Friday, September 2, 2011

A Change of Season

I can sense fall coming in the air lately.  (Well, not the past few days of oven-degree heat, but besides that...)

Not because the leaves are falling, or the orchards are ready to pick, or Farmer Husband is looking distracted.

Not even because it's getting colder.

It's not fall quite yet.

But I know the seasons are about to change to because we are having our annual visit from these little friends......

Now, spiders don't usually bother me, but the first time I saw one of these, our first year on the farm, I just about had a heart attack.  This is a pretty typical size for a dog where I come from.

I was convinced they must be dangerous.  Thanks to Nature PhD Dr Google, now I know they are not.  (They are Orb Weaver spiders, for those of you who don't exactly encounter these on the L.  You can tell by their web, especially the zigzag cross stitch down the middle).

If I had retained anything I learned about nature when I was a kid, I would have been reminded that brightly colored insects are not usually poisonous.  But let's face it, the only insects I ever saw were those nasty silverfish that Chicago seems to breed.

My little friends the spiders and I are on good terms, solely because I've never, ever found one anywhere in my house.  They seem to prefer our fence rows and raspberry brambles.

Amelia in particular is fascinated by all things nature, and we have spent many hours checking their webs and watching them.  The other night we were even lucky enough to see one catch a beetle, wrap it in silky web, pull it up, and eat it.  Did you know that the spider eats the web completely off the bug before eating the bug itself?  I admit, even I was absorbed.

I must be turning into a little bit of a country girl, because I think they are incredible.

Yes, fall is coming.  The spiders seem to disappear after the first frost.  But for now, we have spider-jewels strung through our barb wire fences.


  1. Oh, I remember the first one of those buggers I ran across out in CA when we lived there. They are truly amazing (much better than the black widows which we had far too many of!) Great pics! :)

  2. Shannon@ChickensinMyKitchenSeptember 8, 2011 at 8:18 AM

    Oh, I am deeply grateful that they are not dangerous.  They are heart-stopping enough as it is!