Eerie Times

This is a transition time of the year, a time of change, sometimes even spookiness.  There is the ending of some things, leaves and flowers lose their vigor and color, turning papery brown or ghastly black.  The pepper plant above, Capsicum annuum ‘Black Pearl’, is very spooky, especially if you were to bite into one of the fruits.  Your eyes would become bloodshot and your mouth would feel like you were a circus flame swallower. 

The sky can play tricks on us, showing dazzling cotton candy color displays one minute and quickly switching to thunder and lightning the next.

Our friendly garden spider has been very busy getting her chores finished up as the warm weather will be coming to an end in the near future. She had been living in her lovely home on the corner of the main house in a translucent web stretching from the eave of the roof to the bench edge that runs along the gravel path under the windows of the sunroom/greenhouse. She was out of the way of my planting and puttering and was a welcome dweller as she would catch the demon grasshoppers, wrap them tightly and dine at her leisure. But what is this lumpy brown thing? It does not look like her usual food prep wrapping job. (Warning, spider close ups to follow!)

It must be her egg case, and it is a big one. I’m not sure how I feel having this right next to the deck where we ourselves sometimes dine al fresco. One hard working garden helper is acceptable, but a kajillion of them? Possibly not. Not so close to the deck, anyway. Let us put on our thinking caps about what to do.

Overnight, typical memory loss sets in. The next morning we go out the back door with camera in hand to look for yet more flowery pictures to snap. A turn to the left takes us by the egg case. Oh yes, that. No decision had been made about what to do, but where is mama spider?

Oh, here she is. It seems that once her job was done, she decided to go on a vacation to the sunny side of the deck.  This trip is problematic on several levels to the humans among us. Mrs. Arachnid has strung her new web from the roof eave down to the grill cover. Now like many of you out there in the blogdom, during the warmer months of the year the grill is the main source of meat cooking. The stove doesn’t heat the house, there is less clean up of pots and pans, and best of all I don’t have to do the cooking. We had just used the grill a couple of days ago so she is a very fast spinner.

The solution to this dilemma is to move her and her egg case to the wild part of the property behind the knot garden.  We used the tool with a long handle that we refer to as the forkey deal to gently lift her from the grill web, then used one of the forkey deal prongs to gently lift the egg case from the window screen.  Gingerly the tool was carried up the steps with the precious cargo  to the chain link fence edge.  It was easy to deposit mama and case on one of the giant poke berry plants.  There should be plenty of tasty grasshoppers back there for her belly’s satisfaction and free rein for her brood once they hatch.  A happy ending to a slightly scary story.  I am not afraid of spiders.  They don’t send chills down my spine or give me the heebie jeebies.  But vast numbers of them might do just that, especially if we are enjoying a ginger ale and a hot dog on the deck at the time of their dispersal.

The black stems of this maidenhair fern, Adiantum capillus-veneris , that was dug up from the overcrowded trough garden and set in the soil along the block wall at the back of the house fit into our eerie theme.  Even though mass quantities of water drenched this plant piece after placement, the leaves turned the aforementioned papery brown as seen to the left of the self sown columbine. This is a unique leaf shape and we felt it was needed to add textural interest in the little leaf wall bed.  But sometimes moves such as this have a happy ending for there is a new sprout arising from the assumed dead fern. 

 Here we see the spread eagle wingspan of the fern, along with the dead brown leaves still attached to the black stems.  Things that have been moved can survive and even thrive.  Ferns, spiders and yes, bloggers.


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26 Responses to Eerie Times

  1. Those first few pictures really are eerie. I specially like the capsicum berries. I keep scrolling up to look at it again.

    Thanks for letting me know about your new site. It looks very stylish – but with enough echoes of your previous one so I don’t keep wondering where I am.

    Hope it goes well . . . and that all your photo stories have happy endings!


    P.S. The one of the spider with her huge sack is pretty spectacular too . . . what with the black background . . . yes, very eerie!

    Hi Lucy, thanks for coming by. I did want to keep the black background and the choices of themes was more limiting than I would like, maybe they will add more at some point. One thing you can count on is happy endings on my stories. That’s the way I like it and that’s my outlook in general. The close up of the spider was a little unsettling, even to me.

  2. Gail says:

    Hi Frances! Wonderfully eerie photos. I love this spider…as soon as her children are hatched she will shuffle ‘off this mortal coil’ having spent her better year living upside down! Have you removed your blog links?


    Hi Gail, thanks. I didn’t know but should have that lady spider would shuffle away. How sad. I have seen that my sidebar is not showing up on blotanical for some reason, but shows when viewed straight from the url. Is the whole blog next to go? It’s always something, isn’t it? ;-< Sigh, once again.

  3. walk2write says:

    I like the sense of renewal you portrayed in the midst of all the decay: the egg sac, the fruitfulness of the pepper plant and pokeberries, the fern baby… A certain song comes to mind from the 80s. Correct me if I’m wrong, but I think it was a Donna Summer tune: I will survive! Maybe disco doesn’t get the respect it deserves. :>}

    Hi walk2write, thanks for getting it. Now about that disco…Donna Summer had some great ones, didn’t she? ;->

  4. Interesting you could move the spider without it running off. Ther e was one in a bed I was cleaning out. After removing a lot of material she was using, she moved on her own. I love your posts. You are such a good writer.

    Hi Donna, thanks. I was more worried about her running down the handle and getting me than on her running off, although I know she was more scared than I. Since she had finished her life’s work of reproduction, maybe she didn’t really care where she was. Thanks so much for those kind words. I’m glad you enjoy the posts, I do enjoy putting them together. I consider myself a gardener with a blog rather than a writer with a garden so those are words of high praise, again, thanks.

  5. Dave says:

    Are you hyping up Halloween already? Spiders, eerie cloud formations and black foliage…

    Great spider shots. Those garden spiders are really interesting to look at. I saw one like it here last year but haven’t seen another since.

    Hi Dave, thanks, you caught me! I do love Halloween and everything about it. The black garden fits in with the other black things I am attracted to, like my beloved cat, Hazel the plant eating cat. You might see many more posts with this theme, although I will try and not be blatant about it. I’m surprised you haven’t seen another of these spiders, they seem to make lots of babies!

  6. Rose says:

    Hi, Frances. I just left some comments on two of your last posts on Blogger, not knowing they were here, too; oh well. Congratulations on your successful move; your new site looks lovely, and I hope there aren’t too many technical problems to deal with right now.
    That spider web was huge; it would be a perfect photo for a Halloween post. How nice of you to move her and her babies to a more suitable place. I like spiders, but I agree that a line has to be drawn when they encroach upon our dining space:)

    Hi Rose, you are such a fast typist that I am just now catching up to you! LOL One thing I know, it is much easier to answer comment on wordpress than blogger! Thanks for being a faithful reader and following me here, I do appreciate that so much. This was a sneaky way to begin posting about Halloween, my favorite holiday! ;->

  7. nancybond says:

    Eeewww, on the spider! That thing is HUGE! 🙂 Everything else is lovely.

    Uh oh, a spider squeamish blogger among us. I wondered if there were any after seeing the picture cropped. Too close for comfort, even for me! LOL. Thanks for stopping by anyway. ;->

  8. tina says:

    Very eerie! Definitely put me in the mood for Halloween and all things creepy. I hope you can capture the babies hatching. We once saw that and it was very cool for the Jimster and us parents. Very nice blog, much cleaner and less distracting, though sidebars have their purposes.

    Hi Tina, now you are the opposite of Nancy in the previous comment HA! The babies will hatch on the other side of the fence so I will probably not see that. I did once see the hatching of praying mantids, it was way cool. Thanks for the compliment, but the sidebar is supposed to be there. If it is not showing up, like it isn’t in blotanical, I may have to contact wordpress. Sigh.

  9. rstair says:

    Interesting post today Frances, it has a Halloween theme. Your black themed background set off your pictures nicely. I have those Spiders all over my garden too, lucklily in areas not close to dining. That egg sack was huge, must me thousands of babies. Good for the garden I’m sure. Your sky picture had a very eerie effect as well.

    Hi ?, what would you like to be addressed as, PGL, or rstair? LOL Anyway, thanks for noticing the lead up to Halloween. I just love this time of year and the colors and scary stuff, but not too scary. I am very happy with the black theme and will probably keep up for a long time. Yours looks good too. ;->

  10. Cindy says:

    Hi Frances ~ Your new home looks great! I’m glad to see you settled in. And this post makes me feel like fall and Halloween are just around the corner.

    Hi Cindy, thanks and welcome. I have added you in my sidebar but if you aren’t seeing that, please know that it is in there. I will have to see what needs to be done to get it to reappear. Don’t you just love the excitement of Halloween and the brilliant colors of fall?

  11. I love your shot of the spider and egg sac. I always think of Charlotte when I see an egg sac, and look expectantly for the baby balloonists to appear. However, baby spiders parachuting over your deck in the middle of a barbeque would be discomforting to some guests. 🙂 I was cheering for you as you described moving the family safely to a new spot.
    Maidenhair ferns are lovely, I grow Adiantum pedatum, the Northern maidenhair fern. Looking at your photo, it would be difficult to tell the difference between them. It will look great on the wall once it settles into the new environment.
    I use WordPress for my blog on my own URl, and it’s very flexible with themes. Does allow you to customize the themes? One good thing about your new theme, the white borders around the comment fields make it easier to find the spaces for typing, when it’s black on black.

    Hi Northern Shade, thanks and welcome. I felt it was the right thing to do to move the spider and her babies together, although she had already left the scene for the other side of the deck. If she had not chosen the grill as her final resting spot she would not have been bothered, but the egg case probably would have. I have grown the northern fern as well and the only difference I can see is that the southern one is a little smaller, in stature and leaf size. Both are exquisite. I plan to spread more along the wall, that leaf form is just what we need to add that interest. I just need to wait until we get some rain. As far as themes, of the offerings for free, some have more flexibility than others. I wanted that black background. It is what I had in my blogger blog and I loved how it emphasized the photos. My blog is more photo driven than text and making the shots look as good as possible is my number one criteria. And I just like black. ;->

  12. Moving the spider egg case was the kind thing to do – I like spiders, too – but prefer them outdoors. And as you noted we also need a clear path from kitchen to BBQ grill. We cook all sorts of stuff out there to keep from heating up the house.

    Does it help if we tell you what we see? I don’t come from Blotanical, but come from Bloglines right to your url. If I click on the main page of your blog the sidebar is visible, but when viewing the individual posts with their comments the sidebar disappears.

    The pepper plant looks like someone decorated it with black olives ;-].

    Annie at the Transplantable Rose

    Hi Annie, thanks for that. Yes, Ms. Spider had to be moved, even as she was on her last legs, so to speak. That is what I had noticed about the sidebar too. I have contacted wordpress and saw that there were many others with the same problem. They had been do some housecleaning on the browser but it is still a problem on the individual posts. Hope they can fix it. Aren’t those pepper plants amazing? I always save seeds so there can be at least a couple in the garden every year. They are especially good in containers. One year I had them lining every bed, pretty cool in the fall when the peppers turned red with those black leaves. They do come true from seed with the black coloration.

  13. DP says:

    Looks like a lot of bloggers are moving to WordPress. How interesting!

    The spider pictures are a bit eerie, and kind of reminds me of charlotte’s web with the huge mass of baby spiders.

    Hi DP, thanks for coming over here. If you would change my blog url it will be easier to get here. The spiders are beautiful but you wouldn’t want to get too close!

  14. Skeeter says:

    I was kind of getting the feel for a Halloween posting here! Ah, the things we do to coexist with our creepy crawlies and other critters. Glad to see I’m not the only one that goes to drastic measures to insure the well being of all critters great and small…

    Yesterday a poor bird (finch) flew into the sun-room window. I rushed out to see if I could bring the limp thing back to life but to no avail. We sometimes have luck with getting them back to flight. This poor thing had to join others which have met their demise in our yard, into the critter graveyard over the fence. I reckon their souls are flying around the Rainbow Bridge keeping the cats and dogs entertained…

    Hi Skeeter, you are so kind hearted. It is distressing when the birds fly into the windows. It happens in the spring with the young ones more than now. I have tried putting stickers on the windows but it did not help. Moving the feeders farther away did help, but now I can’t see the birds as well. The hummer feeder is right next to the window, but I have read the very close is better than sort of close for them to tell it is not the sky in the window’s reflections. I do like the thought of their souls flying around, very nice. ;-> I do love Halloween!

  15. linda says:

    Oooooh! Eerie, moody shots Frances! Definitely feels like Halloween.

    How kindhearted of you to transport mama spider and her unborn brood to a more conducive spot.

    Hi Linda, thanks. I remembered your story of lovingly moving the spider from your front door as I was doing it! Isn’t Halloween great?

  16. tina says:

    No, I do not see any sidebar and I see it like it is in Blotanical. For some reason now my posts are not showing up in Blotanical! I do see Gail’s and yours of course. I emailed Stuart but he is probably sleeping:)

    Hi Tina, oh no about your posts not showing. He did mention the feed url had changed on feedburner, do you use feedburner? Read the latest post in the header News. WordPress informed me that the theme I have chosen, the black background one only displays the sidebar at the fairegarden.wordpress url, not the posts url. I am still deciding what to do about it. I want the black background and that is the only one that has the things I want.;-<

  17. tina says:

    Forgot to say, seeing a praying mantis laying eggs would be cool. I love spiders and most insects. Just not ticks and sawfly larvae.

    Hi Tina, that would be cool. What happened to us was that a case hatched that was on an arbor that had a bench under it. We were sitting on the bench and these little baby praying mantids were raining down on us! It was very cool, after we figured out what was happening!

  18. Great shots of the spider. That’s my favorite, which I now refer to as the “Amy Winehouse spider,” because it looks like her silhoutte. Kudos for saving the spiders, rather than just eliminating them. They are amazing creatures.

    Hi MMD, Amy Winehouse spider, that’s a good one. You still got it! I could not not save the spiders, it just isn’t in me.

  19. Gisele says:

    It looks like you are ready for halloween!

    Hi Gisele, oh no, we are not near ready yet! There is much more to come. ;->

  20. TurboLotte says:

    Oh.. what a spider!!! I have always been really scared of them, but when i started gardening, i learned to appreciate them. So the ones outside, i leav alone.. the ones inside. not so much.

    Hi Turbolotte, thanks and welcome. There was a time when I was afraid too, but just like you, gardening teaches you that they are one of the good guys. Not inside though, but I would still try and move them without harming them.

  21. joey says:

    Indeed this pensive time of year conjures up vivid images, Frances (and your spider adds to the drama).

    Hi Joey, thanks and welcome. Glad to see you. There is drama in the air.

  22. Robin says:

    We saw a wolf spider on our front porch that was enormous. Come to find out after researching, the mama spider is covered with hundreds of baby spiders, making her look huge. THAT was eerie!

    Hi Robin, wow, that sounds pretty frightening. Our mama left her egg case, but maybe she was just taking a breather after all that work. I had seen her filling it the day before I took the photo. I watched her for a long time trying to figure out what was going on. Now I am very glad to have moved the lot!

  23. tina says:

    I did see the sidebar on the url. I would leave it the way it is. It is great. How did you get the archives over too? I will check the Feedburner thing. My feed works on Feedburner, maybe I have to repost it? I’ll check. I don’t mind wordpress but the comment feed is a bother to me. Some blogs do have a feed and I might do some more checking on yours and PGL’s for it. So much more convenient for me to keep up when it comes to email.

    Hi Tina, too late, I have a new theme and it needs some tweaking. The leave a comment button is under the title of the post, not where people will look for it. There is no sitting back and just writing and posting for me yet. About your feed, please read Stuart’s news post titled ‘Feed Problems Fixed’. You should send him note on the help tab to see what you need to do. There is a way to get a comment feed from my blog, I just don’t know how to activate it. Nothing is obvious here at wordpress, but I will persue it for you.

  24. Linda says:

    IIIIiiiiiiiiiiiii that spiper gives me the creeps…
    The photos are a bit to close… But werry beutiful….

    Hi Linda, thanks. I though so too, that’s how the name for the post came to be. Sorry if you got scared! ;->

  25. Anna says:

    I love your pictures. I can’t read the writing. I know you are working on it. I read that on your other blog. I hope you get it fixed cause I like to read what people comment on your post too. It’s always interesting. You put so much work in to the post and making sure you answer everyone. I very much enjoy coming here.

    Hi Anna, thanks. I have changed the font size and color and hope to go back to the last few posts to change those too. I do so want everyone to read the text, I word hard to try and make in interesting. Keep visiting!

  26. Wonderful post Frances – sent shivers down my spine.

    Hi Karen, thanks. Hope you didn’t get too scared! ;->

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