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20 October 2017

An Unexpected Guest

We headed outside this afternoon on an errand, and found that we had a guest. She's taken up residence under the kitchen window, and built a spectacular web. Which, unfortunately, is almost exactly the same color as the house. It's probably the biggest garden spider I've ever seen. And it's eating my bugs. Big ones eat more? I can't say that I'm sorry that it's so fat and sassy!

The kids all came over and checked her out. It was only a small delay to let them come and see, and I love how nature study has become such a regular part of our family culture that they'll not only drop what they're doing and watch when something interesting is going on, but they'll also call for the rest of us to come and see what's going on.

That happened the other day when Hero(11) was reading in my chair by the living room window, and this squirrel caught his eye. "Mom! Come quick!" And I was glad that I did: the squirrel was hilarious. It had some kind of acorn that it was dragging around, almost as big as his face. And he'd hop-bounce around the neighbor's yard a bit, then dig some. One time, it looked like he was trying to shove the acorn into a little hole that he'd dug... it didn't fit. The squirrel's whole body arched and it bounced on the acorn, not unlike that squirrel in Ice Age, actually. And we watched and laughed. The thing didn't go into the ground. So, being a sensible squirrel, he sat up on his haunches and gnawed on it a little. And then bounced around a bit more, before selecting a new spot to dig. None of them was ever quite suitable, and eventually he bounced off behind the car where we couldn't see his antics any more. It was much more pleasant than doing the laundry, which is what I'd been working on until Hero hollered for me.

This time, it was the Daddy that found the specimen that we got to observe. I wished that it would turn around so that I could see the front side, but the bottom view is pretty impressive.

It's not cooperating with getting a full ID, since it stubbornly remains belly-out, and won't show me its back. But it's some kind of harmless orb weaver, they tell me. Miss Kitty is a bit freaked out about it, but I thought that watching it eat lunch was pretty cool.

It's been a while since we had an official nature study outing because the kids are taking turns at being sick, but we're still seeing things and learning stuff. Can't argue with that!


Anne Chovies said...

For fun! I'm not sure if you remember but my Mom had a big area of peonies growing in her back yard. Must have been 15-20 feet long and six feet deep, right next to the grass. We'd find these big garden spiders all over the yard but especially in the peonies. Very effective at keeping us kids out of the peonies. And very fun to watch.

Ritsumei said...

I didn't remember!

When we moved into this house, there was a couple of peony bushes, but I didn't love them all unkept and overgrown, and didn't know what to do with them, so I quickly decided that I didn't like them, dug them up, and gave them away.

Since then, I've learned that *both* my grandmas liked them -- and watched my backdoor neighbor care for hers, and decided that I was hasty.

Too late now; I dug them up and put other stuff in that spot.
But the spider is pretty cool.


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