18 September 2013

A trencher and a spider

Yesterday the work crew came and dug a trench up the side of our road. It's probably 500 meters/yards long, or maybe more. Ditch-digging isn't what it once was, however.

Pictured is the engin or machine the crew used to dig the trench. There's no on-board driver. The man walking behind it with some kind of tablet or remote control is "driving" it.

There aren't many of us in the hamlet these days — seven people live here now, compared to at least twice as many a couple of years ago — but three of our four households had representatives out on the road yesterday afternoon watching the trench being dug. It was free entertainment.

The electrical cables have already been laid down in the trench. The crew carefully filled in the trench where it cut across our driveways so that we were stranded for only an hour or so. Now they have to come back to fill in the rest. I wonder what machine will be put to work doing that job.

As Walt stood and watched the machine and the man out of the our kitchen window, he suddenly called me to come see a spider like none we had ever seen before. Can anyone identify it? The creature's "legspan" must have been 15 cm (6 inches), but the body was not much bigger than the head of a small nail.


  1. It is what we call in French " un cousin". Complètement inoffensif !

  2. Merci, je vois. Mon cousin est parti pendant la nuit. We have here and we had in California (all over the U.S. I'm sure) large numbers of a similar spider called a "daddy-long-legs", and they are harmless too. The one I photographed wasn't quite like that; its legs were even longer. I see the term faucheux, faucheuse and opiliones too.

  3. I made a mistake a "cousin" is a mosquito . You are right it is a " Faucheux"!

  4. It looks like the faucheux isn't even a spider, even though it is an arachnid. Thanks, Jean. The name daddy-long-legs is used for several different spiders and insects (e.g. crane flies) in the U.S. too.

  5. Amazing machine. And being controlled remotely. That guy is good!

  6. When we get a certain age we are easily entertained lol.That's an interesting setup with the remote control and all.

    In Sweden our friend had a robot lawn mower made by Husqavarna- very fun to watch it work and then put itself into a recharging device.

  7. Foucault's pendulum (above the marble floor of the Panthéon) is featured on google.com today. It's Foucault's birthday.

  8. They are known as Harvestmen.
    Opilones is their order, rather than Araneae, and yours could be a male Dicranopalpus ramosus...
    the body of the male is almost spherical at 3 to 4mm diameter... and the length of the longest leg is 50mm [making it 2.5" across]...
    but it is the two crab-like "pincers" [pedipalps] that are the most identifying bit.
    Its season is early Autumn...

    Susan will probably point out that there are a whole range with these pedipalps... but it is the only such one in my "Larousse Guide to Spiders"

    It is more common towards the Med but is found in Cornwall, Hampshire [Old... ie: UK], Sussex and Essex.

    Lovely looking critter!!

    And that trencher looks a fun toy!!


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