankfully, no one came around the blind corner while I was doing so.

You can imagine my horror, when we moved to our new house closer to town and found that we were in a MIGRATIONAL PATH!!! What are these things doing in the mountains, anyway?? I thought they were exiled to the desert along with scorpions and sidewinders...
We discovered this bit of news after returning from an overnight ski trip, to find one crawling up the side of the house towards my bedroom window. THe babysitter made an extra $10 to kill it and dismember it, insuring that it would not revive and continue its trek.

I always said, if one made it inside the house, there would be a FOR SALE sign up that day and the family could find me in a motel. That said, I had to lock down my house for 2 weeks every year in the fall, and avoid working in the yard.

One fine day, I was working colts and had just finished up with a little mare I had in training. I rode down to the barn, turned around in the alleyway, and was about to step down and unsaddle her...when, as luck would have it, I looked up and saw that a rather large tarantula had stepped into the doorway, and had us pinned in the barn!! My first instinct was to gallop back out, but as everyone knows, these suckers can jump, and I just knew it was gonna land on my leg. So there we sat, waiting, waiting, I was unable to dismount, as I wanted to present as large and intimidating a presence as possible. Spurs at the ready, I was prepared to make a run for it as a last resort, should it become aggressive and make  a move in my direction. Instead, it looked me over, then slowly, and impudently, sashayed up to my arena. Yes, sashayed.

I took that opportunity to slam the mare in a stall, saddle and all, and race for my tractor. I had formulated a plan in my head, to run over it with the massive tires, but thankfully, I realized the flaw in said plan before suffering the likely consequences. I looked at the very large, deep tread of the tractor tires, and realized that the odds were very high of picking her up between the grooves (I am relatively certain it was a female, as she was hissing at me... I couldn't actually HEAR her hiss...but i sensed it) and flinging her into my face. I had to resort to plan B.

My only hope now, was to smash her with the loader. I slowly rolled my way up into the arena, positioned the hydraulic bucket over her, while she insolently stopped and looked at me, and I grabbed the lever and SLAM!!!! I let the bucket hit the ground full force! ( I reasoned that if a hydraulic bucket is driven into the ground at full speed, and a husband isn't there to see it, no harm done)

To my horror, she was still standing there, looking at me!!! I had MISSED!!!
It took 45 minutes for the tractor to run out of diesel, and for me to accept that I have NO depth perception. I took the risk and leapt from my seat and raced to the phone to tell Randyman of the danger, knowing he would see the urgency and come to my rescue, but instead, he told me to pick up one of the guys working for him at the time. The guy had no car, so I had to go get him. As I turned the corner on our dirt road, I looked down into the arena and could see the abandoned tractor, and that spider (yes, it was HUGE and I could see it from the road) galloping in my direction with a hideous leer on its face-ish, looking part.
When I got back, she was in hiding (probably delivering a bunch of evil babies). It cost Randyman over $40 in employee compensation looking for her. He should have come himself and allowed me to keep an eye on her. She was never apprehended.

This was not an isolated incident. One time, while video taping a riding lesson, my student nearly ripped a horse's face off, as she stopped short of a tarantula that had made its way into the arena. I (barefooted...can't help it, if I don't need spurs, I don't need shoes...) began pedaling backwards to get out of its reach (the camera was on ZOOM) only to trip over a pole and discover yet ANOTHER ONE!
I don't know who unsaddled the horse that day, or who helped the kid became irrelevant to me, as I was hyperventilating in the house. BTW... I still can't watch that video, the thing looks like King Kong on film.

Another time, one popped up thru a hole in the floor of my feedroom, sending me screaming off into the morning. Hours later, aforementioned employee earned an additional $40 for finding the WRONG spider, in one of my feedsacks. I picked up additional feed and kept it at the house until I was satisfied that the feedroom was once again unoccupied.

The most intriguing incident, was the time Randyman was framing for a roof over some of my large paddocks. The front gate was a wood covered pipe panel, 8' high, that would eventually support the front of the eave. As I was feeding (again, barefoot) another tarantula leaped out from behind the wall to attack me. I don't know how I got up on top of that panel, but it took a tractor bucket to get me down again. And Randyman got to fix his own dinner, because it was no laughing matter.

Randyman's Famous Doghouse Supper

Take one large stainless steel pot.
Cover bottom with a thin layer of oil.
(of the pot, stupid...what would be the point otherwise?)
Place 3 popcorn kernels inside, and place on medium high heat.
When kernels explode out onto floor and counter, quickly dump in another 1/4 cup of kernels and slam on the lid.
Shake a couple of times until popping noises diminish.
Pour into bowl, season to taste and enjoy your own company.

Nov. 12, 2009 9:49 am
Well no wonder you moved to Oregon. I'm so with you on creepy, crawly, things. Ewww...prepare yourself if Keri sees this though. She just got one as a pet!!
Nov. 12, 2009 9:51 am
well...thats what shotguns are for! LOL
Nov. 12, 2009 10:11 am
Between the tarantulas and snakes down here, it's a wonder I haven't drove off the road trying to kill every last one I see. I didn't know tarantulas could jump, either! EWWWW!
Nov. 12, 2009 10:33 am
petey, I can totally relate! When we lived in Okla. by a rock quarry, my dad used to rake them up in bushel basket sized piles and set them on fire. We also had to "shake" everything (especially shoes) to make sure no scorpions were lurking. I didn't remember about the jumping, no doubt because I never stuck around to find out! Imagine my horror when, after living here in the same house for 37 years, a couple of scorpions were found in my house. I bought out WalMart bug bombs but I'm still scared to death there are more somewhere.
Nov. 12, 2009 10:57 am
oh my god I would have died straight away! I absolutely hate spiders and could not live somewhere with spiders of such size...
Nov. 12, 2009 12:04 pm
I am RIGHT with you on the irrational fear of spiders, complete with "hearing" them, and imagining their next attack on me! If I even talk about them, I have nightmares about them that night! I recently had a dream tarantulas were jumping on me and attacking me!
Nov. 12, 2009 2:11 pm
Hmm...and here I thought Randyman had an irrational bravado about him! You mean its us, that's not quite normal?LOL
Nov. 12, 2009 2:23 pm
I can relate...not to spiders, but to snakes! OHHHH....I probably would have spent an extra million dollars having people remove those things...(((((shudder)))))
Nov. 12, 2009 3:31 pm
That was truly entertaining! I use to think Ohio was boring, but now it looks pretty good! I thought, at first site, the recipe at the end was your husbands recipe to deal with the
Nov. 12, 2009 3:45 pm
i was cringiing the whole time.. they scare me so.. so do snakes
Nov. 12, 2009 4:13 pm
My family used to have a ranch in Santa Ynez, Calif, and I often heard about migrating tarantulas traveling in PACKS, crossing the road. It's like something out of a science fiction movie! My dad used to say they were friendly little critters, and told me that the way to pick them up was to scoop my hand underneath them. I never had the courage to do that, and I never saw HIM do that either! Actually, I am not that scared of them, since they are hairy and big enough to see, but I am petrified of the smaller, smooth-surfaced spiders like black widows. I once lived in a house where there was a BW infestation, and it was sooo terrifying!
Nov. 12, 2009 5:12 pm
Oh, Petey. I would have screamed my lungs out and then died of fright. Thyere are very few things I'm afraid of, but spiders of any sort top the list. I thought I was the only dimwit who ran around a horse farm barefoot. Used to make my mother insane, ditto the farm owner.
Nov. 12, 2009 9:52 pm
The only good spider is a real, for sure, DEAD spider. And I don't even CARE if it's one on God's creations. As far as I'm concerned, God could have skipped that, along with snakes, scorpions, and other creepy-crawleys. I don't like them, and don't like most people who DO like them. So there! I'm with you, girl.
Nov. 13, 2009 4:56 am
Ugh. The thought of one of those things jumping out of no where is terrifying! Great story!
Nov. 13, 2009 5:24 am
Petey, your blog makes me laugh every time. Many of these blogs make me smile, but yours makes me actually laugh aloud :-) You sound like my husband with the spiders...they aren't my personal fear, but he's been known to empty a vat of bug spray onto the siding of the house to rid it of a single offending 8-legger! (This irritates me to no end, as that stuff is sticky & collects DIRT afterwards that we have to clean off!) Have a great day!
Nov. 13, 2009 12:12 pm
Oh yuck!! I would die if I lived there! I think it's bad here with the wolf spiders during the fall, if there were tarantulas around, I would be heard screaming for MILES!
Nov. 13, 2009 12:37 pm
ha ha ha ha What a great story! I share your fear wtih spiders and does my BF. By the time we're done yelling at each other on who should be the one to kill it, its gone! AAAHHHHH!!!! ha ha ha I will say my BF is allowed to be scared since he has been bitten twice and hospitalized twice but still......he has the muscles. GEEZ! :)
Nov. 13, 2009 2:03 pm
LOL! Seriously though...I'd just stomp on the thing. Or catch it in a jar and bring it inside for a closer look. :D My mom would freak out if I did the latter though...
Nov. 13, 2009 2:12 pm
My children grew up under threat of death if they ever brought one of those around me, dead or alive LOL
Nov. 13, 2009 2:44 pm
LOL!!!! I'm sitting here at work giggling, TRYING to keep quiet about it so I don't make my co-workers wonder what the heck's wrong with me. I'm guessing you haven't seen the pictures of my newest pet (I do see that Avon clued you in, though)!! My favorite part of your story was where you ran the tractor out of fuel trying to kill the spider. I swear, you are THE BEST storyteller around. I can actually picture the events happening as you're telling about them. Keep 'em coming!
Nov. 13, 2009 6:12 pm
Wow! Jersey actually doesn't seem so bad for once!
Nov. 13, 2009 7:30 pm
Been on the edge of my seat reading this -- the stuff of horror movies. I'd rather walk on hot broken glass than endure your tarantula experiences!! Brave woman, you.
Nov. 14, 2009 4:37 am
oh...what head...I guess I must have passed out....just the thought makes me want, I feel dizzy...
Nov. 14, 2009 11:45 am
Joy's response is funny. But I will endure the ice and snow of western NY over icky spiders any day.
Nov. 14, 2009 12:25 pm
I don't like the spiders either, of any kind. The first time I came face to face with a tarantula we were living in Kansas. There was one on the wall in my laundry room and he jumped at me! I screamed and reached for something to kill him with. By then he was down on the floor and running at me so I picked up a hoe that was standing there and dropped it on the monster. The hoe severed his two part body and half of it went scurring off one direction and half went another and I went a third direction!!! Now I live in Texas where they are common as flies and my grandkids play with them! They know better than to bring one to me though!! I love your blog Petey. They always make me laugh!
Nov. 14, 2009 12:26 pm
scurrying, not scurring!!!
Nov. 14, 2009 12:59 pm
see! see! they ARE aggressive! and they jump! and well, I think they are really little demons sent to kill us.
Nov. 14, 2009 4:37 pm
I actually have a picture of me HOLDING a tarantula!!! :-O I am not afraid of them and so your story was REALLY funny to me!!! You have a gift for writing! :)
Nov. 14, 2009 6:06 pm
You're a jerk. I love spiders, including tarantulas, and everything with more than 4 legs. It's fascinating that tarantulas migrate - I never knew that. Why don't you get out of their territory instead of kill them?
Nov. 14, 2009 6:32 pm
I didn't know you could spell "Twit" with only 3 letters, Gus.
Nov. 14, 2009 6:35 pm
As much as I would love to live somewhere where it's beautiful and has warm weather year round, the spider/insect/reptile thing is what would be the deal- breaker. While reading your blog I found myself lifting my feet off the ground while at the computer.
Nov. 15, 2009 6:00 am
Very funny....but scary too!! I HATE spiders more than anything! The wolf spiders here in Ohio have made me "walk on air" to get away from them..I could NEVER live where there are TARANTULAs!!!!!! Is the "For Sale" sign up yet?
Nov. 15, 2009 7:22 am
as a matter of fact, yes, it sold LOL living in Oregon now where we got lotsa cougars but no big spiders
Nov. 15, 2009 9:43 am
gives me a creepy crawly feeling...ugh...i think i'd rather deal with the cougars than spiders :)
Nov. 15, 2009 10:04 pm
Well, I DON'T think you're a jerk, you are hilarious and I love your blog! But I do like spiders and had a pet tarantula for years - a christmas present in 6th grade. I was furious when my mother got rid of it when I was in college and went out of town for a week. I had every intention that any future man in my life would have to pass the "Harry Fingers" test but she got rid of it just before I met my future ex-husband. He wouldn't have passed the test and it could have saved me a lot of grief! Gus needs to get a sense of humor. (Incidentally, when my Mom saw that I was truly upset over the loss of Harry Fingers, she drove back out to the canyon where she released her in hopes of finding her again, of course to no avail. She admitted this to me years later when I made some joke about how my ex would not have passed the tarantuala test.) Keep writing as some of us arachnophiles still have senses of humor!
Nov. 16, 2009 6:46 am
I'm afraid of spiders that everybody knows about but I'm also just as scared of Tomato horn worms which I've been able to keep a secret for most of my life. Well my husband found out one day, we were out working in the tomato patch and he thought it would be funny to throw one at me (why is it boys think it is funny to throw creepy crawlies at people?) I screamed and ran away but thought it still landed on me I came back to him crying panicing and barely audible for him to get it off. He probably thought his nice sane wife had gone crazy. The nice thing about this is he now takes care of all the worms. We also get thoes wonderful wolf spiders in our shower sometimes they peep at me from around the shower head (where they come in from the crawl space) when I'm taking a shower! So all in all I feel your pain.
Nov. 16, 2009 9:41 am
This is a great post! Thanks for sharing!
Nov. 16, 2009 1:49 pm
Hilarious!! I don't like spiders either. Thankfully, I haven't had many close encounters unlike you. You are a great storyteller.
Nov. 16, 2009 2:25 pm
Love your blog post; it's hilarious! I'm kind of like that with wasps and hornets. :) I don't like spiders either or their web, (I always seem to be walking into them and it makes me terrified that the little fiend will climb on me), but tarantulas are slightly fascinating, although most definitely not up close. Your fear is understandable, but I have to admit the way you told your story is pretty amusing. Thanks for the humorous entry, I'll be looking for more!
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Home Town
Tehachapi, California, USA
Living In
Princeton, Oregon, USA

Member Since
Jan. 2007

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About Me
Kids are raised, we are ranchhands on a 250,000 acre working cattle ranch 110 miles from the nearest small town, so we raise a lot of our own food, vegetables, fruits, milk,eggs and meat. Love riding and working cattle, but find myself spending a lot more time in the kitchen, and the garden.
My favorite things to cook
Having 2 Jersey cows as well as milk goats, playing with fresh milk is a hobby, making our own butter, yogurt, sour cream, cheeses, soap and all the other great stuff you can do with fresh raw milk.
My favorite family cooking traditions
Homemade from scratch...anything! All traditions are sort of gone by the wayside, as we live so far from family now
My cooking triumphs
Most things from this site, this has been the best thing the internet has had to offer!
My cooking tragedies
A layered Jello dessert...the middle layer never set, so it did the 'ooze-wiggle'...and...well..I liquified a couple of chickens on 2 different occasions, turning them into a black gel. Moral of that story is, don't start cooking then go clean barns!...and there was the time that my kids were helping me make Thanksgiving dinner and SOMEbody (who resembled my youngest son) forgot to put the sugar in the pie!!!
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