13 August 2012

I think I'll go weed OVER THERE

  This is an Argiope aurantia, more commonly known as the Black and Yellow Garden Spider, or the Writing Spider, so called for the dense zigzag of silk, or "stabilimentum," that the females put in the middle of their webs. She's taken up residence in the airy branches of my gigantic Rosemary bush.

  And lest you read this entry as surprisingly complacent, the Wiki article the scientific information was gleaned from states that B&Y garden spiders "are generally considered harmless to humans." Still, I've never gone so fast from "Yay, playing in the dirt!" to "I need biohazard gear like NAOW!"

  When I took up gardening, I knew I was going to have to re-educate myself about culturally engrained responses to useful critters like worms and spiders and less familiar beneficials, but my success has been mixed.  I know, theoretically, that spiders are a good thing, but in practice I still tend to be of the "Getitoffgetitoffget-it-OFF!" school of thought.  This morning when I discovered my tenant I must have stood there for five minutes talking myself into a positive frame of mind about it.  It went something like this:

"It will keep the bad bugs down, it's a good thing, really, it's I think I'll go weed OVER THERE."

And yes, I said it all aloud.  I talk to the weeds as I pull them, too.  Don't judge; it helps!

Wiki article here.  Much better photography, in case you, I don't know, actually want a closer look.

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