It’s Orb season.
Every year in late summer
Orb spiders begin to build their itricate webs.
This year 2 came to the garden in early August.
Then a third one appeared by the breakfast room window.
Number four built a mansion of a web in the hydrangea bushes in the front yard.
Then last weekend John discovered number 5 in the boxwood outside the den window.
We have spent hours watching the spider in the front yard.
I’m sure people walking through the neighborhood are beginning to wonder about our sanity.
John loves feeding them.
At first he would just catch a small moth and toss it into the sticky web.
Now he seeks out food for them
Moths big and little – dead crickets from the garage
Since some things seem to stick better than others
He’s developed a technique of making sure dinner stays put.
Tweezers – who knew?
Once “dinner” has flown into or been placed on the web the Orb will move to it
and begin to spin a cocoon around its victim.
This happens with great speed.
After the cocoon is spun and the “meal” is stabilized the Orb begins to eat.
She usually begins with the head.
Now…Orb spiders are no small thing.
The big one in the front is about 3″ – 4 ” long.
Yet it moves with lightening speed and accuracy.
Because we are spending so much time in the front we have shared our fascination with anyone walking by.
Which seems to be mostly mothers and young daughters.
First came Torry, Cassidy and Sloan.
No fear of giant spiders here.
Cassidy caught a bug and placed it on the web – twice.
Mom’s not afraid – why should I be.
Next came Michaela and Bridget on their way to school one morning.
Had no idea these California girls were so into spiders.
But not everyone.
By Saturday when Jessica and Madeline strolled by we could tell they were polite
Giant spiders aren’t for everyone and that’s OK.
I’ve done a little research on these creatures.
They don’t bite unless aggravated
Their bite hurts but is not life threatening.
They have a life span of one year
The female is the big one
The male is only 1/2 inch long.
You can see them both in this picture that Debra took when she came to visit this week.
The female will lay one or more egg sacs and encase them in the same thread material as their food.
Each egg sack can contain between 300 and 1400 eggs,
She attaches her egg sacs to one side of her web
Close to her in the center of the web.
She will watch her eggs until the first hard freeze
When she will die.
Around here the hatchling spiders will remain dormant in the egg sacs till spring.
When like many things the cycle begins again.
They like to make their homes among flowers, shrubs and tall plants.
Which makes them lovers of Hydrangea.
I have taken endless pictures of these busy creatures.
Spiders, John, Elliott and neighbors.
It is nature in a pure form
Well, except for the part where we catch the bugs.
Watching these intricate sticky webs.
So strong that they withstand wind and rain and stupid human tricks
Knowing that they work hard to create the next generation.
And make the world a safe place.
We all have something in common
We share the same space
What an amazing space this is.
P.S. And just when I think I’ve taken the last picture – last night’s dinner was a DRAGON FLY!!!