can we talk about this spider?


Few situations could fill me with feelings of such contradiction as when this spider showed up sometime last week. Since then, I have been in a state of simultaneous awe and horror, admiration and revulsion. He built an elaborate web hanging from the posts of our front pergola. I’m telling you: this web was large and intricate. Delicate yet sturdy, like a huge piece of lace. Talk about Design Month! Talk about DIY! I tried to capture the web on the camera, and you can make out hints of it in the above photo, but I just couldn’t do it justice.

Then he moved his whole crazy kit-n-kaboodle over a few feet – or tore it all down and rebuilt it? (Talk about Renovations!) Then he did so again. Then he moved it back to the original location.

Even though I’m afraid of spiders, I’d love to see him in action, while building this amazing structure. As far as I can tell, he works at night. How long does it take him? Does he use blueprints? Headlamp? Or is the moon bright enough?

In lieu of staying up all night to spy on him, I looked up this short youtube video of one if his cousins at work:

This gave me a better idea of their process: it’s a circular thing, lots of roundabouts, some double backs. It’s like full-bodied knitting.

This isn’t the only design aspect I liked about this spider. I also dug his striped tights um, legs. We are a household of striped socks, so I appreciated his effort in fitting in.

Still, he made me nervous. Whenever I saw him out there, I tried to squash the nasty impulse to swat him and his clever web down with a broom.

It was weird: the day after he hit town, so did one tiny pink rose. She took up residence in the garden, just below him. The next day, another even smaller one popped up, both of them unplanned, unexpected, and unplanted (at least by us):


(Or at least I think these are roses, please correct me if I’m wrong.)

I suspected this was some kind of reverse Charlotte/Wilbur kind of thing: the roses were trying to save the spider via distraction. And, in fact, it worked until… this weekend.

We were having people over for a BBQ and the seats on our front porch/pergola area (where I’d been avoiding since the spider had arrived) were only inches from his location. I didn’t want our guests to be cowering with fear, or convulsing with the heebie jeebies, or leaving as soon as they saw who was also “hanging around.” I imagined them saying, Hey, look, yeah…we gotta go. We have…something we forgot we have to do, before peeling out of our driveway at lightening speed.

So, in a moment when he wasn’t sitting on his web (maybe he was at work on a side project elsewhere) I swatted his house down. I did. I’m not proud. We had our BBQ and without any extra guests from the arachnid family. We remarked on the cute little roses that seemed to spring up out of nowhere and I ignored it when they glared at me resentfully.

When we woke up yesterday morning, sure enough, the spider web was back, in the same place, as intricate and strong as ever. The spider even had a bee in his clutches. All I could do was nod my head with respect.

Here’s to persistence. And to to design savvy. I guess if you’ve got a good thing going, you might as well stick with it, no matter who is trying to knock you down.

Categories: Design, Garden

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17 replies

    • Why thank you. I know you are on my side in most matters, but I know whose side you were on THIS matter. One point Jocelyn, Two Points Spider. Not that it’s a competition.

  1. I have watched a spider do this at our house too… and every time I knocked it down it would spin another and another and another. I’m amazed and JEALOUS at his/her ability to built a “house” overnight. I guess since he doesn’t have to put up with the traffic and the rude staff at Home Depot (or the lack of staff), and all his equipment and home building skills are “included”, he’s one up on me! DANG! It is definitely a sight to see… and I’m sure mine laughs at me as I struggle to do anything. He’s probably saying “watch me catch my dinner without moving an inch” while you get paint in your hair and pass out without ANY dinner. (insert: evil laugh! – his, not mine!)
    They are amazing… but so are those beautiful roses. A touch of pink is always pretty. ๐Ÿ™‚
    P.S. That spider would scare the crap out of me!!

    • Come to think of it, I DID hear the unmistakable sound of spider laughter when I passed by him…:)

      As long as he focuses on his building projects and procuring dinner (that doesn’t involve me) then I think I can live with this arrangement.

  2. I attended that barbeque, and I am very glad that the presence of your arachnid squatter was kept on a need to know basis, and that I did not need to know. (BTW, those were the best curds & whey I have ever had – kudos)

    • Yes, he was doing a tap dance on your shoulder for a moment, but I didn’t want to freak you out. As far as the curds and whey, glad they did not disappoint. ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. Love, love, love it. BIg web fan here despite the rare swatting of one. I have tried to hose them down with water at full pressure to no avail and I think they would hold up to 100mph winds as well. Amazing creatures for sure.

    Nice blog, I like-y like-y:-)

    • I know, they are remarkably strong. I don’t get how these webs stand up to torrential rain storms! The rain we had here yesterday didn’t budge his web an inch (unless he quickly rebuilt it again!?)

  4. yikes. Better you than me, I think! ๐Ÿ™‚

    I like that you had to “nod your head in respect”. Seems like the best thing to do by now, right? ๐Ÿ™‚

  5. Way to put a philosophical and design spin on a spider web. My back garden looks like it’s been decorated by set designers from a haunted house. I try to find the beauty in it and remind myself the good that the spider is doing, but usually I’m just creeped out. I wait until the web is unoccupied then wipe it out with a broom.

    • Yes, it seems that the broom swipe is the method of choice – SO much better than accidentally walking through the web, which I have done recently while walking down our front sidewalk, and immediately went into spastic convulsions accompanied by blood curdling screams.

      Love the “set designers from a haunted house” image: you should see if the spiders will stick around ’til Halloween? Promise them heaters and hot cocoa?? Worth a shot! ๐Ÿ™‚

  6. Amazing and oh so creepy. Spiders are fine in my world as long as they stay off me & outta my house. I admire your restraint, I would probably have tried to chase him off by now.


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