In need of tender loving, my yard called me out the other day.  Sometimes a place is so lonely it shows.

There was work to be done, the kind that slippers you in a film of sweat and grime and manufactures nasty blisters, an unpleasant reminder that garden gloves aren't about fashion.

Living in the South in the woods, a nearby creek is blessing and curse.  Its beauty comes with a price:  learning how to dodge mosquitos who mistake me for sugar (vampirious little blood suckers).  Miraculous and reason enough to shout Hallelujah: not a single bite this time.

Equally important is a practiced eye that can spot the difference between Virginia Creeper and poison ivy.  Five leaves instead of three–never does a difference of two matter more.

With the woods and creek and all, plenty of critters have come callin'–raccoons, opossums, squirrels, chipmunks, deer, wild turkeys, bunnies and foxes.  On a hot summer day, they aren't what I'm worried about, though; it's the surprise that might slither around my feet that keeps my eyes peeled wide.  Not only have I seen snakes around my house, one somehow got into our house last year.  Sneaky little devils….

And then there are spiders.  

Is there anything creepier than discovering one crawling on you?!  Doesn't the very thought send shivers up your spine?

Here's the irony, though:  I love to photograph them.

I'm fascinated by a spider's web.

I'm held captive if I see one killing and wrapping its prey.

I'm always on the lookout for argiope, black and yellow garden spiders, writing spiders, the ones with zig zag-decorated webs.

My reward after hours of yardwork the other day was finding one.  

He didn't seem to mind the papparazzi.


I sidled up uncomfortably close; they don't jump, do they?

I tell ya what would've been a fun picture–a picture of ME photographing this sucker from every angle.  Squatting from underneath, looking down from our porch and laying on the stairs for an eye-to-eyex8 view.

I always thought Charlotte was a writing spider because, you know, she wrote.  Two points for you if you know what kind of spider she actually was.

I didn't realize at first I was interrupting dinner.  Whatever it was in his mouth, it was practically glowing.  

Even if you're scared of spiders ('cause I am, I really am), can't you agree that they're A.M.A.Z.I.N.G.??

Can I convince you if I share a few interesting spider facts?

  • Hummingbirds use the silk from spider webs to weave together the sticks that form their nests.
  • Spiders have an open blood circulatory system, lungs and muscles.
  • Spiders eat more insects than birds and bats combined.  THEY'RE OUR FRIENDS, PEOPLE!!
  • You're never more than 3-10' feet away from a spider.  YOU'D HAVE TO GO TO OUTER SPACE TO GET AWAY FROM THEM!
  • Some spiders can kill you.  But you already knew that.

Good gravy…I start this post waxing damn near poetic about all things yardwork and it morphs into a piece on killer arachnids.  I should be ashamed of myself.  

But I'm not.

Instead, I think I'll leave you with a closing message from Charlotte's point of view:



Sources for spidey facts here and here.

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