Monday, April 4, 2011

Gardens + Spiders

I had planned on writing on something else this morning, but I'm going to write on gardens and spiders instead. This isn't something I'd normally write on... Okay, maybe spiders, but I'm not usually a garden person.

What happened was, this past Saturday my husband and I drove up to our old house--we've been trying to sell it since last June--to do some yardwork. Our goal was to clean up the front yard in particular and plant some flowers in the beds there, since everything from last year was quite dead. All in all, it's not what I'd call a fun way to spend my Saturday. I'm not overly excited about nature to begin with. Alright, if I'm more honest, I appreciate nature, and I enjoy looking at it... from a distance. I don't like touching it so much, so I'd much rather view a garden than plant one. This is a significant reason why I don't have a garden myself--I'm not independently wealthy enough to hire a gardener to plant and take care of one for me. But, back on topic, it's a given fact that pretty brightly colored flowers help with the curb appeal of houses. So, my husband and I picked out lots of pretty little yellow, white and pink--and not the shade of pink I like, the really bright pink that hurts my eyes--to spruce up the front of our house. If it was going to be my garden, I would have picked reds, purples, and whites... maybe some oranges instead of the reds, and also lamenting the fact that flowers don't generally come in navy blue or black. But, this was supposed to be a garden that would appeal to the general populace... not me or my weird tastes. I got some pictures here of the final product. Considering how non-gardening I am, I was pleased with the result.

Now for the more interesting part of this post, at least in my opinion: Spiders!!! I have a love-hate relationship with spiders. They creep me out, horribly, but a the same time, I find them wonderfully fascinating. I used to keep Black Widow Spiders as pets when I was younger--I'd catch them in the back yard--true story. Well, back on topic, while playing with nature, we of course saw lots and lots of spiders. Mostly we saw your standard garden spiders and wolf spiders--we even got to see a smaller wolf spider carrying around her egg sack, which was kind of neat. Unfortunately my 2 older boys were not with me because they might have found that interesting. As it was my 3 year old was completely oblivious and just wanted to squish bugs and step on the flowers all in the name of being helpful. What was most cool though was while working on the side yard garden (see the last 3 photos above), I saw a spider I'd never seen before. =D Always exciting right? It was about the size of a quarter and was light brownish-red in color. It crawled underneath the leaves of one of the Petunia's I'd just planted and kind of wedged itself in really close to the base of the flower. This was sad because I really wanted to get a picture of it to see if anyone could help me identify what kind of spider it was. After poking around the internet since I got home, I've determined that *I think* it was a crab spider. It had the coloring and some of the shape of a brown recluse (of course not sure about the red-markings on the underbelly because I never saw that), but it's back end was way to round and large for a brown recluse--not to mention the whole spider was really too big as well, but there are always mutants to ever species, so I wouldn't have discounted that if it had looked exactly like one except for the size. Anyways, it also has some of the shape of garden crab spiders. Unfortunately, even with all the digging, I haven't found a crab spider that matched the coloring of what I saw (and once again I lament not being able to have gotten a picture), specifically, the spider I saw had no visible markings at all; it was all the same color, and all the photos I've seen of crab spiders have some kind of marking or pattern on them even if it's not much of one. This picture below is the closest I could find--it's the right shape, but the wrong color.

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