Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Be Kind to Spiders!

Amber . . . Late August 2010

This is an excerpt from my journal, which I was keeping in late August . . . in regards to my experiences as I walked to and from work. One of my interests was dealing with the beautiful garden spiders and their gorgeous webs. I took many pictures . . . including a video, which although not very good I will upload here.

August 25, 2010
I adopted a spider!
I acquired her yesterday when I took several pictures of her. She’s a busy beauty . . .  and today I noticed her making a new web, so I decided that this time I would make a video of her creating her wonderful art. She never minded me taking pictures so I though surely she wouldn’t mind me filming her. She was really great under the eye of the camera and was dancing away on her web, but she was a little further away than she was yesterday so I tried to get a closer shot, and unfortunately I fell into the bushes and my camera went right into her web and broke it. She stopped moving and just sat there, sadly, contemplating the damage of all that hard work .. . .. I slipped quietly away. I’ll check up on her a little later this afternoon when I am walking home . . . oh god that walk home . . .

Well, even though I had two bottles of water, I thought I would die before I got home . . . the heat is too much for me .. . my house is nice and cool though . . . at least our temps are going down starting tomorrow.

I checked on my pet spider. She was fine. She had finished her web and was sitting, pleasantly hunched over an insect carcass. I thought she was so lovely and the way she glows in the sunlight makes me want to call her Amber, so I will. Plus, I like to think of all that genetic material that makes us tick and makes Amber tick too, like all her grandmother’s through generations and generations and the wisdom of the mothers are all passed on down to her . . . lovely.

When I was a kid, my mother, who was terrified of spiders, would yell at me to kill the ones that made their appearance in front of her sharp blue eyes. “Kill that spider, Barbie, kill it . . .” (God how I hated being called Barbie .. . grrrr) . . .. and she would stand there and scream until I got a piece of tissue and smashed that poor thing and checked, I HAD to look at the squashed carcass and make sure it wasn’t moving and then throw it in the trash can outside.   

Usually they were hairy and black and nearly as big as my little child’s hands . . . at least those are the ones in my memory banks . . . and they ran fast too. They jittered when they ran, like some kind of space alien or robotic things.  Terrifying . . .

This went on for years and eventually I started having dreams about all those dead spider’s relatives coming to get me. Millions of spiders crawling across the floor and ceiling and walls .. . coming to get me and . .. . that’s when I would wake up. I finally had to make a conscious effort to stop being scared of spiders . .. They are not out to get me . . . I think . . .

Well, that was the beginning of my spider obsession . . . I did have a tarantula once for a few years .. .  I originally got her so I could try to encourage my students not to be too terrified of spiders. But, I had to bring her home from the school because my students were too terrified of her. I fed her crickets . .  now they had more fun in life then she did . . . they sang all night and ate each other all day . . . nice crowd . . . it reminds me of High School . . ..

Garden Spider

This spider is one of my three lovely ladies . . . she is pretty huge and one of the summer survivors. She is getting fat so she can lay her eggs before winter . .. . which she will not survive.  I have learned how to duck below her web so as not to break it . . . There are two other ladies with their traps set up in my yard . . . I walk carefully! . . .  Notice that this one has an aphid in her web . . . remember that spiders help keep down the annoying insects which choose to chew on your roses . . . and remember that spiders don't bite you if you don't poke at them. Although this one could take down a small boy if she chose . . . she was always polite to me . . .               
- October 8, 2010

Garden Spider

This is a picture of the biggest of my three girls . . . she has some sort of prey in her mouth . . . 

 I believe that this one is a male garden spider . . . I may be wrong. . . but I do know that the males are much smaller than the females and not as interested in hunting as they are in mating.

This is my video that I took in August of Amber as she spun her web. She was so beautiful dancing across the air on her silk and she glowed so beautifully in the sunlight . . . 
I am sorry about the traffic sounds . . . so turn off the sound if you don't care to hear . . . there was nothing very interesting when it came to sounds anyway.

UPDATE: All my spiders have disappeared by now. We had heavy rains which washed away the webs and perhaps it was time for them to go. After the video incident, I saw Amber for a couple of days and then she disappeared. These particular spiders usually change their web site daily until they get so big, nobody dares to knock them down . . .

May 2010 - We begin anew . . . life!

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