Coast to coast (almost) pt. 4: motel decor, food chains

August 4:  outside motel décor; food chain on a stick.

Motel décor

The last two motels in which we stayed used discarded agricultural machinery as a decoration outside their parking lots. One in Escalante, Utah has an orange colored tractor. Another in Hanksville had horse-drawn plows. Definitely cheaper than hiring someone to do your outside landscape, and in the end has a much more rewarding effect: OhOne and OhToo are selecting motels now based on the climbables they boast outside.

Orange tractor outside Prospector's Inn, Escalante UT

Orange tractor outside Prospector's Inn, Escalante UT

Food Chain on a Stick

Capitol Reef Park has some pretty orchards, and next to them a picnic area where we had lunch before our daily hike. Deer walk around freely, mowing and fertilizing the grass. We were careful not to offer them food, and it seems like most other visitors do the same, as the deer never tried to approach us.


When I went to look at the orchard, there was one plant that was growing just outside the orchard-picnic area divide that caught my attention: four food-chain elements in 10 cubic centimeters. The plant itself. Aphids living under the leaves. Ants scurrying around the aphids: the ants were going up & down the stalk and about the leaves where the aphids were settled. Maybe the ants were milking the aphids, I’m not sure, but they were definitely very interested in the aphids. Finally, a spider that wove its web just outside the aphid + ant area. It picked a good spot, since when I was looking, it was busy doing something nasty to the exoskeleton of an ant that was caught in its web.


Aphids can be seen on the underside of the middle leaf. An ant is visible just at the leaf stem connecting to the stalk. The spider is suspended in the lower left corner. Click to enlarge.

Anyhow, my camera (Canon Powershot A70) cannot really capture all the details of this farm & steakhouse combo. This is the best I could deliver.

A better account of ants milking aphids:

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