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Posts Tagged ‘spiders’

Rainy August

Well.   Since August began we have received nearly 8 inches of rain here at The Havens.   That followed a July where we got about an inch of rain every week.   As a consequence, the grass around here looks like this:

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Now, this may not seem very extraordinary, but generally speaking the “lawn” you are looking at in the picture above looks just like the grass around the vineyard does in the following picture.

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Don’t get me wrong.   We are HAPPY to have rain in August.   There are people in the area who wish we weren’t getting quite so much of it quite so fast, since they are experiencing flooding and there are lots of low water crossings that are closed right now, making it hard to get about the county.

The lushness is welcome.   We haven’t had to water the gardens for several weeks, since Mother Nature has been taking care of that job for us.   But usually about the middle of July we get a respite from the constant demands for mowing made byf the green areas here.  Actually, we would be very happy to let it all grow, but Our Fair City has seen fit to pass an ordinance banning lawns taller than 12 inches.

So we were out on Sunday morning trying to finish mowing the acre of our property that contains the vineyard, the labyrinth and the savannah.   Since it has been precipitating upon us on a very regular basis, we had not been able to get out there and the grass was very tall and thick.   It was also still wet from the previous days rain, so it was necessary to stop about every 50 to 75 feet and clear the throw-out area of the mower so it would throw the grass.   I did a whole lot of pulling on the rope to restart the mower, since there was no way I was going to reach in there to clear the area with it still running.

We persisted, however, even after the light rain started falling, and completed our task just as the day’s rain began in earnest.   When I checked the rain gauge this morning we had received an inch and an eighth.

The vegetable garden is glorious.

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We are getting at least two or three zucchini every day.   I am in the process of pickling the third batch of gherkins.   Right now we have stopped picking the tiny cucumbers for that, so in a couple of days we are going to be overwhelmed with large ones.   The green beans are doing well.   The asparagus has decided it can make new shoots, so I have been gleaning the patch for snacks while I work out there.     The eggplants are pretty much finished.   Tomatoes are coming on, yesterday we strained a bunch, made puree, and started condensing it.  Today I canned that batch and there were 7 pints.   A good start on the season.

Out at the pond, I have a large fishing spider hanging about.   She posed for me last night.   I love how you can see she is resting on the surface tension of the water.

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Looks like it is going to rain some more.   I think we are definitely experiencing one for the record books.   I have to admit, it will make the job of the people looking after our place while we are gone on our cruise to Alaska a whole lot easier, and I’m glad for that!

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A spider for Synchy

Synchopated Eyeball’s post today inspired me to take one of my spiders outside for a photo shoot.

I think it would look just right on her glass web.

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I shall not be typing a lot on this post as I have had an industrial accident whilst deadheading the candytuft.   Apparently the garden gods and goddesses felt the need for a blood sacrifice and it took the form of pruning my left pinkie.   I now sport a slash that goes right throughmy finger from top to bottom approximately half a centimeter long right next to the nail but not involving it, which is now wrapped up and protected from bumping, which I kept doing all day yesterday.   Anyway, it seems to be healing well, but the bandage has severely hampered my usual typing facility.

The interacion with Ruby and Mallory is still going on.   They have inveneted a couple of games, one is a tag game which would only be cute if there was video.  The other game is “Kill the Tail on the Doggy”  which goes a lot like this.   Sorry for the poor quality of the photos, but the animals are distracted by the flash and stop what they are doing if it goes off.

I did indeed get a new garden swing for my birthday.  It required assemblage, and since I was hors de combat, our lovely young niece helped Jim do the job.   Of course, like a proper Virgo, he had everything laid out neatly in preparation for the job.

The team at work, gesturing appropriately as models should do.

A different gesture was made when the problem below was discovered.

Oopsy, the arms are on upside down.  That seat wouldn’t be that comfortable for long.  After rectification. . .

Ummm there was another problem too.   The final bolt tightening exemplified why cheap stuff from China is sometimes a trial and tribulation.   One of the bolts sheared off before it was tight.   So, the old bolt had to be drilled out of the hole, and an extra trip to the hardware store made to acquire a nut and bolt that would go through the whole shebang.

The instructions and the package claim that all tools necessary for assembly are included in the package.  All of them except the carbide drill, the drill driver and the clamp made necessary by the poor quality hardware.

Ruby thought the whole process was boring in the extreme, but at least no one was killing her tail.

The jumping spider who lives in the plant light area was over getting a drink in the kitchen sink the other day, and I almost drowned her before I realized what was going on down there.   She left in a huff.

Out in the asparagus patch, there is a very young argiope that has set up housekeeping.   This spider is about 3mm long.  She had successfully caught an asparagus beetle that was larger than she was.

On the pond, a fishing spider.   This one is cool because when you disturb her she dives under the lily pad, taking a bubble of air with her trapped in the hairs of her abdomen that she can breathe from for 20 minutes or so.

Well, my folks are coming to dinner along with my little sister to continue celebrating my birthday.   So I believe I shall take my finger away from the keyboard and give the dog a short walk.

I am amazed how much the left hand problem has affected my right hand typing.   Weird.

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Things are progressing in the Ruby and Mallory relationship.   I have no photographic evidence of this, largely because most of this activity takes place at night in poor light conditions.

But, Ruby has decided the Mallory is a “good thing”, and they have begun playing together in a very charming way.  Ruby has a big orange ball that sort of looks like a tennis ball and has a squeak.   Mallory thinks that ball is just right for wrassling with.   The other night, Ruby was a little jealous because Mallory was getting all this attention, and she brought her ball to us.   So, we were multi-tasking, making the string work for Mallory while throwing the ball for Ruby.

Ruby brought the ball back and dropped it, and Mallory attacked it.   After she kicked it away during one of the wrestling “falls”, Ruby picked it up, and then delicately dropped it again and nudged it with her foot so it rolled over to Mallory.   Pounce!   Mallory was on it again, and Ruby watched benignly at the ball being “killed” until Mallory kicked it away again, towards Ruby.   Ruby pushed it back. . .  They also play chase games, which are very exhilirating for Mallory since there is an element of danger in them.

We have also witnessed Mallory running up to Ruby as she lies with her head on her paws, wrapping her little cat arms around that big head and washing that large expanse of forehead.  Ruby looks slightly confused, and Mallory stops washing after a few licks and sort of makes a “that’s a lot of hair” face.

Meanwhile, the gardens are growing.   We are having to water quite a lot, as it is very hot and dry right now.   Not looking forward to my water bill with much pleasure, I’m afraid.

Managed to bruise my wrist rather badly the other day.  The occasion was a demonstration of how to apply elbow grease to wall washing activities so as to actually remove the dirt from the wall.   Unfortunately, I forgot about the little edge of counter top that was extending onto the wall about halfway up, and came in contact with it in “full elbow grease” mode.

I found time to make an art journal page…

I cropped and posted this picture of spiderwort a few days ago.   This morning as I was examining the image, I realized that in addition to the tachnid fly I was interested in, there was another bit of wildlife occupying the spiderwort.   Check out the little green crab spider that is lurking to the left of the pollinator.

I think it is interesting that I cropped and uploaded that image and never noticed that spider until several days later.    How things can hide in images and your subconscious is fascinating!

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Last night, Jim was rummaging around in the Thai chili pepper plant that we brought in from the patio this fall because he wanted some heat for the salsa he was creating.

While he was in there he noticed that there were a few flying creatures around.  He was inspecting for aphids too, because we do have problems with them hitching a ride on the indoor/outdoor plants when we bring them in before frost.

I heard him ooh-ing and aah-ing and cooing at something.   Presently, he told me to come over and have a look at what he had found.  It seems that one of the garden spiders left an egg case in the pepper plant, and the little spiderlings have hatched out just in time to be ornaments for it.  I went over and peered into the depths of the pepper plant.

After a while, I spotted the tiniest little spider hatchling ever back on one of the leaves.   Good thing I had my glasses on; it might have been better if I’d also had a microscope.   You can see it too, barely, crouched on a leaf above and behind the blossom in the foreground.

Then I saw another one.

It’s that little beige spot behind the pepper.  I know.   You can barely see it.   It’s truly teensy.   Even itsy bitsy.

After I viewed these images, I got another camera and tried again.   The flash helped.

I’m sure that there is no way to imagine what all this experience was like for the little spiders.   They were very excited, and did not really like being looked or flashed at.   They would try to escape by abseiling (or rappelling, take your pick) off their perch.  I actually managed to catch one in the act, poised in the air at the bottom of the drop.

They are very fast, these little spiders.   They could climb back up into their nest at the apical meristem of the plant in less than a second.   Finally one miscalculated the drop and landed in the palm of my hand.   In spite of the fact that it was in my hand, I still had a hard time getting this little guy in focus because he was moving so fast across the vast plain of my palm that the camera could not focus and then shoot before he was out of the focal point.

The really great thing about this situation is that when you check out the pepper plant, there isn’t an aphid to be seen.   And most of the little flying bugs are being eaten too.

It’s all good.

 

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