Friday, September 16, 2011

A Tiny Beauty

(Warning: If you are squeamish around pictures of spiders, bail out of this post after the first four photos!)

Yesterday the pug thugs and I were in the front yard. I was trimming the roses, and they were doin' what pugs do. Hangin' out:

Sittin' around:

(If this evil-looking black thing on Pao Pao's head makes you worry, you might want to read my last post. He's chill with it; I swear.)

Study with Pug Parts and Roses, Part One...

...and Part Two:

Then I noticed this, bobbing gently in the afternoon breezes:

It's a beautiful garden spider, and she's dining on a bee, who's all wrapped up like Frodo in "Lord of the Rings":

Usually these big beauties don't come out until closer to dusk. Each day as the sun goes down, they spin huge, orb-shaped webs, sometimes a yard or more across. By the next day, the web is usually shattered, a victim of passing birds or bigger insects or clumsy gardeners like me.

And then they do it all again the next day. Day after day, all summer long.

The remnants of the web she's sitting in look like yesterday's affair, because they're pretty tattered. She probably caught this bee yesterday or this morning.

As I watched, she moved the package delicately around, feeding from different places on the bee's body.

I know for many people, these images are going to elicit a strong "Euwww!"

But I am a gardener, and I appreciate the spiders in my garden. They help keep the insect population in balance. And their very presence assures me that the air is clean enough, and my garden pesticide-free enough, to allow for their survival.

They are fantastically made creatures, with teeny-tiny parts like working jewelry or clockwork from the finest Swiss makers.

Except their Maker has no parallel.

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