Monday, August 25, 2008

It's Alive!

There's a lot of things to get used to when you move into a rural or semi-rural area.  No natural gas lines.  No DSL.  Spotty or minimal cellphone coverage.  More frequent brown and blackouts (which makes the woodstove more than a decorative item) that tend to last longer than in town.  Deer eating up your garden, not just occasionally, but every frickin' night.  Dozens of bunnies that you scare off as you walk the garden--but they'll be back in a few minutes.  (I had three small bunnies hop out of one of my herb whiskey barrels not long ago when I watered.)  And ...
SPIIIIIIDERS!  This one here is one of my favorites.  It's a garden spider, literally.  I posted pics a long time ago of the very first one I saw, evah.  Now I have quite a few, though despite the fact they're considered common I sure don't see many of them.  I see far more of the orange and black orb spiders.  One of the many fun things about them is the squiggle they weave into their webs.  Some scientists believe it's supposed to imitate a wheat shaft to help fool insects into flying too close.  No one's really sure.  Notice how she lines up the squiggle with the dark line on her body, and how that line design kinda looks like wheat too... or maybe something else.  Or maybe it's all accidental or still a WIP by evolution.  Anyway, if spiders terrify you, don't live in the country.  You won't be able to go into the garden, nor sleep at night.  Plus, there's never anything to do around here.  All I had to do today beside the normal barn chores was move the sicklebar mower, which was out of gas, from the lower property to the garage.  Ho hum.  (gasp, pant!)

In other garden news, huzzah!  Tomatoes at last!
With the cool weather it's been a long, long wait for ripe tomatoes.  The plants are huge, though.  The leaves are packed together very tightly against the fence they're growing up.  They're as tall as I am.  If the tomatoes didn't turn red, I'd never find them in there.  I also have eggplant developing, but the fruit is still pretty small, about the size of a golf ball.  This variety of eggplant doesn't get more than 3" across and stays pretty round, so we're a bit less than halfway there.  Hopefully we'll have plenty of time before serious cold weather sets in.  We still have rhubarb and currants.  We're waiting on grapes, cucumbers and pears.  Apples are done/fallen (the goats are very happy), blackberries are mostly over with (though there are plenty of green ones, once the rains set in the berries are pretty yucky and mold quickly) if not done, marionberries are done, blueberries sort of never arrived but are sort of done, herbs are in bloom and for the most part sub-optimal unless you're a bee, in which case they're perfect.


Things that puzzle this other goddess.... said...

I still can't get used to the albino spiders we get out here. I don't know the variety, but the tiny ones spring up EVERYWHERE in the house. Ick! Now I know another reason I don't garden :) love, ttptog

Kami said...

Heh. I don't like spiders, generally, but I'm fascinated by them and I've outgrown my arachnophobia, thank goodness.

If you click on the pic it should show you a closer to life-sized pic of her. She's quite large ... I'd say about 2" if you include her legs.

The Moody Minstrel said...

The garden spider is closely related to the Japanese kogane-gumo (gold spider), a picture of which I posted on my old pic blog.

The Australian St. Andrews Cross spider and British/German "wasp spider" are also of the same basic species.

All of them are very colorful, build remarkable webs, and are harmless to humans even despite their often impressive size.

I've heard another theory about the squiggles. Japanese scientists discovered that they are strongly reflective in the ultraviolet range. They would appear to glow if you could see UV. It's possible that some kinds of insects are attracted by that light.