Saturday, September 11, 2010

Summer Entertainment

The temperature index this week is supposed to be around 105 degrees. This is good because it means our summer entertainment will hang with us for a little longer.

Hanging outside the kitchen window, the dining room window, and the living room window are very well visited hummingbird feeders. I go through about a 4 lb bag of sugar a week to feed these flying creatures. Every morning the feeders are visited by at least a half dozen hummingbirds. They flit and light and feed and flit off again. We sit at breakfast and watch them come and go and fight for a seat. I'm sure they wish for call ahead seating, but alas the restaurant has no phone.

This is our third summer to put out hummingbird feeds, but this is the first summer in several years where we have had a second visitor to entertain us.

The second visitor is a giant garden spider. She has made her web across the span of half of our dining room window. It is an incredibly elegant web with perfect angles and a perfect zig-zag down the center. Every morning she either rebuilds the web or patches and repairs it.

I have jokingly called her Charlotte for obvious reasons, but she doesn't seem to like the name so we have just called her "She". She is perfectly harmless, eating only bugs. She would never eat a human or even bite one. And if She did, it would be harmless as they are not poisonous. She is called a Garden Spider because that is where you typically find them. They are the gardener's friend. If you have one of these in amongst your plants, you count yourself lucky and count less bugs.

She has eaten her fair share of bugs this summer. We have watched her roll up grasshoppers, beetles, and wasps. This in itself is an all day process and incredibly fascinating. But, it is watching her spin her web that is the most fascinating. Typically, the sun is rising while we eat breakfast and the eastern sun glints off her web and each strand that she adds to it. It's as though a spotlight is on her alone.

She has been a great advocate for her species. My husband, who is no defender of spiders and despises them, seems to be admiring her if not even enjoying watching her. Just yesterday, he excitedly announced, "She's caught a grasshopper." Then stood and watched her wind it up into her web.

We thought we had lost her during the recent storms (courtesy of Tropical Storm Hermine). The wind and rain tossed her to and fro. She desperately tried to retain her web. Running from one side to the other and one end to the other anxiously repairing the wind damage. We, of course, had a full day and as usual were out the door, rain or not, by 8:30 am. When we returned late in the afternoon, She was gone. I was saddened that our friend had not escaped the ravages of the storm, but that is nature for you. I was pleasantly surprised the next morning to see her and her lovely web right where it belonged. She gave up on her web and sought shelter in the storm and returned with a new web and ready to start again.

As I type this, She is hanging outside the window and just beyond her web is the hummingbird feeder. The hummingbirds come and go and will occasionally peer through the spider web and through the window to thank me for my hospitality.

Beyond the spider and the hummingbirds and all their antics is an amazing sunrise!


Jennie said...

What great pictures Cynda! You are quite the photog! I love how you captured such simple experiences. I was right there with you as you painted the scene. Although, I'm afraid I'm on your husband's side. I only admire spiders if they are safely on the other side of the glass.

Cynda Western Felini said...

Thanks for the compliments, Jennie.
They mean a lot!