1.8.09

Itsy Bitsy




For me, the end of summer is heralded by spiders - as if by magic, the garden is strung with magnificent, stringy webs, and at the centre of each one, a plump bottomed garden spider. I am not a big fan of spiders, but these copper and cream beauties are so stunning that I don't mind them, even when they spin their webs across my washing. But of course, they don't just magically appear. For the last month, I have been noticing miniature versions in the cottage, and popping them outside. Today I found evidence of just how fast they grow. This tiny skin must have been recently sloughed, for I saw the owner hastily scrambling up her safety line as I approached.







Put next to a normal black peppercorn and medium egg, it is like a miniscule glass sculpture.





Here is the owner, watching me, watching her - from the ceiling. Now her body is about 2-3 mm in diameter, still a far cry from her destination size, which can be nearly 2cm - and that's just her bottom - or, technically, abdomen.





To put her into perspective - there she is, a little dark speck in the top right hand side of the picture. Since then she has been relocated to an outside shrub, where one day in early autumn I may find her catching the flotsam of dying summer insects, her web sparkling with dew diamonds.

16 comments:

Menopausal musing said...

What an exquisite post! Have just spent a lovely hour trawling back through your blog and loving it. (In particular I liked the "visiting the hermitage" one). x

Frances said...

Well PG, once again you are showing me how good it can be to take time to see what nature can show us.

Thank you for these remarkable photos and also for your words ... you have got me thinking about how an itsy bitsy can loom quite large.

xo

rachel said...

Like you, I'm not awfully keen on spiders, at least not scuttling around in my house, but in the garden, hanging motionless in the centre of a stunningly beautiful web, they are creatures of wonder. Nice shot with egg and peppercorn giving us a sense of scale.

Sue said...

I do love the way you notice things and weave stories Gretel :-)

Pamela Terry and Edward said...

I have a policy of "catch and release" for our spiders, too. But must admit to squealing like a girl during the procedure.

the casbah kitten said...

We have quite large spiders here (half the size of your palm or larger)...as well as black widows and frankly, they terrify me. But the small(ish) house spiders I can tolerate and do the catch and release with them. I DO think the webs are lovely though.

miakodo said...

Oooh. *shudder* I watched a clutch of tiny, minuscule baby spiders encapsulate a book I left on the deck railing last night, as we chatted away. I couldn't bring myself to save the book from their busy weaving, but someone had moved it by this morning. I wonder if they got a nasty surprise. >.<

Rowan said...

I'm afraid that spiders are the one thing I'm terrified of though I, too, have a catch and release policy - mostly someone else has to do the catching and releasing though! Only if it's a matter of do or die ie I'm entirely on my own - do I muster up the courage to do it myself - and that's only because I'm even more terrified of it disappearing and NOT KNOWING WHERE IT IS!! I admire the beauty of their webs though especially with rain or frost on them.

Twiglet said...

I have always had a fear of spiders - big brothers who used to chase me with them!!! My grandma lived to be one hundred and always said -"if you wish to live and thrive, let a spider stay alive" So of course I catch them in my spider vac and release them outside. Love the patterns on garden spiders and their amazing webs on a frosty morning.

Kim said...

I noticed the spiders preparing for Autumn, and in a cold breeze this morning, could feel the season waiting to change (already!)

I think the bird in your previous post maybe a juvenille kestrel. The tail feathers look right and the head is still fluffy and not finished, if you get my drift. Maybe the hood will come later. I know what you mean about childhood. I was fed and clothed but that was about it, my spirit was starving. My imaginary world was all I really had. Oooh, mustn't get gloomy now :)

Kim x

tlc illustration said...

I was just thinking a few days ago that we'd had a sad lack of garden spiders this year. Usually they have garlanded all the spaces between the blueberries, the front walkway, the stairs on the deck and between each raised bed, even between the upright stalks of lavender (it is impossible to walk through much of the yard without walking through any number of webs. I always hope that when I accidentally do that that the owner is kind enough to not retaliate and freak me out by crawling through my hair or something). Maybe it is still early yet? I'll be sad if I don't see more of them by mid-August though.

Suze said...

A beautiful thought giving post, Gretel...it's always a joy to read your blog.

I too, share my house and garden with spiders. I have several little nests of youngsters, with an adult standing by, but soon they'll be spread, finding their own little corners...

tut-tut said...

Nice photos. Hard to capture such smallness.

Chutney (went to see you work, but you are shut)! I hope to see some photos. We are having a bumper cucumber crop and have made some excellent refrigerator pickles. e-mail me if you would like a ridiculously easy method.

d. moll, l.ac. said...

I quite like spiders, after checking to be sure they are not something poisonous like a Brown Recluse or Black Widow. One of my college room mates had a tarantula named Harold, who died during the first semester, too much homework can be deadly. He was buried during a European vacation on south side of Crete.....

Over the Garden Wall said...

Another beautiful and, for me, memory provoking blog.
As a child in England, many years ago, I loved "misty moisty mornings" when the garden hedges on my way to school glistened with
the splendour of fairy tale dew spangled spider webs. No matter how quickly I hurried home at lunch time the dew had always disappeared and they were just spider webs again.

Kitty said...

I have always found spider skins a bit creepy - but the way you've given your little spider a personality, they seem not so bad after all :)